I am an outdoor adventure, landscape, nature, and product photographer based out of Cumberland in the Comox Valley, on British Columbia's Vancouver Island. This blog is where I post up all my adventures in the world of photography!

Michelle and Will Engagement

April 29, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Plan

I recently had the great pleasure to be able to accompany my friends Will and Michelle on a journey that was literally life-changing.

Will approached me a few weeks back with a plan: He and Michelle had been planning to go mountain biking on Hornby Island for a while.  (Hornby Island, if you're not aware, is covered in some of the flowingest mountain biking singletrack you'll ever see.)  With their imminent return to the East Coast for Michelle's new job, time was running out for their adventure, and Will wanted to make it extra special.

To make a long story short, two weeks prior to go-time, a small team of advance scouts went to Hornby to scope out locations - and of course, sample some sweet, sweet singletrack.  We found a great spot, and fast-forward two weeks, we were back with Michelle.

Everything went exactly according to plan, and even the stormy weather of that weekend abated while we were on the Island.  

LJ_20150413-_4130464LJ_20150413-_4130464Michelle Baker and Will Trivett engagement photo

We followed up the next day with more formal portrait photos in Campbell River - or anyways, as formal as you can get when absolutely ridiculous hats are involved.

Congratulations, Will and Michelle, and thank you for the privilege of being a part of this special occasion!

LJ_20150414-_4140824LJ_20150414-_4140824Michelle Baker and Will Trivett engagement photo - Campbell River session

LJ_20150413-_4130315LJ_20150413-_4130315Michelle Baker and Will Trivett engagement photo

 


Cinemagraphs!

March 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Wow, it's been a while!  I've been occupied with a whole bunch of stuff, some of which has actually been related to photography.

One of the things that's kept me awake at nights has been how to differentiate what I do from other photographers, especially with an eye towards making this a profitable pursuit.  Given that the barrier to entry to the world of image capture is so low (phones with decent cameras are now ubiquitous), there is now an abundance of photographers out there and the bar has been raised very, very high; it's a struggle to stand out.  So how does one rise above the crowd in this digital era? I guess one way is to enter realms where a barrier still remains.  It seems to me that *moving* pictures - i.e. video - is one such realm. Yes, phones do capture video, but it takes so much more time and effort to create an "acceptable" video, never mind a "great" video, than it does to create a reasonable still image.  With data transmission rates going ever higher, it's now quite possible to send high-quality video to mobile devices, something that was prohibitively expensive not too long ago.  It looks like there's an opportunity here and a space that is not yet saturated.  Now, I'm not a videographer by any means, having dabbled in this area only briefly, but it's something that I will definitely explore further.  As a kind of bridge to full-on video, I'm looking more closely at cinemagraphs.  A still image with moving elements is rather eye-catching, and it still leverages my background in photography and photographic tools.  Here's my first attempt (please be patient during the initial load):

I hope to be able to do more with these, especially with a view towards presenting them in high resolution and smoother tonal transitions, but this is a start!

 


Website revamp under way!

December 22, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I know it's been a while, but I'm *finally* in the process of updating my website!  I'm trying to make it clearer what you get when you go to each gallery and collection, as well as reducing the number of clicks you need to get to your destination.  I'm also updating keywords on photographs so that the "search" function that is normally in the upper right hand corner of the web page is useful.  Give it a try!

Finally, I'm updating the ability to purchase select image.  In general, high-resolution downloads of the images in the "Collections" area are for sale for personal use. I'll soon be adding fine art prints for selected photos.

Please bear with me as I work through this process!

Also, if you have any suggestions or requests, please let me know.


Gutbuster Ladysmith 2014

July 07, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

On Saturday I woke up bright and early to get myself down to Ladysmith in order to get some pics at the Gutbuster Transfer Beach Trail Running Race.  The race course starts you off with a wicked climb up Methuen St, then heads up into the woods along Holland Creek. Then more uphill to Heart Lake, and finally a cruise-y downhill to the finish.

You with me?Racers are greeted with an uphill battle at Methuen St. to kick off the race.

Although the day was overcast and light levels were low at the best of times, Mother Nature was kind enough to hold off on the rain - for the most part.  Sadly at one point a deluge came down and I scrambled to get my non-weathersealed gear under cover, just as a large pack of runners came through. *sigh*  

One of my objectives was to see if I could make use of my largest lens to get some compression-oriented shots, throwing the background out of focus and really highlighting the runners.  Previously I had only used normal and wide focal length lenses at events like this (some mountain biking and trail running races) and I was curious to see if using the longer focal lengths would work.  The experiment was a moderate success: in many cases I was able to achieve the look I was going for, but I was hampered by the lack of light, and the fast shutter speed required to keep the blur due to camera shake down to a minimum meant that I was pushing the ISO higher than I wanted to - in the realm of 800 or so. 

At the turnoff to Heart Lake

Another objective was to get some off-camera flash going, hoping to light trail runners the way I had lit racers in the forest at the 12 Hours of Cumberland Mountain Bike Race. Again, this met with limited success due to the inclement weather since my speedlights are *not* weathersealed, and my decision to change locations a bunch of times would have meant setting up and tearing down the lights repeatedly, but I did manage to get a single light off-camera in a situation where, strictly speaking, the light wasn't necessary, but having it allowed me to freeze the action and add just a bit more clarity.

Still flying!Crossing the Holland Creek Bridge and heading into the home stretch.

All in all it was a great event on some fun trails with lots of friendly and enthusiastic volunteers. 

Holland Creek Bridge Course MarshalI think his name is Hugo

Check out the rest of the photos at the Gutbuster Transfer Beach 2014 gallery!

NIC Professional Photography Gallery Show 2014

June 14, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Today marked the take-down of the 2014 North Island College Professional Photography Gallery Show, presented at the Courtenay Museum.

For this show, I presented images of dancers and gymnasts performing in a forest and in an industrial parking lot in Campbell River, BC. As an athlete (formerly a high-calibre Ultimate Frisbee player, mountain bike racer, expedition adventure racer, and currently a rock climber), I have a strong connection with motion in general and human movement in particular.  I was inspired by images that I had seen online of dancers in unusual places; I now know that they trace back to Jordan Matter's "Dancers Among Us".  I was fortunate enough to be introduced to two dancers and a gymnast through a mutual friend. I set them loose in a nearby forest and industrial parking lot, and took pictures while I let them do what they do best.  This is probably the best expression of what motivates me as a photographer right now: awesome people doing awesome things in awesome places.

I had six images presented at the show, of which the four below were printed very, very large: 30" x 22" images printed on Moab Entrada Rag Bright paper, matted and framed at 36" x 28".  

From a technical perspective, I also consider this a showcase for what I can do with lighting. Three of the four images below required supplementary light, either because of the very strong backlighting, or because in the case of the forest, the ambient light wasn't sufficiently bright to freeze the motion. Light was provided by up to four Olympus FL-600R speedlights, all controlled via the built-in Remote Commander function of my Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera.  I can't imagine having to physically set these lights manually since in some cases over the course of the shoot they were placed across a small pond or high up on platforms. Being able to control the lighting ratios from one spot was a timesaver and helped maintain my sanity, not to mention that of my models.

It was amazing seeing my work and the work of the other students printed large and displayed in a space that did them justice; it was also amazing working with the talented dancers and gymnast that made my gallery contribution possible. I look forward to being able to present in a gallery setting again, and to working with these talented people in the future!

A gymnast leaps in a forest.Dancing Outside 4One of a series of images of dancers and a gymnast that I presented for the year-end NIC Professional Photography Program gallery show. A gymnast performs atop a large pipe in an industrial parking lot.Dancing Outside 3One of a series of images of dancers and a gymnast that I presented for the year-end NIC Professional Photography Program gallery show. A gymnast poses atop a large metal pipe in an industrial parking lot.Dancing Outside 2One of a series of images of dancers and a gymnast that I presented for the year-end NIC Professional Photography Program gallery show.

A dancer performs a spinning leap in front of a garage door in an industrial parking lot.Dancing Outside 1One of a series of images of a dancers and a gymnast that I presented for the year-end the NIC Professional Photography Program gallery show.

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