Monthly Archives: August 2015

L Space / Humber Gallery Exhibition

I am proud to announce that my black and white version of “Skógafoss, Iceland“, one of my most awarded photographs, was 1 of 15 images selected to appear in an exhibition at the new L Space / Humber Gallery at the Humber College North Campus!  This photo has received several distinctions including First Place Position and Editor’s Choice in the Landscape Category at 500px and several awards from the International Photography Awards (IPA) 2014,  the Monochrome Awards 2014,  PX3 Paris 2015, and the 5th Annual Exposure Award 2015 where it was exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris! It was also featured in an interview I did with Digital Photographer Magazine (UK) Issue 164!  It was also exhibited on billboards across Canada with the Paint The City Project!


My Description:  “Skógafoss, Iceland” is an iconic emblem of the beauty that flows out of every part of Iceland. As a long exposure photograph, the photograph is a fusion of physical perception and autobiographical and metaphorical insight where the how and what of taking a photograph becomes secondary to why we make the photograph the way we do to better understand our motivations as artists. It is my way of creating a parallel world of feeling that you are immersed in something that is intellectually and imaginatively beautiful and embracing the paradox that reality is both negotiable and essential to fine art photography. As an inspiration, I wanted to capture a fluidity and dynamism in this composition by creating a symmetry-asymmetry between elements and forming an equilibrium between the luminosity and shadow in the photograph to create a phenomenological presence, as if the viewer is experiencing the moment with me, and a palpable absence to the viewer to fill in their own blanks. These principles help shape my photographic vision.

Skogafoss - BW - SZP - JK (2)

For those interested in attending the exhibition, it will run from September 15th-October 15th, 2015 at the Humber Gallery, Learning Resource Commons (First Floor) at the North Campus location.

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My Top 10 List for Amazing B+W Photographs

I recently contributed to Digital Photographer Magazine (UK) Issue 164 where my interview and photographs were published.  It is an absolute thrill to see my work represented and published in such a prestigious magazine.  Part of the interview included an abridged version of my Top 10 List for stellar black and white photographs.  Here is my expanded exploratory version of that list.  As there are many of these types of lists all over the internet, I wanted to offer something different on a practical and conceptual level for both novice and professional.  When I review my principles of photography and post-processing during my workshops. I delve into these concepts and much more.  I hope you find it useful in your own workflow.

1.   Shoot RAW:  This will help with maintaining as much information in your images as possible to be able to make nuanced and malleable enhancements in your images.  Beyond shooting RAW, use the lowest possible ISO to decrease the chances of noise.  You could always add noise or grain as an artistic choice later on in your edits.

2.  16 Bit Edits:  Edit your photos as 16 bit files as you will obtain a broader and deeper level of tones in your images.

3.  BGW:  Think Black, Grey and White Photography. Flat black and white images tend to lack contrast and range in the grey zones. Focus on varying grey tones in your images with special emphasis on the midtones as they add a vibrancy to images. The greys are just as important as the whites and blacks.

4.  LEICA patterns:  Look for the LEICA patterns (lines, edges, intersections, contrast and angles) in the shapes, light and shadows of the global and local elements of a photo to create a harmonious composition within a geometry of tones.  Sometimes a symmetry-asymmetry of patterns and elements in your composition can offer a dynamism that you least expect.

5.  B+W Mode:  If you are having a challenging time visualizing a scene in black and white, use the black and white mode in your camera while shooting RAW to preserve the colour information for conversion and to get a better sense of contrast in your images.

6.  Zonal Shape Systems:  Many of us are familiar with the linear spectrum of the zonal system of highlights, midtones and shadows that we see in the dynamic range of an image through the histogram but we do not often think of it in terms of a system of complimentary tones, much like in colour theory or the colour wheel, or consider the system as triangle for hi-key images or an upside down triangle for low-key images.  It may also look like the shape of a diamond when there is more emphasis on the rich grey tones.  I think there is merit in this idea depending on what final vision you have for your black and white images.

7.  Levels and Curve Adjustments:  I tend to use both tools within selections and the overall image to enhance the contrast differentials within the image.  This often creates an appealing contrast to the eyes.

8.  Presence and Absence Principles:   I often consider what subject or parts of an image I want to enhance with midtones or luminosity (presence) to make them stand out more while making other parts of an image that I don’t want the viewer to fully focus on fall into the shadows (absence). Both principles are equally important and synergistic.  This is a conscious but intuitive choice on my part when creating art.  This is very much in line with the Old Masters’ ways of painting to produce dimensionality to their paintings. Whether you create with pixels or paint, consideration of these principles helps make a statement about your own vision as a photographer.

9.   HSL Panel & Plugins:  Use the HSL (Hue/ Saturation/Luminance) panel in Camera Raw or Lightroom for black and white conversion to maximize tonal ranges. The red channel, in particular, will offer an almost infrared quality to your images.  Plugins have advanced so much that programs like Topaz Labs Black and White Effects or Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2 offer the photographer choices in their edits.

10.  Printing:  Always consider your photo as if you are going to print it. It may look good on your screen or on a photography site on the internet but the true test is the printed image.  Sometimes you have to boost the contrast and sharpening a bit for a final print.  Printing is an art and a science and well worth the investment.


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Digital Photographer Magazine (UK) Issue 164 – Interview, Photos & Top 10 List

Interviews can be quite daunting especially when it is for an international publication where millions of photography enthusiasts seek advice and inspiration from their colleagues.  However, it can be equally exciting given that your contribution is in physical and virtual bookstores all over the world and read by so many people seeking personal growth in their own photography.

I was asked to do an interview with Digital Photography Magazine (United Kingdom Publication) entitled “Lost and Found in Black and White” where I review my principles for stellar and standout black and white fine art photography, my 4-8-16 long exposure photography and “Double Portrait” methods and introduce my Top 10 Tips which include my concepts of “LEICA Patterns”, “BGW (Black/Grey/White Photography)”, and “Presence & Absence Principles” while introducing the idea of “Zonal Shape Systems”™ (a new way to consider the Zone System created by Ansel Adams using shapes like diamonds and pyramids for hi-key, low-key, midtone dominant images, etc.).  I will post an expanded version of my Top 10 Tip List in a separate post soon : )

Here are some quotes from the interview:

“Seeing in black and white gives you the
ability to combine the substance of what
the subject actually is with the essense of
what else the subject could be.”

Digital Photographer UK - Issue 164 - Interview & Photos

Vision Drawings (Oramagraphy) – A New Psychology Of Photography

“The how and what of taking a photograph becomes
secondary to why we make the photograph the way we
do to better understand our motivations as artists. It is
my way of creating a parallel world that embraces the
paradox that reality is both negotiable and essential to
fine-art photography.” 

Issue 164 was released internationally on July 30th in a bookstore near you

Happy reading everyone!


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FAPA 2015 – Fine Art Photography Awards – London

FAPA 2015

I am chuffed to have some of my favourite series of photographs awarded at the first edition of the FAPA (Fine Art Photograph Awards) in London!

1st Place (Gold) / Category Winner – Landscape / Seascape – Professional

“The Veils of Eden” Series

FAPA Awards 2015 - 1st Place Professional

Honourable Mention / Nominee – Architecture – Professional

“Dubaiisms” Series

FAPA Awards 2015 - HM/Nominee Professional

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Fifth Annual Exposure Award 2015 – Musee Du Louvre

The Fifth Annual Exposure Award was viewed by more than 5 Million photography enthusiasts across the entire globe.  To say that I am thrilled to have a photo of mine chosen and displayed at the Musee du Louvre in Paris is an understatement!  I am happy, humbled and honoured by it all. Congratulations to all the artists!

Below is the Official Letter of Recognition along with my “Skogafoss, Iceland” photograph that was displayed at the exhibition at one of the most renowned museums in the world.  You can also find my profile during the international competition here.

My photo will also be included in a book for charity as part of the Night Photography Collection (pg.29).

Exposure Award 2015 - Louvre - Skogafoss - SZP-JK

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