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Taking Another Look

Posted on: May 11th, 2013 by gregvanriel No Comments


Often I like to play a little game with myself when I’m shooting. After I think I’ve got the "Money" shot it’s time to see if I can up the ante.  Have another look. Try something else.

For example, I had this shot of the new Sheridan College Campus in Mississauga, Ontario.

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I walked around the building took some of these below.

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I quite liked the last one so I did some Photoshop work on it.  It took quite a while to get it look like this._DSC3625

The problem was that I messed up the section of the shot at the bottom right hand side.  You can see a white line where the edge of the building meets the sky.

I felt a little disappointed and abandoned it.  I ended up working on this shot here.

_DSC3635 smallA while later the low angle shot popped back into my head and I thought, why not strip in a different sky.  I’d shot some sky plates and had one I thought would work.  So I created a layer mask in Photoshop and came up with this one._DSC3625 copy small

It worked out kind of nicely and I think I saved the image. It’s always worth it to take another look!!

Rockin’ It With Street Photography

Posted on: April 7th, 2013 by gregvanriel 2 Comments


This post is a bit of departure since I mostly blog about shooting Architecture but why not switch it up once in while.  I was shooting in Holland a while ago and I came across this couple on the bench.  Something dramatic was going on.  I took some shots of them and I kept wondering what their story was.  It gave me the inspiration to do a series of “Intimacy” themed shots.Dutch Couple

When I got back to Toronto I started roaming the streets looking for some interesting opportunities to capture intimate moments between people like the one below.Chinese Couple

The thing about street shooting is that you have to be fast.  Set your camera to shutter priority – 1/250 sec and of course use a long lens.  Then keep your eyes open for a potential “story”.  I like it when the story is not straight forward like this one below.  Why is she looking off while he seems so intent on her.  Is he proposing?The Promise

I love the way the people in this next one are so full of love for the child in the stroller.Escalator Boy

In the one below I wonder if the young father didn’t get much sleep the night before.  What do you think?Father & Son

This shot of the woman in the fountain is interesting to me.  If you look carefully you can see a guy with a camera on the right side of frame.  He appears to be taking a picture of the woman.  Does she know him?  Is that why she’s laughing?Fountain Spray

I just love the expression on the woman’s face here.  What is he saying to her?  Let me know what you think.The Truth

This moment catching the people texting is intriguing to me. They’re having a lot of fun.LOL Text

I met this couple down at the Polson Pier and they were up for me taking some shots.  The woman looks quite protective of the guy.  Her eyes convey a certain wariness.  I wonder what celebration the henna on her hand is for?  The shot didn’t work in B&W so it’s the only one I kept in color.Indian Couple

I hope you like these. Please let me know if they resonate with you.  Till the next post!

Quick Thinking at Fed Ex

Posted on: February 6th, 2013 by gregvanriel 2 Comments


I’d like to help anyone faced with shooting in a site lit with the dreaded Mercury Vapor lamps. They cast a very unflattering green light, as you can see here.











What to do? This assignment was to shoot the interior of a large brand new Fed Ex distribution center. It would take way too many strobe lights to overpower the Mercury Vapor lamps.  However, since there were about 75 trucks in the facility, there were these giant bay doors.






So I requested that all the doors be opened up to allow the natural light from outside to overpower the vapors.






It solved the problem for the most part.  Although some shots, like the one below, still had some green areas.  You can de-saturate the green in Photoshop in Hue/Saturation.  Select green from the “Master” drop down menu.  Then click the eyedropper on green in the image and de-saturate.



The next challenge was to try and capture the essence of the place in one shot.  The Fed Ex trucks all lined up looked cool but the place was massive.  Here are a few un-photoshopped attempts.

I had some fun shooting the conveyor with the guys sorting the packages.



















I thought I had some cool shots but I wasn’t convinced I had the money shot yet.


That’s when I got right behind the conveyor with the packages going by in the foreground.  An employee tried to shoo me away so I asked if I could just take a couple of quick shots.

I got this one.   I think it captures the place.  Let me know what you think.

It’s a Doggy Dog World!

Posted on: January 3rd, 2013 by gregvanriel No Comments


“You know Greggy, it’s a doggy dog world.”  That’s what my friend used to say when we were 18 year old budding photographers.  He was new to Canada and misunderstood the old saying, “It’s a dog eat dog world.”  It’s a fun memory, and a good segue into this blog post because it involves dogs…









Last summer I was shooting for Atlas Block.  They make stone products.  We arrived at the location a little late and the early morning sun was already up so we had to work fast.  The first set up was on the porch of the house as you can see here.

There were these two beautiful dogs around so I thought I’d try to work them into the shot.  But it can be tricky and as they say, “Never shoot with children, animals and water.”  I asked the homeowner to call them and I set the camera to shoot at 5 frames per second.  We got these shots below.


























We kept shooting but it wasn’t quite working for me so we moved on.  Then I saw the light brown dog on the patio below and shot this one.









I asked my client, Mary, if she would mind going down to the patio and play with the dog.  She knew right away that it could make a nice shot and was game.  I shot this one.









The table and the railing was a little distracting and I wanted to get in closer.  So I shot the two next shots in tighter.








I think it all came together.  I quite like the second shot where Mary is petting the dog’s head.  It’s quite a tender moment and tells a nice story.

A little later were shooting the stone around the pool.  The black dog wandered through the shot and stopped by the side of the pool and I got this image.

The dog at the edge of frame adds life to the shot.  It’s not a bad shot without the dog but I much prefer it with the dog in frame.  Let me know your thoughts.  And if you ever shoot with animals be prepared to shoot a lot.  Keep your eye out for the unexpected.  It’s those unexpected, fortuitous moments that can make a shot really come alive.


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.