the ground beneath her feet

Selective colour is a technique best used sparingly. Essentially it involves removing most colour from a photograph or film, except for specific aspects of the frame. In a portrait it may involve leaving the eyes or lips in full colour while the rest of the face is monochrome. This effect serves to draw sharp attention to specific details in the picture.

I've only used this technique twice, mostly because it often looks tacky. It isn't really that hard to do, and has been made easier by improvements in even the most basic of digital post-processing software. The result is a glut of ill-concieved pictures with terrible execution.

In my ongoing campaign to reduce the number of terrible pictures in our world, I determined only to use these technique when it truly makes the picture better.

This is a case where I know the choice to leave the sash on Chelsey's dress in colour was the right one. The white lacey dress, white shoes and red sash just pop next to the clean lines of the black suits and shoes around her. It's striking, and mysterious.

Two things that perfectly describe her.

12.19.08. Cropped to 3X5, most colour removed, exposure slightly increased.


silver and gold

Grey Cup Sunday is pretty much a sacred day for Canadians. Unlike our beloved Coupe de Stanley*, the Grey Cup is guaranteed to remain in the True North**. For 96 years running, this trophy has been fought for, and your attendance at a Grey Cup party is pretty much required.

This year, I was a bad Canadian.

My Grey Cup Sunday was spent in an art gallery, surrounded by models and lighting gear as I assisted on a photoshoot for a local salon. The photographer is one of the most sought after in Kelowna, and I have the good fortune of working for the same company as he. It only took me several months of working literally outside his office to get the courage to volunteer as an assistant.

I learned I have much, MUCH more to learn.

For one, although I knew this instinctively, I realized I always see the world horizontally. When I picture what a scene will look like, that scene is always horizontal. Yet the photographer shot the entire day vertically. I simply could not wrap my head around it. I've made it my mission to start shooting vertically, even if it feels horribly wrong.

I didn't really shoot much. I moved lights and fans, organized models, fetched coffee, swapped lenses. Once in a while I tried it out.

And I learned that, despite what little knowledge I have, I'm doing just fine.

24.11.08. Cropped to 3X5, slightly increased exposure, slightly increased highlights.

*Which hasn't been in Canadian hands since 1993, when Montreal won.
**The only exception being in '95, when Baltimore took home the prize, only two years into the league. How embarrassing is that?!


love and peace or else

The thing I love best about the holiday season is the classy events.

Girls in cocktail dresses, guys in sharp suits, parties that are carefully built around a theme...I live all year for it. Each December a several of my friends host a cocktail party entitled A Classy Affair, and this year I brought along the camera to document the occasion.

This was a really fun event to shoot. It was the first time I'd ever shot a party, which can be a very good or very bad experience. People can be really awkward and uncomfortable when a camera is presented in front of them in such a small space. Or on the opposite side of the spectrum, there are those who will stay in front of your lens all night.

Additionally, I was able to borrow a flashgun, which I had rarely used before this night. With such low lighting (and odd colours too, since several lamps had red bulbs temporarily put in). The flash was vital getting definition and proper colouring.

I got plenty of cool pictures that evening, but these are some of my faves:

I've seen this type of picture done before, and usually it doesn't work at all. But I think this one turned out well in spite of itself. Quite unexpectedly, I happened to turn on these ladies just as they were snapping one of their own pictures. The fact I managed to focus perfectly on the outstretched arm is nothing short of a miracle, especially in low light.

Every good party has a live DJ. I like this because the lamp was focused on the left side of the picture which creates really interesting shadows on Adrian's face. Plus the shutterspeed was slow enough that the records are slightly blurred.

This happened towards the end of the night (shocking, I know). I love the colour in this picture, because you can see the effects of several different lighting sources. I was bouncing the flash off of the wall to the left, while a red bulb cast a glow from the right. This picture almost has a bit of a 3D effect, which creates some really interesting depth and texture. The only, ONLY thing that bugs me is the white electrical plate sticking out behind Dave's head. I've spent time in Photoshop trying to get rid of it, but all my efforts thus far haven't worked out very well*. Sigh.

Still learning.

*I ended up finding a suitable method for removing the white plate, and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

16.12.08. Cropped to 3X5, slight colour correction, slightly increased exposure.
16.12.08. Slight colour correction, slightly increased exposure.
16.12.08. Cropped to 3X5, slight colour correction, slightly increased exposure, increased black clipping.