Happy Canada Day!

engagement shoot in Montreal

I made it back from Montreal with just minutes left in Canada Day, but here’s a maple-leaf-themed preview from my e-shoot there on Sunday. Also got some quality time with friends in the city, which made it a stellar weekend all ’round!

Weekend In Montreal: A Preview

St. Viateur

St. Viateur

Édouard-Montpetit station, Montreal

Édouard-Montpetit station

nerve-wracked chess match

nerve-wracked chess match

roaming performers, Montreal Jazz Festival

roaming performers, Montreal Jazz Festival

Jacek Kochan Quartet, Montreal Jazz Festival

Jacek Kochan Quartet

aerial performers, Montreal Jazz Festival

aerial performers (I have to look up their name)

steam and LED lights

steam and LED lights

Susie Arioli band, Montreal Jazz Festival

Susie Arioli band

Susie Arioli, Montreal Jazz Festival

sound check for Susie Arioli

Weekend In Montreal: The Video Sampler

Some video, mostly from Saturday — FIMA and the Montreal Jazz Festival:

Breakdancers along Rue Sainte Catherine:

Loved these two! David was always a big fan of jug bands, and he introduced an appreciation for them to me. Check them out online:

Roaming performers at the Place des Arts:

Saxophonist Allan McLean with the Jacek Kochan Quartet:

Performers at the Jazz Festival:

The Forgotten


I shot over 400 images in Montreal and Ottawa last weekend, but I’ve been waylaid by a compromised immune system that has buckled under the strain of overdoing it work-wise and not getting enough rest while being overexposed to sick people. Thus, I am at home today convalescing instead of at the office-work or editing-work. The lesson here is that if you don’t listen to your body, your body will take its revenge upon you! And mine certainly has, although I’ll leave out the details in case you have just eaten.

Of all the hundreds of images, this one is probably the one that resonates with me the most:


It was the hardest one to take, even though I am a fair distance away. Not hardest in the technical sense, because there is enough light and he isn’t moving, but there weren’t many people around and he would’ve spotted me with my camera instantly if he turned his gaze only a hair to the right. Perhaps he did, and chose to ignore me, I will never know. I have said before that my personality isn’t suited to street-shooting, and it’s not getting any easier with the passing of time. I have already had to give up one street-shooting project partly because of my discomfort (and lack of time). I am too sensitive to make a living as a photojournalist, that is for certain.

So where does the discomfort come from? That they don’t know I’m taking their picture and posting it on the internet? I don’t think it’s just that — I’ve taken street photos of random strangers before without guilt. The inner conflict goes something like: “Is this showing more compassion for them, or less?” Or, “Do they care to be seen this way, or no?” Or, “Is it better to walk on by, or take notice?”

When I was 19 years old, I had a brief stay at a shelter for homeless youth in Melbourne, Australia, where I met people in situations much worse than mine. We lived together, ate together, hung out together. If there was a profile for homeless youth, it didn’t matter whether I fit it or not, I was there. It’s not a situation I wanted to be in, but I got out as soon as I could. For some it lasts longer than a stint here and there. Maybe it’s drug addiction, a lack of parental support, a troubled childhood, an eviction from the home, the influence of others, or simply nowhere else to turn. We all know a criminal record will hurt your chances of finding a job, or making friends. Mental illness will surely have the same effect. What happens to people who are forgotten? They end up in places they don’t want to be…

…and then comes along a person with a camera. That’s where I truly hesitate. Tim Horton’s is a far cry from the street, but I took this picture below at 2 o’clock in the morning when most people his age are in bed. Heck, ANY age! We were there to warm up after a lot of walking, so I can imagine he was there to get warm, too.


If I refer to these people as “The Forgotten”, then these pictures are to remember: that they probably haven’t been living this way their whole lives, that they may have family who — for whatever reason — may not know where they are, and their situations can turn for the better.



It’s always great when you can get people to do action shots, especially jumping. Sandy and Neesa discovered a new kind of workout in Quebec City — my photo shoots!

“Jump together!”
“Kick higher!”
“Throw your arms back!”
“I need you to land here!”

Makes me sound like a tyrant, doesn’t it? This is about as bossy as I get.

Doesn’t it look strange to see people wearing t-shirts with snow on the ground? It got up to nearly 30C in Quebec City while we were there, but there were still piles of snow lying around, which looked bizarre because we were melting.


flying Neesa

jumping Neesa


Take My Picture!

I've never met anyone who WANTED to have her picture taken so much

I don’t think I have ever met anyone who WANTED to have her picture taken so much.

Georges and I were taking pictures by Lac-Saint-Jean on Saturday when a speedboat and a seadoo pulled up to the dock. A little dog ran onto the pier first, and when Georges went to take its picture, this woman behind the dog spotted George’s big telephoto lens (300mm), ran towards us, leaped up on this picnic table and started posing. Completely unprompted, and we weren’t even taking her photo to begin with.

Stunned, Georges started shooting and this went on until it was time for us to go. Afterwards, he turned to me in the car and said, "I have never seen anything like that before." He was so surprised he hadn’t set his camera properly and said next time he’d be more prepared.

Prepared! I don’t know if one could be — this woman was like a firecracker at the company picnic!

I hope Georges posts his photos, because I had the wrong lens for this and took only a few. Georges, on the other hand, has some great shots and some, er, interesting ones in the mix, too, that will likely never make it to the internet.

Make Hay When the Sun Shines

make hay when the sun shines

Along Highway 8 between Hamilton and Cambridge, Ontario.

I wish I’d had more time to stop and shoot farm pictures; this is the only one I was able to take. I did a little Photoshopping on the colours and the sky. Shot with the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-1 point-n-shoot.

It’s All About the Light

Photography enthusiasts seem go on and on about light, but it really is what makes the picture. If the lighting isn’t good, even vivid colours go flat. I prefer natural light, but I also like to take photos at night because it’s an entirely different atmosphere to the same scene during the day.

Some pics from Beaver Lake, on Mount Royal (Montreal):

Beaver Lake
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As you probably guessed, there are no beavers here. And it’s hardly a lake, more like a pond… just like the similarly beaver-less Beaver Lake in Vancouver’s Stanley Park — which is more like a bog.

The Chalet
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My cousin Wagner, who took us up here, just called it “The Chalet”, which is more in keeping with a winter theme and not difficult to imagine as a buzzing hive of activity when Beaver Lake turns into a skating rink.

For natural lighting, nothing beats the drama of a mix of brilliant summer sunshine and charcoal grey pending rainstorm:

it's all about the light
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it's all about the light
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Both of these were taken off St. Catherine Street during the Jazz Festival.

Sunset in Tofino

sunset in Tofino

sunset in Tofino

Pentax K-1000
Vancouver Island
September 1, 2006