Female mountain bike rider on an elevated skinny platform

Shortly after creating these mountain bike portraits for my friend John, I got out for a ride with Arienne and had the camera along again. Stopping at a couple of great locations we created these portraits for Arienne. Arienne then offered trip the shutter for me so I could get a couple portraits of my own. (Yay, thanks Arienne!)

Then, just as we were finishing up our ride, we came up to a feature Arienne had constructed earlier this year. Okay, Arienne, how do you feel about riding this skinny while a blast you in the face with a flash? Always an upbeat, try-anything-that-won’t-hurt, kinda gal, she was game for it. Glad she was. Love this image at the top, especially since it her own trail feature!

Well, here are the rest of here portraits along with one of me, too!




Wedding couple enjoying fireworks in Parry Sound Muskoka cottage wedding

This past weekend I had the honour of photographing Eliza and Nick’s wedding in a fabulous cottage country setting. Set on the shores of Ahmic Lake in Magnetawan, Parry Sound this multi-family cottage compound was a spectacular setting for their very special day. Amongst the many special details of the day was a grande finale fireworks display and I just had to share this image right away!

More to come.


Mountain Bike Sports Portraits

Last month, just before the Canadian National Mountain Bike Championships at Hardwood Ski and Bike, the marketing manager, John, asked me to create some promotional photographs for Hardwood. He wanted a number of images of riders practicing on the new Nationals course. I’ll post some of those images in another post.

Anyway, John had been asking me to go for a ride with him and create some portraits of him on his mountain bike and we finally managed to find a time that worked with both of our schedules. We headed out on Serious, an 11 km trail at Hardwood, and stopped at a couple of places along the way which I had long identified as great spots for the type of portraits I like to create.

This session was another opportunity for me to continue refining my lightweight, portable sports portrait set up. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I switched to an Olympus OMD E-M5 micro 4/3 system due to its small size, light weight and high performance results. The next step to reducing my pack weight was finding a way to eliminate the lightstands. Despite having the already very light and compact Manfrotto Nano stands, they do add a considerable amount of weight and bulk to a cycling bag. A trip to MEC and the hardware store later, and I had the makings for a set of nut-bungees. Using some 1/8″ shock cord and some small nuts, I fashioned up a series nut-bungees of varying length. I needed to custom make these instead of just ordering pre-made ball bungees, because I wanted sizes that would wrap around tree trunks of various sizes.

John and I put the nut-bungees to the test and they worked out quite well. The overall design needs some tweaking as it is difficult to access the control panel of my SB900 flashes as they are pressed against the tree trunk. And adjusting the tilt of the flash required choosing a small stick and wedging it between the tree and the flash. Does it work? Heck yeah. Light weight? Yep. A bit of a nuisance? Yeah. So, I’m brainstorming on a mount plate that can be strapped to a tree and then the flash mounted to the plate. Maybe with a tiny ball-head? Maybe the plate can have multiple mounts to let me mount more than one flash and boost my flash power? Yeah, I’m adding weight back to the bag, but this might be useful weight. We’ll see.

In the mean time, here’s the rest of the images from John’s session.


(Click the fullscreen button to see these in full awesomeness.)

With the weather finally looking and behaving distinctly spring-like these last couple of weeks it has been time to get out on the bike again. It took forever for all the snow to melt away on trails so I was limited to riding on the roads for a few weeks, but we are in full on trail riding season now.
And why is this exciting?

Because it is time to start making mountain biking images again. Friends Sarah and Marion invited me out for a ride with them last week and I warned them that I would be bringing the camera out with me.

I was pretty excited to get out there this spring as I had added a new camera system to my arsenal this past winter. The compact (and more importantly – lightweight) Olympus OMD E-M5 mirrorless micro 4/3 camera system. I’ve been looking forward to getting out and seeing if this camera can keep up with my mountain bike images ever since I got it.

Why? You ask. Last year, mountain bike portraits involved the Nikon D3s, 70-200 f2.8, 16-35 f4, multiple flashes, light stands and remotes. All of that added up to massive weight in my pack on my back. It really messed with my stability and maneuverability, not to mentioned adding so much weight that I struggled up most of the hills. Not fun. Oh, and the thought of stacking it on the bike with $12000k plus of camera on my back… Well you get the idea.

Well, maybe not, if you haven’t seen how compact and lightweight the OMD system is. Joy!!!!!

Anyhow, got out there we did. Using the PocketWizard Flex triggers on the OMD and Nikon SB900 flashes, we created a number of images during our ride. Most important – the images turned out GREAT. Secondly, the OMD was even easier to use for this purpose than the Nikon D3s. Third? I barely noticed I was carrying around a camera. Win! I’ve been DIY-ing a few things around the shop here to try to get rid of at least one light stand. I think I have that all worked out and that’ll mean even less weight to pack around.

And that means even more opportunities for portraits.

Winter Portraits of Carolyn and Stephen

Click to view larger

On family day, my parents asked if I wanted to join them for a snowshoe in the woods up the street. I asked them if I could create a film at the same time. Of course. Perfect.

I had a lot of fun with this project and it fits really nicely into my sports portraiture and filmmaking that I’ve been building over the past year.

Rather than wax on about the process and everything I learned, like how HARD it is to choose a soundtrack!!!!, here’s the film. I hope you enjoy, and please – provide your feedback! What do you think?

A selection of images from my archive of photos over the years

Click to see in all it’s huge goodness…

Hey everyone! Welcome back to Time Travel Tuesday.

All of the images this week have been from our 2008 trip to Ecuador. Orchid farms, convents, hand weavers and panama hats to name a few of the featured images. As I’ve mentioned, I am running a personal project this year, well a couple actually, but this one is all about revisiting my catalogue of images over the last 13 years or so and blogging about an individual image each day.

You can follow along and read the stories, learn about the places we’ve visited, people we’ve met and often, the techniques used to create the images. Check it out on my tumblr blog.