I covered the Oxbow Dance dress rehearsal photos last Friday. It was pure awesome as it always is. The kids are ridiculously cute! 🙂 Miss Halynne does an absolutely remarkable job getting the kids into recital ready shape. In what must be like herding cats when it comes to the tiny tots, they all do their routines marvellously well! The rehearsal shots were fast and furious. We had an enormous turnout of parents who wanted individual shots of their dancers. I thank everyone for their patience as we proceeded with the photo shoots. The discs are all burned now and ready to be delivered. Everybody is also getting a copy of their child’s group shot included free of charge. Free is good! 😎
The kids wanted to go looking for crocuses yesterday. So did I. 🙂 So we went out back and found a few little bunches. I’m not sure if they are just starting to come up or are nearly done. Normally they’ve come up even through a light snow. But this year the weather has been wonky so say the least. I feel a special attachment to crocuses as they are “Saskatchewan’s Flower” at least anecdotally. 😉 I’ve seen more crocuses than tiger-lilies, I’ll put it to you that way. heehehe…..
About the technique for nabbing these photos. I went out with a collapsible reflector/diffuser to block the harsh sunlight that was pouring in. I had my D800 & 105mm macro for this detail-rich gig. I was shooting at apertures of f/16 or f/32 so I needed more light reach this at ISO 100 and 1/250. I used my Orbis ring flash and SB-900 synced with an SC-29 cord. I basically was able to set the Orbis on edge on the ground, which doubled as a rest, and shoot right through it. It worked great. 😎 The macro detail that the D800 can capture is really tremendous! Here’s a 100% crop and the full shot beneath.
Today was the annual Family Tradition Black Angus Bull Sale! I look forward to it every year, mainly because I really know next to nothing about the cattle industry. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about cattle production as well as how the purebred game works. I love the descriptors that the auctioneers use to sell them. “This bull has a lot of red meat on him.” “He’s got 40cm testicles.” “He’s as square and stout as any bull you’ll see.” It’s great! And everyone does a fantastic job. It’s really almost more of a family get together than a sale in that everyone socializes after the sale around pie and refreshments. The Frey’s really do know what Saskatchewan hospitality is all about. And, it’s REALLY nice that they have an indoor facility. That wind still is so consarned hornswogglin’ cold!!! 😯 I did nab the shot above of the bulls outside in the viewing pen. It was worth the cold! 😀
But I had fun at the sale with my Nikon Df in tow. I used my f/4 zooms which worked very well. I could shoot the ISO up really high and I didn’t even really notice the f/4 aperture limitation. I could still nab good exposure. I used my trusty expo disc to nab the correct white balance too which is helpful. If anything it dials in a bit too much magenta, but it’s an easy fix. Here’s some highlights from the day.
We took advantage of another AWESOME local concert at the Stewart’s tonight. The band was “The Fretless“. They rocked the set! They’ve got a sweet celtic influenced stringed folk amazingness, with a little step dance thrown in for good measure. I was dying to try out the Df as a stealthy event camera. It did awesome as I knew it would. The quiet shutter was really nice and not very invasive or distracting to others around. All I brought was a 50mm 1.4 and it proved to be a good fit for the homey event. Zooms will always get you more photos when you’re at a venue as a seated guest, but I wasn’t at the event to be a photographer. So I didn’t care. 😎 I wanted to try out the high ISO madness in the
crap difficult lighting situation. It’s actually an insanely difficult situation. There are 4 little halogen spot lights above the fire place that super bright. Then 2 other red floor lamps. That’s it. So you’ve got an overexposed background and a super dim foreground (where the faces are). Very tuff. RAW helps reign the wild pony highlights back in though. I shot from 3200-12,800. Files look great. 😀
The Stewarts have been blessed with more musical talent in one finger than I’ll ever have in my whole body. All of them. They’re all outstanding! We were treated with an impromptu blues performance (hence the cyanotype). Unreal! 🙂
Then, as we left to head home, it was snowing like crazy. I snapped a silhouette of my lovely wife who is happy that it’s not -50C anymore and, who was stoked to take advantage of another awesome live band! 😀
Well I had the first Wedding of 2014 on the 3rd of the month. It was a very special wedding because it was Parishioners of mine who asked me to take a few photos after the ceremony. It was a very small gathering with only the couple and their witnesses present – which is just fine. Everyone thinks a wedding needs to be a big deal with metric tonnes of frills. It doesn’t. It can be a small, humble event, as this wedding was. And in all truth, it became one of my all time favourites! 😎 Hubert and Audrey were so excited to seek the Lord’s blessing on their relationship which is such a cool testament to their faith. At 80 plus most people would simply think living together would suffice. But nothing beats good ol’ fashioned marriage! And a good ol’ fashioned marriage deserves a good ol’ fashioned camera!
I brought along my
old film Leica FujiFilm X100s. The photos were going to be all posed portraits in the church sanctuary and I took a couple of candid shots afterwards. But I figured I could get it all done with the Fuji and it worked great. I brought along a very simple Off Camera Flash setup of 2 stands, 2 LP180 flashes and 2 umbrellas, triggered by Pocket Wizard PlusX units. Very simple and very effective, no nonsense kit. I carried the camera, triggers, gels and flashes in a small lowepro bag about the size of a milk carton. Who doesn’t love that?! We did lots of the typical “nice” photos everyone wants, then I had my lovely wife assist me for a shot with more dramatic lighting which turned out to be my favourite of the day. I LOVE the Fuji’s black and white JPGs with the yellow filter! 🙂
But I also love the Fuji’s rendition of colour. Just look at that candle smoke. The subtle blue is out of this world! It just nails colour every time, even in weird mixed light environments. Ahh, Fuji, is there anything you can’t do? 😉 All the best to the latest Mr. and Mrs. Freitag! May God give you many years!
EDIT: This GPS is SOLD!
I’m selling my nifty little Garmin Dakota 20 GPS. It’s a sweet little touch screen model. I bought it new in 2010 and it’s been awesome. I primarily used it for geocaching. I’m selling it because I got a different unit that will work better for my hunting needs. I’m asking $200.00 which includes the GPS unit itself, the carabiner clip, Garmin USB cable, a 4 GB micro SD card for map expansion as well as a silicone slip case that my kids affectionately call the “Ninja Suit.” 😀 It gives a very nice non-slip feel to the unit. I made a YouTube video about it back when I got it which you can view here. Drop me an email or a tweet if you’re interested. Thanks!
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…….. 😆
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!
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! 😎
Congratulations to all the 2013 Grads! It’s been a long road but what an accomplishment! We had a great grad day here in Oxbow. A bit chaotic to start the day with a massive power failure from 8AM to 3PM but everyone prevailed and looked fantastic. I shot these grad pics of Mariah in advance of Grad, but I didn’t publish any lest I spoil the grand reveal of the dress. 😎 She was up for anything and we had an awesome shoot! We even were able to make it down to the wire and squeeze out what was left of a sunset. 😀 Congrats Mariah, you rocked the set!
Here’s the thing with the FujiFilm X100s camera. Color. It does colour, really, really well. 😎 I’m not kidding. It nails colour in a gorgeous richness. My daughter had this amazing little dress on and I knew I had to capture that colour. So I grabbed yonder X100s, a flash on a stand and away we went. The above image was 1/500 f/2.8 ISO 100 via pocket wizard plus x. Every time I pick up that camera, I get stoked about the images that I peel off the card. JPG for crying 😯 out loud! I’m thoroughly in love with my beautiful daughter and the camera that forever has frozen these images for me!
My good friend Susan Hill, South East Saskatchewan’s premier wedding photographer, has convinced me to join her in the wedding madness. I’m a self proclaimed non-wedding shooter, but I can handle it when I join the Hill Team. 🙂 We had an awesome time in Redvers on the weekend, despite the insane weather that required some quick location juggling to get the photos we needed. Josie & Tyler are an awesome couple and they were up for pretty much anything. When we saw the trampoline, both Susan and I immediately knew that awesomeness would soon entail. Josie was a super trooper to put up with our crazy photog ideas! 😎 The whole day went extremely well, we made some super images and had a blast doing it. We got to play with some cool lighting setups and put Scott to work on the “Gandalf-Stick”. What could be better? Oh yeah, Susan photobombing the caterer! 😀
I’ve often wondered why we call “Grad” Grad and not Prom. I continue to ponder it. 😎 I got to go and do some grad shots for a couple of lovely Arcola girls and their families on the 17th. It was a riot and the weather held out giving us some sweet, sweet dramatic skies. I took my trust X100s along for the ride, as well as my D800. With my two favorite cameras in hand we got to make a ton of really exciting images with lots of different looks. Just one note on Sarah’s pink dress – it really is THAT pink. 😎 And the guitar, yep, Juliana can totally rock it. It’s not just a prop. Thanks for the fun times girls! You’re amazing! It was awesome to do back to back shoots for such cool friends!
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. 😎
Yesterday was the LWMLC “Spring” Renewal at our church. I say “spring” because it’s still cesspool of winter on the prairies and we had another snow storm whilst this thing was going on. The weather is diabolical. 😈 But anyways, it was a lovely renewal. The LWMLC stands for Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Canada. It’s a society that Lutheran women have been active in for quite some time and they have renewals or get togethers that include a bible study, some singing, lunch and a speaker on a topic. We were blessed to have Shelley Baldwin come and talk to the ladies about a local project she is doing called 25 Little Dresses. Shelley has had difficulties with her health and the dress project began as a way to reach out to others despite having her own cross to bear. She started out to see if she could make 25 little dresses for needy children in the developing world. And since the first one was made, over 3000 have been made with many more ladies joining in! It’s an incredible project that is helping little girls all over the globe have clothes to wear. And, the dresses are almost always delivered by hand to people who need them so they don’t get intercepted by pirates and sold on the black market. The dresses get to the girls who need them. This project fit in nicely with the overall them of the Renewal ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:40. Everyone in attendance had a great time and each got a hands on experience making dresses be it sewing, cutting, or ironing. It’s amazing to see what can be done and how the world can be changed for the good with these simple acts of love and kindness. 😎
Oxbow’s latest entrepreneur, James Fonstad, has setup an engraving company called JF Engraving. James does computerized laser engraving on just about any medium you can imagine. The tagline for the business is “if you can dream it, chances are we can do it!” And that’s the truth. From classy aluminum business cards, to dog tags, to pens, to wine glasses, leather, stainless steel – nearly anything can be engraved with laser precision. The results are outstanding! It’s amazing to see your vision for a project materialize right before your very eyes as the laser beam brings it all to reality. 😎
I took some shots of James’ finished products for you to check out. The detail is amazing! If you’re looking for that custom giftware, look no further than locally owned and operated JF Engraving!
The season of summer threw us one last bone when we squeaked out the Paton Family’s photos. We had a beautiful sunny day, but the wind picked up somethin’ fierce. We were able to take cover inside a few old buildings though which added some nice texture to the shots. I find that late fall gets to be “dead-grass-coyote-ugly” really quickly. We’ve lost all our colours so texture is the only name of the game left to shoot. Thank goodness for abandoned farm yards! 😎
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.
So I had this idea for a photo shoot. Call me crazy, but it just happens. I get an idea and it plagues me until it comes to fruition. I wanted to do a dramatic portrait at the Souris Valley Motocross. I had the whole thing sketched out in my mind, pre visualized down to the last detail. I wanted a sunset. I wanted cool lighting. I wanted a cool subject. Jen willingly agreed to be my cool subject and she rocked the set! 😎 I got my cool dramatic lighting but I didn’t get my sunset. Instead, we got some wicked pre-storm clouds! And, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! I’m so glad that hitches come in the photo plans because often they turn out better than if things had simply gone according to my preconceived ideas. I’m super thankful that this shoot came together the way it did. The colours of the incredible sky and Jen’s gear all worked together beautifully. I love these personal photo projects and I hope to do many more! 😀
Moir Dr. is a perpetual princess party! We’ve got more royals around here than Buckingham palace! 🙂 Check out the shots of from Kennedy’s Birthday. They all came fresh from Salon Diosa, all gussied up and princessified. 😎
The storm itself wasn’t all that bad tonight but the cloud structures were awesome! Living next to a big valley is awesome for getting amazing thermals to make the clouds to pop-wheelies! 😉 And the best thing ever was the huge golden light that was coming from the West. It made this tremendous rainbow! It was raining still but I ran out into the backyard to nab the shots. I bracketed the rainbow for HDR to get the max amount of definition. Only bummer was it was hand held so there is some ghosting on the trees. But I don’t care, the rainbow was awesome. I wish I had an FX camera though and I probably could have got the whole thing in the frame! 😎
We got the phone call this morning from our neighbour Eagle-Eye Jimmy that there was a momma & baby Moose on our crescent sauntering around. Nature guide Olivia spotted them from the breakfast table. So I grabbed my camera and went out trying to get the photo of the year with mom & baby in town. However, they had already vacated the premises. But I did find a baby bunny in point blank range and . . . a giant black bear!!!! 😉