Along Hamilton’s Waterfront

 

Known as the City of Waterfalls, Hamilton has implemented a program to promote its beauty and to detract from the “Steel Town” reputation. There are also initiatives to help develop and revitalize the downtown core and waterfront.

Confederation Park
Confederation Park, Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Cootes Paradise
Cootes Paradise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Cootes Paradise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Cootes Paradise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Cootes Paradise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Sunset at Cootes Paradise//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Pier 8
Sunset at Pier 8//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Sunset at Pier 8//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Pier 8//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Ráfaga - Unleashed//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Ráfaga - Unleashed by Veronica and Edwin Dam de Nogales//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls
Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Albion Falls//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Downtown
Downtown Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Downtown Hamilton//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Matsuri – Japanese Summer Festival 2016

During the summer when most people are not working during evenings and weekends, that’s when I start work. Whether freelance or for the company I work for, I work when people are available. So when I get a chance to catch a summer event or have time to hang out with friends, I appreciate the time off.

Here’s what I saw at Mississauga’s first Matsuri – Japanese Summer Festival:

Omikoshi
Matsuri - Japanese Summer Festival//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Nagata Shachu Taiko Drumming
Nagata Shachu//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Nagata Shachu//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Nagata Shachu//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Nagata Shachu//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Mayor Bonnie Crombie Addresses the crowd during 35th Sister City Anniversary Ceremony between Mississauga and Kariya
Mayor Bonnie Crombie addresses the crowd//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Breaking the Mirror Ceremony
Sake Wine Cask Breaking Ceremony
Sake Cask Breaking//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Shishimai – Traditional Japanese Lion Dance

Shishimai - Traditional Japanese Lion Dance//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Fuu-Wa Japanese Group Singers
Fuu-wa//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

J-pop: Niji no Conquistador
Niji no Conquistador - J Pop//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Mississauga Kendo Club
Mississauga Kendo Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Mississauga Kendo Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Toronto Kimono Club
The Toronto Kimono Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Toronto Kimono Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Toronto Kimono Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

STORYTiME Contemporary Street Dance Performers
STORYTiME Contemporary: Street Dance Performance//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

STORYTiME Contemporary: Street Dance Performance and Workshop//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

TBC Buyo Group
TBC Buyo Group//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Kimono Fun Club & Others
Kimono Fun Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
https://greceln.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php
Kimono Fun Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Kimono Fun Club//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Scenes from Point Pelee National Park

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Did I ever tell you how much I like going to Point Pelee?

I never really knew this place existed until, oddly enough, I played Hangman on the computer. The word Point Pelee kept coming up. It was an odd word and I never knew it existed. One day, curiosity got the better of me and I did more research on it.

Located in Ontario, it’s the southernmost point in Canada and lies just below the 42nd parallel. It is as far south as Rome, Northern Spain and the northern border of California. It is also known as the Carolinian Zone where the average temperature for the year is 8°C. As described on the official Parks Canada site, “Early scientists called this region the Carolinian zone. Now, it is more generally referred to as the eastern deciduous forest, except in Canada where the term Carolinian is still popular because of its southern flavour.” Considering the massive size of Canada, this zone is only a tiny fraction of the country. The reason it stays warmer than Laramie, Wyoming (which is considered the center of the continent and on the same parallel as Point Pelee) is because it is surrounded by large bodies of water that helps to maintain heat better. It serves as a migration center for birds in the spring and fall and plays host to 370 species of birds.

This year, I managed to make two trips to the park and only because I was working on location in nearby towns. With the three hour drive from where I live to get to Point Pelee, it’s difficult to make it there on its own, unless I make a weekend trip to the area. It just makes it more difficult for sunrise and sunset photography. The park does operate from 6:00am – 10:00pm in the summer and it does change depending on the time of year it is. As you can imagine, if I really wanted to, I’d have to make an effort to leave at 3:00am just to make it to the gate at sunrise. That is why when I did so, I appreciate being able to get the sunrise shots all the better.

Without further adieu, here’s what I captured in recent weeks:

Lookout Point
Lookout Point, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lookout Point, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lookout Point, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Marsh Boardwalk
Marsh Boardwalk, Sunrise at Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Yellow Pond Lily (Spatterdock)
Yellow Pond Lily//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Yellow Pond Lily//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Revisiting Point Pelee//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Light Photography

Most often when I do work for my company or through freelance work, I like to keep them confidential unless I’m given permission for portfolio purposes. For portfolio work, I head to the studio. This way, I have permission from the model to post their images and people can see what I can do.

On June 15th, I managed to drop in at the studio as a last minute decision to catch one of their workshops (posted that morning) that was held in the evening. The theme was patterns and lights. I worked with both Canon and Nikon during the light photogrpahy portion. Both cameras were on a tripod with Canon having a wider shot. I wanted to see if there was a difference between the two cameras. Aside from the slight variation in settings, the images were slightly different in that Canon had a warmer tint. I was able to warm up the images for Nikon in the editing stage. Here’s what I took:

Lights and patterns//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lights and patterns//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Lights and patterns//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

LIght Photography, Canon//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Light Photography, Canon//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Light Photography, Canon//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Nikon D7000 – 20 second exposure
Light Photography, Close up, Silhouette, Nikon//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Canon Rebel T2i – 30 second exposure
Light Photography, Wide shot, Canon//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Light Photography, Wide shot, Canon//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A Beautiful Day

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On Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th, I grabbed my camera and decided to learn how to do time lapse. Initially, I took a cable release and stood there as the sun started to set. I set my Nikon D7000 on timer with 9 photos per click and 3 second delay between photos. I ended up spending almost 50 minutes. While the sunset was beautiful, I’m sure there was a more efficient way to do time lapse as I’ve seen several examples of night photography with star trails. There are cable releases specifically made to have a timer on them. My camera can also do intervals. You can set how long you want it to run with x number of photos to be taken and how many seconds or minutes you want it to wait between each shot. This is far more effective as I went online to do more research. I was limited to the number of shots I can take since I only had a 16gb SD card and I shot in both RAW and Fine jpeg formats.

Uploading and doing minor edits took a long time but in the end I was happy with what I got. On the fourth try, I took a little more time in ensuring the camera was set perfectly, i.e. focus. It was an oversight. I focused on the subject and switched the lens to manual mode thinking it would help time lapse run smoother. I did learn how to do animated gifs over a year ago and tried to apply the same principles on Photoshop to create a time lapse. I also wanted to compare how much better, or easier it would be to create a time lapse on Lightroom. I found that it was a lot of work to manage all the layers on timeline in Photoshop. At the most for one time lapse, I had about 500 photos and at the very least, I had about 150. On the other hand, Photoshop has a lot of good editing features as well as having a lot of options when converting to a video for rendering. With Lightroom, there is a plugin to create a video. I did see online that there are some extra features if you have it. In this case, I did not. After completing my edits, I went to Slideshow, converted the photos to create a slideshow and exported it as a video. Here are the results:

Click on the links:
A Sunday in Mississauga

Mississauga After Dark

For more, check me out on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/greceln_ifoxygn/

A Glowing Effect

I recently visited Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto and it was an awesome experience. I chose a non-holiday weekday to be sure I didn’t have to deal with a large crowd. If I wasn’t so tired, I probably would have taken more time to photograph and see every corner of the place. I’m sure I missed a few spots.

As a photographer, there were a lot of challenges, mainly the various lighting conditions for each aquarium. My Nikon D7000 goes up to ISO 6400, then H.03, H.07, H.1.0 and H2.0. Working at the lowest possible ISO is always best but you have to look at the situation and make adjustments. Indoors are often darker and you also have to see if the subject can sit still or not. The shutter speed has to be fast enough so the fishes won’t get blurred as it passes by. A minimum of 1/125 is good. I pushed my ISO to 6400 which is the max I’m willing to work with. It is grainy at this point but if I had gone higher, the quality would be far worse. In some situations, photos were darker but manageable in post editing.

I read on some tips and tricks on how to photograph at a public aquarium. Some suggest that you have to keep your camera flat up against the glass to reduce glare and reflections. Or block out as much light as possible. I’m sure all these are plausible…. if I can just make a request to management to shut off the lights outside of the aquarium to create a studio experience. Holding the camera right up to the glass was hard with the fishes swimming right up to it.

Another difficulty I had was photographing the jellyfish. Their edges were less defined. I did get some good photographs. While processing the images, I checked some examples of jellyfish photos. Many of them were glowing and I wanted to achieve that same effect. Here is how I did it:

Original

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Dark Version and Light Version

In Lightroom, I created two virtual copies of the same photo and changed the settings to create a light and dark version.

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Final Photograph

In the menu bar of Lightroom, I went to Photo – Edit In and chose Photoshop. I used Photoshope CS6. I opened both the light and dark versions. I selected the dark version and copied and pasted it onto the light version. There are now two layers, the lighter one being on the bottom in the layers panel. I closed the dark version without saving. I like to Layer from Background and name it Original. Then duplicate that and call it Edited. Then I lock the Original layer. I turned off the dark layer for now by clicking on the eye. I created a selection around the jellyfish and saved the selection. With this selection saved, I can also target the same area for other adjustments. I chose Refine Edge and adjusted the Smooth and Feather section. With the dark layer reactivated, I used the eraser tool and reduced the opacity to less than 50%. With the selection on, I erased the image to reveal the lighter jellyfish below. The image within the selection was only erased. With the selection still activated, I went to the Adjustment section and chose Brightness/Contrast. A mask was created. I kept adjusting until it gave the glow I wanted. Contrast helped the image to stand out more. To make the background darker, I chose the same selection and inversed it. I created a mask by going to the adjustment layer again for Brightness/Contrast and punched in a negative number. I’ve also used Vibrance on some of my images.

Here is the final image:

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© All Rights Reserved

This is one way of making something glow. If you Google how to make something glow in Photoshop, there will be all kinds of samples such as creating a soft glow effect of a scenery to making text glow.

Creativity

On my last post, I discussed inspiration and how a model came up with her Harlequin outfit and made it her own using latex material. Personality is what separates us from each other.

I must admit that it’s not easy to look at what others are doing and not compare myself. This said, I think we all must look to something to strive for better while not stealing other people’s ideas. Part of creativity is to push the envelope and come with innovating ideas – something that people have not seen before. When I think of innovation, I think of 3M. Why? Because they bring innovative ideas to products we already use and make them better. I thought their slogan went somewhere along those lines but I looked it up and they simply use the word Innovation. Why did I think of them in the first place? Because I used to work in the printing industry and I always had a connection to one of the sales reps who told me about products that can make my work life easier.

I once was in a workshop where we had a discussion about how the world came to where it is now. How the world became modernized was because of the countless people out there who thought outside the box and came up with things such as cars, the lightbulb, and telephone. Had these inventors and scientists given up on the first few tries, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

With this said, here’s who I look to in the photography field for inspiration.

Orange Roads
http://orangeroads.tumblr.com
Although the photographer mainly does boudoir photography, her portfolio shows versatility and talent. She has won many international awards for her creative fine arts pieces and has done many ad campaigns.

http://3dcreativ.blogspot.ca/2011/08/amazingly-beautiful-photos.html
This particular blog pays tribute to a talented model named Ophelia who shows off her talent as a model in various costumes.

While people I know have the wrong idea about boudoir, I think about how nice it would be if people were just more confident in themselves. Yes, when I did boudoir photography for the first time, it was highly uncomfortable. But when I think about it, how will I grow and learn if I don’t show versatility like these ladies have? It’s certainly going to be a hard sell at first, and I certainly won’t do a photo shoot if a person is uncomfortable. I just think back to the time when I worked at Fujifilm Canada Inc. producing photo books. There was a good number of people who unsuccessfully did self portraits in boudoir fashion. I’m sure it was meant for someone special in their lives, but had they invested in professional photography, the outcome would probably be better. It certainly doesn’t have to be advertised that they had done such a photo shoot. Imagine the confidence they would feel just by hiring someone who knows what they’re doing and making these ladies look good. So as me and my colleagues gather around to look at these photo books every time they passed through our hands, we all talk about what people are thinking. Because seriously, even if you’re behind a computer uploading these photos by yourself, these books do have to be produced somehow. Someone is looking for sure. I don’t know about other photographers but my main goal is to make you look good because it is up to my skills to make it so.

Inspiration

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How many of you have hung out with a crowd of creative people?

What I’ve noticed for a long time is how they seemingly live comfortably in their own skin and radiate a certain kind of mojo about them. I actually do admire them a lot for following their own paths. I especially like people with a lot of flair. I’m not just talking about creative people; anyone really who exhibits personality – the hard rocker who I came across years ago with a style of her own who exhibited kindness with confidence and a smile; and Brice Johnston who gave his opinions during tribal council in Survivor before being voted off. You get the idea.

At a photo shoot, the model came in with a couple of costume changes, both of which she made herself. Nothing elaborate, but enough to go with the theme she had in mind. She had discussed how she had all these ideas running in her mind and she can’t wait to create these costumes in latex nonetheless. The photo above is the model with her Harlequin costume. At first I didn’t get it. But as I started to edit her images, I researched what it was all about. Harlequin is not just a romantic publishing company. He is one of the most popular comic servant characters, known as zanni, introduced by Tristano Martinelli in Itallian Commedia dell’arte. He wore a checkered costume. The name itself was derived from a mischievous “devil.” (Read more on this: http://www.theharlequingame.com/the-harlequin-history.php)

Moving forward on my journey as a photographer, I have come across many professionals in my field. As I understand, it’s highly competitive and we’re all trying to get by. Still I move forward because in the end, I cannot think for a minute how my life would be like if I didn’t try. That would be a bigger regret than trying at all. On a discussion with one photographer, he said it’s a matter of finding my own mojo and being able to relate to people. My own style will come out.

On this note, I am happy to say I have an official website.

Check it out here: http://grecelnepomuceno.wix.com/portfolio

Published in: on March 7, 2014 at 2:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Portraits

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Have any of you tried pet photography?

If you have, you would know the difficulty in capturing pets because they are constantly moving around. With the guidance of the owner, you can get a pet to look at the camera with commands and calling out their name. I had the experience of photographing a handful of pets to build a portfolio. While difficult, especially with the last dog being blind, I found it tiring as well as satisfying.

I’ve talked to several people about pet photography. For those who have lost their loved ones, they have told me they wish they had professional photos done as a keepsake. Up until I had three cats, I never understood why people were so attached to their four-legged fur friends. I now know that pets are considered family and it’s tough when you lose one. I once gave one of the kittens away when my cat gave birth to three. I cried.

As I begin to practice more with pets, I managed to capture a few photos in HDR – high dynamic range. For those who know, HDR photos require more than one photo bracketed in different exposures. When merged, it will give a greater tonal range between highlights and shadows. To achieve this is extremely difficult with pets because they are always on the move unless resting. An example below is my pet cat in HDR.

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What separates a picture from a portrait is how the image is captured. A plain picture can be made extraordinary by changing the angle or zooming in to give it a different perspective.

For more images on animals and pet photography, click on the link here: http://goo.gl/IKwJQc

Happy New Year! It’s 2014.

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It’s 2014.

It’s been awhile since I last blogged.

I can say that the past year hasn’t been easy, but with hard work, I have made the switch to become a photographer. Well….so to speak. I still have a lot to learn. I have transitioned from an internship to a paying job, to two paying jobs both of which are in the field of photography, and then making the tough decision to leave one of them. I have learned a lot in the past year.

What I’m looking forward to the most is accomplishing a lot more. I must first set them and then achieve them by meeting expectations. I’ll start by getting around to editing those photos I’ve always wanted to use for my portfolio and then creating an official website. In the mean time, let’s be realistic. I still need a job to get me by so I can pay bills. The next goal after those ones are to go out and network. While I have networked in the past, I should set out a clearer path as to how I will make my passion a successful business. That means putting in place strategies. I have relied on others to help me. I really should get a handle on what I want to do. Not let people tell me how it should be. I still need to pay the bills and keep maintenance on the equipment I use to get the job done. It’s a learning curve, yes. I’m scared, yes. But the one thing I fear more than anything is not trying and later wondering what could have been instead of knowing what I have accomplished down the road.

So today is New Year’s Day. It is also Wednesday and I saw a post on Facebook where it’s labelled Wisdom Wednesday. (I also know it as Way Back Wednesday.) In keeping with the theme, I’ve added some photos to start the year on a positive note. These could easily fall under Motivational Monday also. If you’ve been around Southern Ontario in recent weeks, these photos were taken in the aftermath of the ice storm. I’ve added some inspirational quotes to them.

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For more photos on the ice storm, visit my Flickr page: http://goo.gl/xgEh34