William Kendall: Photoblogger

by William Kendall @WilliamKendall1

From Molly Jo:
I met William online. If you’ve followed Frankly, My Dear . . . for the last few years, you’ll know he’s a regular commenter. His photo posts have always drawn me in, making him one of my Top Ten choices for guest blogging.


Photo by William Kendall

Photo by William Kendall

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words.

Well, maybe not when you’re just carrying your camera along on your walk and inadvertently click, getting a blurry image or the side of your pants. That just qualifies as a “delete immediately” picture.

I’ve been doing a writing blog for several years now, called Speak Of The Devil. Over there I usually post three times a week. It’s a realistic pace- any more than that, it’s too much work, too much of a chance of annoying your readers with too many posts. Over there I tend to specialize in humour and irreverence and being disreputable.

And then there’s the photoblog.

I started following a handful of photoblogs before I started my own, beginning with St. Louis Daily Photo. Others gradually followed, and I decided to have a go at it myself. And so in the fall of 2013, Ottawa Daily Photo came into being. My city, the capital city of Canada, didn’t seem to be well represented in that field. I have seen older blogs come and go from around here, but at the time, nobody seemed all that active in documenting the city. And so I decided to dive on in.

I’ve recently moved into my fourth year of daily photoblogging, and unlike the writing blog, keeping up with daily posts isn’t that much of a problem- as long as you give yourself a head start and set posts up in advance, because you never know when real life might make demands on your time. Early on in the blog, I was just feeling my way through things, finding my proverbial feet. Over time, I got more and more followers, particularly after joining City Daily Photo.

What’s that, you ask? Well, City Daily Photo is an online group of like-minded photographers from every corner of the world, publishing either daily or most days of the week. It’s been going on for years now, with cities and regions represented from across the globe. Many of the blogs I follow belong to the group, and I’ve come to follow other photo bloggers who might not be part of that group, but in one way or another express themselves through photography. And I sometimes see writers who will on occasion do a post just featuring photography, if there’s an event in their area, or if they took a particularly pleasant hike somewhere.

So how does one keep finding new things to photograph, years later? Lots of different ways. As a member of CDP, I can tell you that at the start of each month, there’s a theme day chosen by one of the members for others to have their take on. The list is released early in the year, so you can be looking for something months in advance. That’s eleven posts right there, with the January post always being a best of the year theme.

At the moment one of the things I’m doing is keeping track of a major project, typically once a month. Our National Arts Centre, a cultural complex that’s home to a major national symphony orchestra, as well as English and French theatre, is undergoing a large addition, a glass structure that’ll be offsetting some of the harsh 1960s era architecture, open in time for next year. I thought it was a good idea to start documenting the process from time to time, and it does give one a regular subject to post about, aside from everything else I will post on.

Then there’s thinking like a tourist. When you live in a place, odds are you don’t really do the things tourists do- growing up west of Toronto here in Ontario, the family rarely went up the CN Tower, or out to Niagara Falls. As a photoblogger, you show the things tourists do come to see. In my case that might include a tour of our Parliament Buildings. The city has a tremendous wealth of statues and monuments all over; photographing them certainly provides plenty of material for photography.

Photo by William Kendall

Photo by William Kendall

Events are also a huge source for photobloggers to work from. In February we have Winterlude, a celebration of winter centered around the frozen ice surface of the Rideau Canal, with snow sculptures and ice sculptures at locations in Ottawa and Gatineau. In May we have a Tulip Festival that starts off what for me is a very busy summer- Doors Open follows that, Canada Day after that, and Buskerfest pretty much give me enough material to last through summer. Other times of the year, I might photograph in the National Gallery or a museum- either the various national museums or any of the local history museums. And architecture is another photo subject- we have a lot of Gothic architecture here, in churches especially, but also the Parliament buildings themselves, a set of buildings that evoke castles- or Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.

Photo by William Kendall

Photo by William Kendall

I’ve always got a camera on hand; you never know when a day might bring a particularly lovely sunset, or foggy conditions that evoke a sense of mystery. You might come across an adorable dog or a divine cat. You might find yourself looking up at a ghost sign or mural you haven’t noticed before, or at a building that looks different in late afternoon sun. You might see a fresh angle on a building you’ve photographed before. You might notice a cluster of trees, for instance, that you might make a mental note to capture them when the fall colours are at their height.

And then again, you might just end up mistakenly clicking on your camera and capturing a severe close up of that ice cream stain on your shirt.

What are some of your favorite photoblogs?

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