Broncs, Buckaroos and Britches

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Yup, it’s rodeo time and there ain’t no better place than in Alberta. We got the Calgary Stampede, Ponoka Stampede, Stoney Lake, Medicine Lodge, Canadian Finals, well, you get the picture. Just about every community in Alberta hosts some sort of rodeo and it seems like every backyard in rural Alberta has a horse or two keeping the grass cut.

To be honest, some of the best rodeo events are in the smaller communities, you can get up close and personal with the cowboys, cowgirls and if you  don’t keep your head about you, a close encounter of the bull kind. There’s nothing like a 500kg mad bull or bucking horse to wake you up. Watching these cowgirls and cowboys ride through the corral, or hang on for dear life makes you wonder what their mothers are thinking. Well, one of the mothers put it quite simply, ‘it’s in our blood, we’ve been doing it for generations’. My silent reply to that was to thank my parents for buying me a bike.

 

Happy Trails!

Harvest Time

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Always a demand for images and footage of agriculture scenes, and we make an effort to address the various requests we get.

This year the crops came early, and there was no lack of sunshine, if only you could see it through the smoke. Due to the crazy wildfire season in BC and a couple of fires in Alberta, the skies throughout Alberta were a bit brown and hazy. It made for some amazing sunsets, but didn’t help when you were looking for details and clear skies.

 

A Priceless Keepsake!

What to do for somebodies birthday, or a special occasion – a photo or video shoot! Absolutely priceless, and everybody get’s a gift.

A set of photos and/or a video will provide lasting memories that will be forever cherished. Well worth the time and effort.

After Sunset

The magic doesn’t stop when the sun goes down.

As a matter of fact things get even more interesting and challenging. As a photographer or videographer you now have an opportunity to add light and play with the existing light. By subtracting the key light (sun) we can now play with the fill light (any artificial light in the scene) to create a surreal image that wouldn’t otherwise exist. With the present day technology, the images that we can produce are only limited by our imagination.

If you would like to explore this subject a bit more, consider signing up for one of our night time workshops, and join us for some nocturnal fun! Check out our workshop page for more information.

Amazing Sunsets

This is possibly the shortest blog we will ever post, but it’s to the point and about a great event that happens everyday around sunset in Southern Alberta – THE BEST SUNSETS EVER!

 

Heartland Production on Spring Break

For followers of the CBC television series Heartland, production on the upcoming 11th season has not begun – yet. It’s April in the foothills of Alberta and that means the weather is even more unpredictable than usual. The mountains look awesome all covered in snow, and contrasting with the mostly green and brown foothills to the east. That can change in a matter of minutes, and add the wet ground conditions and still frosty air, it’s a good time for a break.

The props and signage haven’t gone up yet at the ranch, and winter is still lingering in the air, and definitely in the high country surrounding the ranch. That is going to change very soon, with production apparently starting very soon.


Why We Need Producers


How many times have we heard about the photo or video, that happened because somebody got lucky and was at the right place at the right time?

Sadly, this is not what usually happens in the real world, and definitely not in the world of advertising and marketing. There is too much at stake to leave it up to lady luck to provide the perfect location, the perfect props and the perfect conditions, all at the same time. Not to mention the cost of having a whole production crew on-site waiting for the perfect series of events to happen simultaneously. This is why we need producers, to make it all happen on time and to the clients satisfaction.

There are occasions when we’ve had to wait for the wind to die down, or a passing cloud or rain storm to blow over, but with the proper planning we reduce the possibility of not getting the images the client wants. Did I mention that on most shoots of this proportion, somebody representing the client is generally looking over our shoulder and approving, or not, what we are doing. The pressure to perform are enormous, but the satisfaction of getting the shot are equally as rewarding.

(You might have noticed that the producer isn’t present in any of the photos = he was already on to the next location making it happen)


Travel Alberta – Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge


This is what we went through to get this series of photos and video footage.

Our beloved Creative Director leading us into battle!

(He did get his feet wet.)

Our production crew working to make the shoot happen. They are an invaluable asset on any set, and the real reason that we get the job done.

(We were very lucky to have a creative director who wasn’t afraid to lend a hand too)

Don’t do this at home!  Sometimes getting the job done required a few risks, but we always made safety a piority, although I often wondered if it was the equipment that was really the concern, and not the people involved.

The Balancing Act!

A few other images from the shoot.

Great Models – Great Photos!

It really helps when your subject matter is so easy to work with and cute!


We had a shoot planned with two really awesome girls who loved  to be on camera. This just made our job so much easier.  When this happens the results are always great.

Narrowing down our choices was really hard, these girls were fantastic in front of the camera, but we did need to choose one. Once this was determined we worked our magic to produce the final image.

This is one of those occasions when the surprise is not in the actual shoot, but what we did in post – production. After carefully planning and coordinating the location, wardrobe and props, we went and did something that was not planned, unexpected and certainly not in the script.

We had wonderfully coordinated colours to work with, but in the end we choose to mute the colours, add a sepia tone colour, and age the image with a bit of magic. We chose this image because the girls appeared a bit bashful and shy in the image – NOT! The truth is, they were so comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera that this image stood out from the rest. WHO KNEW!

AND THEN THERE WAS ONE!

Ode to Canola

For a few short weeks of the year the Canola fields across the prairies create a beautiful checkerboard of golden yellow hues that breakup the endless field of green that is typical of mid summer on the prairies.

 

Don’t get us wrong, we love to see fields of green, the farmers are happy and the bakery department shelves are full, but there is something to be said about acres and acres of brilliant yellow flowers that look like a painters palette amongst the endless green landscape.

The downside to this brief flare of colour is that any assignment work is so dependent on the clock. We literally are ready at a moments notice for the word that the perfect day is upon us. And then it’s a flurry of activity to get our gear and ourselves to the perfect location.

Did we mention that all our locations and time of day have been scouted prior to the arrival of the perfect day. We don’t leave anything to chance, but as with nature, there are always a few surprises.

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Tour of Alberta, 2016

In it’s 3rd year, the Tour of Alberta brings together over 100 of the worlds top riders for 6 days as they race for top spot. This year the race started in Lethbridge and culminated on the streets of downtown Edmonton.

We managed to get out for one of the legs that started in Kananaskis and ended in the community of Olds. The weather was a bit uncooperative and riders were not only battling the hills in the mountains, but rain showers, gusty winds and below normal temperatures. A heck of a diet plan!

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Keep on cycling!

 

Calgary Stampede in Motion

Calgary Stampede 2016 might set a record, unfortunately not a good one. The amount of rain that fell on the grounds was something to behold and endure.

We did manage to get out and capture some of the fun and excitement, but paid the price with soggy clothes and wet feet. But it was worth it! Our theme for this year was – Calgary Stampede in Motion.  We used a few techniques to capture images that suggest motion.

Here are a few examples:

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Until next year!

It’s Cherry Season!

No visit to BC’s Okanogan valley in the spring, summer or fall is complete without a visit to an orchard, farmers market, or winery, to sample some of the marvellous fruit, vegetables and wines produced in the valley.

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A number of orchards in the valley offer tours which are very educational and the perks are very tasty! For those who want to go it alone, a short drive outside of any of the communities that are situated up and down the valley will generally have you driving through orchards filled with the current in season fruit. Spotting a winery isn’t too difficult either, just find the vineyards and a winery is sure to be nearby.

And for those looking for in season vegetables may we recommend stopping at one of the farmers markets that can be found adjacent to many of the highways and side roads in the valley.

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Keep some space available in your vehicle and bring home some fresh fruit, vegetables or a few bottles of some world class wines. The local tourism office should be a first stop for anybody. They can point you in the right direction, no matter what your tastes, young and old alike.

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Following the Tracks

Not to be too dramatic, but back in the 1800’s we didn’t have many options on how to move people and materials across the continent. When the last railway spike was hammered into the ground and the first trains started to roll, people were in awe of this wondrous new machine that was born during the industrial revolution. Now, we hardly give it a passing thought, other than to complain when we are inconvenienced by a passing train blocking the road ahead of us.

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I’ve always been intrigued by the mechanism that is in place that moves the trains across this continent, and how with the amount of goods and people that are moved on a daily basis from point to point, we have so few problems and accidents. It’s a testimony to human ingenuity and technology!

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When we recently did a shoot involving trains, tracks and moving materials from point A to B, we had an opportunity to learn a bit more about the whole process. and meet a few of the characters who have spent their life following the rails.

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We will be adding more to this blog, so please check back. This project isn’t over yet!

 

Pro Soccer in Calgary?

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Is Calgary ready for a pro soccer team?

Here’s an interesting statistic that not a lot of people know – there’s more kids and young adults involved with soccer in Calgary than hockey. Possibly because it’s a sport that attracts a lot of family members both male and female, for it’s obvious health benefits, but also because it is an international sport that is growing in popularity in North America. Names like Messi, Renaldo, Van Persie, and Beckman are mentioned by players and parents regularly.

And just like the NHL and NBA, sports equipment and clothing manufacturers are vying for endorsements from well known players, adding to the price tag for the latest soccer shoes and clothing. It is a multi billion dollar business that is growing world wide.

So is Calgary ready? Well, the latest setback in the economy might suggest otherwise, but judging by the initial outlay to start a club, versus the longterm money that a club can generate for a community, one might argue that it would be a good investment. We were recently at a Vancouver Whitecaps game, and there was certainly a lot of community interest in the game, not just from the people in the stands, but from the media coverage, and the businesses that benefited directly and indirectly from game day.

We recently did a player profile shoot with Foothills Soccer club and from the clubs perspective, they are definitely keen on seeing it happen. Maybe someday, Messi, or Renaldo would show up to sign some autographs.

Home town Favourites

With the great weather we have been having our spring photo & video assignments have started a little early, and what better subject to kickstart it with than some hometown favourites.

We have a number of favourite spots around the city to capture some images and footage, here is a sampling of some of the images. Video footage can be found on our Youtube page and in our iStock/Getty portfolio.

 

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Heavy Metal

Heavy metal! Working with industrial products can be a challenge at times. They are typically heavy, designed to take some abuse, and often, not so pretty.

When we get a call to film or photograph industrial products we know there will be some challenges, and typically our post production time will increase beyond the usual.

Products will have to be prepared for the shoot, and this often means we are talking with the clients long before our shoot day, getting them to be a bit more thorough with smoothing the edges, painting the products and aligning the pieces so everything looks perfect. Anything that can be done to make the products look great prior to the shoot will cut down on the post production time after the shoot.

During the shoot we often use a few products to add some gloss, smooth the surfaces, add or reduce unwanted reflections, and generally cleanup the products. Anything else is done on the computers to make the images look as great as possible.

We’ve included some images we recently photographed and worked on. We didn’t want to show the products before all the work was done. Most clients  want to showcase their products in the best possible manner.

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Never Enough Time or Sunshine

On occasion we get to kick some sand and if we are lucky, experience some west coast sunshine in Vancouver, British Columbia. The odds of experiencing sunshine in Vancouver for more than a couple of days in a row is just short of winning the lottery. Waking up to sunshine for the better part of a week took some divine intervention, and for that we are forever grateful.

When you do get it, it’s not hard to see why Vancouver is ranked as one of the worlds top cities to visit or live in. There is so much to see and do, and unfortunately for us, never enough time.

A few pics from Vancouver to wet your appetite.

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Northern Canada

Working in extreme conditions is one of the experiences that we have more than our share of. We actually quite enjoy it, with a few exceptions.

Working in the north shore oilfields in the Beaufort Sea is like traveling to another planet. After traveling north for six hours by jet, we landed in Tuktoyuktuk, a community sitting on the edge of the Beaufort Sea in Canada’s Northwest Territories. It’s late spring and as we flew north the daylights hours increased, and unfortunately the temperature dropped. There is no daytime – night time at this time of year, the sun doesn’t completely disappear, and the daily schedules and habits of people is altered.

Our journey wasn’t over, we were to travel out to one of the offshore drilling platforms by helicopter. In order to do this we were required to partake in a safety program specific to offshore travel in this area of the globe. Because of the weight restrictions that helicopter travel required, we were limited to only a few bags, much of which was our equipment. One final safety step was necessary before boarding the helicopter, all of the passengers were required to wear an Arctic survival suite while we were in the air.

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Flying over the pack ice flows was a bit surreal, there is no frame of reference for the size of things, so it almost seemed like you could step out onto the ice and go for a walk. A quick chat with the pilot squashed that idea when he told us we were at an altitude in excess of a 1000 meters. He indicated that this was a problem that many pilots experienced, and in some cases with fatal consequences. On a side trip that we made a few days later to Cornwallis Island the pilot pointed out the remains of an aircraft that had crashed on final approach. The MOT had concluded that the pilot didn’t believe his instruments, got fooled by this illusion of scale, and had flown the aircraft straight into the ice.

Because of the 24 hours of sunlight, we were able to shoot around the clock, whenever there was something of interest going on. The image above was shot at 2 o’clock in the morning. On another trip to the Arctic in February, we had the reverse situation, there was little to no sunlight, and most of our shooting required additional artificial lighting.

 

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Working in the Arctic is one of those experiences that reminds you that there are still places on our planet that are remote, a bit wild and untamed, and definitely something that you will remember for the rest of your life.

 

 

 

The Grand Staircase

Every once in a while our overworked brains tell us it’s time for a creative escape, and if we are smart enough we actually listen to our brain. On this occasion we did and took a creative break to the Grand Staircase, better known as the Colorado Plateau.

Situated at the confluence of the states of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, the Colorado Plateau is one of the most amazing geographical areas in the world. Towering cliffs, buttes, mesas, slot canyons, and arches are just some of the natural wonders that you will see. A visitor can get lost in the grandeur,  stay for a lifetime, and never see the same thing twice.

We highly recommend it, if you enjoy driving holidays and camping.

 

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Banff – Jasper Highway

The drive between Alberta’s three most popular mountain resort communities – Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, is one of the top scenic drives in the world.

Surrounded by snow capped 3000 meter + mountains, mountain meadows, blue lakes, and a myriad of wildlife, it should be on everybody’s bucket list. And we get paid to do assignments in the middle of this grand scenery. These are a few extra images from a shoot with the Canadian Tourism Commission, and Banff, Lake Louise Tourism.

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