On Thursday, May 9th we celebrated the Good Lord Jesus’ Ascension back to heaven. And to do so, we had a concert with a couple of Angel voices! Jennifer Jade Kerr and Kelti Malone blessed our congregation in Oxbow with a sweet concert. They are AMAZINGLY talented singer songwriter types. I highly recommend you check ‘em out and buy all their records. As if that wasn’t good enough, we sweetened the whole deal and had an ice cream buffet afterwards. We had a really great turn out with lots of community members attending.
The the girls were kind enough to indulge my photo addiction and do some portraits with the D800. Musicians deserve moody lighting, at least, I think they do. I wanted to try some anyways so here’s what I came up with.
For Jennifer, I envisioned her glorious red hair and decided that warm tones would be the ticket. I wanted to go with short lighting too for the utmost of flattery. Then I had the idea to put some candles in the bokeh to further play off the red/warm feel of the overall image. I also wanted a bit of guitar in the image, but not to let it dominate the scene. I was pleased because it turned out how I envisioned it.
Kelti has a way cool violin! I knew that I wanted to do some edgy stuff with it. So we did a pretty dramatic portrait of Kelti with some way cool profile lighting. And then, we decided to just shoot the violin – because it’s so darn cool!
Here’s some shots from the concert all taken with the FujiFilm X100s.
Back in April we had the big Dance Recital. It was great because my daughter was in it. And by that, I mean, I loved it even more because my daughter was in it. Miss Halynne did a totally rock star job with the kids, especially the littlest ones. It was neat to see all the different levels of experience. I know my daughter benefitted from seeing the older girls doing their hip hop moves as an encouragement to see what happens later in life with practice. I did the group photos the day before at the dress rehearsal and also did a quick session setup for anyone who wanted formals done. It was fast paced maniacal gong show! But it was loads o’ fun and everybody looked super cute.
Every Lent I grow a beard. It started out as a way to be reminded to pray when it started itching. Now it’s just a long standing tradition that is more of a joke than anything. But, it’s gone again for another year! Here chronicles the carnage!
And, if you can’t get enough, watch this YouTube Video. *One profanity used towards the end and for that I apologize.
Every year our parish holds a “Mission Festival” where we bring in a speaker to talk about the important mission work he or she or they have been doing. This year, we were pleased to have Rev. DJ Kim join us in Oxbow. He’s an ordained Lutheran pastor who is serving as a street minister and also works as a chaplain with the Regina Police force. He shared some amazing stories – some of them very graphic – about what a police chaplain does. He helps serve members of the police force, especially people struggling with PTSD, in addition to helping victims of crime on the path to healing and restoration. Rev. Kim also crosses the great divide in that he does outreach to the people who have committed the heinous crimes too. He truly has an amazing vocation in that he covers the whole spectrum of sin and hurt from the culprits to the victims to the people who nobly have to deal with it day in and day out. Growing up in Korea, Rev. Kim had a very difficult childhood. He comes from a broken home, was raised in foster homes and the street. He’s been both a leader of gangs as well as a mixed martial arts champion. In short, he can relate to people on both sides of the law. He’s been through the very depths of hell and as such, he can relate to people who are currently living there now and help them on the path out. He’s an amazing individual and we are blessed to have him as part of our church. He’s the first to tell you that the only thing that can turn a troubled life around is the grace of God. “Look at me,” he says, “I’m the living proof!”
It’s a photo shoot I won’t soon forget! Leighton contacted me about taking some photos of him and his girlfriend Brandy. Simple and straightforward enough. But then, there was a catch. A wonderful catch indeed. Turns out that at the very end of the shoot, he popped the question! And the camera caught the whole thing!! It was tremendous and I was excited to be part of the adventure. Catching real emotion and moments with a camera is an unbelievable experience. And . . . she said “yes.”
Eve of Destruction 2! This time, it’s not Eve of Destruction 1! The event is pure awesome! Last year it was a combine smash up derby, this year, a truck and trailer figure 8 crash up! hehhhehe… But not only is there the main event, there is also lots of other amazing performances from exploding cars to MX stunt dudes to car flips to truck pulls. But I wasn’t there for any of it. My job was to take some pictures of the Lord of the Speedway, Byron Fichter. He’s an Estevan area photographer who specializes in landscapes and motor sports. His work at the Estevan Motor Speedway is exceedingly well known and he knows his craft. Be sure to check out his images at his website ByronFichter.com. I had fun following Byron around and taking some shots of him in action.For a guy who is known for his work at the track, it’s nice to actually get some shots of him at the track. People were saying to him “Are you the guy from the track?” Now they will see the photos and know. It was lots of fun shooting Byron and being able to nab a few shots of the event. The MX bikes were 80 feet in the air when doing their stunts! Unreal! I’m glad I was on the ground with a camera.
This post could be called D800 Snugs part 2. I took full advantage of Teresa’s camera while she was here. Ironically, I have been wanting to get a macro shot of a peacock feather for a long, long time. However, since the D800 came out, I’ve been waiting to use it to capitalize on the megapixels and get blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the detail. It didn’t disappoint. The 105mm micro lens is unreal sharp. I used it on the feather but also for the ad hoc portrait of Talitha . . . who’s last name is Peacock. Go figure. Serendipity? Talitha is a super rad girl and, she’s a harpist which makes me cool and couth by association. Check out her music here: http://peacocksmusic.com. I was blown away by the portrait. Goes without saying that Talitha is beautiful, but the quality of the file is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The D800 really brings it! The feather image is going huge on my wall. I’ll see how 36×48 looks!
A friend of ours was on her way through the hood and was able to stop by for a couple days visit. It was super fun to have Teresa and her (and our new) friend Talitha stop by. We haven’t hung out for many moons as Teresa and her husband have been living in New Zealand for a couple of years. Great to have them back in Canada! And, it was a grand occasion for me additionally because I got to play with the Nikon D800! Teresa is an awesome photographer now based out of Calgary, AB. Check her out at http://teresarehmann.com. We traded some photography as she needed some updated portraits and we needed a family photo that has all of us in it! bwahahhaah… And, I got to test the D800 extensively. And test I did, plugging all my lenses onto it and running it through it’s paces. I know the sensor is good. But I didn’t know it was THAT good. It is unbelievable. I’m really not exaggerating here. The image quality, the sharpness, the detail, the contrast, the colour, it’s nearly beyond description. And for what I do, portraits, landscapes and macro stuff, it’s a match made in heaven. HOWEVER. And it’s a big however, the files are so huge that they are unruly. We shot everything in RAW pretty much and editing them on my 3.06 iMac with 8 GB of RAM was painful. Slow. Excruciatingly so – packed in the whole Mac and needed a reset once. But it’s worth it! The images are unbelievable, especially with my 105mm macro lens. “Wicked sharp” has a whole new meaning to me! There’s just sooo much detail and nothing hides from that sensor. Probably need a new computer though . . . :D
Laney has a heart of gold! And that sweetness of her personality flows out of her and looks tremendous on camera. This shoot was really enhanced because of that. I really liked being able to do some fiddle shots of Laney too. The location was really fitting for a western theme and added a lot to how the images worked over all. We setup in a big shed and the floor was perfectly full of fine dust that I knew would give some sweet texture to the shot – especially when you have people run through it and really stir it up! Light and dust/dirt/smoke/fog go together like peanut butter & chocolate!
And, last but not least was the barn. Again, some amazing textures in there. When you mix the sweetness of Laney and the roughness of the location, some cool lighting, it makes for some really dramatic portraits.
Went out last night for an evening shoot with the Sawatsky family. We had perfect weather with glorious warm golden light – until the last 2 minutes of the shoot when the wind came up out of nowhere, blew over my c-stand (sandbagged!) and carried my light setup a quarter mile! bwahahahah.. I wish I would have taken pictures of my shoot-thru umbrella carrying my flash bracket across the beach. It was hilarious. Fortunately, nothing was damaged and, we got the shot after all!
Not enough can be said about golden light, that mystical time of the day right before sunrise and right before sunset. The light is super soft and warm. It’s pure awesome. Plus, scheduling the shoot at that time allows for the sunset to get richer and richer as time goes on. Most of the photos from this shoot were shot using ambient light as the key, supplemented with a CTO flash to help add warmth and a kicker. It’s really soft subtle light which works nice for the kids. They did an AWESOME job as photo candidates. We worked quickly and nabbed a nice mix of shots.
After having my own kids, I know how fast a year can come and go. We did Leighton’s 1 year photos this past weekend and it was a riot! When you are 1, the whole world is an adventure. And if Grandpa keeps you awake before your photo shoot, so what?! It’s still cute no matter what! Leighton did fantastic and she was sporting all the late summer fashions, especially the Rider Pride!
July 28th 2012. It’s the day two wonderful people made their vows and promised each other forever. It was also the day I became a
wedding photographer photographer who took wedding photos. Although, with a twist. I also officiated the wedding in my Pastoral capacity. Now, if I only did the catering and the DJ stuff, I’d truly be a jack of all trades. But as it was, the service and the photos were enough. Where to begin?! I thought I would elaborate on the experiences from the day a little bit in this blog post. First of all, as I mentioned it was my first wedding for photos. I did research, as I always do. I went to Manor to scope it out prior to the big day. I’d never been there before and I needed to know some locations. Also, because the wedding was in the evening, the photos needed to be taken care of first. That meant starting at 1PM when the sun was high. And, we had to capture the critical moment of the Bride & Groom seeing each other for the first time. Normally this happens at the ceremony, but with an evening wedding, the need to still capture those moments is key. We setup a little surprise for Kayla and it worked! Lucas caught her unaware and photos captured it all.
From there, I took several more photos of the couple together in the moment. It made for some really great candids. After a few minutes or so, my awesome assistant Michelle helped do some run and gun lighting setups. Nothing fancy, just 1 light in a medium softbox. It gave us a fantastic result and allowed us to keep moving quickly getting a wide variety of shots in the short time we had.
One technique I was dying to try out was Cliff Mautner’s signature lighting setup. No flash was used in this photo. And it was taken at 1:35PM. By turning your subject so that the sun is directly behind her, it gives you an evenly lit face and front. Juxtaposed against the dark backdrop, this technique works awesome. You have to shoot in Manual Mode to get it though as your camera’s meter is next to useless for getting this photo. The camera sees all the white and all the dark and goes “AAAAAHHHHHH!” You have to override the meter and chimp it to make sure your exposure is bang on. You could use spot metering for the face, but that’s too easy. I love the result of this technique. Long lenses, wide apertures and awesome lighting. It’s the recipe for pure awesomeness. Thanks Cliff!
Speaking of Cliff Mautner, another shot he’s famous for I also wanted to try. It’s the “elevated perspective, shallow depth of field, mad-lens compression, way cool beauty shot.” Putting the focus cursor right on Kayla’s eyelash gave me this photo. I love it! It’s nearly angelic and royal, which is exactly what bride portraits should be.
After the bride and groom photos were wrapped up, we had the group shots to contend with. Fortunately for us, we lucked out with the beautiful location and the 3PM time slot. I knew that the sun would be lower by then so some nice north facing shade was perfect for getting everyone uniformly lit. Then, we used my typical group lighting setup with two speed lights & umbrellas to brighten the scene and add some much needed catchlights. I had Kayla make up a list of family shots she wanted in advance so we burned through the group shots in no time in an orderly fashion. I shot all the group stuff with my 50mm prime which ultimately looks better than a wide angle for groups.
A split second after we finished the family group shots, it started raining. Boo! Hiss! But, it didn’t stop us. We ducked for cover and made the most of it. Having Michelle with me was vital for getting these photos because she held the light and we burned around quickly and got all the bridal party shots we needed. I really like this technique of framing the bridal party members around each other for a portrait.
I got my thoughts together for the ceremony and gave my camera to Michelle. She nabbed some ceremony shots for me as it would have been a wee bit awkward to stop the ceremony to do photography… heheheheh…. But before we did the ceremony I also wanted a shot of the wedding bands. We framed up a macro shot, making use of what was on sight and in theme with the wedding.
After the ceremony there was the party! The rest of the night was candids of the moments that unfolded before us – which in many ways is easier. The shooting gallery is before you and the moments just happen! It’s awesome.
Like any hall, we always are faced with the problem of poor lighting. So to combat that, I put a flash on a stick and had Michelle keep her eyes on where I was going. It worked like a charm and made for some really cool, dramatic lighting as well as just some nice, evenly lit photos too. It was great to have that control and versatility at our finger tips.
So, all in all, it was an awesome day, albeit exhausting. I don’t think I will sign up for the “whole meal deal” again anytime soon, although not many other photographers can do your photos and your service! hehehhehe… It was a really fun day and the couple was a dream to work with. I was thankful for the opportunity to try something I’ve never done before and I am very happy with the results. Thanks again to Michelle Needham for being an awesome assistant! And, all the best and God’s blessings to Lucas & Kayla! You guys are amazing!
I’ve made several photo books over the years now from Phoebe’s baby pics for the grandparents to anniversaries to summer memory books and of course, for clients too. Photo books have got to be one of the best options for finishing out photos and displaying them. The curse of digital photography is that our photos are often relegated to living in the digital on-screen world – and that can be good thing, especially in our day of iPhones and iPads, the photos are more readily accessible and easier to share than ever before. However, digital is not always best. Big prints and photo books often lend more physicality and dimension to the photos. Books have a great way of simply “being there” on a coffee table or in grandma’s purse to show friends and family. And, do to the aforementioned digital world, print media is almost novel these days making books more special than on a phone screen. I did up a book for Erin from two different shoots I did for her this year just to say thank you for being the best babysitter ever to our kids. You can’t buy the memories in the book! It’s a one of a kind piece of art! And, it is very satisfying to see photography in print, just like a project completed.
What is a mix of sadness, change, excitement and happiness? If you said high school grad, you’d be right. I had the privilege of taking some grad photos for our family’s favourite grad today. Our long time babysitter is going to be spreading her wings into a brave new world in no time. It’s sad!!! We will miss our beloved Erin soooo much! But at the same time, it’s happy and exciting! This chapter of life is complete. The next one is just beginning. It’s life is it not? We are always growing and changing. I guess that makes it fun! :cool:
I’m shooting a series of environmental portraits from rural Saskatchewan and I’m including this photo we made today. It’s a really meaningful shot. The Lion’s Park in Oxbow was where Erin and the gang hung out – forever. I knew we had to make an image there. The park is being updated and the old equipment replaced with new stuff. The old-timey spring ponies are still there though and Erin played on them as a little girl. There were two other little kids playing in the park. They ran through the frame and symbolize the fleeting blink that childhood is. We ought to never underestimate how fast time flies. Savour every moment of every day! Cherish the memories
Prepare to get your photo-geek on and see if you can keep up to this post. I just got some new toys that I’m stoked about. For the longest time I’ve wanted a variable ND filter. Neutral Density is pretty much sunglasses for your lenses and especially useful for landscape photography, especially water shots where you want a long/slow shutter speed to get those cool blurred water effects. But additionally, you can use them for flash photography and strobist work. ND filters help you kill ambient light, like in the full bright sunshine (it can bring a shutter speed down from 1/8000s to 1/250 to get full power flash sync speeds!) Or, you can use it in available light too. Here’s the scenario. The kids are ripping around the back yard being cute as usual. It’s super bright out – the old “Sunny 16″ rule. With loads of sunlight everywhere, your camera lens has to stop-down to f/8, 11 or 16 to control how much light is getting into the camera as to no blow out an exposure. However, taking portraits/candids at such a small f/stop sucks. Everything is in focus and it’s not bokelicious or appealing. Say I want to get crazy and shoot at f/1.4 in full sunlight. How can I do it? It’s impossible without an ND filter. So I slapped on the Genus 2-8 Stop Variable ND and away we go! Check it out – these next 4 shots are all shot with my 50mm f/1.4 lens at 1.4 1/250 in full sun!!! It’s pure awesome and totally impossible without an ND filter.
As if that wasn’t enough, I also finally broke down and bought a C-Stand. I wish I would have bought it when I first started getting interested in flash photography. It’s basically a big-bad-heavy light stand with an extendable arm which allows you to hang a light up over someone. It’s the bomb! Plus, I got some sand bags for it and filled them with pea gravel and now, it’s super strong enough to stand up in the fiercest of Saskatchewan wind. I used it the other day to nab one of the shots of FlowerPot. It’s super secure and with all that weight in the bags, it ain’t goin’ nowheres.
Just as one last aside, take a look at the difference flash makes, especially off-camera flash. Here’s two shots of Phoebe taken right after each other. The first is natural open shade light, the second is with flash from the C-Stand setup above. It’s such a better result to me. There’s pop and contrast and great light! This is why I keep sinking money into lighting gear. If your light is right, your photos will be awesome 9 times out of 10.
Bokehlicious! It’s a term blatantly stolen from DigitalRev TV presenter Kai. Bokeh, that lovely Japanese word for “the stuff not in focus in the image” is awesome. Normally we think of big apertures like f/1.4 or f/2 to get amazing bokeh in an image, but you can squish a background with a long telephoto lens and get a similar result. I shot this self portrait (mainly because it’s infested with wood ticks back there and nobody else would go as my subject) tonight as the sun was beginning to get low and directional. It was super cloudy so it was diffused nicely. I put a speed light on a stand camera left and shot it through a Lumiquest Softbox III light mod. It’s a sweet little modifier. I mainly wanted that new growth poplar behind me to go into bokehlicious heaven. And I think it did nicely for being shot at f/5.6 @ 270mm (which on my DX Nikon actually is like 405mm)! All you get is a background that goes smooshy and gooshy, like a painter’s canvas. Certainly, this would have been even more pleasing had I shot the photo at f/2.8 or f/4. But even at 5.6 I like it! I just love that green bokehlicious background!
When I was a kid, I loved Pre-Kindergarten!! It was the best 4 years of my life! Actually, I was too much of a wimp to go to pre-school. I was afraid of all the kids and the brightly coloured crayons. But I was certainly happy to stop by and check out the new Pre-K class in Oxbow. What a fun class! All the good times of Kindergarten without all the Algebra homework. I was asked to stop by and do some class photos for Tony as he unfortunately has to return to Germany. All of his classmates are going to miss him for sure! We hope he will be back in school in no time. As always, it’s tons of fun helping out the school making images for them. We broke the mould of the traditional “line em up move em out, rawhide!” photos and got them jumping and spread out. Little kids are designed for moving around, might as well take advantage of it!
No time for losers, cuz they are the champions! The senior girls did Oxbow proud and became gold medal winners and provincial champs in 2011. The details of the big win can be viewed here. They got some pretty sweet championship jackets too. They needed a group photo so I was happy to oblige. I shot a couple of different angles and scenarios from the typical old row to our “glam meets sass” creation. It was a pile o’ fun and we had it wrapped up in under a half hour.
Hats off to all the men out there who grew the mad stache for Movember. I salute you! Mainly, I salute my good neighbour Jimmy who we sponsored with $20 bucks in quarters. He’s a good sport. And, to have a permanent memory of pure joy of Movember, we did these portraits. They are breathtaking! 8) The addition of a mullet makes movember more masculine & mesmerizing. (more…)
Yipee! I got a new light mod! I’ve wanted a soft box for a long time now and I finally pulled the trigger and got the Photoflex Octodome NXT XS. I got it as a kit from B&H that came with the soft box, speed ring, light stand and umbrella swivel head & all the coldshoe hardware for flashes. It’s the bomb! Plus, if I ever get/use studio lights, the speed ring is full-size to accommodate those lights too. It works just spiffy with speed lights though and it gives a super nice quality of light. I put it together when I first got it and did some quick test shots with the kids. It’s amazing light, soft wrapping and because it’s an octa, you get a round catchlight similar to a beauty dish. 8) Love it! I also used it on a recent family session shoot for a 3 month old baby and it worked wonderfully. I even used it for a small group shot and it was nice light, considering it’s only 15 inches or so in diameter! I’ll do a full review of the product soon.
Ever noticed one of the peculiarities of the English language is where the ‘i’ and the ‘e’ go in words? It confuses not only second graders but adults as well. ‘I’ before ‘E’, except after C. Unless the word is German: Rottweiler, Stein, Hammermeister! 8)
We had a fun photo shoot last night at the Hammermeister haus. It was nice to take advantage of the sliver of mild winter that is over us right now. Fingers crossed it stays without getting too icy! But we do live in Saskatchewan and we know the weather will probably change (for the worse) any time now… But on the sunny side of life, here’s a couple of highlights from the shoot!
Went up to Grenfell on Thursday night to celebrate my niece’s 2nd birthday. Howz that possible?!!? Time flies when you’re having fun. While I was there I was also taking some family photos for the Duryba clan and my other sister in law. Some sweet strobist portraits to liven things up a little bit. I was super happy with the way everything turned out. I was trying to make use of what wee bit o’ fall we had left in terms of colour and we nabbed it before it was too late.
Photo Geek Info: Umbrellas were the name of the game on this shoot. That and a beauty dish gold reflector combo for Hailey’s shots. For the Duryba’s family shots, I wanted to meld the flash with the ambient so it looked as natural as possible, filling in the shadows while making use of all that glorious back light and colour. I gelled the SB-900 warm with a 1/4CTO gel which worked perfectly. Same with the Beauty Dish. It was shot during golden light so the warm gel and the gold reflector worked superbly. Can’t beat golden light. It’s my absolutely favourite time to shoot. But, you have to be quick. The light falls very fast so moving quickly is a necessity. I’m always shooting manual with flash so knowing the settings before hand is a bonus before the real shooting begins. TTL would always work but I prefer having supreme control over the light and knowing exactly what it is going to be doing. 8)
Taking flash photos of people with glasses is a nightmare. Even if they have the magical unicorn-horn anti-glare nano-crystal-coatings, there is always gonna be some reflection or glare. So, if you have an umbrella setup as a light modifier, it’s going to reflect in the glasses. Same with reflectors. There’s only 3 options. 1) You get the person to take their glasses off. But, if they always wear them, they won’t look like themselves. So this one is out for me. 2) Photoshop the heck out of the glare. This is time consuming and a real nightmare trying to rebuild people’s eyes. 3) Turn the person the opposite direction from the light. DING DING DING! How easy is that?! The light comes from behind the person and wraps around them, all without glaring their glasses. Slap in a reflector for fill on the opposite side of the main light and you’re in business. Just make sure that the reflector doesn’t show up in the glasses on the other side.
Edgar needed a high res portrait for a Western Ag Labs conference so I had Kirby stand in for me while I tried the setup. It worked! It took a bit of tweaking to make sure we didn’t get any glare showing up, but it came together quickly.
For this last one, I screwed up the exposure and made it too dark/edgy for what Edgar needed. So I processed it to be highly detailed with desaturated tones that add to the edgy feel. It’s funny because it’s a Western Ag Labs portrait, but it makes Edgar look more like a hit man. hehehehehe… I told him he could send this pic to clients who won’t pay.
I loved grade 1. It was the best 4 years of my life! hehehehehe…. just kidding! But I do remember it like it was yesterday. Just as much fun as Kindergarten, but no nap time. Anyways, Mrs. Moncrief invited me to come by the school and do some portraits of the kids for the class room. It was fast paced and loads of fun! The print copies of the photos have been made and a digital gallery has also been published for any parents who want to download a free copy of their kids’ photo. It’s password protected for privacy sake and Mrs. Moncrief has the details to provide to parents. Like I said, it was a lot of fun and the kids did extremely well! 8)