Katherine Keates

Fine Art Photography

What's New !!!


The Artful Beach


It’s a sweet summer morning. You walk along the beach where the sparkling water meets the sand, breathe in the fresh air, hear the waves lapping along the shore, and feel the sand squish between your toes. The grand scene takes your breath away but there is so much more. There is undiscovered magic happening beneath those sandy toes that can be equally beautiful and totally mesmerizing. 

Over millennia, rock is broken down in tiny and varied particles of minerals which make their way to the shore by eroding rivers, glaciers, volcanoes, moraines and bluffs. These ancient minerals amalgamate with newer ground up shells and invertebrates to create one-of-a-kind blends of colourful sand and oxides reflecting each beach’s local geography in a magnificent palette. Every beach is eternally restless and adapting. It is as unique as a fingerprint.

The incoming waves and merging spring fed streams play with the often vibrant colours of the particles and the reflected hue of the sky to shape and craft ever-changing, living abstract designs. To the discoverer, this offers endless possibilities and fun. Camera in hand, or not, the display can be spellbinding; reminiscent of childhood hours spent rotating and flipping a frame of coloured sand sandwiched between glass to create new and wondrous designs.

For me, as a photographer who loves creating abstracts, my core photography began with landscapes. As you know by my previous article (below), it is impossible to walk past this natural and evolving sand art without seeking out the landscape. Hills, valleys, aerials, and abstract visions form and morph before your eyes.

So, next time you go for that beach walk, wherever you are in the world, remember to stop, look down and contemplate the moving magical show of nature’s sand art right at your feet. You won’t be disappointed.

To see more Sand Art images, click on the gallery link below the last image. 






Sand Foothills


Into the Hills


Landscape Illusions


Although there can be different and broad interpretations of the word, 'landscape' is a major theme in all forms of art. One of them is photography. Landscape photography is a means to represent the places in which we live and a way to portray what we see around us. 

A landscape is rarely defined by its size but rather the phenomenon or ecological mosaic that is presented for us to consider. The physical elements often include landforms such as mountains, hills, lakes, or the sea. They could also encompass vegetation, buildings, structures, or even, transitory elements like weather conditions. Bottom line, it represents how we see our space from many perspectives. It can be as broadly varied as forests, tundra, deserts, cities, farms, ruins and riverbeds. Emotionally, what makes a landscape image effective is how it resonates with us, conjures a memory or allows for a momentary escape.

As one who enjoys making landscape images, I am always on the lookout for the perfect scene…one that makes my heart sing. Many times, I have driven by a scene with no time or ability to stop only to have that image burned indelibly upon my mind with repeated regret.

But there is something more than the traditional landscape that we see with our eyes. It is the landscape that our mind can see when we least expect it. 

The interesting thing that has happened over the years is that I now see landscapes everywhere. This has led me to the exploration of landscape illusions, things that suggest landscape but are out of context. If you open your visual eye to the possibilities, magical landscapes can be conjured up out of something totally unexpected. The illusory landscapes in this series have been born from decaying, aging, manufactured, or miniature beginnings. If you allow it, something as simple as a fleeting brush of light on found glass can send your imaginary landscape visions soaring.


Coincidental Treescape

Glass Landscape

Painted Forest 

Rising Forest

Winter Horizon

The Stand


The Boatyard


One of my most favourite places to seek out possibilities for abstract images is to visit or sneak into a boatyard either at home or abroad.  Dry-docked hulls that have once weathered the mighty seas and now, relinquished to the test of time, await a facelift, reconstruction, or surrender to salvage. They always present a host of possibilities for the mind's eye.

The real fun in all of this is later discovering a ghost of familiarity in the final image that relates somehow back to the source: waterscapes, ocean life, and liquidy watercolour reefs appear magically in the post processing as though they were meant to tell the story. 

I will refrain from titles this time and leave it up to your imagination...but the images were captured in the boatyard in Jaffa, Israel.


Nature's Magical Palette


I have been somewhat housebound lately and after looking at the seemingly endless February gray outside my window, I decided to have one of my bedroom walls painted. Time for a pick me up! An outing to the paint store would be exactly what I needed to boost my spirits.  But there, in front of me, the gigantic paint display proclaimed a myriad of colours all competing for my attention.  It was a mind blowing kaleidoscope. My poor head was spinning.  Pick me, pick me.  How does one decide? 

And then I remembered the places I have been and how, lately, I have so frequently turned my mind's eye to them.  I thought about the rich tones that can appear on rocks after a rain, the delicate hues of the desert plants and vibrant colours of autumn leaves that so enrich a natural scene.  A rainbow found in flowing water or an artist's palette etched in sand can take your breath away.  Nature's palette is a gallery that has it all, if we take the time to see it. 

That trip to the paint store was successful in so many ways and it brought me home to revisit my favourite places as a bonus.

Did I choose a paint colour?  Yes I did.  


Autumn Colour and Rock Wall, Zion National Park, Utah
Sand Arrows-Thunder Beach-Ontario

A Valley of Flowers - California

Colour Flow-Oxtongue River -Algonquin Park-Ontario-Canada

Scottish Moor Still Life - Scotland

Lost & Found

It never hurts to revisit the past, especially when you have some time to wallow in it.  Recently, I was requested to reprint an old favourite image and needed to revisit my archives.  It was like Christmas morning for me when I opened that old file. 

The particular collection was a series of images taken in an automobile wrecking yard.  What was so amazing about that old car graveyard was how something once shiny, new, useful, and beautiful had become lost in a sea of rust and decay.  Finding the beauty in the ugly was such a wonderful and stimulating project.  I had forgotten how happy it made me feel to create those images. 

How lucky it was for me, this week, to have found what I had lost in something that was once lost and then found.  And so it goes.

Looking Back
Cracked Glass Abstract
Rust Landscape
From the Back Seat

Down to the Bare Bones


There's no better way to see something more clearly than to strip it down to the bare bones and to find the structure and the true essence of what holds it together. 

I have had an unexpected and remarkable relationship with my own bones lately.  I can now fully comprehend and appreciate the intricate composition and cohesiveness of an essential framework that makes something complete and able stand on its own.  

It was with this in mind, that I delved into finding the bones in my images...the skeleton that holds them together. 

Guggenheim - NYC
Suspended - NYC

Grévy's zebra, East Africa

The Tree Line - China

Toying with the Triptych - Three is not a crowd

A photographic triptych is a common style used in modern artwork. Photographs are typically arranged with a plain border between them. The work may consist of separate images that are variants on a theme, or may be one larger image split into three.  I find that by dividing a scene, or even a concept, into parts helps one notice the details, feel the emotion, and explore an image more fully. 
Drowning Trio - Bosque del Apache
Slate & Plant Life-Newfoundland, Canada

Exploring the Past in Detail - looking deeper with HDR


I have never been a huge fan of museums or historical landmarks that have been turned into tourist attractions.  However, I now believe it is because I have never really explored the past beyond the casual  peek into a dingy room or through a dust glazed window at a century village. 

This time, I decided to explore the HDR (high dynamic range) technique, that has been quite the rage, in my own way.  This technique has not been something that I admire in natural landscape image but I feel that I have found a wonderful place for it in exploring the past.  Lo and behold, what this technique has brought to me is a vision that goes deep....far beyond what you can see in a passing glance.  All the details become accentuated and pop out...begging for attention.  Take a look and see where your eye can take you.  Now that the deep shadows have been removed, a multitude of surprises awaits the viewer .

The General Store - Bodie, California
Waiting - Bodie, California

Contemplative Seeing
- announcing another new collection

“Technique is important only insofar as you must master it

in order to communicate what you see. . . .

In any case, people think far too much about techniques and

not enough about seeing.”

H. Cartier-Bresson

Alone in Time - China
       Having become a bit restless with my work lately, I have had to reflect on what actually gets the juices flowing for me as a photographer.  I thought back to Henri Cartier-Bresson's famous quote and wondered, "When did technique surpass the seeing?".  So one day, I ventured back, way back, into my archives of raw files to seek the answer.  I took a deep breath and dove in with eyes open.  What I discovered in the piles of pixels was that I did not actually create my best images in the post processing but rather in the seeing.  'Think before you shoot' has always been my mantra.  You must to know its there, feel it is there, before you release the shutter. The diamonds in the rough were waiting to be discovered. The post processing technique only helps to bring the true message home. 

       I have created a new collection entitled Contemplative Seeing.  As time goes by I will post those images that reflect the feelings and the thoughts I had at the time of capture. It will be a gallery that grows as I grow.
Beyond a Pond

Tall & Skinny...

     Along the theme of the panoramic format from last month, I want to point out that you can get a 'tall and skinny' at more places than your favourite coffee shop.  What I love about the vertical panoramic format, is the way in which the viewer often feels very small and humbled by the scene. Take a peek at the people on the bridge in Washington or the house at the bottom of the volcanic hillside in Iceland.  These are grand scenes that command your attention and make you look up....way upEach image below is a minimum of four horizontal images stacked one upon the other to allow for such a powerful and detailed perspective.  Another example is a more close up version on my home page of the Ferrara Ferrari, a red bike parked in a cobblestone alley in Italy.

             Multinomah Falls, Washington USA

At the Base, South Shore, Iceland

Panomania...a lucky month

       In August I received the good news from Epson that three of my panoramic images received Bronze in the Epson International Pano Awards competition under the Nature category.  The requirements for this competition are that the image be at least twice and long as it is tall or twice as tall as it is long. It was my first time entering.  Panoramic images are relatively new in my portfolio.  Most of my images consisted of many shots (up to 9) stitched together to create the panoramic image. All of these images can be printed to at least 40 inches in length. The following three are the ones chosen. Interestingly, all of these images were taken within a week of each other on the same photographic trip to the South West. 

White Sands Landscape

     This panoramic image was shot at dawn in White Sands, New Mexico last November.  It is a series of 7 vertical images photographed on a tripod and stitched together to create the panoramic effect.  I chose a high key look for this image because I loved the clean lines and pure white sweep of a stunning and unusual landscape.


     This pano is a single shot that was cropped into a panoramic format.  I loved the back lit scene as the sun set behind these trees and the light bounced around inside this aspen forest.  It was a scramble to get this shot before the light was lost only seconds later.

Bryce Landscape

     This Bryce Landscape is only one very small portion of the grand scene at Bryce Canyon, Utah.  Arriving before dawn and capturing the illumination of these massive hoodoos is awe-inspiring.  I will never ever forget my first sunrise at Bryce which literally reduced me to tears.  This was photographed in November and is made of 6 vertical images shot on a tripod and stitched together,  The areas of dark green are full grown pine trees that are growing between 100 ft + rich, reddish sandstone spires created by erosion from the winds of time.

For the Birds

I will never be called a bird photographer.  No matter how hard I try to go out to photograph birds on outings with others or on self-assignment, I just can't get interested.  Having said that, in our many travels I have had fleeting encounters with birds that make my heart sing. Perhaps that is all I have needed. These special moments with our feathered friends are satisfying enough.  I like to think they found me...and now grace my portfolio and my memory with their winged elegance.

Artic Tern - Iceland
Bunting - Ontario
Gannets - Newfoundland

Power of the Portrait

My year of monthly updates ended some time ago and in the meantime,  I have been taking a bit of a break.  But I am back.  This month I have started a new page called "The Power of the Portrait".  To view the individual images, click here.

December 2013

How could I avoid publishing some images from the most amazing and yet devastating ice storm in and around Toronto.  It makes us feel very powerless in the presence of such forces of nature yet we cannot help but admire the beauty. 


November 2013

And so the self-directed monthly projects continue.... 

This time, I decided to think about what attracts me to a photographic subject and to notice how, when reduced to its simplest form, it may actually present an entirely new perspective or image. So perhaps it is curiosity that keeps us looking a little longer while we seek an answer. In a quirky sort of way, it is oddly reassuring to realize that not everything is what we think it is and that some things must simply be left to our imagination.

September & October 2013


I have been a busy person and have found myself to be a bit of a whirling dervish lately.  What seems to stop me in my spin, though, are bright and shiny things.  I swoop down for a close up view and usually find more than just the bright and shiny.  Detail abounds in most things that glitter and there is nothing like a good close-up view to accentuate that.  There are always heated discussions about pattern images like the ones below not having a centre of interest. Let your eye wander and your mind pause and I promise you, you will find a center of interest that is unique to you.  It is like finding a special treasure. 

See new collection : ISTANBUL
Spoons & Forks - Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Fish for Sale - The Fish Market, Istanbul


July & August  2013

I am not sure what it is about curves that I like so much.  Perhaps it is the fact that my eye likes to wander along smooth comforting lines.  It could also be the mystery they invoke as you follow along. There is also something very sensuous and inviting. Here, I have chosen two of my favourite images from extremely opposite environments.
The Cloud (aka The Bean) sculpture in Chicago's Millenium Park provides a multitude of dramatic compositions based on the curves of the mirrored sculpture itself. 
The organic,nature-inspired curves of wind shaped sand dunes is both hypnotic and inviting. 
White sand dunesof DeHoep Nature Reserve, SouthAfrica

June 2013

It is June and Canada Day is just aroung the corner. Lately, I have have been thinking more and more about what home means to me.  When I think of life in this wonderful country, I think of simplicity, freshness and beauty.  No doubt, like any other country, we are plagued with political and economic challenges but when I think of what epitomizes Canada and what is truly Canadian, I can only think of what makes me happy to call this country home.  I have selected images from various parts of the country to illustrate some of the special things about Canada. 
The colours found in Canadian autumn are beyond belief, especially after a rain. The forest fires that rage through forests make
way for new life amongst the blackend trunks left behind.  Yukon Territories, Canada's Great Far North. 

Old friends living side by side, enduring the elements of harsh winters and tough times. still find a way to brighten

their world and the landscape with a sense of hunour and hope. Truly Canadiam.  Newfoundland, Canada

There is no more dramatic place than the shores of Newfoundland.  Here lives a hearty population... the salt of the eath and sea. 
Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Eastern Canada
Vineyards sleeping in the snow.  A stunning sight of winter's respite...a peaceful pause to prepare for the
bursting of spring and the rich bounty at harvest.
Niagara wine country, Ontario.

A drowned tree presents a natural caligraphy about  the circle of life
Shadow Lake, Ontario.

May 2013


There is something very powerful about living in the moment.  It is when your senses are tuned in to all that is going on around you and you are ready for wonderful surprises. This is a skill that serves photographers well and allows us to be open to capturing one fleeting moment that may never look the same again. 

Whether it is sheets dancing with the clouds or a person appearing out of nowhere and then disappearing behind a dune, you know that it cannot ever happen 'just like that' again.  These images are both featured in my current exhibition: Convergence 13.  Go to my
Exhibitions page for more info

Change Island,Newfoundland,Canada

Dune Walk

De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa.


April 2013

This month, I have been thinking about two things.... depth and perception.  How special it was to photograph a desert like the Sahara at sunset from 33.000 feet!  A perspective that most sleep through in a cocoon of headphones and eye shades.  Luckily, I asked the flight attendant to wake me up when we crossed the Sahara, on my way to Capetown.

The second image was from my knees in a courtyard of a monastery in Florence.  What must it have been like to walk on this floor so many centuries ago? 

It is all a matter of perspective. 

Sahara Desert
from 33,000feet

Florence, Italy


March 2013

I am not sure what it is about this time of year...perhaps it is the hope of spring to come, but my mind typically turns to pastels.  I find an image in pastel colours easy on the eyes and gentle on the soul.  It is a welcome respite from the harshness of winter to lose one's self in a wash of pinks, mauves,  soft blues and delicate greens. 
Prairie Smoke
Ontario, Canada
Shutters,Stucco & Iron

February 2013

Details, details.  From the simple images from my January post, I now take my viewers to the extreme opposite.  Below you will see two images that were both photographed from the outside of buildings.  One is of an art gallery in Chicago and the other, through the window of an historical general store in the ghost town of Bodie.  Voyeur that I am, I could not resist.  Both contain tremendous amounts of information but offer the viewer a chance to expore the details and conjure up their own interpretations or stories.  For me, each individual pane in the image below, contains a unique image that commands its own attention.  In the general store, it is one grand scene that keeps you searching the shelves for surprises.  Enjoy! 

Inside Out


One Stop Shopping - Bodie, Ca


January 2013 

The beginning of a new year, to me, seems to signify change....and time for something fresh.  It is also the time when I like to clean off  my desk, tidy up my closet, and get rid of clutter.  The act of simplifying, oddly enough, seems to open my eyes to the possibilities.  I have chosen to go one step beyond last month's themes of Lines and visually explore the mantra of 'less is more'. 

Winter Simplicity


Sea Dancer


December 2012

What is it about 'lines' that engage us?  Lines tug at our curiosity to follow a path. They draw us into an image, lead us out, and they take us on a journey of discovery within.  This month, I have chosen three very different images but with the same dominant features...LINES.  


After the Sunset, White Sands, New Mexico


Hung Out to Dry 


Lines of Communication

November 2012
There is nothing like the play of light.  It warms, inspires, and guides.  Waiting for the light takes patience.  Looking for the light takes practice.  And capturing the light, makes me jump for joy.  To see Corridor of Secrets in a gallery setting, go the the Elaine Fleck Gallery during the month of December.  Opening December 6th.
Corridor of Secrets

Guiding Light

October 2012
Dabbling in the surreal takes me to unknown and unimagined places.  It also allows the viewer to find their own relationship with the image and to get lost in the story.
The Dock
August 2012

A personal project has led me to explore naturally occurring patterns found on living organisms: in this case, a study of feathers finds natural design for both protection and beauty.  I have chosen to place these images in the Nature's Gifts collection.  Truly a gift from nature.