Feb 16, 2015

Winter Photo Drive

Most of my favorite work is done in a controlled environment, with auxiliary lighting and highly preplanned. Sometimes, though, you just need to get out, photograph what you can see and enjoy the process along with the satisfaction of using the technology at your hands to create something nice.

Unfortunately, much like the arbour above, I don't get to see much at this time of year, with this much snow. Even the roads plowed at the forestry farm were a little bit deep if you got just slightly off the cleared portions. I did leave the plowed parts, in the interest of getting the best angle possible, and was very grateful that I had my winter tires on the van this year. They sure can chew through a lot of snow.

Speaking of snow, it was a nice day when I made these photos but there was something ominous in the forecast. After this little photo drive I met some friends for a meeting of the minds. It was at Moka Coffee Bar in Briarwood. Paul and I each parked in the handicapped spots in front of Shoppers Drug Mart, about a 75 meter wheel on cleared sidewalks to get to the shop. By the time we were done our meeting the snow was coming down heavy and the wind was blowing hard. The last 20 meters was blocked by deep snow banks thanks to a gap in the buildings and the wind whistling through. We plowed as far as we could, got stuck, but thankfully a nice little old lady, using a walker herself, was inside the drugstore, saw us struggling and sent the staff out to help.

Normally I'm not too concerned about getting too cold, being that close to my vehicle, but my thumb actually hurt for a few hours afterward because it got wet from pushing while we were stuck in that brisk wind for just a few minutes. I got pushed to the van and let my ramp down only to realize that it settled on yet another snow bank and, because of my wet rims, couldn't get up onto it. Once I was on my hill climbers would have made sure any progress I made was not lost. The one employee popped back out and got me onto the ramp. Otherwise I might've been a bit of a quad-sickle.

It was nice to just get out and photograph whatever I can find without too much forethought. I decided to do that again following week but, surprise, surprise, we got another huge dump of snow that started just hours after I was done shooting on my second winter photo drive.

Those photos will be coming soon. I hope spring is not too far behind because I'm feeling that ready-to-be-done feeling with this winter.

Feb 5, 2015

Aged Tenth Anniversary Roses

  Photograph Aged Roses - 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

As Angie had said before, roses just don't last as long as most other cut flowers. They certainly smelled nice and were beautiful but one week was definitely the extent of their life. The last two that looked half decent were the subject of these photos but I'm glad I took the opportunity to shoot them one more time before they were time to be disposed of.

  Photograph Aged Roses - 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

Most of the time when something starts to have areas of being less attractive it's the macro lens and close-up abstracts that tend to look the best so that is what I aimed for. Also, going against my natural tendency, I just used a few reflectors to light these photos. I have nothing against that, it's just that the sun moves quicker than you might think, especially when lighting is so precisely planned out. One five-minute delay to respond to an e-mail and you have to re-position to reflectors to get the same look you had previously.

  Photograph Aged Roses - 3 by Jay Scott on 500px

I don't think this will be the last bouquet I buy this winter. It's a pretty affordable and enjoyable thing to purchase to brighten up the home and give me something beautiful to make a photograph with.

Jan 27, 2015

10th Anniversary Roses for My Sweetie

  Photograph 10th Anniversary Roses 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

Last week was our 10th anniversary. We both have no idea exactly how it came up so quickly. Counting milestones such as building a house, getting a dog, Angie beginning working from home, Fiona joining us, along with numerous other smaller things, seem to all blur together into a significant portion of our lives lived together.

  Photograph 10th Anniversary Roses 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

Because of this it was about time I bought my wife some nice flowers. I don't do it often enough. I guess we are just both so practical that flowers don't often rank high on the list of priorities. More often we are likely to buy each other a treat from the store or something consumable like that, if it's going to be something that has a temporary life.

At any rate, I did enjoy photographing them and had considered purchasing flowers to photograph for long winter weeks. I guess this time I got the best of the best as a bonus for buying them for my dear Angie. I hope you enjoy looking at the photos as much as she has enjoyed looking at and smelling her roses.

  Photograph 10th Anniversary Roses 3 by Jay Scott on 500px

Jan 22, 2015

I Miss Summer

Granted, it's between 15 and 20 degrees above normal, and I have no problem with this reprieve as I'm sure we'll get more winter, but it's just not the same as actual, jacket-free summer.

  Photograph Watermelon Slice by Jay Scott on 500px

Digging through the archives, I found a photo made this past summer that never got posted. We eat a lot of watermelon in this house when it's in season. We're working on a mini watermelon right now, but it's nothing compared to the splendor of the seven or eight the two of us ate this summer.

Jan 20, 2015

Five Months, Already

  Photograph Five Months by Jay Scott on 500px

Difficult to believe. Even more difficult to think I'd put together a three-light setup for her on this chilly day. Must pretend to enjoy winter a little bit. I'm sure she'll enjoy going for a ride in daddy's sleigh once she can sit up independently. It won't be long at the rate she's progressing.

Jan 1, 2015

Delynne, Mark, Jordy & Josh

I had been bugging Delynne for a long time (like, 18 months) to let me do their family photos. We finally got serious about it and found a time that would work with their family's busy schedule. I think it was the results from my session with Paul and family that made her want to get the family together to get it done.

  Photograph December Family Session 6 by Jay Scott on 500px

Unfortunately, because of unexpected events and having to push our shoot date back we missed out on the temperatures and scenery that make for the nicest photos. It's not that we couldn't have ducked outside for a few shots but it was a cold, windy day and we were dealing with two quadriplegics, here. On a day like that just ducking outside briefly would have had the two of us chilled and shivering for the rest of the day, not to mention the time needed to bundle back up for those brief minutes.

  Photograph December Family Session 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

Thankfully, the new health sciences building on campus is just a delight to shoot in. Excellent light and a beautiful mixture of old and new style. Some very modern brushed metal and some very old, deep dark mahogany-like would all surrounded by classic textured stonework.

Some barriers have been broken down in recent years by the likes of people such as Joe McNally, David Hobby, Chase Jarvis, Zack Arias, and Peter Hurley, to name just a few. These photographers have freely shared many of their techniques, tips and methods and have taken away the gnosticism of the past, held close by many photographers. 

That information was what set the photographers of old apart and kept their business running. With the freely shared information and affordability of digital camera technology, their need to find a new way to stand out is not unlike musicians needing to find new ways to generate income with the prevalence of piracy of music. I'm not condoning it, just making the comparison based on my observation of the success of those who have tried fighting it and those who have tried finding new ways to work around it or work with it.

  Photograph December Family Session 3 by Jay Scott on 500px

Each of the boys arrived with a prop, Josh with an excellent new Fedora and Jordy with his guitar. I wasn't entirely sure how to best portray them before the shoot because, honestly, I don't know them that well. But when they showed up with those items I knew it was going to be a breeze to make something that represented them well.

  Photograph December Family Session 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

  Photograph December Family Session 5 by Jay Scott on 500px

Delynne brought her usual genuine charming smile and piercing eyes.

  Photograph December Family Session 4 by Jay Scott on 500px

Even Mark, like most men, who are there but not the most fond of being in front of the camera, posed for an individual portrait. He didn't seem that comfortable when I suggested it awhile prior to this shot but I'm really glad that I got him to sit down and do one of just him by himself. He really brought it and should feel confident in how comfortable he looked before, during and after I made the photo.

  Photograph Bortis by Jay Scott on 500px

I had to do something with beautiful angle light coming in near the back of the building. This session was potentially an album cover for Jordy so Josh was my first choice to put in this light since I was aware of the disproportionate number of photos of him. The last thing the little brother needs is to see his big brother, once again, getting more attention than he is, right?

Delynne was impressed that I managed to get some real smiles at him. If he's anything like our one nephew a genuine smile and a photo is a true accomplishment. Too many years of being told to say "cheese" trains kids to produce a lot of unnatural smiles. Here's a pro-tip: try telling them to say "cheek" next time. It will look a lot more natural.

  Photograph December Family Session 7 by Jay Scott on 500px

I know that my typical style is not always the extremely bright, overly flattering, very common photos that most people want. Of course, I don't want to bring out the most dramatic and darkest parts of the people I'm photographing but I also think that a tasteful edge is quite possible while still flattering your subjects' appearance.

Case in point, my favorite shot of the day. Jordy doesn't look menacing or threatening, just sophisticated and confident. That's the same location as his dad's photo from above and just 5 meters away from his brother's photo. I'm just grateful that the fun personality each of the members of this family has gave me an opportunity to produce both traditional and slightly edgy photos of them. It was one of those sessions where I had no idea how much time we had spent and I could've continued shooting but they had scheduled activities before too long so we had to get going.

  Photograph December Family Session 8 by Jay Scott on 500px

It was a great day and I hope that Delynne, Mark, Jordy and Josh will choose me again to help preserve memories of their family on a regular basis in the future.

Dec 16, 2014

Merry Christmas! UPDATED

Guess who got to meet Santa today?

We will be home and around, I even have new work for Challenging Reality that will be posted soon, but I think it's that time of year to settle down, relax and find some peace in whatever will bring it. Be that nostalgic cartoons (Garfield and Rudolph -- peeking from behind Angie-- are my favorite oldies with Shrek the Halls being my modern favorite), favorite music (Boney M is where it's at!), favourite movies (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation) or whatever tradition brings the warmth of memories old and not so old. Try to find time to enjoy them.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy, blessed new year to all of you!