20 March

The Weekly Walk – February Results

As many of you know I started a Weekly Walk in January to make a connection with my surroundings. Sam and I have been house sitting in various locations since we left Aurum Lodge in November where we were artists in residence. The weekly walks let me explore the area around the house sitting locations and discover visual surprises by using the ‘gift of paying attention‘ (something that’s hard for guys to do!)

In February we continued our house and pet sitting in Bragg Creek, Alberta. One of the two dogs that we were pet sitting happened to cut her paw and required vet care. This meant three weeks of rehab and care for the dog. Needless to say my weekly walks were less about photography and more about walking and caring for the dogs (which was totally fine by me). Fortunately, Sam and I could shift off the duties. Thanks Sam!

©Darwin Wiggett - The Great Pyrenees on watch.

©Darwin Wiggett – The Great Pyrenees on watch.

©Darwin Wiggett - Before the accident.

©Darwin Wiggett – Before the accident.

©Darwin Wiggett - The 'ouch'.

©Darwin Wiggett – The ‘ouch’.

Sometimes as artists we are less productive and need ‘internal processing’ time. For me, February was less about getting out and taking pictures and more about trying out other art forms. Samantha and I experimented with drawing and painting and I spent time playing guitar and composing music. I find that concentrating on other art forms helps my photography when I return to it (which I always do). And so, my February walks yielded little in the way of photos, but I sure had a great time producing new kinds of art and being in nature and absorbing the experience. I know the muse ebbs and flows and spending time worrying about my level of inspiration is a waste. Art comes internally, it can’t be forced and I have learned to allow myself to produce through creative feast and creative famine. I am finding now in March a recharged creative interest in photography!

©Darwin Wiggett - February was a month of self reflection.

©Darwin Wiggett – February was a month of self reflection.

My interests in photography keep moving from the big grand landscape and theatrical light to more abstract imagery. And so the few photos I made in February were about this ‘quiet vision’

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

NMP15944

©Darwin Wiggett

NMP15947

©Darwin Wiggett

NMP15948

©Darwin Wiggett

 

4 February

The Weekly Walk – January’s Walks

As many of you know I started a Weekly Walk in January to make a connection with my surroundings. Sam and I have been house sitting in various locations since we left Aurum Lodge in November where we were artists in residence. The weekly walks let me explore the area around the house sitting locations and discover visual surprises by using the ‘gift of paying attention‘ (something that’s hard for guys to do!)

My first weekly walk was with Samantha and Debra Garside to the Turner Valley gas plant. We were supposed to be house sitting for Debra while she went to Sable Island to continue her wild horses photo essay. There was a delay and she could not get to the Island when planned but she let us stay at her place in Turner Valley anyway and she got us permission to visit the plant (thanks Debra!). Below are two of my favourite photos from the cold morning in the abandoned gas plant.

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

The following week we started a six week house sit on an acreage in Bragg Creek where we also get to hang out with the resident dogs. So for my second weekly walk, I wandered the acreage with the dogs and made a few snap shots of the pooches. For both of the photos below I used my technique of ‘shooting blind’ (holding the camera at knee level and aiming the camera at the dogs). You gotta shoot a lot when using this technique but when you get something that works it is refreshingly different! Sam and I talk more about this technique in our dog photography eBook if anyone is interested in learning more about the technique.

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

The following week I walked the country road in front of the acreage in Bragg Creek at sunrise. It was a colourful sunrise and I made some standard wide angle foreground, fiery sky background photos but the two images I liked best were the ones below both taken with a slight telephoto lens setting. One was a purposeful in-camera movement to create a painterly effect.

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

For the last weekly walk of January we had a fresh snowfall in Bragg Creek, so I headed into the aspen forest surrounding the acreage and came up with the two shots below. I used my 300mm lens to make both shots. Telephoto lenses are really great to use for isolating subjects and making graphic abstracts.

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

There are a number of people doing weekly walks on the oopoomoo workshop group on Facebook. Come and join us and post your photos for feedback and fun (and possible prizes; hint, hint!). Stay tuned for a summary of February weekly walks and to see where my feet take me.

11 January

The Weekly Walk Photo Project

Many of us only do photography when we have something to take pictures of: a birthday party, a vacation, an iconic destination, a portrait, an owl in a tree etc. We take pictures of things… we rarely make images of our ‘feelings about things’.

©Darwin Wiggett - A picture of King Penguins; this image says very little about how I ‘feel’ about penguins but is more a documentary portrait of the birds.

©Darwin Wiggett – A picture of King Penguins; this image says very little about how I ‘feel’ about penguins but is more a documentary portrait of the birds.

©Samantha Chrysanthou - A more personal and expressive image of penguins which tells us that the photographer finds penguins to be funny personalities.

©Samantha Chrysanthou – A more personal and expressive image of penguins which tells us that the photographer finds penguins to be funny personalities.

Our feelings are always trying to emerge in our photography but are often suppressed by our obsession over gear, concerns about technique, and worries about what others will think of our photos. Our egos often get in the way of expressive image making. And so the results of our photography are impersonal, predictable and clichéd.  After a while we are not even sure why we take photos and we become bored with our work.

©Darwin Wiggett - Ho-hum… another mountain peak portrait… this image says little about the motivation, the yearnings or the personality of the photographer.

©Darwin Wiggett – Ho-hum… another mountain peak portrait… this image says little about the motivation, the yearnings or the personality of the photographer.

To remedy the boredom and get back in touch with why we take photos, Samantha and I recommend doing a personal photography project. It’s best if the project is something simple and achievable. Don’t try some grand epic project or you’re bound to fail – start small and make it fun. And give yourself a deadline and an outcome: when will you finish and how are you going to collate or present your work?

For example, my personal photo project for the next six months will be a weekly photo walk. Once a week, starting with the week of January 12, I will pick up my camera and head out on a two to three hour walk and make images of things I find interesting. I might walk in my neighborhood, meander in a city park or stroll in nature.

©Darwin Wiggett - Anything can be a subject on a photo walk; there is magic in the mundane!

©Darwin Wiggett – Anything can be a subject on a photo walk; there is magic in the mundane!

Why a walk?

I chose a weekly photo walk for three reasons. First, walking is environmentally friendly. I just walk from wherever I am. No driving involved! Second, walking is healthy for body and spirit. Third, walking slows you down giving you time to look around and see; I’ll get to know an area much more intimately which is important because for the next six months Samantha and I will be house and pet sitting in different locations in Alberta. What better way to learn about a new place than by walking in it? After each walk I’ll write a short journal entry about the experience and process any images I made.

A walk around the Children’s Hospital in Calgary on Christmas Day resulted in this photo and the idea for the Weekly Walk Photo Project.

A walk around the Children’s Hospital in Calgary on Christmas Day resulted in this photo and the idea for the Weekly Walk Photo Project.

What is the outcome?

Once a month I’ll share a story or two of my walking journeys here on the blog. The final result of the weekly walks will be a hand-made, hand-bound journal of my photos and writings that will be completed by July 30.

©Darwin Wiggett - Caffeine fired creativity should yield a cool hand-made journal of the weekly walks.

©Darwin Wiggett – Caffeine fired creativity should yield a cool hand-made journal of the weekly walks.

What’s in it for you?

So… we encourage you to come up with a project that excites your creative spirit. If you like the idea of the weekly photo walk, then feel free to lace up your boots and join me on the journey. Glad to have you along!

If you have a different project in mind then we encourage you to share your idea and your deadline for the output (e.g.  a book, print show, eBook, or online gallery). Feel free to post your project idea and photo results from your project, or the weekly walk, at any time over on our oopoomoo Facebook group. There you’ll get encouragement and advice from fellow oopoomians. If you’re not on Facebook feel free to email me at darwin@oopoomoo.com and tell me about your project or just share images from your weekly walk. Samantha and I will select some of your project ideas or weekly walk results to highlight here on the oopoomoo blog, with your permission of course. As well, we may give out a prize or two just to keep things interesting, hint, hint 😉

Good luck with all your projects. We are excited to see what you come up with!

©Darwin Wiggett - Are you ready for the challenge of a weekly walk?

©Darwin Wiggett – Are you ready for the challenge of a weekly walk?

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