Friday, November 9, 2012

Lounge Lizards

Airport lounges make travel easier.  Much easier.  More enjoyable on many dimensions.  And while they're well secluded from the chaos of the main terminal it's still a busy place with plenty of hustle and bustle.  Killing time, catching up, rushing out, sampling the free adult beverages.

Much better than being amongst the rabble.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Great Pumpkin

It always amazes me when Halloween hits.

Not because of the silliness of the occasion.  But rather because the date is a huge annual milestone, a cliff after which time falls precipitously.

To wit...

In the prairies, every day without snow after Halloween is a gift.  Literally.  It's like a ticking timebomb.    Sometimes the bomb goes off early and the kids are forced to gather free candy through the white stuff. But with global warming it seems most Halloweens are still showing grass, and green(ish) at that.  Unfortunately we're living on borrowed time after the costumes hit landfill.

Point the second - effective November 1st the gloves come off as retailers immediately begin cramming Christmas down our collective throats.  Guarantee Thursday's paper this week will be stuffed with fliers shouting out this sale or that.  And once the Christmas season starts it's a mad ride towards New Year's Eve and another year is in the books.  

Thus Halloween has me looking back asking "where the *&%! did the year go?", and looking forward slackjawed wondering what I'm going to stick under the tree for the wife.

The added spank this year is that we should be cheering over our beloved Winnipeg Jets by now but... don't even get me started.

And so we find ourselves carving pumpkins, with me flipping through Google looking for an idea that I can steal.  Also coming across some absolutely sick work by amazingly talented sculptors.  Took it upon myself to throw caution to the wind and start digging.  Next thing I know, this is staring back at me...

Was a fun experience, and already has me thinking of turning up the volume next year.  Maybe even getting some proper tools.  Although the grapefruit spoon (yes, a grapefruit spoon) worked amazing well here.

Afterwards I felt compelled to pull out the flashes and booms and modifiers to shoot Scarface.  Something else I haven't done in a while (another "where has the time went" moment).  For those so inclined here's the setup if you want to immortalize your own carved creation...

There are two flashes at work here.  One (a Nikon SB-910, domed, gelled with a full cut of CTO to simulate warm fiery candlelight) poking through the back.  The opening is covered with tinfoil to help reflect but more importantly to seal in the light.  Second is a Nikon SB-700 boomed overhead blasting through a Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe softbox.  It is positioned close, just out of frame, and is slightly forward of Scar-Boy and angled back.  The relative position allows that light to not only be quite soft, but also wrap around the pumpkin.

Everything is triggered remotely.  One great tip I learned way back from either David Hobby or Joe McNally was to set one light at a time when working with multiples.  Absolutely true.  First dialed in the internal light (wanting a glow from the eyes and mouth but still detail), then the softbox (to light the exterior, with the angle from above highlighting the texture of the skin).  Both manual mode - so nothing is jumping around as I re-frame.  As for camera settings - also manual, with goal to nuke the ambient light so all I'm getting is The Great Pumpkin peering out from the darkness.  ISO 200, 1/250th second max sync speed, and f/16.  RAW file developed in Lightroom, then fine-tuned with Nik Software's amazing Color Efex Pro 4.  

Maybe next year I'll try and amp up not only the carve but the lighting as well.  Trick or treat.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Legends of the Fall Part II

Last week I was engaged in meetings at our corporate head office in beautiful Redmond, Washington.  I love the Pacific Northwest, at least when the weather is cooperating.  And this trip was no exception.  Colors were vivid and are only going to get crazier over the coming weeks.

As is usually the case on these junkets there was little free time.  But I did manage to get out for some air with the 'cam in tow.

I can still smell the oxygen.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Legends of the Fall

Enjoyed shooting some vivid early autumn colors this weekend.  To my eyes it seems that we've had a longer shake at this than normal; usually the leaves drop soon after they turn resulting in a fairly bleak pre-winter landscape.

Not so this year.  Or maybe I'm just paying attention this time out.  Had me stopping the car along the side of the road to shoot across the river for a little Seasonal Rorschach action...

...and then pausing to catch some nicely backlit wildgrass along the banks...

Trees in the Exchange District framing some of the architecture...

And even some uber-color uber-close to home...

And another traffic stop - this time on the way to the arena for the now seasonally-ubiquitous ringette practices.  Had to pull over and snap these.  An odd combination on the download with sports action soon to follow.

Was a great way to enjoy some beautiful weekend weather that can turn ugly in a heartbeat this time of year.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

No Balls

Gotta enjoy comedy whenever and wherever it presents itself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More Power

I have no doubt spectators at tonight's girls soccer game were wondering what the hell I was shooting in between halves.  But this power structure formed an interesting graphic against the warm evening sky.  Couldn't help myself.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Ottawa.  Catching some air and looking for inspiration.  Unfortunately all I worked was a memorial of war.  The tomb of The Unknown Soldier.

Need to find something bright and lively tomorrow.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Riding Musically

I barely remember how to create a post it's been so long and so erratic.  Still have a backlog of lake and travel shots to process, print, and share.  Anyone interested in dropping a big bag of money at my feet to allow the time for such things?  

Dreams aside we had the opportunity to take in the RCMP Musical Ride last weekend.  It's a pretty cool display of synchronization, timing, and precision.  Difficult to shoot from a fixed position as it moves pretty quick.

Below is a small gallery of images.  Why black & white?  For starters, everyone else saw color; this offers a more distinct look.  Secondly, it gave me more liberties in processing to bring out tones and textures that would like like an acid trip if left in color.  Third, they make for a more unified set in this format.  I just rolled off my last print of this series and they look quite nice together.  I may revisit some of these au naturale in the future but for right now I like them Chromatically Challenged.

Tip for anyone attending this (or similar) event - stay upwind.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cool Blue

Three days in to the annual lake sojourn and I was finally compelled to grab the rig and shoot. I'm disappointed that I am currently unable to think of something original so at best this is a variation on past themes.

Had a friend's son in tow as he's getting into photography. Above all else was a lesson in patience as this was a 4-minute exposure which came as a surprise to him.

Was cool to have someone so young have the interest. Fitting that this frame is rendered cool as well.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Travelog I: Seattle

June was fairly busy for travel and I did manage to get out and shoot.  And all of that has been languishing on my hard drive since.  Little time to do anything with them.  Starting to peck at it and it appears I'm moving in reverse.  Starting with my most recent trip to beautiful Seattle.  Always enjoy it there.  These were taken during gaps in company meetings.  No rhyme, or reason, or structure.  As usual whatever caught my eye while getting some fresh air.

There was some interesting architecture...

Some interesting people...

Of note with that last one is this was taken at Monorail Espresso downtown.  A fixture among the coffee-mad Seattle community.  It's literally a hole-in-the-wall, walk up service only.  But their espresso is amazing, as is their legendary "Chubby" cookie.  Aptly named.

Some things that have absolutely no relevance but looked cool through my lens...

The view from my room was typical urban jungle, but looking across Union Square (at least that what I think it is, according to Google Maps) one morning the sun slicing through and selectively highlighting the scene was worth a shot.  Or rather several, waiting for the flag to catch a breeze.

And while cool enough it was nice to "trade-up" my view from a mid-level room downtown up to the top of the Space Needle one evening...

This is looking west over the Puget Sound across to the Olympics.  The structure in silhouette at the bottom (I learned afterwards, again via Google Maps) is a shipping station.

And finally, from the peak of the Needle to the grounds below...

The Experience Music Project is a mind-bending structure that could keep a photographer busy for days.  Offers a unique blend of psychedelic visuals.  This would be an amazing place to set up with a heavy ND filter.  Which I brought on this trip but never actually used.

Next up...  Vancouver.