6 November

The oopoomoo Pokie Awards!

Anyone who has been to oopoomoo seminars or workshops will be familiar with one of the most common compositional flaws in photography – the dreaded pokie.

What is a pokie? No, it’s not a friend of Gumby but rather it’s:

Little objects that stick into the edge of your frame accidentally.

Pokies are not purposeful parts of the composition. Instead they sneak into the frame like unwelcome guests and ruin the party by drawing attention to themselves. In short, they weaken your images. In the image below, can you spot the pokie?

©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Pretty obvious, eh? That little spruce branch in the upper right corner of the frame just screams out, “Look at me!”

Sometimes we are so fixated on our subjects while shooting that we don’t notice pokies until later when we look at the images on the computer screen. But once you are aware of pokies you’ll start to notice them all the time and you’ll learn to adjust your composition right away to get rid of those pesky buggers.

©Darwin Wiggett - The little bush in the lower left corner of the frame is a sneaky little pokie.

©Darwin Wiggett – The little bush in the lower left corner of the frame is sneaking into the composition!

©Darwin Wiggett - A Slight shift in position gives a pokie free composition!

©Darwin Wiggett – A slight shift in position kills that annoying pokie! Much better.

In some cases you can clone or crop out the offending pokies but sometimes you can’t. Rather than fix compositional errors in post, you’ll be a better photographer and you’ll save time at the computer later if you learn to spot and eliminate pokies in the field.

©Darwin Wiggett - A definite pokie problem here!

©Darwin Wiggett – A definite pokie problem here!

©Darwin Wiggett - A definite pokie problem here.

©Darwin Wiggett – Ah, pokie free and happy!

The Contest

Show us your best pokie shot and win a spot in one of our January 2017 Resolve: Discover Your Creative Self eCourses. Post your image or images to our oopoomoo Facebook group or email us your entry (info at oopoomoo.com) before midnight MDT November 16, 2017. Below are some ideas of the kinds of images to enter.

  • The Annoying Pokie – Show us a great shot that you made that was ruined or marred by an uninvited pokie.
  • The Pokie Eliminator – Show us how you zapped away a pokie by changing your composition while shooting (we’ll need to see a before picture showing the nasty pokie, and then the fixed, pokie-free photo). No Photoshop fixes please!
  • A Famous Pokie – Show us an annoying pokie in an iconic photograph from a famous photographer (yes, pokies have learned how to be published!). Be sure to credit the photographer and provide a website link to where you found the photo (comment and criticism on published pieces are allowed as fair use). Note: we can only award the pokie prize to a photographer who submits their original work so this last category is more for fun, education and discussion than for prize consideration.

Be sure to tag your images with #thepokieawards to ensure we consider your entry.

©Darwin Wiggett - A popular and widely published image with several pokie problems!

©Darwin Wiggett – A popular and widely published image of mine with several pokie problems!

3 June

May Days Inspirations – Your Inspiring Shots

In our last oopoomoo newsletter we asked our readers to send us a photo about what inspires them about spring. For the photo we found most inspiring we promised to feature it here on the blog and the lucky showcased person would also get our Photography Fundamentals eBook bundle. Well, Sam and I were impressed by all the entries and in particular we found the three entries below to be exceptional.  Congratulations to Carl, Al and Henrik for work well done! Your eBooks are in the virtual mail!

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter if you have not already because we’ll be giving away something extra special this time 😉

Wild Poppy – Carl Heino

Everywhere I look, there is re-birth and renewal!  New growth and vigor abound!  There is a deep freshness in Nature that one finds only on a large scale in Spring.  It is this quality that I try to capture with my camera. In image below, there is a feeling that the complete opening of the pod halves and the unfolding of the exquisite contents are imminent.  In a few days, the faded petals will fall to the ground, the seeds within the stamen will slowly ripen and eventually be shaken on to the soil where, once established, they will repeat the cycle next Spring.

©Carl Heino

©Carl Heino

Dewdrops – Al Garner

The crisp air, sunny days, new grass, wildflowers and the promise of renewal that spring brings – what more could a photographer ask for!

©Al Garner

©Al Garner

Magnolia Blooms – Henrik Fessler

In Germany, spring was in fast forward mode and flowers and trees were in full blossom 2-4 weeks in advance. With the year gearing up so quick in contrast I slowed down in my own photography by taking pictures with an old manual lens mounted on a modern camera. Doing this kind of slow, relaxed and more conscious type of photography helped to take in all the wonders of Nature! My Pic shows a magnolia tree detail taken not too far away from my home.

Henrik Fessler

Henrik Fessler


6 March

‘Around Town’ Persistent Vision Photo Contest Winner – Tracy Hindle

We are pleased to announce that Tracy Hindle was chosen by Winter Photographics as the grand prize winner of a full day pass to our upcoming photography event, Persistent Vision. The photo had to be taken in Cochrane Alberta (Around Town). Here is what Tracy had to say about the making of the image:

Cochrane Lanes Bowling Alley – when making this image I originally had one thing in mind.  A lady I know from bowling was turning 90, yes 90, and she still bowls AMAZINGLY!  She beats me almost every time.  I wanted to make a special birthday card depicting different aspects of bowling and headed down to the lanes to take pictures.    End result – she was thrilled.  The bonus for me once I got there was the challenge of taking action pictures of the ball hitting the pins.  Trying to freeze that moment when there is ultimate contact with low lighting and no flash.   I hope to go back and try again, and again, as I really enjoyed it.

When I saw your contest looking for pictures from “Around Cochrane” I wanted to submit something that I thought no one else would think of and possibly had not already been done before.  Dare to be different in my interpretation of – A “round” Cochrane,  I thought this picture captures not only the beauty of the balls, but the essence of the game with the allies and the pins just out of focus.


©Tracy Hindle

©Tracy Hindle

30 January

Exciting Additions to Persistent Vision (and a cool photo contest for students)

As we’re getting nearer to the Persistent Vision event March 15-17, 2013, we’ve had the opportunity to make some exciting additions to the Saturday seminar, including:

  • a new draw prize — get your photo portfolio reviewed by a professional photographer!
  • a no-holds barred panel discussion with pro shooters and industry insiders giving you the straight goods on the biz of photography today
  • learn how to self-publish! Meet us (that’s me and Darwin) and the oopoomoo eBook authors (including our NEW author!!)
  • an inspiring slideshow with your images in the Participant Showcase
  • live printing demo
  • informational displays, and books and eBooks for sale

Download the revised Saturday schedule here. People have asked us what skill level of photographers this event is meant for, and we reply, “All levels! C’mon out!” First, if you are interested in improving your photography, learn from me and Darwin as we share the secret to getting great shots no matter where your travels may take you. And our guest speaker, humanitarian photographer David duChemin, will be inspiring participants with his images taken from globetrotting around the world (including the story of his near-fatal fall in Italy and hard-earned recovery!) Also, if you are already in the business of photography or you want to maybe sell a few images to off-set the cost of your hobby, then come and learn from photographers who have made it in the shifting quicksands of this industry. Making a living in photography has never been so wide open — you just have to be creative and find your niche.

Sam playing with the prizes!

Sam playing with the prizes!

I also wanted to mention that Gentec has supplied us with a whack of prizes (from Gary Fong lightspears to Tamrac camera bags to Sigma lenses) not only because we’re pretty happy to be passing those off during the Saturday event to YOU, but also because Sigma has a cool photo contest going on right now completely unrelated to our seminar. If you are a student registered in a photography or imaging post-secondary school in Canada, and you shoot with Sigma lenses, consider this contest; first prize is $3,000 toward your tuition! Here’s the link to the rules and details. Thanks to David Topping of Gentec for passing this along.

Stay tuned for announcement of our guest panelists and portfolio judges! (Who can they be…….!)

6 November

Persistent Vision Walkabout Photo Contest – October Results

Drumroll, please! October marks the final month of our Walkabout Photo Contest. Six lucky winners will be hanging out with David duChemin at the Meet ‘n Greet in Bragg Creek Alberta on March 15, 2013 as well as toting home a lovely print of their winning image after the Persistent Vision seminar. Woohoo! A big thanks to everyone who entered the contest and inspired us with your lovely images. It was really tough to pick one image over others — we’re glad we didn’t have that job! (And just a note: although we’re sold out of the All Inclusive Weekend Passes, there’s still room in the Saturday Seminar with a full day of inspiring stories and some insider tips on actually making a go with your photo business — yes, it’s possible!)

The October winner was chosen by talented shooter Daisy Gilardini. We are happy to say that we’ve met Daisy who is not only an incredibly gifted photographer (you should check out her images — she specializes in the polar regions!), but also a wonderful person. Thanks for helping us out, Daisy!

Person with dog through a snowy fence

Throw it! Throw it! – © Isabelle Larose

Daisy picked Isabelle Larose’s image as the winner for October. Here’s what she had to say about the image:

What makes an image interesting is its originality. We achieve originality by observing our subject in a different way, by looking for a different angle, by searching diversity while playing with shapes, lines and colors. The simplicity and great composition of this image immediately grabbed my eye. 

Here a couple of my favourite quotes I would like to share with you:

Simplicity is nature’s first step, and the last of art. (Philip James Bailey)

There is nothing quite so complicated as simplicity. (Charles Poore)

Isabelle provided some background on her image for us:

When you get up on October 10th and see this outside your window, you have 2 solutions:
1- Call in sick and go back to bed
2- Go walk your dog and bring the camera before heading to work
I am glad that day I decided to go walk the dog and did not forget to bring my camera.
The picture’s title is:
Throw it! Throw it!

Congrats, Isabelle! Very creative ‘seeing’. And finally, Darwin and I like to highlight some of the other creative images submitted. So here are a couple more talented shooters who deserve an Honourable Mention. We look forward to meeting our six winners at the Meet ‘n Greet in March, 2013!

3 October

Walkabout Photo Contest – September Results

For September, we asked Yellowknife-based portrait photographer Dave Brosha to judge the month’s entries. Congrats to Jens Preshaw who was chosen by Dave to be the September winner! Here is what Dave had to say about his choice.

Reflection of yellow crane

© Jens Preshaw

This is a great, creative reflection image that not only frames in the subject of the overhead frame beautifully, but it also has strong visual elements – for example, the cracks in the pavement which lead your eye across the image – along with a nice colour contrast to make an image that not only pops, but makes you take a second look.  This is a perfect example of what I like to call ‘making something out of nothing’, and it took a good eye and a creative spirit to capture so nicely. Well done.”

And here are some other entries that Darwin and I thought were worth mentioning. Remember, October is the last month of the Walkabout Photo Contest and your last chance to win a pass to the exclusive, Meet-n-Greet with David at the Persistent Vision Seminar!

Lone shed on a prairie

© Rosana Ramos

Wall of colourful posters

© David Farr

3 September

Persistent Vision ‘Walkabout’ Photo Contest – August Results

Some of you photogs are out and about on a Walkabout! Thanks to everyone who entered the Persistent Vision seminar photo contest for August. This month, we had Mark Wainer as our illustrious judge. Here is Mark’s ‘pic’ of the crop!

Mail in open mailbox

© Leslie Degner

Mark says, “I admire images of everyday objects that have a graphic design appeal. This image invites the viewer to inquire what is represented, while leaving room for personal interpretation.” A big congrats to Leslie Degner! She must be reading Darwin’s mind as this shot really shows the extraordinary in the ordinary. Pretty cool to turn something as rote as fetching the mail into a work of art. Darwin and I also thought the following submitted images were worth a mention in their creative vision and compositional prowess. Well done, Nigel and Anna!

Detail in black and white of a feather

© Nigel Roberts

Tar lines on pavement

© Anna VanDemark

Remember, there’s only two months left in this photo contest, so lace up your boots and get walkin’!

6 August

Persistent Vision “Walkabout” Photo Contest – July 2012 Results

Coming in March of next year (2013), travel photographer and popular blogger David duChemin is coming to the Canadian Rockies at the invite of oopoomoo for a weekend photography extravaganza in the small mountain town of Bragg Creek, Alberta. There are still a few spots left for the exclusive weekend package (Friday night Meet-n-Greet, Saturday full day seminar and Sunday’s field workshops). There’s still lots of space for the Saturday seminar itself but, keep in mind, only people who sign up for the ‘full meal deal’ are able to attend all three events. Of course, if you win one of our monthly photo contests, you can still meet David on Friday March 15, 2013 even if you don’t invest in the full weekend pass (click here for full rules and guidelines). And you get a framed 16×24 print from Winter Photographics of your winning entry!

Until word gets out, your chances of winning are actually quite good; in July we only had six entries! Part of the reason why this contest may not attract as many entries as most photo contests is because this contest has a twist; only images accessed by the photographer’s own non-motorized, locomotive power can be entered into this contest! This means you can only enter images that you made by walking, biking, skateboarding, jumping or skipping from your house to the great big world out there (or stay in your house of you prefer). If you took a bus, drove your car, flew in a plane or otherwise used motorized transit to get yourself out of the house and then you walked — sorry that won’t count. You gotta be motorized-free right from your home to qualify. Be sure to enter for August!

This month’s judge is supermom and ace nature and stock photographer, Varina Patel. We have not met a nicer, more down to earth person in a long time! And talent… did we say talent? Be sure to check out her website and her blog if you haven’t already!

From our six entries, Varina chose Scott Dimond’s shot of an outfitter’s tent (we think this is actually his home)! Here is what Varina said about Scott’s winning photo:

“These are some gorgeous shots! A tough choice – but in the end, I kept coming back to Scott’s photos of the tent in the field. It’s got everything going for it – a beautiful and unique point of interest, a gorgeous location, and tons of beautiful details. I love the dark greens surrounding the brightly lit tent – and the rich golden tones of the light shining from within. The flowers add a quiet beauty to the image without pulling my eye away from the tent itself. All those elements come together to pull me into the photograph – it makes we want to walk through the meadow and settle myself in that tent for a peaceful evening in such a beautiful place. I hope Scott got to do that after he took his shot. :)”

©Scott Dimond

Darwin and I get to pick our favorite entries and these are below. First up is Leslie Degner’s painterly flower image. Leslie created a unique flower portrait that had us both ooohing and aaahing! Wow, Leslie that is both fresh and beautiful! Incredible work with aperture, as well.

©Leslie Degner

And we love the photo below from Nigel Roberts. Also, Nigel had an inspiring idea that he’s trying out…. Why not make this monthly contest a little assignment for yourself? You still have August, September and October to enter!

“Reading over the contest rules I get tired just thinking about all the walking, biking, hiking, etc. that I could be doing to enter this contest!  So being the lazy photographer that I am (and not wanting to break a sweat by straying too far from my beer fridge), I’ve decided to challenge myself to only submit images that I take within 100 m or so of my home.  I’ve also challenged myself to submit  an image a month to force myself to come up with something – should be interesting!”

©Nigel Roberts

30 May

We’re Off to Iceland!

It seems Iceland is a popular place these days for photographers! We’re jumping on the bandwagon by going with a group of friends on a photo tour of this incredibly picturesque country. Our photo guide is Tim Vollmer with Esja Travel, so this is a vacation for us! And since we’re on vacation, we decided not to bring our laptop which means things are going to be silent here on the oopoomoo blog until we get back June 17. No email, no business administration no endless lists of ‘must dos’…just experiencing Iceland. Wow, it’s going to be great!

Gone Shootin'

Gone Shootin'!

We’re leaving you with a few things to read/think about while we’re gone. First, highlights of the spring have definitely been:

  • our little experiment with the Destination Travel Workshop in Fernie, British Columbia (June 25-28, 2012) — Read about our crazy ‘Pay What It’s Worth’ idea here. There’s still space!
  • announcing that David duChemin is coming to town next March, 2013. Last word was the All Inclusive Passes are more than half gone so don’t delay if you’re interested in this great event! And if you enter the photo contest while we’re away, don’t worry; you’ll hear from us when we’re home. (Two days left for the May contest…)
  • publication on oopoomoo of our 11th eBook, Essential and Advanced Filters for Creative Outdoor Photography — phew! Our brains hurt.

In case you get lonely here at oopoomoo without us around, here are a whole bunch of free articles to browse through. We hope you find something to tickle your shutter button. We’ll share our adventures and images with you when we get back. ‘Till then, happy shooting!

Why Every Landscape Photographer Should USe Filters – Still!

How to Photograph Waterfalls

7 Advantages of Using Tilt Shift Lenses

Beyond the Rectangle: There is More to Photography than the 3:2 Ratio

Shooting Blind for Better Action Portraits of Dogs

Telephoto Lenses for High Impact Landscape Imagery

Filter Tutorials

The Minimal Upgrade

RAW VS JPEG: Take the Quiz!

Winter Blues: Enhancing Mood in Monochrome

How to Create Great Nature Photos No Matter Where You Live


14 May

Travel and Humanitarian Photographer, David duChemin is Coming to Alberta!

Here at oopoomoo, we’re super excited to announce that international travel and humanitarian photographer (and all-round cool dude) David duChemin is coming to Alberta! Together with The Camera Store, we’re presenting Persistent Vision: The Photographic Pursuit of Story and Inspiration — a weekend photography extravaganza! The event kicks off on Friday, March 15, 2013 with a private, Meet-n-Greet in Bragg Creek, Alberta; meet David at this smaller gathering! Then on Saturday, March 16, 2013, we have the main event, a full day seminar with David dishing on the stories behind the images and how he’s made the switch from entertaining comic to successful photographer. Expect an engaging and inspiring account of his travels around the world! Darwin and I will also be speaking at the Saturday Seminar sharing both practical tips on how to be a skilled shooter (even without leaving your hometown) and insights into the world of commercial photography today (including a few ‘behind the scenes’ stories about the creation of oopoomoo). Finally, closing the weekend is an opportunity to head out with David in the field for some hands-on photography! For full details on this exciting event, including info on prizes and our Photo Contest, visit the Persistent Vision page.


International travel and humanitarian photographer David duChemin

Look Who's Coming to Alberta!

A Note to the Wise

David is not only a talented and respected photographer but he is also a popular author: between his blog, books and eBooks, he’s been highly influential in the photography world. So we were very happy to secretly announce last week this awesome opportunity to meet David to our newsletter subscribers first before going public today. There are a limited number of All Inclusive passes to the full weekend (only 40, to be exact), so we wanted to give first dibs to those members of the oopoomoo community who are looking to receive info from us in our newsletter! We are already halfway sold out on the weekend passes! If you aren’t signed up for the newsletter, consider taking a moment to do so; there will be more great opportunities in the future! (By the way, we respect your privacy and you won’t be spammed with newsletters. We’ve barely managed three newsletters this year so far so your inbox won’t be inundated with oopoomoo News – phew.)

We expect this event to fill quickly, especially the limited number of All Inclusive passes, so don’t wait too long if you’re interested!