They say money talks. But for me, it’s my photography that does most of the talking, (a thousand words to be more precise 😉 And on this occasion, I thought I’d try out a new lighting technique on a financial advisor I recently met, who also came from the banking world as my subject. Daniel was awesome to work with who managed to strike up various, non typical studio poses for me as I got really up close and personal with him to be able to capture the slightly distorted look from his hands, to his head with a wide angle lens. I really enjoy how this turned out because the large hands gives the audience a sense of Dan’s power, all combined with the very confident look on his face. Makes you kind of feel that you’re in good hands with this financial advisor 😉 Which leads me to the lighting technique that was inspired by my latest and greatest photography idle, Platon. I learned of Platon on a Netfilx documentary series, “Abstract” that focuses on techniques adapted by some of the worlds finest artists of various disciplines. Besides the lighting technique, I also learned the importance of really getting to know your subject before the shoot and during to be able to capture the subjects authentic selves, because that’s when you can capture their authentic souls. Another thing I learned from Platon was not to go into a shoot with the main goal of coming out with a great shot. Instead, a photographer should put more emphasis and excitement of really getting to know a new person. And with the likes of Obama, to George Clooney, to some of the best advertising photography I’ve seen to date, you know this guy means business. With that, I had that in mind before picking up the camera and setting up the lights, I was on a mission to get to know, and capture the real Daniel in an authentic and memorable way.
To get some more unique photographic opportunities, I recently joined the Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission to get in on some the action. I also have a secret goal (shhhh!) of becoming a Director of Photography, (DOP) for something epic one day, but for now, I’m prepared to do some grunt work to help earn my way up through the industry’s rankings. And as luck would have it, I got a call within just a couple of days of joining the film commission for a last minute job over Easter to capture some behind the scene stills for a new series that’s set to air in September of this year. Speaking of secrets, I can’t speak too much to about who was shot or the name of the show until its debut, but here’s a nice candid shot of one of the show’s producers, Lisa, who was keeping a watchful eye on the action happening outside the bay window. She was also multitasking as she was sitting in for me to test some lighting options for one of the shots to be taken in case of bad weather. But luckily, the weather cooperated beautifully, not to mention the actors were given a quick break from their shoot just before the golden hour came into play. So once I had the official go-ahead, I was only given a handful of minutes to capture a couple of group shots of the cast and crew, as well as a few pairings of the show’s actors, all with Victoria’s beautiful gorge as the set’s main background. That said, the young actors were extremely mature and professional and kicked into gear to help make the most of our very limited window of time together. All in all, I can’t wait to share a few shots from that evening on my social channels and on this site later this year!
Colorful Hastings West Alleyway
Here’s another fun shot from a recent trip to Vancouver for a tech conference last month. I stumbled across this colourful alley (located in an alley south of West Hastings between Seymore and Granville) while first trying to find my Airbnb accommodations on nearby Pendar Street. I passed by it several times going back and forth to the conference to find for a window of opportunity where there were no pedestrians or vehicles in the shot. And as luck would have it, I got my only opportunity after walking back to my suite from a late dinner. I had no tripod with me at the time, as I would’ve liked to have taken multiple exposures to add even more light, colour and depth into the mix, but I had to work with what I had in that moment, and just took the shot freehand. At that time, I still had no idea why this colourful basketball alleyway was there in the first place until I had some time to google it on the ferry ride back to Victoria. It was then that I learned that this urban park was called Hastings West Alleyway which was part of a 2016 Vancouver city initiative designed to make use of unused public space and giving the city’s inhabitants places to gather and instill a sense of community. The idea was to simply make the alleyways more than just service corridors for vehicles and dumpsters by turning them into “play spaces” as land, especially in Vancouver, comes at a hefty premium these days. Speaking of which, the cost of this social campaign (shared between the City and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association) ran around $200,000. But judging by its frequent use by everyday city folk and tourists seems to be money well spent in my opinion. And the alleyway has also given people like me a great excuse to try and capture the colourful alley in a unique way from countless other captures. With that, if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend you check it out through your own eyes!
Walking the Walk
I had the pleasure of checking out a two day BCtech Summit in Vancouver last week. It was quite amazing seeing so many tech brains coming together to strut their stuff. With speeches from Tesla‘s JB Straubel to exhibits that allowed you dissect a dog through virtual reality, there was definitely something for everyone. But with two days of being at any convention, you need to take a break from it all, so that’s exactly what I did! And since I’ve only visited Vancouver only a couple of times, I decided to grab my camera and hit the streets to see what I could find. Lucky for me, I had already heard of Granville Island, a tiny little island with a bunch of character in the heart of downtown Vancouver, so it was the first place I hit on my list. And with so much character going for the island with a handful of restaurants, cafes, and artsy stores, it also happens to be the perfect setting for Emily Carr University of Art and Design, founded by none other than Emily Carr herself in 1925. In this featured blog shot, we see one of the students existing class and walking down one island’s alleyways. It was the building’s raw metallic siding in combination of the yellow pops of colour found on the lampposts that first caught my attention, so I pulled out my camera to find the most interesting angle. But wouldn’t you know it, people kept on walking out of the building each time I was about to press my shutter button. So, eventually I gave up on trying to capture the raw architecture on its own, and created the “distractions” into the opportunity that you see in this photo. A person that looks like they’re walking towards the light at the end of the tunnel, a classic metaphor of hope when the journey looks long and tiresome. With that, I wish all the students at the university a bright and successful future ahead. You can do it!
A couple of years ago, I thought I gave my mum the biggest, and best surprise for her birthday by shipping myself over to my hometown, Toronto. Once I landed, I took a cab from the airport to my grandmother’s nursing home where I knew mum would be visiting that day. Once I spotted her sitting in the home’s lobby, I pulled out my phone and gave mum a ‘long-distance’ call. Snickering to myself, I found it quite entertaining that I was having a conversation with my very own mother who at the time did not realize that her son was standing directly above her. Eventually, I took my phone from my ear and started taking photos of mum as she continued the conversation with me. I must say, it was quite the treat to see mum’s face go from a blank stare to a state of confusion as she thought to herself, “why is this strange young man taking random photos of me?” That’s when I decided it was time to drop the bomb and wish mum a happy birthday. It was a stunt that I thought would be unbeatable and go down into birthday surprise history. But that reign ended last week with mum somehow one-upping me! Yup, together with my wife, the dynamic duo planned and executed the ultimate birthday surprise. The sneaky pair somehow timed my mum’s arrival to land just one hour before my wife’s plane landed from a conference that she attended in LA. And after greeting my wife at arrivals, we walked into the airport’s restaurant to grab a quick bite before the drive home. And wouldn’t you know it, out of the corner of my eye , I noticed that there was a ‘strange’ woman taking candid photos of me. Eventually I made my way to the woman who was hiding half her face behind her tablet camera to ask her what she was up to. As I neared, I realized that this strange woman was actually my mother giving her son some well timed payback. With that, I decided that it would be a good time to give mum a different kind of payback, one that she could hold onto for years to come. A portrait fit for a queen–of paybacks.
I had the pleasure of covering yet another event the other week for “Discover Tectoria 2017”, all hosted by one of my most fun and loyal photography client’s, VIATEC. The event was geared to help build awareness around Victoria’s biggest industry…technology. That’s right, technology! With so much to see and do here on Vancouver Island, I too was surprised that tech was bigger than tourism. However, when you check out the numbers, you’ll quickly learn that the tech industry generates over $3 billion in annual revenue, and employs over 23,000 employees across 884 companies high-tech companies. Pretty impressive, considering when you walk the quaint streets of Victoria, you really see no sign of any tech action happening here. So that’s why VIATEC, Victoria’s hub for the tech sector works hard to devise many creative efforts to attract some of the brightest minds from around the world, not to mention their many curious angle investors. In it’s latest effort, VIATEC secured an installation at Victoria’s International Airport which is strategically placed next to the airport’s arrivals exit. The installation is small, but quite impressive and eye catching with it’s steampunk’d style which was fabricated by local designer Russel Papp. And when you step within the confines of the mad-scientist installation, you not only get to appreciate all the detail that went into the space, but you also take home some key learnings of what VIATEC and Tectoria is all about. To get a better feel for this unique install, you can take a peek at a few more photo’s shared on JackFlash’s Facebook page, or better yet, come to Victoria for a visit to see it for yourself!
I’ve found that most professional photographers like to shoot whatever they’re good at, or whatever is most profitable for them. So when people ask me what I enjoy shooting, I often say, “I like to shot anything that moves, or doesn’t move”. Because it’s true…I seem to really enjoy experimenting with anything and everything, pushing my equipment to capture just the right amount of light in the most challenging of circumstances. And that includes event photography which seems to be the least favourite shooting category amongst the photographers I’ve talked to. Perhaps it’s the fact that you just never know what kind of available lighting you’ll have to work with, and that you have to get really comfortable changing manual camera settings on the fly with each direction you point your lens towards. Also, it can be a real challenge to know what to focus your lens on with so much activity going on all around you at the same time. For me, I quite like the challenge as I seem to have no problem picking out visual opportunities of interest that I know will make a great shot in the end, with as little post production as possible. I just roll up my sleeves, and really get into the moment, which in turn helps me anticipate moments before they even happen. And once you find your groove, that’s when the real magic begins. As seen in this photo from a VIATEC Award event (Victoria’s tech hub) where at the end of the night, they dropped giant sized inflatable orcas from the rafters and onto the crowd below. This photo in particular is probably one of my favourite shots of the night because it not only captured the energy of the event, but also captured otherwise professional adults letting their guard down long enough for me to capture a few split seconds of child-like innocence, permanently. So if you like what you see in the “Events” section, I happen to know a photographer that would like the opportunity to capture that next event for you 😉
Fight the Power
On January 20th, a new president was sworn into the oval office. The following day on January 21st, millions of people around the world joined over 600 peaceful protests and marches in support of women’s rights. The movement was called the PussyHat Project which had a large variety of people, mostly women, dawning pink pussy hats (essentially, pointy cat ears crocheted onto pink toques) in protest of what the new misogynistic government stood for. At the end of the day, the protests were seen as a success as public malls around the world were flooded, not just the in Washington, unifying the effort visually with a sea of pink hats. In Victoria BC, women’s voices were heard just as loud and proud at Centennial Square. This one particular shot was from behind one of the speakers rallying the day’s protesters before the its march. As luck would have it, I just happened to be walking behind the woman at just the right time just before she rose her hand in the air, at the end of her speech. I knew the moment I snapped this shot that the photograph would be very pleasing to the eye, with the light blue coat and complimentary pink pussy hat. But I literally had no idea how powerful the image was until I uploaded it to my computer a few hours later. It was then that I saw what was really captured. A moment of strength and unity which was reinforced by the faceless, blurred-out protesters in the distance who cheered the speaker on before she left the stage. The march went on throughout the streets, with the protesters supported by both men and children alike. It was a day that Victoria, and the world stood tall, while standing up for women’s basic rights in the year 2017.
Last fall, I had the pleasure of (eventually) snapping some candid shots of a few pre-schoolers running around Little Friends Daycare, a local favourite here in Victoria BC, and set within a picturesque church setting. The assignment was more of a personal challenge for me to see if I could even keep up with the rambunctious little rascals to begin with. And, for the most part, I did keep up, but the real challenge I later found out was just trying to go stealth in order to capture those authentic, candid photographs that the daycare had requested for their promotional efforts. And yes, you would think that a six-foot-four photographer would naturally stand out out like a sore thumb when trying to go un-noticed around a bunch of three foot nothing munchkins. But the real reason that stealth-mode was not an option was that toddlers seem to have invisible radar dishes mounted on top of their little heads, because no matter what tree or jungle gym I tried to hide behind, there seemed to be no way of steering all those curious eyes away from my camera’s lens. That all being said, with a little luck and a lot of patience, the kids eventually grew bored of the strange giant lurking about their playground…and that’s when the magic officially began! In this particular shot, I managed to capture a few of the pre-schoolers peering over a fence with great intensity. To be honest, I had no idea what they were looking at, or for, but in the end that really didn’t really matter. It was the genuine moment of innocent curiosity that I was after, which made for a fun and interesting shot, capturing some of the daycare’s essence. So if you happen to have a photographic challenge, and you like what you’ve seen on the rest of this site so far, feel free to reach out to Jack of JackFlash Photography for a free and competitive estimate for your special assignment.
Are YOU Looking at Me?
It doesn’t matter if we wake up a disheveled, grumpy mess with horrible breath every morning…or, that we like to slip into our favourite tiger-print onesie and belt out the lyrics to “I need a hero” after a hard day’s work….or, any other antic you might practice at home regularly that might otherwise have you banished from society, for life. No, none of that funny business seems to really matter much to our four legged friends who seem to have mastered the fine art of unconditional love and acceptance over the centuries. And with the many lessons they teach us each day, it’s no wonder that we want to hang onto our beloved fur kids and their irreplaceable moments for as long as we can. That’s why Jack Adamson of JackFlash Photography has devoted a few months to developing some solid studio lighting techniques that will have your pet looking like a professional super model, (or a cat on a catwalk, if you will 😉 The trick was to find a way to have the lighting hit its mark with every shot, regardless if your pet becomes unpredictable and moves off its mark, and they will, especially when they know that they’re having their photograph taken. Am I right people?! So with studio lighting now in check, and Jack’s acrobatic ability to get down low an crawl around with the best of them, there will be far more awesome memories to choose from once your contact sheet has been delivered. That all being said, along with very competitive rates, there hasn’t been a better time to immortalize your best friend! Talk to JackFlash today.