Saturday, August 29, 2009

Granville Street, Vancouver

I'm getting ready to have a big garage sale, and was going through some old gear that I was thinking of selling off. In with the pile were two lenses that I used for about 80% of the photos I took when I was a news photographer in South Africa during the mid 1990's, a 35 mm AF f/2, and an 85 mm AF f/1.8. Those are the two classic photo-journalistic lenses, but with the jump to digital and it's 1.5 x focal length multiplier, I had thrown the two lenses into a filing cabinet and forgotten about them. That is, until I bought a Nikon d700 with a 'full frame' 35mm sized image sensor. As an experiment, the last time I was in Vancouver, I left my 25 lb camera bag, with it's heavy, high speed zoom lenses, at home in favour of the D700 with the 35 mm lens. I packed the 85 mm lens, along with a small notebook, into a Domke belt pack, and spent the evening shooting snaps around Vancouver.

Granville Street is a traditionally seedy entertainment area in Vancouver that is becoming gentrified with the new Canada Line transit line. There's parts of it, like the sadly un-aptly named Regal Hotel, that give you a feel for the old Granville, but those I think are not long for the world.

Tech Stuff:
For evening photos, you want enough light in the sky to give it some density without overpowering the neon lighting. With the fast lenses, I used a still reasonable ISO 800.

Camera: Nikon d700
Lenses: Nikon 35mm and 85 mm Af lenses

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cool Sunflower

Now is that a cool looking sunflower...

Some days you need to go shoot something for fun, and one of my favourite places is the North Arm Farm in Pemberton. That week, I'd shot two weddings, and had to cover a fatal helicopter crash in Lillooet for Global TV, so I was feeling really tired and down. This cheered me right up.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Elizabeth and Nate - Formal Portraits

Elizabeth had this great dress with a big train on it, but when we tried to photograph it outside, the wind just blew it everywhere, so we did a couple of quick shots inside the club house.

Tech Stuff:

The first shot is a complicated two light set up, with the key light to her right, and a kicker beind the wall to her left to light up the veil. For the second shot, I was trying out a velcro mounted snoot made by a photographer named David Honl. Not bad for only the second time I've used it.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: 28-70 mm AF-S, f/2.8
Lighting: Nikon SB-900 with a white umbrella to the bride's right, Nikon SB-800 bare headed to the bride's left, both controlled by the Nikon SU-800 infrared controller.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: 28-70 mm AF-S, f/2.8
Lighting: Nikon SB-900 with Honl snoot, controlled by the SU-800 infrared controller.

Elizabeth and Nate - Portraits by the Lake

I love working at Nicklaus North, as it has so many great locations within a few minutes walking distance to the club house. Green Lake and the Valley trail are two of my favourites.

Tech Stuff:

Green Lake
Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: 17-35 mm AF-S, f/2.8

Valley Trail
Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: 70-200 mm AF-S, f/2.8

Elizabeth and Nate - Waiting

Just as Elizabeth and Nate's wedding ceremony was to begin, a float plane landed on Green Lake, just in front of the Nicklaus North Golf Club. They can be really noisy when they taxi up to the dock, so a five minute hold had to be called for the ceremony. I took the time to grab a shot of Nate looking really apprehensive, and Elizabeth taking a peek around the corner.

Tech Stuff:

Camera: Nikon D2x
Lens: 70-200 mm AF-S f/2.8

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: 28-70 mm AF-S f/2.8

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blackcomb Wild Fires

Helicopter dropping water on a wild fire on the slopes of Blackcomb Mountain, at Whistler.

My wife and I were driving home from doing some errands in the whistler Village, when we came around the bend at Green Lake and saw a huge fire burning on Crystal Ridge. I ran home and grabbed my cameras and the longest lens I could find, and shot these pics. A few minutes after shooting these, global Television in Vancouver called me, and I spent the rest of the day shooting video for them, both of the Whistler fire, and of the big fires in Pemberton.

Tech Stuff:
I used an old manual focus Nikon 300mm f/2.8 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter, on my Nikon D2x camera, which has a 1.5x conversion factor, so the the focal length was equal to a 630mm lens on a 35mm camera. I supported it on a sturdy Gitzo Monopod.

The smoke and heat waves washed out most of the colour and about half the fine detail. Rather than try and fix the colour, I just converted it to a sepia toned B&W, and then cranked up the existing contrast.

Camera: Nikon D2x
Lens: Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 (manual focus) with a Nikon TC-14 teleconverter