Friday, February 25, 2011

Pivotal | Adventure Lifestyle Photographer

Lately a few people in the mountain community have been talking about real adventure as being something you come back from, that has changed you in some way. I think that this morning, that may have happened. Even if just in a little way.

This morning I left my place (35 minutes North of Calgary)at 5 am and drove for 2 hours to Castle Junction where I met up with a new photographer friend, Paul Zizka. I recently met Paul through Twitter when I was giving Meghan Ward (The Campsite)a quick snow kiting demo on Lac Des Arc.I have been dipping my feet into the landscape photography genre and was super excited to try something in a location with massive potential. Not too mention shoot alongside with Paul and maybe get a chance to glean some of the knowledge he has amassed through the building of a 6000 plus mountain stock library.

It was a little scattered when we started out, wondering if wide shots from the river would be good or should we just head towards the fog and trees on the other side (did I mention it was -38 degrees also). Soon we were on the other side and in minutes, found myself on my own walking the North bank looking for something but I wasn't sure what. I have read some Articles by Darwin (Wigget) and Samantha (Chrysanthou), particularly about the difference between Trophy Hunting and Immersion. At this point I felt like the Trophy Hunter and my prize game was no where to be found.I did get a few cool shots and started to find a little groove when I ran into Paul and he mentioned he needed to go. No big deal, it was a great experience and it was nice to get out. Before we parted both of us agreed I should stay and make the most of it, so I turned back to the river and walked back along the bank.

Walking towards the sun and the trees I began to feel more relaxed. I had captured some cool shots and was thankful for the time with Paul, essentially I was done looking for "the shot" and was now just waiting. I could tell that something would look really cool framed up and just needed a little "magic" to really make the images pop. A small breeze started pushing the fog from the river back into the trees between the sun and my position and like a switch, my imagination was set to full attention. I started swinging the frame right to left, then vertical and back while ratcheting my shutter speeds to get the most color from the composition.

These images were not what I came for. They are not the shots I had imagined on my drive down. That did not happen. What did happen is a pivotal experience that has changed the way I see the environment around me. A new realization that is floating just beneath the surface of what I thought (or have until now)I was looking for.

It comes down to this; At any given time, there are places in space (in our world) where magic happens whether we are there or not. Just the right conditions, so early in the morning, at sunset, the temperature, the position of light, so many factors that cross at just the right time, creating amazing designs, shapes and contrasts that stun the imagination. It is exciting, it fills me with a new energy and the desire to learn and get out there even more. I feel like for even just a few minutes, I was fully immersed. And the odds of it happening again will always be greater if I create the oppurtunity to be in these places more often.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Still So Good | Canadian Adventure Photographer

This weekend I happened to be back in Salmon Arm, BC for a family thing and had the chance to go up above Three Valley Gap with one of my favorite athletes. Early Sunday morning Steven St. Denis and I met another skier (Amos)in the Griffen Mtn parking lot just off of the #1 highway about 40 km west of Revy. From here Amos (on the sled) towed us for about 20 minutes up the fire road to the top meadow of Griffen Peak.

Once at the meadow we decided to take an amazing deep powder line through the trees (not enough wind for the kiting I intended to do). For the last few years these couple of skiers have been scoping fall-lines on the east aspect of Griffen and with the accessibility of the sleds, you can get quite a few runs in on a given day. This time we had a few problems with the sleds (a few others showed up), I was suffering from an overnight flu and void of any energy, Yet the day was still incredible.

The sky was deep blue, the snow was deep and fairly light and once I made my first turn, I was in the zone. I took a straight line and pushed my heals through each compression making my body weightless as I popped out of each turn, the powder crashing up through my waist leaving a jet-trail of snowy smoke to fall back through the trees. I was connected again, if even for a moment to the experience I am always looking for. All the work that goes into these moments, is always worth it.
Steven St Denis floating through the pillows.

One of the other riders who showed up later in the day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Compliment | Commercial Lifetsyle Photographer

In December I won a bid to produce framed photographic assets for the Town of Olds Council. The CAO had asked that I keep the image fairly close to what they had done for the last few years and the frames and final product should compliment earlier version.
Well it was a lengthy process but we still came in under our alloted time and the framing company we now use did an amazing job. Thank you to Lori and Doreen in Airdrie.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Usual Self | Calgary Lifestyle Photographer

Over the past year I have had the chance to get to know this family from town. They are great people and it was cool to get them into the studio for a session and find out they are also a lot of fun. The youngest was apparently a fairly serious dude but as usual, when you give kids a chance to be themselves, that is exactly what you get. These two images are my favorite.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Training | Adventure Lifestyle Photographer

...Something I have not been doing much of lately considering the guy in this shot is the captain of our adventure racing team. I have been getting a lot of kite skiing in so it's all good. Looking forward to a good year.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fear Of A Flood | Canadian Adventure Lifestyle Photographer

(originally posted on Facebook)

I have been following the industry (generally a bit of each genre) a lot lately and am starting to get a little worried. My philosophy is if you don't stay one step ahead of everyone else or make yourself very specialized, you will drown in (not the competition) the devaluing of the market you are in. Due to the huge influx of new photographers, there is no shortage of great work, at low cost. The problem here is there is very little value associated with this new work as it is plentiful and cheap. Like china in the 70's, why would I purchase something made in North America when I can get it for 1/10th the price in China.

However, there are those who understand the value of certain things in life (look at what people are passionate about) and are willing to spend the money on those things. This is where you want to be. If you are specialized and create something with real value attached to it (hint: relationships - they know, like, and trust you) and you charge for that value, your clients won't blink over the price.

Only a few will ever make it to the top, either that or create your own market and own it. My suggestion would be to: read more than everyone else, work on your creativity more than everyone else, and develop real relationships more than everyone else.

Most of my peers in the industry right now are doing well or have the potential to do great work. My interest is to help others develop themselves, evolve into what they see themselves in the future, and to bring the value back into to what we are doing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Twirlers Assignment | Adventure Lifestyle Photographer

This week is the deadline for the Spring issue of AirdrieLIFE magazine so I am cutting it close. This had been in the works for some time but when there is more than a few people involved you are subject to every ones schedules.

Never the less I had about 1/2 hour to try to pull this rabbit out of the hat. I had tried this in studio with my daughter and thought I could make it work. At the last second I added strobes and it made the composition complete. I was really trying to show the movement they can perform.

This is actually a 6 second exposure with a modeling (constant source) lamp to camera right and a manually timed strobe to camera left at just the last second. I can't wait to try this type of shot again.