Better but not so Blue!

So many of you know by now that I was sick from prior to Christmas and spent three separate evenings in the hospital and then a full 8 days in the hospital with surgery and a few weeks recovering because of a bad infection. My ailment caused me to feel sick for many months prior to Christmas and very tired lacking any sort of energy to the point where I thought perhaps I had depression since I had been feeling bad for so long.

Click Image to Enlarge

Then getting very sick I was admitted to the hospital and had emergency surgery. Turns out I had a very bad infection and problems with my Gall bladder including it being full of stones.

Now, several weeks later, not 100% recovered yet but I already feel 200% better! Looking back I see and understand why I haven’t posted many blogs but did post one negative blog which is unlike me to do. I even teach Social Media and always say, NEVER be negative, NEVER attack which I did. I apologise for my last blog transgression. Not making excuses but obviously it was my state of mind from being sick. I also realized during that time I had neither energy nor even the wish to head out and do some photography. Obviously I wasn’t quite right.

But now that I am better both physically and mentally I’m all pumped and eager to shoot more. I have been taking the Wendy and Russel Kwan classes “Chasing Light Stranger” that have helped me tremendously with my photography art soul searching and it has inspired and focused me. I am now more driven than ever. I have several new projects on the go. The first I will share with you is to do a set of Landscapes (won’t give out all the details here yet) that will eventually be printed on handmade Silver Salt prints. A lofty goal.

In order to achieve that goal I have embarked on a simpler easier project that will help me with the Silver Salt prints using some similar techniques but in many ways much easier and cheaper. I am now doing a series of hand done Cyanotype prints of nudes. The nudes will mostly be lighting and shapes and form of parts only. The Cyanotypes are Analog Chemical based prints like the real Cyanotypes of old.

The process however involves making Digital Negatives and learning how to create the tone curves to bring out the best possible tonal range in a medium that lacks good tonal capabilities. I have already experimented with some images including a full nude to see what kind of details I can achieve. I am pleased with the results I have already achieved.

The process also includes coating my own papers with my own formulations. This will be critical when I get to create the Silver Salt prints but for now I am gaining some great experience coating paper and testing papers and such.

My next blog posts will include some samples of the work. I created some digital versions of the Cyanotypes but they do not look at all like the originals. I will scan some of the originals to see if they look more like the real thing. I will also experiment with Photoshop to see if I can create more lifelike replicas. The image above is a digital full body nude but it has lost a lot of the detail. The tones are not right and the process, or rather iPad app I used also reduces sharpness? Not sure why that is as the original analog Cyanotype retains great detail including great resolution in the long hair. I have posted the image so that some of you that do not know what a Cyanotype image looks like, could see or get the feel for it.

In my next few posts I will give better details of the project but also of the process in hopes of encouraging you to perhaps try it out on your own. Note that the process only requires a Dim-room as opposed to a dedicated Darkroom to create the coated papers and so it is easy to do in your kitchen or bathroom. The developing only requires the sun and running water. How easy.

Stay Tuned!

Next Post – Cyanotype – History

© 2013 Francois Cleroux

(Version 1.02 – March 2013)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Copyright 2013 Francois Cleroux

Muse as Art and Exhibit-a Gallery Show

Tomorrow evening an image of mine, or rather three images will be on display at the PHOTOHAUS Gallery in Vancouver. This is also the home of the great Vancouver Photo Workshops.

Tomorrow evening is the launch or rather the Reception to the start of the “Exhibit-a Gallery Show” which will actually be on display until January 6th, 2012. There are a total of 6 artists showing their work; judi ANGEL, john CONWAY, kyle MACDONALD, john BRANDRICK, alex KWOK and me. The images are all superb as are the artists. Katie Husmain, instructor and curator of this show has done a great job and I owe her a great deal of gratitude and thanks. I have learned a lot from her.

My images on display are the start or the launch of my own project “Muse as Art”. The double sided 24″ by 64.5″ image on display called “The Exhibit” is but the first of nine images. For the Muse as Art project I have setup a web site at where I will document my work, my learning processes and will blog on my trials and tribulations of creating these types of images.

I will blog on the concept, where it originated and how it has developed to this starting process. I will blog and discuss the images, the ideas behind the concepts of the images, their development and the technical issues in creating them.

Please be warned that there is nudity at this site and I hope it does not offend anyone but rather hope that it inspires other photographers and artists. The nine models that will make up this work are on side and rather enthusiastic about the project.

Jennie, the first model in The Exhibit print has been very supportive and as an artist herself, she has been very inspirational in creating this first image. To see the images and a few others that will be documented soon please check out the site.

All the information is on here.
Click to enlarge.

I invite everyone to come out to the Reception tomorrow evening (Friday November 25th, 2011) at 7:00 PM to help support all the artists. There will be refreshments and food and music provided by New York DJ Lady Lane.

© 2011 Francois Cleroux

(Version 1.00 –  November 2011)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Copyright 2013 Francois Cleroux

The Stolen Scream

This is a story about a stolen image. I have dealt with this having found someone that stole someone else’s image and tried to pass it off as their own. I reported the stolen image to the real owner of the image and had the culprit removed from the photography site he was passing the image off as his own.

I have blogged about this (Photographer on the Web – Part 6 – Protecting Your Images) and I also cover this in my “Photographer On the Web” workshop. In the workshop I also give out many links including which you will see in the following video.

This is an incredible story, one that should be shared and one that should be thought about. In this video, Noam Galai, the photographer and the face in the stolen image tells his story.

Before you freak out about your images, note these were posted rather large on They should have been posted smaller or should have had water marks. Note that smaller sites like and such have fewer viewers than the millions on Flickr and so images are less likely to be stolen.

Most photographers get very upset when they think about someone stealing their images. However, most don’t give a second’s thought about copying software or borrowing music for a slideshow or for personal use. Think about the millions of dollars and all the work that goes into creating software like Adobe Photoshop CS5. If it’s OK for you to download an illegitimate copy, or a copy of a commercial Plug-In, why is it not OK for someone to STEAL your image?

So, please watch the video, learn from it, and if you are a borrower of music or software, think about what your doing. Paying for a great tool like Photoshop is worth every penny.

Also, as a final and funny note, listen to Noam talk about a Stock Site. How interesting.

Flash Required to watch video. Why do iPads not have Flash?

This Video was created by the fine folks at A great site, please check it out. This video is linked from YouTube. To support Noam, please check out his new on-line store. I just purchased a T-Shirt!

Original Image by: Greg Schurman

Note that award winning photographer and Delta Photo Club member Greg Schurman (, has also had an image ripped off (above) and doing a search on this also gets seven pages of results.

Have your images been stolen?

© 2011 François Cléroux

(Version 1.00 – August 2011)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Copyright 2013 Francois Cleroux

The Cape Breton Experience – Celtic Colours International Music Festival – Day 3 Continued

In the last post I forgot to mention that after that great performance we went to the After Hours Club at the St. Ann’s Gaelic College. We had heard that this was an exceptional experience not to miss. It’s an after hours club setup for the artists to meet and play and do some impromptu stuff. They have a lineup of artists playing but later as the evening wears on, anything can happen.
The After Hours Club is supposed to run from 11:00 PM to 3:00 AM but we had already heard rumors of it running until almost 7:00 AM the previous day. So, on our way home we stopped in to check it out. The cover charge was $20.00 but if you had a ticket stub from any of the events during that day, the cover charge was reduced to $10.00. A great deal, as you’ll see. This is also setup as a drinking facility and so wine, beer and highballs are available. This creates a much more festive atmosphere.
We acquired some drinks and sat down in the great hall that is very well designed for this type of musical event and sat down at a table. Live music was already playing. After the performers last set there was a break as the stagehands setup for a new show. The break was only seven minutes long and a new group was up on stage playing. Turns out it was the excellent duo of Chris Stout and Catriona McKay that we had seen earlier at the festival (see previous posts). They played four tunes and finished to a standing ovation.
Again a quick five to ten minute break and another band was on. This time, an excellent Bag Piper and an accompanying Violinist hit the stage. They were great and the crowd loved them. And so the evening went on. At around 1:45 AM when we decided we needed to head out, as we were both exhausted from our travels with little sleep, Natalie McMaster showed up. Seven months pregnant, played all day and here she was! We were not sure if she was going to play or when so we headed out anyways.
In the morning we did hear that she had in fact played and that many of the artist had stayed very late once again. What an excellent setup and what a great and inexpensive way to see so many great artists. Another cool thing about this setup is that all the artists themselves are milling about the joint chatting and mixing with the crowd. What a great opportunity to meet the artists.

© 2010 François Cléroux

(Version 1.00 – October 2010)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Copyright 2013 Francois Cleroux

The Cape Breton Experience – Celtic Colours International Music Festival – Day 3

Irish Music, Cape Breton Music or Celtic Music can sound weird at first if you have never heard it before. The foreign sounding instruments can throw you off of your regular music haunts. But, once listened to, Celtic Music touches the heart. This music is why we came all the way to Cape Breton and specifically to the Celtic Colours International Music Festival.

Fort Louisbourg, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – © 2010 François Cléroux
After a nice evening with Tracy and then a great show the following evening in Wagmatcook (Tunes gu leòr – see previous post), which was pre-ceded by some traditional Mi’kmaq drumming, we were anticipating another great evening of music.

It was another wet and cold day as we headed out to Fort Louisbourg before our evening concert. Along with the music we were trying to fit some photography in along with some touristy stuff. We had missed Louisbourg last year and so we fit it into this trip. Did I mention it was very cold and very wet. Fort Louisbourg was disappointing mostly because of the weather, and also because many aspects of the Fort were closed because we were visiting after tourist season ended.

Singer & Songwriter Lennie Gallant – © 2010 François Cléroux
What we did find was that another Juno award winning east coast singer and songwriter, Lennie Gallant, well know for both his English and French music, was doing a special one hour mid-day free concert at the Fort as part of the Music Festival. Lennie was a joy to listen to and he spent time talking to the crowd at the church about the music and some of the local history. Along with all his great music it was an excellent performance. Notch another autographed CD Purchase.

Our third evening brought us to the little town of Whycocomagh for ‘Women In Tune’. This is what we had been waiting for. We couldn’t purchase tickets for the opening act of the Festival which featured Rita MacNeil and the Men of the Deep but we did manage to get these tickets to see the great, and locally worshiped, Natalie MacMaster.

Laoise Kelly – © 2010 François Cléroux
The evening started off with an impressive performance on the Harp by the much celebrated Laoise Kelly. After hearing many harpist in my lifetime her performance was simply riveting as she made the harp do do things I had never experienced before. Just wonderful. Another CD, another autograph. We chatted a little and she even asked if I could send her a photo, which I will gladly do upon my return home.

An aside here on Photography at these types of events. Photography was strictly prohibited except by vetted Media. When attending these types of events always check if Media registration is required. Another point to consider is that these settings were very dark and poorly lit. Several of the musicians even commented as such and even for Media, flash was not permitted. Most of the photos were shot with a 200mm f/2.8 lens at f/2.8 using ISO 1600 or 3200. Always be ready.

Liz Doherty – © 2010 François Cléroux

Next up was a folk singer from Denver, Nevada, Mollie O’Brien. Perhaps she was part of the festival because of her last name but she was most definately not and Celtic musician. That aside, this woman has the voice of an angel and for those that love Folk with a hint of Jazz and Bluegrass, she is a must listen to. She has just released an excellent new album along with fellow musician Rich Moore titled, Saints & Sinners.

Before the break we were splashed with the sounds of Liz Doherty and Andrea Beaton. With the accompanying artist they were wonderful to listen to and their lively music was appreciated by everyone attending.

Niamh Ni Charra – © 2010 François Cléroux

After the break we returned to the sounds of Niamh Ni Charra. Although Niamh is a Fiddler, she started by playing the concertina, also known as a Ladies Accordion. What a beautiful sound this instrument makes when used by skilled hands. She then went on to play the fiddle.

Capping of the show was the musician everyone was waiting for, Natalie McMaster. Natalie started of her show playing a hard fast paced piece of music. Into her second tune she broke a string. An awkward moment at best for any musician but expertly handled by Natalie.

Natalie MacMaster – © 2010 François Cléroux
She went on to discuss current size as she is now seven months pregnant with her fourth child. She spoke about some personal life things and showed us a glimpse of who she truly is. In a sense we share a personal moment with her because she wanted to share this time, and to fill space while she replaced her broken string.

After replacing her string and tuning her fiddle she asked the crowed if they would mind if she started over? After much cheering she was able to continue her set. I have been a fan of Natalie’s for many years now but even on this trip I heard a local stating she is so loved because she is so ‘pretty and so wonderful’. You can always wonder as why someone is such a hit or celebrity, is it perhaps because of their looks, but when you hear her music and see the skills with which she plays, it’s easy to understand why she has won so many awards. An incredible performance.

Natalie MacMaster – © 2010 François Cléroux
As with the previous evening all the cast were brought out on stage for a final few tunes. After the concert we had a change to speak with Natalie and since I already have her CDs, I had her autograph her new book about her, her life and Cape Breton titled “Natalie MacMaster’s Cape Breton Aire: The Story of a Musical Life and Place”. A beautiful book expertly photographed by Eric Roth that gives a great insight into her life and music. An excellent souvenir.
Coming up, days four through six . . .
© 2010 François Cléroux
(Version 1.01 – October 2010)
Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

Copyright 2013 Francois Cleroux

The Cape Breton Experience – Celtic Colours International Music Festival – Days 1 and 2

Weddings, other peoples weddings, can seem obligatory, or even chore like at times. Weddings abroad however can be turned into great travel opportunities. That was the case last year when we travelled to Hubbard’s Beach, Nova Scotia, Canada. Not the ‘obligatory’ part but rather the ‘great opportunity’ part.

Catriona McKay – © 2010 François Cléroux

We used the wedding location as a base to visit all of Nova Scotia including the southern townships of Lunenburg, Peggy’s Cove, Digby, Annapolis Royal and the Evangeline Trail. From there we headed over to circumnavigate Prince Edward Island and then back over to visit the northern end of Nova Scotia, or more appropriately, Cape Breton Island.

With only two nights to visit Baddeck, catch two caleidhs, do the Cabbot Trail and see a moose, we had little time for much else. We loved the music and the caleidhs, the Cabbot Trail was spectacular, the French District and its people on the West of the island was terrific as was the great sunset. The food was exceptional, can’t go wrong with Mussels and Lobster, but we never did see a moose. All in all the visit to Cape Breton was way too short and upon our departure we decided that what we loved the best, was its people. Nova Scotians are amongst the nicest people we’ve ever met. Cape Bretoners are even nicer!

Colin Grant – © 2010 François Cléroux

After such a wonderful 3 days in Cape Breton we decided we needed to return. After some quick investigation and seeing they had a music festival during the changing of the colours of the trees in the fall, it was a quick and easy decision to return to Cape Breton to attend the Celtic Colours International Music Festival. With Cape Breton in our hearts, plans and preparations were put into place.

A year and three weeks later we found ourselves in Baddeck once again. After a long flight in followed by a long drive in a new Lincoln MKV rental car we needed a rest. We were out for dinner and learned of a local musician playing at a local hangout and off we went, so much for rest. From here on we ended up seeing music every night we were in Cape Breton.

All the Artists – © 2010 François Cléroux

Our first evening of music was ‘Tracy’ at the Inverary in Baddeck. He is a local artist and was playing for a local crowd where he was known by everyone. Later into the evening we were joined by a new Groom and his best men. They had just snuck out of the wedding reception to go to the pub to do some shooters. Even Tracy commented n how lucky he was “Barely married and already allowed to go to the pub”.

We had four sets of tickets to different Celtic Colour’s events. Our first show was Tunes gu leòr with Troy MacGillivray, an excellent fiddler who then welcomed his sister on stage to do some Celtic Step Dancing. Then the Nuala Kennedy Trio entertained us followed by renowned and always exceptional Andrea Beaton who gave a stellar performance. Two internationally acclaimed and award winning musicians, Shetland Fiddler Chris Stout and the mesmerizing Harpist Catriona McKay made an appearance that was received by a well deserved standing ovation. Their new and very playable and enjoyable CD “White Nights” was released this June. A must have for any Celtic music collection! Our host Colin Grant then brought out his band, the  Colin Grant Band to entertain us. This young, energetic, vibrant band plays a fusion of Celtic, Rock, Funk and Jazz that is soulful and was in keeping with traditional Cape Breton Music. Everyone, young and old were well entertained. Rounding out the evening all the musicians were brought on stage to play a few Reels and Jigs. What a great way to end the evening.

Coming up, days three through six . . .

© 2010 François Cléroux
(Version 1.01 – October 2010)
Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.
Copyright 2013 Francois Cleroux