My lovely wife volunteered me to take Santa photos at Oxbow’s Expressway Family Centre. It’s always a riot. By and large the kids all do great. But thankfully, there’s always a few who are absolutely terrified of jolly ol’ St. Nick! It’s priceless!!! I love these shots because they are so real. You can’t fake this kind of anguish. bwhahahaahaha……..
Rider Pride, Nation Wide. That’s our motto and our mantra. From the moment of conception, all Saskatchewan residents are born Rider Fans. Some more crazy than others. To support our team headed to the 101st Grey Cup on Sunday, I wanted to do a little photo shoot. I had the idea in my mind and wanted to try out some cool lighting that is along the lines of Heisler-esque. I was stoked with how the interplay of colour took place in this image. I’ve included a BTS photo to explain how I made this shot come together.
Well, as you can see, it’s shot in my car hold. It’s a total of 4 lights. Black sheet background clamped onto some cupboard doors. The key light is an SB-600 in a soft box overhead via a C-Stand. It’s got 1/2 CTO on it which really makes this image. Two rim lights behind me on left and right. The camera left rim is pointing up at me and the right is coming down. It really chisels the outline with thick green theatrical gels on 2 LP180s. And the last light was a special for the banjo. The SB-900 was simply put on the floor in an Orbis ring light to circle the drum of the banjo. I couldn’t have made a light mod match a subject better! I had originally set it up as on axis fill but on the ground worked so much better and added to the overall dramatic feel. It was a fun way to spend an hour or so.
So cheer on the Saskatchewan Roughriders to Grey Cup victory on Sunday! Green is the colour, football is the game!
Way back in October I went to my cousin’s wedding in Saskatoon. My dad was the official photographer on the job. But I became a conscript shooter. No problemo. Because doing the gig got me the chance to use the epic Nikon 24mm f/1.4G. Dad’s friend Ham just happened to not be using this gem and wondered if I could put it to good use. One word: YEP. It’s near optical perfection. Unbelievable glass. I still love my 16-35 f/4 for events, but this 24 rocked the set. I slapped it on the D800, did a test shot for focus and used it for all the formals and the group work. Coupled with my 70-200 f/4, it was a dynamic duo. So it was a lot of fun from a photographic stand point.
But from a family stand point, it was even better. My cousins are insane! And this party was off the hook! It was a metric tonne of fun.
Now, as for the Beatles-esque post of the title, it never really hit me until I thought about it later. George was the bride’s last name. Paul was the groom’s last name. John was the groom’s brother. And Mike was the groom. Sorry Ringo, you just got ditched. So cheers to both Chelsea and Mikey! God grant you many years! It was an honour taking your pics!
My new LaCie RAID came yesterday. It’s Thunderbolt in 6TB of madness. But for me, I configured it to RAID 1 so it’s got data backup redundancy. So I’m down to the 3TB for now. Still lots of room to grow. I like this product for two main reasons. 1, it’s Thunderbolt which is awesome. And 2, you can configure it for striped (RAID 0) or mirrored (RAID 1). So depending on your needs, you can have super speed or data back up. Daddy likey.
Why I went with this over a Drobo: Conceptually, I like Drobo. But what I don’t like is that the user is at the mercy of propriety backup technology. Meaning that if your Drobo enclosure dies, your data cannot be recovered unless you get another Drobo enclosure. That doesn’t sit well with me. With the LaCie RAID, if the enclosure dies, simply pop the drive into any other enclosure and recover your data. Easy.
Now for speed. Before I reconfigured the RAID, I tested the speed of the striped config. I used Black Magic speed test. Here’s what I found out. In a striped configuration, the LaCie screams. 304.5 MB/s write and 300.4 MB/s read. That’s awesome! If you wanted to use this as a working drive for video, this would rock the set.
Now, for the mirrored config, I got a little better than half. 179.5 MB/s write and 176.5 MB/s read. So you can’t have it all. The cost of redundancy is a substantial speed hit. And yet with that in mind, it’s still loads faster than USB3. I tested a bunch of other drive media just to see how they performed. Here’s the results.
A Touro USB3 drive was 94.9 Write and 95.8 Read. A USB2 drive was 37.7 Write and 37.8 Read. I tested a Lexar Professional 32GB SD 400x speed card (in a USB3 reader) and it was 40.2 Write and 87.9 Read – almost approaching USB 3 read times. So the LaCie with the Thunderbolt goodness is majorly king of the hill, even in a mirrored config.
PS: Just for kicks – a USB2 thumb drive speed: 6.5 Write and 11.4 Read. USB3 thumb drive: 34.7 Write and 43.5 Read.
So I’m excited to welcome the LaCie into the workflow. It’s going to significantly increase my quality of life in transferring D800 megapretzels, especially after a long day of wedding shooting! I’ll probably abandon my Aperture 3 JPEG + Matching RAW workflow as it will be just as fast to copy the RAW files to a scratch folder on the LaCie and do the culling from there. I’m sure it will be fantastic!
In my last post about this, I had heralded a flash based Mac Mini as the ultimate Photo Editor. Whilst I still think there is merit to that setup – and may still be – I went another direction.
Apple didn’t update the Mac Mini in the last big system update. I thought for sure they would but they didn’t. Instead, they rather secretly released a new iMac as indicated in this fstoppers article, back in September. I looked at the new specs but have been waiting for the new Mac Mini. However, my old iMac crashed a very slow and horrible death. I didn’t lose any data thanks to my gong show JBOD backup system. But I’m safe for now. I’ve been operating of a Macbook Air (painfully) for editing photos and other work related activities. So I decided that I can’t wait any longer and pulled the trigger on a new iMac.
Here’s the specs of what I got and why. I basically got the identical setup recommended in the fstoppers article. 27″ screen and I got the 3.5Ghz i7 with a 256 SSD. I got 8GB of factory RAM but have since ordered a 32GB upgrade from Amazon for less than half price of Apple’s factory installed $600 magical RAM made of unicorn horns. And, I upgraded the GPU and got the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5. I’m not sold that Lightroom will actually make use of this. Photoshop will and Aperture 3 will. But Lightroom currently won’t. Perhaps in the future the program architecture will make more use of it. But I thought I would get it just in case. But by maxing the processor and the RAM I think I will see more gains from Lightroom.
So essentially that’s that. Fastest available everything and it should smoke! But the missing component is still the storage/backup solution. I have decided to once again pass on Drobo. I’m sure they make great products. But their proprietary beyond-RAID thing bothers me. If the enclosure ever dies, you have to get another to resurrect your data. That has never set well with me. So, I went with a 6TB LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt drive enclosure. I’m going to RAID 1 that puppy for redundancy. The best thing ever is that it’s super fast to copy data and, if a drive ever calves I can go get another from a local store and rebuild the RAID. Or, take the remaining drive and copy the data from it to some other drive in the interim. Not so with Drobo. So the LaCie seems to be a good solution for my needs. I’m going to store all my photos on it and maybe even edit from it as the connection bandwidth should be more than capable.
So that’s that. I’ll post an update on this article in the future to let you know how it all performs. Sometime next week I should be receiving the goods. More to come.
We had to be in Calgary for a church workers conference over Halloween. I know. I know. Who schedules a conference over Halloween!!? Lutherans who love the Reformation, that’s who! hehehehe…. The family came too to visit Auntie Hailey. We threw their costumes in as well. Parrot. Skunk. Lamb. And instead of trucking around Calgary’s mean streets, we went on over to the Market Mall. Boo ya! Walking from store to store, nabbing the mad treats and it was warm! And dry! It felt . . . like cheating! I remember being in a parka under my costumes forever as a kid. But this was pretty darn choice. I posted a few images here but there’s a whole set on flickr you can check out. It was the best Mall-o-ween ever!
I don’t usually post stuff like this. However, I feel compelled to. Call me a hipster, a wanna be retro mofo. I don’t care. I like nostalgia. I like buttons and tactile dials. I like the link to the past. The inter web has become a flurry of controversy over Nikon’s latest offering. The Df. The name is kind of goofy. DF: Doesn’t Focus, Darn Fugly, etc. But it’s an intentional throw back to the film cameras of legend. It’s a “Digital Fusion” camera. It means it incorporates the feel and look of the old with new technology. I instantly liked it. I like the look and style. I like the fact that you get a D4 sensor for less than 3 grand. I like what this camera is designed for. But that is the key. One must understand it as such. If you go into this camera comparing it other DSLRs designed for different purposes then you will be disappointed and drinking a big ol’ glass of hater-aid. Like this article from stoppers. The biggest complaint I see from the blog critics is that it doesn’t shoot video. So flippin’ what?! It’s not designed for DSLR video. If you wanna shoot video, get a 610 or an 800. Honestly. “It doesn’t shoot video.” Every six year old kid has an iPhone that shoots great video. Use that for crying out loud. Not every camera needs to shoot video. It’s a still camera made for still photography. I have a D800 and I’ve never used it for video. If this camera had come out before the D800, I’d have bought it instead.
To me this Df camera is a beautiful mix of form and function. It’s a perfect prime lens camera and an awesome travel camera. And, it can use all the old school Nikon glass sitting in your dresser collecting dust. That’s cool. I could see using this camera with a 24mm, 50mm, 85mm and 105mm. I could see using this camera as a wedding machine. The low light capability is fantastic. Strap a 24 on it and you’ve got a your ultralight wide angle madness. Use a 70-200 on another body and you’re golden as an event photographer. I’m digging this camera. The only thing stopping me from picking it up is the yet to be released XPro-2. Fuji is the bomb and they’ve been rocking the retro now for quite some time. We’ll see.
Is Nikon just trying to liquidate their D4 sensor stock because an update is coming? Probably. But I think they are really after the heart of still photography with this camera. I’m a firm believer that the camera you use makes you shoot photos differently. I’ve experienced that first hand with my Fuji X100s. It made me into more of a range finder type photographer. I get closer to things than I normally would. I’m thinking that Nikon is onto something special with this camera and I predict that those who buy it for the right reasons will love it a lot. Plus, Joe McNally likes it. What more do you need. Get the credit card out.
Canadian Lutheran World Relief is running a campaign to collect sweaters for Syrian refugees. With winter quickly approaching, they will certainly be needed. Our church in Oxbow and the community at large participated and we gathered over 550 sweaters in 33 boxes for the cause. Some volunteers from St. Peter Lutheran in Oxbow worked together to box them all up and get them ready to make their voyage east. It is our heartfelt prayer that these sweaters do get to Syria and that they can be of some comfort to these people caught in the civil war. Lord have mercy!
I am not making this up! A true blue wedding between a Lewis and a Clark! And what an adventure! First of all, we got lost on the way to the shoot. Twice. Nearly got hung up in sinking cesspool of iniquity muddy road. No cell service. Barely made it out alive! But, in our process of getting lost we stumbled across the most incredible yard full of red leaves. We made a mental note and knew we’d be back later. And we were super glad we were. It was incredible. We had a great time photographing Lewis & Clark making history. Congrats to Justin and Kelly, you guys rock the set!
And, as one final note at the end of the night, we got to play with sparklers. Everyone loves sparklers!
Well kiss my grits! I got printed in Rural Roots Magazine! My photo that I did as part of my on going Organic Project has been printed in the fall 2013 edition. The magazine was running a story by Alvin Scheresky and they came across my shoot with Nicole Davis, the new proprietor of Day Break Mill. They wanted to run a segment on the idea of Ancient Grains and Modern Mills. I’m stoked to have my image in print! It’s a very nice spin off of a personal photography project. To me it underlines the idea that if you seek fame and recognition, you won’t find it. But if you pursue your passion and do it because you love it, great things will surely follow. Big thanks to Rural Roots Magazine for running my photo and for bringing attention to this great part of the country we call home!
I love DSLR technology, don’t get me wrong. But there is something about the FujiFilm X100s that opens one’s eyes to a different kind of reality. It’s beyond the sensor and retro styling. It’s beyond all the amazing technology smooshed into a neat little X-Package. The whole photographic experience changes when you’ve got one camera with one lens. It forces you to see the world differently but gives you all the tools you need. I love walking around with a camera that is so compact but also ready for nearly any situation. I went for a little walk with the dog the other day to nab some more fall color. I didn’t feel like lugging the D800 and a lens bag around so I chucked the X100s in my pocket and away I went. I really wanted to make use of the Fuji’s in camera processing film styles. This is truly a versatile camera. Being able to tweak the shadow and highlight zones is super for enhancing a mood. In the case of fall quickly coming to a close, dark deep shadows and gloomy skies really bring out the over all death theme of the season. But at the same time, the rich velvia colours can really pop and make us think “no, all is not lost yet!” Some life still remains.
As much as a I hate winter, I love fall. More precisely, the fall colours. Which only last for 3.4 days in the prairies. Except this year! We’ve had a very nice slow start to autumn and it’s brought a lot of beautiful colour. I love shooting fall landscapes to nab the colours but the photos are never as vivid or as saturated as I perceive them to be. So I decided to do a new twist on shooting fall landscapes. Abstract! The colours can’t help but pop in their full glory on account of that’s all the photos have going for them is colour. I kinda like it!
Try it for yourself. Don’t be a Photoshop pansy. You can do these shots in camera. I used the superb new Nikon 70-200 f/4 for all of these shots. It’s sharp and light but it also stops way down to f/32. Which is where I shot these. I shot at ISO 100 because it was already bright this morning at 7:30. Crank your aperture down as far it will go and then just adjust your shutter speed down till you get the desired exposure. In my case, I was shooting these at 1/5 of a second. And then comes the twist. Just zoom your lens and you get way cool motion blur and super amazing colour. It’s kinda fun and gives you a new twist on fall!
So there were photographers and artists and musicians! Put them all together, invite the community to come and you get one word: Fun! Maybe two words: Super Fun! That’s how I would describe last night’s event. It was standing room only for most of the night which was such an incredible feeling. We never did get a head count of how many people came but it was well over 200. Access Television was also there, documenting the event. The Safe-tee management building made for a very intimate gathering space which was really neat. It made the event far more cozy and close than if it had been in a big gymnasium or a hall. It was along the lines of a Newfoundland Kitchen Party (presumably. I’ve never been. Yet.) There was some incredibly beautiful artwork on display and for sale. There were large sculptures and paintings filled with vivid colour. And of course, the music which drew everyone like a moth to a flame. Shirley and Jim Galloway along with David Hyman rocked the set on violin, guitar and piano. I could have sat there the whole day listening to them, they were fantastic! I did lend some of my vocals to an awesome rendition of “Black Water” by the Doobie Brothers though. All in all it was a fabulous event. It’s so nice to be part of a community that honours the arts and wants to do more than only sports. All the free will proceeds went to the OPHS band program to further help and encourage the development of art in the tender young minds of our youths. Boo ya!
Oxbow is having an art exhibition tomorrow September 28 at 7PM at Safe-tee Management. It’s going to be exciting! A few of us local area photographers have stuff to display as well as artists and musicians. Entry to the event is free will offering with all proceeds going to the OPHS Band Program. This is the first event of its kind for Oxbow as far as I can tell. I hope everyone can come out and take part, it’s going to be a metric tonne of fun! I’m showing 12 large prints under the theme of “People of the Living Skies.” It shows a variety of environmental portraits I’ve done over the years featuring our awesome Saskatchewan prairie skies. Don’t miss it!
My brother and his beautiful fiancé got hitched in Moose Jaw last weekend and I hitched ‘em! If I open a catering and decorating business I could do everything! hehehe… It was my esteemed honour to officiate at my little brother’s wedding and to do the formal photos too. I’m not gonna lie, it was as nerve wracking as it was exciting. For family, you want everything to be a notch above. And I did my very best to pull out all the stops. We had two great locations in Moose Jaw. Crescent Park was absolutely beautiful and we also got to do some cool shots at Sahara Spa. We were very blessed to have 2 other shooters take photos all day of the pre-service stuff, the ceremony and the reception! Thanks again to Jimmy and Ham for their great job. All the best to Ryan and Tristin, the latest Schultzes on the block!
Our little man began Preschool yesterday – another big first for our family. We did our typical photo shoot madness and here’s the results. Heheheheheeh! I nearly fell off my chair when I saw his sign. I’m thinking halloween and grown up got a little mixed up!
I had a cool opportunity to shoot a really unique family session the other day for fellow photographer Emily Rutledge of One Thousand Words Photography. She had this amazing idea of a themed family photo shoot, in this case a circus. She came up with idea and did all the setup. I basically showed up and lit it. It was great! Plus, I didn’t have to do any editing. BONUS! But I did a little bit on these photos, a wee smidgeon of the shoot. It was super fun and made for some really creative family memories. I’d love to do more of this kind of shoot in the future as it’s super fun and out of the ordinary. Plus, the whole family can be involved and the kids think its awesome. They were very cooperative during the shoot!
The group photo was rather involved so here’s the breakdown:
There are no white lights in this image. All the flashes have gels to some extent.
Background: I decided to light up the barn to add drama to the awesome texture and further the circus theme. Simple red and blue theatrical gels were on 2 SB-600 speed lights in the back.
Fill: I had a small soft box boomed up high from a c-stand with an SB-900 gelled full CTO to give a super warm fill light to the image.
Key(s): I used two LumoPro LP180 flashes in shoot through umbrellas with 1/4 CTO gels on the boys to light them. They did double duty by hitting the girls in the middle and letting the overhead fill light do the rest.
Riley and Taybrey had a beautiful day for a wedding back in August. It was a little blustery at first but the blue skies came out in full force and made for a lovely day. Here’s a couple of my favorite shots from the day. I’m also partial to this cool bridal party shot featuring a beautiful blue Pontiac. Total of 5 flashes. I earned the Joe McNally Jr. award for it!
We had a super great time taking some wedding pictures for a fabulous couple in Moosomin a couple of weeks ago. Normally I’m second shooting for Susan at weddings, which I love doing. But on this wedding, I was the chief cook and bottle washer. ;) It was really cool to be on the other side of the wedding coin, and by that, I mean editing the whole project. I normally (happily) leave that for Susan to contend with. But as I edited the photos and put them all together, seeing how the second shooter shots completely compliment the first is near magical. Both angles of events are covered. What one shooter misses, the other gets. And when you put it all together, it makes for such a better end product for the clients. It’s awesome!
So here’s a few shots from Leighton and Brandy’s big day. I included a few BTS pictures of us in action too, just for fun.
1st Day of Kindergarten was yesterday for our oldest. Our first baby is now shared with the world! Very traumatic . . . for us. She loved it and had a blast! I took a few photos to commemorate the event. One light or less.
ATTENTION: PHOTO NERD POST – if this is not you, please move aside.
In my previous post on this, I had Nikon’s Creative Lighting System working flawlessly with my LumoPro 180s. But then, all of a sudden it didn’t work anymore in the S2-3 slave mode. I was buffaloed once again. So, I determined to figure out why (in my home office, not during a wedding shoot when it was critical. Doh.). So anyways, I tried all the configurations of Nikon’s CLS system triggering from an SU-800 commander on camera. Here’s what I came up with. The LP180s will work with all the configurations, they just have to be set in the appropriate slave mode as per your CLS configuration. I made up a cheat sheet to keep with you. Feel free to download and share it as you wish. Cheers!
ADDENDUM EDIT: I’ve had an anonymous commenter (H. Simpson, no wait, that’s too obvious, Homer S.) inquire about what the settings would be for CLS combinations not listed in the chart – precisely a BC group. Given that Nikon’s CLS system makes the most sense when used as A Group for Key, B Group for Fill and C Group for Accent/Kicker lights, a BC Group configuration doesn’t make any sense at all ever. Just use an AB Group in the S2-2 setting, it’s accomplishing the same thing as 2 setting group like BC.
After a nice fire with our good neighbour last night, we looked up and realized that the stars were amazing! I mean, they always are but last night was tremendous on account of there was no moon. Awesome! I went and grabbed the old picture box and set it up after googling how to take photos of the Milky Way. Turns out ISO 3200 and 30″ exposure does nicely. After nabbing several cool pics of the Milky Way itself, I set the camera up to include some foreground nicery. There was a nearby tree that was conveniently being lit up by some RM yard lights across the valley from us. Made for a cool light painting effect without having to do any work. Bonus!
In other news, my life is total upheaval at the moment. My main computer, my faithful 2008 iMac bit the dust this last week. Thankfully my backups all work and I didn’t lose any data. However, I’m down to living off of one Macbook Air with 128GB flash memory for storage. Umm, ya. It’s like packing up a mansion and cramming the contents into a pup tent. Not gonna happen. So, I’m stuck living off of external hard drives. Doh. It sucks. Plus, all the new Mac computers with the slick new Haswell chips are not out yet. Hopefully this month!! And I will order a new mac mini ASAP. I’m leaving iMacs behind and going for the 27″ Cinema Display (hopefully updated this month too with 4 or 5K resolution!) and a totally flash driven mac mini. Should be screamin fast for my needs. Anyways, until then, I wait. Editing on my 11″ MB Air….
“Organic” is a huge buzz word these days at grocery stores and farmer’s markets. But getting to see it up close and personal is a lot of fun and very interesting. That’s exactly what I got to do at the Daybreak Mill, just out side of Estevan, SK. I connected with Nicole Davis, owner and proprietor, earlier in the year and she jumped on board with my project. When I first met Nicole, I was a little bit awestruck. First of all, she didn’t fit my mental image of a farmer (a picture a guy, 50+ in a plaid shirt, jeans and a mesh farm implement ball cap). Nope, I was greeted by this beautiful, 20 something blonde girl who just happened to own and operate an organic mill. After our introductions, she toured me around the facility explaining about the various processes from cleaning the grain, to grinding it to selling it in the office.
For Nicole, organic farming is in her blood. Her father was and is an organic guy too, so she comes by it naturally. But the more people actually consider organic food, the more appealing it becomes. Most people are aware of the chemicals that are used to spray crops for pest or weed control in traditional farming. But lately, it is the genetic changes are raising more alarm in people’s minds, as well as their bodies. Suddenly everything these days is “gluten-free”. But
nobody very few people had gluten allergies/intolerances years ago. So what changed? Organic people will argue that the food itself has been changed, either by selective breeding of the crops or more recently, genetic modification. It is causing problems for more and more people, especially the GMO stuff that can be found in almost all processed foods. As people become more aware of these changes, the market is responding. Demand for Organic grain is increasing nation wide.
Nicole’s Daybreak Mill ships product across the country. And product they have! When we think of grain, the average person thinks of ‘wheat’. But there are so many different kinds available! Einkorn, Emmer, Spelt, Red Fife, etc. all of which are available for sale the Day Break Mill. In fact, Einkorn is the oldest grain that was farmed by humans some 10,000 years ago. It is still being grown today. And it is delicious! Nicole gave me a sample of some. We cooked it up like you would rice and ate it as a side dish. It actually felt neat knowing that I was eating food that has been unchanged for thousands of years! But then again, I’m a sucker for tradition. Their organic granola and pancake mix is delightful too, our kids gobbled them up!
I can’t say enough good about Nicole and her team at Daybreak. They are all tremendous people who really love and care about what they are doing. They are passionate about Organic farming and the products they sell. And, as the market demand grows, you can find their products in more and more places all over Canada. But you can also buy direct from their mill too – which I encourage everyone to do, especially if you live in SE Saskatchewan.
It was a lot of fun to meet with Nicole and her team and I am grateful for the experience. If you are starting to think about Organic products, you owe it to yourself to check out the Daybreak Mill!
We shot a wedding on Saturday up at the beautiful Kenosee lake. I was a little worried to say the least when we got there and it was down pouring with that relentless “I’m gunna wreck your outdoor wedding” kind of rain. Thankfully, it let up just in time for the ceremony that took place at the visitor centre overlooking the lake. 1931 fieldstone has that amazingly beautiful and classy look no matter what kind of weather. It truly was a glorious spot! Corey and Kelly rolled with the weather punches with poise and grace and everything turned out beautifully. And, we got to make some really cool images.
One of the very last shots of the day was this glorious enchanted forest spot down by the lake. We were able to light it to further enhance that sweet golden light filtering through the trees. I shot this with the 70-200 f/4 at 175mm and f/4. With the compression from the longer end of the telephoto lens it really smooshes everything into a bokehlicious wonderland! All in all, we had a great time with a wonderful bride and groom in a glorious location!