Monday, October 3, 2011

Hike to Twin Falls - 9.25.2011

September in Canada. The time when the leaves start changing colors, and the switch from summer to fall (or possibly winter sometimes...) starts. This weekend, since my best mate Tim had never seen Takkakaw Falls, near Field B.C., in Yoho National Park, I figured I'd bring him out and show him places he hadn't seen. We talked about hiking to a lodge at Twin Falls, and I had read recently how Twin Falls was another very impressive waterfall.

I picked him up at 6:45am and we headed out towards Field. The trip was easy as winter hasn't hit Alberta or the Eastern part of B.C. yet, and the scenery was amazing as it always it. It was supposed to be another hot day of close to 30 degrees celcius. We've had a fantastic summer this year, probably the best in about 10 years that I can remember.
On the way down the Yoho Valley Road, we didn't see any wildlife, but when you near the falls, you turn a corner and WHAM! There it is in it's majestic beauty!! We arrived there at around 9:15am, and it was a bit cool as the sun hadn't come out yet. We talked to a nice couple from France, as we took photos and video of the falls. Not as impressive as it is at runoff time, but no matter when you come here, Takkakaw (Cree for "Magnificent") is awe inspiring.
After spending 15 minutes or so at the falls we decided to get going on our 18km (round trip) hike to Twin Falls Chalet. At about the 2km mark we visited Point Lace Falls, which would be another impressive waterfall at runoff time. Must come back early summer. At this point, it was really starting to get quite warm, as the sun had come up now.
We then started to head uphill towards Laughing Falls. Along the fairly steep climb, for a guy that apparently doesn't like hills, Tim practically ran up it. I was struggling since it was my first strenuous activity since October of 2010 due to a hernia. This was my first activity since the operation had fully healed and I was interested on how it was going to handle the hike.
Part of the way up there were a couple of trails that led towards the canyon. Not the "main" hiking trail, but some offshoots that are obviously quite well travelled. We then walked one of those side trails along the Yoho River, getting some impressive views of the deep canyon and some fantastic shots of a small waterfall with a rainbow in the spray.
We got to Laughing Falls Campground, and would be an amazing place to camp for a day or so. Obviously Bears would be a concern, and my guess is that there would be some Cougar out there too. I was hoping to see a Bear on the trail, but that didn't work out, unfortunately. After looking at the river by the campground, we didn't see or really hear a waterfall....we though a bunch of rapids was laughing falls, and it made us laugh because it was a joke lol! But, as soon as we kept going just past the campground, there it! This was a fairly tall waterfall, and it was LOUD!! Although runoff is truly over, and the flow of water from the glaciers that feed all of these waterfalls, is slowing down, there was a TON of water coming over this fall. Truly an amazing thing to see and hear.
Heading away from Laughing Falls the trail remained fairly flat, until one point which was about 30 minutes from Twin Falls campground. It was quite steep going up, but of course...we ended up going down again. That's when we arrived at the campground. It was really cool! Fantastic campsites, and even a common picnic area where there was a food stand to keep the food in the air away from the bears.
After taking some more photos there, we headed up the final steep (and for me, grueling..) climb, to Twin Falls. It was quite the elevation gain, and we were both feeling the thin air. Here we were sitting at about 5700 feet above sea level. I didn't really bring enough water as I couldn't find my water "bladder" for my backpack. We stopped on the trail and had a bit of water and a small bite to eat. I was really feeling the climb at this point. My leg muscles were screaming at me (well, not literally LOL) wondering what the heck I was doing to them....but we weren't turning back now!!
We turned a corner on the trail and all of sudden we could hear the falls! Couldn't see them, but we could hear them. Some more trudging on and we got to the Chalet.
Here's a little history on the chalet:
The Canadian Pacific Railway constructed the building in stages, beginning around 1908 with a one-storey cabin for patron taking backcountry tours. In about 1923 the company added a two-storey structure to create a larger and more attractive chalet.
Unfortunately, there aren't any "specific" dates, but I'll accept the approximates that the Historical Sites and Monuments Board of Canada can provide :)
There, we could see Twin Falls. Twin Falls is aptly named for the two chutes at the top of the falls. At 5,980 feet above see level, we walked to the upper deck of the Chalet, and sat down and had lunch. The sites, and sounds were amazing. The old Chalet from the early 1900's, the falls, it truly was a peaceful place. I really didn't want to leave and come back that night to the concrete jungle of Calgary.
After about 40 minutes, we walked down to a viewing spot, and found a map that showed 3 more viewing areas. The closest one to the falls was fantastic as the photos had to be quick to keep spray from getting on the lens. The noise was amazing. Watching the videos now, you just don't realize how noisey they are.
Well, it was now time to start heading back to the car, as we had another couple of stops to do.
The hike back was easier for me as there was definitely less uphill going back. My right foot had 2 blisters, I could feel back was sore from the pack I hadn't carried in well over a year, but it was truly worth any pain that I went through, or would go through over the next 4 days after the hike.
Once back at the car, I wanted to take Tim to Emerald Lake, as that was another place he hadn't seen. Emerald Lake truly is a beautiful place. Extremely busy in the summer time though, so if you do visit in the summer, make sure you go there early (8am at the latest) or else you'll be struggling to get the shots you want, as the bridge over to the lodge, is normally flooded with tourists that are on coach tours.
After stopping off for some dinner (and a couple of bevvies...) at "The Drake" in Canmore, we headed back to Calgary. It always is slightly depressing leaving the beauty of the Rockies, to come back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but I always know that I have my weekends where I can escape to the mountains!! :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Takkakaw Falls - Yoho Valley - 9.19.2011

Phew! Finally caught up on blog updates. This is my trip from yesterday :)
The last few days I've been feeling down. No need to go into the reason why, but I've been down. There's usually only one cure for that, when it comes to me, and that is to get the hell out of town and into the mountains....let's see if it worked.
It was a nice morning when I loaded up the FotomanMobile. A bit on the cool side, but still, nice. I had made the decision that I would do a little bit of a hike out at Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National Park. I've never hiked down the Yoho Valley Trail so I figured I'd make the day about waterfalls, and go for a bit of a hike.
Heading through Banff, I could see the dark clouds forming over the mountain tops. Low cloud cover and parts of the highway were damp. I had forgotten any kind of jacket, but did remember to bring a sweater - which is a good thing. Heading down the steep grade into Field, B.C., it started raining. I don't mind rain, especially in the mountains and on a hike, as I find it intesifies the smells and even some sounds.
It had been a couple of years since I had been out to Takkakaw Falls, and arriving at the parking lot, it's majestic look, and amazing sound of the water rushing over the top, confirmed that it definitely is a jewel to visit and photograph.
Taking the quick walk from the parking lot towards the very short trail that goes to the falls, I realized that everyone I had walked by, said "good morning" and most asked "how are you today?". Although still feeling a bit down, I couldn't help but say "I'm great thanks! How are you?" How can you not be great in a place like this?? This trip really did start to help my head space, right from the start.
I set up the tripod and took a shot from one of the "normal" spots that most people take a photo of these falls from, then packed up the tripod, and started the walk down the trail. Most people (young and old) were from Europe. I talked to one nice couple that were from Germany, and they were hiking the same direction I was, although they overtook me because I stopped to take a lot of photos :)
Not far up the trail, is the Takkakaw Warden Office. I'll have a photo of this up soon, as I was able to get a shot of this rustic looking log cabin, with the falls to the right of the photo. Man, that'd be an awesome place to "work"!! Just passed that, since it was drizzling a bit with rain, yet the sun was peeking out now and then, was a rainbow over the Yoho Valley. Unfortunately, it didn't show up on the photo. Not sure if it's because I had my circular polarizer filter on or not, but next time, if it's overcast like it was, I'll leave that off.
I couldn't help notice, even on the drive up the road to the falls parking lot, that the water level was quite low compared to most times I've visited. Although, this is the latest in the year I've been out here, so understandable considering runoff season has finished. Just past the Takkakaw Campground, is a thin, wooden, footbridge that spans a wide water way. At this time though, it's pretty dry. a few streams of water run down it, fed by a small waterfall on the left. These mountains are just waiting for the snow. I'll have to do this walk earlier next year, when runoff is happening. I'm sure the amount of water down some of these areas will be amazing!
Past this section, the pine trees line the trail and make for an amazing smell all the way. Coming to a "T" intersection, I turned right to have a look at Angel's Staircase Falls. This was at 2.21km from the falls and unfortunately, no water was running down these falls at this time. Turning back, I went the short walk .25km to Point Lace Falls. This had water...I could hear it before I got there. It's quite a tall waterfall, nothing tall like Takkakaw, but probably a good 200 feet. Although there wasn't a huge amount of water flowing over the top, it was good because I'm sure my lens would have gotten spray on it if I came up in the runoff season. That was a nice waterfall.
At this time, I was considering continuing on for another 1.5km to Yoho Gorge Falls, but I didn't want to get home too late so I turned back towards the parking lot.
On the way back I met a couple of really nice (and really pretty) young ladies from Eastern Europe (just from their accent...I never did ask where they were from). At this time the sun was coming out and it was warming up a bit, even though it was still a bit windy and still drizzling, at the same time.
At the parking lot I loaded my equipment back into the FotomanMobile, and headed off to Emerald Lake. I don't know what it is, but every time I'm in Field, I have to come to Emerald Lake. It's called that for obvious reasons and if you have a look at my photos of it on my flickr photostream, you'll see why. The color of the water is amazing, and one hot summer day I'll rent a canoe and go out on the water with my camera for some "different perspective" shots. They always have some really nice colors of plants hanging off the small bridge that goes from the parking lot, over the water to the resort/lodge, and I always like to include these in my photos of the lake too. Again, due to the weather being a little overcast, and a bit cooler than when I've been up here previously, there was a small amount of people. In the summer time, it's hard to even make it onto the bridge at times with the amount of people there.
Time was pushing on, and if I was to go the way home I wanted to, I'd need to get going, so I started on my way back towards Calgary. Taking the turnoff at Highway 40, I headed south towards Kananaskis. I'd heard warnings (and seen signs) that bear were still quite active in the Kananaskis area, so I was hoping to get a glimpse of a bear for the first time, this year. Unfortunately, that wasn't going to happen.
Heading up the highwood pass, the fall colors started to really pop. I can't wait for another month until the colors really start to come out. I love the mountains in the fall. The colors from the leaves are amazing and really add to a photograph. I didn't even see a deer or a Rocky Mountain Sheep along the 40/Highwood pass. Got to Longview and headed north then East towards High River just for something a bit different. After that I headed to Hwy 2 and headed into downtown. Arriving at home I felt a bit different from when I started off. Felt in a slightly better frame of mind about things, than I have, lately. Back to 100%, definitely not, but better? Yes, definitely.
So, 697.9km, and a 10 hour day later, I got some fantastic results. Next weekend, I'm taking my best mate Tim out to Takkakaw falls as he's never been there before. I'd like to get out there for about 9am, as there is a historic chalet at "Twin Falls" which is 7.9km away from the parking lot. Built in the early 1900's it used to be a stop over for CP Rail workers that hiked out that way. There is a lot of Railway history in Field B.C., and also the Burgess Shale which contains fossils from a long, long, long, long, time ago. :)
Next weekend should be a fantastic weekend. Heading out with Tim on Saturday, and my friend Samantha on the Sunday.
Until next time,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chicks and there any better combination? - 9.11.2011

My friend Don has a 55 Bel-Air. Beautifully restored, with passion, and love, for the vehicle. From the first time I talked to him he wanted photos done, and instantly I wanted to include a model or two.
My long time friend Victoria was in on this one, as she loves old cars, and I also got a new model friend Miranda to come out for this shoot.
On my way back from Edmonton a week before the shoot, I saw a gas station that last year was operational, but has since closed down. Looking at the exterior of the building, it looks run down - a perfect place to put a 55 Bel-Air. Kind of a "newish old vehicle" with a "newish old looking building".
I think the majority of the photos turned out really well, unfortunately, it was really windy so my reflector, for the most part, was useless....I REALLY need that set of studio lights!!! That's ok, next year!! :)
As always, photos from this shoot can be seen on my various sites.

Secluded Shoot With Kelsi - 9.10.2011

When was the last time I did a one on one shoot?? That would have been with Jacqueline the Saturday before my "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit" Sunday. Jaqueline couldn't make it Sunday so we did a one on one shoot on the Saturday. So, this time, it was with a long time friend, Kelsi. We had been wanting to work together for a few years, but our schedules never matched up. This time, they did and we got some fantastic shots!!
We did a bunch of different styles, with her new leather jacket, new leather shoes (both items from her Italy vacation), lingerie, implied nudes, the whole bit. The location is an abandoned house I found last year, just north of the city. It's hidden by trees and easily missed and nobody goes there. Perfect for a nice secluded photoshoot where no stray public eyes can see.
I have a bunch of photos from that day on my Flickr site, my main site, and on Facebook too. Have a look and comment on them! Let me know what you think!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Son of a BEACH! - August 27th, 2011

Sorry for my late update, but I've been busy shooting :)

August 27th, a week after the initial Sports Illustrated style swimsuit shoot in a stream, in Fish Creek park, I decided to do a beach type shoot at Sikome Lake. Little did I know that you need a "permit" to shoot in a park. The guy at the gate said I needed a permit to shoot as a business. I told him it wasn't a business today, as the models weren't paying me, and I wasn't paying them. So, I got in. :)

What amazes me, is the amount of photographers that are against Time For...whatever - baiscally, taking photos of models, for free. How else are you going to get the photos? In Calgary, you're not going to get paid by a top model, because oh're in Calgary, NOT in LA, New York, London, Paris, what's wrong with a trade of service?? NOTHING!  I get the photos I want, they get the photos they want. Now if you go into professional Fitness, or bodybuilding personalities, they're willing to pay for photos, which is great, but you'll get very few Alberta models that are just starting out, paying you to take their photos. Of course, it'd be great if we all got paid to shoot, and to be shot, but that's not going to happen in Calgary. Yes, there are circumstances where you will get paid, but in general, when dealing with models that aren't getting paid by an agency/company, it's going to be a trade of service.

Now back to the shoot....

Sikome lake...nice little beach area and a great lake. It wasn't too busy when we got there so we set up towards the south side where it was quiet. Joining me that day were Shaii and Samantha from the week before, and a newcomer Jessica who was great to work with - they all are. :)

Shooting and shooting is what I did...about 700 photos of all 3 models. Not bad for a few hours worth of shooting. I had my new stand for my reflector which really gave the photos that extra "kick" of light, which was really nice. I'll be using that for all of my future shoots too, as I loved the extra light.

Towards the end of the shoot, we had quite the crowd gathering near us...I guess people aren't used to seeing a guy with a camera in the lake, carrying a large reflector and stand around LOL!

Well, it was another great day, and this coming weekend (September 10th and 11th), I'll be doing some more shoots with some more gorgeous women (and a 1955 Chevy Bel-Air) so early next week I'll update this blog again with my latest adventures. :)

Shots from August 27th can be seen on my Flickr photostream and on Facebook.




Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition - 8.20.11, and 8.21.2011

Last weekend was the first weekend being without pain since my lovely hernia surgery. I'm now about 10 days without pain which is great news. So, since I've been in a "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit" frame of mind since the beginning of the year, I gathered a few models together to do a shoot. Jaqueline couldn't make it Sunday, so we did our shoot on Saturday. Sunday, I shot with Dannielle (whom I've worked with twice before and have known for about 4 years now), and also shot with newcomers Samantha, and 17 year old Shaii.
I had a few ideas in mind for poses, and such, and other things we just did off the top of our heads. I think that the shots came out really nice, and did show a Sports Illustrated style of bikini/swimsuit photoshoot. I've always been amazed at the shots the SI photographers get, although yes, they have much better equipment than I do, and about 5 assistants helping them out, when you can pull off some great shots with minimal equipment and only one assistant (the lovely Monika Forintos, in my case..) then that's got to say something.
We had a lot of laughs, and it was great fun!! We'll be doing a beach theme shoot very soon, so stay tuned for that blog update. And as always, check out my sites for photos from this past weekend!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Finally!! Short road trip - 7.12.2011

Howdy Folks!

Well, as some of you may know, I had hernia surgery almost two weeks ago now, and today, I finally tried going out for a drive. Yesterday the hernia felt really good, and I am now able to walk without the limp :)
My hernia was near my groin region so it has made sitting down very difficult, and obviously, walking as well, has been interesting.

But, onto the good news. I went for a small drive out to Kananaskis, over the Highwood Pass, then back to Calgary through Longview. It started to get uncomfortable about 45 minutes away from home...and when I got home it was quite painful. Yes, I know, I shouldn't push it too much..but I'm an idiotic male sometimes, what I can I say LOL!
I was able to see a Coyote running into the woods, a couple of deer, and TONS of Rocky Mountain Sheep, along the Highway 40. I was able to snap a couple of shots of the mountain sheep, so all in all a good couple of hours this afternoon.

The pain has now gone (again..) and the swelling has gone down, so that's good. I've been off pain killers for about 6 days now, but took one today when I got back from the drive.

Thing are looking up, so it shouldn't be too much longer until I'm able to sit for a while and drive around taking photos :)

Not a "fantastic" day of photos, but it was just great to be able to get out there again and enjoy the scenery, the fresh air, and the wildlife that I did get to see!! :)

Until next time..


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stampede/Country Shoot - May 29th, 2011


Yep, it's the Calgary Stampede coming up. Now don't get me wrong, I not a big fan of country music (ok..SOME isn't too bad, but it's VERY selective...) and I don't really like the Calgary Stampede. Maybe it's because I haven't had anyone to really enjoy it with, or maybe it's because just to walk in through the gates and have a beer is a $50 spot. I personally think it's quite a rip off...but hey, like everything else in this world, it's a business right?? So if people will pay for it, why not charge it?

But, regardless of my sheltered views (HAHAHA!) there's nothing sexier than fit women in a nice tight pair of denim jeans or denim shorts. Todays "stampede" shoot was a collaborative idea between me and my friend and fellow photographer, Monika Forintos. Monika's friend Lori has a horse at a stables just outside of Calgary, so they allowed us to spend this morning there taking photos. Firstly, not only is Monika a fantastic looking woman, but her friend Krista that came with us, to model, is amazing too! Today was the first day I had met Krista and Lori. When I saw Lori I was blown absolutely gorgeous woman, with a fantastic body (and an amazing personality to match!!)and wow...she fit those jeans perfectly!!!

Although reluctant to join in, Lori joined in and modeled for me too (Thanks so much Lori!!!). The horses made a fantastic addition to the photos, and although sometimes didn't cooperate, the majority of the photos came out great!! I need a full time light assistant next time though for the reflector job. However, the horses did NOT like the reflector, so we ended up not using it much. Next time I'm going to focus strictly on the models, and remove the horses from the equation. I thought up so much more additional poses, and shots that I want to produce, so I can't wait for our "Episode 2" of the Stampede/Country shoot, which we're hoping will be done sometime in June.

The shot at the top of this post has got to be one of my favorites...I have a few more ideas for this shot, but hopefully will be able to produce that next time.

My sister rides horses, so I'm quite used to them, and respect their power and abilities. Today was a fantastic day of working humans and animals together, which is very hard. All 4 ladies (Sharon included, who helped immensely with horse management) worked very hard so that I could capture the shots I wanted.

Thanks again ladies!!!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Photography...the business of it!!

Hey there!

Firstly, before I begin, I'd really like it if those that can, can follow my blog on!! It'd be greatly appreciated. And if you (models and photographers) can comment on this blog that would also be greatly appreciated. I'm not here to piss people off or "stir the pot" - I'm here for fairness and I LOVE what I do with photography!! I hope you love my results!!!

I've been a photographer for many years now. I have a complete passion and love for photography, but I wanted to start with a bit of a history on what I've done in the photography world before getting into the details of my thoughts today.

I started off taking photos of aircraft as I've always loved aviation of all kinds (military and civil). I've met F18 pilots, sat in F18s, RAF Tornados, RAF Jaguars and have met some fantastic people involved with the Airports both in Edmonton and Calgary, and all over.
After a couple of years, I started hiking and scrambling and grew to love the landscape that is only 45 minutes from home. I also started studying wildlife and over the last 6 years have concentrated more on the wildlife photography side of things. At that same time, I also got to know the Calgary Stampeder (CFL) Staff and team quite well. I got a couple of sideline passes and shot some fantastic stuff!! I just need to buy a new scanner and re-scan my slides....but, everything costs money!! More on this later :)

For most people, photography is, and will remain, a hobby, and they'll never put any effort into making it into an actual business. Family gatherings, their kids graduations, that's good enough for them..anything to do with their family, or something like that. Business will never cross their mind. For me, this year, it is about business. There is a LOT of work. Keeping mileage logs for the vehicle, fuel and repair receipts, receipts for any paid jobs, costs associated with equipment, etc...In the past, the majority of my work has been done for free, and please don't get scared, but that has to change this year!! I can't afford to buy equipment I need, and upgrade things I need to, by doing things for free. I'm not talking outrageous prices, so please, keep reading.

The last couple of years I was able to photograph a couple of friends of mine, Monika B, and Dannielle S, and dabble in the "portrait" side of things. I'm a people person and absolutely love being with people, talking to them, learning about them, and photographing them. In January of 2011, I got in touch with Tim Rollans ( At the time I met him, we discussed where, at that time, his studio called "Model World" could go, and we seemed to have the same outlook on things. At the same time I met another fellow photographer Monika Forintos - her energy is amazing!! Even now, since the closing of the "Model World" studio, her energy is catching! We'll definitely be working together again this year!! This is where it all gets a little confusing to some. Since I'm still relatively new to the "portrait/fashion" whatever you want to call it, area of photography, I'm NOT a noob when it comes to logic, and business. However, I'm not into anything to rip people off, or promise them things that I can't deliver. In EVERYTHING I do, I want to be fair, while putting a little extra cash in my pocket. Not talking getting rich, although that's everyone's dreams, but just putting a little extra in the bank so equipment costs can be covered. Like Tim's thinking, photography, modeling, whatever "profession" you are in or want to be in, at the end of the day, we ALL need to make money. Equipment (for a model, clothing For an MUA, cosmetics. For a photographer, a HELL of a lot of expensive equipment) costs you can see, EVERYONE involved has a cost. Some more than others. What my thinking is, is that I can do a basic outdoor shoot for $40 (these prices may and most likely will change in the future) per model. This could be something from outdoor portraits, kind of a grunge graffiti shoot, whatever it may be, where any property rental isn't required. When I say property rental, it doesn't strictly relate to realty - it could be a car, motorcycle, etc. The owner has to drive or get whatever "property" to the location. This could cost fuel, but no matter what property it is, there's wear and tear, so why shouldn't they get a bit of the pie?? They should.
I don't expect the basic model who's not actually working full time as a full time paid model (The Tyra Banks, Cindy Crawfords of the world..), to pay $500 for headshots. It's not realistic that most people would have that kind of spare cash nowadays. Are they serious about becoming a model? HELL YEAH! (that's for your Mon! LOL!) But like everything, money, or lack thereof, always plays a factor on how quickly one can obtain their dreams and goals. It's not that people aren't serious, it's that funds don't allow them to get there at times.

What everyone has to remember, is that ok, I (and probably most other photographers) can't pay a model because I'm a photographer that's NOT getting paid on a consistent basis (weddings, etc..). But, what I can do for the model is provide different styles, and different shoots/themes, to add to their portfolio for a VERY reasonable price. The model can then use those photos to help get them to where they want to be, within whatever agency or angencies, they decide to work with. I think that's fair....and that's what I'm all about. It has to be fair for everyone. Everyone should be willing to help each other. There are not "secrets" to photography, retouching, or anything. The internet has made sure of that! So why not be willing to "share" and be nice to each other and network, and not cut others down? I've heard so much negativity in my life in no matter what business I've been in, and that's why I like working with people like Monika Forintos, because she's positive, full of energy, and we come up with some great ideas together!! She's a great friend and I can't wait to work with her again VERY shortly! :)
I can't wait to finally meet fantastic photographers and people like Al Del Degan, Paul Spenard, and other fellow local Calgary photographers that I've "met" via facebook. You all seem great people and I really, honestly, can't wait to finally meet you all!!!

So this is how I've come up with my pricing guide and what I'm willing to do for models and photographers.

1) $40 per model for a basic outdoor shoot. This would be 1-2 hours, the model will view the photos with the photographer and decide on 2 favorites. Those 2 would be re-touched (just basic retouching - skin, eye color, makeup color), by myself, and those 2 pictures will be burned to a CD with all of the originals from the shoot. You've got to admit, that's a great deal for $40!!

2) $100-$300 per model - intricate theme shoots. These type of shoots, depending on location, could range from 1/2 day to a full 8 hour day (including travel time). This time, 6 retouched photos would be included on the CD of the originals. This could be anything, but it would require rental of property. Of course, this is where it gets interesting - if there are 5 models, and 3 photographers, then obviously, the cost decreases as now there are more people putting money into the "pot". Believe me, I currently have 3 great shoots planned which will cost money from everyone involved and would love as many models (male and female) involved, as email me ( if you are interested in additional details!!

The above is directed more to the models. For fellow photographers, I think a $25 fee per shoot isn't unreasonable either. I'd be putting in the effort of getting the model, setting up the shoot, day, time, location, props, have your camera so you'd be keeping your again, a FAIR $25 per shoot fee (basic outdoor shoot), I think, is FAIR for everyone involved.

I realize that a lot of people don't want to pay for anything these days, but it's impossible to get anything for free!! To put it in perspective from a photographer's position, I personally don't have a $2300+ lighting system - used either in studios or portable for location shoots. I can rent a set, and I talked to my mate at Vistek today for about 45 minutes and it would cost me about $150 A DAY to rent. Now to get the right lighting so the model looks perfect, that's what's required. So as you can see, that's one cost that a photographer personally has to pay out, even before a model has paid him for his services. If I wanted to rent a studio, then of course that's another additional cost of anywhere from another $100-300/day depending on size, and most studios rent the space, not the equipment such as lights and props/ you can see, the costs just keep going up for the photographer. A camera body costs anywhere from $500-$5000 (if you want to go REALLY high end, medium format Hasselblad's are about $25,000-40,000!!) - and that doesn't include lenses!!! Lenses (GOOD ones) are minimum $1400 (17-55mm 2.8).

Now that you've been so kind to read the whole thing, I'm going to put it as simple as possible. The photographer needs to be paid. Not much, but enough to cover expenses, leg work, retouching time, equipment, etc. If the photographer has to pay a retoucher (ie: nataliemitouch, and many others that I can't remember the names of right now) then obviously, $40 won't cover it. I'm just using $40 for now, but these prices will most likely change in the future, with purchase of my services, but again, it will be REASONABLE for everyone.

Those are my thoughts and I'd like to hear what you (models and photographers) think. I'm trying to make my business affordable for the models, and still at the same time put a bit of money in the bank to get better equipment to make the results for YOU, even better!! And I'm trying to make it so that fellow photographers are included too! Share and Share alike is my motto. Now if a photographer has a studio (in their house, or a studio space in a building) and they have a shoot and we trade shoots for no charge, obviously that could be discussed and worked out too. That's the beauty of this (and any other) business - ANYTHING can be discussed and things worked out and shared, as long as the parties involved are willing to discuss and share.

Well, that's it...this post is done and I really hope you understand where I'm coming from in regards to costs and charges and helping each other. I also hope you're all having a great (and SAFE) Easter long weekend!! At least the weather in Calgary has FINALLY been more like summer these last couple of days!! :)


And on you tube!! Search "fotoman calgary" in the youtube search bar!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

St. Patrick's Day!!!!

St. Patrick's day. I'm amazed, every year, at how many people who don't have any tie to the Irish, pretend they're Irish for the day. Luckily, not many try to talk with the Irish accent. Jamesons is a pub that I've been frequenting for quite a few years now. Mainly their N.E. location just off 36st N.E. My day job is only a few minutes away from there so my friends and I sometimes go there after work for some drinks and chat. Over the years I've gotten to know the owners, the managers, many of the waitresses (some that aren't there anymore) and even some of the regular patrons. I always have great service either at the bar or sitting in a booth or wherever. The food is great, and they just got a new set of taps installed, with a few new beers. To my friend Ian's delight, they finally brought back Kilkenny back on draught!!! For me, I'm a Guinness man; Always have been, always will be. I change it up every now and then for something different, but mainly, Guinness for me. Being that I was born in the UK that makes sense, and for Canadians on St. Patrick's day - it's either that, or green dye in their Budweiser pints!!

Normally, I'd be drunk on St. Patrick's day, but this year, I'm proud to say that my first truly, paid photo job, was to do photos at both the Jamesons NE, and NW locations. I think I'm somewhat cursed on March 17th (won't mention some past issues over the last couple of years...), and it seemed to continue this year as on my way to the NW location, my 2004 CRV broke down. Luckily, my best mate Tim lent me his truck so that I could complete my shoot. Without my friends I wouldn't be where I am today and I just wanted to thank them for being there for me in the times I've really needed them. Back to the festivities....

I showed up to the NE location right after work and the crowd wasn't too bad. No tables available, just standing room only, but not as packed as last year. My mission - photos of the Blakey Irish Dancers ( These girls perform and practice faithfully, every year, and again, they're going to the nationals competition. Congratulations ladies!!!!

After that, my task was to get to the NW location in Brentwood and get some good crowd photos. A slightly smaller size than the NE location, when I arrived this place was absolutely packed!! I could hardly move which made my job even tougher, but I did find a couple of places to get some good crowd photos. A tabel wanted their photo taken so after letting them know they might be on the "internet" they were all game. What a fun crowd!! The band was really good ("King Beats") so I got some shots of them performing, some more crowd shots, then back off to the N.E. location.

Wow...6:30 and this place was absolutely jammed with people!! Again, making my job of finding good spots to take photos, quite difficult, but I love a challenge! I started getting some photos of "WILDCARD" who were a fantastic band and performed most of the rest of the night. The female Fiddler performing was absolutely amazing. I'm still working on getting her name. She performs on the bar, and wow....what a crowd pleaser! She really knows how to work the crowd and get them cheering!! Plus her skill is brilliant.

For me, my job was pretty much done with about 136 photos taken, a bit of troubles with my car breaking down, but a completed job. I'm very happy with the way the photos turned out, and I was very surprised with the results of my flash too, but would still like to get an arm and grip to take the flash off camera.

I hope you all had a fantastic St. Patrick's day as I did!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Washington D.C. - 2.2.11-2.5.11

Business trips can be boring, but can also be fun. Robson and I were hoping for the latter for this trip. Wednesday morning, I cabbed it to the airport with Robson. We were at the airport at 6am, which is very, very, early. We were heading to Washington D.C. for 2 days of meetings, and we were both looking forward to going somewhere we had both never been, and meeting colleagues that we had talked to on the phone, but had never met in person.

I'll skip the non entertaining attempts of sleeping on the plane to Houston, and the trip from Houston to D.C. When we landed at D.C., that's where the fun and realization set in, for both of us, that we weren't in Calgary anymore, and seemed to be in a new space and time.

Seeing some of the monuments lit up in the distance, was surreal. I've always wanted to see these monuments, in person. You see them in movies and on T.V., but don't get a real grasp of the history in D.C., until you're there in person. I've taken a lot of photos of historical buildings in Calgary, but the 1911 buildings here, don't compare at all to the buildings of the early 1800's which are standing in prestine condition, all around the D.C. area! Now that's history!

Our first night there, we met up with some of our colleagues at a sportsbar near the hotel. Had something to eat, played some pool, talked to some colleagues, and of course, drank some beer!! Then some of us headed to the hotel bar to finish off the night before the first day of meetings.

Skip the meeting, and lead to the evening of immense fun. On the schedule was dinner and drinks and partying at Dave and Buster's. We met out front of the hotel and had a very interesting bus ride to Dave and Buster's. The GPS sent the bus down a residential area which was interesting, as this is a large bus/coach. Then we got stuck in a parking lot as we were trying to turn around. Yes, a very interesting ride to Dave and Buster's.

Now in Calgary, there's an arcade style pub called Shank's. Dave and Busters is similar, except kids and families are allowed in, and this place was about 15 times the size of Shank's!!! This place was HUGE! We all got swipe cards with credits on them, for playing games, so after some dinner, and pool, we went to the other side to start playing games.

Many hours later, and many, many, many, drinks (and shots) later, we all poured ourselves onto the bus. Once back at the hotel, someone came up with the idea of walking a couple of blocks down to TGI Friday's, so off we went. Once there, another couple of hours of mayhem ensued, and we ended up closing the place down just before 2am. We all poured ourselves back to the hotel and one part I do remember, is stripping off my clothes and getting into bed at about 2:20am.

At the meeting on Friday morning, at 9am, I was amazed to see people there without too much of a hangover. That afternoon we were done a little earlier so Robson, Aminata, and I decided to head downtown to see the White House and whatever monuments we could, before the sun went down.

We took some pictures at the white house, walked down to the washington monument, then down towards the capitol building. These monuments "look" like they're not too far away from each other, but they are a few miles apart, that's for sure!! It's quite deceiving really, but we were both in awe! No matter where we looked there were really old historical buildings, monuments, statues, and although quite cold, lots of people. Aminata, our colleague, works at our head office not far from these monuments, and lives out of town in the suburbs. We were heading towards the Capitol Building and she mentioned she had never been down this area. I guess when you have it right there, everyday, it doesn't mean as much as it does to someone like us who have never seen anything like this before.

After the sun went down, it got really cold, so we walked back to the metro to take it back to the hotel. After dinner, Robson went up to his room and I had a couple of drinks with Matze and Mike. Because we had to be at the airport at 6:30am, I turned in early too, to hopefully get some sleep.

Cue up a cab at 6am, at the hotel, another interesting cab ride to the airport, and then take off for our trip from D.C. to Denver, then from Denver to Calgary. Our connecting flight in Denver we cut close though, as we were slightly delayed from D.C., and we had to go the entire length of the Denver airport (which took about 10-15 minutes of jogging/fast walking) to get to our connecting flight. We made it just in time. :)

We had a great time in D.C. meeting new colleagues, seeing new landmarks, and having great fun at a HUGE arcade. We can't wait for our next trip, that's for sure!!!! Next time, I'll take a smaller tripod with me (for night shots), and I'll take my bigger camera, rather than my point and shoot.
If you've never been to D.C., I would highly recommend a visit!! I found the people were nice, the drivers quite crazy, but most of all the history is definitely something to embrace. I'd like to stay at the Washington Hotel which is about 2 blocks from the White House. It's a beautiful old hotel, with amazing arcitechture.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Model World Calgary - January 23rd, 2011

Kayleigh Lockhart....she's a great gal with a fantastic look. She's got plenty of modeling experience with mode models in Calgary, but was dropped because of her height. She's 5'6 (or there abouts)....why drop the "look"??? Obviously, they don't know what they had. With this, and in talking to her and seeing her passion for modelling again, I introduced her to Model World Calgary, today. She got to meet Tim Rollans (, and Cassie. We were expecting others, but due to unfortunate circumstances, they were unable to attend.
When we got there, I gave Kayleigh the "grand tour" of the space and explained the opportunities that the studio has to offer, and "our" outlook on what we want it to be. I say "our" because Tim's concept behind Model World Calgary, is helping serious models, serious photographers, serious make up artists, and serious designers, succeed as one. Everyone working together, promoting each other, and everyone succeeding in this business. This is a very, very, rare outlook on this business and one that I've taken to heart very quickly. Not only because of that concept, but because of the entire team's attitudes and outlooks. The willingness to help each other progress, and succeed. To work as a team, and succeed as a team. I know I've said this before, and I can guarantee I'll keep on saying it - this TEAM is going to succeed in ways that many probably never realized before, or even realize now.
Well, onto todays shoots. This week, from Tim's posts on twitter and facebook, the plan was a military "themed" shoot, and a rose petal shoot, along with the standard headshots of the models. We were expecting another photographer but he didn't make it (later in the afternoon,I found out he got the wrong door), and Monika was working (and sick) so she couldn't make it either. That left Tim and I as the photographers. Normally, we have 3-5 models show up on a Saturday, but again, due to family responsibilities and such, we had Kayleigh, who I introduced to Model World Calgary, today, and Cassie who I got to do headshots with, last weekend.
I started with headshots of Kayleigh, a couple of full body shots, then a few headshots with Cassie. I'm starting to get used to these now, but still not 100% sure of the lighting. The results of those were good, and I'm definitely happy with them. Tim was busy with some new visitors to the studio so I got to do all of the first headshots. We tried a couple of different things too, such as a blue background and such. Figured since I was the primary photographer at the time, I'd try some different things. After all, experimentation is where great (and poor) things come from.
We then moved over to the white background...Kayleigh was wearing this bright red dress with black shoes which just yelled SEXY!!! I started shooting, and Tim joined in too. Luckily with the "pocket wizard" remote units, you can have as many photographers shooting as long as they don't press the shutter at the same time. We're starting to get the timing down over the last couple of weeks. We shot Kayleigh in her red dress for what seemed about 45 minutes, then Cassie stepped up to the plate. Cassie was wearing black high heels, simple black jeans, a great black leather jacket and a simple white t-shirt. She asked if she should take off her jacket, and then I could see it...I asked her to grab the collar with both hands.....we got some great sexy shots! Some of her poses were fantastic, and she made my job very easy. Again, this was the first time I had worked with Cassie other than headshots, and she definitely knows how to "work it" in front of the lens, on the podium. A fantastic set with both models....then we set up for the "rose petal shoot".
Being close to Valentine's day, this is very appropriate, plus I've ALWAYS wanted to do a shoot like this - with TONS of petals and beautiful women. Kayleigh was first in black....great contrast against the red petals. Tim and I took TONS of pics of her. different poses, different lighting. It was fantastic!!! Then it was Cassie's turn. She looked amazing!!! I won't go into detail, but WOW! That's all that's really required. LOL! I took lots of shots of Cassie...I was captivated by the way the lighting was, right from the start when we were shooting Kayleigh. I'm just LOVING the studio atmosphere and lighting!!! Tried a couple of different angles and such with Cassie. As the picture at the top of this, shows...different low angles seem to work really well. I'm really liking the low angles.
After that shoot, Tim pretty much put his camera away, so I was primary and decided to try a slightly different lighting and such. then Tim gave me a few pointers, added one more strobe from the single one I was using, just to see the difference. I used the 2 strobe setup from then on. Just to make sure I had the light on both sides of the models. My friend Tim Ayotte lent me some military stuff he had from when he was in the Canadian Army. These turned out to be a great thing!!! Jackets, beret, knife, machete, it was really cool!
Kayleigh was up first, again, some great poses, great catchlights in the eyes. She wore one of my mate's jackets first, with the beret, then we included the belt with the machete...all came together really well, although wardrobe was limited.
Cassie was up next, and I wasn't expecting this. She wore a mesh shirt with a black bra underneath. She's stunning as it is, but she has a very fit body (this is strictly complimentary before you get any ideas LOL), so these shots were going to be HOT and SEXY, and they are!!! WOW!!! Cassie again just moved like I had seen earlier that day!! I swear....if the army boys saw a calendar with these two ladies in it, they'd sell out for sure!!!!
The studio was HOT HOT HOT and SEXY SEXY SEXY today!!! I was pleased to be able to try a bit of different stuff with the lighting, and am looking forward to more sessions and trying more different things. I really can't wait for my first private shoot so that I can try some totally different lighting effects that I haven't tried yet.
Hope you like the pictures!!! They're on my flickr site ( and on facebook (
Thanks for following my photo adventures!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Model World Calgary - January 15th, 2011

Wow! It's hard to believe that I've only known a few of these people for a week or so. Some new models that I met today already hit that "friend" mark. They are truly, an amazing group of individuals that have already had an amazing effect on where I want my photography to go.

Model World Calgary is a new agency/studio, but the people there are amazing. I am extremely happy to be a part of this group, and can only see it going upwards, beyond the expectations that any of us currently have. If you're a model or photographer, I STRONGLY urge you to contact Tim Rollans ( Things are only going to get better from this point onwards.

Onto second Saturday dealing with lighting. Tim got sly today asking questions like "why would I choose Jen first for the headshots?". Monika and I took turns guessing, then it hit me. Since it was on a black background I knew it had to do with contrast of some kind...blending in..colors....I initially thought it was the sparkle of her dress, then said she had dark hair. It indeed was because she has black hair. Doing headshots on a black background is different from the usual agency "we want it on white" outlook. Why should they always be on white??? Why can't it be on black, or blue, or red or green??? Why can't we be different?? This is the mentality and outlook of Model World Calgary. Why follow the norm?? Who are they to think that, that is the norm, and is what it "should" be??? What it should be is what is best. Not only from the photographers point of view, and the models point of view, but the viewer. No matter who looks at the photo...the photo should get some kind of response from them. The viewers reaction is what matters most! But if you want to rent the studio and do the "norm", you're most welcome to. I just find that all photographers have a different "eye" and "outlook" on what is good, and what works. This is what I love about photography. You can have 3 photographers, with the same lighting, with fairly similar cameras, and totally different lenses, and you get 3 totally different results.

Enough of my rambling...back to business LOL!

So we (Monika, Tim, and myself) took turns taking a few headshots of each of the models (4 in total today!! - Plus Monika for a special shoot). First on black, then on white. then after that we started to get creative with the lighting. Tim is not only an amazing photographer, but an amazing teacher too. He explains the lighting, but then says - " what you want...nothing but good will come from experimentation". This is what I like to hear. You learn the basics, and run with it from there. He encourages you to try different things, to be creative. Afte all, isn't that what photography, art, and life in general is about?? Being creative? What's the specific use of a lightbox? what's the specific use of a strobe with a reflective umbrella?? Why spend $400 when you can get the same result with a piece of equipment that's $30?? His advice, really, is invaluable, and I can't wait to work more hours next to him on the studio floor!

So, after that we did a special shoot...don't know if I can mention it here or not, so I won't, just to make sure. But we changed the lighting, added "honeycomb" style filters to the strobes at the back of the models (on the podium) and shot away with a strobe in front, with a HUGE reflective umbrella on that. The results were amazing!!! Once that was done we did solo shots, with the fog machine, lit from behind so that the fog was BRIGHT! Again, amazing results from all of the female models and the male model, Madison, that was in the studio today. He has a great look and really knows how to work the camera.

I reallly have never had so much fun..although this is only my second week in a studio setting, the people I've met, are just amazing. Not only beautiful to look at, and to take photos of, but beautiful people. You get that feeling that it's quickly becoming a close friend/family situation. We all help each other out, show each other our photos, see what works, and what doesn't. We all have different cameras and different lenses, and different "styles" and views....but it all works. That's the way a team succeeds, and that's what I can already see from working with these fine people!!

I really hope you have a look at as that (currently) is the Model World Calgary site. See the shots, see the people involved. We're also on facebook so join our group, be friends with us. IF you're a photographer or model, or makeup artist...this can be your path forward! I am very sure that it is going to be my path to where I want to be in this business, and am going to do everything I can do to succeed at this, and help my fellow "MW's" succeed also. It's about sharing and helping each other! Something that the majority of this world seems to have forgotten about over the last few years.

Another fantastic day at Model World Calgary!!! I really can't wait until next weekend when I go and shoot, and meet, more fantastic people!!!!
Another update next weekend for sure!!! Stay safe, and for all of us Canadians, stay warm!!!


Neil Young

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Model World Calgary - January 8th, 2011

Most of my friends know that I do not like flash photography because of the inconsistency. Now I will be the first to admit, that I do not know "all of the tricks" when it comes to working my flash, and I will admit that without the use of a separate light meter, it comes down to a matter of trial and error in the end. Like everything else in life, it comes down to learning, or being taught the tricks and having the equipment available to see what works and what doesn't. The problem with most hobbies, but photography especially, is that the expense outweighs the income, unless it turns from hobby to profession and you've got people that will pay you for your services. For instance, a light meter can range from $150 (CDN) to $1400 (CDN), and an inexpensive studio lighting kit is about $750-$1400. This is where knowing and meeting people like Tim Rollans ( who graciously has accepted me into the Model World Calgary team, will help my skills, and has already opened up a brand new world, and a brand new branch of my original passion for photography. And there are also people like Al Del Degan ( whom I haven't met yet, but has done some fantastic shoots with some beautiful friends of mine. I'm looking forward to finally meeting him in the next few weeks.

I must admit, I was a bit nervous Saturday morning as I had never met Tim or Monika before. And I've NEVER worked in a studio with the proper lighting. I met Tim and right away it was a fun relaxing time. Monika (both a photographer and a model) was there and she has to be one of most beautiful photographer's I've ever met. I can see now, why she does both. She has a great eye, and imagination for behind the camera, and that transfers into her work in front of the camera. Knowing Tim's concept of Model World Calgary, which is to bring and share all talents of all aspects of the photography world, is just amazing. The studio has taken an extreme amount of work to get it to where it is now, and Tim has done an amazing job!! His vision, creativity and ideas are endless, and just being around Tim and Monika for the first 20 minutes, got my creative mind going too.

Not long afterwards, Brittany showed up. I had seen photos of Brittany thanks to the beautiful world of the social networking page of Facebook, but wow...she truly is a beautiful woman....I can see why she is a model. Kassandra showed up too. I've known her for quite a while, so it was great to see her out of her work atmosphere and on a personal basis for a change. Once Kassandra was changed, Monika started shooting photos of her, while Tim was setting up for some shots of Brittany on a couch that's in the studio.

Graciously, Tim let me bring my camera, and since I was shooting without the studio lighting hooked up to my camera (as Monika and Tim were shooting) I was set at 1600 iso with my 18-55mm F2.8 lens which allowed me to at least get some decent (ish..) photos and some really good shots of Tim and Monika at work. The creating of the :) Luckily when Tim was done getting the shots he wanted, he kindly mounted the pocket wizard remote on my hotshoe, and advised me I could do some shots of the gorgeous Brittany. This was my very very first attempt using anything like a pocket wizard and a strobe/softbox setup. Using the light meter, and the test button, you see what Fstop to use and such settings that you normally would have to do the trial and error approach. Just looking at the results on the very small screen on my VERY OLD Nikon D70, I could tell the difference from what I've been used to, and I must say...I'm now hooked on studio!!! (quite different to hooked on phonics).

I would like to get a new camera body this year, but it's going to be tough as the D700 is over $2000, but this is my passion and eventually I will have some better equipment.

Now that I have a studio available for rent, with the lighting that is required and such, I can hopefully start to provide results better than I ever thought I'd be able to. Now it's just more practice with the proper lighting, and I'll definitely be able to provide some top notch pictures for some models and friends. Any studio work, of course, would take some payment from the models, as I would have to rent the studio from Tim. But, any of my friends that want some truly brilliant studio photos done, please let me know, and we can talk costs for studio shots.

I'd like to thank Tim Rollans for everything so far, and for what we have in mind for the future. I would like to thank Kassandra Schultz for letting me do some photos of her and for being a great friend who loves bringing me beers at her work LOL!!...hopefully one day we can do a proper shoot using the proper lighting :) Monika Forintos for being just a great person and a fantastic bundle of energy and creativity. The results were (I think) amazing!!! :)

It was a great pleasure working with such kind, funny, and passionate people!!

Let's take this to beyond the limits anyone ever thought possible!!!!

HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kananaskis - First road trip and photos of 2011!!

It was a much warmer day yesterday, Jan 1, 2011 (1.1.11) which allowed me to go to Kananaskis for the afternoon. So, off I headed to the mountains. Initially, I was going to go all the way down Kananaskis and back to Canmore via the Spray Lakes road. Unfortunately, I headed out a bit too late and it was starting to get dark. Since there was already an accident on Friday when 4 people in a vehicle, lost control and ended up in the Spray Lake reservoire, I didn't want to travel that road in the dark. Unfortunately, 3 of those people died and one lady escaped with her life thanks to the quick actions of some people that witnessed the accident. It just goes to show, that anything can happen, at any time, and that great care must always be taken in the winter.

My favorite waterfalls was my destination. In the winter, O'Shaughnessey Falls near Kananaskis Village, gets some really amazing ice shapes and doesn't totally freeze over. Although the icy rocks make it tough sometimes to climb up into certain areas, it's always a good location for good water and ice shots.

First trip of 2011 provided some good results, but still didn't see a moose :(
Next trip, is currently scheduled for January 8th, 2011, next weekend. Should be a good day!! :)