April 10, 2013

Destination Weddings

It's been a long, long time since I've updated ye ol' blog, so here are some photos for your viewing pleasure.  Recently, I've had the pleasure to shoot a couple very nice destination weddings.  The first was in Jasper Alberta, which is one of my favorite spots in the world.  I then shot a wedding in The Dominican Republic.

This first one was taken at Patrica Lake, with Pyramid Mountain in the background. 

You have got to love a little bit of Star Wars in your wedding accoutrement.  Like practically everything else do to with this wedding, it was hand made by the bride.


 This was actually their first kiss as a married couple, no posing required. 

This next photo was was taken up near Maligne Canyon, overlooking the town of Jasper.

This is right up inside Maligne Canyon.  At the time, I remember being so excited that I actually had a bride and groom willing to hike into the canyon.  They were very cool and up for anything to get great photos.  

 Another one in Maligne Canyon. Beautiful Location, beautiful couple, what's not to love?

There is just something about a wedding dress.  They are such an integral part of the wedding preparation and the wedding day, yet once their job is done, that's it.  I love shooting the dress before it's put on, it just conveys a sense of anticipation. 

A lot of friends and family made the trip.  It was a blast.

Another awesome couple.

The beach, the ocean, the palm trees...it was magical.

I could really get used to shooting weddings in the Caribbean.   

We were at a resort, Catalonia Bavaro, in the Punta Cana area.  Absolutely Beautiful.

 Punta Cana is on the East side of the Island, so there wasn't really a good spot for sunset photos, but I managed to get them in front of the lobby for this one. 

April 17, 2012

Depth of field

Three ways of controlling your DOF.

March 16, 2012

Forrest vs Gravity

Here are some outtakes from a recent family & kids photo shoot in Edmonton.  (take that SEO) 
My son Forrest, all dressed up in his baptism suit, practicing his levitation skills.  

What else can I add here...stop motion photography, studio photography...that sounds good.  Learn photography at the Canadian Photography Learning Centre.

February 6, 2012

Proof of Life

Yes, I'm still alive and capable of creating new blog posts.  But with the Twins still not sleeping through the night, a pet dinosaur (3 year old Son) and a steady amount of teaching photography classes on evenings and weekends....I just haven't been able to scratch up the motivation for a blog update....until now.

These are a selection of images from the last year or so.  Enjoy!

September 15, 2011

Twins Update

Wow...if anyone ever tells you that raising twins is twice as hard as raising a single child...slap them.  It's at least 4 times as hard.  It may be a lot of work, but when I see those two little faces smiling at me, it's all worth it. 

It's hard to find the time to photograph them, besides quick shots with the family P&S (point & shoot) camera.  But I recently got a new professional camera, and what better way to test it out, than to shoot my twins (and their big brother, of course). 

So here are a few new photos.

We lovingly refer to them as our 'Toe-headed' children.  Hopefully the girls will be able to grow a nice head of hair, but judging by their brother, it's going to take a while. 

May 2, 2011

Meet the Twins!

It is with great pride that I announce the birth of my daughters; Marie and Zoey Hodson.

They arrived on April 15th and have been happily eating, sleeping and pooping ever since.  I haven't had time for a proper photo shoot just yet, but here are some quick shots that I managed to take during our stay at the hospital.

March 29, 2011

How to use a Grey Card

Getting back to the origins of why I started this blog, here is a photography lesson

The importance of metering and how to use a grey card.

One of the keys to great photography is understanding exposure and knowing how to create a properly exposed photo.

The first thing we need to understand is that our cameras have built-in light meters, more to the point, they have 'reflected light' meters.  They measure the light that is bouncing off of the scene and then give us the exposure settings (shutter speed, aperture & ISO).  

The problem with this, is that the things we photograph will reflect different amounts light, which we see as different tones and colors.  The camera doesn't know what it's looking at, it just knows how much light is reflecting off of it.   

For this system to work, the cameras have to be programmed for a certain amount of light...we call this middle grey.  The camera assumes that the average reflectance of the scene will be the same tone as middle grey, so it gives you exposure settings that would work if your scene was actually middle grey.   Fortunately, this is often the case, which is why many of the photos you take, don't look too bad.  

However, when our scene (or the part that we meter on) isn't middle grey, we end up with under-exposed or over-exposed photos.  This is because the camera is still assuming that our scene is middle gray, so the exposure settings it recommends are likely going to be wrong.

In the example above, the scene is mostly bright white snow, which is a lot brighter than middle grey.  The camera doesn't know that it's seeing snow, just that it's bright.  Therefore, it recommended settings that caused the photo to be underexposed.  This is what you would get in any of the 'auto' modes on your camera.  I got this in Manual mode by adjusting the settings (shutter speed, aperture & ISO) until the 'needle' on the camera's meter/scale got to zero (...0...).

One of the best tools to ensure that you do get properly exposed photos, is a grey card.  They can be found in most photography shops for about $20.  The are specially made to reflect exactly middle grey....which is what the camera is expecting to meter off of.  

To use a grey card, you place the card under the same lighting conditions that you are shooting in (that your subject is in).  If your subject can hold the card, that's great.  You then meter off of the card.  To do this, you basically fill the frame with the grey card and see what exposure settings you camera is recommending.  

Now you need to lock your exposure at that exposure value.  With an SLR type camera, you can use Manual mode and adjust the settings (shutter speed, aperture & ISO), or you can engage exposure lock (check your user manual).  With a point & shoot type camera, you should be able to lock the exposure as well.  If you are using exposure lock, be sure not to accidentally re-meter the scene once you back up again.  That's why it's so much easier to just use manual mode.  
The exact combination of settings that you choose, will depend on your artistic goal, which is another lesson.

So now that you have locked in the settings that you got from metering on the grey card, back up and compose the shot how you like and take your photo.  

Do you see that my subject is now properly exposed?  Also notice how the snow actually looks white in the photo, like it does in 'real life'.  In this case, some of the snow is even blown out, which is because it's just that much brighter than proper exposure for my subject.  Given the choice between an underexposed photo or a bit of blown out snow, I'll choose the one that gives me a properly exposed subject.  

With my camera in manual mode, I now have proper exposure locked in.  So I can continue to shoot without having to re-meter for each shot.  Provided, of course, that the lighting conditions don't change.

So there you have it.  How to get proper exposure using a Grey Card.  This will work in any lighting situation, just keep in mind that if you change your lighting (shooting in another direction or moving to the shade etc), that you will have to re-meter to get new exposure settings.