Norm Hamilton

In My Digital Darkroom

I am a freelance writer and photographer based on Vancouver Island at the moment. Welcome to my blog.

My new novel, From Thine Own Well, is returning from the editor on November 1 and is scheduled for release at the end of November. Visit the book website or the Facebook Page for more information and to see when the preorders will be available.

You can also purchase my photography book, The Digital Eye, as a paperback or eBook at Amazon.

Fawn Fritzen, Singer, Songwriter

Working with Norm was a pleasure from the beginning.  He truly lives up to his “Authentic You” promise; I was impressed with his warmth and his genuine interest in all our conversations.  The photo shoot itself was very fun, and I appreciated Norm’s guidance when it came to posing to help me look my best.  I was looking for a few photos that I could use to promote myself as an artist, and Norm provided exactly what I was looking for.
Fawn Fritzen, Whitehorse

Norm Hamilton is a freelance writer and photographer based in Whitehorse.
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Fiscal Responsibility by Inhibiting Home Ownership

Raise mortgage rates enough to inhibit home ownership, but keep credit card interest as high as possible. Is that the way to fiscal restraint?

I read an article recently about Finance Minister Joe Oliver watching the housing market closely after the Bank of Montreal lowered its mortgage interest rate. What is the issue? Is he really concerned that Canadians will become too far in debt by owning a home?

“Our government has taken action in the past to reduce consumer indebtedness and the government’s exposure to the housing market,” Oliver said in a statement to CTV News …

Surely, curtailing the ability to own a home doesn’t benefit the average citizen. Interfering raises the cost of home ownership, thus causing further indebtedness for those fortunate enough to be able to pass through the government imposed hurdles. Furthermore, it ensures that a large percentage of Canadians will not be able to purchase their own home.

Those people are left at the mercy of landlords, some of whom are excellent, but many who simply provide the minimum amount of repairs, maintenance and upkeep for the maximum amount of rent the market will tolerate.

These costs then impact on the middle-class and lower wage earners forcing them to use credit to make other purchases such as cars, furniture and appliances. Our society has become dependent on credit in order to function. The exorbitant interest rates on these purchases further impede the Canadian people’s ability for home ownership.

I don’t claim to be an expert on high finance. However, what I’ve witnessed indicates that very little in the way of decision-making in this area actually benefits the individual. We hear about “the economy,” that elusive, misunderstood, constantly changing entity that is the agreed-upon imaginary world we choose to live in. Ministers and financiers make decisions affecting everything from the cost of housing to the value of the dollar. What is the effect of those decisions?

The recent, intentional, devaluing of the Canadian dollar was supposed to help our exporters and tourist trade. But at what cost and who bears the burden? As the dollar plummets, the cost of everything we purchase goes up.

We have been convinced that we must be big players in the world economic market; again an imaginary world that exists only because we agree it does. Because of this, Canada can no longer feed itself so all the imported food gets more expensive. Our raw material is shipped out, now at a lower price because our dollar down, and we buy back products manufactured from it at higher rates; again because our dollar is low.

Who is paying the price? The average consumer. The middle-class. The lower socio-economic segment of society. That is who is bearing the economic burden so the upper-class can benefit from increased trade.

We have learned that too much debt versus the value of the assets covering it will eventually lead to economic ruin. However, it is interesting that the methods used to mitigate this circumstance impact negatively on the average citizen, but still benefit the 1%.

While the stated intent may be to keep Canadians from becoming too far in debt, it certainly isn’t improving their quality of life.

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Discard Lawyers – Residential School Survivors

A recent article on cbc.ca by Karina Roman brought to light the abhorrent practice that some lawyers use of withholding information … specifically, government lawyers attempting to ensure that a hearing into the St. Anne’s Residential School is bereft of certain information it needs to delve into the accusations of victims of residential school abuse.

Ms. Roman writes:

In January, an Ontario Superior Court judge slammed the government for withholding the documents, which are from an Ontario Provincial Police investigation and subsequent trials that led to the conviction of several former staff of St. Anne’s.

So, who is ultimately responsible for this reprehensible behaviour? The First Nations are asking that government remove their lawyers from this matter, but is that enough?

It seems to me that lawyers that intentionally mislead a hearing are guilty of misconduct and ought to be treated accordingly—perhaps by being fired. Furthermore, the bureaucrats that instructed them to perform these acts should find themselves unemployed as well.

And, where does the Law Society stand on all this. One would think that a profession that claims to have integrity and honesty enshrined as part of its very foundation would take a dim view of these actions. However, that appears to not be the case.

If the Ontario Bar Association really wants to let people know where they stand on these primary facets of their profession they would, at the very least, call an inquiry of their own, publicly, and ascertain whether or not these members are still entitled to call themselves members of the bar. If it is found that information was indeed withheld, those responsible ought to be removed as members and stopped from practicing law.


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Olympics Over – Back to Reality

The Olympics provided a much-needed respite from the rigours and tests of everyday life, but now that they are over we face reality once again.

It was wonderful to watch Canadians rally together to support and cheer on the athletes representing our country. Much pride and joy in being Canadian was exhibited and professed.

Too bad we don’t have the same enthusiasm when it comes to our country itself.

We must protect our homeland from those who would do it harm — those who burn our books, sell off our rights, give our resources to foreign national corporations; those who make back-door deals in secret with other countries; those who would change the democratic system we espouse to make it difficult for segments of the population to participate in the election of government.

It is time to get back to reality. Not everything is as glorious as what we perceive the Olympics to be. We must be steadfast in our resolve to educate the populace toward a greater and more inclusive democracy and to protect what we have.

I believe that rather than continually pointing the finger at wrongs, thus bringing focus to those whose “base” only understands winning and keeping power regardless of cost, we’d be better off showing positive methods and ways to more freedoms and economic growth.

Continue showing how renewable resources that provide power will serve better than fossil fuels–and provide employment in doing so; how having all government negotiations open and public keeps people honest and forthright; how becoming self-sufficient in our food and energy needs brings safety; how protecting our watersheds is paramount to survival.

True, we must stand against the impending damage that is currently rampant, but at the same time, if all our energy is expended doing that, we are unable to offer reasonable alternatives.

We balance on a fine line.


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Gayest Olympics Ever?

I’ve often wondered about the efficacy of waging a war on that which we don’t like or believe in–or on anything for that matter.

Take the “War on Drugs” for instance. Decades and billions of dollars later we are no further ahead in our efforts to obliterate this “demon” from our midst. Yet our legislators continue to do the same thing time and again … each time expecting different results.

Religious wars are another prime example. As long as mankind has considered the possibility of a deity out there somewhere, we have differed on our view as to who, or what, that may be. Untold amounts of bloodshed have not altered that condition at all.

So, that brings us to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics where the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, decided to show the world his intolerance of the LGBT segment of society. In effect, he declared war on lesbians,  gays,bi’s and transgenders.

The result? He brought more attention to LGBT rights than anyone has been able to do using any other forum. In that respect, his actions benefited the very groups he wanted to denigrate.  He brought the rest of the world together in support of human rights for everyone.

Some journalists have given the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics the moniker “The Gayest Olympics Ever.”

The unfortunate part is that, after the world’s eyes are removed from Putin’s kingdom, the abuse and attempted annihilation of the LGBT members of the Russian society may well be increased, causing even more human rights wrongs and untold horrors.

As for Putin himself? To quote Shakespeare, “The lady doth protest to much, methinks.”


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The Art of Storage

I have been looking for some kind of bike stand to store our two Giant road bikes inside our apartment without taking up too much room. During the research I came across the products from The Art of Storage. Their innovative products offer storage solutions I’d not thought of.



Gravity Stand for Two Bikes

I ordered one of the Gravity Stand for Two Bikes from Amazon to store our bikes in our apartment. I was not disappointed by either the prompt deliver by Amazon nor the quality of the product I received.

The stand took me less than 10 minutes to assemble and leans gracefully against a wall in one of the bedrooms. Here’s a photo of my stand holding our bikes safe and dry inside the apartment. I highly recommend this product.

  • Features Easy-Adjust arms to accommodate any bike
  • Maximum Load 80lbs
  • Premium quality silver powder coat finish
  • Easy to assemble; required hardware included

I’ve included some links to other items from the same manufacturer for you to consider as well. Assuming they are all as good as the Gravity Stand for Two Bikes, you cannot go wrong.

Freestanding Four Bike Rack

  • Free standing rack to hold 4 bikes
  • Independent adjustable arms accommodate any bike style
  • Easy to assemble – tools included, tough silver powder coat finish
  • Maximum load 120 lbs
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Single Bike Rack With Tire Tray

  • Includes Da Vinci wall tray to keep your wall clean and protected
  • Accommodates any wheel size; maximum load of 40 pounds
  • Great for apartments with limited space
  • Silver finish
  • Mount to a wall stud; hardware included

Gravity Shelf Unit

  • Adjustable shelves for books and objects
  • Sleek modern design looks good in any room
  • Max load 100-pound per shelf
  • Leans against wall, rubber bumpers protect wall

Strauss Coat Rack

  • 3 Loops and 3 hooks at varying heights for versatile storage options
  • Umbrella holder included
  • Easy to assemble
  • High-grade silver powder coat finish

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The Digital Eye on Sale

Psst, check out the post at my writer website…The Digital Eye is on sale.


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You Can Preorder “From Thine Own Well”

Preorder your copy now

Preorder your copy now

Preorder your copy before November 21, 2013

Noxious substances in the watershed brings a society to its knees; Fracking by oil companies has taken its toll. Canadian society has been shattered, seemingly irrevocably. Water resources have become scarce and individual freedoms cast off.

Unrestricted fracking and irresponsible mining practices have caused major watersheds and underground streams to become contaminated, their precious fluid – noxious.

In Yukon, Canada’s far north, a baker’s dozen of unknown, everyday people and one dog are loosely thrown together in an effort to combat The Coalition and its impact on Canadian lives and the environment.

Be the first of your friends to receive a copy of From Thine Own Well.

Preorder your signed copy by November 21, 2013

Expected shipping date is the first week of December 2013


From Thine Own WellNorm Hamilton’s new novel about a dystopian future Canadian society.

Follow this link to get your copy, hot off the presses

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From Thine Own Well

Coming soon to a book store near you and online. Click the cover for more information.

Coming soon to a book store near you and online. Click the cover for more information.

I’m getting the manuscript for From Thine Own Well back from the editor either later today or tomorrow. Then it’ll be crunch time to do any re-writing and revisions before the end of the month deadline.
Preorders will be available as soon as I work out the where and when. I’ll keep you posted.

This dystopian novel is set in the not-to-distant future as Canada tries to recover from the fallout of international agreements that left the country bankrupt and subject to the abuse and unrestricted fracking and unregulated mining of multi-national conglomerates. Learn more here. Or Like the Facebook Page for more info and a chance to win a free copy.


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The Digital Eye – Free on KDP Select



Get your Kindle version of The Digital Eye absolutely free at Amazon this weekend, Oct 5 and 6.

All I ask is that you go back to Amazon after you read it and leave a review to help others decide to read it.

See some reviews below.


“A great read for beginners. It answers fundamental questions. I like the fact that the author insists on composition and the emotional aspects of photography. Also, a good balance is reached between the technical and artistic sides of photography. Chapters on “slow photography” and “story telling” balance technical chapters on “depth of field” and “exposure”. However, although two interesting chapters are devoted to black and white, there is no specific chapter on color photography. More info on the importance of color harmonies in composition would have been helpful.”
by From the North

“I am a casual photographer. I use camera only to capture memories but they rarely come out looking like memories.
This book is great for folks like me. While there is a lot of stuff for people more skilled and interested than I am, there were quite a few tricks for me as well. For example, learning the 2/3rd rule for focus, capturing snow and creating depth in the picture, just to name a few. I put what I learnt to test with my basic camera and actually got pretty good results!”
by Vishal

“What a wonderful and practical guide to taking a good photo! Simple and realistic language makes this such a useful tool for any level of snapper. Thank you Norm!”
by Shylo

“The Digital Eye is a well-written, information-packed, helpful little book on virtually every aspect of digital photography. Author Norm Hamilton clearly knows photography, and even though I am a complete novice, there were several bits of very helpful information that I can put into practice right away. I believe this book would benefit anyone, particularly those with a bit of experience with digital photography. It includes sections on lighting, framing shots, composition, and other techniques, as well as informative articles on protecting your pictures online. It also includes some beautiful examples of shots to go along with the tips. A very handy book for any photographer. The only reason I don’t give it five stars is because several bits of information were beyond my understanding, though as I wrote, I am a novice. I recommend it to anyone interested in improving their photography skills!”
by Michael J. Tobias

This book is a visual feast for the eyes. The author demonstrates different digital camera techniques which are illustrated with breathtaking photographs. A series of articles cover topics from travel to outdoor photography as well as practical advice about taking flash pictures and black and white photographs. As a beginner, I picked up some useful tips, and there is also good information for the advanced photographer, as well.
by Suspense Fan


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Thanks For The Apple

A Fresh McIntosh Apple

A Fresh McIntosh Apple

I’ve finished eating an apple.

Not just any old apple, but a McIntosh apple. This year’s crop, delivered to the grocery store here in Lake Cowichan directly from the orchard in the Okanagan Valley – within days.

The appearance of this fruit was unlike the waxed, shiny, bagged commodity I had gotten used to seeing in the supermarkets over the years. I stopped eating the McIntosh years ago due to the odd taste and texture, which was unlike what I remembered from childhood.

However, the apples we just purchased were inviting; natural looking, no manifestation of coatings or false presentation – just apples.

The sweet, yet tart flavour took me back to that place and time many years ago when McIntosh apples were the ruler of the fruit kingdom in my life. The texture was gloriously crisp and my palate sated.

It was a pleasure to enjoy this divine gift from the grove.

My thanks to the many who provided their skill so I could have it; farmer, harvester, trucker, warehouse worker, grocer, and cashier.

McIntosh apples at the Country Grocer in Lake Cowichan.

McIntosh Apples

Norm Hamilton is a freelance writer and photographer based in Whitehorse.

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