Sunday, July 21, 2013

Peace Bridge People - ACAD Documentary Photography Course

What a week!  Spent the first five days in an ACAD Documentary Photography course with Todd Korol. Then ended it with a bang yesterday rushing around downtown trying to take in everything that was going on (see next blog for yesterday's details).

The ACAD Documentary Photography course was amazing.  Five days of full time photography instruction.  We each created a topic we wanted to document and then spent three days shooting.  My topic was Peace Bridge People. Each day of shooting I went out in the morning to the bridge and, based on Todd's direction, tried to take the best people photos I could.  My focus veered a bit when Todd suggested I also do some shots of the bridge itself, but for the most part I stuck with trying to find interesting people to do portraits of.  
The first day was a struggle.  Downtown workers are fairly... um... can I say boring?  The second day was better.  Todd challenged me to talk to at least two people and ask to take their photos.  Although I talked to a few people, I only took two people portraits and one dog (the owner didn't want his picture taken).

The third day was much better.  I lucked out with two buskers, someone who wanted their photo taken, a tourist couple from China who spoke no English, and a young traveler from Montana who also shoots with a Pentax K-5.  

I watched the Chinese couple take photos of each other; one shooting from the river bank while the other posed on the bridge.  When they both came on the bridge I pantomimed that I wanted to take their photo... point at camera, point at them, point at myself. First they handed me their iPhone, then let me take a photo with my camera.  

The young fellow, Chuck Manley from Montana, was fun to talk to and a wealth of camera knowledge!  Chuck was standing across from me, shooting down the bridge, when I noticed the logo on his strap.  "Pentax!" I yelled pointing at his camera.  He laughed and said we were probably the only two Pentax camera users in the world.  Turns out his buddy, who owns a bus that runs on vegetable oil, suggested that they go to Calgary.  On his blog he has a great entry, How to be a great photographer without buying a new camera.  Turns out I bumped into him again at Shaw Millennium Park at the end of the Parade of Chariots.  He tapped me on my shoulder and I have to admit it took me a few seconds before I recognized him.  As he walked away I noticed one of his friends, dressed as a purple fairy, was a busker I shot a portrait of in Kensington this week.  Wild coincidences.


  1. Excellent, Wanda.

    I really should do the same thing - take a course. Always something new to learn.


  2. Hi Martin - very well done - really like your photos!

    Not sure if you will need our help after completing the ACAD course - but if you will be visiting London in any near future - give us a shout! We run on day photography courses in London - for all levels of skill and experience.

    We are also right now setting up a photoclub with free meetups once a month - to practice various creative techniques.

    All the very best - keep on shooting - you are doing very well!


  3. Thanks Bernie and Roland for your comments. Learning is another hobby of mine. It just happens to fit in with everything I do. London, England isn't a place I frequent (I'm in Canada), but thanks for the heads-up, Roland. Now if they were online courses, that would be interesting. :)