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7 October 2010 - 21:39Yamaha Commercial

Life is never boring.   On this day we had a ventriloquist, ‘Dumb’ Blonde, bodybuilder and wrestler vying for a spot as the new Yamaha Representative bringing their owns sets of special skills.  I’m saying this ‘tongue in cheek’ as this was the the theme of the latest Yamaha Commercial.

This was the first rental since all of the sound upgrades and we received two enthusiastic ‘thumbs up’ on the sound quality from their audio engineer.

Originally a half dozen Yamaha bikes were coming on set.  Considering they had a 35+ crew and 2 grip trucks, it probably worked out better scrapping that idea.

Thanks to my gracious neighbors for giving up their parking lots for a makeshift outdoor restaurant.  I’m surprised how much better dinner is from these catered food trucks most restaurants.  P.s.  Thats my dog Nena.

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29 April 2010 - 0:17Wicked Wet

Here is my latest water shoot.  I took about 65 shots in this series with two people throwing water from either side.  It takes some time to get the throws right and timed.   This is one of the images that immediately caught my eye and actually gave me a chill.

You can click on this image to see it bigger.  With the exception of some dodging/burning and   the ‘highlight /shadow’  filter,  this is a raw image with absolutely no digital manipulation.  I’m sure that you as everyone else sees the ominous skull forming in the middle of the image.  This was a random fluke of water hitting in the middle… wow!

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9 April 2010 - 18:04Wet

‘Wet is hot!’  Of course Water in the studio is not always as appealing.  Fortunately I have a tapered floor and a big floor drain so it’s not that big a deal.  It looks like lots of water, but in reality each shot was probably less than one litre.  One assistant is on a ladder pouring and another throwing water from the left.  Coordinating two at a time is not as easy as it looks, especially when a model is involved. . .apprehensive of the coming splash.  The first time i tried this kind of shoot my butterfingers assistant ended up throwing the measuring cup with the water (twice!!!),  I would suggest plastic utensils!

I used  small soft boxes with 30˚grids on the main and accent lights, close enough to do the job and far enough to avoid the spray.  Most of these images were silhouettes,  but this image had an additional spot light with a 10˚ round grid lighting her face about 1ƒ stop under.  The Bowens lights sync at 1/750 which does not completely stop the water splashes.  I’ve since switched to profoto monoheads which are faster at 1/1500,   I’ll post an updated shoot  soon.


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18 March 2010 - 17:48Gary ‘n Ildy engagement

I don’t shoot Engagements or Weddings anymore, but my friends asked and i couldn’t say no.  Ildy has been one of my longtime and loyal models . . . if she looks familiar, maybe you’ve seen her in ‘Paycheck’ or a number of movies and tv shows.  Gary i’ve know for a dozen years and he’s been a great friend.  Considering I introduced these two together,  i was honored to do their shoot.

I don’t really do the traditional engagement photography,   but after the ‘Bond’ shots, I pulled out handcuffs and then things got interesting . . . this also gave them a preliminary taste of married life!

I like to break the images into ‘formal’ and ‘casual’ . . . some people are more comfortable with one look over the other so it’s nice to have the variety.  These two work well in whatever i throw at em, and lucky for Gary,  it’s hard to look bad when you have such a beauty drawing your eye. . .notice how i have Ildiko upstage Gary in every pic!

After the studio pics, we went on location.  I have a few favorite locations from my wedding days.  We had limited shooting time in this location which simply involved a fill flash just left of camera angle and my portable mirror giving some accent to Garys back.  I would of loved a 2nd accent on the left, but i was trying to keep low key as we were shooting ‘gorilla’style.

Here is a small excerpt of some of the fun pics. . . and there were many!  I love the spontaneous and ‘in the moment’ shots. . .they are usually the memories of the day!

Gary and Ildy are the founders of Concrete Concepts.  Their projects around the city are too big to list, but they are notable.   If you ever need anything from a heated concrete floor to a supersize retaining wall,  Check out their work!

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11 March 2010 - 1:36Hacked!

It was not the work with The Bank of Montreal and Elvis Stoyko,  It wasn’t even the Dussault campaign with Gene Simmons. . . I think i can finally say that i’ve made it to the big time now that i have officially been targeted by an extremist muslim group!  If you happened to log in to my blog last week you may have seen the following page:

It’s great to get validation from the far dark corners of the world.  I just never thought I was big enough to be a threat to those poor sequestered souls so far away.    You can see the magnificent work of this group of and their dancing goats and wonderful music on youtube. . . say hi from me!

It’s going to be pretty funny when upon getting to heaven,  the 72 virgins these guys are expecting turn out to be male computer nerds. . . think about it!

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4 March 2010 - 20:34Waterworld

This was one of those days where i felt energetic!  This was all created ‘in studio’ and she was kneeling in a whole lot of water!  At any time i have on hand a few 2″X6″X12′ studs and a roll of black construction plastic to build a water table.  A frame is screwed together and the plastic is simply laid across it and clamped to the wood.  I used to have a hot water tank which was easily drained twice to fill this up,  but the new ‘on demand’ water heater keeps an unlimited supply of hot water which the models definitely like.   The rippling effect is created by a couple fans aimed at the water. . . without the surface texture you would see the plastic underneath.  I used to lay this out right over my concrete floor, but the water quickly went from warm to bone chilling under 10 minutes.  Now i’m laying pink styrofoam sheets underneath which makes a huge difference on maintaining the temperature.

The image in the background  if i remember right relates to the creation of the universe.  I was originally planning an image of mars in the background, so I rolled down a deep red paper  to reflect in the water,  when i came across this hubble telescope image it felt like a nicer fit.  The original image was quite a bit more colorful with blues and yellows so i overlaid the tone reflected in the water to match.   I downloaded this from http://www.nasaimages.org/ which is a great site where Nasa lets you download amazing © free  images from shuttle missions, the hubble telescope and misc. orbiters.

You know those movies where the toaster in thrown in the bathtub and someone gets electrocuted,  well it doesn’t really work like that.  I always give my liability speech and talk about the possibility of a light falling in.  As scary as it may be,  its best to just stay in the water if the worst happens. . .and NOT make contact with the light.  The only time you will get a shock is when you ground yourself,  that would be grabbing a c-stand to climb out of the water for example. . . so it’s always good to discuss the rules before the shoot.

P.S.  Check for a floor drain in your place before you build this one!

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1 March 2010 - 18:31Kermit the hog

A friend of mine is back in the bike game.  Our last shoot was of an amazing demon chopper with a devil tail that got me my first cover of biker magazine.   He’s now taking the more stock approach and adding stylizing touches to existing new Harleys with custom paint, pegs, handle bar ends, etc.   After doing our magazine shoot,  i was fortunate to have it in my studio for a few more days which happened to overlap Selena’s photoshoot.

It’s always a challenge shooting a big reflective bike with a model,  the bike wants soft large light sources which can flatten the models proportions.  I managed to get some small softbox lights with grids to accent her bum and legs without affecting the bike.  I consider these shoots ‘compromised ligting’. . .  you favour the girl or the bike, the question being ‘who is your client’.   I went with a hard overhead light to bring out specularity in her skin, fortunately this worked well with the bike as the paint was reflective and the spot lighting added to it’s depth .   The fire border was an afterthought,  now i’m wishing i had put a fan in her hair which would have tightened the concept with all the movement around her.

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25 February 2010 - 22:07‘Deuce is Wild’ documentary

A couple of weeks ago i was fortunate enough to be in the latest episode of the ‘Deuce is Wild’ documentary featuring Jason Dussault and Chief Willard of the Semiahmoo Indian Nation.  This was episode 2 of a 13 episode documentary about building the Dussault apparel brand.  Chief Willard sported the latest Warrior ring created out of collaboration between Dussault and Bloodline jewellery.

The sky was not as ominous  as i would have liked that day so i added some clouds from my archives and set them to ‘darken’ with masking around Chief Willard.   I then grabbed a color sample from another photograph i liked (you can even grab the water/sky tone off of this image) and created a layer in photoshop and set it to ‘color’ at 60% opacity which gives an overall muted feel to this image.   Finally the image was duplicated,  ‘filter/other/high  pass’ was applied and set to overlay at 100% which gives the sharp contrast look.

This ended up being one of my more creative location shoots,  especially since after unloading,  i realized my small soft box with the egg crate modifier was missing!!  One of my location tricks is to run strips of electrical tape the length of my light stands. . . if i ever need any in a pinch – Voila!   The tape proved useful in adapting my ‘Gary Fong’ portable flash diffuser over my Hensel flash tube.  I originally had the light set overhead the camera, but after working around my subjects I much preferred shooting from the side… it  gives the effect of them looking at breaking light in the distance.   Below the main light was a 32′ silver disc adding a little fill, and the main light was turned downward spilling more light towards the disc than the subjects.

You can see how average grey the sky was in the next image  which is why i had to add the clouds.

It’s a little challenging being on camera while working. . . When you are behind the camera all you life,  it’s a bit of an adjustment being a ‘subject’ for a change.

This was the bonus at the end of the day.  Part of the filming that day included an invitation to Chief Willards sweat lodge.   While I have always wanted to attend an authentic sweat lodge,  the prospect of being on a nationally televised show was little disconcerting after sweating for 1.5 hours in this dark intimate setting.  I recently added a new Thai tattoo that reads ‘never try, never know’,  so with that thought i went for it.  Of course you can witness all this one day on tv.

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21 January 2010 - 14:09Anatomy of a photograph

It’s time for a blog update!  I’ve been on a break from glamour photography traveling through Vietnam and Thailand for the last 40 days (Pics to come).

Shooting groups is always challenge.  I’ve generally do not ever like to shoot groups of 3 or more (un-professionals) as there is always one person with that hyper-blink or someone who just cannot seem to maintain their attention towards the camera without an amazing amount of energy exertion on your part.  To make the grouping more realistic, i shot a few of the girls paired for better visual interactions.

Screen shot 2009-11-25 at 2.48.40 AM

Screen shot 2009-11-25 at 4.06.15 PM

All three of these rough comps were photographed as solo and double shots, close cropped and merged together with shadows and reflections added. . . I was in the process of picking the best composition to work with (we went with the first one – I liked the odd-number grouping best)).

Screen shot 2009-11-25 at 2.46.17 AM

If you’ve ever watched ‘top model’,  whenever a girl is eliminated from the competition,  her image is removed from the group photo at the end.  That is pretty much the same concept of design as this.

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14 November 2009 - 19:40B4 & After

This is always fun. . . the transformation!

These before and afters were by Colleen,  my makeup artist.  Here are  some of her excerpts:

“It all starts with a hydrated canvas; be sure to cleans and moisturize your skin with a hydrating lotion or cream preferably one with a low halation factor this means avoid the pearlescent luminous products  these will lead to a much higher shine factor  or a greasy look. Instead think of a drink of water for your skin. Be sure to wait a couple of minutes before starting the makeup application.”

Justicebefore&afterSunny before&after

“In the first two images I applied, with a natural/synthetic nylon fiber foundation brush, a small amount of hydration cream mixed with a mineral loose powder foundation. This created a light wash foundation/hydrator which acts as the perfect base for a mineral powder makeup application. To minimize any colouration under the eyes and around the nose or to cover any minor blemished I applied a minimal amount of concealer. Once concealed all I needed to perfect the natural flawless face was to apply a combination of two pressed mineral powders; one that matched their skin tones perfectly and the other two shades darker to act as a contour colour. These two colours work together to enhance and define their beautiful bone structure.”before&after1smElyciabefore&after

“The concepts of cosmetic contouring have never been so easily attainable.  With the new advancements in mineral makeup which include colour match technology for an easy blend and practically invisible demarcation lines (the mask effect of a mismatched foundation or of a contour product that shows too dark or dirty in pictures). Trust me, Bryan can always tell if I’ve changed from my normal mineral makeup to save a buck or two on cheaper products. A good mineral foundation is worth every penny. It’s very versatile offering significant halation or glow simply by buffing the product; this process smoothes the look of fine lines and adds a reflective quality because the micronized mineral particles lay flat and bounce light off the contours of the face. A matt finish is easily achieved by using a stippling or tapping/rolling method pressing the minerals onto the surface of the skin. The two colour combo is a charm when enhancing or minimizing features. Use the darker of the two to add depth in the cheekbones or add a bronzed glow. The next step could be simply finish the look by adding mascara and a clear lip-gloss, or if adventure is what you seek now it’s time to set the hair.”

I can’t say enough about having a great make up artist.  Not only do they have to be great, but they also need to have a great personality.   Colleen sets the tone of the photoshoot as she is first contact with  my models.  As great as someone can do makeup,  if they set a negative tone,  have a diva attitude (Found in too many young new artists lately) or are just not very personable,  it always makes my job harder. A good artist will ‘prep’ your model for her shoot;  put her at ease,  develop a look that she is comfortable with (including talking her out of outdated or poor makeup concepts), and reinforce some of my shoot concepts we have discussed in advance.  Being that the models are usually my clients,  the bottom line is that they must be ‘happy’.


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