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.

Advertisements

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!

-30-

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.

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.

-30-

Canadian Museum of Nature

Yesterday coming home from school I passed by the Canadian Museum of Nature, and took a photo with the sun passing through the “Queen’s Lantern”, the name of the new glass tower. I used f.22 so I’d get the nice sunstar, and the 18-55mm lenses.

 

Canadian Museum of Nature (Victoria Memorial Museum)

Specs: 1/100s at f.22, ISO 200. 20mm (18-55mm)