The Featured Artist for December is photographer Heather Cardle. With a love for the art of capturing images since she was a child, Heather is a well-respected photographer in Brantford and curator of an over seven-year online photography project.
Heather and her family moved to Brantford about fourteen years ago and she loves living in Eagle Place with her husband Paul and their semi-famous cat Stella. Originally a Realtor for close to thirty years, she switched to photography full-time about seven years ago as, she says, “it is truly what makes my heart go pitter-patter”. What began as just taking the odd photo, morphed into a daily challenge of posting a photo a day or as she calls it #ChickPicotheDay. She has surpassed over 2,555 days in a row with no end in sight. She’s also very proud that some of her work has been shown in a few local art studios, on billboards, CD and book covers and in local publications and brochures. She is extremely grateful that she and her camera have been able to capture some amazing people and some pretty cool places.
Heather’s initial inspiration for photography began when she was a child. She says, “My father would announce to the family ‘who wants to go for a drive?’ I’d be in the backseat waiting before he could find his car keys, just like a dog but I don’t drool. I LOVED to look out the window as we drove around the city or the countryside. My eyes would dart all over the landscape and although I never had a camera, I’d be snapping images in my mind. Fast forward to today and car rides are still my favourite thing. There is ALWAYS a ‘new gravel road’ to explore. When it’s warm enough, I love to explore the lakes and rivers by kayak with my husband.”
Heather is always working on her #ChickPicotheDay project which began as a photo-a-day for one full year (aka 365 project). She is now in her seventh year of that project. Heather says, “I have been writing down ideas for just as many years and have a list a mile long of ‘projects’. This year I produced my first ever calendar and was thrilled to have sold out of copies. In the New year, I will be working on capturing images to put in my 2020 calendar. I am also hoping to get a shot of a moose. Said moose must have huge antlers, just pulled his head out of the water and is dripping and covered in tubers. That would be my dream shot.”
Heather began her love of photography with a disposable camera, graduated to a starter camera (Canon Rebel Xsi-FILM) and eventually “joined the masses and upgraded to digital”. She is currently shooting with her second Canon6D (the first one suffered a diving accident). She’s gone from shooting in automatic mode while learning photography and now her dial is stuck in manual mode. Heather says, “The learning never stops though. I still find myself in some poorly lit venues, no flash photography permitted and sweating bullets trying to get a sharp image. There is always room for improvement. Some days when I’m not feeling it, I will revert to that kid in the back seat of my car and just capture the moments in my mind and you know what? That’s ok too, it’s in those times that I come up with new ideas.” Now Heather doesn’t leave home without one of her Canon 6D cameras. She cycles through her seven lenses but her go to lens lately is her 70-200/2.8 lens. Heather notes, “I have banned myself from going to any camera stores unless it’s an emergency.”
Heather’s inspiration comes from any and all photographers she comes across since she is constantly seeking to capture something different on a daily basis. She studies a wide range of many artists’ work for ideas on composition, subjects and how they take certain shots which she applies to her work. “Some days I just fly by the seat of my pants. I’m all over the map (literally and figuratively speaking)” says Heather.
Heather’s advice for developing photographers, “If you have a good eye for composition it’s not necessarily about having the best gear (sure that helps) but a good photo begins with eyes and what they see. And if you invest in the gear, I hate to say it but, “read the manual”. Make sure you have your camera in hand and as you flip through the manual, find out what button does what. There are all kinds of instructions and videos online now to fast track you to becoming a good shooter. Join a camera club and meet up with other like-minded individuals, take a photography course. Most importantly, get out and shoot!”
Heather finds many local artists inspiring as well. “This city is blessed with many fine artists, there is not enough space to name them all and some I’ve yet to meet. I know I do try to support as many as I can by purchasing their fine works and visiting them when they hold exhibits. I wish there was a gallery that would display all the works from our city’s pool of talent. One of these days, I’m hoping.”
Heather has had the opportunity to photograph some major festivals and events that take place in Brantford. She says, “I enjoy Brantford for all that it has to offer. There is never a shortage of community events going on about the city. I admire the fine architecture steeped in history and of course, the people here are amazing. I can’t forget to mention the winding banks of the magnificent Grand River. I love to explore the multitude of hiking/walking/cycling trails and stunning scenery full of all kinds of wildlife.”
“When I think of creative projects, I think of it as ‘me’ time. I can work on an idea I’ve got on my list or just simply walk or paddle around shooting to my heart’s content. That is my definition of a project. If anyone else enjoys the results of my projects, that’s a bonus.”
You can learn more about Heather Cardle and see some of her incredible images on her website www.heathercardle.com. She also has a strong social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.