In 1981 I joined Image Finders and stayed with the Agency for 15 years as it evolved to become Tony Stone Images and eventually amalgamated with Getty Images. I was also represented by Fotopic and supplied these 2 agencies with many of my Stock Photos which were sold worldwide.The highlight of my time as a Vancouver Stock Photographer was working at Expo 86 and being a regular contributor to the Celebration book. I also worked on the "Share the Flame" book for the Calgary Olympics.
Top 3 in the Projections category of the Concord Pacific Photographic and Imaging Contest 2008.
Honorable mention in the International Photography Awards 2014
Recent installations of images include Walnut Beach Resort in Osoyoos, BC, Canada and One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge Colorado. I am currently working full time as a fine art photographer in the Vancouver area.
The majority of my clients are in the hospitality industry with sales locally in the following projects.... SALT....The Creek by Concert...The Keg...KITS 360....Silver Birch in Davie Village
Represented locally by Artworks Gallery and world-wide by Posters International.
November 25, 2013
Starting work on Italy images and completed my first travel article on Emperor Trajan*
*To download this pdf click here
Travels to Southern Italy include Rome, Naples, Bari, Lecce.
Shipyard Composites are proposed for Pacific Inn Prince Rupert.
Marriott again purchases large quantity of my images for another hotel interior.
April 5, 2013
Currently working on images for my next submission to
Posters International from a recent trip to Mazatlan.
I was fascinated with the flight of the Frigates
and spent many a morning trying to capture
their beauty in my motion blurs.
Below are some of the images both insuite and common area
that have been installed at the Silver Birch Mariott Vancouver
of 2 plans for all the newly renovated suites
for the kitchen area. Sunset blurs were chosen for the elevator lobby.
in the stairwell of the common area.
The totem image was used in the second plan for all the suites.
for their warm colors which complimented the room decor.
Large leaf images span the walls of the breakfast lounge at Silver Birch.
Images at The Walnut Beach Resort we taken
over a span of 6 months in the Osoyoos and Hedley areas.
The over 50 images were used in all the suites and
most of the common areas including the reception area.
St Paul's Hospital in Vancouver used the trio of images
below to brighten up a waiting room.
Bamboo and Koi were the images of choice.
My Article in Focus Magazine (Issue #22) and Zinio Magazine 2010
To download the entire issue (#22) of Focus Magazine click here*
*Please note that this issue contains over 300 pages and will take a little time to download
The challenge of a photographer is to present images in a fresh new perspective. Documentary shots may show incredible detail, or provide context to the subject, but Norm Stelfox is looking to inspire imagination by showing less detail. Stelfox has been behind the lens for many years. He has also had a career as a science teacher where he encouraged his students to explore their world in a open creative manner. He applies this same sense of intrigue and wonder to his images. “My images must fill the gap between reality and fantasy.”
Be it motion blurs or digital compositing, the image in his minds eye is always the goal. This can be applied to everything from ferns and fungi on the forest floor to how nature consumes man-made materials in a rusting process. His mages can also show the fluidity of the human form as it expresses itself through dance or the dance of petals in a gentle breeze. Creative blurs and selective focus techniques have been around for decades. Ernst Haas, one of the pioneers of this technique, captured his images on film but the digital world allows photographers to explore this area in greater depth than was possible with film. The ability to instantly review the virtual image on the camera’s LCD screen feeds the creative process, encouraging experimentation. Stelfox may approach a scene with an idea in mind as to the end result, or he may let the process of “capture and review” reveal a new essence of the scene. In either case, he uses the camera lens to paint with light.
Much the same way as an abstract painter uses colour, line and form to present a variation of reality, Stelfox attempts to capture a particular essence or element, without the distraction of too much detail. For this, he has a variety of tools at his disposal. He may dissolve the details with camera motion, letting the subject matter determine the type of camera motion he uses. With trees and forest scenes a sweeping up and down action produces bold lines that enhances the verticality of the trees while placing them against a soft, painterly background. In seascapes and horizons, a panning motion from side to side increases the sense of vastness, while portraying the subtle transition from one element to another. A small irregular movement of camera lens suggests motion in a stationary saxophone, or softens the hard edges of a blade of grass or flower petal. It can also combine natural elements in an “un-natural” way. In the “Palm Frond at Sunset Mexico” image, color from the surrounding sunrise added to the impact on the monochrome palm tree. The fronds of the palm were dry and dying but as the sun slowly set, the whole scene took on a new life. The warm sunlight filtered through the brown brittle leaves and made them glow and shine in a symbolic resurrection of life. His scientific background emerges as Stelfox likens this image to the “Birth of the Universe” or an introduction to the “myth of creation“; our colourful world emerging in a “Big Bang” from the greyness of deep space. In reality, the image shows the rebirth of a palm tree in one of the poorest areas of Mexico.
Blur17 Palm Frond at Sunset Mexico
In addition to camera movement a slow shutter speed is needed to create his images. Sometimes, however, the captured images cannot hold all the color transmitted through them and they become overexposed and washed out. On the other hand, a faster exposure only stops the flow of color and light that are the paints that he works with. There must be a middle ground with both the time and amount of light to be truly effective. In the “Palm Frond” image, the gray edges of the leaves can still be seen because of the high depth of field. The slow shutter speed of 1 to 4 seconds is able to capture all the colors of light as it passes through the cracks and crevasses of the palm. Stelfox cautions here, “Your camera motion must follow the path set by nature…The natural lines of the leaves or the progression of fading light otherwise the flow will not be continuous.”
Stelfox may use sharpness and softness in the image to help direct the viewer's attention, simplify the background, and convey a sense of motion. He notes that this type of image can often be successful with slightly less sharpness than would be required in a typical documentary image. To accomplish the opposing goals of softness and sharpness in the same image, slower than usual shutter speeds are needed to create the blur and he incorporates motion blur from two fairly independent sources. The first is the panning motion of the camera, which blurs all stationary objects in the image, like the image background. The second is the movement of the subject itself which also affects blurring. “So much can be gained by letting natural forces ‘paint the image for you’.” Stelfox says. “You become the recipient of this natural play of light.”
Very slow shutter speeds tend to show large amounts of blurring in both the object and the background, but often results in isolated areas of the image that are enhanced. In the image “Tropical Leaf in the Wind” camera movement and wind movement work together to blur both the details of the leaf and the background. The motion of the leaves in the wind is actually enhanced by the camera following that direction. In contrast, there is still a strong sense of structure and direction.
Blur31 Tropical leaf in the wind
The third tool that Stelfox uses to create his blurs is selective focus. By decreasing the depth of field, he chooses a single plane to be in focus. In post production he may decrease the depth of field further, to draw more attention to specific elements in the image. In “Curled Edge of Tulip”, Stelfox hand held the camera, focusing on the petal edges with a short depth of field. Still wanting to decrease the depth of field beyond the capabilities of the camera, the image was altered in post production by masking areas of the tulip that were detracting from the sharp curled edge of the petals. His science background is often evident in his images, as he explores tiny details of common objects. His goal is to have the viewer appreciate the object in a whole new way as more details emerge, the colors expand and merge in a beautiful gradient of coloured light. “One starts to appreciate how complex our natural world really is. This tulip becomes so much more than a glimpse at the curled edge of it leaves”.
Blur20 Curled edge of tulip
Sometimes an image never comes alive until you invoke more abstraction. Adding too much makes the scene lose its identity or form but just enough can sometimes illicit a substantial emotional response from the viewer. Blur 7 is still a leaf - green, vibrant and alive but with the added element of fracture the viewer takes a second look. Stelfox wants the viewer question what is reality and what is the abstraction. “Digital manipulation can definitely extend one’s minds eye into the minute detail or the expanse of nature itself” he says. “This study investigates the shades of green in the tropical leaf while balancing the geometry of curves and imperfect rectangles. Even though this geometrical structure may connect with the digital pixels of which it is made, the flow of curves and shadows invite us to look further into this space. The mind will always construct a framework from past experiences or try to put things into some kind of context for the viewer.”
Blur7 Abstracted Tropical Leaf
Stelfox is never reluctant to use post production techniques. Because the blurring process of the camera causes a decrease in colour saturation and contrast, post production alteration can restore the image. He sees post production techniques as a further tool in bringing the image that he sees in his minds eye to the life.