Kelli

I was recently asked, well not recently, it was like 2 years ago originally, if I could do some portraits for Kelli because she wanted to start a side interior decorating business. Well we finally got to do it.IMG_2353-12

Now, Kelli is my boss, so I said definitely yes. You can probably tell, she’s a real hard ass and you don’t want to be on her bad side. That’s not true, I was more happy to do it. She’s great, and my favourite boss. Which is pretty good when I have 3. Especially good when you consider I am one of those 3 as my own boss. IMG_2360-13

This was a lot of fun actually. It isn’t something I do often, so it freaks me out a little. She did provide Whisky, and that is now a prerequisite if I am doing portraits for you. I forget some of the things I should be looking for, I mostly spend my time getting the lighting decent. I usually notice things when I’m editing, something like ohh you don’t want to see the back of the hand, flat or little things like that. I’m sure that is the type of thing that comes with repetition and just doing it all the time, it just becomes second nature. IMG_2296-3

I didn’t get fancy with the lighting, I really just wanted a bright, clean look to them. This isn’t the type of thing where I’m going to go for Rembrandt lighting. I used 2 strobes and a flash in different combination. I basically set them up as best I could in the space that I had.

Had to work on some new Photoshop skills, one of her shoulders got some stuff on it, that we didn’t notice until later unfortunately. Also if you are having portraits taken, don’t do any painting the day before.

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You hopefully can’t even tell. I love a lot of these shots and is some of the best portrait work I’ve done. Keep in mind I am a landscape photographer. I definitely made some mistakes and I hopefully learned from them.

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I can’t decide if I like the light being in this one, I like the depth it and the chair give it though, but it may just be a distraction.

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This last one we were wrapping up, wondering if there was anything else and Kelli was like, “should I sit on the table?” Sure, why not, and it turned out to be my favourite of them all.

Kelli really is great, and if you want to follow along with her new business, or maybe need some help with interior design, check out her Instagram Positive View Interior Design- https://www.instagram.com/positiveviewinteriordesign/

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Top 10 2018

It’s almost March and I’m finally writing my Top 10…better late than never I guess. I wasn’t too happy with 2018 photography wise, I did get some shots that I really love, but I didn’t see much growth in a lot of my stuff, and that sucks. The bottom 5 was actually pretty hard to fill out, there was a lot of ehhhh, maybe, when picking them. But the top half I really love. I did try to do more wildlife photography, which is one reason, it’s tough. That is something I hope to improve on in 2019. I worked a lot last year so it was hard to get out. I’m down to much more reasonable hours though, so I hope I can do a lot more this summer than I did the last.

Anyway, my 2018 Top 10-

10:

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I finally got to Algonquin Park last year and it was a pretty fantastic day. I think I’ve switched between favourites from that day, but this I think is my fave.

9:

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This is from the shoreline in Whitby, Ontario. I love the Lake Ontario shoreline, it makes its appearance here a few more times. I just like this one…

8:

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This Mute Swan is an invasive species here. They’re kind of assholes, which is why all the Canadian Geese kept their distance from him. Which tells you a lot about these swans, if Canadian Geese won’t mess with it. They’re attractive birds though, which is actually why they were brought over, to basically be lawn ornaments for rich people.

7:

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This one is called SymmeTREE. I wish I could take credit for that name. It’s the only photo I have ever named, but if I could give them all pun based names, I would.

6:

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Shot from the trestle bridge not far from Peterborough, a place I had never been to for some reason. Fall colours weren’t all that fantastic this year, so I’ll probably try again this year. Such a great view.

5:

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It was -40 C with the wind chill that morning. I had no idea what to expect to see when I got to Presqu’ile, but I never would have imagined this. It looked and felt like I was in the Arctic. This was my first experience with shelf ice and it became one of mny favourite things to shoot.

4:

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I had to put in 2 from my shoot with Kateryna, I couldn’t choose. I don’t do a lot of this type of work, so it’s a lot of fun when I get to. Especially with someone who knows what they’re doing and how to pose like Kateryna, because that is a weak spot of mine.

3:

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I love Kingston, which is where this was taken, in case you were confused. This is the first time I got to use the 10 Stop Lee filter I got, also the only time. Have to get that out more often because I love it. This is actually the kind of style I’d like to do a lot more of in the future.

2:

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This is also from the -40 day at Presqu-ile. It really was like I was in a different world.

1:

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Coming in at number 1 is the Cobourg lighthouse. The way the ice framed the lighthouse, the clear horizon and great clouds above, a lot of things came together to make this one work. It is also the 5th one from Lake Ontario on this list, even the swan shot could almost be considered one, to make it 6.

Again, hopefully with working less crazy hours, I will be able to get out and shoot more, and also blog more. Man last year was bad….

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Algonquin Park

Back in October I finally made it to Algonquin park for the first time ever. And I am finally writing a blog about it 2 months later. This past year hasn’t been great and I worked way too much, so I didn’t do as much shooting as I would have liked and definitely not as much blogging as I would have liked. Hopefully, that will change next year.

We were too late for any fall colour, but we kind of lucked out with a buttload of snow in October, not so great for the drive up there, but it definitely made the photography better.

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That was the entrance to the park. In October. That’s probably more snow than we’ve had all together since then.

Our first stop was just a pull over spot and really got me excited for the day.

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While most of the leaves had fallen from the trees, the Tamaracks, with their needles turned orange were a nice pop of colour. Tamaracks are a conifer whose needles change colour and fall off in the fall, just like deciduous trees and their leaves.

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I loved the Tamaracks but, for some reason, the lack of colour really works out well too, at least I think. I like the mood it creates.

The first trail we did was the Spruce Bog Boardwalk, a short, easy, 1.5 km loop trail.

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Gotta love coming across perfect “S” curves! and the Tamaracks again adding a little colour.

If you love Chickadees, then you’ll like this trail. They will eat right out of your hand.

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Talia is officially a Disney princess.

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There were also Nuthatches here, but I wasn’t able to get a shot of one of them. The sad thing is, this is about all the wildlife that we saw. Not a single Moose!

The second trail we did was the Lookout trail.

Just a heads up.

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Someone wrote death on this sign, which kind of made us think should we go left?? Luckily we didn’t listen, because it’s a trick! Do not go left, to the right is a steady, gradual incline, with flat parts. To the left is just straight up. Don’t do it. Unless you’re one of those people who is in shape and enjoys punishing themselves. Freak.

It does lead to a pretty good lookout though!

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This is my first ever panorama that I used my (then) new “L” bracket for.

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We also built a snowman. His name was Sal. There is a pretty good video of me kicking him over the edge soon after, but I don’t know what happened to it. RIP Sal.

We did a couple more trails, but didn’t get any shots. I will say the Whiskey Rapids trail was a huge disappointment, it must have been the time of year, because I had heard good things. But, I would hardly call what we saw rapids. We also saw a moose track on that trail. And as much as I want to photograph a moose, it was scary, because those bastards are huge and will mess you up. Luckily the track was all we saw on the trail. The last couple of shots were from another roadside stop. The weather wasn’t great to be in, the rain was a challenge, but made for some really great, atmospheric shots.

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I definitely need to spend more time exploring Algonquin, it’s ridiculous it took me so long to get here. Hopefully I will be able to do more blogging in the new year, I will hopefully do a top 10 for this year as well, and maybe one for some of the wildlife stuff I started doing this year.

Hope you all have an amazing 2019!

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Kateryna

I did so well with the blogging last year!! I’ve dropped the ball this year though, it’s almost July and this is only my second. I will try to be better.

I was in a commercial a couple of weeks ago, a friend needed someone. That someone, somehow, ended up being me. This was the first of what I am sure will be many more roles to come, as long as they’re also non speaking roles. I was married in the commercial, my wife and I bought a house and even had a kid. That is how I met Kateryna. This is her-

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Yes, I’m ashamed to say I was a part of the problem, that old ridiculous Hollywood idea, of a guy being married to a girl who is way too gorgeous for him… I was the Doug to her Carrie, the Jim to her Gloria, the Shrek to her Fiona, human Fiona or ogre Fiona (Ogre Fiona is thicc!)

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Actually, nope, I’m lying, I’m not sorry at all. It was great, and I’d do it again dammit!

Of course after I was married, owned a home and had a baby, I had to go back to reality…which I am not a fan of. Anyway, she was all around great (so was everyone else) we did a few photos with some horses and a barn there, just on her phone, they were so good I knew we had to do a shoot together. That is what we did this past weekend. I was so happy with it, I didn’t even really have to tell her what to do, I like that. I have to share some.

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This next one was a random, no idea how it would work, idea. But experimenting is always a good thing to do! It’s fun. Experimenting was what made University so much fun… As  a science major, we were always doing fun experiments.

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These next few, I really love. I have to give the credit to Kateryna here, she had the idea for me to stand above, with her down by the pillar (the first photo was also from this group).

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I hope we do more together, originally I thought Kateryna would be perfect for a location I’ve had in mind for awhile, but then this chance came up.  Hopefully we will make that other one happen too.

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Presqu’ile Provincial Park

A few years ago while attending Trent University I took an Ornithology class. We did a lot of short trips to different places to try and find/identify birds, a big one we did though, was to Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton, Ontario. I don’t have fond memories of it. We had to go on a Saturday! Early on a Saturday. It was my friends birthday party the Friday before so I had to miss that and try to go to sleep while everyone is downstairs having a good time. Then it was a long day of staring at birds. I had never been back to Presqu’ile, and kind of forgot about it until the fall, when I was reminded through Facebook memories by my status that day “Bird watching is stupid.” Very true past Pat, but it did get me thinking about the park and remembered it was a really beautiful spot. So I went back.

I have really been loving the shoreline photos lately, Presqu’ile being on Lake Ontario made it the perfect spot to shoot. One afternoon after work I decided to head there for sunset. Walking the trail along the shore, I found a lot of potential compositions. Early on I found a spot that I just wanted to take a test shot for, and potentially come back when the sun was lower and the light was better, but it actually worked pretty well as a black and white. IMG_6824-1

I do still plan on going back for more from that spot. I walked a bunch and found the area I was going to settle on. It was right along the road going through the park so I walked all the way back to the car and drove over there to make like easier when I was leaving. IMG_6849-1

I was so happy to finally find a good shoreline with boulders on it, I’ve been searching for this! They make for great long exposure shots. When I went I wasn’t really going, planning on shooting an actual sunset, but when I got there, I pretty much had to do it, it was so nice.

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If you’re ever shooting along the shore like this, a good tip is to wait for the waves to come on and take the picture while they recede. I learned that from watching Thomas Heaton.

I plan on spending a lot of time here. I knew I had to go back but I didn’t get there before winter hit. We had a lot of snow and some brutally cold temperatures. One day though, I was like screw it, I’m Canadian, I have to get out in the winter and actually take advantage of it! So one -40 with the wind chill day, I woke up bright and early and made my way back. I almost talked myself out of it, normally I’ve very good at that. But I’m glad I did, because it was more than worth it. I didn’t really know what I was expecting it to look like, but I know I wasn’t expecting what I got. This is the same area as the last 2 photos.

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It was beautiful, it felt like I was on the arctic tundra, of course at -40, everything feels like that, but this actually looked like it. There was spot just to the right of this that looked like an actual iceberg, I wasn’t able to get over to it though.

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I decided I wanted an epic selfie from here to remember it by. I had to do a few takes and then when I was pretty sure I had it perfected…someone showed up. But I was decided, screw it. I’m doing it anyway.

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Luckily, he didn’t see it….but he did talk to me later and told me that apparently by the lighthouse, the ice is really cool. I wasn’t planning on going there because it’s under construction, but figured I might as well check it out while I’m here.

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He was right. There were massive pile of ice sheets, this one kept disappearing behind some mist/fog that was rolling by. I had to get the long lens out, changing lenses when it’s that cold is not so fun. It worked out though. I really wanted a very minimalist shot so I do wish the foreground was a little cleaner and just white, but you take what you get and make it work.

I’m hoping to be back there again soon. It’s my new favourite place.

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Top 10 of 2017

I know 2017 isn’t quite over yet, but I probably won’t be getting out before the end of the year, it is stupid cold out right now anyway. If I do, I’ll just lie and say I took in in 2018. Any who, I want to do my top 10 photos of the year. Top 10 according to me, others may disagree.

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Yes, I did a wedding this year. You won’t be hearing me say that again. This is my favourite shot form it. Come on! It’s just pure joy in a photo. This was during the bride’s father’s speech. It was this funny. This was when he broke into his rap. It wasn’t like when you see on tv,  parent starts rapping and it is just awkward, terrible and you just cringe watching it, this was hilarious. Obviously.

9-

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I had been wanting to photograph this spot for awhile now and finally got the chance back in October. This is the Carbide Wilson Ruins in Gatineau Park, in Quebec. Super cool spot, pretty easy hike, definitely recommend checking it out if you ever get the chance.

8-

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This is also from my trip to Ottawa, I don’t do much architectural photography, like any at all…but that’s because there isn’t really a whole lot of options for it in Peterborough. Ottawa on the other hand, has tons. I really want to go back and do just that. It’s nice to mix it up and try different things. There are a couple of people I follow on Instagram that do this stuff and I always think it’s so cool and want to try that.

7-

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At the time when I took this shot from Cobourg beach, I would have had it at number 1.  It was kind of a point where I discovered the style I really liked and wanted to do more of, and I have done more of it, which is why it ended up falling. I still love it though, the pattern in the black sand, with the log there, right where I was also able to fit in the lighthouse, it worked out perfectly for me.

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I’m giving these 2 a tie, I really can’t pick between them. I never did write a blog about this shoot with Jody. I had a good idea for it, but then it got me thinking how it would make a really great coffee table book. Different poses, a little info about them, counter poses, that kind of thing. I should get on that…Anyway this was a really fun shoot,  I love yoga, Jody is amazing, and mixing that with nature gives me the chance to do some interesting and different stuff. Hoping to do more.

5-

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I finally got to see and photograph mountains for the first time in my life this year! Also the first time trying to climb one. I knew I had gotten out of shape, just didn’t know I was that out of shape. I didn’t even get very far and I was just like, I hope a grizzly will come and put me out of my misery.  Hindsight, glad that didn’t happen. Vermillion lakes was on my list of places for my short trip and even with the smoke from the forest fires, I was still able to get some good shots.

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I was so pumped to find this boat launch area. This break was the perfect foreground interest, plus long exposure on a windy, cloudy day, perfect! Discover Ontario even shared this on their Instagram page…of course I accidentally geotagged a place in Ireland… so they’ll probably never have anything to do with me ever again and I blew it.

3-

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This was also from Vermillion Lakes, Banff. Rocky Mountains? More like Smokey Mountains, am I right? haha…ugh I apologize. It really was smokey there though so it made it tough. It didn’t really work out for this shot though, it probably wouldn’t work without the smoke.

2-

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So number 2 and number 1 were really hard to choose which one to but where. I decided this would be second though. I don’t really know why. This was from a cold, stormy afternoon at the Port Hope waterfront. Love that place, always finding new stuff to photograph there.

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And here we are, my favourite shot of the year. Bow Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta. Conditions were not great that day, very overcast along with the smoke. But I stopped here to check it out and take some photos, and while I was there, a tiny bit of the sky opened up, just enough to light up the middle mountain. That little bit of light made this picture a 100 times better. Bad weather really can give you the best shots, you can get such great and really unique light. I was lucky to be there when this happend. I’ve said this before, if you ever get the chance to take drive the Icefields Parkway through Banff and Jasper, you have to do it! It’s like this everywhere.

There are a few that I had a hard time leaving out, I almost want to do an honourable mention. I didn’t do as much shooting as I had hoped I would this year, but I will say I saw a big improvement in my work, and am definitely closer to really finding my technique and the style that I really want to focus on. Hopefully next year I will be able to do a lot more photography and keep getting better. And hopefully I’ll keep up with more blogs, I did much better this year that in 2016. Thank you to everyone who read these, I think there is like 6 of you know. Happy new year to you all!

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Port Hope and Cobourg Shoreline

Last week, it was cold, about 6 degrees Celsius, rainy, cloudy. All around miserable day. So I figured it was the perfect day to go to the beach. Thomas Heaton (another fantastic photographer you should check out on YouTube) has talked about how when conditions aren’t great, or he isn’t feeling it, for him, it’s the summer. Everything is green, sunrise is so early, sunset so late (I would add, bugs are awful, it’s too hot and way too many people everywhere) he will head to the coast because there is always something. That was me last week. Right now everything is blah, grey and dead. None of that matters on the shoreline though. Of course, he has the ocean, for me that is at least an 8 hour drive and crossing to the US, longer if I stay in Canada. So that isn’t going to happen often. Luckily, Lake Ontario will do the trick and is much closer. I go to Port Hope and Cobourg quite often. Port Hope was were I went Thursday. It is usually just a quick trip so I never blog about it, but I thought they deserved one because I’ve got some great shots there. Like this one from last Thursday, a new favourite-

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I love doing long exposure, black and white shots in these places. Like another from Port Hope:

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That is one of my all time faves, I have no idea where that tree went, but it’s not there anymore. That makes me sad. The initials in the heart was addition too.

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Colour works too..Not quite as artsy though. Sometimes I like to pretend I’m artsy. Speaking of which…

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I’m realizing a lot of these are my favourites. I walked up and down this beach trying to find some foreground interest. But it was like women trying to find their interest in me….not happening. But then finally I found some! So it actually went much better than women trying to find their interest in me…The pattern of the black sand in the brown sand is what I really liked, the log was a bonus, it being somewhere were I could fit the lighthouse in the background was good luck. And sometimes square crop just works better for the photo, it wasn’t done for Instagram.

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When I shot this one, I was thinking it would be black and white, but when I started editing, I felt colour worked better.  I made sure to keep the posts below the horizon, that is probably not something I would have paid attention to earlier on, but it would have hurt the shot if they broke the horizon. This was Port Hope beach, and there should be a beach here, that is how high the water level was this year. The trail was actually closed for a good chunk of the summer because of the water levels. I did not expect this when I got there, but it worked out in my favour.

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This one is from the other side of that tree in the above photos. I do wish the branches on the side were gone, but I couldn’t help it and my photo shop skills are lacking.

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Port Hope again, I always find something new walking along the Waterfront trail. Who would have known an old chunk of concrete could make such great foreground interest?

I’m realizing I maybe need to hit Cobourg up more, I haven’t went as much recently because I went so often earlier on, when I was starting out. I am not going to be sharing those pictures today though. Or ever. I have more shots from these places, but I stuck to the shoreline photos. Maybe I’ll do a “the rest of Porth Hope and Cobourg” blog one day.

Port Hope and Cobourg are both gorgeous towns, I really do love them. I’m pretty sure Elton John and his husband have a cottage in Cobourg, so you know it has to be good!

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Ottawa

A few weeks ago I headed up to Ottawa to visit some old friends that I hadn’t seen in years, and also some photography. I headed up Friday afternoon hoping to make it in time for a sunset shot at the Parliament buildings, because if I’m going to be a tourist, I’m going to be the most touritsty tourist possible. I did get there in time, unfortunately that time was rush hour. I don’t like driving in places I don’t know, especially major cities, especially at rush hour, especially when I accidentally crossover into Quebec and everything is in French and I’m even more confused. I found the bridge I wanted to shoot it from, but then I had to find a parking spot. To make a long story short, I didn’t find one and I wanted to punch everyone. It got dark, I thought maybe a night  shot would be cool, but I couldn’t handle it anymore. Or find a damn parking spot. My anxiety was through the roof so I decided I was just going to go get a hotel room, relax and recover for tomorrow. Parking at the hotel was another ordeal, and not to mention costing 30 damn dollars! I made it though and just watched some TV before bed.

I woke up stupid early, because I always do. That’s what happens when you wake up at 3:55 everyday for work. I thought about trying for the parliament shot again. I looked at Google maps and found out it was only a 20 minute walk, that sealed it. I didn’t have to drive so I was all good. It didn’t even take the 20 minutes. I’m realizing now, I probably shouldn’t have talked about photographing the parliament buildings, because I failed miserably. I am going to blame it on the giant crane that was there ruining the scene, because it’s always someone/something else’s fault. I didn’t completely waste your time. There is a lot to photograph around there and got a couple of good shots, despite poor conditions. IMG_6216-1

This is a giant spider sculpture in front of the National Gallery. Why? Because. Art. That’s why. It’s actually pretty cool to see.

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I’ve been liking a lot of black and white architecture photography lately. A lot from Sean Tucker, who is phenomenal. I highly recommend checking out his YouTube channel, even if you’re not a photographer, a lot of his videos are pretty inspirational. And this is coming from someone who almost never finds people inspiring, or feels inspired by that type of thing. He recently shared a video about how he edits his black and white shots, so I tried it out on this one and I love it. This is right beside Chateau  Laurier (the left) and the canal.

I met up with Joe and Ashley around 9. They had a few places in mind to take me. The first stop we made was one I had mentioned, The Hogsback, I’ve seen some great photos of it and it was on my list.

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It was a very overcast, kind of rainy day, but it still worked out. I was really hoping the fall colours would have been better, but everything was still so green. Getting down to the second shot one was of the sketchiest things I’ve done, and I’ve done a few. The rocks looked dry, but they were really slimy, which made the very slippery, and of course they weren’t flat, nice and jagged. I survived though, without injury.

The second spot was very cool. John Felice Ceprano’s rock art.

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The picture isn’t that great, it was such a grey day, but had to show these. They are all balanced with nothing used to hold them together. This guy can balance and hold together these rocks like this, I can’t even do that with my life.

This stop was on our way to Gatineau Park in Quebec, for a little hiking and another spot that has been on my list for some time. The Carbide Wilson Ruins.

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I think they said the hike into here and back was supposed to be 2 hours according to the website. But those times are always way off, it isn’t even an hour to do it. It’s a great little hike and the site is more than worth it.

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I snapped this one on the way back to the car.

We were going to drive up to the top for one of the look out points, but they were closed to cars that weekend for a fall colour tour, so we had to take a bus to the top. I’m sure it would have been spectacular, but all we could see was grey. You couldn’t see anything because of the fog, which I guess since we were in Quebec would be “le fog”…I think, the only french I remember is what I learned from old Bugs Bunny cartoons.

The next spot in Quebec was the MosaiCanada 150 event and it was impressive. IMG_6286-2

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These are all made with flowers! It was really amazing, crowded, but for good reason.

This next one is a lesson in composition.

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I took it quick, because there were so many people there. I thought it was a cool angle, until I got it on my computer and noticed it looked like Te Fiti giving a baby deer a colonic. That’s why you have to take your time.

That was it for photography, later was dinner and maybe a few drinks. I have to go back when the conditions are better, Ottawa is a gorgeous city and I really want to give some more architecture photography a shot. It’s the perfect place to do it.

 

I Did a Wedding For Some Reason

This past July I did my first, full, big wedding. All by myself. All alone. Just me. No one else. I said I would never do one, but I made an exception for 2 very close friends. It was a wee bit stressful, which is why I haven’t even wrote about it until now. I’ve finally recovered.

As terrifying as it was, I think it went pretty well, I was happy and the bride and groom were happy. At least they said they were. Maybe they lied. If they did, I’m ok with that, ignorance is bliss after all. That’s the same reason I never check my bank account. I was lucky, one of the bridesmaids is a photographer who has done plenty of weddings, and she was a huge help! Thank you Andrea!

The start of the day was in the hotel room with the bridal party getting ready. Didn’t get any of the groomsmen getting ready. No one cares about them. Basically I hung out in a room full of women for the morning. Could be worse. Andrea said it’s always the most awkward part of the day, luckily every part of everyday is awkward for me, I’ve been preparing my whole life for this. Plus I was very good friends with most of them, so not a big deal.

 

 

For this flower shot, it was Andrea’s suggestion to put them on the chair because it would work well with the colours, probably never would have occurred to me. It worked really well though.

 

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From the hotel the whole party walked down Water St. to the ceremony location at Millennium Park. It was not something you see everyday.  The guys were there waiting. IMG_6213-56

 

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First look. What a handsome devil.

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…Did you notice the onion ring?

Awww the first kiss. How sweet.

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The part that stressed me out the most was the posed photos. It’s not my strong suit (that whole awkward thing I mentioned). I’m not great at telling people what to do. Andrea was again, a help here. Leave the couple and just move family members in and out was a very helpful tip.

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Then the wedding party shots.

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If there are train tracks near by, you have to use them for pictures. It’s a rule. Don’t worry, it wasn’t dangerous, these tracks aren’t used anymore, and there is only this little bit left.

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After this, we made out way to the venue, which is called actually called The Venue. Then there were the entrances, the dinner and speeches. One of the speeches gave me one of my favourite shots of the night.

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This was during the Father of the Brides speech, and it really was that funny. As someone who has been in Toastmasters for a few years now, wedding speeches are often painful to listen to now, but this one was fantastic. ( the others were all good too)

The dance  part had been stressing me out, I like doing that part, but at the Venue the dance floor is sunken, there are high ceilings and black walls. Bouncing the flash was not going to work. I decided I would set one up on a stand. Unfortunately, to fit the stand into my bag I took the piece that the flash fits onto off. Then forgot to put it back on when I brought it with me. I was freaking out a bit. Luckily I had bought a Rogue Flashbender (below)  just in case I ended up needing it.

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It pretty much saved my ass. I mostly went with black and white. I like the look, but also because The Venue has purple lights. People don’t look good purpleIMG_7773-275

Father-Daughter dance.

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Mother-Son dance.

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After the dances I was done and off to the bar to actually celebrate with my friends. All in all, it went pretty well for my first wedding. It was definitely an experience and always good to get out of the comfort zone. I did say I’d never do one again, but ended up doing my cousins in the fall. It was a much smaller, laid back thing though. I was 2nd shooter at one in the fall as well, now that I can handle and could see doing it again. But not a whole one by myself, never again.

 

 

Jasper

Here is the blog for the second part of my trip in Alberta, my time in Jasper.

The weekend in Edmonton was good, got to see family I don’t see very often, the wedding was great. So many perogies, I may need to marry a Polish girl. I also checked out the West Edmonton Mall and we ate at Olive Garden, which they still have there, we have none in Ontario.

I will say, my anxiety got pretty high in Edmonton. Not really sure why, probably the combination of being in a major city I’m not used to, and just a lot of stuff going on. Luckily, once I got into the mountains, it all went away. Not long after I entered the park, I saw some goats along the road. On one side, a bunch in a field, on the other, a couple of them standing on the steep cliff side! I wanted to try and get a picture of them, luckily there was a parking area just passed them. I got out and got my lens changed, I was about to try to make my over to them, when I saw a couple of guys and a kid heading down a trail, up the mountain. Then I was like, I want to climb a mountain instead! I didn’t do any hiking at all in the first half, unless you count the West Edmonton Mall, and I really wanted to make sure I did at least a little, so I headed up the mountain. Because I’m stupid… Holy crap hiking up mountains is hard! I’m going to blame it on the elevation, that’s what was killing me, not that I’m terribly out of shape now…

I was hoping to see some mountain goats on the hike, but there were none. The view was pretty awesome though.

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I wish I was here at a better time of day. Now, this was nowhere near the top. But I was dying. A cliff bar is not enough food to eat before hiking a mountain. Also, be in shape next time.

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There was still that to go, no way was that happening. It may not look like much in the picture, but those trees are huge! By the time I got back down, the goats were off the cliff and on the other side with their friends. So I moved on, stopped for a quick lunch in Jasper on my way to my campsite at Wabasso.  The campground is on 93A, the Icefields Parkway is 93, this is just a little road that goes along the other side of the river a little ways before meeting up again with 93, and I think it’s an even nicer drive for that little section. You can actually see the river and there are a few spots to get out and explore it or eat at a picnic table on the river. It is also a much slower, quieter drive lined by forest.

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Athabasca Falls is pretty much where this road meets backup with the Parkway, so I stopped in. I didn’t stay long, there were viewing platforms, barricades, and a buttload of people, not how I like to enjoy my waterfalls. On my way to Edmonton the week before I saw a sign, “Goats and Glaciers”, I was like whaaaaat?? You had me at goats! But glaciers too? How can I miss that? I decided I would definitely be going back there. So I did. And you know what? Not a single damn goat! So let down, you disappointed me Goats and Glaciers. Ugh, this must be what it’s like for women who date me. The views were good though, I decided I would go back in the morning to take some photos, and hopefully there would be goats.

From there I headed down the road a little more to Sunwapta Falls. It was on my list of spots to photograph. I was disappointed, again there were fences everywhere, which I get, all the people that go there, someone would get themselves killed without them. I wasn’t too sure if I’d come back for photos or not. I went to hike down one of the trails, I was following a couple at first. But, little ways down, they turned around and headed back, I kept going, for a bit. All I could think about was a grizzly coming to eat me. I had my hand on my bear spray like a cowboy with his pistol during a draw. Eventually I just decided nope, I’ll just go back.

After Sunwapta I made my way back to Jasper, grabbed a coffee and then went to Old Fort Point. This was where I was going to do my sunset photos. Here, from the parking lot, there is a 4 km trail that makes its way around and up to the top for the lookout. Or, you can take the stairs…I took the stairs, I didn’t have time for the 4 km, also I didn’t want to. The stairs were hard enough! The stairwell is only at the start, there is a steep climb to get to the top once you have made your way up them. I swear I was about to pass out, but I was almost to the peak. Then I thought I got to the peak but then there was another one dammit.

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I felt like Homer climbing the Murderhorn, except I didn’t have Powersauce bars and the awesome power of apples. This really looks like nothing, and really, it is, I’ve climbed worse hills here, but that damn elevation! I could barely breathe, I had to take breaks. When I got to the top I had to sit down and try to catch my breath. The view from the top is spectacular though and 100% worth it. You get a 360 view of mountains around it. The shot that I wanted sadly wasn’t going to work, the sun was in the wrong place, it may have been better if it wasn’t so smokey, but this is what I had planned on shooting up there-

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Things worked out though! The sun was in the perfect spot to shine on the one snow capped mountain, and snow capped makes it so much better.

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Also took a selfie there.

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Another view form the top.

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And 1 more.

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Some clouds would have been nice, but it was still great being up there and taking in the view. I think there was one other really good view, but a couple of shirtless Australian brothers were sitting in the way. They also had me take a picture of them sitting there…

I went back to camp, tore down my tent because I decided to sleep in the car so I would be able to get out good and early, and not have to deal with my tent then. It started out ok, but then got really cold, I had my sleeping bag in the trunk, so I kept adding layers through the night. I don’t think I slept any worse than I would have in my tent though. Plus I heard something outside in the night. Don’t know what it was, but I assume a grizzly or bigfoot, so I was glad I was in the car.

I was on my way bright and early, back to Goats and Glaciers. And guess what I saw when I got there?? It sure as hell wasn’t goats! Stupid liars. And then the sun didn’t quite hit the peaks the way I wanted. You continue to disappoint me Goats and Glaciers! Ughh this must be what it feels like to be my parents. I got a couple of ok images, the conditions were not great.

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I wanted this light on the mountains in the first picture!

Some Canadian Vandalism in the bathrooms.

Finished here, I headed down the highway and decided since I’m passing right by it, I will go back to Sunwapta Falls for a quick shot.

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The light was getting higher but along the way home I stopped a few times to take in the views and snap some photos. Here are a few hastily edited, with bad lighting photos to show you some of the views along the Icefields Parkway.

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And that was pretty much it, a stop in Banff for a break from driving and a coffee, then back to Calgary to hangout until my flight in the morning.

Overall it was great trip and experience, so happy to finally see some mountains, even if they were covered in smoke. I was very glad to be home though, and now I’m looking forward to the Fall colours here in Ontario!

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