In no particular order, these are the photographs I made during 2012 that stand out as my favorites. I hope you enjoy them!
“I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out.” – Rodney Dangerfield
I love hockey…I grew up playing the game in organized leagues and outdoor rinks, I even lost a tooth playing the game…how much more Canadian can I get? Having the opportunity to shoot a few Canadiens games last season was something I will never forget…and once this whole lockout thing is settled I hope to shoot more of them! As for this photograph…right place, right time and right moment.
What’s not to like about a couple in love laying in the leaves on a beautiful autumn day? Dave and Melissa brought such incredible energy and some great ideas to their engagement shoot, and we had a great time. This is one of my favorite photographs from the shoot because of how Melissa’s eyes just pop, contrasting with the warm tones in the leaves.
I like this photograph for a few reasons…partially the enormity of the task at hand; it took 10 cranes to move several steel beams weighing close to 50,000 lbs each into place, partially because I love night photography and partially because it meant an eventual end to the traffic congestion on the Met near the Laurentian Autoroute…not to mention the reassurance that the new overpass would hopefully not crumble under you!
Having shot the Dillinger Escape Plan before, I knew to expect the unexpected…but when guitarist Ben Weinman decided to do a bit of head walking during Heavy MTL I got a few good pictures, but when the crowd surfer popped up and made his way to Weinman, I knew I had one of my best shots in 15+ years of shooting concerts.
Quebec’s spring and early summer were marred with protest; what started out originally as a fight against raising tuition turned into something much larger. When the Liberal government tried to pass a law banning masked demonstrations, the daily marches in Montreal often turned violent when police and demonstrators clashed. The central meeting place for all marches and events was Place Emilie Gamelin (AKA Berri Square).Photojournalists in Montreal went from comparing cameras and lenses to comparing methods of washing tear gas from their eyes…
One such event was a free tattoo day where supporters of the “cause” could get the now iconic, in Montreal anyways, Red Square tattooed as a sign of solidarity. Whatever your opinions of the whole tuition debacle and the ensuing months of social and political unrest were, it certainly is something you won’t forget anytime soon.
Another time that protest turned ugly was when anti-tuition protestors and anti-capitalist groups joined forces to take advantage of the media coverage during Montreal’s F1 event. Crescent Street closes down and hosts parties and free outdoor activities; protestors tried to join in on the fun but were turned back by riot police who used tear gas, rubber bullets and concussion grenades to keep the tourists safe. What a summer!
I’ve never shot a basketball game of any level, so why not make my first time and NBA game? When the Raptors and Knicks played at the Bell Center in Montreal I was thrilled to have the chance to shoot the pre-season game. Great action, the court is so much smaller and the game was so much faster than you would expect!
Port Dover is a small fishing town on Lake Erie known for its fresh perch. Having a population of just over 6500, the small beach town is the unlikely setting for the Friday the 13th biker rally where bikers from all over North America ride in and party. This year’s event was in July, and the official tally of bikers was somewhere between 150,000 and 250,000 bikers. The small town swells in size overnight with bikers in every hotel room, campsite, soccer field, baseball diamond and wherever else you can pitch a tent for miles around. I have family in Port Dover and I have heard about PD13 so may times, I was thrilled to finally be able to go and see it for myself!
Montreal is not without festivals and parties of it’s own. Every February, while we are in the depths of winter, Montrealers go all night during the Nuit Blanche where museums, theaters, playhouses and clubs stay open as late as they can and Old Montreal, The Plateau, The Mile End and of course downtown holds all kinds of free activities. It is by far one of the most fun events of the year!
A great highlight for me personally and professionally in 2012 was becoming one of Photoflex’s Pro Showcase shooters, joining the ranks of some of my favorite photographers. What an honor!
I was asked to try out Photoflex’s Triton flash unit, a small battery powered flash unit that is made primarily for location work. I decided to go to Upper Canada Village to put the flash through it’s paces, walking through the park and making portraits of the people who work there. The flash was excellent, and really easy to use! Check out the full report here: http://newwindworkshops.com/2012/07/01/lol-lighting-on-location-the-photoflex-triton-edition/
Released in 1998, The Shape Of Punk To Come is by far one of the best hardcore punk rock albums ever. Shortly after the album was released, Refused broke up. The band felt that their was unfinished business, and decided to reform and tour one last time. Their stop in Montreal is my concert highlight of 2012, a spine tingling performance at Metropolis.
2012 also marked a career milestone for me in that I had my first written article published about a week I spent on the road watching AAA baseball games in upstate NY. It was a fantastic experience and it rekindled my love for the game. Sitting in the shadow of Kodak’s world headquarters in downtown Rochester NY, Frontier Filed is by far one of the most beautiful places to watch a baseball game. The full slideshow of photographs can be found here: http://timsnowphotography.com/baseball/
2012 also marked a resurgence of nostalgia for the departed Montreal Expos, the major league team that left us back in 2004. Several special events were held throughout the city, including a baseball camp in Dorval. At the end of the day, the players all sat at a table and, for a fee, signed autographs for their fans. Not pitcher Bill Lee though…The Spaceman, who was a controversial figure in his playing days, sat down on the infield grass and signed everything that came his way for free, getting up close and personal with his fans, swapping stories and having a great time!
2012 was a great year personally and professionally, a huge thanks and tons of gratitude to everyone who let me photograph their stories and get to know them. Thanks to all of my colleagues, friends and family, I hope you all have a great 2013!
It happens every once in a while that a client calls you in need of a very simple headshot, needs it done relatively quickly and would like to shoot in their home.
One of the my favorite things about location photography is just that, the challenge of showing up to a place I have never been before and making the space work for my needs.
Cassie, an author, needed a new portrait for the dust jacket of a soon to be released novel. She wanted something simple, something timeless. I knew I wanted to use flattering soft light, and I didn’t want to over complicate things since we were to be working in her living room. The measurements were what you would expect in an apartment living room, approximately 15 feet wide and maybe 25 feel deep. The ceilings were around 9 feet high.
One oft overlooked background for portraits and headshots is simply the paint on someone’s wall. Cassie had nice neutral beige walls which suited the portrait just fine, and her blue sweater complimented the paint nicely. I didn’t want my light to be too flat as I wanted a bit of shape to her face, but I didn’t want to be overly harsh either. I opted to use my Photoflex Medium OctoDome for a few reasons; the 5-foot OctoDome produces beautifully soft light, especially when used close to the subject, and the narrow profile of the box works very well in small spaces. I used my Alien Bees B400 as my light, and used a Canon 1DX with the 135mm f/2. The 1DX was on loan from Canon for a few days to try out the new camera…which is just amazing and I can’t wait to buy one!
As can be seen in BTS photo, I heavily feathered the light away from Cassie. Doing this accomplished two things, I assured that only the softest light was reaching her, and it allowed me to control the amount of light spilling onto the wall behind her so the background wouldn’t become over lit.
I was also fortunate in this situation that the walls were a warmer neutral tone, the reflected light from the walls acted as a fill that complemented Cassie’s skin tone. Had the wall been blue or green, I would have set up my Photoflex LitePanel kit with either a white panel to add some fill, or the black panel for some negative fill.
All in all, a simple one light solution was all that it took to produce beautiful light that complimented my subject perfectly.
On November 24th we are going to be holding an incredibly fun event just West of Montreal where you will have an introduction to Off-Camera flash!
Taking the flash off the top of your camera is the first step in creative portraiture. It will allow you to sculpt your subject with light and take your photography to the next level!
Half of the day will be spent talking about different methods of controlling your light, different modifiers and thinking through the shoot. You will learn how to mix ambient light with flash, and how to control your subject to get the best possible photograph.
Please feel free to get in touch with any questions you have! Hope to see you there!
They make this stuff look easy. Them and hundreds of others. They have pushed me in my photography, in my lighting. They don’t know it…we have never met, maybe one day we will over a tea and I will gush like a little kid. They are in the trenches and they get dirty to make their pictures. Their photographs resonate, they bleed soul. They are honest. Real. I stare at their photographs in awe, hoping that one day I may be on the same level.
And they are incredibly lit. Beautifully. They piss me off…
My approach to lighting on location is pretty simple. I don’t want you to see it; I want it to look natural. I want to augment the available light in the scene and add some dimensionality. It is rare that I will completely change the look of the existing light, though sometimes it can be fun to do just that!
I have struggled with finding the proper lighting solution for a while. I am usually on location with 4 Speedlites and when I need an extra bit of pop I will gang them into one bigger light source. I have been known to put all 4 of them into one 5 foot Octobox for some real kick! Indoors, they perform beautifully; I prefer to shoot wide open or close to it most of the time so achieving apertures like f/1.4, f/2 or f/2.8 is pretty doable with the diminutive flashes.
Outside is a different story though…overpowering the sun, especially direct sun, is pretty tough to do with the battery operated wonder-flashes. Ganging them works, but you are running near full power and if you are trying to shoot in high speed sync…good luck! I hope you have tons of spare batteries! And lots of time to wait for them to recycle…
I was speaking with a friend over at Photoflex and he suggested I try their new Triton flash kit. I have been curious about the kit since I read my friend Dan Bailey’s review on the system, so I figured I’d give it a go…a few days later a box arrived at my door and off I went.
The beauty of the Triton is it’s size…not much bigger than a Canon 580ex and not much heavier either. The battery is also nice and small, with a great shoulder strap so you can hang the battery from your light stand of the shoulder of your assistant! Thanks Chris!
The compactness is not at the cost of build quality; the Triton is definitely built solidly. I have used my Alien Bees for a few years now, and while they still work, they feel very delicate. The Triton is a welcome change from the world of flimsy flash units…it feels like it is up for some hard work and you have confidence that it will withstand the bumps associated with being on the road.
I wanted to really try this thing out…why have a flash and not use it right? I could have popped off some tests in my back yard and been done with it…or I could push myself to really try it out in the field the way that I will eventually use it if I end up buying a kit for myself.
We hit the highway and drove to Upper Canada Village, a look back into life as it was in the 1860′s. Perfect! A huge thanks to them for letting us make photographs all day!
As you can see in the BTS, the Triton is very small! Thankfully too, because it was close to 40 C with the humidity! I have no idea how the employees of the park were able to work in their costumes all day in that heat…
The flash itself, while small, puts out an impressive 300 watt seconds. In comparison, most camera mounted flashes put out around 60. I will not repeat all of the statistics and specs of the flash, Dan’s review above does that quite well. I want to talk about how it works in real world situations, and the short of it is that it works very well!
When adding light to a scene, I almost always try to mimic the existing light since it looks most natural. If I can shoot through a window or a door, all the better. Using my Pocket Wizards, I didn’t have a single misfire all day long.
One of my favorite features of the flash is the inclusion of an audible beep once the unit has fully recycled, and when using the flash at 1/4 power or less it recycles almost instantly. I missed very few shots once I got used to waiting for the beep, which took around 5 seconds or so when firing the flash at full power as I did in the photograph above. Using the Extra Small Octodome NXT, which is included in the kit, I was easily able to fill in shadows caused by the noon-time sun. One thing I would possibly integrate on a future version of the flash is some kind of volume setting on the beep, maybe a low and a high…inside I heard it quite easily but outside was another story, it simply wasn’t loud enough.
I am one of those guys who reads instructions of new gear, especially stuff that doesn’t belong to me. The nice thing about the Triton is that you really don’t need any instructions, it’s pretty simple and straight forward. The unit comes with an umbrella swivel/handle which is removable if needed. While we stuck with our Manfrotto 122B background stand, which doubles as a great lightweight boom arm, the unit would find itself at home atop any light stand. Also, due to its small size and low weight, the Triton would easily be supported by a boom like the Manfrotto 420b.
The actual operation of the flash is simple and straightforward. The back of the flash head is where you find your usual controls, though the modeling lamp is different than what you would expect on a studio-styled strobe. Instead of being on all of the time, you can press a button which will light up the flash for 10 seconds allowing you to see where the light lands on your subject, as well as allowing you to use the light as a focus assist. This is done to save battery power, and is very useful.
To control the output of the flash, you turn the main dial to the left and right. What is a bit different about the Triton compared to most flash heads I have used is that the control wheel does not stop at full power or at minimum output, instead it just keeps rotating around and around. While only a minor nuisance, it can be a bit frustrating at times. If the flash head is on a boom or a higher light stand angled downwards for example, it can be useful to rack to full or to lowest power and count the clicks up or down until you get to your desired power setting.
My biggest complaint with the system and something I hope is improved on in future models is the LCD screen on the back of the head. If you look at it straight on, it is great. Unfortunately, it is rare that I have the head on a stand perfectly at eye level…when viewed from above or from below, the screen becomes washed out and almost impossible to read. Add some sun into the mix and it almost disappears. Not good…maybe a backlight would help it?
Most strobes include an optical slave option, which the Triton does as well. While I will normally use a radio trigger system like the Pocket Wizards, an optical slave is a godsend is your triggers malfunction. Slaves can be a bit of a problem when shooting events where many photographers are using flash as their flashes will trigger your slave but of course you can always disable the slave. For the old school guys you can always use a sync cord directly to the flash unit, but I prefer to go wireless.
In conclusion, the Photoflex Triton is a very capable compact flash unit for the photographer on the go. While I have only used it on a couple of shoots, it has integrated itself into my kit seamlessly and is a joy to use. Its size couples with the 300 watt second output makes it a useful addition to any location photographer’s arsenal. Will you be able to light a group of 12 people in full daylight? Probably not…though admittedly I didn’t try. Will you be able to light up an entire gym for a basketball game? No, but that is not the intended use of the Triton. Stay within the limits of the flash, and you will be pleasantly rewarded.
Team your knowledge of light mods with the Triton and you will be good to go. Need more kick and contrast? Use a bowl, with or without a grid. Need softer light? Use a 3 or 5 foot Octo, an umbrella or a rectangular softbox. The speedring that teams with the unit is equally well built.No cutting corners here…while the kit is not nearly as expensive as Profoto or the likes, it is not inexpensive either. A full kit comprising of the head, power pack, 2 batteries, an Octodome NXT (one of my favorite mods by the way…) and cables, trigger etc will run you in the area of $1500 USD.
As the sun drops toward the horizon, you will see the true power of the Triton. 300 W/S is flexible enough to let you photograph many subjects and is so intuitive to use that you can unpack it and hit the road to make some pictures!
Thanks to Photoflex for giving me the chance to try the unit in some real world situations. You can see my Photoflex Pro Showcase right over here: http://www.photoflex.ca/generic.htm?ECINFO=PX_PRO_TIM_SNOW
Please let me know if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them!
I’m incredible honored and humbled to be listed on the Photoflex Pro Showcase! Photoflex make killer light modifiers and equipment, they certainly make my job much easier.
Check out the profile page over here: http://www.photoflex.ca/generic.htm?ECINFO=PX_PRO_TIM_SNOW
When I am on a shoot, I like to keep things moving. I love being able to have the person I am photographing move freely; I find the resulting photographs tend to feel much more organic. Of course, there is always a trade-off…
How do you keep even lighting on someone, but also afford them the ability to walk around the location? I could have shot available, but I wanted more control. I could have used a big light source like a 5 foot Octo, but I would have nuked the scene with too much light. I wanted control and versatility. I fell back to my trusty Photoflex Octodome NXT! I love that little thing, and I use it all the time! Roughly the size and shape of a head, it puts out a controlled beam of beautiful light. Thanks to the silver interior, it also has a bit of snap.
Of course, it is a smaller light source, so the placement is critical. Instead of using a stand, I used a VAL. The good old Voice Activated Lightstand to the rescue. In this case, my assistant for the day Chris became my VAL, and it worked perfectly.
As you can see, Chris is holding the light where I want it. If I ask him to move it up, down, left or right it is done in a snap. The other nice thing about using a VAL is that they can hold your second camera body!
- Canon 5dMkII with a 70-200 f/2.8 IS II
- Canon 580exII
- Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5 as the transmitter/receiver combo with the AC3 Zone Controller
- Photoflex Octodome NXT Extra-Small
- Manfrotto 112B background light stand. It works perfectly as a mini-boom to hold the light kit.
My client was John Abbott College, a CEGEP on the western tip of the Island of Montreal. We are working together to update their library of photographs which they use for publicity, on their website, and for various other needs. It is very important for us to keep the photographs as simple as possible so they look like every day scenes.
Speedlites are perfect in situations like this; they are small and battery powered so we do not have to run cords through the library and possibly trip a student. The library was very much open, and there were a few hundred college kids in there trying to study…we wanted to be as unobtrusive as possible. Using the window just outside of the frame as a backlight worked beautifully, it threw some gorgeous light into Cassandra’s hair and a bit of a rim on her arm adding some depth to the scene.
Using the Pocket Wizard Mini and Flex system is fantastic. I can easily control my flash output directly from the camera which is amazing. It gives me tremendous control over the speedlite allowing me to dial in the precise level of light I want in the scene. Those little things are revolutionary.
I spent 8 hours photographing different parts of the school and it was great. I am actually a past graduate of John Abbott, so it was fun to roam the hallways again. We photographed a ton of locations, and I can’t wait until our next shoot!
New Wind Workshops is very excited to announce TWO new workshops that will be starting up soon!
Here are the details:
Single Source Lighting is a comprehensive course designed to help you take the flash off the top of your camera and to start sculpting with light. We will meet at C2 Studios on Saturday May 5th at 6PM and have an in class session to discuss the different lighting possibilities, different modifiers available to you and different ways of blending your flash with available light. We will reconvene at the studio on Sunday morning at 8AM and we will refresh what we spoke about the previous night, and then spend the day shooting! We will have access to many outdoor locations around the studio, and you will come out of the weekend with some incredible photographs! The cost of the course is $299 and there is a limit of 8 participants, so sign up soon!
Low Light and Night Photography is designed to help you make stunning photographs under challenging light. We will meet up at C2 Studios on May 26th at 4PM to have a 2 hour discussion about the theory of night photography and how to make beautiful photographs. We will then convoy downtown to start photographing the city as a group! The shoot will last until 11PM. On Sunday May 27th, we will again meet at C2 Studios at 5PM to review your photographs. Again, there is a limit of 8 people in the group, and the cost is $299.
Feel free to get in touch for any information! I can be reached at email@example.com or at 514-238-4529