All posts by weedos

I shot the Sheriff and this year I shot the Deputy

So there I was surfing the web when I noticed my good friend Ben had posted a query online about borrowing a horse for a photo shoot. Not having access to a horse, I ignored the request but wondered what the hell he was up to now.

I soon found out as a few days later,  I got a message from him asking if I could do a shoot for him with a horse. Intrigued, I promptly said yes. We organized the day and time and I eagerly awaited its arrival.

Ben is a Rep for Steam Whistle Brewery and every year the company produces the Steamy Men of Steam Whistle calendar which they sell with proceeds going to men’s cancer research. The calendar is usually hilarious and this years was to be no exception. 20160829-jwp_0401Ben is a bit of a cowboy and is well known throughout Alberta for his appearance and larger than life personality. This was going to be a blast.

The day arrived and the Steam Whistle Jeep arrived at my door. I jumped in and away we went.  The location for the days shoot was about an hour and a half away so we settled into the usual car trip banter.

About and hour into the drive we started discussing the finer points of the shoot. “I haven’t been on horse in a while…. I’m a country guy at heart… by the way, I’m gonna be buck arse naked”….

I’m gonna be buck arse naked.

Well, I was in the jeep, and we were almost there so I decided to roll with it (as any consummate professional would) and we carried on out to the farm.

We arrived after almost getting lost to a wondrous parcel of rural Alberta, been in the family for years type of place with a massive garage and acres of land to play on.  There was also miniature ponies.  I don’t think the day could get any more surreal.

We met the owner of the land and the nice young lady (and her dog) who had answered Ben’s query on Facebook regarding the horse, cracked a beer and proceeded to set up for the shoot.

We ran (I ran, Ben rode) all around the property and took many photos and had a great time.

Here’s the photo that made it into the 2016 calendar.
ben-taylor-adventures-11-2015-25Shortly after, Ben changed his name on Facebook to Sheriff and as business was steadily improving in Alberta, the company brought on Tyler to help him.  As Deputy, Tyler has done a great job assisting Ben spread the joy of Steam Whistle to the masses.

In August of this year, we went out to shoot Tyler for the 2017 calendar.  No sneak peaks I’m afraid but the calendar will be out soon so you can see for yourself what we were up to this year.

Ok, One sneak peak.
20160829-dscf0015

Cheers!

*Several cameras were harmed during the shoot.  A Fujifilm X30, a Nikon D3100  and a Lomography Horizon Kompakt.  No animals were harmed although Ben may have suffered long term injury by being naked on a horse in early November.*

 

 

 

Punching cows, a bird named Kaley and getting close to Colin

Did I ever tell you about the time I had the honour of shooting a show for the Steam Whistle Unsigned series? No? Well I am now.

SW unsigned Oct 2015

Full disclosure, my cousin Matt works for the brewery in event coordination. He was coming to town for the gig and asked if I knew anyone who shot events. I showed him some of my previous work and he said “let’s do it”

We met at the venue and as all good family members and beer lovers do, we started to drink. Sadly, I had skipped dinner and the beer tasted really good (as it always does – shameless plug). Unfortunately this did not get me off to a good start and resulted in only getting one usable image of the nights opening act, Mr. Colin Close; a great singer/songwriter and a helluva nice guy to boot.

Alcohol and cockiness, while awesome at the time, are hardly ever a good mix kids. If you are reading this Colin, please accept my apologies and let me know the next time you are playing in Yeg and I’ll gladly come out and shoot the show for free.

Colin Close
After Colin’s set had ended and I checked my images and realized I had my settings all wrong on my cameras, I decided to slow down on the booze (good luck  with that).

After another pint or two, the next act of the evening, the talented Kaley Bird took to the stage and we were all enthralled by her performance.


I guess I was slowly getting my act together which was a good thing as next up was Cowpuncher; a spectacle best witnessed first hand for full effect. Hopefully my images captured the energy and entertainment of that nights performance.

Needless to say, the crowd was wowed and the Steam Whistle kept flowing.

At one point, the crowd was too enraptured to fill up their drinks.

All in all, it was a great night out with my cousin and I got to meet and see some talented performers. The SteamWhistle Unsigned series raises money for local charities and showcases some amazing talent, so the next time you see or hear of one in your city, get your butt there. Who knows, I might even be there behind my lens.

Cheers!

A visit to Highgate Cemetery

This past October I had the opportunity to visit Highgate Cemetery,  a wonderful experience for someone like myself who loves wandering around old cemeteries.  It opened in 1839 and  was run by a private company. In the 1970s it was no longer profitable to run commercially and  nature took over…

But you can read all about it on the website.  I don’t want to risk plagiarizing them and besides, they need your support 🙂

I’m here (and hopefully so are you) to share my experiences that day.

In Victorian times death was celebrated in high society and families would spend fortunes on elaborate tombs and mausoleums that their families would picnic at.  Quite a few of them are in Highgate.

But I was more blown away by the overgrowth.  The cemetery was only shut for a short while but nature always amazes me with how quickly it takes over when humans leave things alone.

None of the picture I took that day really do the place justice. I tried but my memories of the place are far more vivid than any image editing program could ever replicate.  I am however pleased with the shots I chose to share.

Do yourself a favour and the next time you are in London, spend a few hours wandering around.  The West Cemetery is viewable only by guided tour and is well worth it.  On the East side, you can see the final resting place of these famous people among others.

All photos taken with my Olympus OMD EM10 and tweaked in Lightroom.

Cheers!

Out of my Element (and it was good).

If you’ve been here before, you’ll know that I shoot mostly film and usually take lots of pictures of trees and various inanimate objects.

 

That’s not a bad thing, it’s just kind of what I’ve fallen into, partially by choice and partially by circumstance.  I take a walk every morning and always bring a camera with me.  I’m a little shy so I don’t shoot people very often and although I’ve been to lots of gigs and festivals over the years, I generally don’t rush up to the front and take a tonne of photos.  I have but not very often. Those tend to end up like this:

Not bad but I wouldn’t call myself a concert photographer with those.  They are snapshots and memories.

Lately, I’ve been a bit bored with the same old routine and have been itching to try something different.  As a photographer or as any kind of artist, they say it’s good to get out of your comfort zone once in a while and challenge yourself.  And ‘they’ are never wrong.

Just before New Years, I was perving on the book of face and saw a post about a band looking for a photographer to shoot their NY eve gig.  I talked myself out of responding as I’d never done anything like that before.  The idea stayed in the back of my head for a couple of days and eventually won over my common sense or fear of trying new things (I’m not sure which).

I approached the band and asked them if they’d found anyone yet and to my horror, they had not.  Somehow I managed to offer my services to do the shoot which they for some reason chose to accept.

Before the fear could really settle in, I decided I’d better figure out how to do such a thing.  I know the camera inside and out. I’m quite robotic when it comes to changing aperture, ISO and shutter speed on the fly. That wasn’t an issue.  Shyness and the fact that I hadn’t picked up my DSLR in over a year were.

I went back to the band and asked a few questions about the lighting situation and the stage set up (thanks again Google for making me seem smart). Everything was a go.

The big night arrived.  It’s always a treat to go up to the doors of a venue and say “I’m on the guest list”.  I met the band and inhaled a pint of Guinness to settle my nerves.  Had a good chat with the sound/light guy, set my gear up and started to panic.

What had I gotten myself into?  The sheer hubris of assuming I could shoot a gig with no real experience.  I was officially a fraud.  I inhaled another pint of Guinness and started to relax.  Looking around the packed venue, I recognized a few people I knew.  So I went and chatted with them.  That helped to take my mind off things.  Then the band started.  Whoops.

I ran up to the stage, grabbed my camera and started shooting.  I was immediately in my element. Hiding behind the lens 🙂

I took a couple of shots and as google had recommended, I loaded them onto my computer and had a quick look.  The first shots turned out pretty good.  Pressure off.

Then I went out in front of the band and that’s when I realized that this wasn’t going to be so easy.  There was no front lighting.  Everything was from the back and sides.  It played havoc with the focusing.  I tried to switch to manual but it was too dark.  Couldn’t shoot at a fast enough shutter speed.  I couldn’t get a shot of the singer.  My heart jumped to my throat.  I couldn’t use a flash as it would overpower the stage lights and wash out the shots ruining the mood.  Fuck.

Nothing to do but persevere.  I got a tonne of shots of the guitar and bass and a few OK ones of the drummer but not the singer.

It’s enough to drive you to drink.  That’s exactly what I did.

During the bands first break, I told them about the lighting situation and we decided I would have to use the flash a bit.  It was exactly  as I’d feared.  Washed out shots.  I converted them to B&W because that’s what Google said I should do.

Meh.

So I got drunker and took more photos.

The more intoxicated I got, the sloppier I got but that’s to be expected 🙂 I did manage to get a couple of ok shots of the singer.

Over all, I would call it a successful night. The band was really pleased with the finished photos. I got paid and might get a chance to shoot them again.   Would I do it again for another band? In a second.  I can only get better at it.

Oh, if you see these guys, could you tell them their photo is ready 😉

Cheers!

The cat’s out of the Instax bag

Back in March I was approached by Fujifilm Canada to be a part of a new project featuring Instax photographers from around the globe.  I said no.  Just kidding, I jumped for joy. What an amazing opportunity.IMG_2856

They sent me a package with a brand new Instax Mini Neo-Classic and a tonne of film to shoot with.

So I shot a tonne of film 🙂IMG_2863

There was a catch, I only had a week to shoot the photos for the project. Normally that wouldn’t have been an issue but this was March in Edmonton, Alberta and the forecast that week wasn’t all that great.  I ended up having about three hours of sun and warmer temperatures one day that week so I went out and shot like a man possessed. Ok, I ran around like a lunatic over-thinking things and worked up quite a thirst 😉  Here’s a link to the photos they used for the project and while you are at it, I would recommend checking out the other photographers work as well.  There are some amazing shots on this site and I’m sure there are more to come.

Here is a gallery of some other shots from that day that I did not submit to the project but I think they are worth sharing anyway.

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A big thank you to Fujifilm Canada for including me in this project.  It was a lot of fun.

Cheers!