Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year in Review and an Encore Photo

2013 has been quite a year for my photographic endeavours.  I have had the privilege of working for several new clients and continuing to provide services to many long term clients who form the back bone of my business.

Recently I was asked by a construction trade organization to contribute photographs for their annual report and some other publications.  The asked me to review their membership list and send them all the photos that I had taken for their members so that they could chose the images they wanted.  They meant well but this is not that practical a request owing to the number of projects and the size of the files.  It did give me the chance to go back through my records to my first professional images which were made in 2008.  In the end they received a series of low resolution PDF images but even that was a 70Mb ZIP file.  What started out as a modest little business has become more than I ever hoped for, and I am both thankful and proud of what I've achieved.  When I make make my way around town and see new buildings under construction I take note of the various consultants and contractors whose names are on the site sign, many of them are my clients so I find myself thinking 'I'll be getting a call about that building in about 18 months.'

As to highlights of 2013, a few things stand out.  Photographing the historic Poole family residence in the autumn was extremely rewarding as was the chance to photograph the artwork of my friend Vaughan Hoy. Traveling to Portugal in May and later in the year to London and Prague afforded many great photo ops.  A number of images taken over the last couple of years for Arrow Engineering are now hanging on the walls of their office; they are quite large and they look spectacular.  I think I photographed about 100 people for work place portraits this year.   In the spring I was asked to place a series of photos at 'Tix on the Square'; this is primarily an event ticketing outlet but they also sell local art, books etc.  I wasn't sure what would sell (I'm still not really certain) so I decided on a series of black and white photos of Edmonton architectural landmarks.  The title of the collection was borrowed from the Talking Heads song 'This Must Be the Place'. Although not a huge commercial success it was an enjoyable assignment and those who've seen this small collection have said nice things about it.

Mainstream Architectural photography assignments that stand out this year were the new SW Division Police Station (my grandfather was policeman and I thought of him the whole time I was on site and during the editing of the final photos), the Boyle Renaissance development in the inner city and a gig I did for the University of Alberta to photograph as number of their student residences.  Transalta also asked me to photograph a number of their employees doing outside of work family activities; the images will be used in a company safety campaign.

There are a few interesting things planned for 2014, for instance I've been asked to serve as a juror in the first annual Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Alberta Chapter Architectural Photography Competition. (http://www.raic.org/alberta/index.php/2013/09/raic-alberta-chapter-photo-competition/).  I'm really looking forward to this.

For my year end photo I've posted this shot which has appeared on my blog before.  It is titled 'Same as It Ever Was'....another Talking Heads song title rip off!  And in that theme I'll sign off for 2013 with best wishes for a Happy New Year to all and these lyrics from the aforementioned Talking Heads song 'This Must Be the Place';

Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me 'round
I feel numb - born with a weak heart
I guess we must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
We'll make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It's alright I know nothing's wrong....

Monday, December 30, 2013

Industrial Site Details

The people who work in the fabrication shop at this particular site are referred to as craft workers, an all encompassing term that is very descriptive.  The cutting, grinding, fitting, welding and finishing of steel shapes like this to meet strict engineering tolerances is an art form like no other.  I love the look of the raw steel and the annotations made thereon; when the torch adds its super-heated patina the whole thing takes on a rich and interesting look.  Rather a shame to paint it I think.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Industrial Site Details

On industrial sites you'll find an unlimited collection of objects and surfaces with incredible texture and form.  I like the black and white version of this shot, edited first in Adobe Lightroom and then in Oloneo Photoengine to refine the tones giving the image a wet, inky black character.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New From My Industrial Abstract Collection

Next in this short series of industrial abstract photos.

Friday, December 27, 2013

New From My Industrial Abstract Collection

Here's the latest from my collection of industrial abstracts.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

From the Vault

It's fun to go back and look at photos taken years ago - in this case from February 2008.  This photo was taken with my Canon 40D using a Sigma 10-20 wide angle zoom lens.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

For Christmas Day I thought a nice wintery scene would be appropriate; here's one from my collection of photos taken on the frozen surface of Abraham Lake in the Kootney Plains of western Alberta.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas To All

This fungal growth on the side of this fine old tree couldn't look much more like a Christmas tree....

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I took this photo a few weeks ago whilst out walking my dogs.
Looks like the perfect Christmas tree, don't you think?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Black and White Landscapes

An image rendered in black and white has more variables than most people think.  The effects of filters, choices made with contrast and shadow enhancements all factor into the final image.  It takes a deft hand to visual a scene in black and white.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Welcom to Winter

December 21....the first day of winter and the day with the fewest daylight hours of the year.  The north Saskatchewan River is a see of white now but just a few short weeks ago it was half open water and half ice.  Then the sky is clear it makes for a nice contrast.  Canon G15 image edited in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Closed for the Season

I hate wasps.  Partly because they don't seem to like me very much.  I get stung every year it seems, last summer three times in one instant.  The little devils are industrious though, I'll give them that.  I came across this nest on a winter day....it's about the size of a soccer ball.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What the....???

When this photo was taken the sky was clear in every direction except for these two clouds.  I envisioned this photo in black and white the moment I took it.  Not sure if it's art or not but I cannot stop staring at it.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Artwork Photography

This is a silver point drawing of the artists cello.  Silver point drawings are made using a silver rod across the drawing surface which has been prepared with a primer or gesso to give the surface enough texture to enable the silver to transfer.  The image is quite light making photography a challenge.

All images in this series made with the tri-pod mounted Canon 1Dx and my Canon 70-200mm lens set to F8 for maximum clarity and at full zoom to minimize reflections.  In each case the focus was done manually.  The artwork was placed on an easel.  I used my Elinchrom studio lights with umbrella modifiers.  The lights were place camera left and right and were triggered by Pocket Wizard transmitters.  Please check out the rest of the photos and Vaughan Hoy's other endeavours at http://vaughanhoystudio.com/

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Artwork Photography

This piece is part of a series that belongs to the artist's wife.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Artwork Photography

Here is the second in this short series of artwork photos. This sepia tone painting is an original piece as opposed to a print.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Artwork Photography

Mr friend Vaughan is a bit of Renaissance man; architect, artist, musician....basically the full package.  Recently he asked me to photograph a collection of framed artwork.  The challenge with this kind of thing is to get the colour balance correct, configure the lighting so the textures are held and to cope with the glass in front of the artwork.  It took a bit of fiddling about to get my lights set up to deal with the reflections but once I had that sorted out I was off and running.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Family Photos

Here's the last - and my favourite - of this short series of family photos.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Family Photos

After our living room photos were wrapped up we headed to this cool little coffee bar.  This photo is reflected in a mirror that was decorated for Christmas.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Family Photos

I have learned that when photographing children you cannot negotiate your way into a nicely posed photo.  I use a three part strategy; (1) establish a report, (2) be ready for whatever they offer and (3) no when they've had enough.  When were taking these family photos young Avery needed a break and with a little prompting he agreed to hold his guitar and sing us a song.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Family Photos

This couple wanted some photos to share with their family.  We decided that there should be some that would the grandparents would like but some that were a little less Sears-like as well.  This photo was taken in their living room which we converted to a photo studio one recent Saturday.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Canadian Pharmacy Journal

This photograph will run on the cover of the next CPJ.  Here, a pharmacist discusses hypertension issues with a patient.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Canadian Pharmacy Journal

Pharmacists in Canada are qualified to do so much more than dispense medication.  In this photograph a pharmacist prepares to inject a hormone replacement into a patient.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Canadian Pharmacy Journal

The Canadian Pharmacy Journal asked me to take a series of photos to be considered for the cover their publication.  Here's a sample.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

An interesting challenge

When people find out you're a photographer they usually assume that it's wedding your're photographing.  Truth is I photograph all sorts of stuff to order and this is an example.  This quilt is about 7 or 8 feet square.  It is hanging on a wall in Corbett Hall on the U of A campus.  It is framed and and behind plexi-glass.  There are windows to the left and a light fixture hanging in such a way as to be reflected in the plexi-glass.  Also, the quilt is hanging in a stairwell making camera set up a challenge.

I was most concerned with the reflection of the light fixture.  In the end the use of two remote strobes pretty much killed the reflection.  I moved the strobes around a bit so that I'd get several images that I could blend to obtain an even exposure.  To deal with the windows on the left I simple arranged to take the photo after dark.  I used my tri-pod mounted Canon 1Dx and 24mm TSE lens for this shot.  The strobes used were Canon 580EX units triggered via Pocketwizard transmitters.  I selected f8 for the aperture to guarantee sharpness.  At 100% magnification every thread in the quilt is visible.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Family Photos

Fall is a popular time for family photos.  When there are young children and pets included it can be a challenge.  This young family selected this photo for their annual Christmas card.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Recent Projects - Eastgate Building

The main entrance lobby of this building features a grand spiral stair finished in wood.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Recent Projects - Eastgate Building

This is the Environment Canada weather office.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Recent Projects - Eastgate Building

Here's a detail photo of this new office building in east central Edmonton.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Recent Projects - Eastgate Building

This new building in east central Edmonton is home to the offices of Environment Canada.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Recent Projects - Search and Rescue Dogs

The SARDAA dogs are trained to search for persons alive or dead.  To train for a living person a training assistant acts as 'quarry'; in this case the quarry is hiding in this alcove.  This is a veteran dog and handler team who had no trouble at all finding the 'lost person'.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Recent Projects - Search and Rescue Dogs

Recently my friends at the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Alberta (www.sardaa.ca) asked me out for a photo shoot in a building they have access to for training.  Access to buildings is a challenge for their organization.  The University of Alberta stepped in to help offering them the use of the old Dental Pharmacy Building.  This German Sheppard is a certified cadaver dog.  Human teeth, hair and clothing soaked in decomp fluid are used in the training.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Recent Projects - Family Portraits

This couple wanted a photograph to function as the companion to a portrait they'd had taken many years ago.  And of course their dog had to be in it too cuz it's a family portrait after all.  It was a challenging day lighting wise; very bright areas mixed with deep shade.  I used two Canon 580EX strobes camera left and right to even things out, triggered with Pocket Wizard transmitter and receivers.  The photo was taken with my Canon 1Dx using the 24-70 f2.8 lens.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

We'll make this the last in this series of photos of the private residence.

Normally when I photograph a house I withhold the owners name on my blog postings.  This house is so exceptional and with a little internet searching it would be easy to find out who the owners are so I'm going to break the rules this one time.

This house was designed for Mr. and Mrs. John and Barbara Poole.  Bittorf Wensley Architects, Ed Lusis, Contractor.  The drawings for the house are dated 1967.

You can read about the Poole residence at http://maps.edmontonheritage.ca/poole-residence.  You can read an article on the Poole family at: http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/columnists/story.html?id=93255b1c-94cf-4742-884a-115628531ac6

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

As delightful as this house is in warm weather, in winter it is absolutely stunning.  When I was around to take this photo I commented to the owner that if I lived here I'd never get anything done - I'd be outside staring at it all the time or hiding out within.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

This is the main entrance to this private residence.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

Houses with pools are not common in Edmonton - indoor pools even less so.  The owners of this house used this pool every day.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

A Hallmark of a Bittorf Wensley house was the constant orientation of the inside to the outside world.  In later houses the frame around a window like this would have been altogether absent as the glass would have been held in place by the cedar wall finish.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

Architectural photographer John Fulker took a photograph similar to this many years ago; it was featured in the Capital Modern Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta a few years ago.  You can see it at: http://capitalmodernedmonton.com/buildings-by-area/poole-residence/

Friday, November 22, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

The Scots have a word for a room such this; it's called an Inglenook which is defined as a nook by a large open fireplace; also: a bench or settle occupying this nook.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

This photograph was taken mid morning on a perfect autumn day.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

This is a view of the rear of the house just after sunset on a cool autumn evening.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

This is the dining room of this private residence.  Getting the white balance and exposure correct on these shots requires planning and effort - plus some experimentation.  The sun was very low in the sky and lighting up the sideboard brightly plus there's the fluorescent light in the kitchen on the distant left.

I used two stobes fire remotely to correct the white balance and did a little blending in photo shop to even our the very bright and very dark areas.  Using the Canon 17mm TSE lens allows me to shoot the bottom and top of the scene in and then I merge the two photos together into one large, square file.  This technique nearly doubles effective megapixels of the camera.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

When I worked in the Wensley office is the late 70s projects were often photographed in black and white.  So this photo is a through back to that era.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

The is the main entrance of the private residence in Edmonton.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Recent Projects - Private Residence

In the mid-1960s one of Edmonton's most prominent architectural firms was Bittorf Wensley Architects.  Don Bittorf and Jim Wensley went their separate ways in the early 1970's.  Both were exemplary practitioners and highly skilled at their craft.  This Bittorf Wensley house is on a large wooded site in one of Edmonton's mature neighbourhoods and was designed for one of Edmonton's most prominent Edmonton families.  The house was put up for sale recently and I was asked to take some photos of it before the keys are turned over.

This is the view of the approach to the front entrance

Friday, November 15, 2013

Recent Projects - Car Dealership

This is the view of the show room from the top of the stairs at Koch Ford Lincoln.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Recent Projects - Car Dealership

By my count this is the 7th car dealership I've photographed in the last couple of years.  This is the new home of Koch Ford Lincoln in south Edmonton.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recent Projects - Maternity Shoot

Our friend Sheri asked me if I'd be interested in tackling a series of maternity photos.  One should always opt in for a chance to photograph good looking people I think.  This is one of my favourites from this session.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Worlds Fastest Spaniel

The Canon 1Dx shoots at up to 14 frames per second and sounds like an automatic weapon at that capture rate.  I don't use that feature often so when I go back to it I'm usually a little taken aback by just how fast that is.  The camera can be set to various auto-focus scenarios; one of which is for subjects moving in an unpredictable manner - I call this the Welsh Springer Spaniel setting.

Canon 1Dx with Canon 24-70 f/4.0 L lens; ISO 1000, 70mm, f/4.0 @ 1/4000 second.  RAW file edited in Adobe Lightroom for white balance correction, highlights and shadow enhancement, clarity, saturation and tonal adjustment.  Final edit and polishing in Adobe Photoshop.  The subject is my dog 'Banjo' photographed in the Buena Vista Park off-leash are on 2013 October 16.