Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fresh New Light

Had to post this image tonight. I just recieved two more strobes to match the previous two I had, now the backdrop light syncs up nicely with the portrait strobes.

Once in a while I have to use the kids for shot tests and generally the man-cub doesn't like sitting for too long. But once in a while he pulls some pretty funny stuff. I don't think I was ever this funny when I was 8 years old.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What Goes On The Wall

Sometimes I have to stop a session to change things up, or change gears if you will. Actually I am going to make a point of doing it more often. I mean, how hard was it as a kid to sit through family portraits? Ah, oh yeah, I too had ants in my pants and I wouldn't expect any kid to sit through any formal session without wriggling about like a fish out of water. Kids need to use their imagination and I find they are focused even for a second when they can play or use their imagination. Yesterday was just the same, and for just a brief moment, these guys got to relax. The classic family session resumed and their images look fantastic, but I could look at this shot all day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Take A Year Off From War

Of course this is just a figure of speech as these two are not in the military. Our couple however has decided to take a year off from mission work to focus on their marriage. Good for them.
Yesterday we were in St. Albert to witness this cute couples' vows but I was also there to capture the day in Photographs. They are both overseas missionaries working for a North American organization and a great referral from one of my weddings from last year. Even with all the smoke from B.C. we were able to get decent light and the Glendale Golf and Country Club was a nice spot to shoot.

Monday, August 16, 2010

**Quick Shot** News

Last week I was asked by the Calgary Sport Council to submit 5 images that they will pick from to be displayed at the Mayors Sports Exhibition at the end of September in calgary. Some of these images are displayed a various stores and coffee shops around Calgary and area and it is exciting to get the exposure. I will post the winning image once I hear back from the council. Thanks to Tara for the link.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No Gain All Pain

It can be a little frustrating to not complete something you had set out to do, especially when it's your body that fails you. I guess I need to be realistic though, I knew I was hurt going into this but I didn't want to jam on a new climbing partner.

While I was waiting at 7500 feet for Brad to attempt to solo the second half of the climb, I had seriously considered giving up the big mountain climbs and just stay to the front ranges. Brad eventually got blown off about a third of the way into the ridge and we headed down. I had a lot of time to think about it as we had a long way to go. We had earlier hiked a very steep trail to get to the col (saddle), which was roughly the equivalent of hiking up Kicking Horse Mtn by itself. We had cranked up 4000' feet of vertical in just 4km of trail in 2hours and 30 minutes.

By the time we were in the parking lot I had resolved that I just need to be more prepared on these demanding climbs. I was hurt because I had taken two months off from training. Being an active person is not enough for someone recovering from 10 years of chronic pain. It's work but suffering on a long trip in the back country is more than enough reason to continue to train.

Below is a view from 7500 feet where I left Brad to attempt the solo. The highway is about 500 feet below the trail you can see to the far right (middle) of the image. I have never been in this kind of an environment before, with two massive glaciers above us. There were cascading rivers everywhere, and old growth forest broken up by huge boulders left from the last retreating ice age. all you could hear was the crashing flow of melt water along every trail and stream-crossing. It was amazing, and I'll be back. I am not done yet.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nothing To See Here

Sometimes as a photographer I need to remember that there is "always something to see"! Far too often we have so much going on up inside our head that we fail to notice everything that really is going on around us.

Take this image for example. A few days ago I took the kids to a beach on the island at low tide to find some critters. Everything was grey and muted, no blue sky, and aside from a few pieces of driftwood, there was nothing cool to shoot. Then about an hour later a tiny red dot caught my eye, I stopped, and forced myself to get down close and look. There I found a tiny (the size of a pencil eraser) sun-baked crab shell quietly waiting out its final existence on the beach sand. The color contrast was perfect, nice bright and red against the dark sand. I set my Canon Point and Shoot to macro and got really close in order to get as much detail as possible.

Sometimes we need to make ourselves less distracted. Maybe even train ourselves to have an internal alarm when we feel totally stressed. An alarm that triggers us back to a moment of reality where if we are quick and disciplined enough, we can stop and look around at what is really happening. We need to remember what life is really about, what is important (as opposed to urgent), and enjoy the fact that we are still ticking.

Mark Twight is an accomplished Alpinist and writes a lot about fear and talks about how he programmed his internal alarm. During training for a major ascent on a mountain range he would take one of his carabiners (for clipping safely into the rope and anchors) and open the gate and let it snap shut while focusing on relaxation. He did this over and over again until the sound of the carabiner's gate snapping shut made him automatically relax. I think we would have one more tool for getting back to reality if we all worked on our own stress alarm.

What will yours look like?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sutra On Fire

Last night we stopped in Salmon Arm for the last time as this was the final day of our trip to the Island and back. When we were about 3 hours from town Steven called me and gave the heads up that our buddy Sutra would be giving a fire dancing demo at the mall around sunset. Needless to say I wanted to get there quick as this would be a great photo opp and an excuse to get my gear out for some fresh air.

Little did I know that Sutra had an interest in this and has spent a lot of time practicing and understanding the art of fire dancing. He is a pretty eclectic guy and very good at things he is interested in so this was no different. I shot some test images at the mall during his last show and afterwards we decided to meet at the skate park to get a real night-time look at his craft.

I just can't leave my strobes at home as I am not finished finding new ways to pump up the light and color in my images. I love this type of shot and shooting with so many cool and interesting characters gives me more and more energy. In this photograph I simply used two optical slaves (ETTL) and split Sutra right down the middle with them 180 degrees apart. Simple, yet dramatic with just the right timing of the flaming (monkey) fists.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I finally got the chance to surf.

I’ll admit I thought I would have no problem figuring it out and after a few waves I would be riding them in. In reality though, surfing is very hard to figure out on your own and I found my progression would have been faster had I done two things. One obviously would have been to take a quick lesson, and the other would have been to rent a bigger board.

Eventually I got up on the board and actually did surf but I also spent too much time getting pummeled by the tiny Tofino waves at Chesterman Beach. Being out on the ocean was fun though and another great experience. The family had a great time and for our first big driving holiday to the island, we are getting to see a fair bit.

We are now in Sooke and it sounds like my Brother-in-law wants to take me diving for crab (read dinner) this afternoon. Tomorrow relaxing for a few days before a Phillips Brewery tour and some street luging in Victoria.

Driving from Port Alberni