Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2011 Photo Retrospective

2011 Highlights

All in all 2011 wound up being a pretty good year for me photography wise. At first I didn't feel I'd done as much photography as I would have liked to. However, after going over all of the shoots I'd done this year I realized I had amassed a decent amount of good photos these past 12 months.

The year started out with a much needed reprieve from the bleary prairie winter we'd been having, Cancun fit the bill quite nicely. The trip yielded quite a few good shots, the highlights being the ones I took of El Castillo at Chichen Itza. I wrote a whole post about the trip here.

[3] Cancun, Chitzen Itza, 13 images, IMG_2431 - IMG_2443 Square Detouristed Cross Processedr
El Castillo in Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico

Next up a few photographer buddies of mine and their better halves all got together with me and my then girlfriend for a couples shoot. We all had a blast chatting, sipping a few beverages, then shooting here and there. As the night went on people became a little less inhibited and some crazy props appeared like the feather boa below :)

My friend's wife strikes a pose and begins her illustrious modelling career.

In April I was preparing for my second go round of shooting for Midtown Stylists, I'd ordered some new gear and needed to try some of it out. I had just purchased some strip lights and my buddy Krystian had just picked up a beauty dish he offered to let me try out, we met up for some drinks and both he and his wife were nice enough to be guinea pigs while I dialed in my lighting.

My friend's wife Aleks poses as I test out my new strip lights and Krystian's beauty dish.

All of the preparation seemed to pay off once it finally came time to do the Midtown Stylists shoot. Having done it previously things ran a bit smoother. This time around I had more gear and knew exactly what the client wanted. Shooting 27 people in 2 days on location proved less stressful than the first year. A very cool aspect of this semi-annual gig is that they don't hire models, every one of the "models" were regular customers.

One of the Midtown Stylist's customer-turned-model

Ad Concept 2011 Rev 2
The final version of the 2012 Midtown Stylists Ad

From hair salons to ghost towns, my next shoot couldn't have been more opposite than my last. My good friend Krystian called me up one afternoon and asked if I wanted to go check out a ghost town, half an hour later we hit the road with our gear in the back of his SUV. The location proved to be amazing, there aren't many of these elevators left standing so getting a shot like this was a treat.

Death of the Wheatpool
Taken in July 2011 in a ghost town a little ways out of Saskatoon

In early August my then girlfriend's nieces came to visit and we took them to the zoo for the day. I try to make it down at least once a year, see the new animals and put my zoom lens to use. This year the butterfly conservatory had quite a few inhabitants and I was able to snag a few good shots.

A butterfly perches on a flower at the Butterfly Conservatory at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm

By this time I couldn't wait for my summer holidays, we decided to stay in the province and head south to Cypress Hills. I wrote a lengthy post on it here but in short if you've never been down, especially if you live in Saskatchewan, you absolutely have to make the the trip at some point!

Elysian Fields 2
A golden sunset falls on the Frenchman River Valley in Pine Cree Regional Park

Bald Butte Pano (2011 Redux)
You can see for miles from atop Balde Butte in Cypress Hills Inter-provincial Park

After I got home from my summer vacation I decided to invest in some prime lenses which I discussed in my last post. With these lenses desperately needing to be tested I called upon a good friend who had just moved back to Saskatoon. She was 6 months into her journey towards motherhood so what better time for a photoshoot. We went out to a park near where I grew up to do the shoot. Even though there were quite a few people around the 85mm f1/8 simply dissolved them into non-existence with its velvety bokeh.

A glowing soon to be mom

Just as the leaves stated to fall another good friend called me up wanting some family portraits so once again I packed up my new primes and headed for the same park. With each portrait shoot I was doing I was falling more and more in love with my new lenses, especially the 85mm f/1.8.

Family Portrait Shoot Highlights Variety A
Family Portrait Shoot Highlights Variety B
Various poses from an autumn family portrait session with friends

My last outdoor shoot of the summer was again with friends as they were quickly running out of time for some maternity photos. I believe this shoot was about a week before the due date, luckily there were no unexpected early arrivals :)


IMG_7438 Retouched
Friends pose about a week before they welcome their first addition into the world

My final shoot of 2012 was probably the most gruelling but also the most rewarding. For a second year I lent my photography skills to a great charity event called Help Portrait. In cities around the world photographers, hair stylists, makeup artists, and countless other volunteers get together to take portraits of people and familes who otherwise might never have had a decent photo of themselves. This year our Saskatoon based group shot 112 sittings in a 6 hour period, provided a hot nutritious lunch for everyone, and also brought in people to provide information on various topics. We printed on site this time around which proved to be a big hit as people were able to walk out with prints in hand. Help portrait 2011 was a rousing success, not just in Saskatoon but worldwide. Help Portrait 2011 produced 67,927 portraits in 56 countries, 4,984 photographers got behind a lens for a good cause and 8,793 other volunteers helped them bring smiles to peoples faces. What better way to end off the year than by giving a little back.

2011 proved to be a nice mix of paid work, relaxed shoots with friends, and some of what I think is my best landscape work to date. 2012 is shaping up to be exciting too, I'll be leaving for Cuba in a few days and might even make it to Scotland this fall!

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