Equipment

Okay so, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this blog and I realized that I’ve been talking about a lot of stuff with in photography and things I do but have forgotten about where it starts.  The Equipment!

Wait, wait… I know the equipment doesn’t make a good photo good.  Great photo’s can be taken on almost anything, but the equipment does change what you can do with the image.

So let’s start at the begining… you walk into the camera store… the sales person approaches…

What is the plan, what are you going to be taking pictures of?  What are you planing of doing with them? How much versatility do you need?  What’s the budge?

Hopefully you have been thinking of some of this stuff and have an idea.

So let’s be realistic, your budget is the key to it all, and frankly I would always say buy the best you can for your budget.

If you need small and quick and your plan is just to do snap shots that can go on face book or be small prints, don’t waste your money on a DSLR get a point and shoot.  You’ll just be frustrated with anything else.

Now here is the big questions start in.  Getting a DLSR.  What do you need?  Well I’ll be honest Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Sony….. at this point they are all good.  Mirrored or Mirrorless?  Well that’s a bigger question.  Mirrorless is a great option these days, they are much smaller and more cost effective.  Great for travel!  The image quality is really good to, many pro’s I know are using them for some commercial work.  But they do have draw backs, they are slower and most do not have live viewfinders.  This is not a big deal for portraits or landscapes but they are not great for action as you lose view of your subject while it captures the image.

And do you need to buy the latest and greatest?

Frankly, no most of the time you can get an older model and save some money.  Unless you are planing to shoot in dark spaces without flash, you will not notice much difference.    As a pro I am always concerned with the dark spaces I’m headed into so I’m alway looking to upgrade (every generation seem to get much better at this).  But my first DSLR was a Canon 20D, and for the average person looking to shoot their family and friends at a sporting event or family function it has all the resolution you will ever need.  And it only shot at 10.1 megapixels, with an APS size sensor.  Try to avoid the it’s newer, it’s better, I have to have it thing.

I always suggest to my friends that they save money with an older camera that meet’s all their needs and then spend that saved money on good glass.  That’s where it all comes out these day.  The camera’s have been great for years and so are some of the lens’s out there.  There is a reason that some lens’s are cheap and some are expensive.  They are the difference in sharp and sharpish pictures.  Spend your money there, you will be happier with your images!

So am I going to tell you what brand to get, HELL no!  I’m a Canon guy, have been for years and probably will always be.  But not because I think it’s better than the rest, (don’t tell the Nikon guys that).  It’s about how it feels in your hand, and how they layout the buttons.  Canon works in my hand and with my style.  Go to the store, find what’s in your budget and hold it like your taking pictures.  and not just for 5 minutes.  Walk around the store with it, pretend to take pictures of the bags and batteries and lights and what ever is around.  And then do it with the next one until you are sure it’s for you.  It’s not like a coffee, your going to have it for years so make sure your getting the best one for you.

Get out and take some pictures!

Snowy Owl sitting on a hay bail

Snowy Owl sitting on a hay bail

Why Team Portraits

Team Portraits are an interesting thing.  There are so few that are ever done well!  There are only a few people out there who like to do them, but there are a ton of people who will do them.  But really, I’m sorry if you don’t like what you do it shows.

It drives me crazy.  And well don’t even get me started on those large companies that treat their clients like a number and have made the set up basically a paint by numbers set.  Not to mention that the actual “photographers” are typically hired with no experience and are paid horribly considering the profit these companies make.

So why do I do them, its fun.  Sure I have to run the kids through quick just like everyone else. Where is the fun you ask?  It’s in the kids, there silly and quirky.  Some having good days some having bad days. Just think about the things they say sometimes.   And its my job to get a great photo of them.

I’m dad, and I know how what it’s like to have my kid come home with her photo’s and be proud of how she looks.  But I’ve seen it go the other way to.  And it make me furious.  These day even more so.  Sure with film the photographer didn’t know what they got, but now really, a 1 second glance confirms yes it looks good or let’s try one more before sending them off.So all that said, what makes a great portrait.  Well first off every one need to be set on creating great images.  The photographer, the person in front of the camera, the coaching or training staff on had to help, any assistants on set and finally the parents that came out.

Supreme Cheerleading Inc, Cheerleader, Team Portraits, Photography

Now how are we setting up the shot, What backdrop? What style of lighting do you want/need?  Are you doing action?  How are you doing your post production?  Yip, I pretty much have all of this planed, yes even the post.  My post production plan determines some of my shooting plan.

The lighting is probably the biggest key to it all.  If it’s not lit properly it’s not going to work out.  And if your going to be doing action shots you need to ensure your gear can get you a fast enough shutter speed and will recycle fast.  Now when I’m setting up, I know I’m going to light is a particular way.  I like open light for this type of photography.  Ya a key light is a good thing.  Maybe a 1/2 stop or 1 stop higher than second light but not much more.  These are happy moments, and we are trying to make people look good.  Mood and shadow are great for portraits, but not really what we are looking for here.

Dancer, Green, Portraits

www.fusionfotography.ca-130521-www.fusionfotography.ca-4

Do you need faces?  Yes and no.  I would never do a full set with out a face, but there is nothing wrong with a shot like you see below.  It’s just to cute!  And more importantly there were 5 other images of this group that showed faces and smiles.

Supreme Cheerleading Inc

Supreme Cheerleading Inc, Cheerleader, Team Portraits, Photography

Aside

Personal project-Clouds

Hello Everyone

Sorry of being a little delinquent on my posts.  It’s just amazing how you can just keep saying ya I know I need to post but I’ll do it tomorrow, and then say it again the next day and the next day and on and on.  And soon you’ve got a run on sentences and no posts.

Well, I’m back.

Last weekend I was out with my family and found the most interesting subject to photograph.  It’s so simple and obvious I’m surprised I’ve never done it before.  I’m alway looking at them for the back grounds in photo’s.  And hoping they will get thicker, or go away.  But I’ve never thought of them as a subject until now. What is my new subject you ask?  Well I’ll tell you…….

CLOUDS

I’ve started a personal project using clouds as my subjects.  Now I know your saying “clouds?”.  But really what’s the difference between shooting up at clouds or the guys who go up to shoot the down on the earths landscapes.  Same idea except the clouds are always changing and can be anything you want them to be.

I think at the end of the day it’s about finding new things to keep yourself interested in discovering and creating.

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Always Keep your Eye Out

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The lesson for the day is alway keep an eye out for details.  And keep your camera with you.  Yesterday I was off to the country with my family, looking for a sugar bush.  We do this every year, and this time my wife wanted to go to a new location.  Sounded good!  Well the GPS took us in on a bit of a wild goose hunt and we never did find it.  

But while rolling down the road I spotted this old farm sign.  Looks like it hasn’t been used for year.  I had to stop and look at it.  My mind just went right into the where is the composition, what’s the crop, what’s the color tone?  I had to come up with it all kinda fast, My 5 year old was getting antsy in the back seat, but I wasn’t about to let her loose on the side of the road while I explored the scene.

The scene is a little cluttered at first, tree’s, branches, a roof, a ditch, a fence, ugh!  I knew I had to simplify the scene to make the shot i had in my mind.  Low angle, a little closer, open up the aperture, set up a multi exposure compensation 2 stops apart (there wasn’t much sky detail, and I wanted to make sure I had what I needed).

All told I think I was there maybe 5 minutes, and I got just what I wanted.  

Now I realize that most landscape photographers would have said, lets come back and shoot the scene later with different light, a better sky, or maybe a different season.  And yes I may do that?  But like I said in an earlier post, I’m about what I see in the moment.  In the fraction of a second we drove by I saw a shot, turned around and got what it.

Hope you like it, it’s going to be the next 30×40 shot in my living room.  I sent it to the printer this morning.

Stick around I’m going to interview a buddy, for the next post.  He is a pro photographer to. 

Weekly Photo Challenge-Reflection

So here I sit 10 minutes to midnight.  I’m the only person awake in my house.  I’m supposed to be editing some images for a local Motorcycle shop’s website, but I’m distracted.  I’m thinking about my life, the life of my family.  It’s been 5 years today (well for the next 10 minutes, today), that life as I knew changed.  

Now I did have a plan to produce an image for this weeks challenge.  But I’ve been wandering around my house tonight, thinking!  Ya, I know maybe a little sappy, but well it is my daughters birthday!  Yes she is Daddy’s little girl!  Why have I been wandering, well my house is filled with photo’s.  I’ve been Thinking of the last 5 years and how things have changed, and what things have happened, and how she has grown, and how me and my wife have grown.  

Now I don’t pretend to be the perfect father, I try, but yes I get grumpy and stressed from time to time, (I’m sure my wife could tell you some stories).  But when I look at my Little Monkey, I just want to be better, a better dad, a better husband, a better person.  Everyday I see her change, grow, wonder….  I’m in awe!

I love what I do, but nothing will ever compare to coming home and seeing her smile at me!  Happy Birthday Monkey!

Okay, let me pull back the sappy stuff for just a sec and come back to photography, as I’m wandering looking at my pictures, I can to realize that we have not 1 actual family portrait up.  And it struck me, why I love photography so much.  (not really a revolution to me, just a renewed sense of why I do what I do)  Now follow me a little here.  I shoot family portraits and I think they are important, and yes we do actually have them.  But at the end of the day I’m a Henri Cartier-Bresson type of photographer and personality.  It’s about capturing the Moment!

Every photo we have up is a moment in time, one that I can never get back or change.  But one I can always remember simply by looking at the picture.  In a short walk around my house I went from my wife and I dating to our wedding, from my daughters birth to now her 5th birthday now loaded in my camera.
Yes we take pictures, for advertising, for documenting, for web sites. Yes all that is important. But we must never forget about the moments important to our lives! I can always retake a portrait, but I can never relive the proud smile of my daughter learning to ride her bike or the moment ……..

It’s 12:18am now, she is 5 years and 1 day old…

Here hoping your home is filled with moments, I know mine will always be!

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Weekly photo challenge: inside

Here we go again! I found this awesome blogg “weekly photo challenge”. I think it’s a grand idea. So I though this weeks theme was great.

In Puerto Rico I found this building. The access is incredibly limited! In fact I could only (and just barely) get my hand and camera inside it.

Not even sure how I found it, the whole in the boards caught my eye and it sent me exploring further. But in the end I could only find a slightly bigger whole.

For next week I’m looking a producing a new piece, assuming I can find the time. And with it I will go through my process from concept to print for the image.

Hope you all enjoyed my images this week!

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Feeling a little nostalgic

So here I am, waiting on my computer to process almost 600 images from an event last night thinking about this blog. And well it started me thinking about the things I’ve shot. And it got me thinking of some of my old work.

It funny how you lose track of you work. The images kind of roll into one another after a while. The portfolio images change in and out to keep it current and meaningful and well the just drop out.

That said I thought it would be fun to dust a few off at show you a few.

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I used to shoot a lot of wake boarding. It was a fun time! Really how can you not have fun. Sun, surf, sand! Have to say I kinda miss it now. I just might have to set up something for this summer. I shot this at a competition in Wasaga Beach, Ontario.

And one of my favourite images of all time, well as far as landscapes go. It was just one of those perfect times. The light, the scene, and the timing. I think the thing I like the most about landscape photography is you can’t control it. Ya you can scout, you can plan, but at the end of the day there is nothing you can do to control the actual landscape. When it all comes together it can be magical!

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At that’s what photography is really about! The magic of our lives!

Let’s start here, HI!

So here we are are the presuppose of this blog. And I’m sure we are all wondering where it’s headed, what it’s all about, and why we’ve come….

Well for me it’s about finding another way to enjoy photography! It’s been a big part of my life and for as long as I can remember. It took me longer than it should have to realize its what I should be doing as a career. But here I am.

I’ve been shooting for a while now and I’ve been able to do a lot of things I never would have believed.

I’ve taken pictures of award winning professors, international celebrities, professional hockey and basketball players. I’ve shot weddings, gala’s, games, portraits, shirt and landscapes. It’s all fun I think the best part if photography is the varyation day to day.

Which leads me to this blog, I guess it’s about everything here. I hope to engage with some of my piers, some clients, and business that impact my life as a photographer.

As for you the reader, well you know how you got here. I hope that you can take something away from your time here! If you have comment or question please feel free.

As I say I’m not sure where this will end, but I’m sure it will be a fun ride. And I hope to see you all at the end!

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