Was I ever treated to s’mores, which are graham crackers with melted marshmallows and chocolate, the perfect camping food? I don’t remember. These s’mores, however, are a combination of a long exposure, handheld, and a short exposure, with the opacity varied by masking. Both were done “in-camera” or rather “in-iPhone” using these apps: Spectre (3 to 9 second exposures), Retouch (easy masking), and VSCO for adding or changing colour. 

I imagine it is my background in film–that is, motion pictures–which draws me toward making blurred images that encapsulate more than a fraction of a second. We don’t see things frozen as we do by our cameras, slicing time into 1/1000th of a second or shorter. Nor do we see it blurred as I do here. Nor do we see it framed, or segmented into 24 fps on film, or 60 fps in video. But we do have a built-in, biological “retention” speed, a frames per second for our eyes. 

Presented with images flashed at 12 per second, we identify them as unique stills, but at 18 fps (the old home-movie and silent film standard) and above, particularly 24 fps, we perceive those individual images as a smooth motion. With computer games running at 60 fps, the clarity begins to look almost too real for reality. Birds, however, have a higher refresh rate, allowing them to detect insects and avoid branches while flying at speed into a tree or bush. 


  • Drive north from Vancouver on Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Highway, north toward Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh), on the way to Whistler (Skwikw), approaching the great granite monolith The Chieftan, a climber’s paradise, you turn off to Shannon Falls. Trails lead to the falls (a short walk) and to the Sea-to-Sky Gondola. 

I could have stood there for an hour, listening, feeling the spray.  

Stanley Park trails

The whole “stay local, stay apart” thing is getting to me, but there I was, on a recent sunny day in Stanley Park, not really in the mood for photography, but then on a trail a bit of fog rolled in, and what’s interesting (to me) is that I “knew” at the time I shot these that they were probably not that interesting as photographs, but in the three-dimensional world the light looked great. As it turned out, they look ok in two dimensions. 

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