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!
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.
Mother Nature Opens Her Eye
With this being the first post of the New Year, I thought it would be appropriate to share this image of a new dawn which I captured on top of nearby Knockin Hill Park, here in Victoria BC. And with the U.S. Presidential inauguration upon us in the next couple of weeks, 2017 will be an interesting year to say the least. So, I thought the world could use a little positivism right about now. And who can resist the magical allure of a sunrise, and all the fiery colours that comes with it? I know I can’t! Especially when I discover something I didn’t see at the time of the shoot…like Mother Nature’s eye opening up in the distant horizon. Don’t see it? Well with a bit of imagination, try to picture the clouds on top of the photograph representing the top eye lid, with the sun beaming as Mother Nature’s eye, and the top of the tree line acting as the lower eye lid and lashes. Add that all up and you’ve got the perfect combination for some visual magic. With that, let’s hope for a lot of 2017 magic as our neighbours to the south, not to mention the rest of the world, does its best to keep their chin up and move forward in a positive, and peaceful direction. Because a little hope and positivism can go a long way when it comes to overcoming hatred and fear. With that, I wish my all current and future clients a happy, safe and prosperous New Year!
Canadian Geographic photo finalist
JACKFLASH NEWSFLASH: Jack of JackFlash Photography is excited to learn that one of the first shots he ever took with a DSLR camera has recently been shortlisted for a chance to appear in one of Canada’s most breath-taking magazines, Canadian Geographic! Growing up with stacks of Canadian and National Geographic magazines around the home, it had never crossed Jack’s mind that he might one day share in the honour of being published in such a well respected magazine. But if the stars align, we might see this Vancouver Island photographer’s industrialized nature shot at a newsstand near you. Fingers and toes crossed Jack!
When two soulmates join hands in marriage, you want to honour their union with something special that symbolizes their love. In this case, my father in-law designed and built this wedding gift for Catherine and Matt, using an old mandoline to set the stage for their magical day. Inside the mandoline stand the bride and groom (and their children) on center stage with a built in light above then that help to highlight their love. Below the stage, a short poem crafted by my mother in-law reads, “On the stage of memories and dreams, where eagles praise the afternoon sun, husband and wife join hands, make a perfect circle, a whole note filled with the laughter of children.” Above the couple is a beautiful inlay of an eagle, and above that features the bride and groom’s names on both sides of the tuning keys. In fact, if you take a real close look at everything on the mandoline, you’ll notice that there are so many well thought out and creative visual stories that come into play that you’ll be sure to notice something special each time you look at the masterpiece. Beauty aside, I found this “pack shot” of sorts to be an interesting project to put all the studio lighting techniques I’ve learned to date to the ultimate test. And a test it was, given all the depths and coinciding shadows of the art piece. In the end, taking multiple exposures and blending them together became the best solution to help highlight all the wonderful features found on the mandoline, but giving key elements ways to shine in their own balanced sort of way. All in all, I have a new appreciation for pack shot photography, and I look forward to shooting the next challenge that tests all that I’ve learned to date. Until then, I wish Catherine and Matt eternal happiness and I look forward to seeing them make beautiful music together.
May the Force Be With You
There are weddings. And then there are epic weddings that are out of this world, literally. Take this wonderful moment for example. The recent wedding between Sofee and Sumeet who chose to get married at Hatley Castle on the grounds of Royal Roads College in Victoria BC. where they had a subtle Star Wars theme, with R2D2 witnessing the marathon wedding. And by marathon, we’re talking four wonderful occasions wrapped up into one wedding event. First was the Henna gathering, where the ladies on both sides of the family got together to paint their hands with mehndi and turmeric, which gets squeezed out of cone-shaped tubes and illustrates beautiful dark stained patterns on both sides of the hands and wrists, and is supposed to “awaken the inner light”. Next up was celebrating the groom at an event where the bride is not even allowed to see photos before the big wedding day. On this night, the groom walked into the hall after a traditional Indian buffet dinner surrounded by four people that carried posts that support a beautifully patterned cloth that cloaks the groom as he walked up to the stage. Once on stage, the groom sat down as various family stepped onto the stage and slapped on paste onto the grooms forehead and face, not to mention stuffing money into the groom’s pockets for good luck and prosperity. After all that, the dance floor was saturated with colour as people dressed in tradition Indian clothing let rip to all sorts of DJ’d music, which also featured people whacking a wooden board with a stick until the board broke, and moving a large crown-like head piece from one head to the next. All this, and the wedding had not even begun! The following day, set on the grounds of Hatley Castle, and surrounded by a mature and beautifully maintained garden, the couple was surrounded by hundreds of family members who witnessed the pouring and mixing of sands, before the vows where exchanged. And later that evening is where everyone finally got to let there hair down and celebrate the union of the young couple, with yet another epic stage setting which looked like something you’d see in the God Father, where the couple ate, drank and watched the families before them honour their union with speeches, and you guessed it, more dance. That all begin said, congratulations Sofee and Sumeet. We all wish you many years of love and happiness as you continue to grow your family and love.
There’s a new religion in town, and who else to ring in The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Pastafarianism, other than my fun loving in-laws. According to Wikipedia, the church is a light-hearted social movement that opposes the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in public schools. Pastafarianism is a legally recognized religion in New Zealand, The Netherlands and Poland, and the first recognized wedding was performed in April of 2016. And that’s great new for professional photographers such as myself, who love capturing authentic moments in time like these. In this shot, my in-laws had no trouble rolling around in the grass with their spaghetti strainers protecting them from the evils of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And if that doesn’t keep the monsters away, what about a good old fashioned egg beater to beat them away? Ha- ha 😉 All-in-all, we all had a blast, which included my very first “aerial shoot” as I played with my camera settings while dangling 20 feet above the action from a nearby wall. All-in-all, the Flying Spaghetti Monster might have finally met its match with high flying photographer, Jack Adamson, dedicated to capturing authentic moments, no matter how zany those moments might be!
Being a Gen-X’er, I strongly believe I’ve grown up in one of the most exciting generations to date. I say that because in the last 30 years or so, I’ve played music on everything from vinyl records and 8-Tracks, to today’s MP3s. I’ve stored/uploaded data files from floppy discs to USB sticks and the Cloud. I’ve talked on a phone with a rotary dial and a cord, to taking photos and facetiming my wife on my smartphone. And thanks to all the inspiration and collaboration we can now find on the internet, I can’t imagine what technological advancements we’ll see over the next 30 years.
Thankfully, the next generations will be here to show us the way, guiding us towards new innovations that promise to enrich the lives of everyone on this planet.
And that’s where the the VIATEC Awards come in, a celebration of achievements of technology companies and individuals responsible for making Greater Victoria the fastest-growing technology region in British Columbia. It was a grand night that all began at the Sticky Wicket where I captured many of the VIPs gearing up for the big night ahead with drinks and appies. Once the doors opened up at the Victoria Convention Center, you could see the circus theme coming together as fire breathers and various acrobatic acts greeted guests at the entrance. The show itself was hosted by VIATEC’s CEO, Dan Gunn whose charisma seemed to settle the room a little before the show began. Prior to each award, there was a talkshow type format where the award announcers were interviewed by Dan before heading to the podium to call out the category’s winner of the year. Then, one by one, the winners marched proudly to collect their robotic steampunked award, where the audience heard everything from gracious acceptance speeches to winners grabbing selfies while on the podium.
All in all, it was a fun night carefully orchestrated by Tessa Bousfield, where I also got to share the stage in capturing the event alongside Gregory Forsberg, and other photographers and videographers.
See a few select shots from the night here (used the arrow keys to side-scroll). For more shots captured by various photographers, visit Viatec’s flickr page.
Do you have an event (big or small) that you’d like captured in a unique and memorable way? Perhaps it’s time to reach out for your free estimate today.