I’ve been here for eight months and still had not made it north of the border unless you count changing planes in Toronto when I flew to Tel-Aviv. I also haven’t really taken a day off unless you count my sort-of working vacation to Tel-Aviv.

I saw an opening in Vancouver for a black and white photo workshop and decided to grab the opportunity. The focus was long-exposure black and white which is something I’ve always wanted to do and never really had the time to start. This seemed like a perfect time.

I was in Vancouver in January of 2018 for a conference, but it rained the whole time, I was only there for two days, and I really didn’t get much of an oppportunity to go out. This was the opportunity.

Marc, the instructor, is a former Vancouverite who has returned to Germany with his family, but still spends significant amounts of time here and teaches several workshops a year in addition to the ones he teaches elsewhere. He’s well-recognized for his long-exposure B/W work and was a source of much useful knowledge.

Alex Fraser Bridge
Alex Fraser Bridge

We photographed every day of the four days and reviewed photos on three of the four. The weather ranged from bright sun (not so great) to rain (also not so great) and everything in between (great for the kinds of work we were doing!). Among other things, I got to explore some small bits of the Pacific Northwest shorline which is something I haven’t done enough of it, despite living just steps away.

I also learned about one of the most useful Photoshop plugins I’ve ever encountered for B/W work. Silver Efex by DxO, just plain simplifies everything about taking a color black and white image and turning it into something that really looks like it might have come out of my old darkroom. It’s not that it does something for you that you couldn’t do on your own with Photoshop’s own controls and a bit of creativity, but it does reduce hours of work to just a few minutes and in doing so helps bring images to life in a way a non-professional like myself might never be able to do. I’m already applying the tools to some of my own previous work.

I wrapped up the weekend meeting a friend for a celebratory afteroon tea at the Fairmont, being held in honor of their 80th anniversary. I had to do at least one touristy thing!

I enjoyed myself. I’ll be back. Maybe ride the bike up next time.

Long exposure self-portrait