Photo Location - University of Alberta

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Photo Location - University of Alberta

Late in the fall I spent some time walking around the University of Alberta (north campus) looking for some photo spots. I had spent four years at the University from 2001-2005 where I earned my Bachelors of Physical Education degree but I never spent too much time walking around the campus, especially the northern part…of the north campus. The University of Alberta or U of A or UAlberta has a nice mixture of old architecture with new and modern designs as the campus continues to grow. Changes I noticed since I was a student include a whole new Hanson Fitness & Lifestyle Centre, Wilson Climbing Centre, Saint Joseph College Women’s Residence, a renovated exterior to the Student Union Building and finally numerous changes to the residences in the Garneau area on the east end of the campus as well as the the new structures built in the medical sciences area of campus. When I was a student at the University the biggest change was the completion, or near completion, of the LRT expansion from HUB Mall to the Health Sciences area. 

While a lot has changed in a decade there is still a lot of old history and historic buildings around campus, especially towards Saskatchewan Drive. This is where we focused our search for some photo locations. I would highly recommend walking around campus during a weekend as it is much more quiet without a lot of stressed out students roaming around. In the fall we only walked around the north/north eastern part of  campus but I definitely want to go back when we get a fresh blanket of snow to see what some of these buildings look like with snow on them. When you are on the northern side of campus you have a nice trail along Saskatchewan Drive and the River Valley as well as quick access to Emily Murphy Park and William Hawrelak Park to the west as well as to the east you have the Old Strathcona area. Perhaps the crown jewel of the University campus is Rutherford House which was the first home of Alberta’s first Premier, Alexander Rutherford. It is now a provincial historical site and a great piece of the history of Edmonton. 

Here are some photos of the campus I captured during our walk for you to enjoy. 

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The Rutherford House (C7 on map)

Photos above taken around Earth Sciences Building (C5) as well as Tory Building area (C6)

Faculty of Arts Building (D6)

The brick buildings around campus are hot spots for wedding and engagement photos

Dentistry/Pharmacy Building (E5/6)

The main transit road through campus (E5/6)

St Joes College (F5)

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Favourite YouTube Channels

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Favourite YouTube Channels

I wanted to make a list of my favourite YouTube channels that I go to for a source of inspiration, knowledge and entertainment. Previously I made a list of my favourite Instagram accounts, which you can find here, so I thought it would be a good time to share what I enjoy watching to maybe inspire you. 

Casey Neistat | 8,256,091 subscribers
I stumbled upon Casey Neistat because of his Snowboarding with the NYPD video (which you can see below) as it made the news around the world. Neistat isn’t so much a photographer as he is a vlogger and film maker, but what I find amazing about his content is his ability to be creative every single day. A short history on Neistat is that he started with next to nothing as a high school dropout moving to New York but began making movies. He made his first viral video in 2003, before it was easy to make a viral video on a platform like YouTube, called iPod’s Dirty Secret which criticized Apple about their battery life. After that and the success of another short film, Neistat was picked up by HBO to create a series before making more short films on YouTube including a 2011 short film about Bike Lanes before starting his daily vlog in 2015. He has also started his own video sharing app Beme, which was then sold to CNN for $25 million in 2016. He has most recently began Beme News which is a unique look at major events like Hurricane Harvey, the iPhone X battery test and open carry laws in Texas. Neistat even sent a crew to Calgary after the release of the Dunkirk movie to interview veteran Ken Sturdy who was at Dunkirk and was featured on Global News after he went to a local theatre to see the movie. 

Watching his videos gives new appreciation to capturing moments and working hard to create content everyday, even if he is an extreme example. I think he is organized chaos but it is addicting to watch him capture the mundane and everyday occurrences in his life, sprinkled with some pretty amazing moments. Each one of his daily vlogs are carefully edited and presented which shows that putting time and energy into your creative content will eventually pay off. Most of his content is created in New York, which his style and the city seem to go hand and hand in his success. 

Peter McKinnon | 1,371,593 subscribers
I want to say that the first time I checked out Peter McKinnon’s channel was because I was searching how to do something. McKinnon is a photographer/videographer that has seen a ridiculous growth in the last year or so of his channel, 1,000,000 subscribers in 9 months kind of ridiculous growth. Part of this massive growth is the combination of amazing photos, videos and instruction. Even amongst other phenomenal YouTube creators, McKinnon is seen as a top notch videographer, in fact he has recently been collaborating with Casey Neistat more often as well as some other great creators like food photograper Dennis The Prescott or fellow filmmaker/photographer Matti Haapoja

Like Neistat, it is refreshing to see how McKinnon puts pro level time and energy into something like a vlog or a two minute tutorial. One of the biggest takeaways I have had from watching his channel is to try and put that effort into free work to showcase your talents to potential clients down the road. Always energetic McKinnon makes it easy to follow along in his tutorials and often talks about the things he has done to go from being a guy holding down part time job after part time job to becoming a full-time photographer, filmmaker and YouTuber. He is also Canadian so, support local. 

Jared Polin (aka Fro Knows Photo) | 708,809 subscribers
The Fro was the first YouTube channel I can remember following along religiously and following along to try to pick up new and better ways to take photos. He is often a straight shooter regarding how he does things, how he feels others should do things and in his honest general opinions. Polin is in Philadelphia so there is a magnitude of things to be able to photograph corporate, landscapes, architecture and professional sports. All of which he has created tutorials on which include the camera equipment he is using, how he composes images, how he edits those images and how he delivers those images to clients. He has since evolved the channel to include more and more product reviews with regards to camera equipment as well as more photography news with things like a Fro Knows Podcast. 

Thomas Heaton | 176,447 subscribers
Located in England, Heaton is a calm and methodical landscape photographer that is a stark contrast to the likes of Neistat, McKinnon and Polin. I enjoy landscapes, you can check out my personal Instagram account, @kriskush1, and Heaton is a fantastic landscape photographer. His approach is all about planning and preparation for only a couple of photographs versus taking dozens of images and praying for one to work out. Often you will find Heaton explaining his settings as well as reasoning behind the composition of the image he is looking for with the occasional video in a 'how to' approach. His landscapes are often breathtaking with the England landscape, and seascape, the subject of most of his photos but like most successful photographers, you can find him all over the world. 

Adam Gibbs | 1,223 subscribers
Gibbs' YouTube channel is the most recent I have found and watch as much as I can. He is a landscape photographer who often visits local settings such as the Canadian Rockies as well as more recently the Vancouver area. Like Heaton, Gibbs plans, hikes and works for the right composition of an image or two before moving on. He seems to be incredibly particular in what he is looking for, as evident in one of his videos where he bypasses a shot in Johnston Canyon in the Banff National Park because he just wasn’t feeling it. Most people would still photograph the site because who knows when they will be back, but not Gibbs. It was the Jasper National Park videos that drew me to Gibbs’ channel as it would be amazing to be able to capture them in the manner he does. 

The Camera Store TV | 288,891 subscribers
These guys are out of Calgary and are heavy into the show and tell aspect of photography gear. I find their videos where they showcase a new piece of camera equipment to be incredibly well done as they will photograph subjects that the average person or photographer might be shooting and give you a recommendation on the gear. They cover both photography gear as well as videographer capabilities of the camera equipment that they are testing for a decent all round review. 

The Art of Photography (Ted Forbes) | 376,611 subscribers
Ted Forbes is the host of the Art of Photography which is an incredibly in-depth look at photography and the history associated with photography. You can instantly tell that Forbes is one of the brightest photographers around with a passion that is equal to that knowledge. Forbes has covered everything from film photography to new camera equipment impressions to motivation as a photographer to, as the name of his channel suggests, photography as an art form. Often Forbes will reference a photographer that makes you go “who?” but once you look up the photographer he is talking about or he shows you a piece of their work, you will more than likely recognize it. 

Something very cool you can find on his channel is his Photo Assignment project. The idea would be a series of assignments that would help you as a photographer maybe break out of a creative funk or just get to rethink how you compose an image. Very cool as every week a new assignment would be walked through by Forbes and he would share submissions by his viewers for the previous assignment building his community. 

Andrew Kearns | 88,861 subscribers
I used to watch Kearns' vlog daily as a source of entertainment more than anything. It was amazing to see this young fella roam freely across the Pacific Northwest area hiking and shooting throughout Washington and Oregon states primarily. His YouTube channel contained some great videos showcasing how he does what he does but it is mostly a daily vlog style channel, heavily influenced by Casey Neistat, where he takes you along on his journey. It is quite astonishing what a creative person who surrounds themselves with creative people can accomplish. 

Kearns hasn't posted a video since August 8, 2017 but he is still very active on his two Instagram accounts @andrewtkearns and @secondhand_kearns which he uses to document his journey. 

Thanks for checking out this blog post and it would be great to hear if you have any go to YouTube channels by commenting down below. 

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We Had To Say Goodbye

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We Had To Say Goodbye

Last month we had to say goodbye to our ten year old malamute/sheppard, Zeus. The cancer that invaded his body became too aggressive and too much to overcome. In mid-August he was diagnosed with cancer as a soft tissue sarcoma grew on his right hip and in mid-September we were told that the cancer has spread to his lymph nods. Ever since we rescued him we always felt that we were giving him a great second chance to have a happy life. Even after we found out that he was suffering from hip dysplasia which would more than likely cause him some loss of quality of life as he aged. As a giant breed (or breeds) of dog we also assumed that ten years was going to be a significant milestone for him and his hip dysplasia, it just sucks that something like cancer had to be the reason why he needed to go. 

Some final goodbyes

I have a little sales pitch for you to read. When it was time to make the decision to let him go, we had nothing but tremendous support from our vet and the staff at Vets To Go. Between making the decision and when it was time we had numerous supports from them to make sure any questions we had would be answered, even if we needed help breaking the news to our two year old and five year old. The care and compassion that was shown definitely made the process easier and much more calming then we expected. The amount that they cared about our well being was evident in the unscheduled check up calls just to see how we were doing while we waited and the condolence notes we received afterwards were very thoughtful. We can’t thank the staff at Vets To Go enough for everything they have done over the last few years from our regular vet appointments and check ups to saying goodbye to Zeus. 

While we never really did official pet portraits with our dogs, I am happy I took a lot of photos of our dogs over the years. Sometimes I would use them as subjects to test our different camera settings, lighting settings or just video functions on a phone or app. Other times I would try to capture them being seemingly much more agile and athletic then they perhaps really were. The dogs always seemed to be more calm and able to take better instructions then a couple of busy little kids, although both would get equally distracted by the squirrels in our yard.  

So take lots of photos of those furry members of your family! Capture all the details of their life as they experience things like snow for the first time. Get photos of them interacting with kids as something that they can look back upon if they are too young to remember at the time. Through the photos you take you'll be able to capture your dog's personality and quirks that made them who they are and I guarantee you that you will be glad that you took as many as you could. 

Here are some of our favourite photos of Zeus from the last ten years. 

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Wonderful World Of Disney

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Wonderful World Of Disney

In September we took a week long family vacation to Disneyland, our first family trip to the magic kingdom since 1989. It would also be our first family vacation with our two year old and five year old, so Disneyland was perfect. I was roughly the same age as our oldest son when I was last at Disneyland and I have scattered memories of the two weeks we took to drive down to Anaheim and back home. So I figured I would document the trip like crazy, 7,186 photos on my camera and another 688 photos and videos from my iPhone. That translates into full on tourist mode trying to capture a busy family who were trying to take in everything in a single week. 

Full disclosure, our family are not diehard Disney fans. Our two boys know of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, but that acknowledgement of their existence is kind of where it stops for them until they saw the characters at the park. They are much more into the Pixar aspect of Disney as well as Star Wars and Marvel comics now that Disney owns those properties. My wife is the biggest Disney fan in our house as she grew up during the peak Disney movie period of Lion King, Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Pocahontas. 

High Up | f4, 1/1600, ISO 100, 24mm

In this blog post I want to share our experience taking photos and maybe offer some advice to you for your Disneyland adventure. 

Tip #1 - Be Patient

Thousands of people are at Disneyland, all the time. It is almost impossible to not have other people in your photos when you are trying to capture the sights. There are ways to try and limit the amount of people and one of them is to show a little patience. Show a little towards the people currently trying to take a photo where you want to take one and you will get your shot. Rarely was there a situation where someone just arrived to a spot, barged to the front, took their photo and left. People are understanding because they are trying to do the same thing you are. Also if you are trying to get photos of your kids, people are more than willing to make some space and give you the opportunity to get your photo. That being said you need to have your camera settings set and what you want your composition to be before you get to the spot so that you are not infringing on the patience of others. You’ll have some time setting your camera up (take a photo of the family in front of you to see if your settings are fine) and watch how others are composing their photos for some ideas. 

Tip #2 - Hit The Landmarks

This is where you get your timeless Disneyland photos. The landmarks are the sites that have been there for a long time and will continue to be there for a long time. In thirty years when you look at the photo you should instantly know it is Disneyland. These are landmarks are places such as Space Mountain, Fantasyland Castle, It’s A Small World, Paradise Pier, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, the Mark Twain and Main Street Disneyland. These spots are always busy and although they have been photographed a million times, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get your own photo with your own style. Theses spots are always busy so bring your patience and creativity. Grab one of the park maps located at the main gates, they highlight popular photo spots in both Disneyland and California Adventure.

Fantasyland Castle | f2.8, 1/80, ISO 3200, 24mm

Tip #3 - Shoot The Details

Something I ended up doing while waiting in lineups, and you will be waiting in lineups a lot, is to photograph some of the details. I was thoroughly impressed with the amount of small details that Disney has put into the park. There is pretty amazing architecture everywhere and the little details can often be missed unless you look for them. During our visit both Disneyland and California Adventure were transformed for the coming Halloween celebration. This meant Halloween themed decorations and details throughout the parks.

Tip #4 - Make Sure You Have The Right Gear

We spent the morning at Disneyland, back to the hotel for a recharge and some food, then back to the park in the afternoon until it closed. Make sure you have enough storage space for your photos, you’ll be taking a lot and don’t want to have to sit and delete phots on the memory card via the back of the camera to make room. I would highly recommend not shooting all of your photos on one memory card. Bring multiple memory cards with you and change them out every day or two if you aren’t able to unload them onto a hard drive in between visits. This way if you spend a week in Disneyland and have the photos spread out over four different cards, if something happened to one card, you at least have three others full of photos. If you do have a laptop and hard drive with you, I would still recommend having multiple cards to shoot on and keep the photos on the cards even after uploading them to a hard drive. Having more backups of once in a lifetime moments is better than no backups. 

If you are spending hours on end at park, take an extra camera battery with you as well. You don’t want to miss a great moment because your battery is done. Make sure you charge those batteries or that phone when you get back to the hotel, you don’t want to head to the parks without a full charge.

Tip #5 - Spend Some Time Scouting Locations

I think we saw every corner of Disneyland and California Adventure twice because we took a few minutes each day to come up with a plan of attack. It also let us target the rides we wanted as well as getting to see most of the park in different lighting settings such as during the day, dusk and night. The lighting conditions make some of the locations look and feel much different. A good example of this is Cars Land, which is great during the day but at night it is outstanding with all the lights. It also helped us make sure we were able to get as many photos of the boys with characters as possible as they are in certain locations at certain times. So we knew we could see Captain America and Spider-Man then the Guardians of the Galaxy in the same area at relatively the same time. 

Nikon Picture Spots Located Throughout the Parks

On a side note, if anyone in your group is having a birthday while you are visiting Disneyland I highly recommend getting the birthday button for them. It is quite amazing how the cast (staff) and characters go above and beyond to say Happy Birthday. Our oldest turned five while we were there and it was fantastic to see him get an extra high five from a character, for a cast (staff) to stop what they are doing to say happy birthday or for Captain America to talk to him about his birthday I think made his day even better. 

How I Took Photos

During the day and walking around outside I was either shooting in Aperature Priority mode (camera controls the shutter speed) or Manual Mode. Aperature Priorty let me quickly grab a photo of something as we were passing by if I didn’t have time to set my own exposure before it was gone. When we had slightly more time I would adjust everything in Manual Mode for the exposure that I wanted. This typically occurred when the boys were with characters or I was wandering around taking detail photos of buildings. 

On a ride or in a building I would turn it over to Manual Mode, set my shutter speed at a minimum of 1/200 and adjusted my ISO as needed. This often meant riding a fairly high ISO in some of the more dimly lit locations due to not using a flash. 

Most of the photos, maybe 75%, I took were with a 24-70mm f2.8 as it let me capture wide angle and then get a little tighter if need be. The remains photos were primarily a 50mm f1.4 and a few 35mm f1.2 shots tossed in. I simply had my camera out with me at all times on a shoulder sling so I didn’t have to grab in and out of a bag all the time or off the stroller time and time again. I use a shoulder sling for weddings and events as they take the weight off your neck and it feels more comfortable to have the camera at my hip while walking versus bouncing off my chest.

My last piece of advice is be comfortable standing in a group of people and taking a photo with your camera or phone held up. No one cares. There are thousands of people around you and thousands of those thousands are taking photos of something or someone. You’re going to get other people in your photos and you’ll be in other people’s photos (so dress nice). You don’t have to be rude and pushy to get your photo but at no point did anyone say anything to me about stopping somewhere to take a photo. It is just in the Disneyland culture. 

Thanks for reading along, don’t forget to share any of your favourite vacation photography tips or photos. Here are some of our favourite photos from the week! 

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Hollywood Photography

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Hollywood Photography

Have you seen Kong: Skull Island yet? The 2017 movie follows an expedition to a mysterious island at the end of the Vietnam war. Not long after arriving on the island the expedition stirs things up which bring forth the mighty Kong to protect his home and most of the creatures that live there. 

This expedition is made up of researchers, scientists, military personnel, a tracker and a photographer. The photographer is portrayed by Brie Larson, who you will probably recognize from films like Scott Pilgrim vs the World, 21 Jump Street and Room, which she won a Best Actress Oscar for. In the special features from the Blu-Ray there is a small documentary about Larson's photography skills on set as described by director Jordan Vogt-Roberts.

The idea was to provide Larson with a working on screen camera, which was a ultra rare Leica KE-7A military issued camera from that Vietnam war time period. To make the role more authentic Vogt-Roberts made sure that film was in the camera and Larson had the freedom to shoot real photos while on set. Pretty cool. Not to mention the photos are terrific and the camera is one piece of photography gear that sees collectors paying over $20,000 for one. There is currently a 1972 Leica KE-7A camera on sale at the link in caption below for just over $21,000 CDN. 

Leica KE-7A 'US Army' from http://www.leicashop.com/vintage_en/leica/leica-m-cameras/ke-7a/leica-ke-7a-us-army-sku26817-1.html

Larson also had her own camera, an iconic Canon AE-1 with her, to take photos on set as well. While the Leica KE-7A is ultra rare and expensive, the Canon AE-1 is anything but. It was a mass produced camera by Canon between 1976-1984 (according to Wikipedia) and found its way into photographers hands across the globe. You can still find these iconic cameras for a couple hundred dollars with their bare bones simplicity and image quality being the key to their awesomeness. In a March 2017 USA Today article it mentions that it was Larson's own camera that she has had since high school. Here is a link to that story; https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2017/03/09/brie-larson-took-photos-while-shooting-kong-skull-island/98915482/

Photos by Brie Larson

Larson using a film camera on set was interesting to me because of the level of intimacy captured in the images while being able to shoot freely on set to be a more authentic character. In the USA Today article it is mentioned that she didn't develop the rolls of film for a few months. That excitement between shooting a roll of film and getting to see the prints in your hand is thrilling. There is something extremely gratifying to look at a print from a roll of film days, weeks, or months later. It is a feeling that shooting digital and getting instant viewing of that image just can't duplicate in my opinion. 

Just thought I would share as I thought it was pretty cool and being able to capture images on a movie that is being shot in locations like Oahu and Vietnam would be amazing.

Banner Photo from IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3731562/mediaviewer/rm2332110848

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Return Of The Blog

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Return Of The Blog

It is with a renewed sense of confidence and creative ambition that I am happy to announce the return of the Two Point Photography & Design blog. After eight months without a blog post, I decided it was time to get back to blogging as a way to be creative on a more regular basis with a weekly entry. 

I hope that the blog will be an opportunity for the reader to learn more about us as photographers, the Two Point Photography & Design brand and perhaps even photography in general. Through photos I am excited to showcase the amazing people and events that we get to capture everytime we go out with our cameras. 

I hope you enjoy our blog! Please feel free to comment, ask questions and share your experiences as you read through the posts.

To help celebrate, here is a video to try and capture the return of the blog. 

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