Montreal might be the city where young people go to retire but there was a much needed atmosphere of chillin’ in Barcelona and Valencia. I have travelled to a lot of places in my short time here on earth and I can say that the Barcelonians and Valencians were one of the most friendliest and helpful people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Whether that was being so accepting of barely passable comprehension of spanish to going out of their way to find us on the beach to bring us to the party (thanks Victor!), Myriam and I really felt welcomed in our short stay there.
Aww writing about it makes me miss it even more. Crud.
Our daily routine there was as follows: Wake up. Espresso, orange juice, tostada con tomate. Go to the beach. Sleep on the beach. Wake up eight hours later and eat some calamari. Find out where dancing is. Repeat.
The Saturday day time dancing for this past weekend’s Montreal Swing Riot was held at a super neato faux-beach venue. We got to dance on wooden beach planks with the amazing summer breeze! Check out some sweet moments!
This week I shot some photos for the dance studio Swing Connexion to replace some of the teacher photos on the website. After some experimenting with various places in the studio to take the pictures, I decided to go with a simple wall background with only one distinguishable piece of furniture – the iconic orange sofa chair.
Summer has always been my favourite time of the year to shoot portraitures because natural lighting is, as expected, a lot more abundant. Also people seem to be a lot more relaxed than even one season ago, which in Montréal literally means winter. For this shoot, I used a simple setup of a large softbox 45 degrees to the top right of the dancers. On my second day of shooting however, I added a second light 90 degrees to the left to just smooth out some of the harsh shadows I was getting with only one light. Overall I’m pretty pleased with the results and the overall improvements of my lighting technique. No longer am I just turning knobs up and down and firing blindly, but I’m actually making conscience decisions on how I want the pictures to turn up.
Hey neat thing – I got one of my burlesque photos of Melody Mangler on an article for Canadian Theatre Review! I forgot all about this since the writer contacted me about publishing one of my photos so this was a nice little treat this week.
Earlier this week I shot a portraiture of Fred for his upcoming Bols Bartending Championship competition in Amsterdam. Shooting inside bars is always an exercise of light management and this shoot was no different. Warm lamps and various coloured track lights that are usually embedded throughout the main bartender areas to draw focus of patrons to the shiny drinks end up being little puzzles for me to solve. Do I leave them on and have a bit of colour ambiance to the picture or turn them off and have a more neutral but consistent picture? For this shoot, I decided to shoot with the ambient lights on and to also shoot lightweight – by not bringing external strobes. This allowed me a faster turnaround in the shoot and use that extra time to do what I consider the best part of shooting bartenders – drinking the free showcase mixes! Thanks Fred!
Some days I really miss locking and my friends in the funk scene, especially when I see dancers like this dude tearing it up at Bust-A-Move in Montréal. I fell in love with this style of dance, and really the combination of athleticism and personal expression when I was first starting to learn solo dancing at Harbour Dance Centre in Vancouver. Those days seem so long ago but when I see a dancer coming in to a dance competition with a costume that is a cross between Raiden and a mime, I’m instantly teleported back to my memories of those crazy times.