Updates from Instagram

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” – Jack London

2014 Jan Instagram for blog-1

There is something to be said for 36+ mp hanging over your shoulder, but it’s also true that the best camera is the camera you have with you. Over the past month I have been playing with a couple new formats including a Fuji XF1 Point & Shoot and shooting with Instagram on my phone, and have found both of these formats a refresher course in creative photography. Using these different formats has been a great way to shake up my perspective. It also means that I don’t have to leave the house with a camera bag full of equipment and this in itself has been quite freeing. These pictures were all shot with my LG Nexus 4 with the Instagram app.

2014 Jan Instagram for blog-5 

Stanley Park, Fogcouver

2014 Jan Instagram for blog-4

Afternoon Coffee Break

2014 Jan Instagram for blog-3

Lionsgate Bridge, Fogcouver

2014 Jan Instagram for blog-2

Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames

2014 Jan Instagram for blog-6


Photo Walk – Fogcouver

“Fogs and clouds which conceal the overshadowing mountains lend the breadth of the plains to mountain vales. Even the small-feature’d country acquires some grandeur in stormy weather when clouds are seen drifting between the beholder and the neighboring hills” – Henry David Thoreau
 2014 January Personal Fogcouver Stanley Park-1
It’s been a weird winter in Vancouver, and by weird I mean it’s been remarkably dry. There has been little rain overhead, and everyone is missing snow in the mountains. In a move to get me away from my computer, I have been spending more time walking with my camera and despite the lack of snow above, the lack of rain has made it a lot easier to be outside. I write this, ironically enough, having replaced my mobile phone two weeks ago after a long hike at Buntzen Lake on an outrageously wet day.
It’s been super foggy in Vancouver over the past couple of weeks and I took the opportunity this past weekend to get out to see if I could capture some of the more moody atmosphere in the low hanging fog. The truth is I never, or rarely ever, shoot this way. Over the past couple of years I have been so focused on client work, and finding client work that I haven’t spent much time shooting just for the fun of it. Over the last few weeks, however, I have been having a blast getting out to shoot for myself and I have been producing photos that are a departure from my norm. This is one of the many understated values of pursuing personal work; it provides an opportunity to see things differently without the risk of screwing up something intended for a client. That said, I don’t typically shoot landscapes for clients, but I have been enjoying the opportunity to seek images different than others in my archive.
A couple of things have contributed to this change in approach. The first being Instagram which I have taken to as a tool to keep me thinking in frames even when I am not shooting, and the other is using a Fuji XF1, a Point & Shoot camera bought last summer. Each of these factors have already had an impact on the way I see and approach scenes in front of me. Interestingly enough because both the Fuji and the camera on my Nexus 4 are so slow to operate I spend a lot more time composing images and I feel freer to be more creative because I’m not shooting with my pro gear, a Nikon D800. This is absolutely counter intuitive but I feel more freedom to make mistakes, and I am unconcerned with the outcome. Who knew?!
Below are shots from Stanley Park on a 10km walk through some of the thickest fog I have ever seen in Vancouver.
2014 January Personal Fogcouver Seawall Blog-1
2014 January Personal Fogcouver Stanley Park-2 2014 January Personal Fogcouver Stanley Park-5 2014 January Personal Fogcouver Stanley Park-6
While the above images were all made with the Nikon D800 and a 35mm f2, this last image was shot with the Fuji XF1 and toned in Lightroom 5. I have been using the Fuji more and more lately and have been having a blast.
2014 January Personal Fogcouver Shooter Blog-1

Don’t forget, I’d still like to see your food photos. I’m giving away a signed copy of Hana Dethlefsen’s collection of Japanese home favourites, and you have just less than three weeks to show me your stuff!

Let’s Cooking Cookbook Giveaway

Find me on Instagram

“A Photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever.”-Mark Twain

Instagram Promo 1

I am so late to the party there is nothing new I can possibly say about Instagram, other than you can now find me posting photos. Sometimes featuring my morning coffee sometimes it will be work in progress or images captured on project scouts or photowalks. There is, no argument here, an overabundance of junk on Instagram, but there are also hundreds, thousands of professional and accomplished hobby shooters posting to an exponentially growing archive of images from every part of the world. It is an amazing way to pique your visual curiosity. Come find me at @robshaerphoto.

Don’t forget, I’d like to see your food photos. I’m giving away another cook book this month. Check out Hana Dethlefsen’s collection of Japanese home favourites:

Let’s Cooking Cookbook Giveaway

The Next Giveaway: Let’s Cooking

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” – Craig Claiborne

Lets Cooking Cover

I can’t believe we are already into the second week of the new year. Not only has this week gone by with the frenetic energy of first love, but with it has come the 2014 event season. It might sound premature, but in looking ahead I see about 40 event on the calendar this year already. In fact, I had to go old school yesterday and buy an agenda, the Google calendar on my phone just isn’t going to cut it. While I scramble to shoehorn double-booked events, I’d love to start the year off with something a little more celebratory. I want to give you something.

While the Burgoo, Food For Comfort Cookbook giveaway didn’t draw the number of entries I would have hoped for, I am at it again. If you’ve been following along, you might recall that I had a second cookbook release this fall for a project that was shot almost two years ago. Let’s Cooking is a collection of Japanese-style home cooking recipes, which I can tell you are much simpler to prepare than they look. Let’s Cooking is a bit of a how to manual going beyond what most of us recognize as our Japanese fan favourites. Apparently Japanese food is more than just Sushi!

Since getting a test copy of the book last year, we have tried a number of dishes including what has become an easy favourite, the Okonomiyaki which invites infinite variations depending on what we have in the fridge, or what might have been left over from last night’s BBQ. From rice and noodles to elegant and whimsical Kanten Let’s Cooking is a primer for a style of cooking and food that couldn’t be more different than the food many of us grew up with but has become a staple for many of us on the West Coast.

So warm up what ever camera you have close and share your food experiences with me for a chance to win a signed copy of Hana Dethlefsen’s Let’s Cooking.

What I would like to see:

Your original work featuring food, cooking, or the social nature of a shared dinner table. I would like to see your photo with a short caption describing it’s creation and something about why it is significant to you. Top photos will be shared on this blog with credit and attribution with the winner being selected mid February. Please include your watermark if possible. Due to the constraints of international shipping the winner will be selected from North American-based entries.

I am excited to see and share your quality images, but most of all I want to see something beyond a glossy magazine style photo. That said, if your photo shares a story and is evocative and engaging I am not concerned if it was shot with your iPhone, compact or Pro DSLR. I care less about your technique of capture and more about the evocative nature of the content. Show us food that makes us hungry, show us a scene we’d be eager to be a part of.

I don’t want to see your whole portfolio, entries are limited to three images at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi at 1024 pixels on the long side.

What I don’t want to see:

Previously published photos will not be considered nor will photos submitted under false pretenses; I want to see your work, not the work of others with your name on it. Any work I deem in violation of copyright will be disqualified immediately and will be shared with the creating photographer where identifiable.

The Fine Print:

I reserve the right to change or alter contest terms based on the number and quality of entries. If I only receive one entry, I won’t be sending out the cookbook, but rather trying again in a couple of months.  I am the sole judge and jury and I can be whimsical and subjective. Contest closes on February 15, 2014

Submit your images to me at Rob@RobShaer.com

Food - Let's Cooking Cookbook 2011
Food – Let’s Cooking Cookbook 2011

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project Participate Gallery-4



Photography: The Good.

“I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.” – James Nachtwey

Family Finds Missing Son In a ​USA Today Photo

Associated Press Photojournalist Jacquelyn Martin captured this image of 20 year old Nicholas Simmons in Washington DC a few days into the new year and almost two weeks after he left his parent’s home in Greece, NY. Shot on January 4, Martin’s image ran in USA Today in part of a gallery featuring images of the recent East Coast cold snap. After missing for almost two weeks someone close to the Simmons family saw the feature in last Saturday’s paper and recognized Nicholas. Simmons has since been admitted to a DC hospital where his father was able to reconnect with him. While I am sure there is much more to this story, this has struck as living up to the best ambitions of photography and photojournalism. There is no question there was a bit of good luck was at work. I can only speculate the number of images and assignments that Martin must have shot on this day, but somehow Nicholas made it into the edit and a photo editor at the USA Today decided this was the image to run. It is possible that having survived the edit Nicolas will survive this ordeal.

I often think of the power of Photojournalism in an international context, of photojournalists in dangerous places recording the history that would otherwise go unseen, but this is only one component of the medium. Martin was covering the community she lives and works in. For her, this happened pretty close to home, and affirms that all news is local news. Does Photography and Photojournalism make a difference, does it really save lives? Clearly it does, and I expect the Simmons family will be forever grateful to Martin and her photograph.

For however long the link is active, here is the gallery Martin’s image of Nicholas Simmons appeared in:

Winter Storm Hits the Northeast

The story as I read it on Gawker:

Family Finds Missing Son in USA Today Photo


Happy New Year, Welcome 2014.

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” -Edith Lovejoy Pierce

2014 Polar Bear Swim-1

Happy New Year! I’m excited to dive in – I hope you are too! All the best for the year ahead.

Thank you.


Pictures of the Year 2013

“Cameras in the hands of photographers with hearts can capture love – hope – passion – change lives and make the world a better place. And all it takes is 1/500th of a second.” -Eddie Adams

2013 CMTS SQ50 Joseph Chick-1

I struggle with my year’s best work. I tend to see my most recent work as my best. I tend to become a little bored of the work which I’ve spent too much time considering or editing. I tend not to see my photos the way others do because I see everything, not just the highlights. I will be working on my 2013 box set over the next week or two; my ten best of the year, as I see them. It’s been a pretty good year, and there should be lots to choose from, but it also feels a little like wading into murky water.

In the meantime I have collected links to Photos of the Year galleries. Photography is getting richer, and while it’s easy to find post after post predicting the long slow decline of both professional photography and photography as most people understand it, I don’t see it the same way. I am optimistic. I believe we are in a Renaissance period in which technology is fueling creativity and broadening the way we share images. There are more ways to make a photo than ever before and there are more ways to share photography than ever before. And while change has come and will continue to impact the traditional channels through which photography has been shared, the value of quality work is getting higher. It does, however, require adaptation. While Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made a statement early this year equating professional photography with the storage capacity one might need, the difference between professional photography and that of even the most advanced amateurs in not merely defined by the equipment or software we use. It is no more the camera that makes the photographer than it is a hammer that makes a carpenter, or a note pad that makes a reporter. Beyond risk and opportunity it is the cumulative total of experience, judgement and skill that makes any photo as much as it is the camera and this year’s best photos are a perfect illustration of this truth.


Year in Pictures

Time Magazine:

LightBox The Year In Pictures (Multiple Galleries)

LightBox The Year in 365 Pictures

The Atlantic In Focus – The Year In Photos:

Part 1: 2013 The Year In Photos January-April

Part 2: 2013 The Year In Photos May-August

Part 3: 2013 The Year In Photos September-December

Reuters Full Focus:

Best Photos of the Year

The New York Times:

2013 The Year in Pictures

National Geographic:

2013 Year In Review


PINKBIKE’S Photos of the Year

Sports Illustrated:

Pictures of the Year

Billboard Magazine:

Photos of the Year: Best Instagrams of 2013  OMG!

Happy New Year everyone.

The Burgoo Food For Comfort Cookbook Giveaway Winners!

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations” -Oscar Wilde

Thanks to everyone who submitted their food photos; I have declared a winner (winner, chicken dinner)! I received some pretty nice submissions and others who’s spirit was in the right place but who’s technique could use a little work. In the end I appreciate everyone who took the time to send me a photo, or three and hope that you’ll participate in the next giveaway coming soon in the new year. In the end the winning photo offered the most complete mise en scene, that is to say the right combination of light, composition and content. Congratulations to Steffani Cameron in Victoria who submitted a nicely composed image of Oven baked “chips” with halibut en papillotte on a bed of kale & leek with mayo dip.

food for comfort Stephanie Cameron 1

And in case you were interested there a couple honorable mentions:

food for comfort Adrienne Denham

Thanks to Adrienne Denham, Simon Whitehead & son Bryn for this team effort to capture and submit this photo of Bryn and what’s left of his first experience with cherries.

Shannon Penway Food For Comfort

Nice work Shannon Penway! Looks delicious, can I invite you for dinner, and can you bring this apple tart?

Food For Comfort Skinners Bean Dip

Getting right into the spirit of it is Tom Skinner and his pic of a recipe taken from the prize in question; Tuscan Bean dip with home made beer and bread.

Thanks to Margaret Buttner in Vancouver for her enthusiastic submissioning, Michael Payne in Dallas, Andrew Tang for his capture of his Brother-in-law’s lovely and meaty roast creation, BCBR’s own Colin Wilson for his pics of pizza and waffles, you’re welcome to stay with us anytime (as long as you bring your waffle maker!) Whistler’s Tara Colpitts @Whis_Foodie; follow her on Twitter. Thank’s to my father-in-Law, Dr. Kenneth Carty for capturing the spirit of the season in his photo of volunteers preparing meals for Out Of The Cold and finally to Phil Mowatt who’s Butter Chicken Lasagna is Tippie Approved. Finally to Bill Carty, who contests no meal is complete without three dozen sausages!

Happy Holidays

 “Life is what you celebrate. All of it. Even its end.” -Joanne Harris

2013 Shaer Xmas Blog

However you celebrate this time of year, I wish you all the very best and hope that you are in good health, good company and good cheer. I hope the love you feel for the people around you is greater than the loss you feel for those you can’t be with. I will be thinking of family separated by time, geography and mortality while doing my best to celebrate the company that I find myself in over the next week or so.

I have so much to be grateful for this year and I appreciate that you’ve come through the last 12 month with me. 2013 started with some challenges, but revealed a year of successes with some amazing events, clients and photos. The successes of 2013 would not have been possible without a huge number of people.

Thanks to Forehand Foods Group/Burgoo Bistro; Justin Joyce, Stephen MacIntyre, Ken Carty, Michael Carty and their exceptional management team and restaurant staff. Peter Cocking at Figure 1 Publishing. The team at 5 Peaks; Christopher Colpitts, Chris Kennedy, Solana Klassen, Richard Bolt, Adam Campbell and Amy Golumbia who has so generously set me free to shoot her events the way I see them. Tom Skinner and Clif Cunningham at Canada Running Series in Vancouver, thank you for having me along for another great season. Gary Robbins and Geoff Langford at Coast Mountain Trail Series/Squamish 50, thanks for bringing me along on your inaugural season and the opportunity to shoot in some truly challenging weather and terrain. Thanks to Kathryn Stanton and the Meet Your Maker team. Thanks to Susan Butler, Louise Hatton, Michelle Leroux, Darren Kinnaird and the photo team at Crankworx 2013. Thanks to Erik & Kim at SUPERDROP – would be a perfect stocking stuffer! Peter van den Berg at Rollco. The whole crew at CreativeMornings/Vancouver who are working to bring Vancouver’s creative community together for thought provoking conversation and breakfast all before 10 am. Thanks to Jim and Lesley at Exhibit Connections, Brian Kladko at the UBC Faculty of Medicine, Ashley Kroening & Margaret Buttner at the Arthritis Society – BC & Yukon Division. Thanks to Rachel Johns at Greenstone Productions. Thanks to the Whistler Question, the Georgia Straight, The Vancouver Province, Canadian Running Magazine, Sheri Radford at Where.ca, The Columbia Valley Pioneer, James Blackwell at Mountain Bike UK and more who have trusted my work to share with their communities and readers.

Thanks to the huge but close knit community of event pros that routinely invite me back. Thanks to the BC Bike Race family; Dean Payne, Andreas Hestler, Lisa Au, Danielle Baker, Malina Parmar & Karen Stark among many others. Thanks to Dave Clark and his Whistler-based team for having me out for Coho and the Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon. Thanks to Ken, Isaac & Al and the Scene Ideas Crew. Thanks to Coreena Fletcher who has weathered an almost impossible year with her amazing spirit intact; thanks for the opportunity to work with you, Jay and Molson. Thanks to Tim Hopkins at the Vancouver Sun Run, Marc Campbell at the Surrey Marathon and Maurice Wilson at BC Athletics who continues to invite me back to work with the team at the Whistler 50 despite my bar tab. Thanks to the dozens of photographers I’ve worked with this year who continue to innovate and elevate a challenging and changing industry. Thanks to that core group I seem to see most event weekends with special thanks to Michael Campbell Burns who is half the size and works twice as hard as anyone I’ve met and to MCJC John Crosby who not only rocks the mic weekend after weekend but has also become a great client and corporate headshot model! Thanks and congratulations to Hana Dethlefsen, whose cookbook Let’s Cooking is making the local foodie rounds and making Japanese cooking a little easier for the rest of us.

Thanks to an amazing group of athletes who have lit it up for my camera, some already mentioned, and others like James Marshall, Shannon Penway & Tom Craik who make it so much easier to make great photos. Thanks to the thousands of event participants who smile, wave and dig deep for the camera even when they see me at the top of a climb. Thanks to a year of great swag and sponsorship, most of the events I work are made possible only because sponsors believe in what we’re doing. Thanks to Salomon for keeping me in tech shirts and Kicking Horse for keeping my coffee can filled and Ryders Eyewear for great specs and some mean looking socks. Thanks to Mark Busse, Johnathon Vaughn Strebly, Nick Didlick and Rick Etkin who have fielded endless questions with good will and in good spirits. Special thanks to Patti Houston who comes in like a Fairy Godmother to make things happen.

Thanks also to the friends, family and clients who have supported my return to photography without whom my best work would not be possible. Thank you, most of all, to Ms. Leslie Carty who has pushed, supported and encouraged me through the darkness of winter and the frenzy of event season because we are better together.

Happy Holidays & Much Love.

If I have left you out, it has been unintentional and I will make amends!