Glenorchy

This is the first image in a whole series of work which I’ll be sharing in the weeks ahead of my adventures on the South Island of New Zealand.

_PC11530-Edit-3© Peter Carroll

Of the 25 countries I have visited in my travels over the years, New Zealand is the country where I felt most at home outside of Canada. I absolutely loved it! Like Canada, New Zealand is a land of varied landscape and dramatic geological features but unlike my home it’s all in a small package. I can’t wait to say, “Kia ora New Zealand.” someday again.

 

Hobbiton

When in New Zealand my family and I visited Hobbiton! The original set for LOTR was torn down after shooting of the trilogy but when it came time to shoot The Hobbit, the farmer who owns the property had a win/win offer. He allowed The Hobbit to be filmed in the same location but he made a deal with the studio that the set would be a permanent construction and tours would be run after shooting was complete. It was a “license to print your own money” type of idea.If you are a fan of Middle-earth and find yourself in New Zealand should you go?…YES! The Shire doesn’t only exist on the pages of Tolkien’s LOTR. The magic of the shire comes to life on picturesque farmland outside of Matamata on the North Island.

_6100609-Edit© Peter Carroll

The Great Barrier Reef

GBR

My daughter and I snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. What am amazing experience! We saw hundreds of fish species and such a variety of coral. The two of us had such a fun time snorkeling around the boat that we signed up for a guided snorkel adventure farther out at the edge of the reef and there we saw a shark and a sea turtle!! It’s a wild and wonderful world this little blue sphere we live on.

Registration Open for “Portrait Lighting Essentials” Workshop Series

Registration is now open for the “Portrait Lighting Essentials” workshops Wayne Simpson Photography and I are running Aug. 16th in Kitchener ON.

These will be hands-on learning workshop intended for beginner to intermediate shooters. Do you find the concepts of lighting intimidating and the gear options bewildering? Let Wayne and Pete simplify the world of portrait lighting for you. Come join two enthusiastic instructors for a fun day focused on the goal of expanding your technical skills and your creative vision in portrait photography.

Space for the workshop will be limited to 12 people so that we have good instructor/participant and participant/model ratios. This will be a hands-on workshop with the goal of expanding your technical skills and your creative vision in portrait photography.

Itinerary: The workshop will start at 9am and we will wrap up the final shoot around 5pm

Morning session

Introduction
Portfolio slideshows with “stories behind the image” commentary
Presentation on the basic concepts of lighting
10 min break
Demonstration of various types of lighting with hands-on participation

Afternoon session

Headshot shoot with model
Creative lighting shoot #1 with models
10 min break
Creative lighting shoot #2 with models

Cost:   $249 (+Tax)

To register for the Aug. 16th workshop in Kitchener go here.

lighting-banner-proof1Eventbrite

Lighting Workshops

Exciting portrait workshop announcements are in the works! I’m teaming up with Wayne Simpson Photography this summer to teach some lighting workshops. We’re looking forward to sharing our knowledge of how to use lighting in creative portrait photography.

Now that we have our amazing venue confirmed, I can share that the first workshop will be in Kitchener, ON on August 16, 2015! Details to come in the next couple of weeks!

Fencer - Light Trace© Peter Carroll

i♥Edmonton

I Heart Edmonton is a one stop guide to everything ‪#‎YEG‬ and the site’s founder Emil Tiedemann recently asked me a few questions. My answers, shared below, are part of a posted profile piece which you can see here.

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i♥Edmonton Interview

i♥e/ Where were you born?

PC/ Montreal

i♥e/ When and why did you first pick up a camera?

PC/ My first connection with photography was the Christmas when I was 16 months old. I’m told that after unwrapping all the gifts I was more interested in an empty film canister than any of the toys I had been given! I’m not sure when I first picked up a camera but I do remember buying my first camera. It was a Nikon N2000 and I bought it on a trip to New York City with my family when I was 16. I actually still have the camera in my photography office because I keep all the cameras I have ever owned.

i♥e/ Tell us about when you realized you had an eye for photography and when you decided that this might be what you want to do on a professional level.

PC/ I’ve had three career phases in my life. After university I became a helicopter pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces. I left the military at the end of 1999 to become a stay-at-home dad. I’ve always been interested in photography but I started to make more photographs as a stay-at-home dad because I wanted to capture the different stages of my kids’ lives.

Then in 2004, my wife and I took a trip to Venice and that trip changed how I approached photography. I wanted to do the work necessary to improve. Photography then changed from an interest to a passion and now that passion is also a business. Looking back, I’m happy that as I started to work seriously on my craft I was able to experience a couple of years shooting slide film before digital hit the scene. I love digital now because of the convenience and the workflow but shooting film taught me to approach photography with an emphasis on seeing.

There’s a slippery slope in digital photography where an attitude of “I can fix that in Photoshop” or a “spray and pray” shooting mentality can make for some pretty weak photo skills. Shooting slide film taught me to connect with the world around me, to take time to observe and to create photographs with the aim to communicate my reaction to the moment.

i♥e/ What is your personal favourite photo that you have taken?

PC/When the American photographer Imogen Cunningham was asked that question she famously replied – “The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” I do have favourites in my portfolio but, in the spirit of Cunningham’s reply, as I continue to make photographs I continue to learn and improve my skills so while I am proud of the work in the portfolio today I look forward to seeing what I create tomorrow. The learning never stops.

i♥e/ Do you have any photographers you look up to, or that inspire you?
PC/ I’ve got plenty. A few names from the list of greats who are no longer with us would be Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Galen Rowell, Yousef Karsh, Richard Avedon. A few names from the list of contemporary photographers whose work I enjoy would be Michael Kenna, Guy Tal, Joe McNally, Freeman Patterson. The lists go on and on and on. I love work by photographers who put great care into what they create.

i♥e/ Do you prefer one subject matter over another (i.e. landscapes, people)?
PC/ I started out primarily making landscapes and travel photographs. I thoroughly love time spent in the various Alberta landscapes. I feel a wonderful peace when I am creating nature images. I love the fact that Alberta has four distinct seasons (some years less distinct than others!). The changing seasons help me as a photographer to appreciate light and as a person to appreciate time and how change and nature’s cycle is all part of life.

As I have progressed in my photography career I have enjoyed photographing people more and more. Creating a good portrait is a fun challenge. A good portrait hinges on making a connection with your subject. Challenges are good because they often get us to step outside our comfort zones and that’s a good thing because that’s when we learn and grow. So I really don’t prefer one subject matter over another. I just love photography.

i♥e/ What is your main camera that you use for your photos? 
PC/My main camera right now is a Nikon D800. When I am asked by people to recommend a camera I always answer that photographers need to match the equipment options out there to what they like to shoot and how they like to shoot.  After that it’s simply a case of picking up the various models that meet your needs and seeing which one just feels right.

Each brand has a distinct feel due to button placement, menu design etc. More than likely one will just feel right to you. Don’t worry about whichever brand is in the “lead” as far as specifications goes. More than likely six months from now they’ll leapfrog each other and do the same again six months after that.

 

Graduation

Last Friday I had the pleasure of photographing a young lady who I have photographed every year for the last 4 years. The collaboration started back in January 2011 with a fencing themed photo shoot on white seamless. Since then I have done a “Meet the Beatles” themed shoot with her and her family. We have done a long exposure light trace shoot where we used pen lights and birthday sparklers to put a little twist on the typical fencer portrait. We have shot an aviation themed family portrait in a hanger at the Edmonton international airport. She is a pleasure to work with and the shoots are always so much fun.

Time flies and now the young lady will soon be graduating high school. With the prom dress already bought she wanted to have a trial run with the hairdresser and get some portraits done the same day. So on Friday the whole family came over to our place for pizza, some laughs and some photographs. Here’s what we came up with this time…

This is a 4 light set up. Main light is Elinchrom Ranger through a 60cm Lightrein octo softbox on a boom high camera centre pointed down on the model. One speedlight through a Lastolite Easybox putting some light on the black paper background. One speedlight camera right as fill bounced off of a silver reflector disc. One speedlight camera left and behind in the background pointed at the model for rim lighting. All lights except for the fill were controlled by the PocketWizard i-TTL system (MiniTT1, AC3, FlexTT5, and Power ST4). The fill was controlled by the good ol’ PocketWizard Plus II and leg power (walking back and forth to manually adjust the power).

_PC19653-Edit-Edit-Edit© Peter Carroll

A speedlight was placed in the background of the set pointing at the model for a little light flare to give a paparazzi/glamour feel to the portraits.

_PC19651-Edit© Peter Carroll

_PC19629-Edit-Edit-Edit© Peter Carroll

Winter

We had wonderful winter conditions yesterday morning in Strathcona County so I enjoyed some photography in the morning with a little snow, cold temps (but not so cold you’d say… “son of a biscuit it’s cold”) and a little fog. Then in the afternoon I lit the fire and watched the football games. A good day.

What I Love About Winter by Douglas Florian

Frozen lakes
Hot Pancakes
Lots of snow
Hot cocoa
Skates and skis
Evergreen trees
Funny hats
Thermostats
Sunsets blaze
Holidays
Snowball fights
Fireplace nights
Chimneys steaming
Winter dreaming.

_PC19461-Edit© Peter Carroll