Friday, May 25, 2012

New Residents | Part-Time Wildlife Photog

My wife and friends have named them. This is "Jasper"
For the last few days I have been sitting in my van and using it as a blind and photographing two great Red Fox kits as they grow up and get ready to leave the den. Really these two are hilarious and I never thought I'd get so much enjoyment from photographing wildlife. The two just saunter around or sit in the sun if they are not walking the perimeter of their new little world.

This is "Robin Hood"
They have no idea I am there and if they did I don't think they care. The prime directive for them seems to be to relax and eat and sleep. The occasional bark and jumping on each other breaks up the naps and the sniffing around, man I wish my life was this simple. But even though it isn't, it has been really cool just sitting still, and watching a part of God's creation as it goes about it's business. I can see how my wildlife photographer friends like this stuff.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cafe Canadiano | In Studio

A current client has left his 350 Single with me for a week to get some portraits done as he contemplates the next part of his project bike. I had spent a lot of time with the frame from this vintage Ducati and it was cool to rebuild (yes I am a custom fabricator in my other life) so much of the frame. Great to see he has come this far with the engine, it looks great.

As I write this I'm trying to think of something profound or insightful but its just not coming to me. What I am thinking about is how long it took for me to set this shot up. You see when you shoot something specular (an object that is reflective enough that the light source will show up on it in brightness and shape) as this and to the point that some parts are actually mirrored, you have a considerable problem. On one hand the object will not present its shape unless you can use a large and properly placed light source to reflect on it (look at car ads in magazines, glass etc...). And the second issue, when shooting a mirrored surface, you don't want everything near the photographer showing up in that surface. Move the case forward, back, just a little to the left. Boom the SB up top and move back so the "350" logo appears with some shape. Then tape the seamless down, just the right length, inches now. Now build a tent for the foreground so that my studio doesn't show up. And last but not least, shoot from directly in front of the brass badge in the case so that I can hide my reflection behind it. Everything you see is done in camera. This is how I like to work, take care of problems before you dump the card to the drive. Besides, I'm not that great at photoshop. I did clone a small piece propping up the engine below and some dust that's it.

Now as I look back, is this profound? Not really. But some guy in the city has spent two years (so far) and who knows how much money to get this vintage engine back to it's original glory. Is this passion? I think so. And I don't care who the client is, if someone is this passionate about a personal project then so am I. And at the very least it gives me the desire to create some magic. I am passionate about passionate people, it's what my work is truly about.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Well Built | Adventure Photographer

This weekend I held my last Evolution Photography Workshop and as much as I love to pass on knowledge, I am glad it's done for a while. The workshop has evolved into a serious base for creativity and confidence with off camera flash but it is very exhausting.

A hay wagon from 80 years ago lives out its days in the Boneyard.
One of the locations we went to on Saturday was the "Boneyard", a personal favourite of mine that is owned by a family I know who are farmers and take all their old equipment there to die. I love this place, there is so much old steel here and when I see it I am amazed at the quality and engineering from some of the implements that were in production 70-80 years ago. There are thin metal tubes, gears and wheels that are weathered but not even showing signs of rusting rot. I have seen car bodies from 20 years ago that are nearly all gone and not near the condition of the steel in these old swathers and seeders resting for years in the tall grass. I can't help but think there was a time in North America when industrial equipment was thoughtfully engineered to last and to be repaired. That now we have become such a disposable society and the devices we rely on and use to entertain us are built to last only a few years (if that).

I would have loved living 70 years ago. Working hard, physical labour and a dramatically more simpler life. I want this now actually and as much as convenience rules the day in my life, I am going to make a concious effort when I can to purchase or use items that have long-lasting value. And to take the time to slow down time, to breath deeply and watch the sunlight stream through the grass. To open my eyes and take a mental picture of the beauty that is all around us, to dive deeper into the occasional moment.

Maria Coffey talks about an aspect of writing that helps her to make even the most obscure subject interesting. She explained how "exploding" detail about a particular idea or scene, or greatly expanding and going deeper within it can give the reader a point of view that they would ordinarily pass over. This is something I want to experience at least once every day.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dark Anchor | Adventure Photographer

A shot from the beach at Otter Point looking SE to Port Angeles, Wash.

I literally just got back from a quick trip to Victoria where I had the chance to spend some time with my side of the family. It was great to catch up and especially see my dad considering his deteriorating health. The first 3 days it rained so what I expected to be a great location on the ocean to shoot was nothing at all. But last night I had just enough time to get back to Otter Point and shoot the moon as it was coming up.

A dark and heavy contrast as the daylight drops off and only the Super-Moon casts a glow.

 I did not have my long lens and figured there'd be enough of those shots anyhow so I tried anchoring my shot instead. The above image is straight out of camera with just a little pixel clean-up. The trick here was the 2 stop ND Grad I used for the bright sky. I will be posting some colour and dark moody versions in the next day or so. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kalifornia | Adventure Lifestyle Photographer

Kevin and his racing leathers somewhere in Calgary.
This morning I started a project that I have been thinking about for the last 8 years. Only recently have I decided on how I wanted to light it and set it up and I always knew that I wanted to shoot it in monochromatic.

I'm not going to get into the whole idea of the project but can say it will be long term and will involve some of the most interesting people I have met in my life. Kevin is (among a lot of other very cool sports) an ex-racer and now customizes street bikes for riders in Calgary. Kev is amazing on a street bike and has stepped in to do some stunt riding for me in the past. Definitely someone who is passionate and unapologetic about his intense lifestyle.