October 2008

:: Wii-eally Good Fun…

The world of interactive gaming has definitely improved in leaps and bounds from the good ol’ days of playing text based adventure games, Horrace Goes Skiing, and Frogger on my ZX Spectrum. During my childhood in Zambia we really didn’t have the exposure that most kids did to computer game consoles such as the Nintendo, Sega Master System and Mega Drive. As a child we were more into Lego and playing outdoors and it was considered a real treat to go over to a friend’s house and play on their computer. One of those lucky punks was my best friend Sahan who owned a Sega Master System. This was considered the pinacle of gaming during our time in Africa because of the advanced colour, graphics and sound. We used to play Ninja Gaiden sharing one controller as Sahan would control the directions and I would fire the deadly ninja stars while we both sang our adlib theme song for the game.

Things have come a long way since those types of games with virtual environments becoming more interactive and gaming companies trying to make every experience as realistic as possible. The subtle motion of a characters hair blowing in the wind, Spielberg inspired movie cut scenes and the rumbling blast waves from a mortar shell exploding in front of you are just some of the things that are done to make you feel like you’re immersed in the game. I’ve owned a few consoles such as the XBOX, the XBOX 360 and Playstation which are aimed more towards the teenager and adult demographics…

Enter the Wii… I finally crumbled after holding out and I purchased  a Nintendo Wii. This console doesn’t have the latest and greatest graphics, but it does emphasize one thing: HAVING FUN. When you play games on the Wii, it brings a whole new level on interactivity due to the use of the remote and nun chuck for controlling the character requiring you to make hand motions and gestures. It takes away the glitz and glam graphically and creates a more simple and fun gaming experience that always manages to bring a smile to your face. On top of this the whole nostalgic feeling comes into play as they’ve revived a variety of “oldskool” games such as Mario, Sonic The Hedgehog etc. Tash has never really been into playing games and when I’m playing my XBOX 360 and I try to show her some amazing graphics or scene in a game her eyes kinda glaze over with disinterest, but the minute she picked up the Wii controllers and started playing Mario Kart it’s almost like I have to pry them from her hands in order to have my turn…

Now all I have to do is make sure that Tash wears the safety strap and doesn’t get too carried away while using the controller otherwise I’m going to come home one day and find the Wiimote embedded in my 46″ LCD TV…! “Ooooops… did I do that?” 

:: Happy Birthay Munchkin!

Today my little niece Ella aka Ella-phant turns 1 year old… I can’t believe that a year has already passed by and boy has she grown quick! Over the past year I’ve seen her learn how to prop herself up and balance without support, wave hello, cut her first teeth and now crawl and stand up… oh and her scull her first beer!

We’re still working on the whole walking thing, and my sister Erandi is going to have her work cut out for her by then if she already hasn’t! I can’t believe its been a year and I still haven’t seen her yet… until then I’ll have to build up that relationship via Skype webcam… I can only imagine that this is what she pictures Uncle Saj as!

Since she’s a bit more mobile now she always wants to grab the camera and I think that she’s just trying to work out where the voice is coming from…

Happy Birthday Ella-phant…! I hope you like your Dumbo the Elephant toy…

:: Collaboration Shoot

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Today I did a collaboration TFP (Time For Print) photo shoot with Alice who was the model (ID 786864), Eman the makeup artist and Victoria who was the hair stylist. TFP shoots mean that each person provides a service whether its modelling, photography, makeup or hair in exchange for prints to build up their portfolios. This was a great group of people to work with and everyone managed to have an equal input during the collaboration. I would highly recommend checking out Eman’s makeup and Victoria’s hairstyles portfolio on model mayhem (ID 771453 and 732652). They both did such an amazing job on Alice. Their attention to detail and creativity is unbelievable… I wouldn’t hesitate recommending their services to anyone at all.

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This was a back to back shoot and the second one for me this weekend, so I was pretty tired by the end of it. It was a marathon 6 hour shoot which included 3 wardrobe changes and about 1.5 hours of preparation time for makeup, hair and wardrobe.  The flow of the shoot went well and I am happy with the results… it’s going to be a marathon to post process all this stuff but here’s a quick sample from the shoot.

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Great work guys… looking forward to working with you all in the future!

:: Cooler Days

I woke up this morning and it suddenly came to me that Autumn is finally here; the cool breeze swept through my face and I could smell the rain from last night. I peeked outside the window and the streets seemed wet and the sky looked gloomy which tells me they’re not finish with the rain yet… in fact, this is just the beginning. The sun has decided to come out later and set earlier, therefore it makes the daylight becomes shorter.

I walked down the streets of Vancouver today and I noticed leaves scurrying across the ground and the green colours are slowly morphing to brown. People have started wearing hats, jackets and scarves. I glanced through the stores and pumpkins and scarecrows seem to be a popular theme these days, which reminds me Halloween is just around the corner.


Autumn is here… horray! That means: my hay fever will be gone, I can wear my uggies and my cool-patterned stockings, I can close my windows at night without feeling hot, Whistler trip is coming, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” plays are showing soon, Halloween is coming and so is Thanksgiving.

But most importantly: Christmas is almost here! :)

:: A Splash Of Colour

Today I did a photo shoot with Tash in a studio setup with softboxes and a black backdrop. I was using a pro series Canon lens (24-70mm F2.8) that I’ve used in the past for outdoor shoots and wanted to see how well it fares indoors. This is quite a nice lens because it has a decent amount of zoom and is very sharp because of the optics. It’s not too heavy so moving it around isn’t too laborious in comparison to when I use the Canon 70-200mm F2.8 IS lens! After a few hours of shooting with that lens, one arm is bigger than the other due to the extreme work out!

In addition to using this lens I was using a dual strobe setup with a medium and a small softbox which is used to diffuse the intensity of the flash and in turn wraps the subject in a softer less harsh light (hence the name). Lighting in a studio setup is great because you have the ability to control the environment precisely, whereas in real world environments you have so many variables to take into consideration like cloud cover, shade and reflections of light off windows etc.

For this shoot I wanted to do something colourful and fun so we decided to go with a flamenco style Spanish dress for the first look. I experimented a bit with trying to capture movement in this shot in addition to the traditional portrait style shoots. I must say it’s a very hard thing to achieve to say the least! Not only do you need good direction for the model, you both need to connect in such a way that they are able to connect with the lens and you’re able to snap the shot in the fraction of a second where everything is perfect and in place!

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Each photographer has their own style of shooting and post processing. One person who’s work I’m really fond of is Manny Librodo. His technique is so inspiring in the manner in which he’s able to capture so much emotion, glamour and passion in his work. He’s able to draw out elements of the subject in such a way that it becomes more than just a portrait shot, and more like a story. The vibrancy and colour in his work is just amazing.


If I every get the opportunity to attend one of his workshops I would be over the moon, but in the mean time the web will have to suffice. I’ve tried to use what I’ve learnt from seeing his work to improve my own techniques in both shooting and also post processing…. And this is the final product.

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More photos in the gallery…

:: The Tavakoli Clan

Today I did a photoshoot with The Tavakoli Family Clan. Since my brother in law’s mother, Dianne was leaving for Australia on Monday, she wanted to have a portrait photo session with the entire family because they’ve never done anything like that before. The group itself was fairly large in that there was 10 people including the kids so we opted for an outdoor shoot in the George Wainborn Park located next to Granville Bridge. There’s a nice large water feature at the top of the park and it proved to be a nice location since there was a mixture of colourful flowers and an urban feel with all the concrete structures around the water features.

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One challenge with this shoot was that the 4 kids were all under the age of 4 and had the attention span of an elephant. In order to made sure they were looking at the camera I had their parents stand behind me and call them to get their attention. Problem with that is each child looked at their own parent and so in some of the photos all four kids were looking at different directions! Having said that I managed to snap a few good ones and the final results are below.



I must say, it was fun shooting Keanna and Mya because they’re so cute… having said that I had to be quick because unlike adults they move so much and won’t hold a pose so if I wasn’t ready, I’d miss the shot!


All in all it was quite a casual shoot which was great because everyone was laid back and there’s less pressure to produce “good shots” in comparison to doing a wedding or fashion shoot. Check out the pics in the gallery!