Daily Photo: 26/09/13 - Symmetry in Brass [Street]

Technical Information:
Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
ISO200, f/2.5, 1/320s
Location: Downtown Halifax, NS
Process: Apple Aperture for RAW processing, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 for Black and White conversion.

Not sure if it was the lighting, the textures, or the detail that brought me into this shot, but I am very pleased with the result.  

Black and White Photowalks [Street]

Shot this with my Mother-in-law's old Ricoh SLR, Kodak Tri-X film.  I LOVE this grain.

This summer was a lot of fun.  I know that we're winding up the actual "Summer Vacation" for anyone still in school, so I wanted to host a photowalk that would be focused on black and white photography. I created a facebook event, invited some people from the Sackville Photo Club and got a great response.  I had a bunch of people sign up to go!  Then, the rain came.  Several of us trekked out and got soaked, holding our umbrellas, seeking shelter from the downpour under building canopies but ultimately sticking it out.

The photos have a really neat "dark" quality to them, and I processed them to look like Kodak Tri-X.  I had originally intended to shoot film for this walk, but the rain was a big discouragement, since I really wasn't able to change film on the fly.  

This guy doesn't look like he's very happy with me, but I smiled and waved after snapping this shot and he smiled back.  It's amazing how people will react sometimes.

Of course, there were only about six of us shooting that evening, so it was worth rescheduling and shooting again.  Again, there were about 7 of us at a time, with a few coming and going throughout the evening, which, by the way, was beautiful. No rain at all.

Contrary to the previous walk, I was able to shoot a lot more film, and used my Elan 7e as my primary camera for most of the night.  All of these shots were made on Kodak Tri-X.

I think I will probably host a few more of these before the year is out.  They're a fantastic chance to get out, stretch your compositional muscles and really think about light, tones, textures and shapes, all without the distraction of colour!  I will have to find some interesting parts of town to explore as well, hit me with suggestions, and feel free to come along to the next one!


Feature a Photog Friday: Chris Orwig

One of my go-to books for inspiration and practice ideas is Chris Orwig's People Pictures. In it, you'll find a plethora of fantastic imagery, as well as some very insightful advice for taking photos of....you guessed it! People.

I think one of the things that I really like about his works is that they are all very real.  There's substance. The photos are engaging, despite the fact that I don't actually know the person in the image. There's something else too: Chris has style.  His photos look very well balanced, immaculately lit, and have a slightly subdued color palate. 

He gives me something to aspire to.  

I'm also impressed by the variety of mediums that Chris implements in his portraiture.  Looking through his website you'll find photos made with everything from a Canon 5D Mark II to a 4X5 film camera.  

So check out Chris' book for some engaging reading, tips and practice exercises to take your portrait photos to the next level.  In addition, take a look over his work at http://chrisorwig.com/.  You'll find several galleries of photos, some links to Lynda.com courses and even a TedX Talk.  

Have a super fantastic weekend!

Street Portraits

I have finally set up a darkroom of sorts.  I can develop my own film, and as of yesterday afternoon, I can scan it as well.  

I was honoured to win the Sackville Photo Club's Portrait Category with this image, and it went on to take best in show.  Needless to say I was floored, and incredibly grateful.  I was given a beautiful canvas print of the photo, as well as a gift card for Henry's! 

Fast forward a couple days later.  

I was just leaving work when I got a phone call from a strange number.  When I answer these I usually get either "Congratulations! You have ..." *click*  or a foghorn of sorts followed by a man pretending to be a captain of a cruise ship telling me how I've just won a free cruise. 

I decided to pick up the phone anyway.  

A real person responded on the other end when I said "Hello?" and began to tell me that she was a representative of Kelbytraining.com and that I had just won a gift card at the NYC Superstore, B&H Photography.  She only needed to confirm my address.  Wow!!

At Henry's, I picked up developer and fixer, and at B&H I picked up a scanner and some film I don't see much of around Halifax.  

The only thing missing was a development tank.  I posted an ad on kijiji saying I was looking for one and within a day I traded a case of beer for a still-in-box Paterson tank with two reels.  Sweet!

So here are some of the results so far, as I took some Ilford HP5+ and hit the streets, intent on getting some portraits of complete strangers.

Strangely enough, approaching people and asking to take their portrait was much easier than I thought.  For the most part, people were quite receptive when I told them what I wanted, and they were even a bit flattered.  The gentleman in the photo above gave me some advice about job hunting, and the man below took off his bow-tie and showed me how to tie it.

All of the photos were metered for ISO320, and developed in Ilfosol 3 developer.  The scanner is a much more elegant solution than the box I had constructed for back-lighting and scanning film with my DSLR.

I think I need to spend some time developing a process once the image is scanned so that I get the best quality image.

That's all for now, cheers and have a fantastic weekend!

Fashion/Portrait Session: Marsalie MacKenzie

Lawrencetown is a beautiful photo location, especially when you've got someone as stunning as Marsalie to work with.  

I had Jenn Gregory help me on this shoot, and she took a few photos of her own as well!  The light at the beach was a little bit flat and boring, but luckily I had a few light-shapers and flashes with me.  For the most part, we used natural light and a reflector, but for the walking shot you'll see below, I popped a flash up in the McNally Softbox to add a little direction to the light.  Not so much that it became overbearing, but just to help get Marsalie to really pop against the backdrop.

By the way, a photo of Marsalie can be found in British Vogue this month!  She modelled for Veronica MacIsaac with photographer Brent McCombs.  Go check it out!!

Cheers, more coming soon!