Friday, April 27, 2012

A Quick Spin With The 5D Mark III

My friend Amy Thiessen, the lovely and talented gal that she is, was playing a show Ironwood Stage in Calgary last night and I was invited along to shoot pictures. I thought it would be a great opportunity to try out Canon's new 5D Mark III so I rented one from The Camera Store for the day.

Of course, the Mark III was new to me so I spent the day setting it up how I liked and getting familiar with handling it and using some of the new features. Just to be safe though I decided to bring my Mark II along as well and shoot the two cameras side by side. After shooting both cameras for about twenty minutes and comparing the results, there was a clear winner - the 5D Mark III.

Being in a bar, the lighting wasn't great so that meant high ISO. I shot everything at ISO 6400 to have ample shutter speed for my longer lens and the Mark III hands down produced cleaner images but probably even more important than that was it's ability to acquire focus. The Mark II is OK at focusing in well lit places but not so much in dim light. The Mark III on the other hand had no trouble focusing in minimal light and producing many, many more keeper images like the one below.

I didn't have long with the new camera but it was long enough to know it had some clear advantages over the 5D Mark II. Hopefully I will have a chance to use one again in the near future.

Keep shooting.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On The Fly...

I had another fun shoot at a local yoga studio yesterday and this was one of my favourite shots.


More than the lighting, colours or reflections, this one is all about an authentic expression and the joy of the practice. For me, it's the difference between a shot that ends up in the trash or in the keeper pile.

Keep shooting.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Calgary had a lovely bit of spring weather today so I decided it was a good night to head out and make some pictures.

By the time I got organized it was fairly late and being on foot I decided to stick closer to home. Not surprisingly I ended up at the Peace Bridge. Instead of shooting the same old picture from the same old spot I wanted something unique.

I found it.

Keep shooting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Yet Another Self Portrait

I seems like I have been doing a lot of self portraits lately. So much so that my one-and-only modeling look is starting to get on my nerves. It is getting harder and harder to muster the patience to make another picture of my well photographed mug. And I won't even get in to moving furniture so I can set up the equipment in the first place.

So if they are such a pain, why do I do them? Simply, I do them for a couple of reasons. First is to test and play with new or proven lighting techniques and second is to keep my skills sharp when I don't have a full schedule of work. Mostly though it's the former but the practice never hurts either.

The past couple of weeks I have probably done four or five experimental self portraits. Today was no different. I needed a lighting solution for teacher head shots for a yoga studio and below is what I created.

And the finished self portrait looks like this.

On shoot day I will vary the looks, the poses and the framing but I am confident in the light and that is what matters most.

Keep shooting.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Really Nice Light...

Tonight was one of those nights. I had an idea and I wanted to try and make a picture. A family picture of my partner Jen, me and the cat, Whitey. After playing around with the idea for an hour or so things were not working out very well, it was getting late so I pulled the plug on it. However, the time was not wasted. Instead of creating a good picture I created some really nice light.

Below you can see one of the test shots as I was in the early stages of setting up the shot.

MG 2904 2

If you look carefully in the top right corner of the frame, you can get a wee bit of a sense of the light source. What I rigged up was two, 580EX II flashes with Sto-Fen caps shooting through a Lastolite 4x6 foot diffuser. I also created flags out of black paper, which I placed on the top side of the strobes to kill the light bouncing off the ceiling.

The set up creates a really large light source resulting in soft, wrapping light leaving only very light shadow beneath the chin. The downside is the light gets chucked everywhere. It is quite similar to what you would get shooting through a large umbrella but the main intention tonight was to try something different, to find a different way to create some really nice light.

The shot didn't succeed (for now) but the light did.

Keep shooting.