Monday, December 31, 2012

My Favourite Shots From 2012 (aka my 2012 Pic Picks)

The holiday season is a good time to look back and celebrate your successes and analyze your failures (I prefer to call them learning experiences). And looking forward, the new year is an exciting time full of anticipation of what's to come both known and unknown.

With that in mind, I wanted to do a retrospective of my photography for the year. My original idea was to do a Top 10 but I liked too many so instead I'm just calling it My Favourite Shots From 2012. :)

My only criteria was how the photos made me feel. Maybe it was the visual impact, maybe it was the technical challenge in putting it together, or maybe it was a happy memory of when the photo was taken. After putting these together, I realized it was a good exercise to learn a little bit more about myself as a person, a photographer, and what my favourite subjects are. Some things were fairly obvious such my love for motorcycles, sunsets and animals. However I did learn something interesting. Apparently I much prefer shooting the right side of motorcycles. I didn't say I learned anything deep.

In no particular order, here are my favourites from 2012:

1. The Bendy Photoshoot

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Every year I plan a big motorcycle photoshoot where I get a couple models, make-up artist, a few different bikes, etc. I was at a loss as to what to do this year when a crazy idea fell in my lap. My friend Adrian from the YouMotorcycle blog asked if I wanted to a motorcycle photoshoot with a contortionist. So I bent over backwards to make this happen (did you get the pun?). It was amazing to watch these talented and flexible ladies right in front of me. It was like having a personal Cirque du Soleil performance! And they did it with grace, smiles and pointed toes.

Credits: Bendy in Black: Gabriella (Twitter @gabby_db), Bendy in White: Danielle Gnidec (Twitter @Gnidec) Makeup Shannon Spence (Twitter @shannonaveline), Motorcycles: YouMotorcycle and Mark Gornik.

More after the jump.

2.Shooting Anna

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I like this for it's simplicity. Neither Anna or her motorcycle need to do anything to be gorgeous. This photoshoot was challenging as the light was always changing and I had to adjust my strobes constantly but I think I got it in this photo. I also like the reflections on the tailpipe.

3. Fall Family Time with Mel, Shamez and Mackenzie

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Regular followers of my blog will recognize Mel from previous entries (An Accidental Wedding Photographer and So I Said I'd Never Shoot A Wedding). Here she is with her husband Shamez and  daughter Mackenzie for a fall shoot. Sadie is there to try to help Mackenzie to smile. It worked! Bruce's Mill is a maple forest which makes for great fall colours and is my favourite place for fall photos. They also have a maple syrup festival every spring.

4. Hoggs Falls

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I love riding my motorcycle and I love discovering new places especially if they're waterfalls. Hoggs Falls is nestled in the middle of nowhere. I chose to add this photo because this looks like a tropical paradise, but it's in Ontario!

5. A Wobbly Moto Safety Rider for the WEWC

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Here's a rare photo of yours truly! I wanted to have a photo I could send to my supporters to thank them for sponsoring me to be part of the Moto Safety Team for the Weekend to End Women's Cancers. I setup the lighting with 3 strobes and my wife took the photo.

6. So Long Jeff

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My buddy Jeff is a Canadian who lived in Virginia Beach and due to unfortunate circumstances that weren't his fault he found himself deported back to Canada. To make it worse, he lost his business and had to leave his 5 year old daughter behind. Jeff ended up in Toronto and stayed for about 3.5 years. The good news is he made a new home for himself  and a made a lot of friends. He hired a lawyer and was able to get his paperwork in order and was finally able to go back to Virginia Beach. This photo was taken at his farewell party. Jeff is the guy in the middle-ish wearing the grey hat. I chose this photo for the memories of the good times with Jeff. I used his place for my first motorcycle photoshoot which I will never forget.

7. Alexandra

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This set was challenging as I only had about 20 minutes to do the formal portraits of the bride and groom and family before the ceremony. Compounding that was that it was dusk where the sun falls rapidly and the ambient lighting changes quickly. I used two strobes to highlight everyone (a real necessity since the men would've been washed out in their black tuxedos) and juxtaposition of the bride which makes her the focus of this photo. BTW, Norbert the groom is 2nd from the right. I met Alexandra through her sister Michelle. We have since become friends through working together on a couple photoshoots of her interior design work.

8. Canadian Superbike Double Header at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly Mosport)

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The Canadian national superbike series always has a double header weekend at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (it will always be Mosport in my heart) in Bowmanville, Ontario. I've camped out with my friends at this event for the last several years and it's always a good time! Who doesn't love hanging out with friends watching the races together on a grassy knoll just metres from the motorcycles zooming by at 300 kph! This particular photo is of Marcel Irnie who finished 8th that day.

9. Daryl and Nancy

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I met Daryl through riding several years ago. I like the way this photo turned out as it shows the fall colours and the joy of just being married. Nancy was a brave soul as it was too cold for bare skin that day (I think somewhere around 9 or 10C)! Congratulations to the both of you!

10. Sunset at My House

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We live at the end of the street with our front door facing west. Sunsets are my favourite time of day as the sky can look like it's on fire (as above), or cotton candy pink. Not all sunsets are spectacular, but when they look above average, I'll grab my camera and run out to the front porch. For this shot I thought I'd try a different take by focusing on the branches instead of the horizon and liked how it turned out.

11. Wobbly Boots

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This summer I went on a motorcycle road trip by myself to the Ozarks in Missouri and found a place called Wobbly Boots Road House! In addition to having an exceptionally cool name, they also have really good award-winning food! I wanted to add this for the memories of good times on that trip. As a sidenote, I'd like to go back to the Ozarks one day to hit the roads I missed on this trip. P.S. I had to buy the t-shirt. On a technical note, I did a bit of HDR on this to show details of the motorcycle and the front of the restaurant.

12. A Traffic Stopping Kiss

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Lin was recently engaged and wanted to do something fun for her "Save the Date" cards. She wanted to use the movie, "Up" as the theme and wanted to do it in Dundas Square since that's where they met for the first time there. I don't remember there being a kiss like this in the movie.

13. Blue Ridge Parkway

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I was waiting for my friend rottenxxxronnie after zipping through some twisties on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I bring my backup Nikon D80 with me on road trips. I wanted to get pics of Ron as he approached but while I was waiting there, I noticed these yellow flowers and I thought it would make for a good photo op. Hmm, I just realized I used the same technique as the sunset photo above where I focused on a subject in the foreground, making the background out of focus.

14. Isaac Meets Emma

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 This photo isn't the best technically, but this one is about the memory and experience. Margot and I and little Emma (a senegal parrot) are members of the York Region Parrot Club and participated in a community outreach to the Deaf-Blind Association of Toronto. This was the first time Isaac ever touched a real bird! I loved how his face lit up the moment he touched Emma :) She is super friendly and will let anyone pet her. It was an amazing experience to see how those with limited vision and limited hearing communicate. They can't use sign language because they can't see it. Instead, they use gestures on the other person's palm which seems much more personal. I would encourage anyone to volunteer or help out with something as it's a case of getting back more than you give.

15. Margot

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 They say there is a strong bond between man and dog, but that's nothing compared to the bond between woman and dog! Margot loves to snuggle with our miniature poodle, Sadie. This photo was at our trailer with Sadie looking at the birds on window feeder.

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 And with this one, I just wanted to say, "There's a lemur on your head!" Because how often do you get to say that? This was at the Hands On Exotics Christmas Party/Fundraiser. I just wanted to add this one because it's so fun!


  1. I like the last two of Margot!

  2. I love the "Isaac Meets Emma" photo. Super powerful, really tells a story. Who cares about the composition, this photo is all about the content :) Only one HDR shot? Looked great BTW.

    -Jamie M.

    1. I also did some HDR on the waterfall shot too. But I like to do it in a way that's not noticeable or obvious.