Writing visual poetry with R-A-I-N

Writing visual poetry with R-A-I-N

It’s been almost three years since we started working on our R-A-I-N project. Since then we have not only embraced shooting in the R-A-I-N but have also fallen in love with it. I feel that photographing on sunny days is like writing a job assignment but shooting in the R-A-I-N is like writing a poem. It’s incredibly inconvenient due to the technical challenges of course, but also more difficult from a seeing perspective.

Everything around you is subtle, masked, almost hidden. When all the natural elements are hassling your body, you must concentrate twice as hard. You must observe more intensely and craft the imagery from very scarce elements. Then there is the light or rather lack of it. At least that appears to be the case for those who are not looking. It was certainly the hardest part when I started this project. However, with time you learn to see the light in different dimensions – even the slightest glimmer makes a difference. As I said, this is a subtle process.

The project R-A-I-N has also reinforced my stand on something else. In this almost psychotic search for sharpness, I embraced un-sharpness. This silky, hazy, muted appearance is something I often look for in my seeing. In this way I find images that are not plastic, perfect and surgical but rather poetic and frail as if they have soul. I am well aware that many of you will disagree but something is telling me that the age of sharpness in digital photography is coming to an abrupt end (topic for another discussion). Shouldn’t it be all about rendition and mood?

Then there’s colour. There is no question that we all long for perfect early morning or late afternoon light. This light spices up our images and gives them a new dimension. I never thought that R-A-I-N could do the same – or even more – until I started shooting extensively in rainy conditions. What colour! What depth!

Interestingly, these are not my favourite R-A-I-N images! For me the real visual poetry comes from a fusion of R-A-I-N and the atmosphere of the black and white film or simulation. These images are not loud or always easy for consumption but somehow stay with me longer. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know.

There is so much more I would like to share with you about this project but I should probably stop for now. Just yesterday I was shooting new material for the project, some of which you will find below plus some older imagery. I am also writing an in-depth “HOW IT WAS SHOT” series about R-A-I-N project for my Simplicity-In-Seeing subscribers, which I will share on this blog.

For those of you who would like to fall in love with photographing R-A-I-N, I would like to invite you to my Project R-A-I-N: Photography Workshop here in Vancouver, February 23-15, 2018. During this unique workshop, we will be studying and working together to produce a special and different body of work. So if you are crazy enough to dream, see and write poetry with R-A-I-N and want to do something new and exciting with your photography, join me in Vancouver. Look forward to seeing you there!

Here is our imagery, all taken with the X-Pro2 and various lenses.


and R-A-I-N in B&W…




2017 © Olafphoto. All rights reserved.



Streets of San Francisco Photography Workshop

Streets of San Francisco Photography Workshop

It is finally here – the Streets of San Francisco Photography Workshop! We could not be more excited as San Francisco is one of the best cities for street photography in North America. Not only does it offer a plethora of fascinating visuals but the city vibe and remarkable people add an extra jolt to the process of Seeing.

Photographing in the city is so much more than the word “street” implies. Most street photography deals with documenting what’s there in plain sight but we want to go beyond that. Our objective is to create imagery which not only challenges your senses but triggers an emotional and visual reaction – whatever it may be. Yes, you are right! Sometimes such work is not easy to appreciate and sometimes it may even be confusing but one thing is for sure – it will make you pause, trigger emotions and jolt your ideas. To achieve this, we have worked over the last few years to create a program to help do just that.

We will be discussing and practicing five key concepts during this workshop:






Each of these pillars of my program will be studied and practiced extensively. They include observation, the concept of a stage, arranging elements within the frame, simplifying the frame, evaluations and much more. The techniques and concepts I present are suited not only to novices but also experienced photographers who want to expand their seeing horizon by challenging their own way of seeing.  

During the three days we will discover our inner seeing and challenge ourselves with different but bold ideas. Yes, we will have discussions, presentations and consider technical issues. My objective is not to impose my seeing on you but help you to discover your strengths and weaknesses and turn them into your own way of seeing and designing photographs. Ultimately your personality, your life experience and your inner strength will guide the seeing. Forget the rules!  

In order to work together and achieve great results, one-to-one education and mentoring is a must! I never assume that my students are all heading in the same direction. Considerations of character, interests and visual exploration may lead some students to discover new ways of seeing – and this is priceless for me.

During hands-on shooting on the streets of San Francisco each participant will spend extensive time with me individually. Such one-to-one interaction with my students is imperative in the learning process so our class sizes are limited to 6 participants only.

On completing your registration, you will receive a letter of welcome and a direct email address for Olaf. From this point on, Olaf will help you with your preparations in terms of gear choices and will answer any questions you may have. In the period leading up to the workshop you will receive email communication regarding any changes, updates and/or preparation ideas. All my students remain in direct contact with me after the workshop so we can interact and discuss your progress.

You can reserve your spot and find more details about the workshop at www.simplicityinseeing.com

What kind of imagery we will be shooting? Here are some images taken on the Streets of San Francisco.


Hope to see you in San Francisco!




2017 © Olafphoto. All rights reserved.