On the weekend I had a career highlight as a photographer! I was honoured to tag along with the Oxbow Enniskillen Fire Department on a training session. An old farm house was available for a controlled burn. This kind of exercise is invaluable for firefighters as they get to practice in a real world setting but without the real world risk of having to rescue anyone inside.
The burn was done in stages. Simulating the fire starting in a living room and a kitchen and eventually the entire house. Tagging along as the photographer allowed me to get some photos that would be impossible to get in a real world house fire. I was suited up for the experience in fire pants, jacket and helmet. But nothing could have prepared me for the extreme heat of that fire.
Up until now I have always had grandiose dreams of grabbing my kids and carrying them out of a burning building if it should ever happen to us (God forbid!) But let me tell you, I was on the opposite end of the house when the fire broke out, taking pics as the firefighters entered. The wall of heat was so intense, the smoke so horrific that you couldn’t see or breathe! It is all manor of awful scary. The conditions that our firefighters endure for our safety cannot be overstated. These men (and women!) are your real heroes! Say thank you, buy them a coffee or a meal any time you can!
In the midst of the seriousness, there was also fun too. One highlight for me was getting a three generations firefighter photo. That is something you don’t see everyday. It is a rare and awesome thing to see! Three generations of heroes!
This was such an amazing experience! It reinforced in my mind fire safety. Make sure your smoke alarms all have fresh batteries and are in good working order!
Take a look at the gallery of images here. It’s only a handful of the shots I took, but I have tried to visually tell the story of the day from beginnings of the fire all the way up until the house was completely burned. There were loads of great candid moments throughout the day and I was super thankful for the opportunity!
Family Sessions are pretty much finished off now, especially since winter has set in with a mighty wallop of cold temperatures & wind! It’s already been quite nasty other than not having a metric pile of snow which is great! And also, on the positive note, there has been none of that freezing rain malarky either. Two whoop whoops and a boo ya for -20ºC right off the hop of winter! LOL 😎
Fall on the prairies is hellfire fast. But this year it was somewhat delayed which is a such a sweet bonus. It was rather rainy though which limited the shooting opportunities. But you have to be fast when it comes to hammering out all the best colour as it is usually here one day and gone the next. Here are two images I shot at the end of my crescent where there was this amazing red hedge. These photos were shot only 3 days apart. Crazy difference! I shot the same photo/pose with the families to illustrate this reality of fall photography in Saskatchewan: HURRY! 😀
A little bit of wind can ruin your photo background in no time! That said, while we missed the red colour on the latter shoot, we also picked up some incredible yellow that wasn’t ready just 3 days before.
So you never know what kind of palette you will be given to work with from shoot to shoot. A couple of days is an enormous difference! But you can still wring it out even when the colour gets scarce. The photographer’s two best friends are Bokeh & Compression. Or, long focal lengths and wide apertures. This shot of Lexi was with my 85mm at f/2.5. A bit of telephoto compression and pretty wide aperture. Similar results could have been nabbed at 200mm and f/4. Charlea’s photo was similar, with my favorite 85mm at 2.8. She had much more colour at the red hedge while the bush behind lexi was really on it’s way out. But the bokeh goodness smooshes it into a pleasant blur of colour.
Barrel racing is one of those things that runs in the blood, like farming or hunting or so many other things that exist in a symbiotic relationship with people and animals. My friend Maria wanted some photos of her and her horse Honey. So we picked one of the coldest days of the year when the light was falling fast! LOL 😎 The cloud cover was thick and it was quite dark. We were able to do a bunch of natural light stuff rather quickly but then the sky burst forth a wee silver of gold for us. We had a good 5-7 minutes to work the light before it completely faded into blue. We had to work quickly but we managed to hammer out a bunch of different looks using flash and ambient. The EXIF of the top image was 1/8 of a second at f/7.1. I was trying to drag the shutter as much as possible to get adequate ambient exposure and then use flash for the subject exposure. This relatively longer shutter speed allowed both Maria hair and Honey’s mane to motion blur in the wind but the flash exposure keeps them sharp. Handheld at 1/8 is no sweat with my 16-35mm f/4 Nikkor with VR.
I quickly moved from ambient to flash and back to ambient again to nab the amazing sky for silhouettes. The color was so juicy and rich that it made for the perfect background! You can’t sunset shots. They are like peanut butter and chocolate! The veritable Reese’s Pieces of the photographic world. They make for great photos & happy clients . . . and happy Photographers! 😎
Well Boo ya! This years grads are all done graduatin’. And what a crazy fun time it was taking photos of all these amazing young people. It’s hard to believe that our kids will one day be wearing the suits and dresses! Another reminder that time truly does fly by far too fast. Anywhos, here’s my quick picks of Oxbow grad shots this year. After a MARATHON editing session today, I got them all done. The kids will have their photos at the start of the week. Just glad the weather cooperated today by being heinously wet and rainy as to dispel any fun things I could have otherwise done. 😀 Also, I invented a new photo this year. I call it “The Smiling Suit.”
It was only -38 with the windchill today so I thought I’d go and do some HDR photography… I’m insane. But it’s true, the worst weather often gives the best opportunities for making photos. We had killer sun dogs again today as the weather was diabolical. I actually didn’t really set out to do HDR. I wanted a slow shutter speed shot of drifting snow. But I realized I forgot my variable ND filter in my other camera bag. Doh. So HDR it was! (more…)
Susan Hill and I ran two DSLR and Photography workshops this past week in the charming little town of Redvers, SK. The classes were held at the Redvers public library and 30 people in all took the course. It was tonnes of fun! 😎 Helping people take their camera off of Auto Mode is always such a treat. As for myself, I bought my first DSLR (Nikon D40) because I hated how slow and laggy my point and shoot was. I took a billion photos in auto mode and loved every minute of it. Nothing really changed until I got a 50mm f/1.8. Best thing ever for turning the ol’ mode dial to A mode. That’s what started my foray into being a full blown photo and exposure nerd. We introduced the participants to all the basics of ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed – knowing full well nobody is going to become a full blown M mode shooter overnight. But to have someone take me by the hand and guide me through everything would have been helpful to me when I was getting interested in photography. But we all had a blast and we will be running more classes in the future. 😀
For the last post of 2013, I will go out with double the fun! Leighton is having a blast being big sister to Laya and Levi. We had a fun little shoot with the twins and they cooperated swimmingly well. I’m always taken aback by how well the little newborns tolerate photo shoots and photographers! 🙂 So here’s to 2013! May 2014 double the fun yet again! . . . Photographically speaking of course! 😎
This last month of December hath been a whirlwind of adventure to say the least. I’ve hardly had any time to blog between family commitments and church work stuff. Lots going on and too many irons in the fire. But as 2013 comes to a close, I thought I would go back over the year (and the literally tens of thousands of images I shot) and put together a couple of slideshows of my favourites. They may or may not be my very best work. Probably more of the emotional connection I have with them. 😎 But I realized that since I got the FujiFilm X100s, it’s really become my camera of choice for my personal work. I attribute this to 2 main factors. 1) Fuji is awesome. The image quality is fantastic and the cameras a literal joy to use because they work great and have a compact form. And 2) as a Pater Familias, I’m usually chasing after my kids or at least have them in tow. DSLR is a good system but its bulky and not conducive to life with wee ones. The X100s has really filled my camera needs and I used it for probably around 75% of my personal photography this year. It’s been a great experience. So much so that I would consider completely switching to Fuji mirrorless cameras totally! I’ve heard a rumour that a weather sealed X is coming in January. That camera with the 10-24, 35 and new 56 1.2 lenses and I’d be one happy customer. That said, I do love my D800 and I made good use of it for the majority of my client work this past year. The image quality is really tremendous. And of course Nikon’s CLS system is awesome for lighting on the fly and working with speed during weddings. So I probably won’t be parting from it anytime soon. But Fuji keeps beaconing me. 😀
For 2014 I want to do more work on my personal projects. And I think I’m going to get a big printer and enter into the photo printing foray. It’s definitely more art than science. But having complete control of my images will be nice, as well as having the in house ability to make big prints whenever I want. That will be a fun addition! Should be a fun 2014! 😎
But for now, here’s my photography from 2013 in review. This first video is my personal and family shots while the second video has client work.
Thanks again for your views and interest! Have a very blessed 2014. 😀
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!
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! 😉