March 30, 2010

Money, Shot

I had the pleasure of photographing social media personality Crystal Gibson’s birthday party yesterday evening. It’s not easy to balance photography with eating and socializing, but it’s also not impossible. At one point, the guests started assembling for a group shot; under normal circumstances, this would be cause for excitement. However, due to my autofocus-disabled Nifty Fifty lens and an unfavourable lighting situation, my chances of shooting a good shot were slim.

Picture the situation: me, my camera gear and eleven people – including the birthday girl herself – expecting me to take the shot of my life. Since I was shooting in manual mode (as I usually do), getting the settings right was an absolute must.

After muttering what must have been the shortest prayer of my life thus far, I photographed my first attempt. The resulting shot was too dark and probably unfocused; when I let the guests know that, a few of them weren’t too pleased. Still, they were gracious enough to give me a second attempt, which was also darker than I would have liked. Fortunately, it was focused enough that TK would live to see another day; the guests also liked it.

Naturally, I still had to address the lighting situation in my outdated copy of Photoshop Elements 4.0 in order to produce this final result.

#CrystalTO #17

If I could do it all over again, I would have used my other lens. Then again, this little victory would not have been as sweet as it is.

March 28, 2010

Earth Hour Unplugged 2010 (March 27 2010)

Yonge-Dundas Square hosted this year's Earth Hour Unplugged event, featuring musical guests Justin Nozuka, Jarvis Church and Chantal Kreviazuk.

Click this post's title to see all 46 photos at my Flickr site.

March 18, 2010

Fun With Jane

If you’ve been following my Twitter account, you might have seen me tweeting about picking up “Jane.” Despite my well-known romantic ineptitude, it finally looked as if I was making headway on the road to losing my virginity before my death.

The key part of that last sentence is “looked as if.” If you thought I was picking up a woman and bringing her home for some extra-curricular activities, congratulations – you’ve been had.

Say hello to Jane, my new 35mm prime lens.

Jane isn’t too different from Nifty, my other prime lens. She offers the same maximum aperture (f/1.8) and other advantages which come with a fast prime lens. However, apart from the focal length, Jane brings a significant advantage to the table which Nifty lacks: she can autofocus on my D60.

Truth be told, Nicky’s inability to autofocus with Nifty has been a minor issue. I’ve enjoyed flexing my manual focusing muscles, even though this has been a challenge when photographing moving subjects. With the addition of Jane to my team, I should be able to photograph events like parades with more ease. By no means, however, does this mean that Nifty is being replaced; my plan is to use both lenses wherever possible.

As for this lens’ name, it comes from a Toronto bus route. Click that link and do the math, folks. :-)

March 07, 2010

The Artist Project Toronto 2010 (March 6 2010)

Many artists showcased their works at this art fair.

Click this post's title to see all 17 photos at my Flickr site.

March 05, 2010

France Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand is one of my favourite bands, so it follows that I'll be interested in almost anything that they're doing. Thanks to a tweet, I found out yesterday that they collaborated with French actress Marion Cotillard on a song for Dior: "The Eyes Of Mars."

It's my new favourite song for a few reasons:

  • Ms. Cotillard's voice suits the song pretty well
  • A few lyrical allusions to photography are made, particularly in the chorus
  • Speaking of that chorus, it packs quite the punch (à la P!nk's "So What")
  • It rocks
Here's the video below. Pay close attention to how Marion and Franz Ferdinand evoke Robert Palmer's videos when the choruses take centre stage.

I almost forgot...lip licking for the win!

March 03, 2010

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

You may already know that I’m not a networker by nature. In fact, some situations make me want to curl up in a ball and die on the spot. For better or for worse, starting this blog has forced me to address this problem at photo shoots and other events.

Earlier this afternoon, I got another chance to network and connect with strangers and a few people I had previously met. I was invited to BNI Bay Street’s Visitors Day, where members invite guests to sit in on one of their weekly meetings. However, I didn’t just sit idly while business was conducted. In addition to bringing an unused box of Moo cards for potential connections, I prepared a thirty-second infomercial outlining my “business.” At its end, I planned to use the byline on the cards as the memory hook: “One man + two cameras = way too many photos.” Unsurprisingly, this is not what I did when my turn came up. While other guests were doing their infomercials, I started thinking of a more memorable ending line.

Sometime yesterday evening, I tweeted about how my previous entry was named after a song lyric (as opposed to a title). At about that time, Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” popped up in my mind as a title I could have used. Still, I left the entry as it was and went to sleep a bit later.

As my turn to speak came closer this afternoon, I determined that a variation of Ms. Benatar’s song title would be my memory hook. How could I spin it to fit my business, though?

“My name is Tsar Kasim* and I’ll hit you with your best shot.”

When there are two other photographers in the same room, you either come out swinging or go home.

*I said my real name, but I’m not going to reveal it here. :-)

March 02, 2010

You Only Get One Shot

As I’ve previously said, I enjoy shooting in manual mode. The satisfaction of shooting photographs without a safety net is indispensable. Having said that, certain situations require me to be more precise in adjusting my camera’s settings. Shooting strangers is a good example; they may not have the patience to pose multiple times while I tweak these settings to optimal values.

Consider Saturday night’s shoot at PFL 39. After the fights were over, I asked a few of the fighters to pose for photographs. I got a few good photos, but only after unfocused first attempts. In that regard, I must thank PFL Commissioner Stacey Case, Shady Godiva, Bobbi Pinn and TV Starr for their patience and understanding as I adjusted my focus for their second shots. I must also thank them (along with Dinah Mite) for letting me photograph them in the first place.

Furthermore, in the case of Case and Pinn, I forgot to turn on my flash for my first attempt at capturing them. On my second try, I got the shot I wanted, but it was a little bit dark when I reviewed it at home. Ergo, I tweaked the lighting a little bit in Photoshop Elements and ended up with this final product.

PFL 39 #35

Overall, this was a challenging but ridiculously fun shoot. I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot another Pillow Fight League event, if only to photograph fighters I didn’t see on Saturday (like Olivia Neutron-Bomb).

March 01, 2010

PFL 39: Big Money! (Feb 27 2010)

The Pillow Fight League made its debut appearance at The Garrison for its 39th event.

Click this post's title to see all 35 photos at my Flickr site.