Holiday sledding at night
With the Christmas holiday in full swing around our house now, the kids and I went out night sledding on the 23rd. The snow had started falling early that morning and kept going all day. We went out earlier but had the most fun in the evening.
Kian had the idea to take some photos and I was onboard. A drag of the shutter (1/10th – 1/6th of a second) with a flash of 1/200th of a second to create some motion blur while freezing the kids in action.
I played around as they sped down the great little hill just off our back yard. They eagerly collaborated with the images – looking at the screen after each run to see what worked and what didn’t.
We had a blast – a great way for a daddy to spend Christmas Eve’s eve with his daughter and son 🙂
We are enjoying good family time over the holiday break and hope you are doing the same with those you love. The kids had a chance to meet up with Santa Claus a couple of days before Christmas. They took the opportunity to review their lists with St. Nick and had fun running around the sleigh with the neighbourhood kids while they were waiting.
Kezia’s tricky ways caught the eye of one of the elves and they had a good game of tag while the procession was stopped in front of our house in Redwood Meadows.
Thank you for following my photography through the year. I appreciate your visits and your comments. I wish you a happy holiday and look forward to sharing more images this year – what’s left of it!
Around an amphitheatre at the zoo
We went to the Calgary Zoo a few days ago and we had a great time having a guided tour by our children through all of the areas. During one of their breaks, Kezia and Kian played around the outdoor theatre while mom photographed the zebras and dad photographed them.
2010 Favourite Photographs – People
Nuns at prayer in a convent in the Sagaing Hills in Mandalay, Myanmar in Southeast Asia.
In 2010, I made a goal that I wanted to photograph people more. My first love is nature photography (landscapes and wildlife) but the more portraiture, street and travel photography that I do, the more I enjoy it. To support this extension of my art, I have attended lighting workshops, read a wheelbarrow full of books, tried to spend more time photographing humans and shared some of the knowledge gained with other photographers in my ecosystem.
Much to learn and practice yet but 2010 was a good step forward. I’m excited to build on this momentum and see where the people I photograph in 2011 take me.
Here are some of my favourite images from last year.
My trip to Myanmar in February was a really wonderful experience. Photographically, this land is fantastic for the variety of people, cultures, landscapes and other opportunities. Here I wandered through Yangon’s Chinatown and was able to have a few good conversations with the residents as they spoke Mandarin as a first language instead of Burmese.
I was fascinated by these young men who ran blocks of ice from trucks, up the cobblestone street to these ice crushers and then back down to the dock for the fish to be packed in. Very hard work done barefoot without any breaks through the morning while the fish are being shipped out around the city and beyond.
This marble carver in Amarapura works in his family’s yard along a street filled with stonemasons. These craftspeople create incredible statues from the alabaster mined from the hills in the surrounding Mandalay area. Again, very hard work.
The monks of Southeast Asia are magnets for many photographers, and I was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with many of these men that I met and loved photographing them in their surroundings.
A very kind man who I gestured and chatted with briefly in Old Bagan after he motioned me over to have a look at my camera. He was happy to let me photograph him and gave this picture a nod when I showed him the screenshot.
Probably the coolest guy I met in Myanmar. This gentleman had a group of younger monks and lay people circling him and they were having an animated conversation which I enjoyed watching as much as I enjoyed making this photo.
The younger monks line up to receive offerings from the community, grateful for the dedication of these boys and men to the faith they all share. The food collected is distributed among the monks and eaten in silence. A large portion is distributed outside the brotherhood to the less fortunate who wait patiently for the monks to hand it out. There is a dignity among even the poorest which can be glimpsed in the photograph of the man below but I was not able to wholly present here.
The monks showered using metal bowls. A fast shutter speed froze the droplets and the motion of this simple action.
In Amarapura while walking through a monastery, I looked in on this monk as he swept the courtyard seemingly lost in the repetition.
My children always figure prominently in what I’m up to and here are just a couple of what could be a near infinite series of photos of them through the year.
A couple of black and white portraits to complete this set.
Thank you for scrolling through a few of the highpoints of the year with me.
Portraits with Santa Claus
I was invited to photograph the children in my community of Redwood Meadows with Santa Claus on Sunday. He took a little time out of his schedule to sit for portraits at the community hall. We had about fifty children come and Santa was fantastic talking with all of them and sharing in their plans for the holidays. It was hectic and a lot of fun. Certainly makes me appreciate the photographers working where there are hundreds of kids in line!
I started the shoot with my children, Kian and Kezia, to do some quick tests but everyone was anxious to get rolling so it was a bit rushed. Kezia, at just under two years old, was happy to stay cuddled in her mommy’s arms. She had no interest in sitting on Santa’s lap so that photograph will have to wait for next year. Here are two that I did get of Kian.
Here, Zac and Ivy Keyser look quite at home on Santa’s lap. They were ready to share their wish list and listen to Santa’s input.
When it was time to put on the smiles, they were definitely ready.
Mackenzie and Parker brought their dog Morris with them and I love the photographs we made.
When it was time to go, Parker was ready.
Probably the best part of the afternoon was working with my Dad. As I was mucking about with gear, he led the set up of the props and the scene. During the shoot, he worked the main reflector and did a great job. It was really fun working together – thanks Dad! At the end of the portraits, I got a nice shot of my parents together with Santa.
On the gear front, I used my Canon 1D Mark III and stayed with one lens. Sadly, my old workhorse, the Canon 70-200 lens, has lost its trustworthiness badge as back focus crept into a couple of images. This tracks back to a drop I’m guilty of from almost a year ago at Glacier National Park but lately it has become more of a problem. This lens has served me well but it is now at the top of the replacement list. I lit the scene with a single Canon 430 EX flash (6′ off the ground on camera left) bounced off of a large silver umbrella with a 36″ reflector close in at camera right and mixed with ambient. I’m happy to report that my new Pocket Wizard remote flash controllers worked very well and I really enjoyed the ease of use and reliability of the system. Looking forward to leveraging them more in my work.
I had a great time and want to thank the Redwood Meadows community for letting me take portraits of our wonderful children.