Friday, December 29, 2017

Winter at the Dog Park

This is the companion photo to the image posted last week; this time featuring Banjo the Welsh Springer Spaniel.

Canon 1Dx with Canon f/2.8 70-200 lens.  f/6.3 at 1/200 sec.  ISO 400.  RAW File processed with Adobe Lightroom and final edit in Adobe Photoshop.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Winter at the Dog Park

I had taken my big camera to the off-leash park a couple of weeks ago so that I'd be ready if I saw the Bald Eagle that has taken up residence there.  No bald eagle sightings but I did get this photo of our beautiful golden retriever, Parker.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Isle of Skye 2014

In the last 24 hours or so I've had a few discussions about the iPhone Hipstamatic app and Scotland; so I decided to post this photo from summer 2014 taken with the Hipstamatic on the Isle of Skye.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Ah, Ektachrome

I was searching around on the internet for a template that would replicate film negatives and I came across one for Kodak Ektachrome film.  Ektachrome was a colour slide film manufactured by Kodak until the autumn of this year.

The sister product of Ektachrome was Kodachrome and although the two colour positive (as opposed to a negative) films had different technical characteristics one of the principal differences was that any motivated person could process Ektachrome whereas Kodachrome could only be  processed by Kodak.  Readers of National Geographic will recognize the look of a photo taken with Kodak Ektachrome film.

I took this photo with the iPhone Hipstamatic and framed it in Photoshop with the Ektachrome border.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Recent Projects

This car dealership has been open on this site for a few years and I have to say it presented a few challenges photographically.  Apart from the GM entry arch there's not much to it; and there's no landscaping close to the building which I totally understand; after all it's a car dealership and there's no place for trees and shrubs among the inventory.  One just has to work a little harder to get 'the shot' in these circumstances.

Another issue with photographing car dealerships is that the photos can become dated quickly as the vehicles change over time.  Astute car people will now that this photo was taken in the autumn of 2017 because some of the cars in the shot are from the 2017 model year and others are from the 2018 line up.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Recent Portraits

I first photographed these young people in 2009 and we've reconvened for more family photos every year since.  When I'm photographing families I like to take them places that offer some options for the setting of the photos.  This corrugated black metal wall is on a pavilion in an Edmonton park and seemed to provide the perfect contrast to the other photos I took that featured autumn leaves and green grass.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Remembrance Day 2017

In my opinion one of the best buildings in Canada is the National War Museum in Ottawa.  Among its many virtues is the green roof which, fittingly, features a good measure of poppies. At the end of a day spent in the museum a visit to the roof is a must.  On my visit the sky was a sombre shade of gray which seemed fitting enough.  The spire on the horizon is the Peace Tower on parliament hill.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Recent Projects - Sherwood Park Volkswagen

Last week I posted an exterior photo of this new VW dealership; here's a shot of the new car show room.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Recent Projects - Sherwood Park Volkswagen

This new Volkswagen dealership recently opened in Sherwood Park, Alberta  This elevation faces north and in the autumn it's in perpetual shade.  I took several photos in full daylight but I like the dusk shots best.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Recent Projects - Seniors Living in Red Deer

This seniors living development in Red Deer has been open for a little under one year.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Recent Projects - Windermere Development

Every building I photograph offers some sort of challenge.  This building, photographed for the builder, is long and low and does not have a lot of landscaping around it.  So it's hard to get epic shots.  With careful camera placement and a very wide angle lens a little drama can be conjured up.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Recent Projects - Lewis Farms School

I've lost track of how may schools I've photographed in the last few years - but it's a lot.  This is the latest in west Edmonton.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Recent Projects - Glen Allan Rec Centre

The newly modernized Glen Allan Rec Centre features a curling facility.  This photo was taken one day before the start of the curling season which, when in full swing, goes each day from morning until quite late at night so my window of opportunity for photos was a narrow one.

When I arrived crews were on hand putting the finishing touches on the ice surface and I got a short lesson in how it's done which is, I learned, a complicated task requiring skill and patience.  And if you mess up you'll hear about it.  An interesting thing is that at the start of the curling season the rocks are no where in sight - they are missing in this photo.

When the ice has had it's final flooding (which had just occurred when this photo was taken - that's a thin layer of water over the frozen sub-base) and the top coat of water has frozen only then are the rocks brought forward.  But they cannot be placed on the ice because they are at room temperature and would melt into the carefully prepared ice surface.  Instead, they are placed on snow fencing acting as a carpet allowing air to circulate all around the rocks for at least 10 hours.  After 10 hours the rocks are frozen and only then can they be put onto the ice surface for the start of another curling season.

Canon 1Dx with Canon 17mm TSE lens; ISO 200, 1/5 second exposure at f/11.  Multiple image capture with RAW files edited in Adobe Lightroom.  Final image made by merging top and bottom half of the image in Adobe Photoshop.  Final edits also made in Photoshop.

Special thanks to the staff at the Glen Allan Recreation Centre for facilitating this photo shoot. Hurry! Hard!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Recent Projects - Glen Allan Recreation Centre

This Recreation Centre in Sherwood Park recently underwent a major modernization.  I photographed it for the builder.  The tricky part is that only the entrance was changed on the exterior so while virtually the whole building was updated on the inside the exterior looks much the same as it did before the renovations.  But I still wanted to convey some sense of the building size in the photo; this photo seems to capture it all I think.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Throw Back Friday

This is a building I photographed in 2008.  It was my first paying assignment.  I've just been asked to photograph it again because it's been added onto.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Oops! Missed a day...

Here's a photo taken in Portugal in May of 2013.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Recent Projects

This photo was taken s part of an assignment shooting the interiors of a recently completed project in downtown Edmonton.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Barcelona Revisited

In view of what happened in Barcelona August 17 I thought I'd post this photo taken during our trip there ins August of last year.  Is it corny to suggest that the water marks under these windows look a bit like tears?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Recent Projects - Ritchie Market

I was asked to provide photos of the new Ritchie Market that featured lots of people in the field of view.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  There's the matter of choosing a busy time of day, the fact that with people comes cars that can block the view of the building, and controlling where the people are in the shot.  Also, the clothing the people are wearing comes into play; very bright colours are distracting and fashions change so photos can become dated.  One of the unexpected challenges I faced while taking this photo was that a bridal party arrived for wedding photos and their limo was parked in front of the building for about 45 minutes.

This photo is a compilation of about 6 photos; all these people were not actually there at the same time.  The camera was tri-pod mounted and I took many photos that I blended together in Photoshop to achieve a well populated photo.  With just one car.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Recent Projects - Ritchie Market

I recently wrapped up an assignment to photograph the new Ritchie Market.  This photo was taken on the patio of the brew pub restaurant 'Biera' about 5 minutes before opening on a warm summer afternoon.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Chandelier or ??

I took this photo recently while on assignment in a restaurant.  These wine glasses look a bit like a chandelier I think.  Photographed with the iPhone Hipstamatic app.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Recent Projects

The 'rule of thirds' comes into play in the composition of this photograph.  If you imagine this picture space divided into thirds vertically and horizontally you will not that there are strong horizontal and vertical elements at those points of the photograph.  This photo shoot was commissioned by the interior designers responsible for the new KPMG offices in the Enbridge tower.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Little Fenestration Please

Fenestration, as regularly readers will recall from an old post, is essentially the openings in the exterior wall of a building.  I took this photo of this old garage whilst on assignment recently.

Friday, July 7, 2017


I took this photo on a street in Lucca, Italy a few years ago.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Happy Canada Day!

Photographed on the McKenzie King Estates near Ottawa.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Places I Go

If you think the life of an architectural photographer is glamorous think again.  A recent assignment had me at the offices of the Chief Medical Examiner.  I was assured there would be nothing too overwhelming and they were true to their word.  I found the physical environment to be very calm and the staff were very courteous.  You can take it from me that you do not want to be on a gurney heading through these doors; if so your day has not gone well at all.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Seven Up

 There's a British TV series called 'Seven Up'.  The premise is that in the 1960s a group of children were selected to represent a typical cross section of British citizens.  They came from all walks of life and from different regions.  The plan was to check in with them every 7 years to see how theirs lives had played out, hence the series name.  I think in the last installment the 'children' were aged 49.

I photographed this family for the first time in 2010 and we did a retake in 2017; hence 'Seven-up'.  One of their dogs has departed and a cat has been added to the family.  And of course the son has grown - a lot!  We decided to do a retake of this photo from 2010.

Friday, June 9, 2017

More to a Casino than Blackjack

There's more to a casino than slot machines, roulette and card games.  Billiards for instance.  This is one of the lounge areas in the Grand Villa Casino in Rogers Place.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Recent Projects - Not Your Normal Business Portrait

On average I probably photograph about 100 people a year, usually for business or to support some sort of career or scholarly opportunity.  This fellow is a friend of mine who asked me for the usual head-and-shoulders shots and about half way through our session he told me he wanted to have some shots that had a lot of expression ranging from shocked disbelief to eureka moments.  These would be used on a blog he has or maybe in some course material that he puts out.  Thankfully he's a bit of a character who quickly realized that this part of our session would be more performing art than simply smiling nicely.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Recent Projects

Photographing a working hospital emergency department presents a few challenges.  Firstly, they are - not surprisingly - open all hours and are therefore well populated and secondly they tend to have a lot of clutter around.  By slowing the shutter speed any people in the shot become blurred.  To make the place look less messy I compose the shot carefully, move what can be moved or wait for someone to come along and strategically block out the offending article.

This is the recently renovated ER at the Royal Alexandra Hospital; photographed for the architects.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Recent Projects - Grand Villa Casino

One of the challenges with interior photography is the varying temperature of the lighting sources. Fluorescent, incandescent, halogen and LED lighting produce light at different colour temperatures resulting in photos that feature some areas having a greenish or blueish cast while other areas in the photo look just fine. Interior Designers expect the colours of the materials they've selected to be shown correctly in all areas of the picture; this requires careful blending of several images together to achieve an acceptable result.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Recent Projects - Grand Villa Casino

Atlas Steak and Fish is the fine dining restaurant on the Grand Villa Casino in Rogers Place, Edmonton.  Photographed for the architects and general contractor.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Farewell to Tokyo

Surely a red maple leaf in the snow means its time to move on from our series of photos taken in Tokyo.  Next week I'll have something different to present.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Mount Fuji

Our short stay in Tokyo allowed for only a brief excursion out of the City.  This is the famous Fujiyama.  Seeing it in person - even from a bus window has in this photo - reveals the true size of this massive peak.  At 3,776 m (12,388 ft), mount Fuji is well down the list of the worlds highest mountains.  Everest, by comparison, is more than double the height of Fuji at 8,848 m (29,029 ft).  The suffix 'yama' means mountain Japanese so Mount Fuji and Fujiyama are correct, Mount Fujiyama is redundant and therefore incorrect.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Tokyo Sights and Sounds

This photo was taken in the Akihabara electronics district of Tokyo.  I like the symmetry of this photo and the pixelated nature of the image created by the lights of the signage beyond.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Hipstamatic in Tokyo

I took a load of photos with my iPhone in Tokyo and many using the Hipstamatic App.  I find that in the modern age no one cares if you're taking photos with an iPhone whereas as larger camera draws more attention - not always a good thing.  The Hipstamatic simulates an economical film camera and the results are quite appealing, at least to my eye.  Black and white shots always look great even of ordinary scenes like this one.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Tokyo Space Savers

Wikipedia reports that population of metro Tokyo is 38,000,000.  By comparison the population of Canada was estimated at 34,676,000 in 2014.  Canada has a land area of just under 10,000,000 square kilometers whereas metro Tokyo is a mere 14,000 square kilometers.  So there's not a lot of wasted space in Tokyo and the employ all sorts of clever ways to put things like vehicles out of the way when not in use.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Tokyo Sky Tree

The Tokyo Sky Tree is the world's tallest communication tower  It took 4 years to construct and tops out at 623 m (2080 feet) to the top of the spire.  By comparison, the CN Tower in Toronto is a mere 596 metres (1954 feet) in height.  There are 2 observation platforms; one at 350 metres and the other at 450 metres.  It is a spectacular structure and the ascent to the observation decks is lightening fast and remarkably smooth.  Tokyo is prone to earthquakes and the tower has successfully endured many.

Wikipedia reports: "The tower has seismic proofing, including a central shaft made of reinforced concrete. The main internal pillar is attached to the outer tower structure for the first 125 meters (410 ft) above ground. From there until 375 meters (1,230 ft) the pillar is attached to the tower frame with oil dampers, which act as cushions during an earthquake. Additional resilience is achieved through an "added mass control mechanism" (or tuned mass damper) - a damping system which, in the event of an earthquake, moves out of step with the building's structure, to keep the center of gravity as central as possible to the tower's base.[15] According to the designers, the dampers can absorb 50 percent of the energy from an earthquake.

...all that and looking elegant at the same time.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Gardening in Japan

Several years ago I watched mesmerized as a Japanese gardener pruned a tree at the Kurimoto Japanese Gardens at the Devonian Botanical Gardens near Edmonton.  What struck me was how he worked from one side of the tree to the other with methodical precision and how ruthless he was with his technique.  Amateur gardeners - like me - tend to spend a lot of time pondering and considering each cut with trepidation and we usually stop short of completing the job.  In Tokyo I observed the results of the precise and relentless method of tree care.  In this photo taken in the imperial palace gardens an enormous, perfectly shaped and meticulously cared for tree stands in an open area while in the distance smaller trees are staked with surgical precision awaiting the day when they too tower over this expanse of public parkland.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Eating Out in Japan

We ate very well during our short time in Japan; from the fanciest restaurants, department store noodle bars and everything in between it was clear that Japanese cooks and chefs know what they're doing.  Food was never far away it seemed.  These small pieces of fish were available outside a small tea shop and were complimentary; just grab some chop sticks and get on with it.  The weather was cool and the smoked fish and a small cup of tea was just the thing.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tokyo Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace gardens in Tokyo is everything you'd expect it to be, immaculate, tranquil and timeless.  It is not as old as you might think but it's history is crammed with stories of the Shogun and other iconic historic references.

It's size and location in the heart of Tokyo are such that at one time experts considered the land value of the Imperial Palace site to be greater than the value of all real estate in the state of California.  In this photo a security guard passes by one of the many structures on the palace grounds.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Quiet Time in Tokyo

Despite the congestion and crowds in central Tokyo there are places to decompress and relax.  The gardens at the Imperial Palace for instance are the perfect place for a picnic or a little nap

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tokyo Afternoon

This street scene could just as easily have been photographed in Paris, Milan, New York or London as in Tokyo.  Here, the late afternoon coffee crowd gathers in a modern square a short distance from the Imperial Palace and Gardens.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Imtiaz's Camera Market Tokyo

The selection of used camera equipment at Imtiaz's Camera Market in Tokyo is overwhelming.  Packed into this over flowing little store (the store is about 10' feet wide and 30' feet front to back) is camera equipment of every type and vintage.  There were many tempting things on offer, but one must show some restraint.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Housekeeping in Tokyo

At one point in our journey to Tokyo I remarked to our host that it seemed to me that fairies must come out every night and clean the city.  Despite the enormous population and the density it is one of the cleanest cities I have ever visited.  At home we would expect a taxi driver to have cleaned the car at some point in the hours before picking up a passenger but I dare say that no taxi driver in Edmonton would take the time to dust his car before allowing a passenger to climb aboard.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo

The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with 37.8 million people living in an area of 2662 square kilometers (6890/square mile - Edmonton by comparison is 319/square mile).  As a result there is not a lot of spare space as evidenced by this restaurant near the Tsukiji Fish Market.  Three seats, a counter and the kitchen all in a space not much bigger than an en suite bathroom in a North American house.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo

Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the most amazing places I've ever been.  Things start to stir here about 2 in the morning when tourists come in hope of getting one of 120 places to view the tuna auction that begins at 5:00 or so.  Outside the auction area lie the docks where product is packaged and made ready for export. Beyond that there are a number of streets and alleyways lined with stalls and restaurants selling seafood of ever type imaginable.  I took this photo with the pano setting on my iPhone 7.