Portraits in Kensington Market | Shot on Fuji 400h

I recently got these negatives from last summer scanned at London Drugs, and it's making me miss medium-format film so much (yes, again). I made the photos of Tina and Julie this time last year at Fika in Kensington Market (their backyard patio is such a good spot for pictures!) and the last two photos in the set are from the Victoria College quad, a few days later. So few things are as good as a summer day in the city with a new roll of film.

Shot on Fuji 400h | Processed by GPC Labworks

Review: Sleeklens Portrait Workflow for Lightroom

I'm putting some digital images on here for once! I was recently asked by Sleeklens to try out their Strike a Pose Portrait Workflow for Lightroom and post my thoughts on it. They're a Denmark-based company that offers different Lightroom presets, online Lightroom tutorials, and post-processing services. Rather than give a technical review, I've put together some thoughts on incorporating this tool into my workflow as a film/digital hybrid shooter.

When I edit my digital shots, I try to achieve a look that's complementary (but not necessarily identical) to the film images from the same session. For my purposes, all the presets I played around with were too intense on their own, but I usually just had to pull back the saturation and contrast to get the kind of look I wanted. This is normal for working with presets: they're a shortcut rather than an end product, so you should expect to make at least minor adjustments after adding the preset.
Here's a side-by-side comparison for two of the presets (Sunset Portrait 1 and Golden Shadow), showing the same image straight out of the camera, after applying the preset, and then after adjusting the saturation and exposure.

With the intense colours of most of the presets in this package, my impression is that these are best suited for outdoor portraits in natural or mixed lighting. They seem to work especially well for the backlit, golden-hour portraits that are really popular right now. If you're proficient enough with Lightroom to go right from the first image to the third in not much time, then this is obviously not for you, but if not, I could see these being a time-saver. One of the reasons I shoot film is to spend less time on the computer post-processing, so Lightroom presets can have a place in a film/digital workflow. Here are a couple of other presets that I used to complement the look of my film photos:

A major advantage to using Lightroom presets (either your own or commercial ones like the Sleeklens package) is achieving a consistent look across all your images. Out of the monochrome options, "Duo" was by far my favourite. It needed little or no adjustment and was an easy match for the levels of grain and contrast I prefer in my black-and-white film photos.

As with all preset packages, this won't be a necessary middle step for every photographer's workflow, and not all of the presets worked for me, as some simply didn't fit my style. Still, this workflow is a very quick way to produce nice-looking and consistent results, especially for someone who isn't looking to spend too much time in Lightroom. Thank you to Sleeklens for the chance to try out this package! 

Snow in Vancouver! | Part Two

Finally got to shoot a roll of my favourite film stock in Vancouver! I spent a snowy day out with Tina before I got on the plane to go home to Ottawa for the holidays. These images are from a walk through Kits Beach (where we spotted a very stealthy wildlife photographer capturing the birds) and a trip to New Town Bakery later to warm up.

Shot on Cinestill 800t, processed and scanned by London Drugs (West Broadway and Vine)

Snow in Vancouver! | Tower Beach

My first winter in Vancouver has been much snowier than expected. I made these photos after an overnight snowfall, on a walk down to Tower Beach at the north end of UBC campus.
Shot on Fuji Superia 200 | Processed and scanned by London Drugs (West Broadway and Vine)

Arriving in Vancouver | Part two

These are some highlights from the second roll of film I shot while my family was here. I made these pictures at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, downtown by the harbour, and at Kitsilano Beach during my first week on the West Coast.

Shot on Kodak Ektar 100 | Processed and scanned by London Drugs
I love the colours of Ektar, but my first week here has taught me I need to use a faster film to stay ahead of Vancouver's changing weather. (Not pictured here: all the blurry photos I took at Capilano while the bridge swayed under my feet.)

Arriving in Vancouver | Part one

Before school gets too busy, I thought I'd share a few images from the very first roll of film I shot on the West Coast. Expect more here soon!
All of these were shot with a combination of simple, reliable Fuji Superia 200 film and the new-to-me Minolta lens I picked up in Toronto last month | Processed by London Drugs (W Broadway and Vine)

Left: Green College at UBC Right: the UBC Rose Garden

Left: Green College at UBC
Right: the UBC Rose Garden

Rabindranath Tagore statue at UBC

Rabindranath Tagore statue at UBC

Behind the Museum of Anthropology

Behind the Museum of Anthropology

On the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria

On the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria

At the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island

At the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island

In Colour | Ottawa Wedding Photography

Since I posted my photos from Highball, I've been thinking through the ways that film should figure in other kinds of events work that I do. I'm sharing this little set of wedding images from earlier in the summer to expand on my growing inventory of the kinds of recording that are possible with the analogue tools available to me. 

As much as I love the motion and energy of high-grain, black-and-white pictures, turning back to colour and natural light has been eye-opening now that I'm working in medium format. Shooting in colour slows the pace of an event, a consequence of making photographs with lower-speed films and a larger, heavier camera. As I keep trying to articulate why exactly I shoot film, I don't want to lose sight of the relationships between the medium I work in, the way I move through spaces as a photographer, and the kinds of narratives my photos can form. 
A simple change in pace might shift different moments to the foreground and bring different stories into existence.

Shot on Kodak Portra 160 and 400 + Fujichrome Provia 100f | Processed and scanned by GPC Labworks

Portraits from the Canadian Tulip Festival | May 2016

A few impromptu photos of friends, shot on International Museum Day this year when we made a quick trip to the National Gallery, at the very best moment to see the apple blossoms. Also, this is my first post on here of images taken using my new/old Pentax 645n! I hope it's the first of many more.

Shot on Fuji 400h | Developed and scanned by GPC Labworks

highball 2016

A few of my favourites from the photos that I shot at this year's Vic Highball, a beautiful evening at Roy Thomson Hall. I think these might also be some of my favourite event photos I've ever taken! This was my first time shooting 100% film at an event of this scale, and I'm so happy it worked out the way it did. You can see the rest of the photos from the night (by me and the other photographers) over on VicXposure's Facebook page

Shot on Ilford Delta 3200 and Kodak Portra 800 | Developed and scanned by Downtown Camera
Film and processing are courtesy of the Vic Student Projects Levy Fund for VicXposure.

tina's birthday | toronto christmas market

Tina's late-November birthday falls on one of the busiest weeks in the semester, which is why I haven't gotten around to posting these images until now. I'm so glad I took a few hours off at the end of the term to document this beautiful night in our beautiful city.
This post includes my first ever visit to the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District (!) plus our post-market visit cheesecake run. Colour photos were shot on Cinestill 800t, and black and white photos were shot on Ilford Delta 3200. Film processed and scanned by Aden Camera at Yonge and Elm.

Not surprisingly, I just had to go on the carousel.


In honour of our last day of operations this semester, here are a few black and white film images from Caffiends, my favourite little sustainable, student-run cafe at U of T. I shot these on Ilford Delta 3200 while we were cleaning up the cafe on a rainy Friday night a few weeks ago.

Come find us next semester on the first floor of Old Vic!


pumpkin carving, music, poetry, and slow mornings at Vic | shot on Kentmere 400, developed and scanned at Aden Camera

In the absence of colour, what's left?
I feel as though I'm seeing things I'd never seen in colour: the dust on a bookshelf, the shadows on the stage. I think I'll be making a few more black and white posts this winter while I try to focus in on the shapes, tones, and motion of campus life. It'll be helpful to approach my colour photography with an eye trained for the kinds of textures and details that monochrome images naturally draw attention to.

So even though I mostly shoot digital photos at low-light indoor events like last week's Acta Victoriana social, I'm glad I took the time to make some images on film. Often people say that one of the major drawbacks of shooting events on film is the delay between taking the photos and actually getting to see them. There's truth to this, which is why I so often choose digital when I'd rather use film, but I want to emphasize that the wait time for processing isn't an inconvenience external to the act of photographing; it's just another part of the process of creating.

Across all of my work, I want to learn the joy of the slow reveal: the fifteen-minute walk over to the film lab, the brief wait at the shop counter, the moment I finally sit down to look at my scans and the anticipation of it, holding the negatives up to the sunlight the whole way home.


summer in toronto | part two: cinestill

This summer, I shot my very first roll of Cinestill 800t film at a few different spots around the city. Cinestill has been available to the public for a couple of years now, but it's still notoriously difficult to track down in stores in Toronto, so I didn't have a chance to see much local work with it before I bought some to try. This post certainly isn't a technical review, but I hope these images from my test roll of Cinestill will be helpful for those of you who are deciding whether or not to order a roll online.

(All photos in this post were developed and scanned by Aden Camera at Yonge & Elm.)

Ayla and I started off our day heading over to the Aga Khan Museum, one of the most beautiful spaces around Toronto. It's a little bit of a trek from downtown on the TTC, but very worth it.

A note for the photographers reading this: the redness along the edges of the pavement in this photo is a good example of unwanted red halation in the stronger highlights of Cinestill shots. You'll find the same thing in the next image as well. I actually really like the effect this gave to my nighttime and indoor photos, where the halation appears around direct light sources, but keep this in mind especially if you end up shooting with Cinestill in daylight. 
(If you're interested in why this happens, visit the Cinestill FAQ and check out the sections on Remjet backing.)


Next up, a few shots from later in the day when the Roots played at Nathan Phillips Square for the Pan Am Games. (Not pictured here: the amazing churros we picked up from Kensington along the way!)
Nighttime photos downtown were by far my favourite way to use this film stock, and it's probably how I'll use my next roll of the stuff.
The night images were rated between 800 and 1250 and shot consistently at f/1.2.