November, 2012

Can we clear the shot, please!

Posted on: November 20th, 2012 by gregvanriel 3 Comments


Last week I shot the new Joey Restaurant in the big expansion / renovation of Yorkdale Shopping Centre, in Toronto.

What's it like to shoot a place that's still partially under construction?  Here's a behind the scene peek at what was going on while we were shooting.  In this first shot below we had to clear a large hydraulic scissor lift. Turned out pretty good. How do you like the look of this new JOEY?











In this next shot we had to hide a bunch of painting equipment under the 1st table.












The following image was taken from the stairs that were still being painted.











This high angle shot was a challenge.  I had to Photoshop out a person who snuck into the edge of frame.  I didn’t notice it at the time but someone had stacked chairs on the bar.  Can you tell where the bar stools were?












For this next image I had to place the camera and tripod in the hectic kitchen where staff were busily preparing food for a training session.











And in this last one we had to ask people to hide.  There are staff ducking down under the kitchen counter and other people hiding behind the black pillar.











You never know what’s going to happen on a shoot. Things usually work out quite well and people are pretty cooperative.  I just keep the main thing in mind - to get some great shots for my client!  Please let me know your thoughts.


Coyotes Eat Shooters?

Posted on: November 11th, 2012 by gregvanriel 4 Comments


There’s a MASSIVE AWESOME Power Plant in Milton just west of Toronto that I’ve always wanted to capture.  It’s one of those colossal post-industrial power facilities from a bygone age – the 1980’s.

This summer I was shooting a job in Milton and thought I’d scout the plant.  Here are some different angles of the place.





















I waited for night to fall.  At dusk I parked nearby and started walking across a big grassy field scoping out the shot.  As I trudged along with my camera gear I suddenly saw a coyote.  It was leaping along in the tall grass.  I stopped in my tracks.  Not having any experience with coyotes I wasn’t sure what to do.







I watched the coyote closely and saw it join another one nearby.  Now my mind started racing. If there are 2, will there be more? Do coyotes hunt in packs?  Do they attack humans? Do I look appetizing to a coyote?










Looking at the Power Plant I started getting annoyed. The sun was setting now.  The Plant had some pretty nice light on it.  I didn’t want these coyotes to ruin my chance of getting a good shot.

But getting the shot I wanted meant staying there until after dark.  With a pack of coyotes lurking in the shadows, I felt a little vulnerable.  I decided to shoot the Plant from where I was and do some research on coyotes before coming back to shoot the night shot.

This is one I got that day.







When I got home I found out that coyotes are generally harmless, don’t hunt in packs and stay away from humans (most of the time).  The advice for scaring them away was to make a lot of noise, use a powerful flashlight, and by no mean feed them.

My brother in law, Steve, came over from England and he was keen to come along on the shoot.  He liked the idea seeing some Canadian wildlife.  So we set off with a trumpet (noise), hockey sticks (defense) and powerful flashlights.  My 11 year old son, Michael, also came along.  He took these shots of the power plant.

















And this one of Steve.  The old low lighting horror film shot.







I shot a whole bunch of images of the Plant and ended up with this one that is 3 shots merged together.  1 for the sky, 1 for the plant and the lights, and one for the foreground.







And yes, we did see coyotes.  Just one was checking us out from a distance.  All we could see were its eyes when we caught it with a flashlight.  We didn’t even have to play the trumpet to keep it away!

Let me know which shots of the Plant you like. Or maybe you prefer the shots Michael took.  And remember, always bring a trumpet when you're out shooting in remote places!