Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's in Santa's bag?

It's the time of year when kids of ALL ages start making their wish lists for gifts from Santa Claus. For some it's the latest computer game, others dream of a shiny new vehicle to race around the living room.
For photographers invested into the Nikon system, news just came out from Japan of a new beast to send a few extra beats into our hearts. Measuring in at a whopping 24.4 megapixels is the brand new Nikon D3x - a studio photographer's new convenient option to medium format cameras. With a shooting rate of 5 fps at full frame, or 7 fps at a cropped mode, it may even be seen as a decent action shooter.
Images released online so far show excellent image quality, now the question arises: is it worth the price? At MSRP of $9,500 Cdn, it's Nikon's most expensive camera ever - about $4,000 more than the 12 megapixel D3. Sure, that price is still far below medium format cameras or backs, but can it be justified in a tightening economy.
Do I need the extra 40 percent increase in resolution over my current model? Will my computer need replacement to process the huge 75 MB raw files? Will I start filling hard-drives as fast as I used to fill DVDs?
Will the camera be seen in Canada before Christmas?
So many questions ..... I'll have to ponder these things among others - like how long can somebody eat macaroni and cheese before going crazy? Just kidding.
After you look over the photo of this new camera, you can view many more images shot by a "lesser" model on my website.
Merry Christmas all.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who is inspiring who?

The fuel for artistic expression, the gas in the tank for the visual wonderment we hope our future images will reveal.
I received a dose at the most recent meeting of the Central Okanagan Photography Society, held at the Kelowna EECO Centre.
As the guest judge providing ratings and offering critiques of the photographs entered, I was both challenged and inspired by the process.
Congratulations to the many avid photographers who captured fine images worthy of praise. Kudos also to those who are early in the learning process - it takes courage to put your photos up on the same screen as the veterans of the group.
In the end, you can never really predict who will provide the others with the greater inspiration. I hope that I can inspire others through my feedback, plus my own images on my website -

Friday, November 14, 2008

Building up business

Recession? What recession?
Contrary to sour reports on all sorts of media recently, business has remained strong in Kelowna for photography in the last month. Providing quality photographs for clients in the central Okanagan has kept me from contributing to this web blog for a couple of weeks.
I'm certainly quite happy to be busy with projects - particularly with a large ongoing architectural photography project for an award winning builder in Kelowna. I have to commend Len Suchocki of Chriscan Construction for his acumen and perceptive vision - boldly moving forward with a strong advertising campaign to promote his new focus on commercial projects - added to residential construction.
The projects I've photographed in Kelowna and Westbank recently also shows that Len is an artistic visionary when it comes to fine architectural building and renovations.
Here's a pic from the REMAX head office for Western Canada located in Kelowna, revealing fine use of glass with wood and tasteful lighting. Enjoy. I certainly enjoyed photographing it.
While using an ultra-wide angle lens with very low distortion helps encompass a scene with impact, the photo really comes to life with careful placement of lighting - to enhance the glass while avoiding reflections that reveal your lights.
A challenge to execute, and a victory to relish.
More of my architectural photography is found online at my Kelowna Photographer website.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Inside the Web

What horrors are to be found in the web in late October?

With monsters getting ready to prowl the streets for their annual tour, one recent visitor outside my window provided an appropriate scene.

Beyond the commercial photography of products in my Kelowna home studio or on location throughout the Okanagan, it's interesting to snap a photo of the creatures we share the world with. Macro photography provides a fascinating new viewpoint - such as this spider in this photo whose body is about the size of a nickel.

Yet with an extension tube added in between my Nikkor 80-200 zoom lens and my semi-pro D200 body, a near-macro image shows interesting details indeed. Accentuated by the backlighting, the hairs on the spider's legs stand out against the dark background, like the web it inhabits.

Larger animal photos can be found within my stock images.

Happy Hallowe'en everyone.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall fotography

It appears that I'm not the only photographer shooting plenty these days. There seems to be many more cameras in use in the past couple weeks with autumn's cool air painting the leaves in some brighter hues. Good to see those pixels pumping out the pics.

Although many amateurs who I see taking pictures continue to do their shooting from the wrong side. They keep the sun at their back and capture the trees in front lighting. There's so much more to be revealed when you shoot with back-lighting - particularly with semi-translucent objects like leaves. Sure you might lose a bit of the colour saturation with some shots, and risk and bit of flare ghosting on the lens, but the added depth and texture is worth it. At least that's the way I see it.

Take a shot here for example and see if you agree. Take a look at my stock photos and see if you can see how many more images look better with backlighting.

Give it a shot for yourself. Happy shooting out there.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall is still fun

Who says it's time to leave the lake for the fall season?

The fair-weather fans have abandoned the beaches of the Okanagan. But 'tis the season for kite-surfers to don their sails in the wind and enjoy the power of mother nature.

I was glad to take some time to photograph a few at Rotary Beach while taking a break between professional shoots. I was photographing some architecture for a local builder in the late afternoon, and waiting for after sunset to capture the early evening glow with lights. The twilight shots are often a favourite for builders of homes and some buildings.

So, here's a couple shots of the fun in the setting sun for the wind riders, surfing with their kites on Okanagan Lake.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Election direction

First call of this morning:
"Are you available for some photography of the election today?" asked Cheryl Shoji, Photo Editor of the Vancouver Sun.
"Yes, I've got some time this evening," I said - knowing the usual excitement on these events is after 8 pm when the polls close and the candidates watch the results come in across their riding and the rest of Canada. I've photographed plenty of these elections in the past.
Each one has the potential for some interesting emotional reactions in the news photos - tremendous enthusiasm from the winners, awful despair from the losers. As a news photographer, you've got to be ready for anything, anywhere, any time.
Surprise! The Vancouver Sun needs the shot taken in 25 minutes across Okanagan Lake in Westbank - Defence Minister and former Prime Minister Stockwell Day is about to cast his ballot at his local polling station.
I'm off to the races, take the coffee to go, stuff a half-sandwich in my pocket and out the door I rush.
Fortunately, I arrive well ahead of the deputy prime minister, even ahead of his security detail. I check out the location - I foresee a challenge. Cloudy skies outside (that's good) Incandescent lighting in the foyer (very red-yellow) and flourescent in the voting room (very green).
Sure, if I shoot in RAW I can change the colour balance in post processing easily - but I may have to change my flash colour gels quickly to match the background.
Challenge number 2 arrives as I am determine my colour balance. An elections official tells me there will be no photography allowed in the voting area - not even of the minister who appreciates these media photo opps. My camera can't come inside.
I'll just have to make sure I get something better outside - to make up for a sub-standard angle on the usual shot of the Politician placing ballot in box.
A couple glad-handing shots in the parking lot when the Minister arrives are followed by a low angle shot of Stockwell and his wife checking their voting cards with an official at the door. Yes, the Days are at the correct voting station, they may procede.
Okay, so it's not the excitement of hands raised in victory .... but it's a new angle on election coverage. In this run-and-shoot quickly world of election photography, you take what you can get.
What do you think? Front page tomorrow?
Well I'm not expecting the cover, but I'll check the Vancouver Sun in the morning. I'm just glad to do my duty on election day. And I'm glad this is Canada, where our election campaigns last six weeks and results are known within the day. Not like the recent marathon elections in the US.
Look for more of my news at

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kelowna still sizzles

Kelowna's sizzling summer was filled with many interesting photography assignments throughout the beautiful Okanagan.

The Photography business continues to simmer along at a strong pace, even while international headlines cry out about a financial meltdown. As autumn's cooler air brings new colours to the trees, some photographic projects come into fruition. Architectural photography becomes a more prominent highlight this time of year as builders prepare their entries for the Tommies or Georgies housing awards through the CHBA - Canadian Home Builders Association.

Tommie's biggest winner of 2004, Len Suchocki of Chriscan Homes, got my cameras focused on his newest niche in business. Sure, he still does the luxury homes over $1 million. His business is adding more commerical projects, like a Lakeshore Rd development that incorporates condominiums above stores and shops.

Kudos to Len for this fine combination that fits well in the ever-growing Kelowna - a city that continues to be highly desireable, yet is running very low on development area.

I'll try posting an image here to my first blog, but if that fails, you may see some soon on my business website at