Light is Everything!

Archive for December, 2011

Alexys B

Moir Dr. welcomed our newest resident just recently! All the little princesses on the crescent were glad to welcome one more precious little girl in Alexys. Ethan doesn’t know what to think as the pink army seems to keep getting bigger and bigger. He may have to seek friendship elsewhere. He’s starting to think wearing a tutu is a great thing! Thankfully Uncle bought him a metric tonne of tonka trucks for Christmas. 😉 But I digress. It was a riot to take some photos for Jenn & Brock of their newest addition and a few of big sister Kennedy too. I love how newborns can sleep through anything and Alexys was a great model for us, putting up with pretty much any pose! Can’t beat that! 😎

Read on for Photo Geek info! 😀 (more…)


Nutcracker in Action!

The show went off without a hitch today! We took in the 1:30PM showing and it was a riot! The kids did fantastically well and our kids loved watching it. They were very into the show and sat pretty good which was a bonus because I was taking the mad photos during the production. Very challenging photography scenario as I was pretty far back from the stage and off to the side. Plus the lighting was very uneven which made for tricky exposures. But, I was able to make a few shots which turned out all right. And, it was nice to see the display setup of the photos I took of the cast & the groups. Photos in print, it can’t get any better! 8)

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Everyone get ready! The OPHS Musical “Nutcracker” is nearly upon us! There will be two presentations on Wednesday December 21st at 1:30 & 7PM It is going to be a tremendous presentation and everyone who attends will be uplifted! Your life will be 17% happier if you go and check it out! 😉

I was happy to be able to do the photos for the event and they will be on display in the foyer at the school the day of the presentation. We did group shots of all the various performers in the musical as well as cast portraits that look smashing in black and white. An online gallery of the photos has been provided for the school and parents if they wish to download the full resolution photos to have as a keepsake. Both colour and black & white photos have been made available, as well as 4×6 & 8×10 sizings. Click here to visit the gallery.

Best Image Import Workflow Ever!

Cameras are truly amazing things, they have the ability to capture time forever! In the old days, it was stored on film but since the digital revolution, it’s stored in bits and bytes, zillions upon zillions of 1s and 0s. RAW is the format that can capture almost as much information as film. RAW is exactly what the camera sees and saves when you push your shutter button on your camera. The files are enormous but they give you the most options in the universe for editing. JPEG locks you into a specific format that still looks great, takes up way less space but is limited.

I shot JPEG forever because RAW was scary to me. I didn’t yet understand the amazing potential that existed with it. After I saw the light, I switched to shooting solely RAW and have been blown away by what can be accomplished when editing photos in RAW – far more than JPEG! But, I’ve also watched my hard drives fill up with images – lots of junk images that I know I will never develop any bigger than a 4×6 or maybe an 8×10 (and should probably just be deleted all together). 😐

Enter my new workflow revelation. Shooting RAW+JPEG! I have come to believe this is THE way to go. You always have the RAW file to work with, but you also have smaller JPEGs that process quicker, look great out of the camera, and take up way less hard drive space. I set my camera to take RAW and Medium sized JPEGS with Fine compression giving me a file size that is 3216 × 2136 (6.9 MP) which works out to ±3megabytes.

It’s time to be realistic. Hardly ever do you print photos bigger than 8×10. And you can print that from an 1800x1200px image. So why do you need anything bigger? A JPEG image that is 3216 × 2136 is plenty sufficient. And, if you make a great photo you want to blow up to 20×30 or 40×60, you’ve got the RAW file to do that from. And here in lies my new “Best Workflow Ever” procedure.

I’ll be totally honest, I came across this concept first in a Photoflex episode (80:7, 2010) by Gary Box. He’s a professional photographer based out of Oklahoma. He shoots RAW (as everyone should) then generates 1500px JPEGS from which to edit for his clients. The computing power needed to edit small JPEGS is minimal in contrast to RAW editing, supercharging the editing workflow to notches unknown to mankind. Everything is quicker with JPEG than it is with RAW. It allows him to fully edit a photo in about 60 seconds, which is mighty quick.

The second advantage is in the importing process. When you import your images into Aperture or Lightroom, importing a few thousand small JPEGS takes no time at all. It’s fast! The processing is über quick too. But you still want the RAW files incase you get a hot photo you want to blow up. And herein lies the best part. You can import only the RAW files you want in a simple two step process. I use Aperture 3 and it makes this super easy. I’m sure you can do it with Lightroom too though.

The first thing is import your medium size, fine compression JPEGs (JPEG files only). Go through them, making your selections (stars, flags, colors) of good/keeper images. Some of the images will be complete junk (blurry, exposed wrong, test shots, etc.) – you know you don’t wanna blow hard drive space with RAW files of that crap. Even if you are diligent and delete them all later, you still have to import them all and sift through them. With smaller JPEGS,  you can keep all the crap you want at a far less hdd space & time cost!

Then, once you’ve got your basic “gooder” selections done, you go back to the import dialogue and import the RAW files that match your selections. This way you only keep the RAW files for the best of your photos. You’ve got the full options if you ever want to make a big print later. Both the RAW and JPEGs import as matched pairs and you can access which ever file you want by right clicking on it and choosing either RAW or JPEG as master.

This workflow is fast, efficient and takes up considerably less room and time than just going RAW all the time. And it provides you with the best editing options because you’ve got the RAW files for only your best images. It’s truly the best workflow ever because you get the best of both RAW+JPEG worlds! 8)

Hat tip to Rob Boyer for the technical heads up on this import process. 😀

MYC Recital 2011

It seems like just yesterday we were all crammed into the United Church Basement for last year’s recital!!! Oh how the time flies. This year we were at the more spacious single multi-purpose room at the school. It doesn’t really matter where you are though, because it’s 10 ways from cute no matter what! Mrs. Mitchell always does such a great job with the kids and they’ve got loads of talent. Of course, I’m biased though. 😉 If you’ve ever wanted to enrich your children’s lives with music, check out Music for Young Children. It’s a top notch program! And, our beloved town of Oxbow is blessed with having said program in town. Check out Kari’s Grace Notes Music Studio, 517 Prospect Ave.

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Kid photography is tough. They’re uncooperative. Combative. Scary! Now you know why kid photographers charge the mad scratch. 😉 hehheheehe…… I was trying to get some Christmas pictures of our kids the other day, which is always a gong show. It’s all my fault for breeding in the hatred of the camera to my kids. I’ve taken waaaay too many photos of them and now they won’t smile nice and look at the camera. Doh! But every once in a while, they will cooperate. This little shoot was an example of not! It was one ensuing comedy of errors after another. The other complicated thing was using a lighting setup. The kids have to be in a certain place for it to work, which simply doesn’t work super great with wiggly worm toddlers. Now you know why kid photographers use fast primes and shoot in natural light! hehheheeh……. 8)

Front Page News

Who is that masked Photog?!

Picked up the paper this week and what do I see? My photo of the Expressway Family Centre’s Ballet Class. 😀 Boo ya! I’m in print! . . . But you wouldn’t know it as there is no photo credit supplied. 😦 Not a big deal, really, in the grand scheme of things. But it’s always nice to know just from whence the photos come. I think that image theft is fairly nonchalant on the internet. But really, it’s the same as plagiarizing writing – stuff you can get kicked out of university for! But if people “borrow” images without credit, I’d argue it’s the same thing.  I’m just happy to have made the front page! 8) And my little ballerina likes it too. Nothin’ cuter than baby ballerinas! 😉

EDIT!  – – –

To make it clear for the record, I supplied the photo to the newspaper and the newspaper did provide photo credit. It turns out it was a simple formatting error and the rest of the article was botched too. 8)

Quick! Cuz it’s Cold!

It’s human nature to think we always have loads of time left before winter. Delay putting up the Christmas lights well into fall, procrastinating the yard clean up, forget the winter tires for another weekend, etc. ad nauseum. Then, BAM! Winter hits and it’s a mess. We’re scrambling to get everything done! Boo hiss! 👿 But we live in Saskatchewan, we shouldn’t be too shocked when Ol’ Man Winter rears his ugly head. Unless of course we’re trying to nab one last outdoor family photo before the mercury drops too low! 😉  We were able to sneak one in on the weekend and it turned out really nice, even captured some snowflakes in mid flight too. Proudest accomplishment yet in my photographic career: the family AND three pugs all looking up at the same time! 😀 Gotta love that!

🙂 Stop Reading Here unless you’re a Photo Geek 🙂

Photo Geek info: 

Outdoors is special when it comes to lighting, especially in the windy province. Normally I do umbrellas as my goto light modifier, but it was way too windy for that on this shoot. I’ve been trying to find a good use for the Gary Fong Lightsphere and it worked swimmingly well for this setup. One flash high up on a stand with the lightsphere on gave the light enough spread and softness to mimic an umbrella, but without the tip over tendencies. It’s quick and fast which is perfect for cold nasty days. I also used a second flash to help light up the dark pugs who where blending into the shadows of the junipers behind the boulder. All in all it worked! And not a moment too soon as Jack Frost was nippin’ at our noses! 😉

Movember Madness!!!

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…)