Spark Photo Festival 2020
As all Spark Photo Festival events have been postponed until the fall, I thought I would share my planned collection of prints here on Behance.

Below the grid, you'll find each image, accompanied by a title and brief commentary on the image.

This virtual gallery is here for you to enjoy, and if you are interested in purchasing a traditional framed print, or an image printed on canvas or metal, please reach out to me at jim@jimbabbage.ca

As always, comments are welcome.
Waiting for Launch
Good photography is “the art of seeing”. You’re always looking, keeping your eyes and mind open to opportunities. Even  a few steps off the beaten path can provide rewards, like this image. Had I not walked along the shoreline at the cottage resort, I would never have seen this small boat. It was moored to a tree, and hidden from view by the embankment. Hidden, unless you were walking along the edge of that embankment.
Falling for Horses
Elmhirst resort has a great staff in both the two-legged and four-legged varieties. Their Clydesdale horses are a dependable staple through out the seasons, pulling hay wagons in the warmer weather and sleighs in the winter. They are beautiful, strong animals who always appreciate a visit - and the odd apple or two. 
I Spy...
On my first visit to an Appaloosa horse show and competition in Bethany, Ontario, I found myself wandering around the grounds of the Saddlewood Equestrian Centre, and found these two curious beauties, who seemed as interested in me as I was in them. Capturing these gorgeous animals when they weren’t competing was special for me. Getting to see them just being “themselves” was a treat.
River Paddle
The Canadian outdoors is often represented by a mode of transportation that - truly - built this country into what it is. If you have any doubts of the importance of the canoe in Canadian history, do yourself a favor and take a trip into Peterborough to the Canadian Canoe Museum. Whether you live in Canada or elsewhere, you’ll be amazed at what you learn. 
Apricot Sunrise
I’m not a morning person, but the gifts I’ve been given when I drag myself out of bed in the early a.m. make the struggle worthwhile. Our little beach at Bellmere Winds has treated me to some visual wonders of Rice Lake, but the most magical for me are those mornings when mist has formed on the lake, and the sun is not yet high enough to burn it off. I chose this image for canvas in part because of the colors, but mostly because of the painterly feel created by the mist in the reeds.
The Sentinel
My role at work requires a good deal of travel. While most of that travel is far from exotic, occasionally I get lucky. A trip to Banff for work was one of those lucky moments. It was my first time in the area, so I took an extra day all to myself to wander around. If you’ve been to Banff, you know that it’s a living Canadian postcard. I was determined to work for my images, though, and hiked up Tunnel Mountain. The hike was easy in terms of even ground, but there was a constant angle working against me, up and down the mountain. I took a lot of breaks and disguised it as making pictures, rather than looking out of shape. One lookout area gave me both the Bow Valley and Mount Rundle in a single view, so out came the gear and I made several captures. It was only during processing that I thought to test the image as black and white. As soon as I made the decision, I couldn’t go back to color on this scene. While I’m nowhere near his level of expertise, the image reminded me of work by Ansel Adams.
The Lighthouse on Woody Point
Our annual “guy’s trip" in 2015, took us to Woody Point in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. This picturesque village on the shore of Bonne Bay has played host to writing workshops, intimate concerts with Bruce Cockburn and our own Excellent Adventure. The lighthouse caught my attention on our first walk around the small village, and I made it a goal to capture it at night, with the Milky Way in the background. Shooting with my 14mm lens from a low angle ensured both drama and the inclusion of the sky.
Finding Dory
Walking along road near the shore of Woody Point presented a variety of photo opportunities. This beautiful red and white dory was one of them. The pair in the mid ground and the view of Norris Point and the mountains fading off into the distance, just screamed “fishing village”. The warmth of the red boat and the sand create a wonderful contrast and visual anchor (see what I did there?) to the wider range of cool colours and tones that dominate the scene.
The Church
While I mostly shoot trees, rocks and water, every once in a while something man-made catches my photographic eye. Such was the case for this image of St Theresa’s Church in Bodega, California. You might remember the church from its appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, The Birds. I thought a wide angle, low viewpoint was the way to go for this image, and the black and white treatment just made it sing, thanks to the strong contrast between the church and sky. 
Lake Sonoma Dawn
One very early morning, my friend Doug and I made our way from Santa Rosa to Lake Sonoma to catch the sunrise. I was hoping for something special, but I had no idea HOW special that morning would be. When we arrived, the sun was just coming up, and the trees were shrouded in fog. The depth and mystery created by the fog were entrancing and the conditions changing quickly, so I had to react fast. In a matter of minutes, the scene in front of me had transformed entirely, the fog overwhelmed by the rising sun. 
Sunrise on Catfish Lake
Just off highway 17, south of Obatanga Provincial Park is Catfish Lake. We awoke very early one morning and sans even coffee, hit the road to find something of interest. The sun was just coming up as we approached Catfish Lake with a promise of some brilliant color. But what I didn’t realize at the time was the color of the massive rocks in the foreground. It was only as the sun got a little higher that the rich pinks of the quartz, rubbed smooth no doubt by glaciers, truly began to shine, making the scene even more magical. 
Cotton Candy Sunset
My campsite on Rabbit Blanket Lake was an artist’s dream. At any given time of day, there was a view worth photographing, filming, sketching or painting. And one evening we were treated to a spectacular sunset, the clouds lighting up in pink and magenta, and the calm waters reflecting those clouds like a mirror. I loved how you I could see the mist beginning to form on the right, as the cooler air met the warmer lake water. There is a wonderful flow to this scene; the mirrored clouds moving the eye to the rocks, the rocks pulling you to the middle of the lake, where the reflections of the trees pull you into the background from left to right. Even the prominent triangular boulder jutting out of the water is not enough to hold you in one spot for long.
The Calm Before the Paddle
After a short - but steep - portage, carrying an 18-foot aluminum canoe, Tom and I rested for a bit before heading out into a new lake in Obatanga Provincial Park. It was a beautiful late morning and before we set out, I captured this scene of serenity, before our paddles broke the mirror of the lake.
Cascade
Walter’s Falls is home to a beautiful spa hotel, nestled on the border of the Bruce Trail. From above, there are some lovely views of the waterfall, which using to power a mill. But for me, to really show the beauty of this waterfall, I needed to be at the bottom. It was doable; there were people wandering around the creek at the bottom. But the walk down the rather steep hill was challenging and a bit treacherous. I used my tripod as a walking stick and stabilizer more than once. The trip was worth it, however. Using a combination of low ISO and a strong Neutral Density filter, I created a few bracketed exposures of the cascade. Later in Lightroom, I would combine two of those images as a High Dynamic Range (HDR) composite in a successful effort to retain detail in both the highlights and shadows.
The Current
2017 found our intrepid adventurers living the life of the almost rich and famous, while we stayed at our friends’ Mid-Century summer home in Santa Rosa. Just like camping, we were out and about exploring the area, cameras at the ready. On a walk along the cliffs on the Pacific coast, I became mesmerized by the continual wave action and decided to shoot long exposures to show the movement, the current and the beauty of the ocean as it crashed against the rocky shoreline. 
Frozen Autumn
The birdbath in our backyard had been neglected one autumn, but when we got an early freeze, I couldn't have been happier; my procrastination had paid off in a frozen vignette of autumn in our backyard. Every time I look at this image, I wonder to myself, “How did that rope get in the bird bath?” But when I look closer, I realize it’s a curled chestnut tree leaf. I love the shades of brown in this image. All this visual warmth, contrasted with the actually of cold.
Forgotten Fence
Growing up, one of the artists who helped to train my eye was Robert Bateman. This scene reminds me of his work, and as is often the case, is also the result of sheer chance; on a hike through the Rouge Valley, I walked right past this scene, focused on something directly in front of me (which did not deliver a great image, BTW). I turned around, and the light streaming in through the trees brought my eye to this forgotten roll of wire fencing. In processing, I played a bit with a soft-focus technique to bring out more of a painterly feel, which I think translates well to canvas.
Autumn Road
Autumn is my favorite season, but it’s a bittersweet one these days, as it heralds the end of cottage season. That said, the beauty of the Kawarthas in the fall is simply stunning. Wherever I go (the River Road, in this case), I find myself stopping the car and pulling out the camera and tripod and getting lost in the colours. 
Autumn on the Rails
A drive along River Road - heading towards Hastings, Ontario, brought me to a scene of autumnal splendor. It had recently rained. The sky was still overcast. The rich colors and scents of autumn in the Kawarthas surrounded me and for a couple hours, I lost myself in capturing that spirit. This image of maple leaves scattered casually across some old cedar rail fencing is one of several images from that shoot which I’m really pleased with. It nicely intertwines the season with - in a general sense - the location.
Heartland
Agriculture is a huge facet of life in the Kawarthas and Otonabee-South Monaghan. That’s why its important to me to shoot, and share the landscapes of the farm. I had driven past this soybean field on Heritage Line many times, knowing at some point I had to capture it, when the light was right. Mid afternoon in the fall brought out the magic of the scene to me, with strong shadows, lots of texture, gorgeous clouds and the leading lines of the tractor path.
Autumn Shelter
Photos are everywhere; in front of you, above and below you…it’s important to always be aware and keep looking for that next image. It was this awareness that helped me to see this beautiful maple leaf, nestled in the hollow of a dead cedar trunk. Needless to say, I made more than one photograph, but this one remains my favourite. The curve and direction of the roots move the eye through the scene and the long dried grass blade move you back to the top of the image. Those two elements also act as an extra frame, surrounding the leaf.
Morning Solitude
Lakeside Respite
Thank you for visiting!

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