Category Archives: Photography

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Picture ideas for a 365 day photo challenge

365 photo challengeIt’s a couple weeks in to my 365 day photo challenge and i’m finding it a little easier than expected.  Coming up with picture ideas for my 365 day photo challenge was one of my greatest concerns.  It didn’t help that I started this January 1st in a snowy climate.  The winters often force people indoors for obvious reasons.  So what do you take photos of when it’s freezing outside?

Some ideas for taking pictures for your 365 day photo challenge

At first I ran through all the photos I’ve taken in the past 6 months and thought i’d lean on them for some inspiration.  What I noticed was that these photos were themselves drawn from other sources of inspiration.  Take the Sony A7 and it’s amazing ability to capture stunning photos.  My review of the Sony A7 with sample photos was a good source of inspiration in as much as I wanted to use this camera as one of my go to setups.  So what is the formula I’m using to get ideas for taking pictures.  The biggest tip I can give for get as much inspiration and ideas on what to take pictures of is look everywhere.  Open your eyes to the world around you at work on your commute at home or outdoors.  You’ll find yourself drawn to your comfort zone but try to push that envelope out.  While I’m looking around for ideas I keep a mental list of what might work.  Either that day or in the day’s to come I return to the idea in my mind and shoot away.  I also have a backup plan just in case.  I’m surprised how often the plan B shot is the one that I use.  Here is a list of ideas for your 365 photo challenge.

Ideas and inspiration for your 365 day photo challenge

  1. Landscape photos
  2. Close up or macro photos of interesting objects
  3. People
  4. Play on color – either more or less
  5. Black and white – add some drama to an otherwise dull photo
  6. Change your perspective – take 15 photos of an object from all angles
  7. Check out other photographers and draw ideas from them
  8. Play with focus – master the full blur

These are some ideas on where to start and what to look out for.  Now that I’ve started this challenge I see the world completely differently.  I’m almost obsessed with seeing things through the lens. Check out my photo gallery for some ideas as well my 365 day photo challenge Flickr album to see all my photos.

I’ve found the best place to warehouse or store my photos for this challenge is on Flickr.  You can visit my main Flickr page directly or view my 365 photo day challenge album below.




My 365 day photo challenge ideas and list of things to do

My 365 day photo challenge Tomorrow is the start of my 365 day photo challenge and to be honest i’m a little nervous about it.  How do you take a picture every day and make it worthy of posting?  After wrestling that concept for a few days I decided to let it go and accept that not every day is going to be a great day and not every photo is going to be my best.  I see the 365 days as a journey or process to improve how I take pictures.

What ideas to use for the 365 day photo challenge

Here is another big obstacle, what do I take photos of for 365 days?  I was going to select one piece of equipment and use that every day and then I thought no that’s too limiting and probably requires more planning than i can commit to.  Then I thought why not pick a style or genre of photography for my 365 day challenge.  Nah, again it’s too limiting.  In the end the best idea of I have for my 365 day photo challenge is to take what ever when ever how ever I can.   Use the gear I have at hand and take something that inspires me.

Sharing my challenge on Flickr, Tumblr and even Instagram

I plan on sharing all these photos socially through various channels.  I’ll have my 365 day photos on Instagram hopefully posted each and every day.  I’ll also update my Tumblr account to include these pictures.  My most used social site by far is Flickr and I’ll setup a new album called 365 day challenge.

I’d like to hear from you on what ideas have worked or strategies you’ve used for this challenge.  Was it gear related or genre or just simply going out and taking a picture.  What inspired you?

Review Sony A7: A first look at full frame mirrorless camera

About a year ago I began my search for a small compact camera I could use on day trips or take too small events.  I didn’t want to lug around a DSLR with a number of lenses or have a big lens sticking out in the open.  Have you ever tried to be discreet with a Canon 1DX and 70-200mm lens?  Can’t be done!

What lead to the review Sony A7

My journey has taken me down a number of paths one of which was the Fujifilm X-20.  You can read my review of the Fujifilm X-20 or sample photos of the Fujifilm X20 to get a better idea of the performance of this camera.  I’ve ended up with the Sony A7.  I was reluctant at first to buy in to this camera for a range of reason.  Some of the cons to the Sony A7 are its price and the limited lens selection.

Cons to the Sony A7 camera

The new full frame Sony A7 mirrorless system has a bunch of amazing features.  But, before I can buy in to all the hype or technical chest beating I need to know the downside. What is it about this camera that I’m going to either not like or simply hate?

Well on the short list there isn’t much about this camera I don’t like and as of this point I don’t hate anything.  Here is a list of my initial cons for the Sony A7

  1. Price – the price for this camera is pretty steep and opens the door for other manufactures.  During my research I was seriously looking at the Canon 6D so I could use any of my existing lenses.
  2. Lens limitations –  It’s often said that the Sony A7 lacks a wide range of lenses.  At first glance it’s easy to agree however with more research I’m not sure it’s as big an issue as thought.  One of my biggest requests was to have a small compact camera.  Saying that do you really need a wide range of lenses?
  3. On/Off switch – The on/off switch is easily confused with the front dial.  A few times while adjusting settings in the back my finger slipped from the dial to the power switch and i’ve turned the camera
  4. off.

Sample photos of the Sony A7 with kit lens

So what’s the first thing you take a photo of when you buy a new camera?  Yes, your cat!  Ok I know it’s not the most exciting subject but hey you want to test out the new toy.  This set of sample images from the Sony A7 are literally the first photos taken with this camera.  Why I choose to take photos of a kitten are pretty simple.  One of the main reasons I decided to take photos of my kitten, beyond convenience, was the fact that kittens have lots of energy.  This energy was perfect for testing the cameras ability to focus and track a close moving subject.  Now this camera won’t hold water against the top end Nikon or Canon (check out my Canon 1DX sample images) or alike but hey it did do a pretty good job.

Sony A7 Sample Images

You can see all my Sony A7 sample images in my photo gallery.  I’ll be adding new photos now and then to showcase some of the cool features this camera provides.

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Uses for mirrorless cameras

I plan on using this camera as often as possible. I’m especially excited to use the Sony A7 during my next product shoot.  As a local photographer i’m often asked to visit a clients or prospects location prior to quoting or bidding on the job.  The power of this camera will allow my to bring little to no gear along and capture some amazing photos.  In the past I’ve done this to help set the scene and prepare myself for the actual photo shoot.  I can also see this camera being very useful in product photography.  In the weeks to come watch out for a post on just that.  I’ll do an A/B test between the Sony A7 and Canon 1DX.  This should prove to be very interesting.

Top rated photos on Flickr: Do you agree?

Top rated photos on FlickrWith over 2,000 photos posted on Flickr I wanted to thank all those who commented and favorited my pictures.  I thought I would post the top rated photos on Flickr from my photostream.  This group of images is always changing and updating so come back often.

Top rated photos on Flickr

This collection of my best Flickr photostream includes pictures from a number of years and a range of genres. I will continue to add to this set so that I have the top 100 Flickr photos grouped together.  There are many amazing pictures on Flickr and trying to pick the world’s best photos on Flickr is next to impossible.

Tips for arranging your photos on Flickr

If I had to choose Flickr’s best photos I think I’d end up numb.  How can you select from millions of images a select few.  Is it the top 10 Flickr photos or the top 20 Flickr photos, either way it’s an impossible task.  I’ve recently found that the best way to organize my photos on Flickr is in both logical groups (i.e. Industrial Machinery or top flowers on Flickr) or in some cases just groups of a style like black and white photos.  For me there isn’t a best size photo for Flickr.  I think if you crop the photo in a way that makes the photo more appealing the Flickr community will spot it and acknowledge your work and talent.   I have many photostreams and often switch from one to the next when picking the best Flickr photostream.  It is all too subjective to pick just one.  When you organize your pictures into sets do so in a way that tells some sort of story.  Don’t think there is one best way to organize photos on Flickr, it’s a personal choice and should reflect your talents.

Local photographers offer 2 key differences others can’t

Local photographer - David ReidTaking the time to search for a local photographer can often lead to an overall better experience. Why is a photographer local to where you are important? A photographer in your local area has two major advantages, cost and knowledge.

Two advantages to hiring a local photographer for your next project

First the cost of a photographer is generally a combination of time and experience. How much time the photographer will spend with you is an hourly billed item. Travel from their office to your location is added in to your costs and is simply money better spent elsewhere. The other major component to cost is the experience of the photographer. The greater the experience the photographer has usually means better photos which translate in to higher costs.

The second reason is another obvious one but very important. A local photographer knows the area. Yes it’s simple but so important. Knowing the local area is critical to finding great locations to shoot your photos. Imagine trying to explain to a photographer from out of town where you would like the photos taken or options to look at. They will either scout the area the day before which will add to the overall costs or try to make it work on the day of the event. This high risk option will add unnecessary tension to your project.

 Tips for choosing a photographer in your area

Now you have a list of local photographers and need to choose which ones to call.  Here is a quick list of tips for picking the right photographer for you.

  • Personality – do you like the photographer?
  • Style – is their styling in line with what you like or are looking for?
  • Location – do they have a studio and will they go on location to shoot?
  • Input – can you provide input during the creative process?
  • Experience – how long have they been taking photos professionally?
  • Time – how much time will you have with the photographer pre, during and post event?
  • Proofs – how long until you receive proofs?
  • Post production – can they edit your photos to correct and adjust?
  • Printing – can you purchase prints from them?

Being prepared is half the battle when selecting a local photographer.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

How to pick a wedding photographer with the right style

How to pick a wedding photographerThe task of how to pick a wedding photographer is probably one of the most difficult choices you’ll have to make when planning your wedding.  Unlike other vendor choices you’ll have to make picking the photographer have some very unique differences.  With a DJ you have a lot of control over the type of music you’ll want played at your wedding.  A song selection can cover most if not all of the night.  Same holds true with your flower arrangements.  You know exactly what flowers, colors and arrangements you want.  With a photographer it’s a little more than just your choice.  Wedding photographers are very much like painters.  They each have a specific style and within that style there is a wide range of how they apply it to a wedding.

Remember liking the photographer and bonding with them is essential!

Wedding photographer styles

There are four basic wedding photography styles in today’s market.  Each style can capture beautiful pictures of your special day.  They thing to remember here is in six months or six years will you still feel as passionate about the photos?  Check out each style of photography carefully and honestly evaluate them against your lifestyle.  As an example if you’re an ultraconservative person would an edgy bold look appeal to you?  Probably not.  Now that’s a very obvious contrast so be careful that when you’re stepping outside your normal comfort zone that it’s really what you want and not what’s trendy.

How to pick a wedding photographer style: 4 basic types

Documentary wedding photography:  This style is all about the event and less about traditional ‘staged’ photos.  You’ll rarely see people looking directly into the camera and you’ll almost never see a formal group photo.  People like Jennifer Aniston had her wedding photographer do exactly this.  She didn’t want to stop to take photos and didn’t want to miss the people and excitement of the wedding.  She just wanted photos that documented the day and captured key moments as they happened.

Portraiture wedding photography: When you see your parents wedding photos do you smile and think, that’s what I want.  If you do then you should consider a traditional wedding photographer or portraiture photographer.  Traditional settings and groupings with family and friends are the stable of this photographer.  Backdrops and framed settings are common settings used in this photo style.  Some photographers will push the boundary and use a more edgy setting but still maintain the traditional wedding photography principles.

Fine art wedding photography: This is one of my favorite wedding photography styles.  It’s a blend of many styles (maybe all) allowing the photographer a great deal of artistic license.  This is where you must like and bond with the photographer.  The wedding photos you’ll receive after your big day is the point of view seen from the photographer.  Personally when I shoot in this style I listen to the client and blend their wishes etc… with my style.  The outcome is specific to your wedding and not a cookie cut-out.

Edgy and bold wedding photography: This style is pushing the boundary to the limits. Creative control is given completely to the photographer and the sky’s the limit.  Off-beat angles, colors, locations and more set this wedding style apart from all the rest.  Expect to be shocked and surprised at how dynamic these photos can be.  Perfection in positioning people in groups or alone is not the focus.  Cut-off heads, out of focus brides, random photos are all part of emotion expressed when taking edgy wedding photos.

For more information on my photography services contact me today.

Toronto Zoo Elephants: Caught in pictures as this controversial rescue lingers in the news

The Toronto Zoo has been in the news for the past several years over Bob Barkers quest to rescue elephants from the zoo. These large majestic animals always make great subjects when visiting the zoo. I’ve created this set of elephant pictures to show captured over the past several years.

Photos from the Toronto Zoo before the elephants move

Looking at these pictures I begin to wonder if the move is a good thing or not? Elephants are one of the most common animals found at a zoo. Before the Toronto Zoo elephants move to California I thought I’d put together this collection of pictures.

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Bob Barker rescues the Toronto Zoo Elephants

I didn’t know they needed rescuing! Ok I’ll admit I’ve not stay dialed in to this whole thing. All I know is that Bob Barker has had his sights on the elephants at the Toronto Zoo and now they’re supposed to move. Right or wrong it will be a loss to the people in Ontario and at Canada’s largest zoo. I wonder how many other animals at this zoo or any other need ‘rescuing’.

Photographer in Durham Region: How to capture pictures locally

Just outside of The Greater Toronto Area (or GTA) is a region of Southern Ontario called Durham Region. As a photographer in the area I’m often faced with the challenge when I’m not working of what to photograph. After all this is a suburb of a big city what could there possibly be that’s exciting and cool to take a picture of?

The challenge of being a Photographer in Durham Region

Photographer in Durham Region

Photographer in Durham Region

Durham Region has a number of small towns within it. Oshawa is one of the biggest if not the largest. It’s founded on the automotive industry (check out my automotive photos here) and is a typical industrial city. So when looking for ideas I found myself asking the question where do I start, what can I take a picture of that would challenge my skill and help me grow as a photographer? Plenty! simply stop looking and sit in one spot. Look around you and begin to understand where you are. Then big a style or theme for taking photos It could be the use of color or shapes or decay. Just start with an idea. Soon you’ll find yourself snapping photos of all kinds of things. Then pause again to review some of your pictures and see if you have a direction to go on like macro or people. It’s the pausing that helps settle your mind down enough to see what’s around you.

Looking in all the wrong places! Yes being a photographer in Pickering or a photographer in Ajax all comes with the same challenges. Rows and rows of housing developments and big box department stores leave little to be creative with. You can drive around for hours and see almost the exact same thing, or at least it seems that way.

Nature photography in Whitby

One are in Durham that many photographers love to go to is Lynde Shore. This protect region sits right on Lake Ontario and offers many opportunities for nature photos. I often head there when I can’t seem to find anything else to take a picture of. You can see a collection of my nature photos on Flickr that include pictures taken here.

So, as a Photographer in Durham Region I’ve learned as I do with my clients that taking photographs is all about seeing.

Fujifilm X20 high speed video

The new Fujifilm X20 has some pretty cool high speed video capabilities.  Top speed of 250 frames per second is pretty impressive.   So how well does this do in practice?

Slow motion sample video from the Fujifilm X20

The following slow motion video is a first attempt and the first of more to come.  The video was shot at Ajax Downs on a very sunny summer day.  Everything was perfect accept where I was standing.  About 50 yards away and slightly elevated was the best location I could find.

Watch the Fujifilm X20 high speed video

Highlights from the 2012 Royal Horse Show

Another great night at The Royal Horse Show!  Watching greats like Ian Millar and Yann do their thing at the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championships.  The evening was filled with excitement and even a bit of mystery.  An unexpected fire alarm slowed things down for 20 minutes or so.  Once the alarm was reset things kicked in to high gear.  There was a sense of urgency to get on with things and boy did they do that.  Hats off to the organisers at the Royal Winter Fair for keeping things on track and action packed.

Photos from the Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championships

Ian Millar

Ian Millar at the The Royal Horse Show at this years Royal Winter Fair
Ian Millar winning at the The Royal Horse Show at this years Royal Winter Fair

Yann Candele

Yann Candele winning at the The Royal Horse Show at this years Royal Winter Fair

Yann Candele winning at the The Royal Horse Show at this years Royal Winter Fair

Yann Candele takes the Greenhawk jump instride at the Royal Horse Show

Yann Candele takes the Greenhawk jump instride at the Royal Horse Show