Reliable, Bubbles and more...

Tomorrow marks the end of the line for our parent's house, after months of methodically sifting through our history, making phone calls, scheduling appointments and meetings, paperwork...when I leave for my next shoot Wednesday morning, most of it will finally be behind us—apart from boxes of pictures and souvenirs that have now migrated to our place. At the best of times it's a rather chaotic space but right's pretty much on the brink of becoming a catastrophe. Transference: "the process whereby emotions are passed on or displaced from one person to another". Yeah, that..except for a house. The kids have already gone through some of the old albums: you were cute daddy! the girls told me this week. And of course Jacob pointed out that I had freckles!!...yup, I did indeed have freckles. Fewer gray hairs too ;)

School also ends this week and we'll be leaving for Charlevoix on Friday—a month earlier than usual. So consider this post a way for me to both catch up and get ahead of the wave.


Sometimes life has a way of making seemingly random pieces click together. Earlier this year Guy Langevin—Photo Life's editor—proposed I write an article on documercial photography; essentially the ongoing trend of using a documentary approach in a commercial context. It should appear in an upcoming issue. I had already experimented with a mild version of the documercial concept for Lexus Canada last summer, but for the past few months I've been working on a project that I consider the very definition of this type of work: The Reliable Way. It's a series of essays to be published on Medium, an inside look at a family-owned business that's been around since the 1950s. What's exciting about it is how much freedom and access the company is giving me, how intimate they're allowing the series to become. I'm documenting this as honestly as I would any other subject which is—in my opinion—the way to go. 

There are two installements already online through the project's dedicated publication. Medium is a brand new platform for me so if you happen to be active over there let me know and we'll connect.


This is where I'd usually write something personal about the following series of images—the mood, probably what was going through my mind while I was shooting. Instead I thought I'd go behind the scenes on this one, mainly because I think it's a good example of gear feeding inspiration. All of these were shot with the X-Pro2 and the XF 90mm f/2, a lens I've had for about a month now. They were also shot in JPEG using the Acros film simulation I've mentioned mmm...once or twice before.

I love Acros, obviously. But truth be told I don't necessarily commit to black and white files all that often: I need to feel it's adding to the process. When I do however, I usually go all in without the raw safety net as a fallback solution; the danger and irreversibility are part of the appeal, as illogical as this may seem. Knowing I can't go back keeps me on my toes and heightens my sense of awareness, altering the dynamics of the shoot. I very much believe it's all connected.

We'd been working on the pool, trying to bring it out of swamp state on the one day available for our home—which has been incredibly neglected due to circumstances. I had already picked up my camera when the kids brought out the bubbles but this being June, the light was still fairly harsh, even late in the afternoon. So instead of fighting it, I decided to actually use all of this contrast and switched to my pushed Acros preset: +3 shadows, +1 highlights. When I looked through the EVF, everything around me felt like a lush, black and white magazine spread. And that 90mm? Seriously, I'm becoming addicted.

I talk about the lens—and the telephoto effect—in this month's Fujilove issue (June) but it bears repeating: this is one of the nicest Fujinon lenses in an already stellar lineup. I already knew I loved the 135mm focal length but I'm still surprised at how comfortable I am with it on very diverse subjects.

I used the 8 fps burst mode option quite a bit on the "bubble episode", something I don't do very often but made absolute sense here, in spite of a small technical detail I always forget to mention [1].

Would colour have worked? Absolutely. But black and white felt right. Pushing contrast felt right. The 90mm felt right. More importantly, combined they added the right amount of excitement at the end of a long day. Sometimes that's way more important than perfect data.


Ian Mcdonald is a great guy whose blog has been taking off lately, and for good reason: it's a very nice mix of technical reviews, photography and insight. Awhile ago he sent me a set of questions for an ongoing interview series he's been publishing on his website. I always feel a little strange when I give interviews: it can feel very...self-centred. To which most of you are probably inclined to respond Well, duh. I know. But when done right they can allow you to reflect—publicly—in ways you may not usually do. They can push you a little further. When I received Ian's questions it was immediately clear this wasn't a cookie-cutter template, that he had thought about some of these questions very specifically, on a personal level. It's the sort of effort that makes you want to give back and I hope I did.

The interview is available here if you're interested. Many thanks to Ian for this opportunity. 


Last but not least: the June release of KAGE is online. This month Charlene Winfred was our acting editor and we went with technical requirements instead of a global subject line: a 50mm POV (35mm APS-C) at night. Or nightish. Hence our oh so clever title ( in standard lens...and evening...see what we did there?). Several stories from everyone again, our images of the month and Bert continues sharing his very personal Photographic Mid-Life Crisis—thoughts we can all, frighteningly, relate to at some point or another.

That's it for now. See you all soon.


[1]:   Burst mode works very well and does the job but: I wish it wasn't an all or nothing affair. My Nikon days are way behind me but I remember being able to leave it on burst mode while still being able to take a single shot, based on how long I'd keep the shutter depressed. I'm sure a similar delay could be inroduced to this function without impacting its usefulness.