Thursday, October 31, 2013


Wilted. It’s a word that aptly describes my inspiration as of late. I haven’t been shooting much and I have not been feeling very creative or motivated. The last month or so has been a struggle.

This shot of the wilted flowers nicely sums up my photographic expression these last couple of months.


I will persevere, things will improve.

Keep shooting.

Monday, September 30, 2013

More GlobalFest 2013

Last week I finally got through all my pictures from GlobalFest 2013. It took quite a bit of time.

I shot nearly 2000 images during GlobalFest and I narrowed it down to just 185. Along the way I rediscovered some images, like this one of my partner Jen getting her face painted.

Face Painting

Or this one of a photographer lining up a shot.

GlobalFest 2013

GlobalFest is a lot of work but it is my absolute favourite event of the year and I can't wait for GlobalFest 2014.

Keep shooting.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

GlobalFest 2013

I worked as a volunteer photographer for GlobalFest again this year. It was my second year participating in the event. I absolutely love doing it.

This year I really tried to interact more with people to get the shots I wanted. Getting the perfect candid shot is pretty tough. I suspect you need a keen eye and really quick reflexes. I think my eye is decent but I typically miss the perfect frame by a second or two. Instead of ruing about the missed shots, I decided instead to approach the subject, give them a little direction and get my "candid" shot. The effort paid off and I got a lot of great shots like this one, which I felt really captured a bit of the spirit of GlobalFest.

GlobalFest 2013

Keep shooting.

Ice Cream + Bike = Awesome!

I love ice cream and I love bikes. The two together make a perfect combination for me.

I set up this picture for a friend who needed some shots for a poster to promote her "Ice Cream Ride" to race money in support of the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride. Jen and I took turns posing for a few shots and then I asked some other people if they minded posing with their ice cream and my bike or theirs. I ended up with some really great shots, including this one.

Bike + Ice Cream. Anything Better?

Keep shooting.

Finally, A Good Fireworks Shot!

I shot a bunch of fireworks pictures this year. I shot Canada Day fireworks, I shot Stampede fireworks and most recently I shot the GlobalFest fireworks but I really had not been happy with any of them.

Until this one.

GlobalFest 2013

USA provided the fireworks on this particular night and they put on a truly amazing show. It got me out of my self-proclaimed fireworks slump.

Keep shooting.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Come Hell or High Water!

Only two weeks removed from some of the worst flooding in Calgary's history, come hell or high water has become the unofficial theme of the 2013 edition of the Calgary Stampede. Today the 101st Stampede kicked off with a parade and things went off without a hitch.

Stampede Parade!

For the next ten days this city will take a break from the flood cleanup and blow off some steam. Awesome!

Keep shooting.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Canada Fireworks 2013

I picked a new spot to shoot Canada Day fireworks this year, right on the Centre Street Bridge where they originate.

I liked the idea of having downtown Calgary in the background but I was not so keen on the one streetlight in the foreground. Composing it out of the frame was possible but I thought the shot lost a lot of context. It wasn't the greatest location but you have to try it in order to find out.

Canada Day

What I did like though was after the fireworks display ended I took pictures of the crowd dispersing and walking back up Centre Street. It produced a really neat effect with the longer exposures.

Canada Day

Keep shooting.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

After The Flood

The second day that I volunteered in the one of the hardest flood stricken areas, I brought my camera. I knew there wouldn't be much time to take pictures but I saw some incredible things during my first day of volunteering and there was only going to be one chance to capture them.

Later in the afternoon as we were looking for more people to help, I came across some cars that had been completely swamped in the flood. I peered in the windows and was absolutely blown away seeing the dry, cracked silt peeling away from the seats and dashboard. Even though I had spent the past two days in basements where the high water mark was four or five feet up the walls, I was dumbfounded to see these cars in their post-flood state.

Surprisingly, the doors were unlocked and the interiors were just as the flood waters left them. I was careful not to disturb them as I grabbed a few shots.

Calgary Flood

I have never seen anything like it.

Keep shooting.

The Flood

I remember standing on my 21st balcony overlooking the Bow River on the morning of June 20th. The weather forecast a day or two before had called for heavy rains in the mountains but on this particular morning Calgary was enjoying a warm, sunny summer day.

Hours later when I took a break from work and looked over the river once more, the water level had already risen a couple of feet.  The bike path under the Louise Bridge had become submerged under the grey, turbid water. Not until several hours later would I realize what was unfolding before me.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Like My New Hat...

I got a new hat last week. I thought it would make a good prop for stock pictures and, you know, just generally wearing around town.

I took it out for a spin today and shot some stock. I like it.

Man in Fedora with Coffee Cup

Keep shooting.


Jen and I picked up a cute birdhouse for her mom on the weekend.

I just had to grab some pictures for stock before giving the gift.


Keep shooting.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crocuses at Canada Olympic Park

Last week Jen and I met some friends at Canada Olympic for a bike ride and I managed to get a shot of the beautiful wild crocuses.

Sunset at Canada Olympic Park

Normally when I got out riding I rarely take camera gear but on this particular day I wanted to try out my new Lowepro Flipside Sport 20L AW. I have had the bag for just over a week and I absolutely love it! It has quality construction, it is very light and it stows just the right amount of gear. So far I have taken it on a few walks about town and a couple of bike rides and I am extremely pleased with its performance. It was a very good purchase.

After our first lap we took a quick break and I popped on the backpack full of camera gear. I wanted to try a few action shots and test out the backpack's performance as we completed a second lap. We were almost done our ride when I came across this cluster of crocuses as the sun was just starting to set. I pulled off the trail and set up for a shot.

Jen grabbed a shot of me while I was shooting the wild flowers.

Me in Action

Keep shooting.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


April was an insanely busy month.

I was shooting stock nearly every day and I added over fifty images to my stock portfolio. It was my most productive month shooting stock ever! I did a bunch of goofy, almost cartoonish images but I started to get tired of the same old thing so I switched up the lighting and notched up the drama.

This is what I came up with.

Self Portrait

It was refreshing to shoot something a bit more challenging and it turned out to be my favourite image of the month.

Keep shooting.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


I shot a bunch of stock today and this particular shot was one of my favourites. It's a simple shot but I think that's what I really liked about it.


Keep shooting.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rockin' Stock...

I shot some more images for stock last night. I started with a simple three light set up and the single idea to shoot a basic portrait. After I got the lighting tweaked to my satisfaction I started to add props until something clicked.

This is what clicked.

Man Listening To Music With Headphones

Nailing the expressions and the focus are the biggest challenges to self portraiture but I still managed to get a bunch of shots in the bag in less than an hour and a half. 

Keep shooting.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Guys Do Yoga Too...

It's been an insanely busy March thus far. I have been trying to really expand my stock portfolio so nearly every day I am planning or shooting images for stock. Today was no exception.

I had my yellow background and a few lights up from the previous night so I just started playing with ideas until I found something I liked. I finally thought to give it a bit of a yoga theme and the bright, sunny colours just seemed to fit.

Here is what I came up with.

Guys Do Yoga Too

Of course, when I'm shooting stock I always try to maximize the amount of images from a single shoot so I shot a variety with different props and variations of poses and clothing. I ended up getting five solid images from just over an hour of shooting time.

Keep shooting.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Assembling Lunch

I really admire food photographers and/or food bloggers. I follow quite a few who not only create amazing meals from scratch but they also take really excellent pictures of the final product. It would really be a daunting task for me to mimic their efforts because my food creation talents are next to zero. And, honestly, it seems like a lot of work.

I am more of a food "assembler". I didn't make lunch today, I assembled it from leftovers. Refried beans, quinoa, roast beef, asiago cheese and Frank's Red Hot. I just happened to have some lighting equipment set up as part of another shoot so I took a few shots of my proud creation.


It was neither gourmet fair nor an amazing food shot but it sure was yummy!

Keep shooting.

Making Stock

Yesterday I shot stock images. All day. It is quite an involved and time consuming process but I really enjoy it, especially when it all comes together.

A lot goes in to setting up and shooting stock. I thought about some ideas and played with some concepts a day or two before I shot only to come up with a completely approach on shoot day. Still, getting from that idea to a finished product takes a lot of work, especially when I am also playing the part of the model.

Probably the most difficult part is nailing the focus. Autofocus is not even an option. Manual focus is necessary to make sure the focus is in the same spot each time, especially in a series of images. I typically use light stands with focusable targets as stand-ins and then mark my spot with tape. Tape will mark my centre line as well as where my toes should be.

With focus nailed I can work on tweaking my posing. This means snapping a dozen shots, grabbing the memory card from the camera, downloading the images, reviewing them and then repeating the process until I have the shots I want. It is possible that hooting tethered would speed up the process but I am not set up for that.


When I am finally happy with my images the next step is post-processing, uploading and key wording all of which can take a fair amount of time. Then, you wait. You wait for the images to be check over and approved or rejected. This can take any where from days to weeks and it can be a bit nerve wracking wondering if your images are good enough to make the cut.

If the images are lucky enough to be approved then you hope that all your hard work is rewarded with plenty of sales. Of course, there is no guarantee. Images I have been most about have done nothing while others I uploaded on a whim have been successful. I honestly never really know if something will do well or not. I am hoping over time I will get it down to a science but at this point I am not there yet.

Keep shooting.

Monday, February 18, 2013

An Inspiring Afternoon

On Saturday I took part in an afternoon seminar on making a living with stock photography. It was led by a very talented local photography and designer, Lori Andrews. The seminar took place at Canon's Image Square, located centrally in downtown Calgary. It was an afternoon well spent.

I have a simple philosophy when it comes to seminars and workshops. If I come away with just one piece of knowledge or one idea, then it was totally worth my time and money. Well, I walked away several nuggets from the two-and-half hour session but the by far the biggest takeaway was a sack full of inspiration.

A few hours of my time and a few dollars out of my wallet in trade for a sack full of inspiration? You bet!

I'll take that trade anytime.

Keep shooting.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Funky Colours...

I had a mission on Thursday night. I wanted to grab a night shot of the ongoing demolition of the old Herald building in the heart of downtown Calgary. The building is about seventy-five percent demolished, which is great because the really interesting innards are exposed but it also meant there wasn't much time left to capture it.

Getting to the site is a short trip from my downtown condo and a quick dash up six flights of stairs to get to the top of a nearby parking structure for a better vantage point. As I reached the top floor of the parking garage my anticipation of getting a picture instantly vanished. The site was vacant and dark. There was no demolition happening on this particular night and there was no light.

Instead of sulking and walking back home, I decided to move to a different location. Just a block away was the Wonderland sculpture at The Bow, so I wandered over there, took a few shots but then another idea hit me.

I have been wanting to grab some pictures of the new-ish 4th Street SE underpass at night but had not yet made the time to do so. This was the night. Bad luck quickly turned in to good luck because there was also a Flames home game on this particular night and that meant plenty of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, which was exactly what I wanted.


Awesome. Keep shooting.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I finally got a chance to check out the new "Wonderland" sculpture in front of the new Bow building in downtown Calgary. It's pretty cool.

Jen was with me and I had her pose in a few pictures so I could use them for editorial stock.


I will definitely be visiting it again for more shots.

Keep shooting.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Family Shoot from November

Back in November I had a really enjoyable family photo shoot. Family portraits involving kids can be challenging for sure, especially with younger kids. This shoot didn't involve younger kids though, the two boys were older, which is fantastic because they get the drill - cooperate and you get out sooner. :)

Oh, and besides their excellent cooperation they were really funny guys, which made the whole thing really fun.

I1A5444 Small

Keep shooting.

Keeping With a Theme...

In early January I made a post about trying some different things to kick off a new year. About a week after that I trekked out late on a cold snowy night to work on that same theme.

I focused on a structure close to home, Calgary's Peace Bridge. I cannot even begin to imagine how many times that bridge has been photographed since it opened. Nearly every time I cross it, I see someone snapping photos. I have taken dozens of pictures of it myself and browsed through countless others. So many of them are unique but so many of them are much the same. When I ventured out on a crisp January night, I wanted to capture something a bit unqiue.

My first keeper shot was a scene I had passed by countless times before but never photographed. On this particular night a cloudy sky was all aglow from the city's light pollution and the freshly fallen snow joined together to create a uniquely surreal scene. I chose to shoot from further away with a wide angle lens to dimmish the bridge's dominance in the frame.


My second shot was taken not very far from the first. I noticed an abandoned shopping cart, likely too hard to push through the snow, and I loved its juxtaposition next to the new, costly and atheistically pleasing structure.


By the time I had finished my second shot my toes and hands were freezing, it was late and I briskly walked back home to warm up and download my bounty.

Keep shooting.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


It's a new year and a good time to try some different things and shake it up a bit.

I love shooting Calgary Transit trains at night. They have become my favourite nighttime subjects. However, I felt that I was shooting the same images over and over. Sure the locations were different but the pictures themselves were beginning to have the same look and feel about them.

Tonight I tried to do something a bit different. I tried finding locations where I could sneak a train in to the shot but in a more subtle way. It didn't have to be the most dominant item in the frame and perhaps, unless you looked close, you wouldn't know it was there at all.


Keep shooting.