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Eat the shadow.

I. FEEL. THE POWER! (To balance outdoor light over a largish area.)

I. FEEL. THE POWER! (To balance outdoor light over a largish area.)

Got a new piece of gear. It's a reflector that throws light at a 45 degree spread forward. I combined the reflector with two Strobepro X200s, bare bulb. 1/200 at f11, full power, no grid. I used a wall in Cathedral neighbourhood as a testing ground. I'm pretty happy with the result. It wasn't a full sun day, a bit overcast, but my sense is that now I'll be able to balance the shadows on largish groups in bright sun.

Here's another test shot. Hmm, the tree is pretty shadowy.

Here's another test shot. Hmm, the tree is pretty shadowy.

Holy frijoli. I balanced the shadows of a  tree  in near full sun conditions.

Holy frijoli. I balanced the shadows of a tree in near full sun conditions.

I think it'll open up some new possibilities. All these images are just test shots, no edits. 

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My last three Leader-Post assignments

I felt pretty happy about my last day at the LP. The first job was to make a photo about a chess tournament. I've always wanted to try casting a shadow to help illustrate a theme, and the event's trophy let me do it. Had I more experience, I probably could have made the shadow sharper, but one does one's best.

REGINA, SASK : February 16, 2018 - Tom Boshoff, president of the Queen City Chess Club, in a ballroom of the Quality Inn. The club is hosting the Saskatchewan Chess Championship tonight and over the weekend. MICHAEL BELL / Regina Leader-Post. COPYRIGHT: REGINA LEADER-POST 2018.

REGINA, SASK : February 16, 2018 - Tom Boshoff, president of the Queen City Chess Club, in a ballroom of the Quality Inn. The club is hosting the Saskatchewan Chess Championship tonight and over the weekend. MICHAEL BELL / Regina Leader-Post. COPYRIGHT: REGINA LEADER-POST 2018.

Then it was off to the north end, where a grandpa made his grandkids an epic backyard ice rink.

REGINA, SASK : February 16, 2018 - Randy Durovick's grandchildren play hockey on his elaborate backyard hockey rink at his home. MICHAEL BELL / Regina Leader-Post. COPYRIGHT: REGINA LEADER-POST 2018.

REGINA, SASK : February 16, 2018 - Randy Durovick's grandchildren play hockey on his elaborate backyard hockey rink at his home. MICHAEL BELL / Regina Leader-Post. COPYRIGHT: REGINA LEADER-POST 2018.

By this time, it was getting late in the afternoon and close to deadline, but I wanted my last enterprise shot to be from downtown. After some false starts around the Cornwall Centre's main entrance, I saw a woman with pink hair, framed surprisingly well by the windows behind her. Luckily, some people came through the doors, I waited, and boom: a solid standalone photo. (Which didn't end up running in the paper, but I still really like it.)

REGINA, SASK : February 16, 2018 - Doron Giroux, center, checks her phone at the entrance of the Cornwall Centre. MICHAEL BELL / Regina Leader-Post. COPYRIGHT: REGINA LEADER-POST 2018.

REGINA, SASK : February 16, 2018 - Doron Giroux, center, checks her phone at the entrance of the Cornwall Centre. MICHAEL BELL / Regina Leader-Post. COPYRIGHT: REGINA LEADER-POST 2018.

I owe the Regina Leader-Post newsroom a lot. I'm going to miss my colleagues. I'm grateful to have found work I enjoy, and that suits me. I'm going to keep making pictures, just on my own now. If I can make it freelancing for as long as I was at the LP (nearly seven years), I'll consider it a huge success. :-)

The Market

I wish photographers in this city would stop taking jobs for such cheap rates. I recently bid on a job, and brought my prices down to the "any lower and I won't respect myself" level, and still got beat by photogs pretty much working for poverty rates.

Artist Statement

Light Passing Through Glass

Light Passing Through Glass is a fine art exhibit of original digital images created by Michael Bell. Each photo is a single exposure, made with a flashlight, a magnifying glass, and a marble. The first show took place at the Hague Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan in March and April 2015. 

Artist Statement for Light Passing Through Glass

A typical scene from a Greg Miller photoshoot. Near Indian Head, August 2014.

During the past year, my friend and photographer Greg Miller invited me to lend a hand on some of his photoshoots. Greg’s pictures tend to be long-exposures shot at night, in or near abandoned houses, and often feature strange scenes lit with unusual light. Being at these shoots throughout 2014 got me thinking about creative ways to make long-exposure images, but on a smaller scale. I bought a bag of marbles and a magnifying glass from CMS and began to play. Three months later (and too much time alone in a dark room), I made enough images to present what I’ve decided to call: Light Passing Through Glass.

An early attempt at focusing light on a marble. Oct. 23, 2014

The images are made from three parts. First, a small flashlight served as the light source. Second, the light passed through a magnifying glass. In some of the pictures, the magnifying glass focused the light on a marble; in others, the light was focused into or near the camera’s lens. Third, each picture was a single long-exposure, from one second up to 30 seconds in duration. Some of the effects were achieved by: focusing the light directly onto the camera’s sensor; changing the focal length of the lens during the exposure; spinning the marble; spraying water near or onto the magnifying glass. The images were edited to enhance colours, to sharpen and add contrast, but the subject itself looks as it did when it was captured by the camera*.

The thing I enjoyed most about doing this project was the way that one idea led to another. I put the magnifying glass in-between the camera and the lightsource: I wonder what that would look like? Snap, snap, snap. Then I saw that the magnifying glass could focus the light onto an object, like a marble! Snap, snap, snap. Then I wondered: what would happen if I spun the marble during the exposure? Snap, snap, snap. What if I could use water? What about changing the focal length?  Snap, snap, and snap. It was so satisfying to discover new results from previous ideas. I hope you enjoy the show.

*One exception: in the original capture of “Light #2”, the handle of the magnifying glass could be faintly seen. It was erased during editing.

Artist Bio

Michael Bell is a weekend news photographer for the Regina Leader-Post, as well as a freelance photographer for The Canadian Press and The Globe and Mail. Light Passing Through Glass is his first fine art exhibition.