Posts By johnDavidson

June 2014

News and Updates
Not much of an update at all really – more just an announcement of some venues and summer dates where my images may be purchased (yes, the first one has already happened).
Of course there will be a few photographs in this entry as well. But not all chickens.

Proud Rooster, Wind Reach • Nikon 105mm f2.8 lens
Pelham Art Festival: May 9 – 11, 2014
Town of Pelham in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario.
Opening Night Friday 7-10pm
Saturday and Sunday 11am – 5pm
This was indeed a beautifully run festival in a lovely part of the province, with a great variety of work from artists in many disciplines. I am glad I participated and will do so again next spring.
Cobourg Waterfront Festival: June 28 – July 1, 2014
The lovely city of Cobourg continues to host this annual event: Art, crafts, Canada Day parades, celebrations, pubs, sailboats and more. My only outdoor show so far this year. I love the atmosphere here. Canada Day weekend and the beautiful location sure helps everyone’s mood.
10am – 6pm daily
$7.00 Day Pass; $10.00 Weekend Pass
Buckhorn Fine Arts Festival: August 15 -17, 2014
If you can, plan to attend the Art Festival for a day trip, or vacation. While in the region, come and enjoy the many attractions the Kawartha region has to offer.
Friday, August 15: Preview Night Garden Party 7-10pm,
Saturday, August 16: 10 am-5 pm,
Sunday, August 17: 10 am – 5 pm
Admission Friday: $25 good for re-entry all weekend.
Saturday & Sunday: Adults: $7.00 Children under 12 free.
Art is available for purchase using Mastercard, VISA, Interac (debit) and Cash.
Captured by Camera – Show and Workshops: August 23, 2014
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Buckhorn Community Centre
Presented by the Buckhorn Community Centre (BCC), Captured by Camera is a one-day juried Photography Show and Sale. Browse and buy images presented by the professional photographers, and learn from the experts while you enjoy your lunch in air-conditioned comfort.
I am going to be presenting a three-hour workshop on HDR (high dynamic range) photography. Other workshops there will include a very informative three hours on panoramic photography presented by Stephen Gilligan. This one should be packed with great tips and ideas! Book early.
See the Buckhorn Fine Arts website for further details:
 Perce Rock, Quebec • Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRll lens

 Durham College
This fall will mark my tenth year teaching at Durham College. I look forward to meeting my first year students who I know will be anxious to learn everything they can about photography, image editing andthe appropriate use of social media with their phones and laptops! Think I can do it? I dunno either.

Amherst Island, South Shore • Nikon 17-35mm f2.8, Lee 10x ND

Other Projects
I have been fortunate to land a few contract photographic jobs. This work helps pay bills. There are a couple more projects on the horizon with more forthcoming.
Artistically, I intend to take on new and challenging projects…more on this later.
For now a few more images. 

Georgian Bay, Ontario  • Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 lens

John T. • Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens

Quebec City 04 • Nikon 85mm f1.8 lens

Village on North Gaspe, Quebec • Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 lens

Jamaica • Nikkor 105mm f2.5 lens, Tri-X film

Santiago and Habana Band, #01Montserrat Bar, Havana
Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens, HP5 Film @ 800 ISO

Santiago and Habana Band, #04 Montserrat Bar, Havana
Nikon 85mm f1.8 lens, HP5 Film @ 800 ISO

Dripping Red • Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRll lens, TC 1.4

IR profile • Nikon 24mm f2.8 lens, Kodak IR film
Storm Over Wesleyville Road  • Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 lens

–> Bonaventure Island, Quebec  Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRll lens

Tricycle • Mamiya C220, 80mm f2.8, HP5 400

Whiskey Rapids • Nikon 35-70 f2.8 lens, 45 sec. Lee #3 ND

A few of my favourite things.

August 2013



Stuff in this Blog

• Lots & lots of pictures
• Art Shows
• Revisiting film
• More on Joni Mitchell
• Beaches International Jazz Festival
• Other Stuff

Art Shows

Beginning in 2014, I hope to market and sell at more venues. At this point I’m not sure how many, but perhaps six exhibits and shows per year. Why? Well, in a nutshell, I guess cuz I want to sell more stuff!
In the meantime I have one coming up next weekend in Buckhorn and it is for sure one of my favourite places in which to participate. If you can, plan to attend the Art Festival for a day trip, or vacation. While in the region, come and enjoy the many attractions the Kawarthas has to offer.
Buckhorn Fine Arts Festival: August 16-18, 2013
August 16 – 18, 2013
Friday, August 16: Preview Night Garden Party 7-10pm,
Saturday, August 17: 10 am-5 pm,
Sunday, August 18: 10 am – 5 pm
Admission Friday: $25 good for re-entry all weekend.
Saturday & Sunday: Adults: $7.00 Children under 12 free.
Art is available for purchase using Mastercard, VISA, Interac (debit) and Cash.

Revisiting film

This subheading might be a bit misleading. Sometimes the mere mention of “film” is cause for concern among the legions of digital pixel counters.
Yet film has never really been far away. Each time I need to look at an older original image, it usually means film must be scanned. Among the thousands of 35mm and 120 negatives that I have filed away are many images that are only available in an “analogue” form.  That is, not as yet scanned. As a result, many times they need to be digitized.  There is no getting around the fact that good scanning techniques require lots of patience and leave people such as myself longing for the highest quality scanners money can buy to achieve maximum sharpness and Dmax (the scanner’s ability to pull details from shadow areas – cleanly).
But what is really meant by revisiting film is, well, actually shooting with it. I have done so recently and it is my intent to shoot it whenever time and conditions allow. Why? Well, there is truly something to say for the process of loading it into one’s camera and exposing it by experience, or with a light meter. No screen or histogram to view, just expose properly and enjoy the whole process. I still get excited once the film has been fixed and is safe to be inspected. Holding those negs up to light is the reward of the process.
Besides, the constant marketing crap that goes with the “need” to create and jam in more and more “mega pickles” into sensors every few months becomes tiresome and expensive. Yes I have full frame sensors in my Nikons. But older Hasselblad, Mamiya and other cameras continue to work beautifully with the same old Tri-X and HP5 – regardless of new inventions. There’s still film stored away in the fridge, but both black and white and colour film may be purchased at Henry’s, Vistek and other shops (hey, I just picked some up yesterday). It can be ordered from many outlets both in Canada and the U.S. (all over the world actually).
Many pro outlets carry both 35mm and 120 formats, as well as sheet films. 
Framed • Hasselblad Agfa 400


Shadows & Light • Hasselblad 180mm Tmax 400

In the photo below, notice the cropping capabilities afforded by the square format of the Hasselblad camera. Slows you down and allows time to make one exposure…all that is required.

JB • Hasselblad FP4 film

JB • Nikon Digital Camera
Does this digital photograph suffer when compared with the above film version? Well, hard to tell in images reproduced for web viewing. To me (as stated above), there is a completely different, deliberate and obviously slower process with film. Plus – I confess – I love a certain amount of grain.

I have photographer friends, Mark and Scott, who work almost exclusively with sheet films in their vintage wooden Gandolfi and Speed Graphic cameras. I’m happy to say that a former student, Susan, has taken this a step further and creates tintypes and collodion prints. Another friend, Steve, uses a homemade pinhole/Hasselblad film camera to create many of his pictures.

Yes there is a difference in the appearance of the finished photographs. Film just looks different. It has a lovely granular structure that simply appeals to me. Yet I am in no way putting down digital – after all most of my images are shot this way and I have lived on my Mac processing them for many years. But there is just a pleasing, tactile feeling to film that, as a photographer, I miss greatly.
Then again, film is a tool and only part of the process; in many ways not unlike the tools required to record a digital image. I suppose that the bottom line is; what does it really matter which format creates the image?
I’ll confess this much though: I doubt that my film camera could ever achieve the low light reach that the full frame sensor on my Nikon digital with a film camera provides. In this photograph of Toronto pianist/vocalist Kathryn Merriam, an exposure rating of ISO1600 was used. Yes, I could of shot it on film, but it wouldn’t have held together as well as this digital version.
Kathryn Merriam, Jazz pianist/vocalist • Nikon
But this argument of film vs. digital is as silly as a debate over watercolour vs. oil in painting.
They both have their place. In the end, a photograph can have an aesthetic and lasting appeal regardlessof the choice of recording method. And yes, an archivally processed digital print WILL last.
Besides, it makes far more sense to have a photographic debate based around lenses.

More on Joni Mitchell

Still on the topic of film…since my last post, I decided to send Joni’s website an image that I shot many years ago. They promptly asked me if they could use it and asked if I had others. There are now 12 photos of mine on Joni Mitchell’s web site. I know!
Gotta love Tri-X.
I could drink a case of you. – Joni Mitchell
Please check them out here:

Joni Mitchell • Pentax Spotmatic, Kodak TriX film • 1972

Beaches International Jazz Festival (lots of images here)

The lineup of artists and the festival in general require many talented people to undertake and organize. It is always well attended and there seem to be so few glitches, or crowd issues. I suppose in addition to the remarkable organizational efforts, it is a testament to the jazz crowd in general. The atmosphere of that festival is very special.
Tab’s Guitar

Well I sure hadn’t anticipated the results of submitting several jazz images to the 2013 Beaches International Jazz Festival’s Annual Juried Photography Exhibition. I am grateful for the responses to this. Thanks to my dear friend, educator, gallery curator and photographer, Charlotte Hale, even Durham College (where I am privileged to teach a number of courses) has communicated this info.

There were many great photos. Here is a link to the other entries:
This year, as a perk for placing first, I was backstage for the 2013 version at the festival. Saw some great musicians perform and managed to capture the best of a few.
I never tire of hearing The Shuffle Demons. Seeing them perform here was even fresher and more fun than ever. The Shuffle Demons are simply a killer, edgy, fun, jazz/funk band, with enormous musical talent. Get out of my house!

Here are just a few shots starting with the Shuffle Demons:

Rich Underhill • Shuffle Demons

Kelly Jefferson • Shuffle Demons

Perry White • Shuffle Demons

George Koller • Shuffle Demons

George Koller • Shuffle Demons

Stich Wynston • Shuffle Demons

Richard Underhill • Shuffle Demons

Chico Ferrara
Anthony Geraci

Bill King
Selena Evangeline
Mike “Monster” Welch
Robert Linares Brown Orchestra
Selena Evangeline
Michael “Mudcat” Ward


Michael “Mudcat” Ward

Other Stuff

Love the country and wilderness, but sometimes just walking around the city with a camera provides inspiration and many shooting opportunities. This is especially so late in the day, when light bounces around the buildings, illuminating subjects with gorgeous light.  Hey, photography is always all about light and light quality! And the more buildings, the more fantastic light can be found.
Here are a few city images shot recently of both buildings and people.

Bouncing Light

College Street


Bloor Street

No Words…please.

Heart of the Hospital District

Toronto Public Library



Under the Entrance



Fall classes at Durham College begin in three weeks. Yikes.

I will be teaching three in Photography and Digital Editing and one History of Photography course this semester. Am I prepared? Well, once the Buckhorn show is over next weekend I will get at it.
What else? A new FB photo page is in the works and an entire new web site page too. There will a couple of other photo business opportunities on the horizon as well… but now back to meeting deadlines. Thanks so much for looking at these rambling words and pictures.



Stuff in this Blog
• Upcoming Events
• Joni Mitchell
• Richie Havens
Sebastião Salgado
• Florida
• Savannah
• Other Stuff
• Final Note
Upcoming Events
Dear friends and potential clients. Here are two events that I hope some might have a chance to visit (or pass on the info to your friends and have them visit). I will be set up to sell images at the following two venues this summer. These two summer events are so enjoyable for me to participate in each year and the first is this coming weekend!
Cobourg Waterfront Festival: June 29 – July 1, 2013
The lovely city of Cobourg continues to host this annual event: Art, crafts, Canada Day parades, celebrations, pubs, sailboats and more.
10:00am to 6:00pm daily
Buckhorn Fine Arts Festival: August 16-18, 2013
If you can, plan to attend the Art Festival for a day trip, or vacation. While in the region, come and enjoy the many attractions the Kawartha region has to offer.
August 16 – 18, 2013
Friday, August 16: Preview Night Garden Party 7-10pm,
Saturday, August 17: 10 am-5 pm,
Sunday, August 18: 10 am – 5 pm
Admission Friday: $25 good for re-entry all weekend.
Saturday & Sunday: Adults: $7.00 Children under 12 free.
Art is available for purchase using Mastercard, VISA, Interac (debit) and Cash.
Joni Mitchell
Recently, while listening to the CBC, I was alerted to the fact that Joni Mitchell is turning 70 this fall. Jian Ghomeshi went to her California home and managed to get a great interview with the iconic artist/singer/songwriter. It is available as a video podcast on the CBC. Here is the link:
Toronto’s Luminato Festival has celebrated her upcoming birthday with a special concert in her honour at Massey Hall. Seems like just yesterday she was that youthful blonde turning on audiences like a radio. Her wide-ranging vocals, songwriting, guitar stylings and jazz innovations, as well as her visual art, have inspired everyone from Judy Collins to Herbie Hancock. I shall never forget sitting within a few feet of her at a very early Mariposa concert where I was mesmerized by her voice and presence.
The photo I took of her that day is still my favourite image of Joni Mitchell (see below).
Sadly, her recording days are over. But her records (all of them) play like never before on my turntable, CD player and iPod. Always will love your voice Joni.
Joni Mitchell (Photo: John Davidson)
Richie Havens
Still on the subject of music, it was a sad day on April 22 of this year when one of the most beloved voices of the Woodstock era passed away. Richie Havens was revered for not only his soulful renditions of others’ songs, but his own as well. His anthem, Motherless Child/Freedom, opened Woodstock in that summer of 1969. Who could ever forget it?
I was honoured with the pleasure of a conversation with Richie Havens after a concert at the Northern Lights Festival in Sudbury in the late 80s. He was a gentle man and I remember clearly the size of his hands as he grasped mine before we sat on the grass and talked. Richie Havens was 72: Far too young to leave us.
Richie Havens (Photo: John Davidson)
Sebastião Salgado
To all those who appreciate great photography, there is still time to visit the city of Toronto and view the latest project of world renowned photographer and humanitarian, Sebastião Salgado, during the North American premiere of his mammoth photographic exhibit called Genesis. It is being presented at the Royal Ontario Museum. His work has transformed many and I surely am one of them as I’ve been twice and will go back again this summer at least once more. This work took eight years to complete! The scope of this exhibit of black & white photographs is simply too large for a brief discussion to do much justice here. Just see it. But leave yourself a couple of hours to absorb the images: they are big, rich and there are 240 of them!
On at the ROM in Toronto until September 2, 2013
It’s always nice to get off the plane knowing that you are in Florida to enjoy yourself with little or no pressure and no schedule. Often, I end up going to the state parks where an abundance of wildlife awaits. 
Myacca (Photo: John Davidson)
One can always manage to get interesting photographs and on some occasions I even meet new friends from my own province. This trip I ended up at Myacca and meeting a lovely couple from Stratford, Ontario, called Scott and Tamara (pronounced ‘camera”). I have continued our friendship and just this past weekend hooked up on Toronto’s waterfront where they took part in the Redpath Tall Ships Festival. Tamara is a wonderful singer and pianist and Scott a fine woodworker and knight.
Tamara & Scott (Photo: John Davidson)
Some other locations I managed to get to; Cortez, Anna Maria Island and Tarpon Springs. Cortez is a favourite place as it is one of the last remaining “real” fishing villages in Florida. 
Fresh Shrimp, Cortez (Photo: John Davidson)
Anna Maria Island is close by and is a laid-back ‘Old Florida’ residential destination known for its white sandy beaches and at times, perhaps too much tourism. But its beauty can’t be denied and yes, I too would love to have a small place on that island.   

Holmes Beach (Photo: John Davidson)

Under the Pier (Photo: John Davidson)

Tarpon Springs has the largest Greek-American residency in America. A village called Sponge Docks is a great place to walk around and meet people. Naturally, there is an abundance of restaurants featuring tasty Greek dishes.
Met an older man there called Patrick Cryan. A long time resident who with his full head of hair and youthful grin doesn’t look close to his 82 years. 
Mr Cryan (Photo: John Davidson)
While in Florida recently I decided to take a car trip from Sarasota up to Savannah, Georgia. I had heard so many good things about this beautiful historic city. So after seven hours and four hundred miles, I arrived in Savannah.
There is so much to see and taste and hear in Savannah. This city has it all, from great food to fine small hotels, gorgeous architecture and historic buildings. The millions of visitors who annually visit this charming and strategic port city can see first hand the historic impact it had on the American Revolution and Civil War.
There were a number of memorable moments for myself during my brief stay of four days, but mostly I shall let some of the images I shot speak for themselves.
East Broad Street, Savannah (Photo: John Davidson)
Forsyth Park (Photo: John Davidson)
Jones Street (Photo: John Davidson)

American Pride (Photo: John Davidson)

Textured Entrance, Savannah (Photo: John Davidson)
Off Jones (Photo: John Davidson)
One thing that I did know about Savannah is that it was the location of a great southern gothic story called Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil. Written in 1994 by John Berendt, it was later made into a movie directed by Clint Eastwood. Much of the imagery from that film took place at one of Savannah’s most famous landmarks, Bonaventure Cemetery. Located on the banks of the Wilmington River, it is the largest of the city’s cemeteries. While in Savannah I managed two visits. Yes, I had hoped by getting there early enough I might be lucky and experience overcast light created by a thick fog with which to work. That didn’t happen, but I did manage some good images just the same. The incorrectly named Spanish Moss, a flowering plant that hangs in abundance from the Southern Live Oaks, can be seen everywhere in Savannah and especially so at Bonaventure Cemetery. Although the moss is home to snakes, spiders, bats and chiggers (which bite and itch terribly), the overall look of the moss adds to the romantic gothic atmosphere.

Bonaventure Moss (Photo: John Davidson)

Untitled, Bonaventure (Photo: John Davidson)
Bonaventure Cemetery (Photo: John Davidson)
While strolling down Whitaker Street I happened upon the beautiful sounds coming from a lute at an outdoor café. The man playing the instrument was a true gentleman and a renaissance man by the name of Chris Kohut. I spent some time in conversation with Chris who very kindly explained his playing techniques and indeed performed for me several of what can only be described as ‘Elizabethan’ pieces. Thanks to Chris’ generous gift, I have a copy of his music to relive those moments we shared.
Chris Kohut (Photo: John Davidson)

Chris’ Lute (Photo: John Davidson)
Further on I met a very interesting man called Marion who plays both saxophone and flute. He allowed me to make several photographs of him. I must get copies of the images to him soon. He is also pictured here.
Marion (Photo: John Davidson)
An early dinner Vinnie’s – the ‘best pizza in Savannah’ – turned into a late night, as the fun and conversations lasted hours. This cool place located on Bryan Street is so unique with its low ceilings, taped music, great cold beer, delicious food, cash only policy and delivery by bicycle!
So much to see and discuss and so many serendipitous moments: But not enough time or space here. There will be a return trip.
Other Stuff
A couple of weeks ago I shot some newborn images of a little girl called Raegan. The proud parents, Bernadette and Paul, brought her over to my little studio where she slept and posed for my camera. They were kind enough to allow me to share several images from that day. 
Paul & Raegan (Photo: John Davidson)

Paul, Raegan & Bernadette (Photo: John Davidson)

Raegan (Photo: John Davidson)
Below are some other images that I wish to share.
Their locations are shown below each photograph.
85′ Ural, Havana (Photo: John Davidson)

After the Storm, Rural Ontario (Photo: John Davidson)

High Park, Toronto (Photo: John Davidson)

Brigden, Ontario (Photo: John Davidson)

Pink (Photo: John Davidson)
Final Note
Lately I have had this urge to re-visit film. In fact I have already begun 

–> the process. Some of the images above were shot on film. I miss it.

With the exception of the newborn shots, all the images shown here, on previous blogs and many, many more photographs, are all for sale. I can be hired for shoots as well. Please contact me directly for more information. 
Feel free to become a follower of this blog. Yes, I really do hope to update it more often.
Thanks for joining me.
John Davidson Photography
tel:  (416) 5765279