Posts

A really simple entry

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem.

Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer tincidunt. Cras dapibus. Vivamus elementum semper nisi. Aenean vulputate eleifend tellus. Aenean leo ligula, porttitor eu, consequat vitae, eleifend ac, enim.

Nunc nec neque. Phasellus leo dolor, tempus non, auctor et, hendrerit quis, nisi. Curabitur ligula sapien, tincidunt non, euismod vitae, posuere imperdiet, leo. Maecenas malesuada. Praesent congue erat at massa. Sed cursus turpis vitae tortor.

  • Donec posuere vulputate arcu.
  • Phasellus accumsan cursus velit.
  • Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae;
  • Sed aliquam, nisi quis porttitor congue

Mobile Blogging – Farewell India

Our exit from India was 6 days long: from disembarking the houseboat in Alleppey for the train to Kochi on Jan 1, until the flight from Mumbai to Dubai on Jan 6.  In the middle there was the flight from Kochi to Pune on Jan 2 and the train from Pune to Mumbai on Jan 4.

Read more

Mobile Blogging – Backwaters and Beaches

After our trip to Munnar and our stay at Ela Ecoland, we spent two nights at Green Palace, near Alleppey Beach, which is close to the coast so the weather is warmer and more humid, and doesn’t get cold in the evening/night, like it did in Munnar. The only way to Green Palace is by boat! It is off the beaten path therefore it was relaxing and quiet – just what we wanted. The view was beautiful and the staff were very helpful. We met the owner on a boat ride from the hotel to the shore and he helped us book a houseboat for the day after new years.

Read more

Mobile Blogging – Ela Ecoland and the Elephant ride

We stayed at Ela Ecoland for three nights while in the Munnar area. We had breakfast and dinner in their small dining room, off the kitchen. The food was fresh and delicious. The chef, named Muttu, was skilled and friendly. His wife helped him in the kitchen and because it is Christmas time, his two sons were home and they helped out around the kitchen and accommodation.

We had a driver and he took us to many sightseeing destinations. Tea plantations, spice plantations, waterfalls, viewpoints and my favourite – an elephant ride! We waited forty minutes for our half hour ride on Unni. He answered to commands in Malyali after three years of training with his handler. When we asked his handler if Unni understood English, he said no. He explained that he trained Unni, and used his language: Malyali. He went on to say if we trained an elephant, it would understand our language: English.

Inside the Rock House. It was a good 5 minute walk from the kitchen, which was about 50 metres below following a rocky and rustic trail.

A few from Ela Ecolands kitchen/dining room.

Made a friend with a frog on our way from the Rock House to the kitchen. Lit the little guy with a flashlight from above in case you’re wondering.

Uni posing with us.

Uni our ride. Amazing fellow with majestic tusks.

Riding Uni. An amazing experience.

 

Mobile Blogging – Elephants on Christmas Day

It was the best Christmas present Purazar could have given me. On our journey inland from Kochi to Munnar region, on Christmas day, we stopped at an elephant training center. The handlers only work with their elephants for three years to build a rapport. We watched them take their elephant down to the river and bathe them.

The eldest female in the group. She knew her daily routine so needed just the occasional polite instruction from her handler.

Elephant handlers bathing and creating a bond with their beasts. They issue commands in Malyali.

The elephants brought along their own food to their resting spots. The handler prepares a pile of branches and leaves the the Elephant will drag over.

Handlers taking their Elephant for a walk after the bath.

Video taping the elephant bathing.

 

Girls and Graffiti – Experimental Shoot

I’ve been looking forward to shooting at this location for a long time but during a previous attempt, the weather did not cooperate and was postponed. The day of this shoot the weather didn’t cooperate either but we were determined to at least get a few shots. As everyone assembled on location, our aspirations were tested once more with high winds and a heavy down pour. We huddled in various cars and after about 45 minutes were greeted by a break in the clouds and a gorgeous warm sunset. Everyone worked quickly to get setup and we got these amazing shots with a legal graffiti wall as the back drop.

I have a huge respect for graffiti artists because I find it a challenge to copy a drawing from a small piece of paper to a large piece of paper, so the skill required to create a 20ftx10ft mural is out of this world. I could have chosen to blur the graffiti into a soft swirl of colours(out of focus), but I chose to have both the art work as well as the models in focus.

With so many colours and such dynamic lighting, I couldn’t help but experiment with the final look of the images. There were so many possible directions I could have taken these images in, which is part of the reason it took me longer than usual to release them.

If you’re interested in the technical details of the lighting setup – more info at the end of the post.

graffiti background, dance moves, legal graffiti wall in ottawa, George Dunbar Bridge (Bronson Avenue), Girls and Graffiti - An experimental Shoot, strobist, lighting setup
graffiti background, dance moves, legal graffiti wall in ottawa, George Dunbar Bridge (Bronson Avenue), Girls and Graffiti - An experimental Shoot, strobist, lighting setup
graffiti background, dance moves, legal graffiti wall in ottawa, George Dunbar Bridge (Bronson Avenue), Girls and Graffiti - An experimental Shoot, strobist, lighting setup
graffiti background, dance moves, legal graffiti wall in ottawa, George Dunbar Bridge (Bronson Avenue), Girls and Graffiti - An experimental Shoot, strobist, lighting setup
graffiti background, dance moves, legal graffiti wall in ottawa, George Dunbar Bridge (Bronson Avenue), Girls and Graffiti - An experimental Shoot, strobist, lighting setup
graffiti background, dance moves, legal graffiti wall in ottawa, George Dunbar Bridge (Bronson Avenue), Girls and Graffiti - An experimental Shoot, strobist, lighting setup
graffiti background, dance moves, legal graffiti wall in ottawa, George Dunbar Bridge (Bronson Avenue), Girls and Graffiti - An experimental Shoot, strobist, lighting setup
graffiti background, dance moves, legal graffiti wall in ottawa, George Dunbar Bridge (Bronson Avenue), Girls and Graffiti - An experimental Shoot, strobist, lighting setup
graffiti background, dance moves, legal graffiti wall in ottawa, George Dunbar Bridge (Bronson Avenue), Girls and Graffiti - An experimental Shoot, strobist, lighting setup

Technical Details

  • Camera: D600
  • Lens: Nikon 85mm 1.8 G
  • Strobes: Mix of Nikon 800/600 and Yong Nuo
  • Light stands, umbrellas and sandbags

I didn’t know what to expect in terms of light at this location, so I brought along a lot more gear than I ended up using. That’s not a bad thing when you have the luxury of doing so, but I would not do that if the location was a few kilometre trek into the woods.

The thought process behind the lighting for most of the shots was to use the natural light coming from camera left as the main source and to add some fill on the subject as well as selectively lighting the graffiti wall with strobes. For the fill lights I used two strobes with shoot through umbrellas on both sides of the camera. I also had a strobe fire next to the wall, out of frame, which highlighted the wall as needed. The camera was metered to the sunlight and then I adjusted the strobes accordingly to provide the appropriate amount of fill (no fancy light metres here, just trial and error).

I was triggering the strobes remotely using the Nikon CLS system, which works amazingly well indoors, but outdoors the system has a little trouble. The bright sunlight would overpower the IR signal and the strobes wouldn’t fire every time. I tried firing the strobes as optical slaves, but that was hit or miss as well. In the end, I had more success than failures, but another purchase in the new year might be some radio triggers.

Since I wanted the the models as well as the graffiti wall in focus, I placed them closer to the wall and I also used an aperture ranging between f4 and f8, keeping the shutter speed at 1/125 sec and ISO 500.

My Landscape Photography Kit

Most of Ontario is flat and boring, but Autumn in this province is almost always stunning. The show that Mother Nature put on last year (2012) was spectacular, unfortunately this year didn’t match up, but it was still worth the early morning alarm and a trek through the woods. The first time that I set out to capture the fall colours this year, I took with me my D600 and two lenses – one wide angle and one telephoto. Out in the field, I would capture the scenery and turn to find a flock of geese or a pair of ducks or a majestic great blue heron but by the time I changed lenses I had missed the shot. I needed a long telephoto setup that I could pair with my D600 wide angle kit. Hmm…Only if I have a second “back-up body”, with a crop sensor, superb AF-speed and a fast continuous rate to capture these birds. Wait a minute – I do. I have a D300s! That’s how my landscape photography kit came together – my dynamic duo.

It took a few tweaks to get the setup right – including adjusting the straps to the right length so that I could easily walk, jog, run, crouch or climb a tree and have both cameras stay put and ready for action whenever I needed them.

If you’re curious, here’s what my kit looks like:

  • D600 with the 24-85mm kit lens
  • D300s with the 70-200 f4 (but with the crop factor it’s close to a 105-300mm) and (12-bit Raw Files mode to shoot at 6fps)
  • D600 attached to a Black Rapid strap sitting on my right hip
  • D300s attached to standard issue Nikon strap on my left shoulder, hanging on the left hip
  • Both locked and loaded with Patriot Memory EP Series 64GB SDXC Cards
Nikon D300s w/ 70-200mm f4 and the Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 Kit lens

Landscape Photography Kit – My Dynamic Duo – Nikon D300s w/ 70-200mm f4 and the Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 Kit lens

It might look and feel like overkill, and someone might think I’m showing off, but I enjoy all types of photography, so why would I only travel with one type of setup, when I have the option to carry everything I need for landscapes or wildlife? This setup works amazingly well for me.

I just want to iterate that I’m not bragging about my setup, because for the last 5 years, I shot with one body and a single (all purpose 18-200mm)  kit lens and managed to get some amazing pictures.

Here are a few sneak peeks of some shots I took over the Thanksgiving Weekend. Lots more to come in this series.

Warm evening sunset shot with Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 kit lens.

Warm evening sunset shot with Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 kit lens.

Gull in flight with the Toronto Skyline in the background, shot with the Nikon D300s w/ 70-200mm f4. Belfountain Conservation Area - Wooden Walk Bridge shot with Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 kit lens.

Gull in flight with the Toronto Skyline in the background, shot with the Nikon D300s w/ 70-200mm f4. Belfountain Conservation Area – Wooden Walk Bridge shot with Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 kit lens.

Ducks in the water, shot with the Nikon D300s w/ 70-200mm f4. Fall landscape at Island Lake Conservation Area shot with Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 kit lens.

Ducks in the water, shot with the Nikon D300s w/ 70-200mm f4. Fall landscape at Island Lake Conservation Area shot with Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 kit lens.

Fall landscape shot with Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 kit lens.

Fall landscape shot with Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 kit lens.

Ducks in the water, shot with the Nikon D300s w/ 70-200mm f4. Moon and leaf shot with Nikon D600 w/ 24-70 kit lens.

Ducks in the water and Moon shot with the Nikon D300s w/ 70-200mm f4. Fallen leaf shot with Nikon D600 w/ 24-70mm kit lens.

 

Nikon 80-400mm Review – First Impressions

Ever since Nikon released their updated super-telephoto zoom earlier this year, I’ve been waiting for a reason to test this lens out, and a few weekends ago, I found the perfect opportunity, when I was shooting the Canadian University Ultimate Championships. Fast moving subjects at changing distances were the perfect test subjects to get a feel for the lens and provide my first impressions for this Nikon 80-400mm review. You won’t find hardcore technical details in this review or any scientific proofs about what makes this lens awesome, just real-world evidence that I gathered after using it for about 12-15 hours over a weekend and having taken over 4000 frames.

Read more

KindAwesome Photo Contest Winner

While shooting the CHEO BBQ Tournament in June, I took a picture of a player who was running to grab the disc. This was a classic instance of being in the right place at the right time. Since then I’ve received numerous compliments and this image has been published in a number of different places including the cover photo of Ultimate Canada’s Facebook page. It also won third place in the KindAwesome Photo Contest.

Thanks to Kind bars for sending me the prize – the bars are delicious.

Ultimate Pictures, Ultimate Frisbee Pictures, Kind Bars, Photo Contests, Photos of Determination, Black and White, KindAwesome Photo Contest

KindAwesome Photo Contest Winning image and price pack