Beks in the City December Edition – by Bekah Pitts

Canadian Singer/Song-Writer Ian Reid at The Station Coffee House – Courtesy of Paul Smith (

“I don’t think so. You are not going to spend an afternoon at an intro class for your camera when we can hangout and I’ll teach you all the same things.”

I now had 2 days to watch as many YouTube videos as possible so I could to learn the basics of my camera. I really didn’t make a fool of myself in front of my new friend, Paul, on our photo adventure hiking by Wilkes Dam.

Photography: an art form that most appreciate, many attempt, and few succeed. I have fallen into the appreciation category for most of my life until I got up the courage to buy a decent camera and attempt to learn how to take a good photo instead of leaving it to chance. This new purchase happened around the same time I moved to Brantford, and there have been plenty of trial and error photos of varying events around the city the past couple of months. There are many skilled photographers in town, and I’ve been fortunate enough to chum around with a number of them. I’ve been trying to figure out what makes that brilliant photo, so when Paul Smith of Photohouse Studio asked me to go on a photo adventure with him, I was incredibly excited. I was going to finally get in on the tricks of the trade.

It was slightly disappointing to be reminded that photography, as anything, is a fine balance of science and creativity. Even though I had the right F-stop set, my photos were of the river and some trees, and Paul’s told a story of the forest across the way. I hadn’t even noticed one tree in particular until I had looked at his photo. 

As we hiked through the trails, with Paul stopping to take a picture and me stopping to try and figure out what of, we spent just as much time talking shop as we did sharing stories and building a friendship. 

After stumbling off the trail, we decided to make our own way up to the bike path and head back to the car. Paul, snapping pictures of me goofing around, and I, snapping an incredible action shot of Paul. This was an excellent example of where the professional photographer is able to take a number of great shots in a moment, and the amateur snags the beauty one-timer. I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant for Paul to have a branch smack his face, but it served as a fantastic opportunity for me use a few of my skills with a lot of luck. 

We then made our way to the Brantford Station Gallery for a Roots Revival Sunday afternoon with the talented Ian Reid. With a number of scenic photography tips in my pocket, I was up to the challenge of switching gears to candid portraits. 

At the end of the day, I had learned a pile of new information about photography, my cameras varying capabilities, proper settings for different scenarios, and so on I had also found a new place to hike only a 5 minute drive from my home, a new friend to spend time with and hopefully steal a couple more photography tricks from. 

I’m looking forward to see where the next photo adventure takes me through the winter. Where to next?


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