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from the east coast hip

The Atlantic Photo blog is a gathering spot for our favourite customers, photographers, gear hounds, and suppliers.

Here's where we'll share enthusiasm, insider tips, and creative inspiration for everyone from the beginner to the seasoned pro - and we hope you'll share the same with us. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Marc MacArthur of Heckbert Studio & Gallery (Charlottetown PEI), Liam Hennessey of Applehead Studio Photography (Halifax NS), and Chris Lovegrove (Northern NB) for our banner images. We've got a diverse professional community in the Maritimes, and we're proud to be a part of it.

the APS photographer's circle

Q  |  "As a wedding photographer, what does creativity mean to you?"

A  |  "You know that ‘think outside the box’ saying? We like to get outside the box and then run as far away from anyone that seems to be gathered around outside it. We don't do the Public Gardens. Converse chucks are suitable wedding shoes for a bride, groom or photographer. Tattoos are awesome and love does not always need to look at the camera and smile."

~ Liam Hennessy, Applehead Studio, Halifax, NS

on the bookshelf

Portrait Photography by Mark Cleghorn

From choosing the right equipment to artful composition and making your subject comfortable, this book lays out the essentials of capturing moving and unique portraits.

The Photographer's Guide to Portraits by John Freeman

This inspiring, practical guide explores everything from composition and light to digital tweaks. Learn how to set subjects at ease, and how to photograph with all kinds of light, lenses, and tools.

Mastering Black and White Digital Photography by Michael Freeman

With this essential guide, discover how to create a stunning monotone image, and experiment with colors as gray tones, manipulating tonality for dramatic effect, and high contrast, infrared, and pseudo non-silver looks.

Mastering Digital Flash Photography by Chris George

Learn how to decrease contrast and shadows in outdoor portraits, control the light using bounce techniques, and employ high-speed and rear curtain synchronization to create impressive motion-blur images.

The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby

"This book is all about you and I out shooting where I share the secrets I’ve learned, just like I would with a friend—without all the technical explanations and techie photo speak." ~ Scott Kelby

Digital Photography by Steve Luck

Explore the digital explosion, the difference between film and digital, and how to choose a camera wisely. Get a grasp on ISO, megapixels, post-processing, slideshows, printing, and compositional theory.

Black & White Digital Photography by Les Meehan

From basic concepts to advanced techniques, learn how to create great monochrome prints via camera calibration, white balance, and scanning equipment to emulating traditional darkroom techniques.


Custom Framing with Christine

When the idea of re-introducing custom framing to our product line was presented, I was enthused, some might say overly enthused.  I had only been with the company for a few months and at the time, Maritime Frame-It was closing and we were all getting a little bit desperate for framing options in the downtown core. So when the option to bring custom framing to the Dresden location was offered, I was on board, 100%! Then someone started talking about math. And I got worried; very worried.

Before you continue reading, you should know something important about me: I am bad at math. Very bad at math. Many people wonder how, given exactly how bad at math I am, I can work in the photography industry. The truth is that I wing it. A lot. So you can understand why a person such as I may have been feeling a bit... trepidatious. Not to mention that standard unit of measure for custom framing is inches, bringing fractions into the mix. But this framing thing was happening and I was going to embrace it.

The day arrived. Our mouldings, mats, and software arrived from our framing partners Valley Frame Décor, with a representative to walk us through the software. We got it loaded, and the first thing he said to me was the most comforting words I would hear all day: “Don’t worry. We’ve made this as easy as possible. No math.” And with that, I was hooked. Four different types of mat in a rainbow of colours, three types of glass, mouldings of every style; every framing job was different – every job was personal.

Every piece is a passion project for someone; that’s what I love about the custom framing. It’s the old photo you want to preserve and remember; it’s the graduation certificate that shows how far you’ve come and how much you learned; it’s the wedding photo, baby portrait, or family photo that celebrates those closest to you; or it’s a favorite photo or painting from a trip to remember how happy you were to be there. Call me sentimental, I don’t mind. You see, this is why I work in the photo biz (despite being very bad at math). I love the stories behind photos, and why those moments are important. Having custom framing available through our store gives me another opportunity to help you manifest your creative vision, and that’s the best part of my day.

So go ahead, ask me which mat colour I think will work best, or why you want anti-reflective glass. Just please don’t ask me to add 1/16” and ½”.


Prints For Nepal, A Q&A with Anica James

  I had the great fortune to meet a young lady that for me exemplifies all that is good for humanity. She approached me to support her cause to help the people of Nepal after the earthquake on April 25. Her name is Anica James.  In a very short time I came to the conclusion that she definitely had a personal attachment to the people of Nepal and and their Epileptic Association as she herself suffers from the disease. I concluded that her beautiful images of Nepal would look amazing on our William Turner Fine Art Paper, so in the end we sponsored her fund raiser with prints for Nepal that she could sell through crowd funding. We couldn't be more proud of being part of Anica James' selfless work for people far away from here. Here is a little Q&A with Anica.

How does the state of Nepal’s infrastructure affect those afflicted with epilepsy in that country as a result of the earthquake?

  Nepal is a very underdeveloped country where, unfortunately, the government does not give any money towards its healthcare system. Hospitals and clinics rely heavily on international, private and public funding, which they do receive, but sometimes it is not enough. There are less than twenty neurologists in the whole country, and for those living with epilepsy life can be very isolating and overwhelming. Access to medication, support from specialists, and community understanding of this highly stigmatized condition is very limited to many. Due to the earthquake, people are now running out of the medication they need and some patients are now homeless. Head injuries, lack of water and sleep, as well as high levels of stress can cause seizures, which is a constant fear for some epileptics. Many of Nepal's epileptics live in remote rural areas of the country, where the access roads have been destroyed or blocked by the earthquake and its aftershocks, making it even more difficult for them to receive the specific modern medical aid they need.

How would you like to see the money you raised be used to help the Nepal Epilepsy Association?

  Many of the patients with epilepsy have to take medicine on a daily basis in order to control their seizures, but now, due to the recent and devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015, thousands of people are displaced, and do not have access to the medical care that they need. Due to the state of emergency, the Nepal Epilepsy Association has used a large portion of its money purchasing tents and whatever supplies they can get to help those in need, which is fine for the time being, but they are still going to need help in months- even years- to come. By donating to my campaign, 100% of the money will be donated to and used by the associations’ staff (most of whom represent the only neurosurgeons in Nepal), to purchase and distribute medicine, replace medical equipment and generators, and to help repair and rebuild their medical clinics that have been damaged.

Your documentatack to Nepal and continuing my documentary project with the NEA, and now, it will be totally different, because the urban landscape has changed significantly. Along with its affects on health I think that it is important to show how much the earthquake has had an impact on the human geography: culturally, historically, economically and developmentally. On my next visit, I plan on spending more time with individual patients, recording their story and matching it up with imagery, focusing more on a multimedia project. My main goal with this project is to help raise awareness about epilepsy and to combat the stigma around the disorder. 


Don't Let Your Images Die On a News Feed !

 It was a Saturday. A Facebook group I belong to had a photo Friday contest. Most likes wins first place. Naming rights only. As I scrolled down the page looking at all the wonderful pictures, I thought, What a bloody waste of Maritime talent. If you think of a social media news feed, it's one long, gigantic linear thread through time. Once your image goes down the news feed and ceases to become new, it no longer exists. It may sit as a file on a computer, where somewhere, someday someone may stumble across it or like it on Facebook, thus breathing a bit of life into a otherwise dead image. Like the Monty Python parrot skit, "It's a Ex Parrot" - it's pushing up daises!

 So I decided to reach out to one particular photographer whose images of Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore I thought really stood out. I grew up in that region, so I could identify and appreciate the great interpretation he delivered in those images. Keith Jollymore was the name of the photographer. We had only met once, but I had seen his images all over Facebook. My goal was to show his work in print to the public, and to show some Atlantic talent. I called it my Signature Artist project. 

 The first thing I have to say is that Keith Jollymore totally embraced the concept. His primary profession was in the PR field, which included some photography. He lives on and loves the Eastern Shore and the images we would see were his hobby or pastime. I sent him a Facebook message as he was on his way to B.C., he immediately replied and we met the following week. He brought his laptop and a collection of his images he liked. We looked through them and chose 16. From there the project grew legs. We had a venue at the Dresden Row Market in Halifax to display them. We had the ability to produce a wide range of different media for the show and my co-workers jumped on board and worked on the various products. All along Keith provided a Bio and captions or titles for all the images. In a period of 35 days, we produced a small art show that had everything from fine art watercolour, framed and un- framed canvas , metal prints, metallic prints, images on slateacrylic stand outs, calendars, post cards, licence plates, and an 8 foot banner. It was a lot of fun, and Keith and his wife Melanie were so appreciative and supportive. When the show went up, Keith was there to talk to the many folks who dropped by. The best part is that he sold products. Everything from post cards to fine art prints. He and Atlantic Photo donated the proceeds of the profit to The Children's Wish Foundation. The bottom line to this story is that there was and is a demand for all his images in one form of product or another, and his canvases and prints and fine art have found good homes on Haligonians' walls.

 The final chapter of this has yet to be written. I will post about that at a later date,  and in the meantime Keith and Melanie have set up a website and with my assistance are working on a marketing plan as well as search engine optimization. For me this was a exercise in the concept of "if you build it, they will come". Many people the idea of printing their files in some ways daunting or incomprehensible, but the alternative of only having electronic version of our life story is insane. Discussions and debate on the web from photographers like Mike Webb, verify the concerns on a entire generations photographs fading down the news feed. In the meantime my project will continue, and I will prove that a photographer who wants to can sell their work in print as it should be. Photographers should be able to deliver the final experience. What will be your legacy? Will your images be around in 50 years or will the get sucked under in the digital Tsunami?


To The Moon and Back With Iver and a Telescope

When the big bosses told me I could borrow a Nexstar 6SE telescope, I was super excited. I checked the Stargazing forecasts: snow, clouds, blizzard, freezing rain, more blizzards, and more clouds. Finally, after a couple of weeks of hateful temperatures and precpitation, there appeared to be a clear yet bitterly cold weekend coming so I packed the Nexstar up and we headed home. 

I am not a professional astronomer. I am not an amateur astronomer. I had to use spell check to spell astronomer. I know three constellations by sight; Orion, The Big Dipper, and the Little Dipper, otherwise I barely know any of those little white dots in the sky from another, so if anyone can attest to the ease of use of these scopes by a complete beginner, it is me. 

I should also point out that I am pretty impatient and despise reading manuals and instructions, which has led to some horrific disasters in the past, so I usually allow extra time (about a day and a half) for putting together any given item incorrectly, disassembling said item and then having to grudgingly refer to the manual to put it together correctly. The Nexstar goes together quite easily the first time without the need for time consuming re-do's: tripod goes up, optical tube goes on, insert star diagonal, insert eyepiece, look through eyepiece. 

The Nexstars all come with an Alt-Azimuth mount, a fancy term that means Altitude-Azimuth or for people like me, up and down and side to side. This mount will find, identify and track pretty much any object from its database of over 40,000 objects. To do this, the telescope must first be aligned properly. There are several methods to align the scope that vary in their accuracy and the amount of time required. I had every intention of actually sitting down and reading the manual before my first use but two of my daughters were already up past their bedtimes waiting with unbridaled anticpation and unrealistic expectations of seeing to the outer edges of both space AND time so every minute spent reading manuals meant one minute closer to the emotional meltdown of a 6 year old. Reading was out of the question.

I leafed quickly through the manual and came upon the words, "Solar System Align is designed to provide excellent tracking and GoTo performance by using solar system objects (Sun, Moon and Planets).....". "The MOON!", I thought to myself, "That is one of the few objects I know!". I slammed the manual shut and headed outside. I pressed the directional buttons on the handset and amidst the whirring and churning of tiny gears I got the Nexstar's orange tube pointed at the biggest, easiest to find object and pressed "Align". BOOM! I had done the impossible, a successful Solar System Align.

From there, we checked out craters on the moon , Jupiter and three of it's bright, little moons, Mars and then put the happy kids to bed. Once the feeling returned to my fingers and face I headed back into the cold and used the Star Tour to select objects from the database and let the scope find everything for me+ 

I know what you're thinking. "Yeah, but I don't work at Atlantic Photo Supply where they just give out free telescopes so how do I know how these things work?" Well, if you want to see what one of these Nexstars can do, if you're interested in astronomy, or if you want to get a lot of useful information from the members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Nova Scotia, you should seriously consider visiting the Brownlow Avenue location for our Star Party on March 27, 2015 at 8:30. It's a great way to see Atlantic Photo Supply's line up of telescopes at work, see what certain telescopes can and can't do, and talk to alot of experienced and passionate stargazers. The pictures in the slide show below were taken with a telescope exactly like the one I used.




Why Should You Mount and Laminate?

If you take pictures casually or you have a friend whose pictures you admire, the thought has probably crossed your mind to get one of your photos printed in a larger format to put on the wall. Photos make excellent art, especially if it has meaning to you or it is a picture you have taken yourself. The execution of this seems relatively straightforward: find a picture you like and print it in the size of the space on the wall that you are trying to fill. For prints about 8x10 and smaller, this is as simple as it gets, but once you get into the territory of 11x14 and larger, a few challenges present themselves.


One of the reasons larger pictures present more of a challenge is that they are physically heavier than smaller prints, and when they sit in a frame for a longer period of time, they tend to sag and bow unless they are secured to either the glass or the frame itself. The other issue that can arise comes when you want to take the picture out of the frame for any reason. When you live in a climate where the temperature fluctuates the way that we do, humidity can be a factor. The glass in the frame can get a small amount of condensation or moisture, and your picture is now stuck to the frame.


There is a section of our website called “Mounting and Lamination”. We can mount and laminate any size photo you order from us, but the benefits are greater for the larger sizes. When we mount your photo, you

 can choose from a smooth mount or foam core. The smooth mount is a polymer sheet and is ideal for framing as it is thick enough to add stability to your larger print, but thin enough that it would fit into a frame. The foam core would be more suited to smaller prints, as while it is lighter, the larger sizes can bend and bow over time.


Lamination adds a protective layer to the print, which will help in the problem of the print sticking to the glass. This also reduces shine and reflection from the print, creating a smooth surface. This is beneficial for some metallic prints as you can retain the unique colour effects that metallic prints give you while reducing the amount of shine and reflection they can create, and protecting the surface from fingerprints. It also makes the print easier to clean, and if you decide not to frame it for any reason, you can just wipe it down with a damp cloth.


If you have been wanting to order metallic, now is a good time, as they are 50% off until March 31. Go to our Facebook page for more details and to claim this offer. Don't forget to add mounting and lamination!