Time for a long overdue High School Grad blog update! I love shooting grads, it’s probably my favourite genre photographically. It incorporates such a variety of styles from headshots to detail shots to environmental portraiture to off camera flash to natural light, the whole gambit. And, 99.99999% of the time, the grads actually want their photos taken. So they cooperate! 😎 This goes a loooooong way to making awesome lasting memories for the client. This gallery has a few of my fav images from this past grad season.
Hey! When winter time rolls around, my cameras basically never see the light of day. If they get any use, it’s all indoors. I’ve got some posts coming up about indoor macro work I have been doing but in terms of getting outside, forgetaboutit! It’s way too cold and miserable for me to mess around with gear.
That said, I couldn’t help myself yesterday. There were the most incredible sundogs I’ve ever seen! It was -50 BillionºC but I ran out with the D800 and 16-35mm f/4 lens. There was this “double rainbow” sundog that I’ve never encountered up above the complete ring around the sun. It was worth freezing my baguettes off! 🤣
They were impressive enough in the landscape orientation but even with 16mm I couldn’t get in that top reflection so portrait orientation won the day! ☀️🐶
Wishing all my clients, friends and family a very Merry Christmas and a wonderfully photo-filled 2019! All of God’s richest blessings! 🙏😎
👉 Photo Credit to Tatum Duryba of Paper Moon Photography.
I had the wonderful opportunity to shoot a good friend of mine’s son who is going into his senior year. Susan Hill , who relocated to Michigan, had her boy Ethan up in Saskatchewan visiting family and requested a sunset shoot. Our weather didn’t pan out for days but as they say, third time is a charm and it worked out. We tried to get him some photos that were uniquely Saskatchewan in context. This meant lots of environmental portraits to me.
Thankfully the Canola was in full bloom and we were able to shoot a bunch with the glorious golden backdrop. What’s more Saskatchewan than a Canola field!?
For the uniquely sunset part of the shoot, we tried some shots down at the Alameda Dam. Water is always a winner at Sunset. But seeings how Ethan now lives on the shores of Lake Superior, it was kind of a gaff on my part! We probably should have stuck more to the dirt roads than the water. But it made for some pretty cool shots nonetheless and I was glad we could get some Canadian shots for my exPat friends!
We just about didn’t survive this grad shoot! First of all we were attacked by a relentless army of mosquitos. Poor Janissa was eaten alive from head to toe which translated into a metric tonne of editing. Then our weather turned absolutely heinous. We had to take refuge inside nearby Trinity Lutheran country church and we were stuck there for a good 45 minutes as torrential rain poured down. But the results were well worth it and our Living Skies didn’t disappoint!
Janissa is a pretty hardcore athlete and she brought along some pretty sweet gear to get pictures with. I tried to match the lighting to the concept of athleticism which in this case was a simple one light solution with hard light for deep shadows. Soft wrapping light wouldn’t have matched the mood of the photo.
To end wrap up our shoot Janissa’s mom had asked for a studio type low key shot on a black background. From the safety of the church I was able to make this photo using a gridded soft box. The final specs on this shot were ISO 100 f/11 1/200s using a Nikon Df and 85mm f/1.8 lens. The closeness of the light to the subject made for quick light fall off and allowed me to kill off all other ambient in the room. Thanks for being such a trooper Janissa & all the best in the future! 🙂
Justin is the third member of his family that I’ve shot grad pics for. It’s a real privilege to come back to a family year after year! This shoot just about didn’t happen with impending birth of our 4th child, but everything finally came together! We even got the dog to cooperate! 🙂
This shot is an example of High Speed Sync. I was using a Nikon SB-900 flash through an umbrella. It adds just a smidgeon of catch lights and soft light and maintains the creamy bokehlicious background. Final specs on this shot were ISO 100 f/2.5 1/1000s shot on a Nikon Df with an 85mm 1.8G lens.
We got to make some pretty cool grad pics with Justin and I will be forever jealous of his hair. 😉
What happens when you mix hockey, baseball and gorgeous grad dress? Enter: Morgan!
For Morgan we did lots of the “nice” grad photos that Grandma wants to see. But then, we also hammered out some pretty cool athletic styled shots as well. We did some cool blue rim lights to compliment the blue dress and the orange bat. It really spiced up a traditional Grad shoot. I shot these with a 3 light setup. Two LumoPro LP180 flashes gelled blue for the rims and an Alien Bee 1600 through a Photoflex gridded softbox for the key. Despite the cloud cover, there was major ambient light to overcome. The final camera settings were ISO 100 f/13 1/200! To light everything up to f/13 through a modifier takes major watt seconds.
All in all we had a great time and captured a pretty good variety of photos! Thanks again and all the best to Morgan in the future!
Whenever you get to shoot a dancer, your day improves by at least 17%! They always have a keen sense of motion and shape which for photographers is a super blessing. Most people are unnatural in front of a camera. They are either uncharacteristically stiff or fake smiling. Dancers though have this 6th sense which makes the usual go far, far away.
We were able to do quite a few dance shots in unconventional places. This shot was lit with a speed light in simple white shoot through umbrella boomed overhead.
It was back to my favourite blue wall to get this shot. Amy was super full of life which made this shoot a lot of fun. All the best, Amy! You are going places!
I had a wonderful grad shoot with Hannah! She’s full of character and gave lots of creative energy to the session. It was another beautiful day for a shoot.
This blue wall is really cool. It provides a fun backdrop for some off the wall shots!
We ended the shoot back at the farm with some horse photos. The aptly named “Boo” was Hannah’s baby and he really put on a show for us too! What a smile!
Thanks for the good times and great shots Hannah!
Grad shoots are all but wrapped up now for 2018! It was probably the most random time of my life shooting photos this year as our 4th child was due at exactly the same time as these shoots were piling up! She was overdue which got quite dicey trying to schedule everything. But it all worked out and for that I am supremely thankful!
I started my Oxbow grad run this year with Michaela. What a great day we had. It was before the 17 billion mosquitos set in and before the weather got sweltering hot! The image at the top of this post was the last frame I shot during the shoot and I love how it turned out. We had a great sky and the colour contrast of her dress and the grass is super.
For this image we were working in full sun. I tried a new trick that actually worked really well. I held up a white shoot thru umbrella to modify the natural hard sunlight. It put Michaela into uniform shadow and caused her to be lit with this beautiful soft wrapping light that looks like flash but is all natural. I’ll keep this setup in the tickle trunk for the future for sure.
All in all we had a great shoot and got some nice shots! All the best Michaela in the future!
It’s a super cool experience taking grad photos for people you’ve known since they were little. Shawna is one of those such people for me. It’s hard to believe she’s graduating! The time has gone by far too fast!
This photo below here is Shawna beside a tree she planted on the first day of Kindergarten! How fitting to have a photo beside it when she graduated!
All the best & God bless, Shawna! You’re going to go far!
Well I finally completed my collection of Fuji Lenses. I got the last of the “FujiCron” series – Fuji’s f2 WR lenses. The first was the 35mm (50mm full frame equivalent) which I took to Vegas. Then I got the 50mm (76mmFF) which gets me back to my preferred focal length neighbourhood of gateway telephoto. And finally, I sold my XE2 & 18-55 setup and bought the 23mm (35FF). This whole series of lenses is super fantastic. They are sharp and optically sweet even wide open and above everything else, they are compact. I can carry the XPro2, the 3 lenses, spare batteries and more in a small Domke bag. It’s an ideal travel setup.
I really like the 23mm/35mm focal length. It’s a really versatile way to view the world. I find it superb for environmental portraits. It shows just enough background with emphasis on the subject.
The other night we had our Souris Moose Creek Adventure Club night kayaking and canoeing along the Souris river. I threw the off camera flash bag in as well and waited for the sun to dip a bit. I had with my favourite flash of choice: LumoPro LP180. If Tony Stark invented a flash, it would be this one. It’s all manual for ultimate control. And thrown through an umbrella up close it does a great job.
I was shooting the XPro2 in Astia and Classic Chrome simulations. It kind of made for a cool colour contrast along the water.
All in all I can’t recommend the “FujiCrons” enough. I really love using them and they always do a fabulous job. One of the images in this post is an iPhone 7 photo. See if you can spot which one it is!
Our SMCAC (Souris Moose Creek Adventure Club) recently did an Intro to Trapping & Skinning event. It goes without saying that trapping fur bearing game is no longer a popular activity. In fact, it is looked down upon and even chastised by the politically-correct
cesspool society we now live in. But nothing can change the fact that the nation of Canada was created by the fur trade. It’s a Canadian tradition and is something that should be upheld, not only for nostalgic and historical reasons but also as a humane way of managing wildlife populations – a responsibility that has fallen to all of mankind.
Our event introduced young and older alike to the art of trapping and skinning. The day began with a racoon skinning demonstration by Trent Lyon, and a discussion of various traps and techniques.
The participants then had their chance to try skinning a muskrat. The kids dove right into the challenge! (Though many of the adults weren’t so keen!)
After the skinning portion, we all went out to an abandoned farm to observe an actual racoon trapline. Many racoons often will inhabit an old farm house as it provides great shelter for them, additionally so if there are grain bins nearby that have a ready supply of winter vittles!
Photographically, it was FujiFilm X-Pro 2 all day long with the 35mm f/2 WR lens. Having it all be totally weather sealed is the only way to go for our harsh Canadian climate. These JPEGs are all from camera with very little post production editing. Provia film simulation for that great Fuji colour. 😎
Merry Christmas everybody! Thanks for your support and patronage in 2016! We are looking forward to capturing your memories in 2017! All the best from me and my family to you and yours!
Wowza! Been super busy with grads this year! It’s been great and we managed to get some keepers. Also, we’ve moved to USB drives for digital file delivery. Thanks to JF Custom Engraving for the laser work!
Congratulations to all the grads from Arcola, Carlyle, Oxbow and Carnduff! God’s blessings on the future!
So I’ve been using Instagram for quite a while now, especially for following pipe makers and artisans. I’m not really an avid smoker at all. But I really enjoy the occasional pipe bowl. Growing up, there was an old German named Arnold Schick who had a cabin across from ours at the lake. He smoked a pipe regularly and I will never forget how amazing that smell was. Captain Black he smoked. That aroma would waft hither and thither all over the valley where our cabin is. I loved that smell! It instantly brings back those great memories from the lake. Then Lord of the Rings came out. That didn’t help either! Pipes and pipe making are in a totally different ball park to me than cigarettes – which I detest and have no time for. Pipes have an aura of relaxation, taking things slow, enjoying the moments with friends, thinking and contemplation. Tolkien. Lewis. Bacon. Wise gentlemen who did great things and had pipes as their companions. I truly admire the amazing talent required to make pipes, following the naturally found shapes in the grain of the briar. Artisans! They are the last bastion of “not-made-in-China crap for the lowest dollar” goods available.
The pipe community on Instagram is remarkable. Companies and individuals are constantly giving away amazing prizes. Top quality stuff. I really do mean that! I entered one such give away that featured 4 companies. They all contributed awesome stuff and I was fortunate enough to get drawn! The draw was killer. An incredible hand made leather pipe roll from Kraken Pipe Leather, a tamper, stickers, pipe cleaners and El Niño tobacco from Low Born Supply, Sweet Tobacco face moisturizer/beard oil and Mechanic’s soap from Forge and Foundry, and a Patriot poker shape pipe from Moonshine Pipes! What an incredible prize pack! I was so stoked when I won and super thrilled today when it arrived! I wanted to say thank you to these amazing artisans by taking some photos of their wares and giving them a plug here on the ol’ blog. Thanks so much guys, you make amazing products. Keep up the fantastic work! 😎
For the camera nerd info, I shot all these photos using a 4 light setup. 3 speed lights and one monobloc. It’s a very strobist inspired look of hard rim light with soft fill. It’s not the typical “big soft big window” light of most product photography. But these products are edgy so I wanted to give the shots some edge and not just have big photocopier light. It was all shot with Nikon D800 using a 50mm and a 105mm macro lens. All triggered with pocket wizard plus x and optical slave mode. Cheers! 😎
We took our 2015 Christmas Card photo at Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan at a really cool destination called Conglomerate Cliffs. You can’t tell from the photo but there was a 500 billion mph wind the day we took this. The way the cliffs are we were able to get some wind protection. I had along with me my Alien Bee 1600, Vagabond Mini pack and a medium Photoflex litedome for the modifier. We lucked out and still caught some of the glorious fall colour that was still around in October. So from my family to you & yours, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!