CIS Finals 8 – A Business Trip

I planned on posting something last week, however the Charlatan kindly sent me away for the weekend to cover the Canadian Interuniversity Sport basketball finals, where the Carleton Ravens won their 8th national title.

Carleton Ravens' Willy Manigat take on the Alberta Golden Bears in the 2012 CIS Finals

The championship was in Halifax, only 2h away from Ottawa if you’re lucky enough to be flying there. The newspaper sent two photographers and two writers to cover the event, so the workload wasn’t so bad.

We would wake up, and either go straight to the Metro Centre, where the games were happening, or go take a walk on the beautiful coastal city before the day’s games.

Raven's Phillip Scrubb was chosen the CIS player of the year for his performance.

The Ravens walking in for their first game on the tournament.

It was great experience, I met some great photographers, like Andrew Von (who has worked for the Canadian Press in the maritime’s for over 25 years, and is an all around awesome guy!), had time to just walk around the city taking photos, etc.

It was a good break, and well worth it. The photographs were great, and some of them will definitely make it to my portfolio (like Willy’s one on the top.).

Here are some more shots, including the one with the trophy. By the way, never get in front of photographers when they’re trying to get celebration shots, really, you’ll regret it.

Ravens vs. Bears

Ravens' coach Dave Smart after the team's first victory.

The Ravens celebrating their 8th national title.

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Balloons and Portraits

Hello everybody! I know it’s been over a month, and I’m sorry. School finally started to press on, and only now I had a less packed week to relax and post.

But let’s get to the point, the reason why you keep coming here, I hope, the photographs.

The most fun I had this month was whilst shooting a Carleton Student that flies hot air balloons, the guy is funny and easygoing, and to shoot this assignment was a blast. In fact, I got cover of the paper with the shot below.

Shawn Glover inside his hot air balloon.

The balloon in the skies

Other than that I’ve been putting the umbrella to good use, taking several portraits, both for the Charlatan, and for myself. One of those was the portrait of Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson!

Benjamin is a doctorate student at Carleton

Ottawa's Mayor Jim Watson in his office.

Melanie Moller, modelling for a portrait

My brother, Luis, in his safari outfit.

And that’s it. I also took several sports photos on the past month, but those will have a stand alone post.

New Job = New Gear!!

As some of you might know, I got a job at the Charlatan, the Carleton University’s newspaper, as a Staff Photographer. Now that I’m getting paid to take photos (which stills strikes me as a bit unreal, I must confess), I decided to reinvest the money I’m making.

I was getting annoyed with my results while taking portraits, I was bouncing my flash on walls and the ceiling, but It would not give me the exact look I wanted, mostly because I couldn’t put my flash exactly where I wanted. So last week I went out and bought a light stand and a umbrella.

My cat, champaign, shot with of camera flash through the umbrella

It costed me about $100, but the ability of setting my flash on the exact spot I want with minimal trouble (and to be able to shoot directly without needing to bounce it around), already made my portraits improve immensely .

Shoot-through umbrella on a light stand.

Other than that, I had borrowed a 55-200mm f4-5.6 from a friend a few months ago, in order to cover my telephoto needs, but I don’t want to rely too much on a lens that I do not own. When I was shooting an assignment two weeks ago, another photographer gave me a tip on a 70-210mm f4 he found really cheap on Ebay, and I decided to take a look.

The ebay photo of the lens.

It seemed like a solid lens. It’s old, it’s true, but it looks in great shape, and all the reviews I read make it sound like a very solid piece of glass. So now I’m waiting on that, it should be here in next week. (fingers crossed!).

I’ll post some samples as soon as I get it.

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The photo opportunity

It’s amazing how photo opportunities sneak up on you. A photographer needs to be on his toes every moment, otherwise he can miss awesome shots.

Last evening I was sweating in bed and decided to turn on the fan. Surprisingly I found out that several LadyBugs decided to warm themselves by resting on the chain I have to pull to turn the fan on.

At first I was shocked that 6 or 7 ladybugs would all chose my room to be (my window was closed), and then I started to pick them up, one by one, and put them inside a negative roll tube, to let them free outside.

Only when 2 were left, I realized the opportunity I missed, to get several ladybugs on the chain right by the lamp. I decided to try anyway with the last 2 bugs, and after 30m of shooting at the closes my lens would focus, I took a shot that really made it all worth it:

Mr. Ladybug

I can’t stop imagining how more awesome it would be if instead of only one, there were 7 ladybugs on this shot, however I’m glad I caught up on time and managed to take at least this shot.

So keep your eyes open, and your camera near, always!

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Kingston, a road-trip (in HDR)

A couple weeks ago I went to Kingston with four good friends and decided to go around taking photos, specifically, taking three bracketed photos (unfortunately the D90 only brackets three, and not five as it would be ideal) under and over exposing by 2 stops.

All the HDR tonemapping was made on Photomatix Pro.

Baby Ducks on the Kingston bay.

I started taking photos as we walked on the shore, and those baby ducks were sitting there with their mom.

Canadian Boat-Home?

Boat on the harbor

After photographing the two boats that were worth it, we decided to walk through downtown Kingston, and see what could we shoot. Luckily after the big train stationed near the harbor, there was this nice looking Harley Davidson, asking to be shot.

Everybody Loves Trains. (HDR)

Harley B&W HDR close up

Full Harley (HDR)

Passing the Harley, there was a nice classic capitol on a church, and across the street a very interesting abandoned church.

Classic capitol (B&W HDR)

Abandoned Church (HDR)

And before calling it a day for photography, this very nice car was parked a couple clocks down.

HDR old car

It was a fun day, with plenty of good photo-opportunities, and I definitelly will be shooting more HDR. Some other random photos taken that day:

Church 
Runner
Train

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Party Time? Camera Time!

I love to take my camera to parties. My friends learned to accept it, if there’s a party, I’ll be there with my D90in one hand and a beer bottle in the other. Parties are usually great (if yours is not, there is something wrong), but parties for a photographer are even more great, is like a photographic buffet, salad included.

Parties are a great opportunity for photographers because I’m a better photographer when I’m drunk of two main factors, alcohol and the large number of things going on at the same time.

 

1 – Alcohol.

The only thing better than alcohol is colorful alcohol

Alcohol may get you numb, make you do stupid things, but above all what most insecure teenagers learn at age 14, alcohol creates extroversion where before stood shyness. Everyone knows the story, the shy quiet girl that after two margaritas start dancing salsa on the table, or the quiet guy that after three beers doesn’t stop talking for nothing on the world.

And that almost magic feature of alcohol is what makes it great for party photography, for there’s way less camera shyness and awkwardness on your subject if he’s at least tipsy. For beginners like me who doesn’t know exactly what to say or do to relax a subject, this is an amazing asset (and no, I’m not suggesting that you get every model drunk before a shoot, although I’ve seen better photographers recommend to offer a drink to non-professional models before shoots).

Alcohol, in my experience, leads to more natural portraits.

 

2 – Stuff happening everywhere, all the time.

So much stuff going on!

Loud, messy, people going back and forth, this characteristic of parties is amazingly helpful for the photographer who wants to take candid shots. People tend to ignore or simply not notice when you take a photo, they are way do busy doing other stuff like talking or drinking. Also, interesting stuff happens in parties all the time, either the guy passed out on the floor in the middle of the kitchen, or the group of people singing songs with a guitar on the basement.

 

On the top of those two main factors, there is the fact that people are generally loose on parties, even without alcohol. They are there to have a good time, and socialize, so the photos you take on parties usually reflect a joyful aspect of people’s lives that they are not used to, and they enjoy it.

So next time you’re invited to a party, take your camera with you, and wait for the right moment, sometimes you’ll get that perfect shot, out of a friend’s reunion.

You can almost feel the good time they're having.

Film Photography – the first photos.

And I’ve already developed my first 5 photos taken with the Minolta x700. I was just finishing the exposures on the film that was on the camera when it was given to me, that’s why only 5.

However I think I messed up in the development. I left the film to be developed as a B&W in the lab last week. Today looking for the film online, I find out that the film was the KODAK 400 CN, that is a special film made to be developed with C-41 instead.

So yeah, those are photos taken with a special B&W film made to be developed as C-41, and then developed as B&W. They were all taken before I actually understood the camera, or what was I doing. Tomorrow the first roll of color film will be ready, so stay tuned for more experiences.

For now, 4 fails and 1 win.

P.S. I did not have them printed, just the negatives developed, then scanned on a Kodak photo scanner.

Minolta and the Joy of Film Photography

Recently, I’ve added a new toy to the collection, a borrowed one, and very awesome. I was hanging out at a friend’s place, talking about photography with his parents, when his mom brings up the subject of film photography.

I had to admit that I never took photos with film before (well, I did, but not with a SLR, or since I started to get interested in photography), which made her reach inside a closet and pull out this huge camera bag packed with equipment.

She put the bag in front of me and told me to keep it, to play with it for a while.

I couldn’t be happier.

So now I’m experimenting with film, we shall see how that goes. I already took some exposures, and will have them processed by the end of the week. Luckily I just got hold of a negative scanner, I’ll keep you guys on the loop.

Ah, here is the gear:

Minolta X-700 film camera

Sigma 70-200mm f4.5

Minolta 50mm f2.0

Magnicon 28mm f2.8

Nissin 360WX flash

Several film rolls, both B&W and color.

Minolta and Gear

Work in Progress

It’s been a while. I must admit, I’ve neglected a bit my photography, because since the end of the school year, I’ve been working. I’m working 8h a day 4 days a week, and it’s a very hard job, so when I get home I’m exhausted.

However I decided to start to bring my camera to work, since I work outside, and maybe take some shots on my lunch break or on my way back.

Yesterday this paid off, for I was walking through the most gorgeous meadow and then through a very nice road. Those are the 2 keepers from the 30 photos I took:

Going home

After a long day

Sacred Art – On Assignment

Hey folks, how’ve you all been?

I’ve been pretty busy with finals, essays, etc. and of course, lot’s of assignments to get better and better at photography.

Saturday I got an assignment I was pretty excited about, to shoot a Christian Tattooist in Orleans. Reverend Dave has his own place called Sacred Art, and I thought it would be a nice place to shoot.

I was going with the writer Oliver Sachgau to shoot stills and video, we had an interview schedule with the guy at 5pm.

Like the good journalists we are, we met at 4:45 at Place d’Orleans, and were at Dave’s studio at 4:55, ready to do our interview, take the shots and head home to enjoy our Saturday evening. Of course it could not be that easy and as we went inside, the guy came out, greeted us and said:

“Yeah, about the interview, I was going to call you because I’m running late…”

We said that there was no problem, we could wait, for which he replied:

“You might want to come back later, I will only be done in one hour, at 6. And after that I need to go home to let my dog out, so I’ll only be available at 6:30.

Oh snap. I live downtown and Oliver in Nepean, no way we could come back later… So we did a tour of the place by ourselves, took some photos of him doing his job, and went to the shopping centre decided to come back at 6, just to get a comment from the guy being tattooed, before doing the actual interview.

Here’s the shots I took then:

We came back at 5:55, perfectly on time, to find out that Dave was still late. He only finished the tattoo at 6:30. We grab a quick comment from Luke about the place and Dave left to let his dog out, saying he would be back by 7:05.

Me and Oliver were tired and did not want to walk to the mall, so we decided to go around the neighborhood, where I found this beautiful church to photograph, it was worth the time:

Church in Orleans, near the Tattoo Parlor

Same church with a dead tree in front of it

After walking for half an hour we went back to the place, and as you can predict, at 7:05 he was not there, only arriving at 7:15.

Finally after two hours and fifteen minutes of (almost) wasted time, we finally could sit the man on the studio to do the interview, and take some portraits. I admit, I was tired, grumpy and did not put all the possible effort into it, I just wanted to go home. We were done around 7:50, because Reverend Dave insisted on redoing several takes that he did not like…

As a final balance, it wasn’t bad, I got the shots of the church that I really like, and some of the minister/tattooist. He has a good spirit, but thinks way too much about himself, and he thinks he’s very funny, which he is most definitely not. I just hope to do not have to wait 2h15m ever again for a photo, luckily Oliver was there and at least we could chat.

To wrap it up, here are the two staged shots of him:

Rev. Dave and his piercings.

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