A week of real work as a photographer

I have completed my first week of placement with the Ottawa Police.  While I can't speak of specifics, I can tell you what equipment and software I worked with.  I got to help tear down the studio after a shoot, and while their equipment amount does not rival Algonquin Colleges, OP have high quality lights, stands, lenses and cameras.  

I worked on editing some video footage using Premiere Pro, a software from Adobe.  Thankfully, one of our professors had us working in a similar program this semester, so it was fairly easy for me to figure out how to use it after not using it for over a year.  Shout out to Jason Machinski!! It was pretty cool footage of some practical exercises that one division of the OP do to prepare for real events.

I also go to use a negative scanner to retrieve some photos.  This was the biggest challenge of the week, as no one in the office could figure out how to use the equipment.  Hello google and discussion boards.  I found the issue rather quickly, and soon was scanning what was needed to be done.  After scanning the photos, I had to colour correct, and do some other small edits to make the photo look like the actual print.

At the end of the week, I used my old friend Photoshop to edit photos of some award ceremonies for various members of the OP.  No heavy duty edits were required, but I did use a global colour correction and skin tone correction to make the photos look great!

Lastly, this week, the latest issue of the Kitchissippi TImes came out.  I have two photos published in this issue.  One is the Human Of Kitchissippi, and the other is the cover photo of a new hot dog and poutine place in Hintonburg, called Whassup Dog?  One of the perks of photographing them was a tasty hot dog!

Thanks for reading!  

How to Make Your Soul Happy?

Yes, it's true.  Check out the "Contributor" page on the Kitchissippi Times, and there 2nd from the top, thanks to a surname beginning with B, you'll see ME!!!  And it says I'm a photographer! And it says what I love!!  And it says I'm a photographer.  I read it on the internet, it must be true!!

Yesterday, also was my Final Portfolio interview with four of my professors.  They had a lot of positive feedback, and when they said "Congratulations Ellen" at the end, it felt very good.  I worked hard these past two school years.  Harder than I ever worked before at school.  I never felt smart in school, at times couldn't believe I was a teacher, but I feel like a photographer. What's the difference I wonder.  

I really believe it has to do with how our brains work.  I spent most of my time at McMaster University completing a Physical Education degree using the left side of my brain, but when I got to use the right side of my brain playing sports, or thinking up creative practical jokes, that's when I was happiest.  I couldn't see that then.  It's taken a lot of introspection to be able to see it now. I believe that is why photography makes my soul happy.....it completes my right brained body.

Blink, and it's over

I have submitted my final portfolio in the Photography Program at Algonquin College.  Wow.  When I look back, it seems like a few days ago I walked into my first class.  Within the first week, I knew I had chosen correctly.  So here I am at the end of one chapter.  A chapter I feel lucky to have been able to complete.  Here's what I learned:

1.  It's never too late to learn.  Take that night school class.  Expose yourself to new things.  Expand your brain.  I've learned so much these past two years, and I'm better for it.

2.  Ottawa is a small town inside a big city.  I am amazed at the connections one can make here.  This person knows that person, who can get that done for you, who knows a connection for you to track down over there.  I hope the connections I've made will continue to grow for me.

3.  Experts in their field can be great teachers, even without a teachers certificate.  The professors in my program are so experienced in their field, it makes me wonder how they know so much at such a young age. Their love of photography and all its facets rubbed off on me.

4.  Follow your passion.  As someone who has struggled with depression, I can't say enough about how following my passion has made me and my soul feel happy.  Life is too short.  Don't talk about what you wish you were doing, do it.  FInd a way. Your soul will thank you.

I want to share my favourite image I took this year with you.  It was created in my head, and I wanted it to tell a story.  I believe I accomplished that, and I hope you agree.  Leave a comment, if you are moved to.  I'd like to thank Leslie McCue and Lindy Kinoshameg for sharing their time and their passion with me.  Thanks goes out to Sara Cratt for traveling to Toronto with me and assisting me in this shoot.

Life is too short, seize the moment

This weekend I travelled to Whitesboro, New York to my cousin Kate's house.  Kate lives there with her husband Fred and their two children Lauren and Andrew.  It just so happened to be Andrew's 7th birthday, and his family birthday party.  Also attending the party were my Uncle Fred and Auntie Dee (Kate's parents) and my cousin Britt with two of his three sons, Issac and Adam.  Rounding out the family get together was my cousin Amanda, and one of her two children, Fiona.  It was a case of good timing.

Andrew, is nuts about hockey.  We spent about 30 minutes the first morning I was there playing hockey in this super cool hockey fitted basement.

We used the pole as a defenceman with the last name of "Pole", and I was dripping sweat by the end of it.  I miss playing hockey.

One of the best presents Andrew got was a replica Clarkson College jersey.  My Uncle Fred was a star player there in the 70's  he was the captain, and he wore #7.  

Like Andrew, I love hockey, and although Andrew now wears the number of his favourite player, Henrik Lundqvist, I wore the number of my favourite player, my Uncle Fred.

It was a great weekend!

Spreading my wings

As I am about to finish my Diploma in Photography at Algonquin College, I am planning what is next for me.  I really enjoy living in Ottawa, and want to see if I can make a living here.  

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take a photo for the Ottawa Business Journal.  The OBJ is owned by Great River Media, which also owns the Kitchissippi Times.  The story editor is Andrea Tomkins, who is the editor of KT.  I was honoured she asked me to take the photo.  When it's published, I'll blog about it and post a link.  Who knows where this opportunity may lead.

Taking feedback is an art

Over my life, I have received and given a lot of feedback.  I always feel like I've helped when the person receives my feedback in a positive way.  I feel I've wasted my time when the reply is "Ya, I know, I'm working on it", and yet things don't change.  For me, a simple error here or there is acceptable.  However, if I notice multiple errors in multiple posts, and that never changes, there is no way I am hiring you.

Recently we worked on a magazine cover.  Here is the version I handed in to be marked:

I was happy with it.  I worked hard with the pen tool to recreate the exact masthead for TATTOO magazine.  I did some dodge and burning.  I added a price code.  I incorporated names of people related to the shoot, all folks at Status Salon in Barrie, Ontario.  I received my feedback from my prof, and did well.  However, she had a lot of feedback....things to challenge me with, things she wanted me to change, and she gave me some suggestions for improvement.  I loved the feedback, and today I used it to create version two:

I'd love to know what you think.  Post on my facebook wall or tweet me!  Thanks for reading!

Children's Miracle Network

Tonight I volunteered with a classmate, Matthew Aman, to shoot a gala organized by students from Algonquin College's Event Management students.  It was called "The Wonders of the Grand Cirque".  It was a wonderful event.  They had many interactive booths, and dancers from Kali Andrews Dance Company.  Wow!  What a great event to raise money for the Children's Wish Network.  I was honoured to be a part of it.

The Kitchissippi Times is out!

Last October, I began shooting for the Kitchissippi Times, a local newspaper that is published every two weeks.  I began shooting their "Humans of Kitchissippi" feature, and was quickly asked to shoot some photos for articles and sometimes the cover photo.  This has been a great experience, and I have met some wonderful people in the area.  In one case, taking a photo has turned into a potential photo shoot for a local business.

You can read the lastest issue by clicking on the photo above, which I took in Julie's home.

Day trip to Toronto

Despite the distance, you can still make an Ottawa to Toronto day trip a reality.  My photo buddy Sara Cratt and I drove to Toronto to meet up with Leslie McCue, someone I have known for years, and her partner Lindy Kinoshameg.  Leslie and Lindy, other than being awesome, are First Nation Dancers.  I asked them to be part of a shoot that was created in my head.  I wanted to juxtapose the traditional lifestyle of First Nation peoples to the excess that is most of today's society.  What better place to showcase that than Dundas Square, deep in the heart of Toronto.

In a picture perfect moment, we arrived at the parking garage at the same time, the sun cooperated by passing behind a skyscraper to allow me to shoot without blowing out everything in sight, and it was a beautiful day.  I can't wait to share the finished photo with you.  Here's a photo from Lindy's iPhone:

Thanks for reading :)


Hello Friday

Last week I took some photos of the Brand Management class at Algonquin College.  They were going to be featured on CTV Ottawa, and wanted the photos to run in the background of the segment.  Well it happened, and the photos look darn great!  Here is a link to the show:

This weekend is going to be pretty exciting at Algonquin College.  The women's varsity volleyball team is in a crossover playoff game against the Redeemer Royals.  This game is personal, as the Thunder have lost in the crossover game the past two years to Redeemer.  WIth four graduating players on Algonquin's team, they are going to want to win badly!  Come cheer them on Saturday February 20th, at 3:00 pm in the Algonquin gym.

We can taste the victory!