Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fred Miranda Wedding Photogs Meetup - Toronto

As the wedding season has come to an end for most of us, it was time to relax and take a few pictures just for the fun of it. Sam Obeid rallied the troops on the FM Wedding Photographer Forum, and at least 12 of us answered the call for a chance to network and share stories with fellow wedding photographers.

Oddly enough, the waitress that worked our table last night was the same waitress we had back at our Nikon meetup at the beginning of the year.

Here are some shots from the evening at The Duke of Richmond

1. Sandra and Lauren
Lauren and Sandra

2. Lauren

2b. Lauren post processed via Capture NX with some Curves added within the program, and then brought into PS CS4 for some dodging and Nik Filters: Pro Contrast and a toned down version of one of the Cross-Processing filters.

3. Sam

4. Mark and Paul
Mark and Paul

5. Spencer

6. Aron and Sam

7. The Bill!
The Bill

8. Our waitress last night
Our waitress

9. Our waitress from the Nikon meet up 11 months ago :-)
Patrick and our waitress

Enjoy the holidays and I'll see you all at the next meet up.

Friday, December 4, 2009

ASID CEU Toronto - Chris Hodges on dealing with facility manager clients and green building.

The last event of the Tayco sponsored educational series for 2009 took place at The Gladstone hotel this past Tuesday (December 1, 2009). Chris Hodges presented on evolution of the role of the Facility Manager, and how important it is to understand the needs and objectives of these key decision makers when presenting a project. Here are a few shots from the evening at The Gladstone Hotel.

Chris Hodges addressing the audience
ASID Toronto - CEU Event with Chris Hodges_4

ASID Toronto - CEU Event with Chris Hodges_5

Very trendy ornaments made out of recycled paper, magazines and posters
ASID Toronto - CEU Event with Chris Hodges_20

The audience
ASID Toronto - CEU Event with Chris Hodges_9

Signing certificates for attendees
ASID Toronto - CEU Event with Chris Hodges_2

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Black Creek Pioneer Village - For the love of photography

As the wedding season is coming to an end, and all I have booked now are family portraits for the holidays, I realized I hadn't shot anything personal for a very long time. Well, I shouldn't say that, because thanks to Chase Jarvis and his Best Camera project I can now roam the streets with my iPhone and be confident that any photo opp won't be missed. However, now that my DSLR camera is part of a money-generating venture in wedding and portrait photography, I think twice about taking it out "just to take pictures". I became a photographer out of pure love for the raw power of images, be it a landscape, a portrait or any other image. That kind of thinking got me worried, so last Sunday I decided to bring my camera along for a little trip my wife an I took to Black Creek Pioneer Village. It was great to break from the wedding mindset and just capture whatever felt right to me. Here are a few shots from the trip:










Friday, November 6, 2009

Using the Lumiquest Softbox III and HONL grids for wedding photography

As much a I love my Alien Bees strobes, when it comes to weddings I always try to pack light. Don't get me wrong, I always bring the ABs with me, just in case, it's just not practical at all to carry them around with you. For that reason, I try to resolve most of my lighting situations with SB-800/900s. In addition, if I can get away with not using an umbrella, I will and the Lumiquest Softbox III has become a permanent resident in my camera bag for those occasions. Another item that has found a permanent spot in my camera bag is David Honl's Speed Grid. I have both versions, the 1/4 and the 1/8. If you want to add a new level of dramatic lighting to your photography, then you definitely need to get these and keep them in your bag!

In this particular example below, I used an SB-800 with a HONL 1/4 speed grid behind the couple and pointing at the wall to get some detail on the brick wall. I lit the couple using an SB-900 with the diffuser cap on and the Lumiquest Softbox III attached to it. I triggered both lights with an on-camera SB-800.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Toronto Wedding Photography: Ed and Bethany's Wedding at Wycliffe College

Toronto has many spectacular venues for wedding photography, and the University of Toronto campus happens to be on the list of popular spots. Ed and Bethany's wedding ceremony took place in North York at the Willowdale Christian Reformed Church , but the reception was held at Wycliffe College at U of T. The day was perfect, and the natural light couldn't have been better. In my usual fashion, I mixed available light shots with plenty of Strobist stuff, here are just a few samples of the day:

Pano shot using the "Brenizer" method. Forty five (45) images were stitched up together to make this shot, which looks better LARGE :

This is the natural light I was talking about at the venue:
Waiting at the entrance

The "Funnest Couple Ever" having some fun with their friend James (aka Kato)
Ed & Bethany in The Avengers + Kato

Friday, September 25, 2009

IIDEX/NeoCon Canada 2009: Covering the Tayco booth.

Once again, I was assigned to shoot the booth for Tayco at the IIDEX show. What a difference a year makes. The 2008 show wrapped up right before the world economy was thrown into chaos, and the 09 show is taking place as economists are daring to say that we might be turning the corner. Well, a few of the big names were absent from the show, and the ones that were there had downsized their booths considerably. The Tayco booth was probably one of the biggest there this year, and fortunately I was there to shoot it.

This shot looks a lot better in Large This pano shot is composed of five (5) shots taken with the Nikkor 85mm f1.4 and stitched up together in Photoshop.










Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ASID Toronto CEU Event at The Gladstone Hotel

Once again, I had the privilege of covering one of ASID's (Toronto chapter) educational seminars. The event was sponsored by Tayco and the presenter was Toby Israel Ph.D.

The venue was the Gladstone Hotel in downtown Toronto, which has a lot of character, even in its rooms used for events. This time around, the topic was a little bit more scientific and it revolved around the psychology of design. The presenter made a clear case for the correlation between environmental surroundings in people's upbringing and how those surroundings shape the way the design. Very interesting topic indeed. Here are some shots from the event.

From ASID Toronto CEU Event with Toby Israel - Sponsored by Tayco

From ASID Toronto CEU Event with Toby Israel - Sponsored by Tayco

From ASID Toronto CEU Event with Toby Israel - Sponsored by Tayco

From ASID Toronto CEU Event with Toby Israel - Sponsored by Tayco

From ASID Toronto CEU Event with Toby Israel - Sponsored by Tayco

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Graphic Design in Toronto: Business Cards

Even though I concentrate heavily on photography these days, I still do the occasional freelance graphic design job for people in Toronto and the GTA looking for logos, business cards, brochures, ads, and even web site design. This particular images is that of a business card and logo I designed for a high end Audio and Video installation company:


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Technical Info and Toronto Wedding Photography on Twitter

Since social networking is all the rage these days, I decided to find yet another venue to make the posts from this blog available. This time the medium is Twitter, and as you probably have already noticed, there's a Twitter feed already on the right-side bar. So if you crave instant updates, I might not be that person but I'll try my best to keep the blog updated.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Alien Bees vs. Nikon's SB-900: The Battle Continues

Well, is not really a battle, as each one has their place and time and at Stephanie's and Rene's big day I had to use both. The first and only time that I had to bring the ABs out was for the family and bridal party pictures. This particular situation required quite a bit of power because the couple wanted their images taken under a gazebo on a very bright day (can you say severely back lit?).

The following image was taken with a simple setup of one (1) AB1600 on a medium foldable ocatbox at camera right at 1/2 power triggered via PWs and one (1) AB800 on a 22" beauty dish at camera left at 1/2 power triggered via PWs.


The same setup was used for this larger group image:

By contrast, I just required one (1) SB-900 off camera on a Lumiquest Softbox III set to TTL -0.7 EV and one (1) SB-800 set to TTL 0.0EV positioned across the room (you can see it in the picture). All triggered via Nikon's CLS.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Alien Bees vs. Nikon's SB900: Engagement Session at Toronto's Waterfront with Stephanie and Rene

It's been awhile since I last posted here but I had a few good reasons to keep me away from the computer. First of all, I got married shortly after shooting Angela and Sunny's wedding and then it got real hectic moving out of my place and moving in with my wife. After the dust had settled I had multiple shoots week after week, so I had been slacking off on my blogging duties for the technical aspects of my shots.

Stephanie and Rene's engagement session was long overdue as our schedules didn't coincide for the longest time. I decided to bring as much gear as I could in order to get the shots that I wanted. Little by little I've perfected my "equipment carrying" technique to the point that I can take a Vagabond II, a B1600, a 13' heavy duty light stand, a 22" Beauty Dish or Octabox depending on the location or effect I'm looking for, three (3) SB-800s and one (1) SB-900, two (2) more smaller light stands, two (2) dual purpose umbrellas, Pocket Wizards, Camera body and three lenses all by my lonesome. More often than not, the convenience of the Speedlights wins over the power of the B1600, but there are times where the SB-900 is not enough to overpower the sun.

Here's a clear example:
While I like this frame, it's clearly underexposed in comparison to the background and for a good reason, I was shooting straight into the sun. I had the SB-900 on camera set to Manual and at full power.

I took a few more frames using the Sb-900 but I made sure I had the sun coming from the side, as opposed to trying to overpower it. This made it a lot easier to underexpose the ambient, as seen here.

or here

I still wanted to have a dramatic sunset as a background so it was time for the B1600 to shine, triggered via PWs and set to 1/4 power. Believe it or not, at 1/2 power it was blowing out the highlights for my subjects:

In this image the 22" beauty dish was powered via a Vagabond II and set at camera left at approximately 45 degrees:

Same setups, with closer crops:


As you can see, the B1600 is very good for those times when you need raw wattage. However, when the sun settles and the ambient light starts to disappear, an SB-900 is more than enough to get the job done, as evidenced in this image:
The setup for this one was as simple as it gets: one (1) Sb-900 on a translucent umbrella set to TTL EV -0.3 triggered via CLS positioned at camera left.