Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sugarray's Boxing Gym

Georgian (the Eastern European Georgia, not the Southern USA one) professional Super Welterweight boxer Davit Dzavashvili at Sugarray's Boxing Gym, in downtown Vancouver. it's for a story on boxing gyms for Urban Pie magazine.

Davit working out with trainer Guy Martin.

Vancouver boxer Emily allen

Tech Stuff
The owner of Sugarray's had somehow managed to get ahold of a huge amount of stage lighting for cheap on Craig's List, and had it surrounding the boxing ring. None of it was plugged in, but after searching around for some extension cords, we were able to get three of the lights working. I used those as accent lights, and brought an SB-900 with an umbrella on it as a main light.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikon AF-S 28-70 f/2.8
Lighting: Nikon SB-900 bounced into a photo umbrella, controlled by an SU-800.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bearfoot Bistro Evening

Polaris Global CEO Shane Krider sabres a bottle of Champagne in the wine cellcar of the Bearfoot Bistro.

I recently had the oportunity to spend an evening with the Polaris Global Media Group in the fabled Whistler restaurant, the Bearfoot Bistro. Boasting one of the largest commercial wine cellars in Canada, as well as a walk in -27C blast freezer vodka bar, it's a one of a kind place.

Guests arrive for the evening by limousine.

Wine somellier Edwin Hammond gives a tour of the cellar.

A toast after sabring a bottle of Champagne.

The -27C blast freezer vodka bar.

Shane Krider, Greg Strom, and Bearfoot owner André Saint-Jacques enjoy some vodka shots.

A toast with friends to end the evening.

Tech Stuff
Everything was shot with a Nikon D700 and AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8 lens. In the wine cellar, I'd been in there before with another group, and found on-camera flash to be totally inadequate for the job. this time I brought an umbrella and light stand, and mounted my SB-900 flash to really light the place up. You can see it in the corner when Shane is sabring the bottle in the first photo.

This is also where the D700's low light capability really come into their own. In the wine cellar, I was shooting at ISO 800 with the flash, for rapid fire action. In the freezer, I didn't want to blow out the mood lighting, so I shot at ISO 1600, and for the final shot, that was ISO 6400.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8
Lighting: Available, and SB-900 bounced into a photo umbrella, controlled by the SU-800.

The Whistler Independent
Sorry to taks so long between postings, I've started a new Whistler on-line magazine, the Whistler Independent, which has been taking a lot of my time.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wedding Equipment Tour

My standard kit for shooting most weddings. Nikon D700 and D2x cameras. I'll be replacing the D2x in 2011 when Nikon finally comes out with an update for the D700. Three zoom lenses, the 17-35mm, 28-70mm, and 70-200mm. Two flashes, an SB-900 and SB-800, along with the SU-800 infrared controller. I use a ThinkTank belt pack to carry whichever lens isn't mounted on a camera, as well as all the various extra batteries, lens cloths, business cards, and an Expodisk for custom white balances. I always like to have a Moleskin notebook for addresses and notes.

One of my favourite web pages, the Digital Wedding forum, is holding a contest on who can do best "what's in my bag" photo. The prize is a new ThinkTank camera bag, so I thought I'd have a go for it.

Some of the lighting I use. A small sized softbox that has convertible sides is really handy, as well a Honl Speed Snoot. Both lights were controlled by the SU-800 controller.

My main commercial lighting kit. Three Alien Bee B-1600 lights, a Rubbermade container for all of the radio slaves, cords, brackets, stacks of cords, clamps, and various modifiers. For most of my portrait work, I use the 22" Alien Bee 'Beauty Dish' reflector.

Ready to travel. My old Norman lighting kit took two suite case sized aluminium Halliburton cases, as well as the packs and reflectors. This is a big improvement.

A ThinkTank Airport Addicted backpack that I use to carry spare gear, or things I don't need to have on hand. Here I have an 85mm f/1.8, a 28mm PC Nikkor, and an old 300 f/2.8 that I use once in a blue moon, and a Domke pouch full of Honl light modifiers. I have a D200 spare camera, and a 35mm f/2, but I used those for these pictures. When I'm traveling, all this gear goes into this bag.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stock Photography sales for 2010

A picture of Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, that sold to a Japanese trade magazine for $55.43
These are a few of the stock photos I've sold this year. Early in my career, I spent two years assisting one of the top stock image photographers in Canada. It was a lot of fun, and times were great. I later went on to do a lot of stock work myself, but I haven't done much in a while, as there's been a flood of semi professional work on the market, sending the price for images to, literally, down to pennies an image. Now, it just doesn't make financial sense to hire a couple of models for the day to earn $.75 a shot. However, I do get around a lot, and I shoot a lot of pictures, so I hooked up with an Agency in the UK called Alamy that handles mostly travel and editorial images, right in my comfort zone. It's not much money, probably about 1/20th of what I made at it back in the glory days, but it's still a lot of fun. I've included the publications and prices they sold for as well.

The Apartheid Museum in Johanesburg, that ran in an American in-flight magazine for $115.00.

The Radium Beer Hall in Johannesburg. Something I snapped as we stopped in for a few beers at lunch. This one ended up in a British in-flight magazine for $63.78

Some nuns in front of the Marrionhill Monastery, near Durban South Africa. Another quick shot that ended up in a British educational magazine for $92.86

Some tasty sweet & sour pork from an editorial story I did down in China Town in Vancouver. I happened to find a bunch of food pictures in a file and uploaded the lot of them. Showing the true state of the stock photo industry, this picture sold twice in 2010, once for $1.00, and again for $0.49.

A shot from an Urban Pie Story this year on Vancouver roller derby teams. It ended up an American text book for $135.00. I wonder what they were studying?

The Lili'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler. I was just driving by one morning, and thought that it looked cool. This ended up in an Australian travel brochure for $87.14

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween on Davie Street

Gia and Coco
There's no better place to spend halloween than in Vancouver's Gay Village. People really take it seriously there, and it's a way better vibe than on Granville Street, where you risk getting your head caved in if you pull out a camera. In true Vancouver fashion, it was raining like crazy the Saturday night before Halloween when I shot these.

Tech Stuff
Camera: Nikon D2x
Lens: Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8

Monday, November 1, 2010

Whistler Heli Wedding - Rainbow Mountain

I love doing helicopter weddings, they really are a lot of fun. Kirsty and Billy came out from the UK for their wedding, and flew their entire family to the top of Rainbow Mountain. It was perfect weather for it, with calm winds, and cool temperatures, unlike the last helicopter wedding I did.

This was a few years ago, but this morning, Billy posted some shots on his Facebook page and tagged me in the gallery. His Dad had a few nice shots of me at work, which is something I don't have a lot of, so I thought I'd put them up on my blog.

A view you just can't beat, with Whistler/Blackcomb in the background.

That's me waving at the helicopter pilot to move in closer for the shot. With the wide angle lens, he really needed to be on top of us for this to work. He was on his way back from dropping off the family members, so we able to set this up before he landed to pick us up.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Timothy Taylor

These are from an Urban Pie story on prolific Vancouver writer and best selling author Timothy Taylor. Taylor has a great office in the turn of the century (the last century, that is) Dominion Building, that made for some great photo locations.

When we arrived on the 12th floor, I fell in love with the central staircase that ran through the middle of the foyer. It's one of those old fashion staircases with a central well that you could look all the way down to the ground floor. Timothy warned me that Mark Mushet, another Vancouver photographer, had already photographed him there on the stairs, but I didn't care. The old wooden doors and wood panelled office also made for great locations.

Tech Stuff
This shoot caused me a lot of problems, not so much technically, but that my camera decided to take a dump in the middle of the shoot. I set my flash up, and it wouldn't fire. I grabbed a spare flash, and the same thing. I managed to get it to work for a few shots, and that was enough to get what I needed without having to go to the spare camera. After I finished, I drove straight to Richmond where the Nikon service centre is located, and told them to over haul the camera.

Lighting-wise, I used Honl Snoot on an SB-900, and then SB-800 flash for the B&W images. The Honl is a terrific tool for high contrast, dramatic lighting, especially when you don't have a lot of time to work in. The photo of Timothy in his office was shot with the available lighting during the interview.

Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikon AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8
Lighting: Nikon SB-900 and SB-800 flashes, controlled by SU-800. Honl 9" speed snoot.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Caribou Road Trip

Burned forest near Barierre
Joyce and I took some time and went on a really nice road trip over the Duffy Lake road to Lillooet, on to Clinton, then Kamloops, and finally back home.

Along the the Duffy Lake Road. The valley drops almost 1000 ft.into Cayoosh Creek. It's one of those places you definitely don't ever want to drive off the road

Joyce shopping for nick-nacks in the hamlet of Clinton. They have terrific antique stores here for some reason. They all seem to work on the honour system, we got there about 7:00, and all the goods were still piled up outside the store

Want to buy a 1950's era Chrysler? One of the tires even holds air.

Burned forest near Barierre

A feral wheat field near an abandoned homestead, The Bonaparte Indian Reservation, near Cache Creek.

Auto White Balance

If there's one thing I really hate, it's the over automation on modern cameras. Especially high on my list is auto white balancing. Last night I was shooting a hockey game at the Meadow Park Arena, and since I forgot to bring something to set the white balance with, I set it to Auto WB. Luckily for me, the pictures will probably run on a B&W page in the paper, as the Auto WB didn't do any good at all.

Anyways, I was out shooting some pictures this afternoon of the fall colours. For the first photo, I had forgotten change the WB back to 'Cloudy', my standard setting, from Auto WB. In the lower photo, which is was actually the first one I shot, you can see that the camera has read the all the yellow leaves, and added a pile of blue into the image to balance the colour out to neutral. In the main photos with the bike in it, it's set for 'Cloudy, which is what I almost always have the camera set on. The colour seems to be about spot on.

Tech Stuff:
Camera: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikon AF-S 70-200 f/2.8

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fun with the Hipstamatic

Sonya McCarthy
A pleasant feature of the Apple iPhone is a pretty good camera, and someone topped it off by coming up with an app called Hipstomatic, which makes the photos look like early 70's snap shots, like what you'd find in a shoe box in the back of you parent's closet. I've been playing with it for the summer, and came up with some fun shots.

Beavers at work along Green Lake.

An old bathtub we found in the bush. It's now sitting in our garden.

I can fix that.

My wife Joyce.

The tastiest bacon cheeseburger in Whistler can be found at the South Side Diner. On Monday's, for $12.00 you can get a burger and beer, one of the best deals in town.

My real camera.