May 31, 2013

6 Years of Editing Luke

Every year that I write one of these anniversary posts it reminds me of just how much can happen in 365 days. If hitting my five year milestone last year clued me into anything, it was that the success of this site has come from the continued pursuit of achieving the creative goals I've set out for myself. Each year has been a learning experience, and year six of Editing Luke was especially incredible in that respect.

Photography and video have always been the backbone of this online project, but it was the focus that came from turning the lens on my hometown that really kicked off a new chapter in year six. Around the Hat has not only allowed me to showcase the passion I have for what I do, but it's connected me with a lot of amazing people in my community. From contract offers to image sales, the ripple effect has stirred up a lot of excitement, and once again, has redefined the influence and impact of my site.

After six years it's amazing to look back at the stories I've documented and shared. Everything has been a stepping stone to something bigger and better, and it's been a thrill to top my past achievements - like when I raved about first hitting 10,000 video views back in 2007 for instance. It's these things that remind me of just how far I've come. Now with over 1.38 million online video views, I'm still shocked that all of this grew out of a simple desire to make my work seem more relevant as I was preparing to leave film school. The numbers aren't what make this special though, it's the fact that I can see how my work is resonating and connecting with more and more people each year. The persistence of keeping this project alive has allowed me to build momentum, and it's amazing how much has happened on the back of that.

It's like I said last year, "I don't go a month without sharing something I've created, shot, or edited. The upkeep of this project has resulted in a personal obligation to live by my words, to dream out-loud, and to build some form of context while doing so". If there was any advice I could pass on, it's that you should pursue your ambitions with key goals in mind. Nothing pans out all at once, but you'll be amazed how much ground you've gained just because you've given yourself things to aim for. Six years in, and not only is this still fun for me to do, but it's become a lightning rod for new opportunities and contacts. I can't wait to see what another year brings.

Stats After 6 Years - 1394 Blog Posts - 271,135 Blog Views - 1.38 Million Video Views

May 29, 2013

Around the Hat: Ghosting Images

Before my Around the Hat series was even an idea, I had seen a number of archival images blended together with modern shots of various locations from around the world. The technique is often referred to as ghosting, and it was this style that originally had me browsing archives of Medicine Hat, Alberta and the surrounding area. Undoubtedly, this influenced my local photo series when it eventually kicked off in 2012. 

Some of the most common compliments I receive about my series come from when I update archival images and show how a location has changed over the years from the same vantage point. One of my first posts like this was of an old postcard from the hill. It's something that not only appeals to locals, but it appeals to those interested in history in general. I figured it was about time I took some of those pictures I'd shot and blended them together with those archival ones for some of my first ever attempts at ghosting. I think they turned out rather well, but I'll let you be the judge.

Canadian Bank of Commerce -1915 merged with 2012

This shot was cool to merge as the lighting appeared to be the same in the archival image and the one I shot. I love the awnings on the windows and the man standing out front of the bank. I  also love the contrast between the classic, albeit modern gas lamp on the left, and the original lamp in the archival image. The presence of the Telus tower in the background only emphasizes the evolution.

St. Patrick's Church - 1940s merged with 2012

While the church itself hasn't changed much over the decades, this ghosted image shows the large trees that used to cover most of the entrance (they're gone now). I added a bit of opacity to show just what was being hidden, while still preserving the effect. Notice the two people standing out front that appear to be posing for the camera.

Hargrave Sisson Block - 1920s merged with 2012

The large old cars are pretty impressive to see parked along the curb at this historic location. With the years of paint now stripped off of the building, it's cool to get a glimpse of how the original facade really looked in this ghosted image. 

Cecil Hotel - 1965 merged with 2012

Not a whole lot has actually changed in this area, but the original Cecil neon sign on the side of the building is the standout. Also, a single power line now stands where a double posted power line platform used to be.

Alberta Foundry & Machine Co. - 1940s merged with 2012

This wartime image of the foundry looks especially cool because of the old car merged with my Jag. You can also notice how the windows are now covered, and the vintage signage seems especially fresh. 

North Railway Street - 1946 merged with 2013

WW2 soldiers are welcomed home, walking down a modern North Railway Street in this ghosted image. It's difficult to imagine seeing this many people lined along this street today, just out front of the train station.

Gaslight Plaza / Eaton's - 1970s merged with 2012

The vintage cars contrast with the modern street light and updated office windows of the Gaslight Plaza in this ghosted image. Once Eaton's department store, the area isn't usually surrounded with so many pedestrians these days.

Elizabeth Street School - 1912 merged with 2012

This image is cool because it represents a hundred year span. The workers and stacks of brick are seemingly dwarfed by the massive trees that now surround this old building. It's a fascinating way of demonstrating just how much time has passed.

Hutchinson Block - 1963 merged with 2013

This ghosted image is a bit of a reverse, as it shows the building today with the archival background instead of the other way around. Notice fairy lights hanging from across the street. Also, the small building on the right, the street light, and the parking meter - all of these things are gone. A tree now stands where the street light was, and the vacant lot next door is a small park space.

Canadian Bank of Commerce - 1910s merged with 2012

This image was cool to edit because of the buggies and pedestrians.  I used the bank as my anchor point and matched up my shot to where the old city hall was standing. To emphasize that it is no longer there I faded the edge of the picture to reveal the large pine tree that stands at the edge of the park. This one really has a ghost like feeling.

Monarch Theatre - 1948 merged with 2012

I love the starkness of this ghosted image. I kept the bikes, original signage, and the banner from 1948, but blended half of the entrance with the modern handicapped parking sign and a poster of the Hunger Games on the other side.

Five Roses Mill - 1920s merged with 2012

I really like the detail in blending these two shots. The archival image reveals the original height of the mill, however I left a bit of opacity to show the line of how tall the building is today. Also, the archival image of the mill is contrasted by the signage for the Silver Buckle bar on each side, the overpass in the background, and the min-van in the parking lot.

May 28, 2013

Salt Kiln Firing at Medalta: Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of witnessing a salt kiln firing down at Medalta Potteries, and I took some pictures of the experience. With a lot of time spent down there these days, I had the opportunity to follow up with Rob Froese and he was kind enough to show me the outcome from the firing. He explained how the salt created a texture and glaze, and pointed out how the results varied on several pieces. 

I've really loved having the opportunity to learn more about ceramics and pottery over the last few weeks, not to mention, getting a glimpse into other artist's process and craft. The Artists in Residence down at Medalta is a pretty amazing place, and I seem to stumble onto something cool every time I'm down there.