Monday, December 21, 2009

Nikon's Taking You for a Test-Drive

While every gadget-proffering company uses great deals to vie for consumers' attention, (especially at this time of year) Nikon is using gadgetry of their own to entice potential buyers. Click on the link to check out their new Web-Based Lens Simulator.

Simply click on the camera body you're interested in or already have, then use the slider tool to view the sample photo using focusing lengths from 10-600mm. Choose from 3 different sample photos to view, viewing angles, FX and DX formats, zoom or fixed lens, and more. Even save or delete the combinations of your choice.

Before forking out hard-earned cash, (or that sweet cheque from Grandma that you found tucked inside your Christmas card) on a new Nikkor lens, you might want to let Nikon take you for a test-drive in order to help you determine which piece of glass suits you and your photographic needs best. I wish I'd found this tool last week before I purchased my new wide angle, but then again, it would have only confirmed that I'd done my research well and picked out exactly what I needed!

I'm a Nikon girl when it comes to SLR's and DSLR's, so I'm openly biased, but I've gotta admit that the simplicity and practicality featured by this slick web-based simulator is really appealing amidst the barrage of in-your-face holiday advertising and a market glutted with devices intended to help you capture the moment. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Retracing My Steps...

It has been 5 weeks since my last blog entry and I have a fabulous excuse: I have a home!!! A rented townhouse to be exact, but it's sole residents are Will and myself and we have spent the last month LOVING the fact that we are in our own place! Of course on the work end of things, photography has had to take a bit of a back seat while we hunted for furniture, moved our things in, set up accounts and services and the like. But, after not quite 30 days of living in our new California home, I'm back in the blogosphere, hunkered down in the digital darkroom, and out there on the web and in person looking for new clients, new opportunities, and new inspiration!

So until I find all these things, I'll be retracing my steps and showcasing a few shoots from the last 6-9 months that have kept me busy. One shoot I've been meaning to highlight for while is a portrait session featuring my sister-in-law, Kelly in a stunning cherry red satin ball gown that she wore as a bridesmaid. I'd seen the dress hanging in the guest room every time I returned to Mississippi and asked Kelly if I could photograph her in it--even on it's own the dress seemed photogenic and I was dying to bring Kelly and the dress together for a few fabulous photos. Throw in a southern church facade and ta-DAH!!!

Well enough photo talk, here are the photos I've been ranting about. Thanks Kelly for being such a great sport and fun subject!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A link to my other blog...

So I'm in the slow process of turning our wedding information blog into a blog for Will and I as we begin our married life together. With family and friends all over the globe it's hard to keep everyone posted consistently, but blogging makes it a bit easier! Anyway, I thought some of my blog followers from this site might enjoy some of the photos I shot throughout the Napa Valley today. Feel free to take a look at:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shared Space: Living in Community at The Menno Simons Centre

Sharing space, both personal and public, is viewed and acted upon differently throughout the world. In western cultures, we tend to like our privacy, independance, and personal space--the warmth of communal gatherings is more or less sought out when the holidays come round, meetings and events take place, or when personal grief or celebration warrants obligatory (and mostly welcomed) solidarity. That this is a massive generalisation, I'm well aware, however, spend any amount of time in a 'warm-climate culture' and you'll realise that from Southern Asia to the Arab World to Latin America and even the Deep South, the notion of being in someone's 'bubble' is not taken nearly as seriously as it is in the cold climates of the 'west'. If you've traveled to any place where the only time you find yourself alone is the on the can (or hovering above a hole) you know precisely what I'm talking about!
I mentioned the various types of occasions in which 'westerners' (and I use that term very loosely--this I say just to keep the politically correct off my back) congregate, but very rarely do we ever choose to live together unless we're family. One of the few opportunities to do this, aside from joining the military, comes in the form of dorm life. I always wanted this experience, and had the privilege of living with dozens of other students between ages 18-35 over the course of a couple years at a place called the Menno Simons Centre, located in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Menno Simons Centre is a dormitory open to Christian students no matter the denomination they belong to or the post-secondary institution they attend. A former convent, the MSC was started by a group of Mennonite church members and professionals (including my great aunt and uncle) who wanted to provide a place for students to live while pursuing their studies. Near the University of British Columbia, Regent College, and several other Vancouver-based institutions, the old convent was the perfect location for such a residence. Over twenty years later, the MSC still maintains itself as a place for students to live and grow in community, with plenty of communal space, events, and of course, chores (but thank goodness our own rooms)!
While I was attending the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design (now Emily Carr University) I lived for two years at the Menno Simons Centre, and visited frequently the year after as my sister and several friends moved into the building. Throughout those years I solidified some amazing friendships, worked through some of the trials that come with community living, and enjoyed some unforgettable experiences. Since then I've kept up with many former residents, photographed many of their weddings, and continue to be blessed by my time at Menno. Menno was one of the best things about life in Vancouver for me, and I truly hope and pray that the Centre continues on in the spirit and tradition it currently upholds.

If you ever get a chance to experience living in community in some form or another, I highly recommend it--my own travels and ability to adapt to other cultures and ways of doing things have been shaped immensely by my years at Menno, and I am a more well-rounded person because of them.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Brides on the Beach

Five Brides on the Beach? A shoot like this garnered more than a few questions as well as curious onlookers who we caught sneaking photos of our slightly absurd yet delightful photo shoot! For those wondering 'what the???' here's a bit of background...

This past year I've been thinking a lot about all the fabulous brides I've photographed and how it'd be amazing to cluster as many as possible in one impressive photo. But HOW was the question that ping-ponged back and forth in my mind for several months. Eventually I simplified the idea and emailed the eight brides from my church in Vancouver (Dunbar Heights Baptist) who were married this year and asked if they'd like to join me for an impromptu group shoot at Jericho Beach. Five out of eight pounced on the idea of getting to wear their dresses again and loved the idea of all getting together since they're pretty well accquainted with one another. I'd also shot several of their weddings which made it that much easier to convince them to haul their dresses out of storage just to satisfy my photographical whims! Of course I wasn't opposed to wearing my dress either, and was able to slip into a few photos at the end (photo credit for those belongs to Anna's friend Joy!).

Cheers to a few of the Dunbar Brides of '09!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How To Shoot a Best Friend's Wedding

Are you considering asking your photographer friend (or maybe they're more friend than photographer) to shoot your wedding? Wondering how to manage being part of the wedding party and shoot your best friend's big day? Save yourself some stress and opt for a shoot either before or after the wedding so you can get the full effect without the chaos!

My friend Laura's wedding was the second one I'd been in where I could have been carrying a camera instead of a bouquet, but thankfully we pulled off an early-morning shoot two days before the wedding with fantastic results! We also escaped just prior to the reception for a few wedding day shots (soon to come!) as well. Laura hired local photographer Kyle Perison to shoot the rest of the photos which would have been tedious to do if it'd had been left up to me! Equipped and organised as I may be, running from the tripod to the posed group shots was not how I envisioned enjoying Laura's big day!

Here's how we pulled off Laura & Jason's pre-wedding photo shoot...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Making the Most out of a Rainy Wedding Day!

As summer fades to fall on much of the continent, brides-to-be will be nervously checking weather forecasts, booking backup locations, consulting their photographers, and preparing for what many brides consider to be their worst nightmare: RAIN. But FEAR NOT oh Brides, there is much to be had from a wedding day that finds itself surrounded by inclement weather! Read on to find out how you too can both prepare for and make the most of a Rainy Wedding Day!

Recently I had the pleasure of shooting a wedding for a creative and inspiring couple in Vancouver's Chinatown. It rained off and on throughout much of the shoot, but Denly & Jeff, as well as their Maid of Honour & Best Man, didn't let the classic Vancouver rains dampen their fun. Here are a few samples from their wedding that you might find helpful in planning your wedding day if rain is a good possibility...

While I couldn't find many interesting puddles without being sprayed by busy traffic, I did notice that the pavement had a beautiful black tone to it thanks to the fresh wash of rain. The gritty texture and rich contrast provided nice close-ups and the shimmer of water on asphalt created some lovely reflections on an otherwise dreary day.

Shooting downwards can also help to avoid rain drops on the lens as well as dull gray skies in the photos. Speaking of overcast skies, they are not all bad! Cloudy days that are still bright can provide great diffused lighting which eliminates harsh shadows (prevalent on sunny days, but there are ways to deal with that too!) and squinty eyes. Picking the right season, time of day, and locale can all help to avert sunburns and squinty eyes, which may be your best bet for photos if you're sensitive to the sun in any way.

One surefire way to punch up your photos and the spirit of the event on a rainy/sunless day is to inject bright, playful colours into your accessories, flowers, and decor. Want to step it up a notch to ensure a stunning result no matter what the weather? Opt for venues that showcase either vibrant seasonal palettes, (fall leaves, spring blossoms etc., though timing is not entirely predictable) rich architectural gems, or aesthetically-pleasing cultural spaces. Denly and Jeff chose Chinatown for their wedding ceremony and photo shoot (Ceremony photos to come...stay tuned!) and WOW do their photos ever pack a punch!

If you're wedding colours don't include electric hues and you're still wondering how to make sure your photos will still turn out great in the event of clouds and rain, request that more Black & White, Sepia or other monochromatic effects be applied to your images. You won't notice the colours OR lack thereof, and will instead be drawn to the timelessness of the style and obvious sentiment of the subject matter!

On the practical side of things, umbrellas of all sorts, shawls, gum boots and hats are practical props you can bring along in case of showers. If you're truly worried about heavy rains, scout out a few spots with awnings, porches, covered stairwells, trees with large canopies, and archways to allow for some cover should the heavens let loose. And if you're truly planning on cutting the cords on all tradition on your wedding day, run headlong into the rain and let your photographer capture a puddle-jumping experience to remember!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Menno Wedding

Dan & Leanne both met a while back while living at the Menno Simons Centre--a church-run dormitory set in the middle of picturesque Point Grey near the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. I lived there the two years prior to Dan & Leanne, and through my involvement with the MSC I've made some great friends and have had the privilege of photographing those friends as they've walked through various stages of life. Mariko & Isaac were the first friends of mine who met at Menno and whose wedding I shot, Dan & Leanne are the second, and in a few weeks, Richard & Nicole will be the third. Actually for those of you counting, I'll be posting a blog within the next month of all the Menno alumni whose weddings I've shot...should bring back a lot of great memories!

Dan & Leanne were married in Langley, BC and a whole host of Menno alumni, residents, and affiliates came out for the event! Probably 20 of us in total! Thanks for the great excuse to get together D&L! For those interested, visit this slideshow to get a sneak peek at a collection of photos from their big day!