A State of Surveillance

A series looking at being looked at. Eyes in the sky, on the side of a building, atop a vendor’s stall, or in a Buddhist Temple. Some urban environments are practically impossible to maneuver through without being recorded. In Taichung the camera peers out from unexpected places. Spot the cameras in these images and wonder if you’d have seen them in real life. Once I started to see a few, I started to see a lot.

For more from Taiwan, check my digital brief here.

Taiwan, 2015.

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Hiding in Plain Sight

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Walking to the photo studio on a blue sky morning means I need to budget some extra time to literally stop and smell the flowers. Factor in the occasional photograph along the way, too, and my commute has stretched out a little bit. Stroll the side streets of Mount Pleasant and you’ll find a new scene opens up on each block. Here are a couple iPhone snaps from one such morning — the low angle of spring light, the magnolias caught mid-bloom and a skyfall of floral worms from a pollinating tree overhead. Behind it all, homes, vehicles, streets…urban life, in plain sight.

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The Ghosts of Transit Past

Vintage BC trolley buses on display at Sandon, BC.Have you ever been to Sandon, BC? It’s not exactly a place you happen upon. Ascending into the Selkirk range from the town of New Denver on Slocan Lake, it’s just a short jaunt up Carpenter Creek. The town is one of BC’s most famous ghost towns, not bad for a province with hundreds of ’em! I have a bit of a thing for these places, like Phoenix near Greenwood, BC. Like many others, Sandon has a rich history of mining and pioneering, and with that came brothels, bars and 5000 residents all vying for a piece of that mineral pie. There was even a battle for railroad supremacy, complete with sabotage and scandal! Within 20 years, however, the boom went to bust and the rest is history.

Somewhere along the way, a few decommissioned electric trolley buses from Vancouver found a home in the open air of this (mostly) abandoned place. Maintained by Hal Wright, one of Sandon’s only residents, these ‘Brills’ date back to the 40s and have become a magnet for curiousity seekers and history/transit buffs. I’d been hearing about this place for a few years and finally had a visit. The location is very nice, tucked into a tight valley with towering green all around. Classic Kootenays! The buses were right there on the side of the road, an open-air museum as they are slowly restored and kept in shape. There seems to be a lot to do on that front! Didn’t make it into the museum, and it’s best to check if/when it’s open before visiting. The texture & colour of rusted metal, weather-worn wood and vintage design hits all the marks for me, I could have spent a full day photographing here. There is also an old ‘iron horse’ dating to 1908 if trains are your thing – the Steam Locomotive 6947 in all it’s black beauty.

If you decide to go, bring your hiking boots and take the winding road up and out of town to approach Idaho Peak, an incredible ridge walk taking you up to the peak and a lookout with 360-degree views of the Kootenays. Lakes, mountains, and meadows as far as the eye can see. It really is something to behold.

Sandon, BC.

(click the first image below to view them all larger – recommended!)

A Spring Day Along The Cheakamus

This was no day to leave the sunglasses behind. Sandra and I took a trip up the Sea to Sky last weekend to soak up some of this unusually hot sunshine. We found a nice spot along the Cheakamus River and did the day up right: hammock nap, head dunks in the river, campfire veggie dogs ‘n’ slaw, afternoon bocce through the forest, more dogs on the fire, an exciting visit from two actual dogs — Sprocket and Ned — who must live nearby and, as the sun began to descend, a stoked up fire and final forest feast. An easy day out, giving us enough of a break from the city.

I was also keen to work with my latest lens acquisition, an 85mm f1.9 Super-Takumar. Paired with my Fuji X system, I am totally loving the ‘vintage lenses in digital spaces’ vibe. Deep contrast, crazy-cool bokeh, and unusual colour captured with the lens coatings. I’ll probably do a proper ‘I Heart Takumar’ post sometime soon – yes I am totally re-enamoured by these beauties. These are the lenses I got my start with in photography, paired with the Asahi Pentax bodies I still use today. Needless to say, with the adapter, I was able to add five ‘new’ lenses to my Fuji arsenal. Still have to work out a few kinks with focus and fringing, so consider these shots all part of the big test (the fire shot is iPhone). Check out some previous Takumar pics from ‘Vancouver’s Best Autumn‘ and a catch-all set of ‘Takumar‘ shots on my flickr.

As per usual, click the first image to view them large.

 

Taiwan: The Cycling Island

Frame production at Giant Bicycles, Taichung.

I traveled to Taiwan a few years ago to visit an assortment of bicycle factories, check out the cycling culture while riding around a little bit and report back on my findings. The piece was published in the print and digital edition of Momentum Mag in May 2016. I’ve now reformatted the article and added some new images to the ‘Photo Stories’ archival section on my website. Have a look:

Taiwan: The Cycling Island – Writing & Photography by David Niddrie

Taiwan is a small island nation sometimes called the ‘Bicycle Kingdom’ and a staggering amount of the frames, components and accessories we’re familiar with in North America are designed and manufactured here. It was my first time visiting Asia, and first experience looking behind the scenes at cycling manufacturing on a massive scale. I’ve been to many bicycle trade shows, handmade builder expos, events and gatherings in Canada and the USA, but the scale of the global cycling industry – of which Taiwan is a huge part – was mind-boggling. Please head over to my main website and take a look at my piece on Taiwan, the brands, the people behind them and what this ‘cycling island’ is doing to promote and encourage city cycling in a nation of millions.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting the inside scoop for my readers and have a pile of outtake images, sound clips and interview notes from these adventures. I’ve done similar visits to facilities in Germany and the Netherlands and I would love to do this again sometime! Learning where and how bike share bicycles are made, going behind the scenes at an innovative e-bike company, photographing a custom build from assessment to the first pedal. Or something completely different, like vinyl LP manufacturing in Western Canada. Anyone want to partner? Contact me!

Hands on manufacturing at Velo Saddles.

Van Bikes – Portraits From the Cycling World

Last summer I worked with Colin Stein to produce portraits of key players in Vancouver’s city cycling movement. Colin is working on a really big project: conducting in-depth interviews, sourcing archival images, and bringing together first-hand accounts as he puts together the definitive oral history of cycling advocacy in Vancouver. I can’t wait to hear these voices illuminate how we became such a bike-friendly city. Check out the project here. In the journey to a printed volume, we’ll hear a lot more from Van Bikes.

You’ll see there are more than one hundred people who make up the fabric of this tale. Kudos to Colin for tackling such a big project, and one encompassing so many angles. See how bicycles factored into the ground-breaking Clouds of Change Task Force, continued today as the Greenest City Action Plan. Or the creation and philosophy behind our city’s beloved Bikeway Network. Here’s one on our bike-friendly Mayor Gregor and his party’s role in growing our cycling mode share (complete with a portrait I shot of the Mayor in 2012). This is just a sample of the stories to come.

The portraits were started with another photographer, so when I stepped in to help out we had a style to work with. A simple set up – one light, one chair, and a dark backdrop all aimed at capturing some personality to accompany the interviews. We converted to monochrome for a consistent batch to work with. I was happy to reconnect with past colleagues and friends from my years working in Vancouver’s cycling advocacy and media sector. Cool to finally meet some of the others whom, over time, I had known via a wave as we passed like bikes in the night. Keep an eye out on Van Bikes and related media, this story goes back many decades and continues to be written today.

Re-energized! Re-examining! Revealing!

It’s all happening!

I have been busy working on a number of projects – commercial and personal – but have been pretty lax about sharing what’s up lately. As I populate my main website with new stories and collections, I plan to re-invigorate this blog with photography, too. Taking some time away from the relentless battle against the Instagram algorithm, I hit pause in the new year and have been doing my own thing again. This blog and my site, along with Flickr, are dedicated spaces to see my work online. Consider my IG profile an archive of 2000+ images for the time being. We’ll see if I’m drawn back to that space or not…

Speaking of archiving, that’s been a big part of my life lately, too. Re-editing older projects with fresh eyes is very exciting! Expect to see more from my digital collection — 200,000+ images from the past 14 years. Prints, scans and slides are on top of that. It’s…a lot. But I love it. Not only do I take photos for a living, I shoot when I’m on break, too. It’s a career and a passion, something I am grateful for most days.

As a welcome back – to you and I – here are two shots from one of the best times in my life: my travels around Argentina and Chile with my love, Sandra. I passed over these images on my initial edit 12 years ago. The top shot is from a place outside Barreal, Argentina called the Pampa del Leoncito – a dry lake bed renowned for land-sailing and sky-gazing. The bottom shot is the approach to the Pampa, with the massive Cordillera de Ansilta – seven peaks in the Andes reaching up to 5900m – forming an impressive backdrop. That’s Cerro Mercedario dead ahead at 6720m. Along with Aconcagua further down, these are the biggest mountains I’ve ever seen!

If you haven’t already, please take a look at my previous post featuring framed prints, now on sale! Haven’t you always wanted some original artwork from a notable Canadian photographer* on your wall? I like to think so! Please let me know if you are interested in any of the specials.

* A notable contemporary Niddrie that is ;)

Framed Print Sale

Announcing the New Year print sale from David Niddrie Photography! I have been exhibiting fine art prints over the last 15 years and it’s time to pare down the existing collection. These prints are all made locally using high-quality archival materials, framed tastefully and many have been previously exhibited at art shows here in Vancouver. Shipping is available for out of town orders, otherwise pick up in Metro Vancouver can be easily arranged. There is a variety on offer: colour, b&w, canvas with images from Honduras, Argentina and Canada, along with hyper-local prints from the Disappearing Main Street series.

Please let me know if you see something of interest. And don’t forget, these are just ‘sale prints’ from exhibition — maybe you’d like a different image for your space? Because I do a lot of that, too. Now….without further ado: The Prints!

 

Trouble Brewing (Limited Edition)
Photographed in Cordoba, Argentina under a dark sky of unusual mammatus clouds.
Exhibited at Diane Ferris Gallery, Vancouver, BC.
12.75×19” black, custom framed, white matte (~7.5×12” image size)
Listed for $250.00 ltd edition, available now for $160.00



Orders
Photographed at Budgie’s Burritos on Kingsway near Main Street, Vancouver.
Exhibited at the This Is East Van photography exhibition, Vancouver, BC.
16×20” white frame, printed white matte (~9.5×14″ image size)
Listed for $165.00, available now for $115.00


Sunbaked Cinder
Photographed on the Helm Creek cinder flats approaching The Tusk, Whistler, BC.
Selected by Getty Images in This Is Canada 2012.
18×26″ deep-set black frame, archival canvas print w/ 1.5″ gallery wrap (~16×24″ image size)
Listed for $325.00, available now for $215.00


Ceiba Tree of Life // Duet with the Northern Sky
Photographed in Honduras on top of a pyramid at the ancient Mayan art city of Copán
Never exhibited, private collection, Vancouver, BC.
27×39” grey, plastic frame, white matte (~19.5×27” image size)
Value $350.00, available now for $195.00
Note: deep discount due to slight warp on frame-only


Technicolour
Photographed at Interbike bicycle trade show in Las Vegas.
Exhibited at the HUB art show and fundraiser, Vancouver, BC
12×15” black frame, white matte
Listed for $100.00, available now for $65.00


Dualities
Photographed in downtown Vancouver, from the ‘City Square’ series
Exhibited at Photohaus salon show, Vancouver, BC
12×12” black frame, full frame, no matte
Listed for $150.00, available now for $100.00


Solitary Man
Photographed in downtown Vancouver, from the ‘City Square’ series
Exhibited at Photohaus salon show, Vancouver, BC
12×12” black frame, full frame, no matte
Listed for $150.00, available now for $100.00


The following are from the Disappearing Main Street photo series. This extensive body of work can be seen on a dedicated site here. The series captures Vancouver’s Main Street at it existed in the summer of 2011. Photographing both sides of Main from 2nd Avenue at the bottom of the hill up towards the end of the commercial district at 33rd Avenue, the series encompasses 62 complete blocks of uninterrupted streetscape. Prints available here were exhibited at our project launch exhibition.
All images from this series are available as made-to-order prints as well, please inquire.

 

Top Cars
East // 6th – 7th Avenue, Main Street, Vancouver

18×24” white frame, printed matte (~12.5×19″ image size)
Listed for $185.00, available now for $140.00

Abe’s
East // 26th – 28th Avenue, Main Street, Vancouver

16×20” white frame, printed matte (~10×15″ image size)
Listed for $150.00, available now for $110.00

Continental
West // 19th – 20th Avenue, Main Street, Vancouver.
16×20” white frame, printed matte (~10×15″ image size)
Listed for $150.00, available now for $110.00


Thanks for taking a look! Hit me up if you have any questions, comments or perhaps you are looking for something a little different? Let’s talk!
Note: all prices subject to GST and shipping, if applicable.

New Website!

The Kenda Tire factory in Taichung. From an editorial assignment looking at bicycle manufacturing in Taiwan. Photo Story coming soon on the new site.

The Kenda Tire factory in Taichung. From an editorial assignment about bicycle manufacturing in Taiwan. Story coming soon to the new site.

Hi there, it’s been some time! Sorry for the pause in the photoshow but I have been working behind the scenes on my new website and it’s getting ready to share! In fact, I have the basics up online right now. If you’d be so kind as to take a look and please let me know how it works for you. I am in the ‘bug testing’ phase, let’s call it ‘beta’ and see what happens. Much more fun to do it all ‘live’, right? Coming up on the site I’ll be adding many more ‘Photo Stories’ and other exciting new content. This blog will morph from my main site into what it started out as — stories, thoughts, photo galleries, editorial writing and video to support my online portfolios. Stay tuned for more and thank for sticking with me to date. Much appreciated!

Please visit: David Niddrie Photography

 

Fall Fishing & Ponderosa Pondering in the Skagit Valley

Visitors relax along the Skagit River in BC.

It was late September and summer was easing out, slowly becoming autumn here on the West Coast. Still plenty of time for camping and hiking as the mushrooms were just beginning to announce themselves and the trout were seemingly enjoying the cooler waters this time of year brings. For a fishing stream, the Skagit is renowned. Most people out here today were hip deep in waders and tackle. For us, the streams didn’t deliver but any day spent on the river in this gorgeous valley is fine by me. I caught some good shots, angled for some landscapes and portraits.

With the fish a no-go, we ventured into the woods and into a forest of Ponderosa. Certainly one of my favourite trees, but they really don’t grow around here so much, preferring the arid interior less than 100km away. But in between here and there, the coastal mountains with all their dark forests of fog, moss, cedar and fern exist. Those Cascade Mountains across the US border create a shadow, a microclimate for the dry-loving Ponderosa to grow. It was a little patch of Princeton, right here near Hope. With the sun making a hasty retreat to the west, we took the last light afforded our eyes into the woods and scoped out Angel Wings, Boletes and assorted funghi. A few made it home, most we left as is.

The colour palate that day was across the gamut – bold primaries mixing with the subtle hues of a darkening day and a changing season. A little cloud and the low, golden light a few days after equinox is a photographer’s delight. Here are a few scenes from the Skagit that day. The next was entirely different, and the one thereafter…forever onwards.

Skagit Valley, BC, 2016.

<click the first image to view ’em large – I would recommend it!>