Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Rainbow and Lace Photoshoot

May 25th, 2012 No comments

I’m fortunate to have worked with many amazingly talented people in Vancouver, including makeup artists, hair stylists, models, photographers, stylists and designers. It's a great pleasure to have the opportunity to collaborate and create beautiful images with such talented people!

Here are some photos from a recent photoshoot with model Lily and makeup artist Mika - both of whom are beautiful, talented and great to work with!

Rainbow and Lace

Lily and Lace

Lily and Lace

Rainbow Eye

Lily White

Fashion Designs by Von Monica Couture

April 30th, 2012 4 comments

Monica Fraser, the head designer of Von Monica Couture, contacted me to photograph two of her designs. I had previously photographed her beautiful peacock motif collection, and love her work. Each piece is hand-made, meticulously designed, one-of-a-kind clothing. There's a story behind each one — the fabric, the inspiration and the work that goes into each detail.

Danyella Angel was gorgeous in the leopard print top, black dress and makeup by Kym Davidson. A special thanks to Mika of  The Studio By Mika Does Makeup for hosting us during the makeup and hair styling!

It was a pleasure to work with such talented people. We were also fortunate to have a beautiful Spring day - a rarity in April in rainy Vancouver!

Sultry Smoke and Shadows

January 21st, 2012 No comments

Shadows are as interesting as the light. Chiaroscuro is a term used in photography, as well as cinema and painting, that literally means "light-dark" and originates from the Italian Renaissance. The shadows help define the image, making the two dimensional appear three dimensional.

The idea for this shoot was to have the model, Saori, emerging into the light from the shadows. To get that effect, I used a black seamless background, making sure that the key light did not spill onto it by keeping them well-separated. I started with a large gridded softbox close to Saori, on camera right to light the portraits and close-ups, highlighting Julia's makeup work. By moving the softbox in very close, the light falls off quickly so the opposite side of her face is quite a bit darker than the side with the light. To control the shadow's darkness I used a large white foamcore panel and a silver disk reflector for fill light.

For the full body shots, I really wanted to get the shadowy look, so I used a more focused light - a gridded strobe on a boom in front and above Saori. For an interesting background, I put a fog machine and another strobe to backlight the smoke/fog behind Saori. For some of the shots, I used a blue gel on the strobe to make a blue smoke effect. With this set-up, Saori's face was well lit and her body gradually became darker, fading into blackness.

Post-processing was done with Lightroom 3.3 and Photoshop CS5.

Inspired modelling by Saori Sloan
Beautiful peacock themed makeup by Julia Lockley




Update: Olympus Studio 2 for Mac & Time Lapse Photography

January 3rd, 2012 No comments

As an Olympus and Mac user, I have Olympus Studio 2 (version 2.3) to allow me to tether my E-system camera and control it from my MacBook. In 2010, I posted about my experience with tethering an Olympus E-501 with a Mac using Studio 2. This is an update on my experience since that post.

I have since stopped tethering whenever possible, mainly because I do not like the restriction of being attached by the USB cable during a shoot. There are also a few other reasons for not tethering. I had an incident with my E-510 when it was tethered. I stepped on the cable when it was attached to the camera and the force bent the pins of the camera's USB socket, rendering it unusable. The same socket is also used for downloading images from the camera, and for operation of the remote control. I could have it repaired, although the expense is probably not worth it because the E-510 is an older camera body.

I now own an E-30, which also has a similar USB socket and must use Olympus Studio 2 for the Mac for tethering. I don't want to risk damaging the body, so will only tether using something like the JerkStopper or other device to protect the camera.

Another problem that I encountered with Olympus Studio 2 was software crashes. During nearly every shoot, at least once Olympus Studio 2 would freeze and only work again after rebooting my Mac. As a Mac user I rarely encounter this situation — normally it's easy to force quit and restart the application without rebooting. Rebooting and initializing everything takes some time, and is not good during a studio shoot with clients and models on set! I generally take a break to sort it out, but it does waste valuable studio and talent time, and stops the flow of the shoot.

Olympus Studio 2 has a great time lapse feature, however, I recently discovered that time lapse does not work with Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or OS 10.7 (Lion). It does work with 10.5 (Leopard). I checked with Olympus customer support, and they responded:

Unfortunately the Time Lapse function in the Mac version of Olympus Studio 2.3 no longer functions. This occurred after an APPLE OS update awhile back. But because Studio is officially discontinued there is no patch to address this.

Time lapse is not built into my camera, but I can do time lapses with an intervalometer, or using a clever hack with an eraser and rubber band!

There is a big need for better tethering support for Olympus E-System cameras for Mac users. According to the forums that I've read, it would require Olympus to licence the software development kit (SDK) to third-party developers which they have done for Windows but not for Mac. That could allow the Olympus camera tethering with other applications such as Lightroom or Capture One. But at this time that does not seem to be likely.

Greg Girard — Langara Master Photographer Series

October 17th, 2011 No comments


Langara College hosted a presentation by Greg Girard on October 14, 2011. It was fascinating to see the work of four decades of his photography and hear the stories behind the images.

Greg Girard is a Vancouver-born photographer who moved to Hong Kong in the 1982 to work for the BBC News. Prior to moving to Hong Kong, he spent his early years in Vancouver and recently published a book of his work from 1973-1986, titled In the Near Distance (2010). In 1987, he left the BBC and became a freelance photographer. He moved to Shanghai in 1998 to cover China for news magazines. Girard has photographed on assignment for National Geographic, and his work is shown in galleries in Toronto, Vancouver and Berlin.

The presentation covered his early work in Vancouver, Tokyo and Hong Kong, his coverage of the civil war in Sri Lanka, as well as fascinating stories from China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

A couple of the highlights for me were the Phantom Shanghai and Kowloon Walled City projects. Each project took about five years to complete. The photographs were taken in his spare time between assignments for magazines - true passion projects!

Phantom Shanghai

While he lived in Shanghai, he photographed the rapid modernization of the city. Shanghai had many old European-style buildings from the colonial era, and in the 1920's was the financial and cultural capital of China - known as the Pearl of the East. However, after the war and the revolution in 1949, the old building were taken over and converted to public housing and government buildings. After the cultural revolution, the city started to become modernized and the old districts were demolished to make room for development projects. Girard's book Phantom Shanghai (2007) documents this massive change over a 5 year period. His work shows the wear, decay and textures of the old buildings juxtaposed against modern architecture. Many of the photographs were shot at night and capture the lights and colours of the neon signs and city lights. Most of the old buildings are now gone, but are still preserved in the photographs.



Kowloon Walled City

Another amazing project that Girard worked on was City of Darkness; Life in Kowloon Walled City (1993), which documents the incredible densely populated autonomous section of Hong Kong. For a few decades, the Walled City was dominated by triads which controlled prostitution, gambling and drugs. The Walled City was demolished in 1993-1994.


Walled City Exterior, 1987

West Side Street, 1989


There are many more images from these projects, and four others, on Greg Girard's website to check out if you want to see more.




Light Painting Workshop with Trevor Williams

August 10th, 2011 No comments

Trevor Williams of Fiz-iks, a light painting group from Japan, was in Vancouver for a 2-night workshop on August 5-6, 2011. Light painting involves using a long exposure in a dark studio or outdoors at night and creating images and lighting with a variety of handheld lights. Check out the Flickr Light Junkies group to see some photos that were done using light painting. The creative possibilites are practically unlimited and each image is a unique work of art. The workshop was packed with ideas and techniques for photographers to get started with light painting photography.

The first night was all about looking at different effects and learning how to create them using a variety of light painting tools. Trevor brought a huge collection of light painting tools such as the ones shown in this video. Most of the tools are DIY and the materials do not cost very much. We also had the opportunity to try out them out in the studio and learn how to work as a team to produce some very cool shots.

The second night was on location. We arrived a couple of hours before sunset to scout the area for interesting places for light painting. We chose four spots in Queen Elizabeth Park and got ready for the sun to set. We actually started before the sky was totally dark and took some shots just after sunset, and continued into the night.

Check out the gallery to see some of the photos (click to zoom) that I took during the workshop. I'm inspired to keep learning more and develop my own style of light painting!

Vancouver Celebration of Light 2011 Fireworks – Spain

August 5th, 2011 No comments

Day 2 of the Celebration of Light fireworks competition in Vancouver featured Spain on August 3, 2011. I love photographing fireworks and tried out the focus blur technique for some of the shots and got some cool effects! I put the camera on a tripod and set the shutter speed to bulb, the aperture to f/9.0 and used a remote control to trigger the camera.

I first focused the lens and noted the position of the focus ring, then unfocused the lens drastically. I waited until I saw some promising looking fireworks being launched, and triggered the shutter. I then focused the lens to the original position as the fireworks exploded. The technique creates wide lines of light that gradually narrow giving a flower-petal effect. Here are some examples from the Flickr focus blur group. The trickiest part is to avoid excessive movement when focusing the camera to prevent shaky lines. Timing is crucial and many of my shots didn't quite work out, but I did get a few nice shots!


Check out  my earlier post on Day 1 - China - July 30, 2011.

Oksana and Scarlett – Glitter Makeup Photoshoot

August 3rd, 2011 No comments

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Here are some photos featuring glitter eye makeup by makeup artist Tessa Mitz, and models Oksana Bach and ScarlettS. We started the shoot in the studio using a couple different hand painted muslin backgrounds. One was a European-looking village scene and the other was a moonlit beach. I wasn't sure if these would look too cheesy, but I think they worked and gave a different look than a seamless paper background.  I'm always interested in different ideas for studio backgrounds!

After the studio session, we moved to a small Vancouver park to finish the shoot. A lot of my photography is done in the studio, so it was great to have the opportunity to do an outdoor location shoot with natural light.

Here's a slideshow with Scarlett's photos:

The music for both the videos is by Remote Spaces from the "Silo" album.


Celebration of Light – Fireworks Competition – China

July 31st, 2011 No comments

The Vancouver 2011 Celebration of Light fireworks competition kicked off last night with a fantastic show by China. This is the first time that I have shot fireworks with my Olympus E-30 camera and it worked great. I was able to try out some focus blur techniques with this camera. Focus blur involves gradually changing the focus during the long exposure so some of the image is in focus and some is blurred. It can give some every cool and unusual fireworks photos. My previous camera, the E-510 was not able to change focus during the exposure, so I couldn't try out this technique before. For this shoot, I started with the camera in focus and gradually moved out of focus during the exposure. Next time I will do the reverse - start out of focus and gradully focus during the shot.

Here are some more tips on fireworks photography.

On a related note, check out this tour of the fireworks barge before the event from Miss 604.

Some of my favourites from last night are posted in the gallery below. I didn't use focus blur for them all - I wanted some straight fireworks shots too!

The next fireworks competition will be on August 3 with Spain putting on the show for the night.

Feel free to share links to your fireworks shots!

9 Vintage Camera Ads from 1966

June 27th, 2011 No comments

Here are some camera advertisements that I scanned from the 1966 Photography Annual, published by Popular Photography (click on the thumbnails to enlarge). It's interesting to see that most of the companies in the ads are still around, but a few have disappeared or been bought out. Konica and Minolta merged in 2003, and Sony bought their photography business 2006. Dacora stopped producing cameras around 1972.

It's also interesting to look at the features and marketing strategies of the different manufacturers - it's not that much different from today. Some are aimed at the professional and advanced amateur who want as much control and flexibility as possible, while others are aimed at the more casual user who wants to get great images without getting bogged down with too many accessories and features. Some of the ads were directed at the more technical-mided (Nikon especially), while others emphasized their reputation (Hassleblad, Rollei and Leica), quality and value (Konica and Minolta), and simplicity (Dacora and Konica). The only one that showed a photo taken by their camera was Asahi Pentax, which highlighted the creative possibilities of their camera.

In 1966, 35 mm SLR cameras were becoming very popular, and the introduction of built-in light meters (sometimes called electric eyes) was being heavily promoted in the ads.

  1. Asahi Pentax Spotmatic
    This is the only colour camera ad, although colour photography was becoming increasing popular in the 1960's. The photo in this ad was the grand prize winner of the Asahi Pentax International Photo Contest.  It's a pretty amazing shot using an 18mm fish-eye lens.
  2. Dacora D 202 Rapid
    I hadn't heard of Dacora until I saw this ad. It was a German camera company that  specialized in inexpensive but high quality cameras. This model used Agfa's Rapid 35 mm cartridges, making them easier to load and did not require rewinding after exposure.
  3. Hasselblad 500 C
    Hasselblad is positioning themselves as the "best camera in the world" in this ad. It's hard to argue against that - they are still highly regarded today! I'd love to own one.
  4. Konica Cameras
    Konica advertised 5 different cameras including a the Konica Auto-S2 rangefinder, the Konica FM professional 35 mm SLR and similar FP (without an electric eye), the simple to use Konica EEmatic Deluxe, and the Konica Eye - automatic and lightweight. They also emphasize quality at an economic price.
  5. Leicaflex
    Leica's ad is very simple and just states that this 35 mm SLR camera is a Leica. Leica was the top of the line 35 mm rangefinder camera, but SLRs had been recently introduced, and were becoming very popular with photographers. In response, Leica introduced their SLR, but it didn't do so well, mainly due to its high price and limited range of features and accessories compared to Konica, Minolta, Asahi Pentax, Canon and Nikon.
  6. Minolta SR-1 & SR-7 35 mm SLRs
    The Minolta advertisement emphasizes their technical leadership (the Minolta SR-7 was the first camera with a built-in light meter), high quality and dependability.
  7. Nikkormat FT SLR
    The Nikon Nikkormat FT was positioned as a high quality camera for the 35 mm enthusiast, at a price of  $331.50 ($2277 in 2011 dollars) for the camera and 50 mm f/1.4 lens. Nikon was the only company that published their prices.
  8. Nikon F 35 mm SLR
    This ad is very technical in nature and describes the details of the new Photomic T meter system. The price of the camera with a 50 mm f/1.4 lens was $433, which is quite expensive. Adjusting for inflation, it is equivalent to almost $3,000 in 2011.
  9. Rollei Camera 1966
    The Rollei ad says that it is the best camera for the best results - used by press photographers and prize-winning amateur photographers. It suggests that you will be like the successful photographers if you use a Rollei.  Rollei has an impressive history and was using its reputation to market itself to serious photographers.

The magazine also has some very inspirational photography, but I'll save that for another post!