Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Top 10 Pictures of 2012

Well it's been quite a year for me and photography. I've rediscovered the magic of film, became a citizen photojournalist, got published in online zines and some of my shots made it in 2 exhibits including the World Press here in Montreal.

Being a freelancer means I take pics for me and this is also the premise for my selection of the year's 10 favourite pictures of mine. That's right, favourite not best. Out of over 20 000 images I chose the ones that pleased me not just for their overall look but for what was behind the image. Each one has a story beyond what's in the frame and they bring back happy memories.

So I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taken them.

Taken during a very cold outside show in front of Place des Arts while on safari with my buddy Bob. One of my first shots actually knowing what I was doing composition wise while on the fly.

You don't see those in the wild too often. The original idea was to shoot it while it was waiting at the light from the front. Sure enough the light changed before I was ready and the car went on it's way. I settled for this rear shot hoping something good would come out as I had to recompose pretty fast. Needless to say I was very pleased with the result.

Not a great picture but a very scary one. While even though the crowd was burning things in the middle of the street during one of the Summer's evening protests, I wasn't too worried about them. What I was worried about were the riot cops seconds away that would show up at my back while I was shooting this. Thankfully I was able to move out before they showed up.

Taken while on safari with my friend Denis-Carl. I used the timer to set up this long exposure of the Montreal Forge and Five Rose sign when a car drove in the middle of my shot. F%?&! I took another one after but this one came out looking better than what I had planned.

Technically not a very good shot but you had to be there to know how unreal this situation was. This nice cop was giving the evening's rule for the upcoming protest and the people in the masks did not really give a flying one as they exchanged no words with the officer keeping this pose during the speech.

The leg pose, planned. The moving metro cars, planned. The Lady smacked dab in the middle of both cars, not planned. One of my best shots ever.

I don't know if she was playing with me but I took 2 shots before getting this one because I knew the first 2 were crap. Keep in mind this was taken with a manual film SLR.  If she never saw me, she must have been in her own little world since I was merely 3 feet away!

This shot was taken to prove a point to a track official idiot. He suggested I get a better camera so I took this car using a simple Nikon point and shoot on full auto mode. In your face moron!

The main subject was the clown but he little girl turned around one macro second before I pressed the shutter release. This was at the end of a street protest in Montreal. This is the scan of an actual photo print made in my darkroom.
I found this alley and figured the gateway would make a great framing opportunity. I brought the camera to my eye, this guy showed up in the frame and reflexes took over. This was in Old Montreal during the big snow storm of December 27th.
Hope to make even better ones in 2013.

Happy New Year

Gerry :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Canon FTb SLR test roll

I was recently given a Canon FTb SLR with 3 lens. This is a vintage fully mechanical SLR with a dead light meter (Batteries made with mercury are no longer available). Last Friday I hooked up the 100mm lens on it and went for a walk in the Montreal Plateau district to test it out. This beast weighs the same as a WW2 German Tiger tank, so my neck got one serious work out!

Here are those amazing images.

Film used was Fuji Superia 400 ISO processed at the local pharmacy and tweaked in Gimp.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)

FED2 camera test roll

I recently purchased a FED2 which is a Soviet era Leica knock off. A very hefty rangefinder this is as close as I'm probably ever going to get to a Leica. It is in mint condition and it even smells fresh oil from a recent CLA.

I think I have an issue with the shutter mechanism or I'm not doing something right. The next roll will tell. I'll be going for a black and white film next time since I want this to be my main street camera.

Film used was the $0.99 Likon 100 ISO processed at the local pharmacy and tweaked using Gimp.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

No Title

Yet! This painting was made on a large canvas at the Shambala Music Festival in BC this year by a bunch of people who were attending. Each adding their very own touch. Mundafar from We The Sheep People asked me to shoot it for it's upcoming sale to auction in order to raise money to buy food for the homeless. So for now it has no title but the piece is truly beautiful.

50% of the canvas

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)

My almost new Sony A230 DSLR or how to shop for the right DSLR.

I was going to get a DSLR at some point, it was just a question of when and, most importantly, what. I had the chance to get my hands on a Canon 40D from my cousin as a loan for me to play with, I didn't like it. A bit surprising since I've owned a lot of Canon products and I'm very comfortable with their interface.
Sony A230 with Sigma AF 70-210mm lens
It turns out that the slow f/5.6 lens was not up to par for me and all the bells and whistles that come with it are not necessary for me. So back to square one and research. This is what I found out. The one thing you need to know before shopping for a DSLR is that there is roughly 2 types. The full frame camera that has a sensor the same size as a 35mm negative, hence "full frame". These go for thousands of dollars and are mostly used by pros. If you're not doing photography to earn a living or don't have wads of cash lying around, not really for you.

Taken with the Minolta AF f1/7 50mm lens

One step down are the APS-C sensor DSLRs. In this category you have everything from the entry level camera to the semi-pro stuff. The bottom line is, they all have the same size sensor. So unless you like bells and whistles, the entry level camera should do the job the same as the expensive one.

Taken with the Minolta AF f1/7 50mm lens

I looked around and decided on a Sony Alpha series for a few reasons. Every review mentioned they were simple to use. The camera comes with a stabilizer in the body, so you can use any lens and it will be stabilized. Also, all AF Minolta lenses are a direct fit on them, I have 2 of them lying around on the shelf.

Taken with the Sigma AF 70-210mm lens

A brand new Sony Alpha is around $600 with tax around here so I decided to shop on Kijiji for an older low use model. I found the A230 for $300 with only 1200 shots taken and it was in pristine condition. I took a few shots with the 18-55mm lens that came with it and quickly tossed it. The fast Minolta AF f1/7 50mm lens is just amazing and my Sigma AF 70-210mm does a fantastic job. Confirmation of the saying that if you spend bucks, spend it on lenses. The interface is simple to use. It took me less than 24 hours to get proficient and getting amazing shots on the first day. The only bad note about this camera for me, is the Sony specific flash hotshoe but there's a way around that.

Taken with the Sigma AF 70-210mm lens
So that was my experience for shopping a DSLR, hope it helps someone out there in their quest. I've taken my art to the next level.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Montreal Evening in picture with a $5 Ricoh FF-70 point and shoot

Film point and shoot cameras are plenty and inexpensive. Case in point this Ricoh FF-70 with integrated flash and automatic everything. Bought at a thrift store for the bargain basement price of $5, it came with the original sales receipt dated August 1986 in its case, $257!

I've been having a hard time taking photos during the evening in the City with my Canon G12. Any type of movement made the images overly blurry, high ISO setting left too much noise in the image and the black and white result isn't that great. I prefer black and white in the evening since street lights do not bring out nice colours. Film for me is the way to go for crisp black and white pictures.

Candles and flowers left on the grounds where Denis Blanchette a 48 year old sound technician and Father , fell. A lot of time was spent in Gimp to have this image in a usable way.
I was heading to the Metropolis on Ste-Catherine on the evening of September 5th in order to document and participate in a vigil organized to commemorate the shooting death of an innocent by-stander. The evening prior while our new Prime Minister elect made her acceptance speech, a maniac tried to get in the theatre to go on what appeared to be a shooting rampage. He was quickly arrested by Montreal Police but he had already killed one and wounded another. This kind of thing never happens here.

I decided to use the Ricoh since it was easy enough to use and I figured I would manage to get shots like they use too back in the day with the integrated flash. I used Kodak Professional 400TX 400 ISO film for the job and I am quite pleased with the results. All of the shots you'll see were done hand held. The Ricoh is great for jamming it flat on your face and remains pretty stable while the shutter opens.

Local TVA news crew setting up across from Metropolis. Flash used.

Metropolis Theatre on Sainte-Catherine in Montreal.

CBC Radio reporter doing an interview. Flash used.

People gathered in front of the Metropolis.

People hold hands while observing a minute of silence for the victims.

The rest of the evening was spent going around Sainte-Catherine trying to find the light and picture opportunities. I was lucky to find a few decent shots.

Bumming for change with a dog and a nice looking fixie bike.

Shish Taouk place on Sainte-Catherine.

Nice Lady who volunteered to pose for me. Flash was used.

Original Archambault music store

Sainte-Catherine and Berri.

Berri-Uquam Metro station

Graffiti from the Under Pressure festival. Flash was used.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)