Expressive Confidence: What’s That!!!

In a recent post to my blog I coined the phrase Expressive Confidence. What do I mean by that?

Early on in my quest to learn as much as possible about digital photography I identified two goals for myself. I needed to learn to ‘see’ light as it affected the subject matter I was working with and to refine my ability to make interesting compositions. Over the last number of years I took courses and attended workshops. With lots of practice it seemed to me that my images improved. But more improvement was necessary. Something I felt was missing.

A video about the life and times of Ansel Adams helped me find that missing link. His compositions are exceptional. But most importantly, the work he did in his darkroom enabled him to realize the vision he had when he made his initial negative.

Today, the computer is the digital version of a darkroom. Getting my images to represent what I visualized at the point of capture was the missing link. Lightroom, Photoshop and plugins from Nik and Topaz are awesome pieces of software. I had to learn how to put them and others together in my own digital workflow. But how?

The answer….Image Explorations, a five day intensive summer school in Shawnigan Lake, B.C. devoted entirely to photography. I have attended IE twice and will do so again in three weeks. In the first two years I purposely selected software related courses. What a difference this has made to my work. Color, texture, tonality, depth and feeling are facets that I now aim for when I’m developing my images. Without a decent knowledge of my software this would be impossible.

Some images require more work than others to get to the point of being ready for printing and exhibition. And of course for any digital negative there are many other routes to a ‘final’ rendition. All I know is that when I get to a final, ‘ready for the show’ image, I’m happy with it. Regardless of other opinions or perceptions about how my image was made, it’s my art and I like it. That’s my definition of Expressive Confidence.

The rising sun slowly spills light into Cowichan Bay.

The rising sun slowly spills light into Cowichan Bay.

Cowichan Bay, B.C. on Vancouver Island is one of my favourite places to make photographs. Getting there well before sunrise is important. It seemed more black and white as the emerging light slowly spilled over the hills into the quiet  bay. And then a golden hue began to fill the highlights. Using the software I have available to me I think I have rendered the beauty of  this idilic scene.

This entry was posted in Education, My Work.


  1. John bradley July 10, 2015 at 6:47 am #

    Who said retirement was boring!!!

    • Stu Dale July 10, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

      Too Right John! I don’t know how I would fit a job in with all the other things am I trying to do. Next week I will send you the images that are in my show.

  2. Jim Harding July 10, 2015 at 10:54 am #


    Fantastic photo…..I always look forward to your presentation…..great work.

    • Stu Dale July 10, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

      Thanks Jim. Much appreciated. I am always heartened by the messages I receive from you.

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