portraiture

Jessica Mezey With Gossamer Wings At Foz Do Douro

Jessica Mezey

You’re not seeing things. These three images are one shot with different editing. The beach shoot with Jessica included this wooden pier off the boardwalk around Foz do Douro — a typically unbusy spot, even in the summertime. Probably because it’s typically gusty, which for our purposes makes an excellent natural wind machine for motion. A performer like Beyoncé has to carry motorized ones with her on tour, to make her look like she’s in a perpetual shampoo commercial. (And sometimes those machines try to eat her, but she keeps singing.)

Anyway, I posted three versions of this one photo because I couldn’t make up my mind which one to show. When it comes to editing, photographers favour a speedy work flow and I’m no different. But since this is my blog, I’m showing several versions to illustrate how a single image can carry several different moods based on colour (or lack of it). There’s even digital cross-processing in the one above, and I haven’t applied this style to any photos in years (mostly because it was a fad).

Talking about photo editing is only marginally more exciting than talking about document editing — would I do that to you? — but occasionally I enjoy posting the different versions to ask people to make up their own minds which one they prefer. The answers always surprise me; I can never predict them. If you have a preference, let me know in the comments.

Other posts from that same shoot:

Foz Do Douro With Jessica Mezey
Tiny Dancer, Dancing In The Sand
My Dog The Photobomber

Jessica Mezey
Jessica Mezey

August 8, 2015
Album: Portugal [Summer 2015]

Porto In Black and White, With Jessica Mezey

São Bento Railway Station, Porto | model: Jessica Mezey

After the colour blast that was yesterday’s post, it’s time to give the cones a break and switch to monochrome. Because I work so much with colour, I forget to play around in black and white. It’s taken some years to figure out the situations when black and white work better than colour, and thankfully in the digital age it isn’t necessary to make that decision before shooting. (The last time I shot black and white film was in high school!) Colour photos can be converted in post-production, with an array of options for black and white conversion: channel-mixing, contrast, or HDR if that’s your thing. It may seem counterintuitive, but converting to black and white does not make editing a whole lot easier except for one thing: white balance.

These photos were all shot the same day with Jessica Mezey in the historic centre of Porto, which in the height of summer makes it challenging to keep the tourists outside the frame. São Bento Railway Station (above) was the busiest of these three spaces, but we got what we wanted and none of the security people asked us to leave, which is always a good thing.

Note to self: post more black and white!

City Hall, Porto | model: Jessica Mezey

Câmara Municipal do Porto

Torre dos Clérigos, Porto | model: Jessica Mezey

Torre dos Clérigos

August 10, 2015
Album: Portugal [Summer 2015]

Sunday With Boats and Mannequins in Gaia

Cais de Gaia / model: Jessica Mezey

My frenzy of photoshooting with Jessica Mezey continued through the weekend, this time across the river in Cais de Gaia and an apartment at Praia de Lavadores. One more photo shoot tomorrow and then we can collapse in a heap.

More to come once the shutter stops.

Shazequins by Shaz Bilyard / model: Jessica Mezey

August 9, 2015
Album: Portugal [Summer 2015]

Jessica Mezey In The Colourful Streets Of Porto

Jessica Mezey and the Portuguese heart by Hazul in Cedofeita

My shoot with Jessica Mezey, dancer and model, turned a few heads today as we juxtaposed her with some of the most vibrant street art in the city. I pass by that Portuguese heart on a regular basis and I knew I had to incorporate it into a shoot. Here’s an outtake from today’s session.

Happy Friday!

Kim Gravelle of Dappled Sunlight Music

I had a little photoshoot on the Gaia side of the city this afternoon, drawing a small crowd of curious onlookers. You see, I was photographing Kim Gravelle of Dappled Sunlight Music and her unusual handmade instrument. It took her three years to build it and it has various sound-making parts, including strings and a hollow tube like a flute. You can read much more about the yet-to-be-named instrument here.

It was amusing to have people run up to me at Cais de Gaia and ask what kind of instrument it is. (No, my Portuguese was not good enough to explain that it’s made from a single piece of wood from the bottom of one of the Great Lakes, and it’s truly one-of-a-kind.) The instrument was built to be taken apart and to fit into carry-on luggage, which also means it takes time to set it up properly from its compact state.

We have another shooting location or two planned, stay tuned.

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (1)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (2)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (3)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (5)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (6)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (7)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (8)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (9)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (11)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (10)

October 23, 2014
Album: Portugal [Autumn 2014]

Babyface

babyface @ gailatlarge.com (1)

I’m editing photos I shot more than five years ago in Germany, with a camera I no longer own (Pentax K100D), and seeing how differently I shot back then. The edits are improvements, but there are things I cannot adjust, such as focus and to some extent the skin tones. Live and learn, right?

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is my love for photographing both ends of the age spectrum, that is, the vintages and the babies. I mean, just look at the range of expressions here — he isn’t even talking, yet you can see how curious and interested he is in what’s going on. And those baby cheeks are irresistible! I may have better equipment these days but my favourite subjects will always shine through the hardware.

babyface @ gailatlarge.com (2)

babyface @ gailatlarge.com (3)

babyface @ gailatlarge.com (4)

Mississauga Family Shoot

Mississauga family shoot, UTM

2013 has been one PACKED year, and I am still catching up with blogging the commissioned shoots I’ve done in the past six months. This one from June was one of my favourite family shoots, because I adore the location and everyone was relaxed, happy, goofy, and up for anything I suggested, including climbing trees. (I do this as much as I can! Eg., A&J, A&T, Sandy.)

Mississauga family shoot, UTM

Mississauga family shoot, UTM

Mississauga family shoot, UTM

Mississauga family shoot, UTM

I did ask for goofy. It’s a family shoot after all!

Mississauga family shoot, UTM

Siblings pretending to like each other:

Mississauga family shoot, UTM

The “boy” is heading off to university, so I asked for a story about when he was little, and his mom told me he used to cling to her, hanging on so tightly she could barely move around. Aw!

Mississauga family shoot, UTM

Mississauga family shoot, UTM

We had perfect weather (it had recently rained, which brings out the greens), and hardly anyone was around on a Saturday afternoon. That’s one of the reasons I love the location — it’s quite private, even though it’s a public park, and it’s very photogenic, with an open bridge, reflective pond, landscaped gardens, and lots of trees. If you’re in Mississauga, head over to the UofT campus towards Lislehurst, the principal’s residence at the end of Principal’s Road past the Forensic Anthropology Field School, a left turn off Outer Circle Road, from Mississauga Road.

Mississauga family shoot, UTM

For the rest of the family shoot album, see below:

[thumbnails]
[full-screen slideshow]

Marry A Photographer And This Is What You Get

Porto, Portugal

Porto (May 2013)

It probably goes without saying that you can’t marry a photographer and avoid having your picture taken. You can run but you can’t hide! (Especially if you’re holding a camera, too.)

Photography is one of the things that brought us together in the first place, although Paulo’s more into the macro stuff like plants and flowers, and I like to shoot wide most of the time. I photograph more people, his subjects are members of the animal kingdom, mostly birds and insects. When Paulo was visiting Canada and the USA for the first time last year, he took a LOT of pictures of squirrels.

shooting an unsuspecting insect at the observatory (June 2011)

shooting an unsuspecting insect at the observatory in Gaia, Portugal (June 2011)

stalking his prey (Corno de Bico, Portugal)

stalking his prey in Corno de Bico, Portugal (May 2013)

Maia, Portugal (May 2013)

Maia, Portugal (May 2013)

Mont-Tremblant, Quebec (October 2012)

Mont-Tremblant, Quebec (October 2012)

Maia, Portugal (May 2013)

Maia, Portugal (May 2013)

Aveiro, Portugal (June 2011)

Aveiro, Portugal (June 2011)

Paulo’s low-key like me and this post will probably embarrass him… but he knows exactly how to get me back! He’s got plenty of unflattering photos of me, but I only post his silly faces which I argue are not unflattering…

Paulo in Ponta Delgada, Azores (June 2013)

Paulo in Ponta Delgada, Azores (June 2013)

Marrying a photographer shouldn’t be something to dread, however. I don’t want anyone in his family to groan at the sight of my camera, which is why I didn’t bring it out in May when I met them. These situations require a warm-up. I will bring the camera out eventually, once they get used to me (and I start learning Portuguese), and pretty soon they won’t even notice the equipment. I know Paulo is regarded as the family photographer, but I think he’ll be happy to share the duty — especially at Christmas, when he’d rather be tucking into the desserts.

Besides, Paulo doesn’t think he’s particularly photogenic, and I’ve set out to change that. I’ve heard it before (it’s part of my job and I hear it from everyone), but my biased self thinks he’s a very attractive guy who just needs a better photographer 🙂

Porto, Portugal (May 2013)

Porto, Portugal (May 2013)

It occurred to me as I was tagging photos in Flickr that Paulo is such a common name in Portugal that he probably won’t be the only Paulo in my photostream. So I’ve tagged him as “Marido_Paulo” (marido is husband in Portuguese). You can see more pics of my “marido” here as a slideshow: Marido Paulo

Saturday Previews

Dundas West Fest 2013

Between the two-hour family shoot in Mississauga followed by a two-hour wander through the Dundas West Fest street festival, I shot over 650 images this afternoon. And now I am going to test my (nearly 41-year old) stamina by heading to a barbecue, when I really should be packing for the birthday trip… I know what my friends would say: “Typical Gail!”

You can see more photos of the Afrolusophone ladies here.

I Am Baby, Hear Me Roar

baby Jackson

I’ve got pipes!

A few preview images from the newborn shoot I did this afternoon. Baby Jackson arrived two weeks ago, and already he’s letting the world know he’s a force to be reckoned with! It’s bench-pressing for babies.

baby Jackson

baby Jackson

baby Jackson

baby Jackson

smiles for dad

Preview: Brad Nathan, Fight For Independence 9 Boxer

Brad "Jewnami" Nathan of Lynx Equity

Brad “Jewnami” Nathan of Lynx Equity

Got a mountain of other editing to do this weekend, but here’s a preview shot from this morning’s training session at TKMT Academy uptown with the boxers of Fight For Independence 9 on May 2. Full post to come…

We’re now less than three weeks from the event — EXCITING! — and Brad “Jewnami” Nathan of Lynx Equity is here to show you he’s the “toughest Jew in Rosedale”. You can sponsor him (or any of the boxers) directly, or donate to the event.

A video clip from his training in La Jolla, CA:

Sandy’s Maternity Shoot: A Sneak Peek

Sandy's maternity shoot

Sandy’s due next month so I skedaddled up to Markham to do a maternity shoot at the house in case the baby decided to arrive early! Her parents will be flying in from Australia to meet their grandchild; this will be a sneak peek for them, too.

Their neighbours must’ve wondered what on earth was happening, since I shot this in front of the patio’s sliding glass doors with the curtains wide open, stopping the aperture way down and using my shoot-through umbrella to create a reflection on the glass. From the outside, it must’ve looked like an indoor lightning storm!

Sandy's maternity shoot

There are some adorable baby shoes coming up in the full album, stay tuned.

O Canada! Neesa’s Canadian!

O Canada! Neesa's Now A Canadian

My friend Neesa was sworn in as a Canadian citizen recently, and decided to throw a party to celebrate her new status. Neesa’s father is from Nepal, her mother is from the Ukraine, and Neesa grew up in Moscow. Becoming Canadian just adds to her interestingness 🙂

I’ve known Neesa the majority of the time I’ve lived in Toronto. I was trying to think of the first time we met, and I believe it was a couchsurfing board games day at The Rhino, in January 2008, not that long after she moved here from Russia. Wow, there have been numerous trips, parties, and outings since then. Neesa’s appeared on this site quite often!

O Canada! Neesa's Now A Canadian

One of her friends arranged to give Neesa a Canadian flag signed by everyone, which we did in secret by sneaking into a bedroom to do the signings… hence the surprise on her face.

O Canada! Neesa's Now A Canadian

There were “rules” for this party:

  1. Dress code was red and white. (Neesa loves wearing red.)
  2. Food was red and white.
  3. Drinks had to be Canadian.

I brought ketchup chips — which I never buy because they’re terribly unhealthy, but very Canadian! — and red velvet cupcakes (I forgot to take a picture). I also made little Canadian flags out of mailing labels and toothpicks:

O Canada! Neesa's Now A Canadian

It’s not difficult to come up with Canadian drinks, really, besides the obvious beer labels.

O Canada! Neesa's Now A Canadian

Having the party in an apartment with red and white walls added to the theme.

O Canada! Neesa's Now A Canadian O Canada! Neesa's Now A Canadian

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much red clothing outside of Canada Day:

O Canada! Neesa's Now A Canadian

More pics can be viewed in a full-screen slideshow, as thumbnails, or watch the smaller slideshow below in autoplay:

Aya + Kyle’s Engagement Shoot At The Beaches

Aya + Kyle

Aya and Kyle live in New York City, and when they emailed me back in early October to set up an engagement session in Toronto near the end of November the first thought that popped into my head was: “I sure hope I can convince them to shoot outside.” I mean, it’s the end of November and the end of autumn — chilly and windy, the trees were pretty bare, and since they don’t live in Toronto I had one morning to work with, plus a rain date (turned out, it rained that day). But I still wanted to shoot outside because it always looks better, in my opinion.

I sent along some suggestions with links to photos that I’d taken in those places, and they decided on Ashbridges Bay Park and the eastern beaches. (Real estate agents and most of the locals call the area “The Beaches”, but you know what? We have beaches in the West End, too. Anyway…) Then I crossed my fingers.

You’ll see in the photos that we got really lucky — not only did the sun shine from the hours of 9-11 that Friday morning, the wind didn’t pick up by the lake until the end of our session. The set is best viewed as a full-screen slideshow,  or just sit back and watch the set autoplay at the bottom of the post. Clicking on the slideshow will take you to the thumbnails in Flickr.

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Ashbridges Bay Park

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

Aya + Kyle

From A Wedding

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From a wedding last September. My favourite portrait subjects are little people and the elders; the only thing better is when they’re together.

Nicola + Krys + Kismet: Sneak Peek

happy trio

happy trio

Last night’s shoot at The Beaches went *pun alert* swimmingly well. The photos are backed up, I’ve edited and uploaded a few, now it’s time to crash… there’s a story behind the photos which I’ll tell after I get the sand out of my toes and the doggie slobber cleaned off.

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the moment before I got slimed

the moment before I got slimed

contemplating a leap off the dock

contemplating a leap off the dock

a dog's day out

a dog's day out

The Helma

Move over, The Donald, The Helma has so much more personality than you!

The Helma

Helma’s got a massive rhododendron bush in her backyard, so I took some photos and she hammed it up — something that comes completely naturally to her. Helma’s about the same age as my dad, but she is less serious than I am. Seriously!

I’m still in Heavy-Duty Work Mode these days, so I’m posting some of the photos I took last Monday and it’s back to the grindstone.

The Helma

The Helma

The Helma

The Helma

Nonno

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The House of Fielding is in usual post-wedding recovery mode today. Yesterday’s nuptials was a 16-hour shooting day from the time I arrived at the bride’s house in the morning to the time I left the reception venue. Come to think of it, the last wedding I shot was also 16 hours from beginning to end. Most photographers leave after the bouquet toss, but I stay until the music stops and in the case of last night, that turned out to be 3am. I was thinking today of writing an FAQ section to my portrait photography site (overdue for a makeover) because I get more than enough to warrant putting one together, and why I shoot for that long is one of the questions I get asked most frequently.

One thing I loved about yesterday’s wedding is how close-knit the families are, on both sides. The reception was mostly relatives: cousins, second cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and in-laws in addition to parents and siblings. Seeing babies and old folk makes me smile. When I saw the Nonno of the bride, I couldn’t wait to take his picture!

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April 23 Preview Photos

Shots scads ‘o photos yesterday, between Nicole and Jeremy’s engagement shoot in High Park and Jan’s birthday at Sutra Tiki Bar in Little Italy last night. Also, I was excited to see what developed out of my Chinon CE-4 film roll, which was started in 2008 (!) and only finished recently. I picked up the index print and CD yesterday. It’s only my second roll out of that camera, and I am even happier with the results this second time around. I really should use it more often, but between the film and developing it can be rather expensive.

I only have time to upload a few photos before heading back to High Park to shoot another engagement session with Sandra and Jon. Hope it doesn’t rain, it keeps threatening to…

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Reading the menu by the light of an LED duck — it quacks, even! I love this photo. View larger.

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Nicole and Jeremy in High Park.

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Chinon CE-4 film camera (scanned negative). The vignetting is in the camera, I didn’t process it aside from removing a big piece of dust in the corner.

Eric during our trip last August to Montreal, writing a postcard to his grandmother. This is my favourite from the roll.

Previews To The Previews

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I’m between functions at the moment, which means I should be napping but I’m uploading a couple of photos first. This week’s been unbelievably crazy-busy, which means I haven’t been able to do anything with last Saturday’s photos of Beth and Shawn and their kids in High Park except do backups and make a contact sheet. Here’s one photo of Beth and Shawn I will be enlarging and displaying at their upcoming wedding. Call me biased, but I love this picture!

And here’s one photo from the wedding I shot today at Brassai on King West. It was a FAB-ulous affair, with the funniest officiant ever, plus a robot, cat, owl, sailor, and… well, I shouldn’t say anymore — this is a pre-preview, after all.

So many details about this wedding won me over, but a wedding brunch? GENIUS! I dug right into the croissants, bacon, eggs, and easily the best granola I’ve ever eaten (with macadamia nuts and coconut–yum!). This pancake tower is a work of art:

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Wait’ll you see the rest of the pictures! Let’s see if I can get any sleep before the post-wedding party…