Happy Birthday Jaden!

It's a big day! Our oldest girl Jaden is celebrating her 10th birthday today. It's hard to believe that time has gone by so quickly, but really I can barely remember what life was like without kids.

I'm sure it was quite easy and stress-free, but still, I can't imagine things being any different than they are now.

Having a 10 year old kid might take a bit of getting used to though... Her birthday makes ME feel quite a bit older. Not far from dealing with the teen years now!

I'll stop worrying about the future for a minute, and look back to the day that changed our lives... Here's a photo I took exactly 10 years ago.

Happy birthday Jaden!

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I'm Yours - North Bay Film

Here I am again posting after a very loooong break. Since i'm currently a passenger on a two hour trip to a Foraco mine site, I guess I'll take the opprtunity to start playing catch up and post about what's been happening.

I still want to talk more about the shoots I showed snippets of in my last post, as well as all the work I've done since then, but for now, I'll talk a bit about "I'm Yours".

I got a call about 6 weeks ago from someone letting me know there was a Toronto production company (New Real Films) getting ready to shoot a feature in town, and they needed a designer/set dresser. I obviously had some film experience, but had never done this particular job before, and already had plenty on my plate.

I agreed to go to a meeting to find out more, and to see if I was interested. It turned out this was a production meeting with a good part of the crew talking about what needed to be done, and I was instantly on board.

The next three and a half weeks were taken over from that point on. Shopping for building supplies, furniture, transforming rooms, stores, pubs, outdoor spaces, producing props like signage, fake bus tickets, driver's licenses, etc... The list goes on and on.

The cast (led by Rossif Sutherland and Karine Vanasse) and crew were great, and it was nice to get the opportunity to be a part of it all.

I took a whole lot of pictures throughout, but i don't really want to show much until the movie's out.

I do have a bunch of random shots I took on set with my phone that don't really give anything away though, and here are a just few of them...

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Where did summer go? - North Bay Photography

The past few months have been really crazy, which is great. Business is going really well, and I can't complain. What I'm most happy about is that on top of my usual web and design work, I've been getting a lot of photography jobs lately.  This welcome addition to the workload has been partly responsible for my lack of posts, and my lack of regular sleep.

A lot of this photography has been for the City of North Bay's Tourism and Economic Development departments. There have also been some athletics, coins, political figures, an author, and a wedding thrown in the mix... oh, and a pretty cool dentist too!

I could say, and show a lot about each of these, but there just isn't enough time in the day for that right now. Instead, I'll just say how happy I am to have the opportunity to work on such a wide variety of projects from one day to the next.

Here's a little sneak peek at some of shots I've taken over the past few months (click the image to open it in a new window, then click it again to enlarge)...


A little teaser...The House - North Bay Cinematography

Well, for those who might not have heard, The Lake won for Best Short at Film North International Film Festival last weekend.  That was pretty good news, and a nice way to end things with The Lake's festival run. I've posted more details about this film a few times before, but the last thing I'll say about it is a big thanks to Kevin Hoffman who did the editing, and submitted the short to a bunch of festivals a while back. If that hadn't happened, nobody would have heard of it, or heard of me for that matter.

Now that The Lake has run its cycle, it's time to start pushing the next project: The House.

The House is a short film I worked on earlier this summer, and it's just now starting to get submitted to festivals. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it does well over the next year or so. You can do the same if you'd like, but people might look at you and think you're a bit odd. I'm seeing a bit of a trend with the titles of the some projects I've worked on so far: The Gloaming. The Lake. The House. what's next? The Backyard, The Car, The Sky, The, The etc... Time to mix it up a little!

As usual, we had a pretty small group working on this short, and we actually shot most of it in a single day. Really we shot the whole short in one day, but there were a few things we weren't completely happy with, so we spent a few hours reshooting a scene a few days later.

Starring in the film are Jim & Claire Calarco, Danielle Baker, Abigail Calarco, and Lewis Hodgson.

Jim wrote, produced and directed the piece, I worked on cinematography and Kevin Hoffman handled art direction, sound, as well as the big task of editing the whole thing together. Heather Cairns-Hodgson lent her hand to wardrobe, as well as helping with just about anything we needed throughout the day (including holding an umbrella over me for a while so my camera wouldn't get soaked... Thank you!). And of course thank you to Nicole who puts up with me leaving for a day to get a shoot done.

I can't really say much more about it, but you can watch a little teaser of it below the poster.
Have a good weekend...


The Lake showing at Cinefest - North Bay Cinematography

Well, The Lake (one of our short films) is showing at Cinefest International Filmf Festival today. This is pretty cool, unfortunately I don't think anyone who was involved with the film will actually be there for the experience.  Most of the cast and crew have regular jobs they couldn't just duck out of to go to a festival, which is too bad.

In my case, it's pretty much the same. I have quite a full month with a lot of different contracts on the go, from websites to video work and photography. I just can't take another day away from the computer right now. It's a little disappointing, but in the end paying the bills and hopefully keeping the family fed for a while happens to be quite a bit heavier on the priority scale.

The lake will actually also be showing at Film North - 2010 Huntsville International Film Festival this weekend.  I'll be out in the wild doing a full day of shooting for the tourism industry, so I'll have to miss this festival too. On the plus side, writer and partner in crime Michael Humble will be making it to the event, and I'm sure he'll have a blast.

This weekend will pretty much mark the end of The Lake's festival shelf life. It has been around for a little while, and played here and there over the past year. One of the highlights was the Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards where a certain Patrick Gilbert (yay me!) and Ed Regan won for Best Cinematography. now it's time to move on and start pushing the next one.

We have had a pretty good run with The Lake, and I look forward to continued success with our recent, and future projects.

If you haven't seen it yet, why don't you take a few minutes to watch The Lake...


The Logo Showdown

A little while back I posted some food shots here which I took for Glenn Sheridan, leading up to the opening of his new restaurant. Since that time, I've also been working on a website for the restaurant (Le Bon Marché), as well as a logo.

Last week, the logos were narrowed down to three variations. Glen was having a hard time deciding between the three, and someone mentioned it would be fun to put it up on facebook where people could vote on their favorite. We all agreed that this was a good idea, so before too long, the images were up and the voting had begun.

It has been interesting to watch the voting, and to see people's comments. I didn't want to sway people in any way, so I haven't posted anything on the page, or responded to any of the suggestions with why certain imagery, colours or fonts styles were used. It's fun to see how close it has been between the two highest vote getters. They're both my creations, so I'm not rooting for one any more than the other, but I'm still anxious to see which one comes out on top.

Anyway, today is the last day for voting, so if you haven't already done so, go to Le Bon Marché's fan page and become a part of the decision...vote for your favorite!

Here's a look at the two top choices (don't vote here, go to the facebook page)...


Oliver Sherman

Hey folks, right now I'm in Toronto for a private cast and crew screening of Oliver Sherman, a feature film shot in the North Bay area last year which I did some work on. I have to say it's odd, and fun being in the company of several accomplished film makers. It's nice to have had some part (even a small part) in the making of the film, which will be premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in a few days. I'm honored to be a part of it all, small or not.

My role was in the art department, and my contribution came in the design of things like beer labels, vodka labels, cigarette packs, a cheque, bus ticket, signs etc... I had fun working on these items during my short time on the film, and it was cool to see the stuff on the big screen. Of course, these are pretty much just little props and are mostly out of focus in a lot of the shots where they appear, but it was still pretty cool.

I have to share a shot of something I saw just outside of the theater where the premiere took place. It got my attention, so i figured i'd post it. Talk to ya later folks!

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T Dot

Over the past few weeks, I've had the chance to go to Toronto (one of my favorite places to be) a few times. I really expected to spend some time just wandering the streets and taking pictures, but I didn't end up doing much of that at all.  We did wander, but I just didn't end up taking the camera out of the bag very often.

I was a little worried when I started doing more photography and video work for money that I would lose interest in doing it for fun, and that seems to have happened a little. It's not something I really noticed, but now that I think of it, I do actually go for days now without holding a camera. Not many days mind you, but before the camera became a tool I use for my business, I would take at the very least 10 pictures every single day. And that would be a slow day!

I guess I've been more focused on work stuff, and less on just having fun with the camera. The Hipstamatic application for the iPhone has brought some of the fun back and I think I've actually taken more non-business related shots with the phone than with any of my actual cameras since I got the app.

I have a photo project in mind which I've vaguely mentioned a few times. I think it's something that could be really fun, and I'll talk about it in my next post. 

Mike and I also have a short film we've been meaning to shoot all summer, but time flies by, and scheduling people who have regular jobs to worry about is always an issue. We haven't shot a thing just yet, but I'm hoping we can get rolling on that over the next few weeks.

Anyway, that's it for now. Here's a handful of shots I took with my phone while in Toronto. Don't forget to check back soon to read about "The Project"... Maybe it's something you'll want to join in and be a part of!


Helicopters Canada Video - North Bay Videography

I have posted far less than I would have liked over the past few months, and there are quite a few things I've been meaning to talk about which I'll need to catch up on soon.  The main reason I've been so tied up is the time I've spent working on a corporate video for Helicopters Canada. I talked a bit about this in one of my past posts entitled "I Can Fly!"

Helicopters Canada is a flight training and charter company located here in North Bay Ontario. They've been a client of mine for a few years now, so it was great to get the chance to shoot this video for them. Of course there were some obstacles to overcome (shy people, scheduling, rainy days, etc...), but in the end everything came together just fine.

I've spent far too much time on this to want to talk about it anymore... What more could I say anyway? Just get comfortable and watch the video! It's pretty small in this window, so you might want to kick it into full screen HD mode.

Come back soon to hear about a new and exciting project I have in mind, as well as a bunch of other things I've been meaning to babble on about.


Come freeze in my shower? - North Bay Photography

Not too long ago, I posted a few shots I took of Scott in my shower. These photos were the result of a little test I did, in preparation for an actual shoot that would take place the following week. Having never taken pictures of someone in the shower (It's not something that people ask for a lot), I wanted to play a little and make sure everything would work out perfectly.

Well, that actual shoot took place earlier this week, and it went great. I'm so surprised that anyone was even interested in doing this. "Hey, do you want to come into a stranger's house and freeze in the shower while he takes pictures?". Sounds appealing right? Well, it was appealing enough I guess, and everything went as planned. I'm happy the girls were brave enough to hop in the shower for this, and I'm really pleased with the end result.

You'll be seeing these in the newspaper soon, and I'll talk some more about it at some point, and maybe post more shots from the collection as time goes on. I really had a lot of fun with this, and it has raised my interest in a little project I already had in mind. That's something else I'll go into more detail about soon.

OK, I'm all over the place now, here are a few shots. Till next time!


Food! Food! And More Food! - North Bay Food Photography

I'm falling behind on posts again! Time to get back at it, here goes...

Earlier this week, we had the chance to go to Jake the Grand Master's house, where we were treated to great hospitality, and a sampling of chef Glenn Sheridan's menu.  Glenn will be opening a restaurant (Le Bon Marché) in North Bay soon, so this was a great opportunity to get a little taste of what's to come, and of course to get a few pictures of the dishes in the process.

I've known Jake for ages, so it was nice to finally get our families together for a little visit, even though I was a little distracted with the photography, and getting the shots just right. I tend to get a little crazy when I'm taking pictures. I can keep shooting for hours, and take hundreds of "the exact same shot" until I get exactly the one I want. It doesn't bother me at all, but I guess it gets annoying for those around me. hah.

In the end, the food was great, and I think the shots worked out well too! Have a look at a few of them... 


Welcome to my shower!

So I got a call this week, and was asked if I'd be interested in taking pictures of a few girls in the shower. My mind started going right away, but not at all how you might think.

I started running through the scenario and trying to figure out exactly how I'd get the shots needed without getting my camera and my lights wet. I also didn't really think people would want to go into someone else's house, especially someone else's shower to pose for a few shots. So I tried to think of a few options for setting up the scene outside somehow. This would have been good for many reasons. The natural light would have been nice, I wouldn't have had to worry about any mess, and I would have had enough room to shoot from far enough away to not get my camera soaked.

In the end, it just didn't make any sense (or work with the timeline and budget) to assemble a faux shower. So the next obvious choice was our upstairs bathroom. We have a huge skylight, so the natural light would help, and there would be enough room for me to jam a few artificial light in there and still be able to move around somewhat comfortably.

I figured everything would work out fine, but just to make sure, I wanted to have a test run with someone else first. This way I could work out any issues that might come up and see what problems we might run into, before the actual models come over. Friday was the trial day, and Scott (probably the most cartoony and animated person I know) came over, jumped in my shower, and we got down to business.

I originally had only one light set up, a reflector which I didn't end up using, and a lot of sun coming in from the skylight. Then the clouds started rolling in and the constantly changing daylight became a problem. I decided to not rely on it at all, set up a second light and all was good!

Everything worked out great, and I'm looking forward to the official shoot later this week. I'll talk more about this, and what it's for some other time. Until then, here are a few pictures from Friday...


Wedding Cake... Times Two

Last week was a bit overloaded, and I'm so glad it's behind us. There was all kinds of the regular craziness and running around, but that wasn't really the problem. I had a huge editing job to wrap up, Thursday was Nicole's birthday, and on Saturday, we needed to have two wedding cakes done.

Our original plan was to start working on elements of the cakes a few weeks ahead of time. We wanted to have the flowers and other decorative pieces done so that when the weekend came around, we would just need to assemble everything. Of course, things never go as planned. Time flew by and the next thing we knew we only had a few days to go and nothing was done.

We've worked with fondant quite a bit in the past, which you can see in our other cakes, but this time we thought we'd use gum paste to make the flowers, leaves, branches etc... It's supposed to dry very quickly, and become hard as a rock, so it seemed like a good idea. It worked out fine for the tiny flowers, but when it came to the big lilies, that was a different story. The flowers just wouldn't harden fast enough, and when we tried to attach them to the cake with royal icing, a lot of them lost petals and just crumbled in our hands.

After a week of too many sleepless nights, having the main element of a cake fall apart at the last minute was a bit scary, and very discouraging. Fortunately, I had made way more lilies than we needed, so even with the issues we had, there were still enough flowers to get the job done, and everything worked out just fine. After a few stressful deliveries on some of the most bumpy streets in all of Ontario, we were able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Have a look at the end result...


The Old Obsession is Back!

I spent most of my teen years playing basketball, watching basketball, playing b-ball video games, dreaming about basketball, covering my walls with any basketball imagery I could find. Well, you get the idea. I was obsessed.

I stopped playing when I was 18 or  so I guess. I'm not sure why, but I'm assuming alcohol and self-induced teen drama probably had something to do with it in the beginning. Then came college, family, work, business, etc... No basketball. A few times over the years, I tried to get into the routine of going to the nearest schoolyard and throwing the ball around, but it never stuck.

At about six this morning, I was laying in bed and decided to hop out, go for a little jog, then throw the basketball around a bit. A bit turned into 2 and a half hours, until I figured it was time to come back home and get some work done. I went outside of a school nearby where I spent a lot of time playing back in the day, and it felt great. I definitely wasn't moving quite as smoothly as I once did, but there's something that just felt natural and comforting about being there. Like visiting an old friend.

Back in high school, the only place I was comfortable was on the court. Well, the outdoor court anyway. When it came to playing for the school team, I was so preoccupied with the fact that I was not well liked (short, scrawny, shy geek who didn't know anyone... easy to make fun of) that I was nervous and even afraid to touch the ball. I don't think I ever even took a single shot in the two years I played on the team. I've always regretted that.

Anyway, when it came to street ball, it was a different story. I was very confident, in control, and enjoyed making people look bad. It was the complete opposite of the rest of my life at the time. Being there today I found myself remembering a lot of the moments and shots & passes I made in the games I played so long ago. I don't know why I remember it all so well, but like I said I was obsessed, and those were some of the only moments I didn't feel like an idiot back then.

I guess you could say those were my glory days... with absolutely no glory because there were no fans, crowds, or any record that any of those matches ever took place at all. hah. Maybe I dreamt it all up.

Here are a few pictures from this morning. It really took me back, but I wish someone else would have showed up to play. I miss the competition. 

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone



I love lomography, and I've posted about it a few times now. Something about the low tech cameras and the unexpected result is just exciting to me.

A few days ago, I saw a post from Amanda Palmer (who I follow on Twitter) about the hipstamatic app for the iPhone. The picture she posted had that lomo look I really dig, so I jumped all over that app right away. It did not disapoint. The app is slow, and a bit glitchy, but overall I love it.

Looking into it a bit I discovered that the hipstamatic was actually a camera that was produced a while back. The interesting thing is that there were only 200 of them made. I'd love to get my hands on one.

Until then, I'll just keep using the iPhone version. Here are a few shots I took with it today...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Hi Everybuggy! - North Bay Nature Photography

I had to dig up a few insect photos for something recently, and as I was scanning through all my files, I started noticing that I had quite a few bug shots in there over the years. I don't have any special interest in the pests, but I have always been a fan of macro photography, and I guess bugs are just an easy subject. They're pretty interesting to look at close-up, and they're generally slow enough that you can get a good shot before they flee.

One of the shots I came across was of a praying mantis. It was pretty odd, because we found it just outside our house. I'm pretty sure those things aren't running wild around here, so I guess a neighbor nearby must have had it as a pet and it got away or something. Anyway, finding a mantis in our yard was weird, but even more strange was that the insect was brown, and not the usual bright green.

I don't know if it was dried out and dying, and that's why it lost its colour, but I put it on a big plant we had on our porch, and the next day, it was gone. I guess it either made its way elsewhere, or it became a midnight snack for some other critter.

Here's the shot of the mantis, as well as a few other bug shots I took a while back. These were all shot on a variety of ultra compact cameras I had years ago, before I took the leap to my first DSLR. Have a macro look!...


33 Cent Pile of Garbage - North Bay Food Photography

So I was making Mr. Noodles for lunch the other day, and I started thinking about the crap I eat all the time. When I started this blog, it was pretty much about food every day, and I think I actually ate much better back then. Not because I wanted to necessarily, but because I wanted the food to look good for pictures, and it turns out healthy food is nice and colourful. 

Anyway, with my Mr. Noodles ready, I decided to quickly put a few things together on the plate to try to make this lunch a little more interesting than a 33 cent pile of garbage.

This is what I ended up with, aside from a belly that was way too full in the end...


Nasty Dirty Rotting

Chaos over (for now)... time to get back to regular blog posts. 

I made a quick trip to Sudbury a few days ago and it reminded me that I'd like to spend a day there sometime just wandering and taking pictures. I'm a big fan of dilapidated buildings, and Sudbury has no shortage of them! Well, to be fair I'm sure North Bay has plenty of them too, but I'm always here, so I guess I don't really look around and notice things as much as I do in a different city. 

The last time I had gone to Sudbury was at the beginning of May for the Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards. We drove by so many interesting looking places and people that weekend, I just wanted to stop and whip out the camera. Didn't have any time for that unfortunately. 

Eventually I'll get over there just to take pictures of any nasty, dirty, rotting stuff I can find. Until then, here are a few shots I took there a while back when I was driving around exploring the city a bit...