Tag Archives: photography

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.


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 😉



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.


Views from the Roof(s)

It started innocently enough.  The photblogs and pro’s (and so did Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society) always say change your perspective.  Try looking at things from different angles. Put the camera on the ground, above your head etc. Anyone who has seen many of my photos know I already do this, it’s something of a mantra for me, something I’ve tried to teach to my kids.  Look at things from as many angles as possible. It opens up a world of possibilities. Continue reading Views from the Roof(s)

My light leak luck streak is at an end.

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post. It’s so easy to get lazy and convince myself that I’m too busy to write a quick post. Bad John.

I’ve posted quite a bit about the glass lens for the Diana F+ camera. I’ve burned through a few black and white rolls of film and have been super impressed with the results. I don’t shoot much medium format colour film, that’s partially by choice and partly because where I live, it can take up to four weeks to get a roll back from the lab. I do my own B&W processing at home in my kitchen sink but that’s another story. I have developed colour film at home in the past and it’s really just as easy as black and white but I haven’t had a chance to replenish my supplies (read lazy).
On my recent trip to Las Vegas, I decided to try a roll of Lomo Xpro 200 colour film and this is where my light leak luck streak came to an end.
Continue reading My light leak luck streak is at an end.