Thoughtful Landscapes

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Welcome to the first of six entries on my series, Thoughtful Landscapes. This is my 20th anniversary as a commercial photographer. After two decades of working as a photographer I needed a break. I had come to a point in the last five years where I no longer brought my camera out unless it was for work. I have always loved working as a commercial photographer but I don’t always love what I have to photograph. After some time, that can start to wear on you. About 18 months ago I completed an exploration of artistic portrait photography with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. That was the catalyst for this exploration of landscapes.

Sauble Falls, July 2016

Sauble Falls, July 2016

We were in Sauble Falls this past weekend and, now that my kids are young teenagers, I found myself with some free time while they went off to explore the woods on their own. I broke out the Canon 1Dx, my little Manfrotto travel tripod and I hit the falls.

Sauble Falls Near the Bridge

I couldn’t remember the last time I had time to take thoughtful photographs of a natural setting without being on the clock, without having a client standing over my shoulder with set expectations for a finished product. It was like getting punched in the face.

Sauble Falls BridgeBecause it was a long weekend the falls were crowded. I did my best to navigate through a sea of people who were wading in to ankle deep water taking selfies in order to carve out little spaces of nature for myself to photograph. My exploration began with rehearsing some landscape basics; working long exposures and deep depth of field, capturing the play of water cascading around stone and shoreline, playing with contrast. It was pretty basic stuff, playing with composition, movement, line, exploring elements and principles of design.

Sauble Falls, July 2016

Sauble Falls, July 2016

 

As I worked through the warm up, ideas on direction, story telling and even some thoughtful landscapes began to emerge and take hold. I began to discretely try to include human elements in my landscapes, initially as compositional studies, then to help tell the story of the image. “Why are all of these people here? Why are they only in this one spot when there is so much more nature to see? How do I limit their contact with my compositions while still providing a hint of humanity.” These were just some of the questions and problems that popped up in the half day adventure. It was an incredibly rewarding experience and a great way to start the process of refocusing, and taking full advantage of being on vacation. I even had a rare chance to see a Massasauga rattle snake along the shore eating a frog.

NeoCon 2015

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Mohawk Group

We started working with Mohawk Group in April of this year in attempt to get ahead of some of the last minute production that happens each year when they unveil their latest product line at NeoCon in June. Production took us to Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee and Illinois where we spent days capturing the process of how commercial carpet tile is manufactured.  Our focus was on the design story behind each new line of carpet, the collaboration between Mohawk Group and design firm 13&9,  as well as the technical challenges with trying to produce them and stay ahead of consumer trends. The resulting microsite (neocon.mohawkgroup.com) was built around the showroom theme of Floors That Move You and incorporated a fun and interactive navigation tool with video content, photo galleries and interactive elements along the way.

For the final assembly we hunkered down in a great little rental apartment in the Ravenswood neighbourhood of Chicago, dubbed the Banko Media Field HQ , and enjoyed a sit com style lifestyle for a few days until the final deployment on June 15th. If you’re ever in that area, I recommend the lobster mac and cheese at Glen’s Dinner and the strawberry cake at Lutz Bakery on Montrose. Both delicious.

Furry Friends In Need

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Hamilton Burlington SPCA Annual Report 2014

We are just putting the finishing touches on this years Hamilton Burlington SPCA Annual Report. This is our second year working with the SPCA. Last year we successfully refreshed their identity, launched a new website and laid the foundation for their design guidelines. It’s been a pleasure working with Marion Emo, Melissa Bennett and the rest of the staff at the HBSPCA. They are people truly committed to finding forever homes for every animal they take in. We’ll be sure to post some images and spreads from this years annual report as soon as the AGM is over. In the meantime, if you are not already a donor, head over to their new site, www.hbspca.com and make a donation. The SPCA is almost 100% donor funded. Without our support they can’t do the great work that they do in the community to protect the many animals in need.

Thanks on behalf of animals everywhere.