Saturday, February 25, 2017

Different Strokes...

If I'm so popular...

Why ain't I rich? LOL. I looked at my blog stats and discovered that I have exceeded 100,000 pageviews over time and more interesting, that I had almost 10,000 views in December, over 7000 in January. And about 3000 for half of February. Unfortunately, Blogger won't let me access details about anything older than a month, so I don't know why. Must have been doing something right!

I've also had over 22,000 hits on my technical blog. Almost all of it is on the article I wrote explaining about how you can't print a typical 2x3 shaped image on an 8x10 or square sheet without cropping or white space; and trying to demystify the old "you need to specify 300dpi" myth. I often see people on Facebook, especially in the Photoshop and Lightroom group, struggling with this concept. Here's the link: tell me what you think. And look for me on Facebook, search for "Faczen".

This is not a commercial blog. It's not 'monetized' although I do get some referral fees, especially from Topaz Labs (if people use the link here or on the right side Did you know that if you put "faczen" in the discount field at checkout, Topaz will give you a 15% discount?). I don't want to make it commercial, don't expect to get paid for people's visits, although it's nice. I promise to keep it that way but I encourage you to use my links and especially to subscribe (by clicking here or on the "Newsletter" icon at the top). No spam will come your way, I'll just give a heads-up when a new post has gone up. I also give my subscribed readers free access to my eBooks and I usually put a unique picture in the announcement emails which I haven't published elsewhere. So please click it: it makes me feel good to know that a number of people read my blog.

So go ahead. Click that "Newsletter" icon. You know you want to. I dare you...

New blog header

I replaced the blog header picture today. Here's the old one for the archive

By the way I created the new version of the header on the Mac... it doesn't have the same font selection as the PC did. That's annoying! But I guess I didn't choose too badly.

Gales of November 2017
(October 26-29. We can't wait!)

Exciting announcement re Gales of November 2017: Ben Eby is going to join us this year and bring along his phenomenal skill set making outstanding images. Ben is a photorealistic guy, I'm an impressionist, so whichever world you're in... I posted a few of his recent shots in my last blog post (scroll down) but you can see his work on his website at

If you want to attend Gales, you need to get going. As I write this there are still 5 spaces but I know what's going to happen, everyone's going to decide at once and some people aren't going to get in. At the risk of restating what you probably already know, Gales is an opportunity to get together with about a dozen other photographers in one of the most scenic areas in Ontario, in a resort with deluxe accommodations, service and food, all for less cost than a weekend on your own elsewhere. Yes, you have to get there, but even the drive up is worth it: I spent 2 days last year covering the 200 km from the Soo and got outstanding pictures.

I took this on the drive up, somewhere along Hwy 69 near Magnetawan

This was on the way back, on Hwy 17 north of Batchewana Bay. I could tell you exactly where! 

Click here to go to for more information and to reserve your space. A deposit only is required at this time. Do it. You know you want to!

The Mac odyssey

Well it's not painless, switching from PC to Mac. I'm constantly finding stuff that I know how to do instantly on the PC but have to figure out on the Mac. For instance, special characters! The copyright symbol (©), for instance, is alt-0169 on the numeric keypad on the PC. On the Mac, it's option-G. The degree symbol (°) is alt-0176 on the PC and either it's option-K (a little one) or shift-option-8 on the Mac. How am I going to remember that? And some of them don't work in Photoshop...

I managed to find StarStaX for the Mac. That's good. But my favourite pano merge program – Microsoft Research's ICE – is not available unless I get Parallels (and then I have to buy another Windows copy). The good news is that the computers network really well, so I can work on both platforms.

It's annoying what happens when I disconnect the external monitor and turn on LR or PS. Actually, that works OK, the program just goes to the laptop screen. But it's getting them back on the big screen when you plug it back in! I shouldn't complain, it's worse on the PC. And when I plugged it into a projector, it was magic!

Enough whining! I used to be jealous when I watched an online tutorial or live feed when the presenter did something in LR or PS and it happened right away! The Mac does that. And I can actually edit on that 15" Retina screen. And I FaceTimed with my grandkids in New York. I know, I know... "what took you so long to switch?"


I want to go to Newfoundland for a month or so this summer. I think a number of my blog subscribers and readers have some ties to the Rock so I thought I'd post this here. I'd like to rent a small house or something in a picturesque area (I'm a Bay Boy, not a Townie). If anyone knows of one or has a suggestion whom to contact, please let me know.

I am in touch with one person right now but I'm waiting for a response. In case that doesn't work out, it would be great to have some options.

Price is a factor; so is accessibility and I really need internet access...

Please email me directly at

PS: if anyone is interested in coming along, for perhaps part of the time, get in touch.

Pond Hockey

I realized that I haven't posted any pond hockey pictures here, since the event last month. A couple of reasons: this is the third year that I've shot that event and, well, I didn't get any really exciting pictures that turned my crank. Well, except maybe this one:

Yep, I took a hockey puck right between the eyes. I was lucky: an inch left or right, right in the eye. An inch lower, broken nose. Two inches lower: an expensive dentist bill. 

I did end up with two beautiful black eyes. Some say it's an improvement... 

Iconic picture of Pond Hockey action.  How much more Canadian can you get? Outdoors, in the snow, on less-than-perfect ice, amateur players showing some skill, a few brave spectators not afraid of getting hit with a puck... 

Lacing up, out in the snow 

Pond Hockey uses these low nets which is great if you don't lift the puck (see my selfies above!) 

Some people like to be seen 

Creative costumes? Not what you think... 

Turns out that the habit-clad team was called "Team Fireball". Here they're administering Holy Water to a needy player... rumour has it that the formula for Holy Water has something to do with "Fireball" and "Red Bull"... just a rumour, mind you. 

Here they are in a losing effort against the "Things", despite some righteous hooking... Thing 1 is my friend Cheryl Smith who claims not to be a hockey player but was easily among the best skaters out there!  

Beautiful smiles from people having fun! I wonder what was in that odd-looking container of 'holy water'? 

What it's all about! 

Different Strokes...

Have a look at these two pictures:

Two different days but similar subjects, same location, about the same time of day, completely different treatments. Which do you prefer?

In the first one, I was going for the pastels of the sunset colours and I used a soft expressionist treatment that married the textures of the sky and the overall feeling of the image. It would probably look great as a large scale print or canvas hanging over a light coloured couch in a bright, airy living room.

The second image is gritty. I deliberately used a small aperture to get the sunburst effect, and a high contrast HDR treatment to focus on the details and textures. If I were going to hang this image it would be in a pine paneled country setting, on a glossy or metallic medium, surrounded by a rough-hewn frame.

One of these got a ton of Facebook likes. Which one, do you think?

One day earlier, just up the lake. A lot of work went into this one, two different post-processing techniques on the sky and the foreground (it's one picture, mind you). The sky is about colour, the foreground about texture, although I wanted to give them some common ground, not have it look like it was artificially constructed.  
Now which one?

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