Snowboarding and the Pentax 645D

31 03 2011

This week I was booked to shoot some marketing material for Canada Olympic Park. As some of you know I shoot a fair amount of Medium Format, even in sports. On Tuesday The Camera Store gave me the Pentax 645D to try out. They wanted to shoot a behind the scenes video of sports and “Medium Format” cameras.

The Pentax performed great all day. I was used to the focusing speed on the H series from Hasselblad and this new Pentax was a real treat as far as focusing speed goes.

Unlike the Hasselblad digitals and Phase One backs that both shoot in 16bit RAW, the Pentax shoots 14bit, similar to a Nikon Raw format. I was initially a little concerned about this, for large prints. After working a couple of the files in PS, these 14bit files are stellar.

There is a large selection of both focal plane and leaf shutter glass available for the 645D. This is a nice little bonus, as my Hasselblad system has a very limited number of lenses available. The Hassy is also only “leaf” shutter, so you are limited up to 1/800th of a sec for shutter speeds. The Pentax 645D’s ability to accept both leaf and focal plane means you are able to jump up to 1/4000th if the job requires it.

For about half the price of an entry level Hasselblad or Phase system, the Pentax is a killer choice. I can definitely see this camera making a larger presence on the lifestyle and wedding circuit. The 645D has the ability to give you that unparalleled fall off and D.O.F. in a medium format (not to mention it shoots a native 18×24 @ 300dpi).

We shot for about 4hrs on Tuesday and the Pentax battery barely dropped a bar. Usually when you’re shooting winter sports the batteries in the bigger cameras take a pretty big hit. This camera held up throughout the shoot.

For those of you only running laptops to do your editing and worry that a digital medium format file will bog down your system to no end… Don’t. The files are a modest 50-70mb each, and being 14bit, they won’t murder your machine’s RAM, whether you use PS, Lightroom or Capture One.

Overall, we had a great day of shooting at C.O.P. and I really enjoyed shooting with the Pentax 645D.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any other questions on my experience with the system.

Thanks have to go out to the crew from The Camera Store (Jordan & Chris) for filming this, Josh Duncan and his crew for throwing themselves off the tables and in the pipe all day, C.O.P. for always dealing with my insane requests for gear on the hill, and a huge thanks to that little man Peter Olson for always putting up with the insane assistant’s duties I throw at him.




Hard Knocks 10 – Fight Night.

18 02 2011

As promised… Here are a few selects from last months Hard Knocks 10 fight night. There were some unbelievable knock outs in both the amateur and pro matches…

Feel free to let me know what you think.

Hard Knocks 10

10 02 2011

I was recently asked to shoot fighter portraits and the fights for an MMA event here in Calgary. Having shot boxing in the past and plenty of other sports, I figured this would be like any other fight night. MMA had never posed a real interest to me prior to this opportunity to shoot the Hard Knocks 10 event. I certainly have an interest now, after shooting ringside for a night. These guys are intense. Some of the heaviest knockouts and landed punches I’ve ever seen. Even the amateur bouts were very entertaining. Including a KO 14secs into the 1st round.

We set up for the “Tale of the Tape” portraits on the Thursday evening, so the Fight Cards would have all updated pics from the participants.

Here are a couple of my selects from the Portraits…

Let me know what you think of the portraits…

I’ll be posting the fight photos in the next couple days.



1.1.11 +1

15 01 2011

So, I’m a  couple days/weeks late…

I havent posted in a while and I think in 2011 there should be a little more focus on the blog. It seems to be the first thing that gets neglected in “busy” times. I will try to make at least 2 posts a month this year with a couple bonus posts when the shoots call for it.

This past year was a very interesting one for me. 2010 started off like any other year, lots of corporate photography and little personal work. This would change drastically in February when I magically became “too expensive” for my employing studio. I was laid off after one of the biggest and most important projects of the year.

I feared I would have to figure out how to get a real job, and go back to the student life of “photo part-time” to try and stay in the industry. This would not be the case. I lucked out in a couple of my commercial clients needing work that month, a couple weddings booked and then a few previous clients coming to me asking for photography. It was meant to be. Getting “laid off” was the best thing that happened to me in a long time (although the scariest too).

I was able to shoot projects that I couldn’t have shot previously with time constraints based on my employer. I was able to shoot what I wanted to shoot, and most importantly I wasn’t being billed out at $150-$350 an hour and seeing less than a tenth of it in the end.

I feel that my photography has grown this year more than it has in the last 5, and that I have a desire that hasn’t existed in years. It’s a great feeling to have again.

I did, however, possibly take on a little too much, and end up very sick throughout the year. I don’t regret it tho, as you can always recover, and you can’t always guarantee that there will be work.

I was able to enjoy almost weekly beers with photog friends and stay in touch with everyone’s latest projects. I was able to pick brains of people I admire in the industry and grow with their help. Something that couldn’t be done at the other studio. It’s a great feeling to reach a point, not of satisfaction or content, but of “I’m almost there, I can see my goals.”

I’ve been a full time professional photographer for 6 years now, and a part timer for over a decade. I look back on life at that studio, and the term “professional” can only be used in a handful of projects. I spent 4 years just plugging away instead of learning more about my craft.

To anyone that is new-ish to the industry, I can only suggest this: Pay your dues, but do not settle. Do not settle into complacency and mediocrity. You will only be content, never happy, and possibly just working where you work so you can say your a full time professional photographer. This is a mistake. A mistake that many friends tried to help me correct, but I couldn’t leave, for fear of photog failure. Let me tell you – they were right. Don’t let fear stop you from shooting what you wanna shoot, or at least making the effort. If it takes you a little longer to become that full-time professional photographer, so be it… it’s worth the wait – trust me.

I was luck enough this year to be a part of a really cool project for a great cause. I donated shooting, editing and layout time to produce a run of calendars that would have all proceeds donated to the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. I scouted for a few days and got the locations and theme in mind for the cars. (We were shooting with the Alberta Mustang Auto Club and several of their members’ vehicles). Each member had to pay a fee for their car to be featured in the lineup and 100% of each fee went to the CWES.

After shooting throughout the summer and into the fall, we had 14 cars in the bag and could begin the layout of the calendar. Thanks to Margie at West Canadian Print for being so helpful and keeping the project under budget, so we could raise the most amount of money possible. We ended up printing 500 calendars and are currently selling them for $10 each.  Please email me if you’re interested in supporting the cause and purchasing a calendar, or even having us drop some off at your offices for sale to your co-workers.

Here are a couple pics from the Calendar Sessions:

I also tried to shoot at least one creative a month to keep pushing my self to learn a little more and step a little further out of my comfort zone.

Here are a few from through out the year.

If you’ve made it this far through the post… I applaud you. It was a pretty long winded post for me, but I thought if it helps one person that was/is in the same place as me, it’d be worth it.

Hope you enjoyed it.

I’ve also got some great stuff lined up over the next couple months, so check back and check out the latest projects…



Jazz – a 1930’s Creative

16 11 2010

Last week I had the pleasure of working with a new local model “Jazz” and the wonderfully talented Monika from Beautiful Creatures Makeup out of Ontario.

The weather wasn’t a nice as the Ol’ weather man promised, so we had to shoot in short chunks and lost a lot of the light we wanted to work with. The shoot turned out great though, and Jazz was a trooper in a Clapper dress and -5Celsius.

Here are a few of the B&W selects from the shoot.

The Final Mustang…

11 10 2010

Well, we had one more month to fill in the calendar for the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. This is a 2011 GT500 owned by a local calgary man. We shot this up by the airport at sunset. Unfortunately thanks to construction restrictions, we couldn’t shoot the direction or even in the location I had originally planned. I think we still got lucky and in 10 minutes of set up and 5 of shooting, we were able to capture this final image, prior to getting kicked out.

We will be ordering 500 calendars this week with all proceeds going to the CWES. We are hoping to raise close to $5000 just in Calendar sales and shooting session donations for the shelter. If you’d like to support this charity and purchase a calendar or two, just let me know. You can get in touch with me through the website:


Last Cars of the Summer…

16 09 2010

It’s been over 2 months since the last post here, which is kinda sad, but good in the way that I’ve actually been too busy to really focus on the updates. Now that the summer and busy shooting season is coming to an end, I’ll be able to post a little more.

I finally had a enough of a break in the weather to shoot a couple more of the cars for the calendar project. We went down to Race City, where they were very accommodating and let us shoot just about anywhere.

Here are the last 2 cars for this years Calendar Project…

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