We find ourselves at the end of a long and cold Winter and yet stuck with a Spring that has not gained a foothold.  There is my D800 collecting dust……here are two boys itchin’ to hang out for a Sky Landers play-date.   Something inside clicks, or breaks, or switches…and my gumption is out of the box.  All it takes is a little push to scrounge the power of youth…but  I need a little more.  Guilt sometimes works.  A buff neighbour jogs by…Pride will do it today.  I catapult myself out and deep into the woods, snacks in satchel, two boys in tow.  Now they lead the way!  We’re out in the mud, sliding on the ice.  Crunching the dry grass.  The muted monochrome…Sky Landers?  eff THAT, we’re firing on live enemies!  STOP DROP ROLL.  And searching for signs of Spring.  I can see it in my son as he runs laughing, screaming full speed down an icy winding hill.    Mine?  Its in here somewhere…underneath all this ice.  But we are feeling the harmony.  Feeling in synch with our seasons.  Let things grow.

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Must add to previous post:  The November/December issue is just out on the stands and looks FABULOUS.  Big props should go to the lovely and talented Kathy Storring for all her advocacy and talent.  More blood, sweat and tears here people.  Putting a mag out in this day and age ain’t no picnic, y’dig???

Now, if seeing my work live and in colour isn’t enough to get you out to snap one of these up, perhaps this will:  Included in this Grand Magazine Holiday package is the most incredible product catalogue I’ve seen in a while.  The new Rolex printed piece is sooooo good.  I could eat it whole.  Really.  I’m serious.  It’s beautiful.  15 pages -and that includes an extra 12 page sub-booklet of the women’s line- of the most beautiful product photography you’ll ever see.   And the best part is -wait for it- there is hardly ANY copy!  Like NONE!!!  here’s a quick pic of the piece.

(note the reflected embossing…WOW)  Those who’ve heard me rant will know that I’m a big advocate of the still image and the power it wields.  Really, it stands alone as an incredibly potent communication tool.  A tool that, I dare say, has been diluted by…well, that’s another long story but, I think we can all agree that we’re inundated by “sameness”, mediocrity, shite etc etc.   Yes, of course Rolex is one of those established prestige brands that can afford to do this, but seriously, to have the balls….I mean, it would’ve been so easy for whoever the Creative Director was to go with the flow and insult everyone’s intelligence with some blah blah blah BS, but no.  and I’m willing to bet that they had  to put up a fight too.  So PLEASE, do yourself a favour and pick up the Grand and enjoy as an added bonus a serious piece of eye candy that communicates above and beyond the limitations of our plodding, and linear English language…so on that note I’ll shut up and let the pic do the talking.

Hey, finally I can blog about this shoot I did at the historic and newly uber-cool, Walper Hotel in good ol’ K-Dub! The Grand Magazine sent me out on this assignment focusing on the work and passion of one Mr. Michael Von Teichman. Don’t let his name scare you; we ain’t talkin’ dowdy an’ crusty old school here. Check this young buck out….and check the cut of the suit.  Props to the Grand for their double page treatment of the opening splash.  The shot itself WAS NOT the high concept image I’d imagined but, as every photographer can attest, the time allotted is always somewhat compromised, no?  For this portrait we had maybe 5 minutes in the Crystal Ball Room where there was a corporate gathering going on all day.  The window sills were about 4 feet off the ground and instinctively I just said, “let’s climb up and see what happens…”  When he took 3 second break from his constant electronic  vollies I made this image.

The rest of the shoot carried on.  I spoke to Coral Andrews, the writer , briefly to get the gist of the piece but other than that I was given carte blanche.  The Rooms where a blast to shoot!  While I had a full lighting kit with me, I chose instead to use the wonderful ambient as the main with a wee little bit of occasional fill we had.  Of course, time here played a factor as well.  Michael, a true multi-tasker, was caught in the act and added the perfect complement to the shot…not to mention the suite!  I love the concept of utilizing eclectic pieces of art to individualize each room.  It gives the Walper such a ’boutique’ flavour.  The Night Exterior was a last minute decision.  Very precarious is that part of Queen Street in Kitchener!  Incidently, the streaking tail lights belonged to a lovely Oldsmobile Cutlass that I’m sure had my name on it!

I spent a lot of time in the Eleanor Roosevelt Courtyard.  Can you blame me?  This was, for me, the centre piece of my Walper experience.  While it was no brainer to toss on the 20mm and shoot away, the placing of the chairs posed a challenge -especially without an assistant to bark at!  Back and forth, back and forth on and on.  I almost beat the rain too.  Hallway shots are tough at any time.  What to focus on?  There were three elements I wanted to highlight, all with varying tones.  You’ve got matte black of the carpet, the gloss black with gold trim of the elevator (against white walls no less) and the direct sun coming in through the skylight.  Oh baby it was tough….but after 20 years of blood, sweat and tears, No Problemo!

 

 

What better way to introduce my brand spankin’ new blog with some amazing fresh food!

I did this shoot recently for a good friend of mine, Jonnie Karan, the owner/operator of Thrive Juice Bar in Uptown Waterloo.  Without question, this is the tastiest power food around -No Guff.  You can simply pop in to refuel with a Wheat Grass Shot or Acai Berry Blast  -to beat any mid-day funk- but you can also stick around and enjoy a wonderful atmosphere with the most fabulous sandwiches, soups, pastas etc etc.  Hey! FUEL FOR LIFE, baby!  For those of you who have never treated yourself to Vegan Cuisine, Do it HERE and you can thank me later.

Brace yourself: Making images of food is normally not my thing, ok?  A number of years ago, it was a regular gig but these days most of my work is with Human Beings.  Hey, I like to banter, to joke, even to dance with my subjects but this turned out to be a really nice little departure for me.  And ain’t it important to keep it fresh?…besides, this little gig wasn’t without some perks:  Jonnie had me up to my ears in wonderful, absolutely sumptuous, mouth-watering LOCAL FOOD and DRINK.  On this day it was my taste-buds doing the dancing! Enough pitchin’ for now, photographically speaking, the job went thusly…

THE GIG:  Food Shoot for Online Menu.

THE CHALLENGE:  Client needed online visual upgrade.  No question; the styling, lighting and shooting of food can be an arduous experience.  It can take hours and hours to get a single image just right.  We had 5 hours for 15 menu items….do the math.

THE SOLUTION:  Homework, homework, homework.  Wunderkind Art Director, Jeffery Weber and I went over and over the concept: “beautiful-food-against-the-backdrop-of-a-bustling-kitchen-with-quintessential-beauty-shots-if-there-is-time”.  Easy, right? We discussed as many possibilities, pitfalls and logistics issues we could think of.  We had to consider that, within the time allotted, not only were we going in tight to show off lush greens, but also pulling back for wide shots that included background action!  As such the lighting could not stay stagnant for an assembly line approach because of the variety of food hues and consistencies.  We had to script it out shot by shot…and then do impromptu technical rehearsals.  This was the key:  We may’ve only had 5 hours of shooting time but preproduction was definitely not skimped on.  I cannot stress enough the importance of effective preproduction especially when you have a limited time frame.  Think it through again and again and again…and when that’s done, think through every last detail again.  Write it down, memorize, set it on fire OK OK OK…. I think you might get it, right?!

TECHNICAL:  In terms of lighting I used between 3 and 5 speedo strobes to balance with the beautiful flood of ambient.  Most were scooped and bounced, but some had grids for tighter focus.  I had a couple of 4×4 frames with 216 and 250 dif….and lots of bounce options; 4x8s of white foam core, Roscoe silver lux, gold lux and some neat little concave mirrors I found in my favourite shop ever, KW Surplus.  I shot this on my Nikon D2x with a Nikkor 50mm lens.  Images were edited in Photomechanic and corrected in Photoshop.  With our skeleton crew of Jonnie Karan (doing a fab styling job), Jeffery Weber, and our lovely and talented model, Lianne Forler, we went to work….

It got LEAFY and SASSY.

It got BUBBLY and SAVORY .

And then it just got SWEET!

And I think we done good.  I walked away from this with a renewed appreciation for food photography -seriously, it’s been too long.  Jumping back into the fray was such a welcome change from the norm.  Most importantly, in the end the client LOVED the images and dynamic vibe we created.  The site menu is up and business is absolutely THRIVING!