Ollek Photography: Blog https://ollekphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Sucha S Ollek - All rights reserved (Ollek Photography) Thu, 24 Nov 2022 04:00:00 GMT Thu, 24 Nov 2022 04:00:00 GMT Blocking out the Noise https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2022/11/blocking-out-the-noise River FlowRiver Flow Long exposure photography is about blocking out or eliminated those parts of a scene not important to what is the essential message.  All of the distractions and noise around you is blocked out reducing the scene to what is important, what is essential to understand your environment.  By using this technique, you are forced to focus the mind on what is the essential element for the story, and then how to record it.  A fast-flowing river has much noise, turbulence, and distractions from everything taking place.  You must still your mind and really look at the river to see what is there before your eyes.  It is only then that the story is revealed.

It is much like life.  There is so much going on all around you every second of every day.  You are bombarded by the unimportant, the "noise of life" that you cannot concentrate on the important stuff.  Somehow you must close your mind to the noise all around you and focus on what is essential.  If you can do that, then you may find a state of bliss, of happiness, or at the very least a sense of calm.  For me, photography is a great help in training my mind to focus each day on what really matters.  For you, it might be building fine furniture in your spare time. Whatever it is, I hope you can block out the noise.

(Ollek Photography) https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2022/11/blocking-out-the-noise Thu, 24 Nov 2022 04:00:18 GMT
After the storm https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2022/4/after-the-storm Just after a storm is a time of duality. On the one hand, there is still the drama and tension caused by the storm, especially near the coast with the clouds still looming over the water (or land) threatening to deluge all below.  But there is also the calm and peace, and the clean smell of the soil, that is pushing the storm back away from us.  You hold your breath wondering which will win out.  

Many times I find myself in the same place wondering if there is a storm ahead or calm and peace.  Everything seems heightened, the senses more alert.  

For a brief moment, you are not sure which is better: the drama or the calm


After the StormAfter the Storm

(Ollek Photography) beach coast ocean rock storm https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2022/4/after-the-storm Fri, 08 Apr 2022 23:18:21 GMT
Connections and memories https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2022/1/connections-and-memories ContemplationContemplationContemplation and memories Recent readings made me realize how much we are connected to a location: where we come from, where we made memories good or bad, and how we depend on the location for so much. 

This photo was taken as a gift for a friend: this is where the individual spent their summers and vacations with family and friends.  Special events happened at this location.  

I think it is helpful to stop and think of where we are and what we are doing.  This pandemic certainly has made us ponder these questions - some of us have found answers and others are still searching.  As  photographer, I am drawn to locations that create an emotional impact for me and hopefully those who see my images.

I try to sit quietly to get a sense of what is special or emotive about a location, and then try to capture the feeling.

This particular lake (well known to people here locally) is a place where you can let yourself be immersed in the quiet feeling of the water, let you thoughts go deep into your sub-conscious, recall special moments from your like, or just zone out.  

I find the exercise brings peace, and let's me regain a sense of balance.

I hope you will enjoy it.

(Ollek Photography) contemplation lake peace vancouver island https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2022/1/connections-and-memories Sat, 15 Jan 2022 01:44:50 GMT
Exploring Locally https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2021/5/exploring-locally Hidden FallsHidden FallsSmall waterfall on way to Ammonite Falls. Hidden Falls study 2Hidden Falls study 2Another view of small waterfall on way to Ammonite Falls.


I recently read two articles on photography about the benefits of staying local, and learning to look to find depth and meaning in your surroundings.  I think the point was that without searching out distant and exotic locations, you can still find something unique and meaningful in your back yard.  I am also working my way through "Looking at the Overlooked" an excellent treatise on still life painting.  All this has encouraged me to go back to sites I have photographed before and spend more time exploring and looking.  It is amazing the world that open up if you take the time to be patient, and see what is there.  Here are two images from a second visit to a local wonder.  It is only a 10 minute drive from the house; the hike down into the area is unfortunately a trying 45 minutes.  Then the climb back up!!  As I told my photo buddy Brad, it was definitely a two beer day.

(Ollek Photography) Nanaimo Vancouver Island waterfall https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2021/5/exploring-locally Fri, 28 May 2021 03:45:56 GMT
The ongoing search https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2021/3/the-ongoing-search Log on OceanLog on OceanLog on Ocean

I have been searching for this image for some time now. Along the coast there are many logs strewn across the beach, especially after a winter storm or if a barge has broken up in the strong waves we get in the strait.  I happened by chance on this one day not far from our house.  I was happy with the image but it took some time to figure out why I was looking for this image.

In processing the image, I really wanted to keep the distant beacon in the image, and I especially wanted the far off mountains as part of the image.  I just knew they had to be part of the final image.

This particular image appealed to a lot of people when I put it up on social media and shared with friends.  Actually I was surprised how many people responded to this image; more than I expected because I thought I was making one of my quaint/oddball images that appealed to me and did not really expect it to resonate with others.  I was not trying to create a "popular" image which can be a good safe image if you want "likes"" on that website we all hate but can't wait to check.

It is like the log is looking for something, it is searching for something elusive far off on the horizon.  It occurred to me that many of us, regardless of what stage of life we are at, spend our time searching for something to give meaning to things.  We strive to find something just beyond our reach to explain or make sense of our life.  This feeling is especially strong this past year.  We have had to re-assess what is important, what we can let go without affecting our life, and we are gaining a new appreciation of what little we need to be happy.  All those things we thought were important just don't seem to matter.  (That definitely does not apply to any new camera equipment!! Let's be real.)

I hope you will enjoy this image.

I would love to hear your thoughts if you care to post a comment.

(Ollek Photography) happiness important log meaning ocean searching strive vancouver island https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2021/3/the-ongoing-search Sun, 28 Mar 2021 00:02:50 GMT
Bird on a wire https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2020/12/bird-on-a-wire Gull sitting on pilingGull sitting on pilingGull sitting on piling Recently I was asked how I got the gull to sit still long enough for me to take the 4 minute exposure used in this image.

Long exposure photography requires patience.  If you do not have it, you must learn it.  If that fails, take up something else.

With patience, you start to observe your surroundings.  Over time, and much practice, you may learn something interesting about your natural surroundings.  After a lot of images, and lots of time spent along the shore, at marshes, and in really bad weather, I noticed one day that birds seem to settle on a rock or outcrop, on in this case a piling at certain times.  When there is  change in the weather (either a storm coming in or ending for example) the birds tended to settle down.  So I started to try my luck, and use my patience.

The virtue of patience is not a new revelation; it just took me a while to see it and apply it to my photography.

Long exposure photography captures people's imagination as it reveals the hidden aspects of our surroundings; it captures the effect of time.  It also reveals something of the photographer to him/herself.  Patience and time seem to go together in revealing the hidden.

Patience, especially during these strange times, is very important.

(Ollek Photography) bird gull long exposure ocean Vancouver Island https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2020/12/bird-on-a-wire Thu, 17 Dec 2020 04:31:48 GMT
Trip to Ammonite Falls https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/5/trip-to-ammonite-falls Ammonite Falls in black & whiteAmmonite Falls in black & whiteAmmonite Falls in black & white


Ammonite-Falls-1Ammonite Falls in Benson Creek park

We are very fortunate on the Island being so close to wilderness.  On a clear Sunday morning I went for a 30 minute hike with photo buddy Brad Powell of www.bpfoto.ca to take some images of Ammonite Falls.  Brad knows a special route in - we met only 3 others on the trail. This is a magical valley surrounding Benson Creek as it flows from Mt. Benson towards the ocean.  We definitely plan to do a full day trip back into the area when the light is better and the fall rains begin to swell the creeks. Here are a couple of recent images from my first trip to the falls.



(Ollek Photography) Ammonite falls Benson Creek Park Nanaimo Vancouver Island waterfall https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/5/trip-to-ammonite-falls Thu, 16 May 2019 04:14:49 GMT
Mountain stream https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/4/mountain-stream Mountain-streamMountain-streamSpring run-off flow in an unnamed stream down Mt. Benson in early spring.

There are signs of early spring run-off everyone.  A very good time to go out to the woods for some "forest cleansing" - enjoy the fresh air, clean out the winter cobwebs and watch the renewal of life all around us.

(Ollek Photography) Benson cleansing forest Island mountain Mt. run-off spring srping stream Vancouver https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/4/mountain-stream Sat, 20 Apr 2019 22:59:22 GMT
The quiet peace of a sunset https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/3/the-quiet-peace-of-a-sunset Everyone everywhere loves a sunset.  People are drawn to a sunset no matter where they live.

Life seems to slow down, become calm. The birds settle in for the night. The sounds of the animals become quiet. The trees seem to stand still.  As this quiet calms settles over the surroundings, your mind relaxes.  You quietly contemplate the approaching darkness - the fear that seems to lurk at the edge of the darkness is slowly pushed back until everything is at peace.  You sleep awaiting the freshness of the next day.

Biggs-Park-sunsetBiggs-Park-sunset Biggs-Park-sunset-3Biggs-Park-sunset-3

(Ollek Photography) https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/3/the-quiet-peace-of-a-sunset Tue, 05 Mar 2019 05:28:48 GMT
Emerald Moss and Water https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/2/emerald-moss-and-water The snow and cold temperature means I spend time on processing images from the past and not out there with my camera.  This is a scene from last fall while walking through a local favourite, Bowen Park in Nanaimo.  There used to be a beautiful tree arching out over the cascade as the river wound its way through the park to the ocean. Unfortunately the tree has been damaged by another larger tree falling down due to the collapsing bank.  While we all enjoy the park, the downside is all the foot traffic is damaging the river bank and root structures.

The lovely moss covering the sandstone that surrounds the river channel transports you to a fairy tale land - some place where creatures of our imaginary world might be found.

A short walk along the river takes you away from the worries of the world.  A photographer I respect and admire spoke of mindfulness in photography - about connecting with the surroundings and living in the moment.  Beauty and peace are always there - you just have to open your mind to see it.


Millstone-River-cascadeMillstone-River-cascadeMillstone River cascade

(Ollek Photography) Bowen Park fall forest green Millstone River moss vancouver island waterfall https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/2/emerald-moss-and-water Thu, 07 Feb 2019 05:21:24 GMT
Island Paradise https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/1/island-paradise Goldstream Park falls 3Goldstream Park falls 3 Goldstream Park FallsGoldstream Park Falls Goldstream Park Falls 2Goldstream Park Falls 2 Koksilah River rapidsKoksilah River rapids Koksilar River rapids panoKoksilar River rapids pano


Vancouver Island is one large green park.  It amazes me that wherever you go, there is incredible unspoiled beauty and nature.  Walking out into the woods you are bathed by a calming green canopy. A true rainforest full of ferns, moss, incredible trees, and water all around.  Regardless of the conditions, a walk in this great park always energizes and refreshes.  Mind you, getting up at 5:30 you need some motivation.

On a recent trip with Brad Powell (www.bphoto.ca) we explored Koksilah River Provincial Park http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/koksilah_rv/ and then a stop at Goldstream Park http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/goldstream/ which is one of my favourites on the Malahat.


Hope you enjoy some of these recent images.

(Ollek Photography) forest goldstream park koksilah river park rainforest vancouver island waterfall https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/1/island-paradise Thu, 31 Jan 2019 05:15:19 GMT
Early Morning Peace https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/1/early-morning-peace I went out very early on a Sunday morning with photo buddy Brad Powell to Honeymoon Bay past Lake Cowichan. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. I seriously thought I had lost my mind.  When we got to Honeymoon Bay and stumbled through the dark to the shore, we saw the first glimpse of the sun breaking through the fog.  Setting up, we could feel the warmth on our face, and our mind calming down and becoming quiet.  To hear the silence of the early morning, to see the peace of the sun breaking out over the still water, it was all worth while.

As Brad said, the early morning is the best time of the day: calm, quiet, peaceful and everything is just perfect.  The day is yet to come but you are ready for it now. Honeymoon Bay MorningHoneymoon Bay Morning

(Ollek Photography) early morning fog Honeymoon Bay Lake Cowichan peace sunrise Vancouver Island https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/1/early-morning-peace Thu, 24 Jan 2019 05:00:18 GMT
Waterfalls in summer https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/1/more-waterfalls Millstone FallsMillstone River falls in Bowen Park in summer. This is probably one of the most photographed falls here in Nanaimo.  There are always people with a camera pointed at the falls. Whenever I go there, the falls present a different face and mood.  This particular image was taken in the summer - the water flow was enough to create that long exposure look but placid enough to result in some interesting patterns at the base.  The summer can be an interesting time to photograph waterfalls here on the island if the summer has not been so dry as to leave no water in the local rivers - which of course is becoming a real concern.  There is a lot of life around the falls - owls, eagles, crows, otters on occasion, and some fish as well. 

(Ollek Photography) Millstone River Nanaimo summer Vancouver Island waterfall https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2019/1/more-waterfalls Wed, 02 Jan 2019 05:43:16 GMT
The Joy of Island Rains https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2018/12/the-joy-of-island-rains Rosewall Creek WaterfallMy daughter (5 months pregnant) was kind enough to hold an umbrella over my camera allowing me to take this shot. With the recent storms and deluge on the Island, it is hard to remember how much joy and pleasure the rains bring us.  Hiking into the many ravines and all the streams in our background is always cleansing and invigorating. I feel as the cobwebs are being blown out, and energy being pumped into one's soul.  All this rain is what keeps our forests green, gives us fresh clean water and makes our little island a special place.  Let's see what water falls I can find this coming year on the island.  If you would be willing to share your special place or waterfall, I hope you will drop me a line.

(Ollek Photography) fresh water rain soul waterfall https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2018/12/the-joy-of-island-rains Mon, 24 Dec 2018 01:26:17 GMT
Island Water falls https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2018/10/island-water-falls Chaser-River-fallsChaser-River-fallsWaterfall at Chase River This fall on Vancouver Island has been especially nice to capture the colors.  Combined with the abundance of waterfalls, it is hard to resist going out with the camera.  The sound of the water combined with the changing colours I find very pleasing to all my senses.  Recently I went out to photography one of the hidden gems in the middle of our city: the water falls on the Chase River at the top end of Collier Dam park.  It is a very small fall.  The combination of trees, fall colours and the sparkling water just draws you in.  The more you visit this site, the more you see.  I hope you enjoy this capture of the scene.

(Ollek Photography) fall colors fall colours Nanaimo Vancouver Island waterfall https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2018/10/island-water-falls Thu, 01 Nov 2018 03:47:38 GMT
Facing Fear https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2018/9/facing-fear I started this website some time ago. Even put up some images, mainly from an exhibition. 

But nothing happened after that; took some images and after a while, started sharing some on social media.  Despite that, no effort was made to update the website which should be where my images should be showcased.

It seemed I was unable to overcome a fear - that the images might not be very good, getting a bad reaction, it would finally show that I really did not know what I was doing.

Well, none of that really matters.  I know I cannot give up my day job to pursue photography for a living.  I realized that it did not matter.  None of the negative thoughts really matter. 

I enjoy photography.  It gives me pleasure.  It gets me out of the house and into nature. So, I am going to put up the images that please me.  Nothing else really matters.  At my age, I can say "who cares".  Quite liberating when you think of it.

(Ollek Photography) fear go letting https://ollekphotography.com/blog/2018/9/facing-fear Thu, 13 Sep 2018 04:11:12 GMT