Thursday, 30 April 2015


Quite often it is the job of the studio photographer to flatter the subject as much as possible.  Women most often are lit and photographed in a way to make them look flawless and ageless.  It is not everyday that a real live monster steps into your studio and it is your job to glorify all of the gory details.  What fun!!!!  Here are 2 Zombies that I shot for the poster art for the film "Cabin in The Woods".  To transform these performers into Zombies it takes hours of laborious work from an amazing special effects team and a lot of patience from the ones being transformed.  My first inclination when photographing the undead would be to throw most of the creature into shadow and let the viewer's imagination take over.  However, upon looking at the incredible details of the make up and costume, I realized that I had light it is such a way that the details could be seen and still maintain a mysterious feeling with shadow.
I chose rim lighting from behind the subject on both the left and right side with strip boxes which outlines the silhouette. A hard key light from a high angle far to the right side creates dark pools under the eyes and a strong shadow on the left of the subject.  A grid on the key light reflector keeps the light from spreading.  Additionally I flagged some light off of the body to bring attention to the scary faces.  Some great performance from my zombies and light in the right place and the effect is pretty horrifying.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


I have gone back in the archives to bring you one of the most recognizable images of my career shooting in film and television.  On any given day of shooting you could capture a photograph that you end up seeing everywhere!  It may end up on a billboard, or on the  side of a bus or on the back of your morning breakfast cereal box!  This is Hugh Jackman aka the Wolverine on the set of XMen 3.  We were filming in the Vancouver Watershed that day.  I remember sitting on a tree stump waiting for the action to happen when I looked down to my right to see Hugh doing some pushups to get those muscles pumped up  just right for filming.  Visibly impressed by this display of manliness, I managed to gather myself together to capture this moment.   
It is surprisingly dark in the forest even in daylight, so I had my lens open to 2.8 at 200 ISO. I had a fast shutter speed of 250th of a second to capture the quick movements of Wolverine kicking but in the woods.  

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Harrison Ford

On the set of "Firewall" I had the pleasure of working with Harrison Ford.  Yes; Hans Solo; The Blade Runner himself!  He was more than a team player on the film set.  This photo was taken on the last day of filming outside a shack in the middle of nowhere some miles outside of Kelowna BC.  We had been at that location all week, swatting mosquitoes and spotting the cute marmots.  A rattle snake even found his way onto set and got picked up by a very brave kid in the locations department.  
Harrison Ford is not one to let a double take his place when conditions get uncomfortable and there was no complaining when he had to get out of a car surrounded by burning hot fires.  I did not even like it from where I was standing to get the shot!
It sometimes takes a bit of guess work to pick the right exposure of an artificially made fire. On a film set they may not let a fire burn until the cameras are rolling and the actor is in place so you hope you guessed properly.  I this case, the fire was lit at dusk which makes it considerably easier to guess.  Most often, the light of a fire will not overwhelm the light from daylight so you can choose an exposure based on the ambient light.  I shot this at 200th of a second to freeze the flames, F5 so I had some depth of field and ISO of 200 to preserve picture quality.  It is also good to remove any filters you may have in front of your lens if a light source (like a fire) is IN your frame to avoid a ghost refection in your image.  


Saturday, 25 April 2015

Kilauea Volcano

Hawaii is really the land of wonders.  The  almost lunar like landscapes found on the "the big island" of Hawaii have an austere beauty.  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to Kilauea Volcano which is famous for it's deep glowing lava that can be seen best at night.  After a sun filled day of frolicking in the waves with green sea turtles, I had to the lose the bikini and sarong in favour of a pair of jeans and a sweater and make my way up to 4,190 feet for Kilauea's evening show.  It is not cold in Canadian terms up there, but the wind can be a bit shocking after the sun sets.  You can see many tourists wearing hoodies with the national park logo.  Most likely an emergency purchase after showing up in a pair of shorts and flip flops.  
A much bigger problem is how to photograph this volcanic phenomena.  I find the most important skill in photographing landscapes is figuring out the best time to shoot them.  The angle and quality of light is everything!  I chose to do a time exposure at dusk when there was still a little light in the sky so that the glow would not be in too much contrast to an unlit surrounding landscape.  I always try to keep my ISO as low as possible (200) to preserve quality.  Since I had brought a tripod this was made possible.  Considering the distance and wide focal length, I did not need to worry about my depth of field so I chose a wide open lens (2.8).   My exposure time was 121 seconds.  I was shooting with a Nikon D4  and using the wonderful long exposure noise reduction setting.  


Thursday, 23 April 2015


Who Knows what a Quinceanera is?  Well chances are that if you are Not Mexican, this would be a new word for you.  It is a big party to celebrate the 15th birthday of a girl.  Not a birthday party as many Canadians may know of, but a really big party with fancy dresses, lots of guests and usually at great expense of the parents.  The day can be as big as her wedding day.  Of course photos go along with this spectacle and I had the privilege of photographing a 15 year old princess at my studio in preparation of the party.   I set off the  fluffy colourful dress and a beautiful girl with soft lighting against a white backdrop to accentuate femininity and innocence.

Here are the helpful cousins and mom.