Recent Shoots

Stone Cold Montreal Winter shoot

Posted on: March 6th, 2014 by gregvanriel 7 Comments


I went to see my Mom and sister in Montreal recently.  Of course I couldn’t resist going out to look for a few shots. I have a certain fondness for the old Sun Life building.


In the 1930’s it was the tallest building in the British Empire.  The architects were Robert Finlay and Richard Waite.  I tried to get an interesting angle on it as you can see here.  But it was so cold I had to take refuge inside to warm up.

























































When I went back out again I used the Boer War memorial horse and soldier in the foreground.




I like the one straight on the best and didn’t do any lens correction, just warmed it up and pulled out some detail on the soldier and his horse. (It’s easy to open the same image again in camera raw.  Pull out the detail you want.  Then do the “Overlay” technique where you lay one image on top of the other in Photoshop and erase)


I remembered the  French Pavilion from Expo.  It was built in the Deconstructivist style and is now the Montreal Casino. Drove out to Isle Notre Dame and took a few shots.  I gave this one a bit of a retro look.

Next I took a drive through Old Montreal.  Since I’m from there originally I’ve seen it all before.  It’s hard to come up with shots that didn’t look like quaint tourist pics.  A couple here feature the Bonsecours Market.



















The truth is that it was just too damn COLD to be shooting outside.  I decided to look for some interesting interiors.  Here are some shots inside the Palais des Congres.


















Montreal has a vast network of under ground passageways and tunnels.  Here is a link to Place Des Arts.  It’s a multi screen wall of revolving images.

I like the how the faces on the screens change.


I know there’s much more to shoot in Montreal but it was time to get back to the Olympics.  I was shooting during the Canadian Woman’s hockey game so I had to make up for it  🙂  I hope you enjoyed this Blog post.  Love to hear your comments.


Posted on: October 21st, 2013 by gregvanriel 2 Comments


I’ve been watching the construction of the new Bridgepoint Active Healthcare Centre in east Toronto with keen interest.  Diamond Schmitt Architects, KPMB, Stantec, and HDR Architecture had the vision for the new facility which sits in the heart of residential Riverdale.  In February I took some initial shots of the building.
_DSC0768 blogDSC9920 blog_DSC9927 blogThen I had the good fortune to re-connect with some old friends, Kristi McNeil and Steve Couzens owners of Big Sky Film Production. They just opened a new Flying Camera division called AerialCineMedia. Their flying camera platform is a fast and agile remote control helicopter that carries HD Cinema quality cameras to distances of 1500 feet and speeds of up to 80km/hr_DSC8013 blog
Since the helicopter is small it can get very close to subjects. I thought it would be cool to use this technique to shoot buildings for architects. Bridgepoint Hospital came to mind right away. Kristi and Steve were game and so was Antra Roze from Diamond Schmitt. She suggested I contact Danielle Donadio at Bridgepoint and she loved the idea.
So Kristi, Steve and I did an initial scout of the building.IMG_0876 blogIMG_0890 blogIMG_0895 blog
Since Administration for the Hospital is in the renovated old Don Jail, the consensus was to incorporate it in the video as well.
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Then came the day of the shoot._DSC7995 blog
We were a very small self contained unit which made us very mobile._DSC7987 blog _DSC7992 blog _DSC8007
It only took about an hour to get ready and it was time to shoot.
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Since the building’s mirrored glass has such fantastic cloud reflections I shot some Time Lapse photography to add a little spice to the video.

Feel free to click here to see the final 2:00 min video.


An Architectural Masterpiece

Posted on: July 12th, 2013 by gregvanriel 6 Comments


Recently I met with Swami Nitya at the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto.  The Mandir is an exceptional Hindu temple which can been seen traveling north on HWY 427.


After a very interesting discussion with Swami Nitya in which he gave me a crash course in Hinduism, I was granted the opportunity to shoot the Mandir.  Here are some images I shot.



I am so impressed with the detail.  The temple was hand carved from Italian Carrara Marble, the finest Turkish Limestone, and Indian Pink Sandstone.  Everything was hand carved in India and shipped to Canada and assembled on site.
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I was looking for the quintessential wide shot that would show the majesty and grandeur of the Mandir.  I decided on this shot.


But I didn’t think it was dramatic enough in color, so I put it into B&W.  I took one shot and used a red filter and then took another shot and put into B&W infra red.  Then I merged the two shots and did some erasing and tweaking to get this one below.

Swaminarayan Mandir T.O (L).

I hope you like the Mandir as much as I do.  Please let me know your thoughts.

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.

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.