Exploring Portugal

I’d like to go away every  six months at minimum. Trade the everyday hustle for some tranquility. Unfortunately, that’s not always attainable. A whole year can sometimes go by without any real escape, that’s almost what happened with my long anticipated trip to Europe. It wasn’t till November, pretty late in the year that I found a window to slip away from ongoing projects.

Destination was Portugal and the travel plan, simple. Arrive in Lisbon, stay 4-5days, then go to any city within a five-hour drive worth exploring. Thanks to Airbnb, adventure triumphs details. Finding accommodation has never been easier, hence the play it by air type plans.

Portugal is a country rich in culture. You feel it the moment you leave the airport and set foot on the cobblestones. There’s much to say about my experience, but to avoid writing a lengthy post, I’ll feed y’all timbits.

Gear disclosure: I wanted to travel light so I brought three very light lenses. 95% of the images were shot with a Nikon 28mm AIS F2.8 and Nikon 135mm AIS F2.8. The remaining 5% were shot with a Tamron 90mm Macro F2.8

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Your Client Doesn’t Like Their Pictures. Now what?

Some months ago I was asked…hey, I have a property for sale, do you shoot real estate? After declining, I walked away thinking why not give it a try. I enjoy magazine spreads with lush real estate and usually take time to digest the pictures before flipping pages. So maybe there’s a dormant real estate photographer in me to awaken. I didn’t back-paddle to pursue that job, but it spurred my curiosity. I started researching what real estate agents like to see in images, also what they pay.

Finding someone in the industry to talk to was easy. Like photographers, there are tons of brokers out there. Just browse your phone contacts and you may be surprised how many you know. I called a fella I met at an event a while back and stayed in touch with via BBM. No BS, told him straight-up I’m fishing for info. I’ll like to know how you operate with photographers. He described the packages he gets and what he pays, which quite honestly was discouraging. The only way I could fathom photographers turning a profit is volume. They must be shooting lots of properties within a short time for the dollars and cents to make sense. Anyhow, I decided to give it a go and here we are, I’ve just shot my fifth property.

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Olympic Medalist – Marita Payne-Wiggins

Sports isn’t my strong suit. I know it, now you do. How about that for some honesty. As a boy, I loved playing soccer as much as the next kid, and constantly wondered why their coordination was much better than mine. I still remember some of the own goals attributed to my name and rival teams thanking me for the favor. Through the years, I learned the harsh truth that we all cannot be Messi, Djokovic, LeBron, and so on. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a woman with athletic genes streaming down her bloodline. An Olympic medalist with her name engraved in history for achievements on and off the track, Mrs. Marita Payne-Wiggins.

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Happy Easter


The quote on quote ‘right’ way of getting into the photography business is finding a successful, experienced photographer and working under that person for x-amount of time. Personally, I’m all for practical learning any time any day. You end up learning things you won’t pick up from a textbook. That being said, not all aspiring pros will have the opportunity to learn from a master photographer. So how do you go Pro without seriously hanging with a Pro? Not a difficult question to answer. The Internet and how information is disseminated make it super feasible for a curious mind to gather the tricks of the trade. Key word being curious and I should add – persevering.

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Wide and Sexy

Sigma18mm_35mm F1.8

Ok, so there’s really no profound narrative to this post except straight up lust. Every time I pick up this Sigma Art Lens, I repeatedly appreciate the awesome design and ingenuity that it oozes. I find myself checking this thing out, turning it in different angles before mounting it on my camera. So I thought, why not photograph the lens and add it to my computer wallpapers. That way, our bond will never be broken. Was that a bit a much? Ok maybe it was….but hey, there it is.

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Play 255 To Win

There was a time in my photography when nailing white in product shots was a PITA. I would always blast my background with light. In my mind, blowing it out was the same as making it white. Thank goodness those days are now behind me. But to be fair and in my defence, I learned most of my photography from research and practise, not from the wise counsel of a photo guru. When I finally understood how to get clean whites in my images, I almost felt silly for not figuring it out sooner.

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More On Handling Reflective Surfaces

Anytime I set up lights for a photo shoot, I take advantage and shoot something else before breaking down the lights to free up my space. Metallic surfaces are usually tricky to capture and I was feeling for a challenge. The watch in this photo as you can see is very reflective and requires creativity to get the image right in camera. But as I’ve mentioned in another write-up, the trick to owning the lighting on reflective items is bouncing light. First I find a good angle to light from, when I’m happy with how the light behaves on the subject, then I focus on controlling it using flags and reflectors.

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Ungraded Vacation Footage from Nikon D5300 + Sigma 30mm HSM F1.4 + Tamron 90mm Macro

I hear people talk about cheap vacations to Mexico, so when my buddy asked if I’m down for a quick getaway, I respond…sure Bro, lets do it. A bit later we are on a three-way call with a travel agent going over details and I have to say, the cost quickly put those cheap vacation rumors to rest. No turning back now, the thought’s already seeded and the excitement’s taken flight. I reach into my pocket for a credit card and like a good likkle-boi eager to belt out nursery rhymes, I release the information required to seal the deal.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. This part I hate. What camera gear to bring??? Considerations are size, weight, and if stolen or destroyed, I won’t be jumping over a bridge out of grief. I’m thinking one camera and two lenses max and finally decide on the Nikon D5300, Sigma 30mm HSM F1.4 and the Tamron 90mm Macro F2.8. Both lenses I’ve used on several gigs so I know what they are capable of, but the D5300 is new. I traded my D5200 for this clicker only for its ability to shoot 1080P video at 60fps. The D5200 is a very capable walk around camera so naturally I have high expectations from its successor.

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The weather today is on point! Not just sunny, but sun that actually comes with heat. On days like this, I wanna be out there testing my manual lens. I buy Nikon AIS lenses primarily for video work but men oh men, they are so much fun when shooting pictures. Plus I truly like the feeling of focusing a lens, how the image comes into focus as I turn the lens barrel.  Okay, so I’m on my way to do some street photography when I get a text message.  “It’s frigging hot today men…lets go get some dairy queen”. Right away I’m thinking….Medium Oreo Blizzard, plan A – street photography – abandon 🙂

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Reflective Objects – Product Photography

A while back, I had trouble deciding where to focus in my journey into photography.  Knowing what I didn’t like was half the battle, so by process of elimination; I crossed out genres I wasn’t interested in. However, choosing between people and product photography is still a blurry one for me. I enjoy one just as much as the other.

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Slushy Day

The last couple of weeks have been ‘not funny’ kind of cold. There were days I hit the road with my camera, only to come back home without touching the shutter. Finally, the weather seems like its taken a right turn into Warm Avenue, one can only hope it continues down that path. Wishful thinking? Guess we’ll see.

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Trevor Kidd – Dude’s only 18!

Thinking back to 18years old, can’t really remember doing anything substantial to propel whatever I assumed my talents were. Like most young adults then, I was consumed with music and dance fashion, Timberlands and baggy jeans, the opposite sex and anything that would bring me popularity or respect, even if underserved.

Perhaps it’s the reason I’m moved when I encounter an 18yr old that’s not just coasting through youth, but exploring his talent with an incredible sense of direction. Ok, ok, I’ll quit the rambling and get on with it. His name is Trevor Kidd and he’s the winner of the “My Song For Change” contest put on by Make Music Matter. Now he’s recording that song for change in the company of multi-platinum selling bands like Sum41 and Billy Talent.

The notion of using music to effect change and influence the lives of people in Africa is great and all, but I’ll be honest, the whole time filming this, all I could think about is the big voice coming from this young man. Scary thing is…..he’s just beginning. Dude’s only going to get better as he matures in his art. I tip my hat to Trevor in anticipation of the many emotions his voice may gift us over time. He may not be “The Man” yet, but he’s surely “The Kidd”.

Miss AfriCanada 2013

Africa, however beautiful, isn’t known for breeding the most happy-ending stories. Like many Africans here, Canada has become our home away from home. Despite the tragic reality of life in our homeland, MsAfriCanada Pageant reminds us of the beauty, strength and resilience inherent in our bloodlines. This beauty pagaent reunites us annually to face both our history and present.

I’m excited about the opportunity to create their video this year, especially because I’m a believer in what the Pageant stands for. Here are some of the highlights from the evening.

The talent part of the show is when the crowd is loudest. Kudos to all the ladies for putting on an awesome show. Here’s one performance I had a great time editing.

Twerk Miley Miley Twerk

If you’ve been paying attention to lyrics lately, you’ve probably heard the line…..Twerk Miley Miley Twerk! No doubt there’s been a twerking uprising since Ms.Cyrus made it official its not a ‘sistas-only’ party. So what happens when twerking meets DJ 4Korners at My Apartment? Khaled and I showed up with our camera to get that story.

Coffee – Short Film

Why did I choose to make a short film on Coffee? Wish I had some profound reason to hand you but the reality is, I simply drink lots of coffee and love it. Follow me a on quest to learn more about coffee and meet some interesting people along the way.

Making this film was so much fun and I’m so grateful for all the help I got from the people in it. Without you guys, this would still remain an idea, floating in my head. But its now a reality, because of your help. Thanks to Susan – coffeetree.ca, Jeff – fairgroundscoffee.ca, Andria – andriabarrett.com, Amira – amiradevera.com, Mike & Olyana – cafeolya.com, Healthy Planet – healthyplanetcanada.com, Rendez Vous Restaurant – ethiopianrendezvous.com, Seven Grams Expresso Bar – sevengrams.ca.

Canadian Black Caucus Celebrate Obama’s 2nd Inauguration

Many say heroes are not born, they are made. Made from desire, vision, persistence, knowledge, wisdom, the list goes on. Barack Obama’s election into a second term in office made him heroic to many people, and for good reasons. Another historic moment for anyone in the world, growing to embrace the possibilities of ‘change’.

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Afro-Cuban Dance Night

Salsa, Reggaeton, Rumba, Kizomba, Bachata, Samba, Zumba….gosh! So many different dancing styles out there. It amazes me that people can seamlessly switch styles on the dance floor, all from hearing a change in the beat. After minutes of envious gazing and feeling inspired, I hear myself whispering……I want to dance like that someday. But to achieve this, I’ll have to take lessons. That’s where my buddy was just months ago, check him out now, already part of the Afrolatino Semi-pro dance team, performing a routine tonight.

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Toronto Gourmet Food & Wine Expo – 2012

I chose to checkout this year’s expo on a Friday because I figured there would be less people. More of a workable crowd; that would allow me room for composition while taking pictures. So as usual, I left my car at the subway and took the train. Destination – downtown Toronto, Metro Convention Centre, where the event happens every year.

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Oktoberfest – 2012

Oktoberfest is the biggest Bavarian beer festival in Canada. Opening ceremonies kicked off in Kitchener, its host city for over forty years. The festival originates from Germany, where millions of people take part in its celebration. So how did it make its way to Kitchener Ontario? Hmmm…I did some digging to get the story.

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Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show

Creative minds in the pastry and sweets industry gather this weekend at Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show. In its second year running, the show’s already attracting huge crowds. So what is it exactly, simply put….Pastry Heaven.

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