the girl effect

Today I found this video-slash-website. I was a bit suspicious of how slick it was and the lack of details about the exact projects and budgets and spending, and eventually I discovered that this is a campaign from the Nike Foundation. I’m personally not comfortable supporting the Nike Foundation, but the facts on the website and the message of the video are solid. And the video is certainly effective.

So I looked for other organizations that are empowering girls in developing nations, and indeed it’s not a new concept. There is the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative, which supports national leaders, and UNICEF has lots of projects to empower girls around the world. In the end, I chose to donate to 60 Million Girls, a Canadian charity that I could donate to through If you live in Canada and haven’t already been to, check it out. There are hundreds of Canadian charities you can donate to through it, including local food banks and shelters, and the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which I also support through print sales.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and donate.

all about the baby cheeses

On Christmas morning, my husband totally surprised me with a new monitor. Not just any monitor either: a 24-inch monitor! I had been planning to get a new monitor, because my old one was so scratched up and muddy I could have used it as a photoshop texture, but I never would have chosen one so big. It’s pretty nice being able to see my photos all big and unscratched like this. Unfortunately, having such a great monitor really shows up the limitations of my camera. I’m noticing noise at ISO 400 that I never noticed before.

About a month ago, someone suggested I get a new camera when I complained about the noise at high ISO ratings. They said the newer cameras are much better at high ISOs, especially full-frame cameras (for the non-geeks in the crowd: most digital cameras have sensors that are smaller than old 35 mm film but now they make digital sensors that are the same size as 35 mm film, which hold more detail with more sensitivity to light). Since that seed was planted, I’ve been researching Nikon’s dslr line-up obsessively. I figured I still had a few more months of saving and rationalizing to do before I bought the D700. Until Christmas morning. Seeing my images on the new monitor really jump-started my rationalization and accelerated my obsessive researching until I couldn’t stand myself anymore.

So I just did it.

And I gotta say, that D700 is SWEET! I would say the noise of the D700 at ISO 1000 compares with the noise of my old D70s at ISO 400. Plus, D700′s noise is finer, more like film grain, with a lot less chromatic noise, even above ISO 1600. I’ve also noticed that I can hand-hold at much slower shutter speeds than I could with my old camera, and my new flash, the SB-900, is A LOT more responsive. As much as I was enjoying the results of my explorations into flash photography with it, with my old camera the flash created a shutter lag of at least five seconds. And I haven’t even mentioned the auto-focus that’s like a hot knife on butter, the bigger dynamic range, or how much nicer my 50 mm f1.8 lens is on it (AND I learned a new word from all this: bokeh).

I’m feeling decidedly bloated from all this consumerism. I’ve never felt so materialistic. But the bottom line is that I’ll be starting the New Year with new gear: new flash, new monitor, and new camera. Yeehaw!


I spent the last few days at my parents’ place hanging out with my family and playing with bouncing flash off the ceiling. Here are a few of the results (these are all from my old camera – I’ll share stuff from the new camera later):

dave redux


trio reading








campus shots

Lately I’ve been admiring photography that is really clean and crisp, probably exactly the kind of work I wasn’t such a fan of when I started this blog nearly a year ago. The only specific example that comes to mind is Zack Seckler’s photography (my mind is sieve and I can’t remember all the photography sites I’ve looked at). I think his peoplescapes are my favourite, but I enjoyed all his galleries.

Anyways, I think I’m starting to see the influence of that kind of photography in my work (not that I think I’m anywhere near as good of course). Last week I went shooting on campus. Here are some of my favourite shots:





smoke break

parking meter

winter courtyard

Happy Holidays!

one more thing

Ok, just one more note about my calendars, and then I’ll shut up about them. My coworker brought her Cuba calendar in for me to see today, and I was blown away! The print quality is amazing. So I can endorse them with 100% confidence. Besides the great quality, my favourite thing about the calendars is that vertically oriented images as big as the horizontal ones. It’s the only calendar I’ve seen like that. I’m totally getting myself a Parking Meters in Lunenburg calendar.

catching up

I am not a winter person. As far as I’m concerned, winter is something to be survived, not enjoyed. Where other people go out skiing or sledding or whatever, I’d much rather curl up inside with a good book or blog. So winter is a great opportunity for me to revisit the 12,000 or so shots I took in the last year and find images that I overlooked the first time around, or didn’t have time to process.

Here are a few shots from the inn I stayed at in Chester, Nova Scotia:


niobe's shoes

I also discovered a folder of images from downtown Guelph last January, and for whatever reason, I considered them all utter failures. Now, however, I like them, so I processed them:

steeple and balconies

babelfish 2




I like how all the images from that gray day are preoccupied with geometry.

* * *

“They say my prints are bad. Darling, they should see my negatives.”*

A few days ago, I discovered that my local gallery has an exhibit of Lisette Model’s work up until Sunday. So I went. This image, “Paris, Sleeping by the Seine,” took my breath away.

* I’ve seen that attributed to Lisette Model but I’m not sure if it’s true. Sounds more like Dorothy Parker to me, if she had made photographs.

report on calendars

Wow, Redbubble is fast! One of my coworkers bought several of my calendars on December 11, and she received them YESTERDAY. That’s only six days to produce them AND ship them from Australia, and she didn’t even choose express shipping. Now that’s service! She said they look amazing (and yes that’s a direct quote). I’ll see for myself on Monday, when she brings one in for me to see. I can’t wait.

Attention Americans: Free JPG Subscriptions available

I have been offered the opportunity to give away three one-year subscriptions to JPG Magazine. I’ve bought two issues in recent months, and been very impressed with the quality. Sadly, the free subscriptions are only available in the US so I can’t take advantage. So who wants one? Comment here or email me at kate(at)peripheralvision(dot)ca.

Also, I just wanted to notify you that as of January 1, 2009, I’ll be increasing the price of my photo art cards from $3.99 to $4.99. So if you want to take advantage, do so before the end of the year.

Life is once, forever.

“I started by painting and drawing and for me photography was a means of drawing and that’s all. Immediate sketch done with intuition, and you can’t correct it. If you have to correct it, it’s your next picture. But life is very fluid. Well sometimes the pictures disappeared and there is nothing you can do. You can’t tell the person, oh, please smile again, do that gesture again. Life is once, forever.”
~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

The lovely and generous Trina Koster lent me some photography resources, including The Decisive Moment: Photographs and Words by Henri Cartier-Bresson. It’s a short film made in 1973 with Cartier-Bresson’s still images and his voice over them. I loved it.

I had no idea about C-B’s roots in surrealism, although it makes sense now that I do. I also hadn’t seen his portrait of Ezra Pound (in the asylum, I imagine, although I don’t know) before, and I loved it. It really caught some of the mystery and madness I associate with Pound.

A few more gems from the film*:

“You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt, which is not a very easy thing. And the attitudes of people are so different in front of a camera. Some are embarrassed, some are ashamed, some hate to be photographed and others are showing off. You feel people very quickly. You see people naked through the viewfinder, you see them stripped naked, and it’s sometimes very embarrassing.”

“[With Pound,] I stood in front of him for maybe an hour and a half in utter silence. We were looking at each other in the eyes and I took maybe altogether one good photograph for possible and two which were not interesting. It’s about six pictures in an hour and a half, and no embarrassment whatsoever.”

“Ideas are very dangerous. You must think all the time but when you’re photographing you’re not trying to push a point to explain something, to prove something. You don’t prove anything. It comes by itself.”

“Life changes every minute. The world is being created every minute and the world is falling to pieces every minute. Death is present everywhere, as soon as we are born. It is a very beautiful thing the tragic, le tragique de la vie – what is tragic in life – because there is always two poles and one cannot exist without the other one. It is these tensions I am always moved by.”

“A camera is a weapon. You can’t prove anything but at the same time it is a weapon. [...] It’s a way of shouting the way you feel. I love life, I love human beings, I hate people also. You see, the camera, it can be a machine gun. It can be a psychoanalytical couch. It can be a warm kiss. It can be a sketch book, the camera. And even for me, that’s strictly my way of feeling, I enjoy shooting a picture, being present and it’s a way of saying yes, yes, yes. [...] There is no maybe. All the maybes should go to the trash because it’s very instant, it’s the presence, it’s a moment, its there. [...] Even if it’s something you hate…yes! It’s an affirmation…Yes!”

Speaking of affirmations, here is my son, from last week:
blue eyes

* Any inaccuracies are mine. I started with this source for a transcript, then cleaned up the grammar a bit.