Sunday, August 21, 2011

Outside the Comfort Zone !!

OK so if you have been reading this from the beginning and you know me. You have realized that I have been way outside my comfort zone for the last year.
Overcame my travel anxieties, ate food in places where you don't want to see the kitchen and have learned to never, ever , pass up a clean washroom.
Hotels are not for comfortable beds, they are for clean bathrooms haha.

Ok so being pushed outside your comfort zone means you say yes to things, you normally would'nt.
You "stick the tip in" even though the voice inside your head says "don't do it".

So aside from the demands of the job, pushing my comfort levels, photography has been another source of anxiety and working outside the zone. Meeting people, having that first interaction, walking up to complete strangers for pics (oh trust me am not over it) Working the various fairs and events this past two years. Sometimes its easy , a lot of times its not.
Being polite I tend not to 'invade' peoples private space, the camera being an obvious intrusion.

So this past Saturday was one of those big pushes outside the Zone.

Without listening to my inner voice I took on the task of taking photo's for a wedding, held outside the town of Dutton, about 40 minutes West of London.

Matt and Lauren both live and work out in the country.  So relaxed atmosphere was the key for the day.

Went out at 9am to meet the girls and get some pics while they got ready.

This was the grooms sister just after makeup all done. Wonderful !!

A shot of the lovely bride, Lauren once all dressed, makeup and hair done. Ready for the hitchin !

There were also dogs involved. This is Foxy , Basset Hound and a sweetheart of a dog, just happy to be with everyone,played with the kids and slept.
Though they had been planning this since February, you think that they had started this just last week haha. Marriage license didn't show up till sometime around 3pm (ceremony was to start at 4). Flower lady showed up missing a bouquet. Brides answer was "give her mine, I don't need flowers", so some scrambling happened rearranging things.
There was also cowboy boots involved. These people live/work on farms, have horses. The Bride in fact is a Farrier, works in the region helping people with showing horses etc, so this was to be expected.
And yes she wore those boots under her wedding dress and of course the groom has his own on.

And so your asking at this point, "what about horses ?".
Well you know they were involved int he ceremony. After walking down the aisle, they mounted Big Mac and Pepsi (yes they name their horses after fast food haha) and rode off up the hill.

And now the money shot. Am proud of this one , even with its issues. Am sure a lot more could have been done on my part for this picture. One thing I found out yesterday, you have to really get the client reeled in and under control, every moment seemed to be rushed. Pictures were wanted but they don't understand it takes time, put that up to my lack of experience.

Oh ya and for reference, cowboy hats make for really hard picture taking, they have a tendency to shade the face. So even though we had pretty good light, I always found myself having to push some in just to try and balance it all out. Again very tough for first time shooter, with no planning. Yes i was the last minute, no other option guy to do this job. Oh we love the stress.

While we did that last pic , rain drops started !
And 5 minutes after that the clouds broke and the downpour started. Could not have planned that if we had wanted.

No wedding cake, apparently there was some major meltdown during the job and things didnot go as planned. Of course the bride found out while they were seconds away from Cake Cutting portion of the fun. gotta love it. She said fine, we have the cup cakes.
Made to match the wedding flowers. Well done.

For my first time, i got lucky ! I had had great people to work with, very inviting, very happy to have me there.
Now to sort through it all, organize and maybe make a few prints for them (not included in my 'package') thinking the Money Shot and a few others. They will enjoy.
Hope they are happy when i deliver it all to them in about a week.

29 Days to Barcelona

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer coming to an End !!!

Seems like I just started summer and suddenly its winding down.
Days are getting cooler, little more rain during the week, and its already August 15th !!

Was having a coffee downtown, yes am now severely addicted to Starbucks Venti Americano. For those that don't know, a Cafe Americano is basically Expresso with water added to it. So take 4 healthy shots of Expresso into an extra large cup , fill with hot water and your good to go.
All the taste , all the caffeine , oh ya.
regular coffee does not cut it after this.

ok back to my thought, sitting at Starbucks, corner of Richmond and Dundas, London,ON. Took a picture of my fix and the mobile sitting on the counter and had one of those realizations again.
When you look at that picture, coffee and mobile, without really checking the background, you don't know where you are.
Could be anywhere in the world.think of my Starbuck coffee pics in the last updates, nothing really gives it away. interesting.

If your observant and know, you can see the Canada Post Mailbox in the background, thats the give that your in Canada.  Hey there's an idea for some photo ! pic of something familiar (ok we pick the Starbucks coffee cup) and then some kind of identifier behind. As if i will remember to do that haha.

Have been able to catch a few of the last festivals here in London.
Ribfest, which looked no different than it did 5 years ago when i went, same people, same food, nothing to show.

Volunteered for Car Free Day, where Dundas street is blocked from Talbot to Wellington.Turn out was not what I expected, am thinking people are "festival'd out" as every weekend there is something going on. Saying that was still nice to be out for the day , do my part as volunteer photographer.
There were all kinds of performers, at any one time 2 different acts were playing music, one at each end of the street.

These two were interesting though, I don't think anyone knew what they were talking or singing about.
And to add some flavor the local Mariachi Band played at the end of the day. Gotta love the hats !

Flash mob during the day, took this with the Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens, just cant close enough. I was within a foot or two of bumping into the girl in white, while taking the pic. Course I have to look like a nut case while i do it, running in the middle of the street and the crowd to get the pic.

Some local color, you know street things have a tendency to bring out all the fun people.
Various demonstrations happen during the day.
This girl is 12yrs old and has been learning and performing silk acrobatics since she was 6. Was amazing seeing her drop 10ft unrolling herself or doing these poses in mid air.
am hoping to get out to their practice facility to try some pics with flash and white background, will see what i can schedule.

What else was there. ?

Girl doing chalk drawing on some slate paving stones, she spent most of the day working on this. The results speak for themselves. Has to be hard doing this knowing it will be gone in a few days.
and the final result...

This girl I have spotted a few times out at various venues and festivals over the last 2 years.
You cant help but remember that look and of course the red hair. Next time I will ask to take some pics of her. Getting something a little more substantial.

Oh ya the new Sigma 70-200 f2.8 silky smoothness ! Picked it up on the way through Hong Kong.
Awesome lens, that weighs 1.5kg on the home scale, like handling a bazooka after attached to the camera. took a quick shot coming into work one morning of the GMC Terrain, early morning sun, the right angle and we have our promo shot ! Funny how I manage these guerrilla shooting style quick shots, if I had planned this it would just not have happened.

For planned photo's have had Miss Katie back in to do some pics (still need to get them out to her) using the Aline Bee 800 and 48" Octabank up close and personal.
You get up close like that so you can get the wonderful wrap around of light. giving you this kind of pic.
You have no idea how much the light pulls out the colors in her hair.
Next up was Miss Vicky, she has not been out for awhile, you know busy teenage girl, now 16, boyfriends, beach, parties. She has a busy social life, so some time for pics with Uncle Doug is a scheduled event. Have your people, call my people kind of thing. Princess is growing up.

Past weekend out for pics for Hurtin Merv and the boys, playing The Pierside Pub in Port Stanley,ON. 
Small energetic crowd, though Merv and the guys play it hard and have a good time.
Am finding the black and white pics work better for band stuff. They don't have the big production or lighting rig giving dramatic colors.  We are talking some Canadian Tire outdoor 150watt lights  and the glow of the street lights for them at this place. Kinda like playing on someone's backyard deck. 
For those outside of North America, most homes here have a backyard, and a platform coming off the back of the house, place to put your chairs and the bbq, and it looks just like that picture above.

Was at the Detroit Metro Airport, doing a drop off with Senor Diego (Nikon shooter but we forgive him). took a pic of the seating.
Rows of nondescript shiny metal and styled seating for the masses while they wait to embark on some journey. Again no idea where we are , we just are.

Well a member of the family has left us !
The Canon T1i and Sigma 18-70mm f2.8-5, has left us for a new home. It was a little ragged , a little worn, but still very functional. It survived two trips to China, one to India and has been with me everyday for the last two years, tagging along, taking more bad pictures than good. 
It has been adopted by a young lady in Kitchener, who's camera was stolen at school. She had posted an advertisement on Kijiji looking for a replacement. Met up with her yesterday, did the deed. great kid looking for a future in advertising with a big focus on photography. Could not wipe the smile off her face when she was holding the camera in her hand.   

I now move over to the other Canon T1i that I picked up in the spring. brand new never used. 
It feels unfamiliar in my hand, even though the same body etc, it does not have the same feel.

Ok Barcelona is now 35 days away !
Rev up the engines.