Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Quick Primer On Day To Night Curve With The Pulse by ALPINE LABS

I wanted to quickly throw a post up for a few of my friends as it would seem the Pulse by ALPINE LABS on Kickstarter was very popular. So here goes...

The settings screens are not very explanatory and in my opinion just very simple for someone who understands the day to night slope. The unit automatically manages the slop, you just need to estimate a few points on the timeline.

Click for larger image.

The Promote Control setup is very different so I will keep this specifically for the Pulse setup.

1. Make sure your camera is on, set to manual and set a shutter speed / aperture combo that looks good (take a test shot). A scene in the shade or overcast day is good around 1/20 f-8 @100iso.

2. Plug in the Pulse unit to the camera and switch to "on" (I won't explain how you should be composing the scene but I will tell you unless you are working with ND filters you should not be pointing into the sun).

3. Turn on the app, search for device, once connected go to timelapse screen.

4. Your first screen is your interval (obvious setting) and "duration". The Duration is the full time from A to D above.

5. Upper right menu will bring you to the "exposure ramp" menu. Click enable and make sure it shows start/end shutter and start/end iso.

6. Your Delay is A to B length to set. Your Duration is B to C length to set. And your run out will be whatever time left after after A to B to C is completed (based on Duration set in step 4 above). Don't overthink it, minus A to C from A to D and you have your runout time.

Some thoughts:

Many sites will tell you 30 minutes is a normal sunset slope length but I have found in central Alberta 40 minutes is better. Dusk seems to hang here for a long time after sunset. To estimate your start time just consider B as the "actual" sunset start time for that day in your location (use an app or the web). Then just work backwards. Your starting shutter speed should always be at the beginning of your timelapse, once the ramp starts (B) it will work along the curve until it hits the end of sunset/twighlight generally around 40 minutes later. At this time you can let it runout for an extended time and it will be the shutter speed you figure looks great in that condition. Usually in the city with bright lights or sometimes you have to make your final shutter longer if you are shooting dark sky and stars,

Best way to get some good numbers to start is to go out the day before and take exposures (WITH THE SAME F-STOP) at 20 minutes before sunset, 1 minute before sunset, 30 minutes after sunset, 40 minutes after sunset, and again at 50 minutes after sunset (ideally where you want your final ending shutterspeed to be).

Note on ISO: If you are using 10 second intervals and your exposure lengths are ending at greater than 10 seconds (for example), you can set your "ending" iso to one stop faster (100 to 200) to give like a 10 second @ 100iso a shift to 5 seconds @ 200iso.

Biggest down fall to this unit is you WILL have to use LRTimelapse software to manage the flicker that will appear later on during the encoding process (this happens because the camera sets the shutter speed in steps and less like a high resolution curve or slope. Each time it steps-up you see the jump in exposure and resembles a flicker in post). You should be using it anyways with your workflow. I normally don't need to with the Promote Control. Overall the price is right for this unit and the form-factor is small. With a little software know-how, this unit can create some decent results.

Feel free to find me on facebook or email me for questions. Happy shooting

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Another Whitby Resurrection | Adventure Lifestyle Photographer

Completed 1931 AJS S8 Deluxe spring 2016

John Whitby has done it again. It was only November 2014 that Greg Williams and I had our piece published (Motorcycle Classics Nov/Dec 2014) on John's 1962 Rickman Scrambler. This project was one of the finest restos I have ever seen, in fact possibly better than the original "out of the crate" condition of 62'. Only two years later he has done it again....

 The "bare bones" in spring 2015

I got the call in spring of 2015 and Greg suggested we should do a before and after for John's new project, a 1931 AJS and come back to it when it was complete. I don't think it was even a year from March 2015 (I first shot the bare bones) to when John had finished the full restore in spring of this year. As usual John did an amazing job replicating the original creation and adding a little of his own style.

John Whitby getting ready to kick it over.

I am a big fan of John's work and so glad Greg gave me the call. It is awesome to work closely with so much of the talent in our local MC community and the piece in this months (Motorcycle Classics Sept/Oct 2016) looks great. If your into bikes make sure you go out and get this months issue and give it a read. Greg Williams is one of the finest motorcycle writers/ historians in North America and its an honour working with him.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Starting Over | Canadian Lifestyle Photographer

 Brandon Alberts, Brad and Ryan Fleischer are Flaysher

Over the last few years my work at AirdrieLife Magazine has given me the opportunity to connect with some very interesting and talented people. Some even continue to be friends and eventually we get to work together again. One group that I always enjoy working with is the Fleischer boys from the Airdrie band "Storm". However I should say that they are no longer called Storm. After years with that name, dealing with the trouble of such a generic search term (in social media) and a new album on the racks, the guys have a new name.

Brad Fleischer, Ryan Fleischer and Brandon Alberts are now rockin into the future as Flaysher (a play on the brothers' names). With the new release on the way this summer the guys met with me in the late spring to get a little street and studio work done. Make sure you check them out at their Facebook Page and give the new album a spin on itunes.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ad Work | Canadian Lifestyle Photographer

Last fall I was asked to solve some imaging needs for an agency that had an office in Calgary. Adfarm had asked me to use some of my farm contacts in the area to provide the right look for a pair of models for a specific look in a spring ad.

I can't give a lot of details but a screen shot of the piece can be seen above. A couple I have worked with in the past and get to photograph their family every year. Awesome people.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer Update | Canadian Adventure Photographer

As crazy as things can get here in Alberta these days I have to say I have had a pretty good summer so far. Some quality time with the family managing a Christian camp we work with in the Waiperous Valley, Lots of white water kayaking and the usual great clients we work with.

Foothills Magic making a few last low precipitation super-cells before the end of the season.

Normally at this time of the year I would be finishing up a 2 month season of storm chasing but not this year. As dramatic as the weather has been it is not like it was a few years back. The weather is always changing and so is my life and I just do not have the time for all the cool things I like to do. It is nice to look at storms on radar and chat with some of the old team, maybe warn a few people but it is just no longer my focus.

Couple campers get a devotional from their LTD at Gull Lake Camp.

Every year I get to spend a day at Gull Lake Camp and add to the library of images for this amazing place. Always so great to spend time with Steve and see the impact God is having on these campers and LTD's. So much energy and fun, I always look forward to it.

Treffrey Deerfoot (great grandson of the Deerfoot Trail namesake) dancing at EAP.

Stampede is big around here and as much as I like to spend the week away from the city I cover one event for a great client in the city. Eighth Ave Place and their event management group had me back for another year to photograph their mid-day stampede party which had the Blackfoot Medicine Dance crew back as well as country singer George Canyon.

Bow River fly-fishing guide Ryan Lees catching the last rays of sun along the Bow at Policeman's Flats

It has taken some time but I am back working on my own project to produce some new and conceptual adventure lifestyle stock and working with two very different but interesting sport fishermen on the Bow River. There is something about fishing that is almost medicinal and I think it may be one of those outlets where you can quickly shed the stress of the daily grind and lose yourself in "the nature". I can see myself dropping the camera and throwing a few casts myself.

I hope you have had a good summer and it hasn't sped by to fast. If you are feeling like your missing out then you might want to jump on some of the fine days we could have left before the cubs are back in school and the days begin to cool.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A New Piece Of History | Canadian Lifestyle Photographer

Although I do not live in the Bow Valley I can say that I have had the honour to witness several occasions of history and be a part of some things that will go down in history.

Meghan Ward and Dee Larosa take a quick break before the night starts.

Last night marked the official release of the Canadian Rockies Annual produced by Crowfoot Media in Banff. This beautiful coffee-table style soft cover is a collection of the best that the Rockies has to offer in art, writing, photography and personalities that make this place special.

A collection of this kind is important for the simple fact that years from now, those reading back into history will appreciate the glimpse into our culture as it is now. Instead of compiling from memories, history is being written now. And thanks to the hard work and vision of these two ladies, some of it has been recorded here now. Congratulations Meghan Ward Zizka and Dee Larosa for heading up an amazing piece of Bow Valley history.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mothers Day Sessions | Canadian Lifestyle Portraits

Not your average portrait sessions.....

Unless that is what your into. But the great thing about the type of work I do and people I meet is we get to do something different. Whether it's for a magazine or commercial campaign or just a private session, it's fun to capture who you really are. Especially if you have a lifestyle or favourite pastime/ recreation you would love to focus on.

 Sessions are 1-2 hours on location and include clothing change if needed. Geared towards your lifestyle and pre-planned like we would a magazine shoot. Session is $350 (plus gst) and custom prints or other products can be ordered from a private preview page on the web (or you may purchase the digitals outright for $100). Contact us for any questions or to book and plan your session.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Field Of Dreams | Canadian Adventure Photographer

A few weeks back I was able to spend an afternoon shooting with an athlete who I have had my eye on for some time now. I have known George Boutsikakis for years from the kite-skiing community and finally got him out for a kite-sesh near Crossfield. The area close to where I live on the foothills is amazing for field kite-skiing (when there is snow) and I wanted to get George out for a test shoot and try something new with the strobes. Sometime you need a real athlete or someone who is really good at what they do so that you can achieve exactly what you are looking for.

George Boutsikakis soars at dusk near Crossfield, AB
I love working with pros, especially when they take that extra step and go hard for the camera. This day was no exception. The temps were coming up fast and we could see the snow melting in the warm chinook wind. This would be the last day the foothills would see snow from the fall and by the end of the session there was almost nothing left.

George Boutsikakis styling it up as the sun goes down. Crossfield, AB
This meant that the snow was supper saturated and wet. Wet snow can cause suction under a snowboard and George kept telling me it was slowing him down. Mix that with high gusts up to 40km/hr and things start to become dangerous. Never the less as the sun dropped below the western sky, George pushed himself and blasted a few jumps over the 10 foot tree along the fence line. I realized I would have only a few frames to do this and managed to get the money-shot on the first one. What a great feeling.

Thanks again to an amazing athlete, George Boutsikakis for pushing the limits...even on a test shoot. Awesome.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My Office In February | Canadian Adventure Photographer

 It has been a busy week so far with video production and a number of other things I need to get ready for spring. And even though it is not yet spring you might think differently by the weather here in central Alberta as of late. A few days of chinooks and more plus temps than minus has pretty much made all but a few traces of snow disappear. Naturally, you pull out the boats.

KB after his seal-launch into the ice.

Actually KB has been bugging me to get the boats out on the river for a month now but it was so warm yesterday I figured why not. The best place right now other than the Kananaskis is the Bow River down from the Ghost Dam. The water was pretty low but still easy to get down and fun in a few places. And I still get cell service down on the river so I just took photos and answered emails, great place to be the office for a few hours.

KB carves through the green tongue on the big corner. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

No Off-Season In Alberta | Canadian Adventure Photographer

That's right, they say if you don't like the weather here just wait 5 minutes. But really if you want to get out for a paddle in the middle of winter or ski in August, you just need to work a little harder. There really is no off-season.

 Ken Brennan stalling the bow in low-flow on the Elbow River, AB.

On January 28th a buddy and I went down to the Paddy's Flats section of the Elbow River to try out a new lighting technique. The idea was to get some winter white water kayaking in (even in low-flow) to see what we would get. Turns out I didn't have to twist Kenny's arm as he was more than excited to make a few laps and play in a small hole.

Ear to ear grin after a 2 degree session on the Elbow River, AB.

Another photographer I work with (Matt) was good enough to rush out from the city to control the 12 foot boom I built to rig up 3 speedlites on a transmitter. The whole set-up created a "street light" kind of look and I'm hoping to use this again with some other sports. As usual I had to try the editorial / adventure portrait at the end.

Friday, January 29, 2016

8500 And Counting | Canadian Lifestyle Photographer

For the last 2 years I have produced a handful of video projects and currently on a few really cool pieces for broadcast and YouTube. This week the Canadian rock band Age Of Days released their new acoustic single "Afflicted". The band also released the lyric video I produced for them at the beginning of this month and I am pretty excited about the response we are getting (8500 views in 3 days).

Although I specialize in adventure lifestyle work, the band approached me after seeing one of the previous videos I produced. It is this kind of work that I love to do and the whole process was fun from start to finish. I really dig film and video and maybe even more than still-work. I could be that problem solving and producing images from ideas and collaboration are what I love the most, so it just makes sense to be doing this.

Have a look at the video, check me out on and stay up to date with what I am doing. Thank you for the continued support.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Foothills Magic | Canadian Lifestyle Photographer

When things get a little slow I like to venture West of town along the Foothills here in Southern Alberta. It's nice to just walk out on the prairies or drive and look at the landscape and see something different every day. The light in the evenings here are amazing and part of what makes the Foothills magic.

Be sure to check out my landscape photography page on Facebook to see the latest low light and panoramic work. Foothills Magic

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Afflicted (For Real) | Director Of Photography

A week before Christmas I was approached by the Canadian rock band - Age Of Days and asked if I would be interested in shooting a lyric music video for their up coming accoustic tour. The band had written a few accoustic versions of their work and the track they selected for this has not been released yet so I was stoked to say the least.

The crew (left to right) Olivier DuTre, Me, Jenna, Tim

We didn't have much time during the holidays to hammer out some clear concepts so when we came down to our shooting widow, I had to get creative. Last Saturday we set up at a cool location (so thankful for the brilliant friends I have) north of Calgary and built our set. The idea was simple (sorry can't reveal it yet) but by that night, neither the band or myself were happy with the look. Again we had only a few hours to put this together.

On  Sunday morning only hours before we were to shoot, we decided to scrap the whole thing and just go with simple. I was fortunate to be joined by another photographer Olivier DuTre who took a look at our set and arranged an amazing scene from what was parked and laying around. Stress level was high but having Oli come in for some confidence in the set made a huge difference in the final look of the video.

Frame grab from the video

After scrapping the original set, camera type, lights and half the crew showing up late from an accident on the highway, we finally got rolling and produced some great preview footage. Once we saw it would work we just wound-up our model and let her work her stuff, which was incredible. I can not believe how many conventions I threw out the window in exchange for just experimenting with the camera, not too mention locking focus and 1.8 and just walking around with a stedi-cam.

No script, just a page of lyrics and a pretty model and two days later I had this crazy looking 4 minute video in the can. The video went to the animation studio the next day and this time next week we will see the roll-out for my first music video. The band is great, Tim Morrison is an awesome guy and I can't wait to see how their tour goes. Shout-out to Jenna our amazing model and the rest of my friends who helped us out. Thanks also to Tim (owner of the location), we couldn't have done it without the great setup.

I love photography but I am really starting to love video. I love coming up with concepts and putting everything together to create a cool story. And that is just it, it's about cool stories, I love to tell cool stories.

PS. As I write this, everyone on the crew, including singer Tim, is severely sick with this nasty virus going around. The song is about being afflicted in a relationship but for us I think we were all just afflicted with the seasonal bug.

Watch for the video to drop next week.