Bike the Night 2019 – Vancouver

Shooting on the 50mm 1.2 the night riders!

The night ride is an annual event here in Vancouver British Columbia, orgnaized by the HUB (A bike alliance), City of Vancouver and a west coast sports / travel retail giant Mountain Equipment Coop. This year it took place on September 7th and I had just enough time after a long day at work to grab my equipment and pop out to take some photos.

Other than the brightly lit riders I wanted to see what I could do with a 50mm 1.2 AIS lens, which had just newly arrived. So it was a lens test too. The 1980s vintage Nikon 50mm AIS 1.2 did well as I rushed out the door and did not get a battery for my DSLR. Never fear, I switched bodies to a Sony a6300 which gave me descent focus peaking (Telling me where to focus).

Pushing ISO up to 800 and shooting all manual is a breeze! ūüôā mostly, Hit ratio in low light of the evening with moving riders I was able to get about 100 out of 260 shots in focus and with interesting subjects. For a location I used the overpass of the Burrard Street bridge (in the background) to provide a bit more shelter from the last light of the evening as the sun had just set. A real main light source was the yellow amber glow of a streetlight to the right beyond the darkening sky in the background.

To get an idea of the lighting check out the video below:

#vancouver #ridethenight #50mm12ais

The Project Strikes Back

A Star Wars Themed Photo Shoot
 the project management life of a photographer


It all started out with a concept: sporty Stormtroopers. No, I was not going the cosplay route, thats been done, and turns rather “over-done” . I had wanted to re-create a Stormtrooper look with off the shelf outfits, props and I have no skill at crafting anything out of abs or 3d printing.

What this concept became, in retrospect and upon reflection, was an execution of a full project and my own realization of truly being a project manager not a photographer…

From Wikipedia:¬†¬†A project is a temporary endeavor designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end (usually time-constrained, and often constrained by funding or staffing)…..

All of this is then tied into the Project management Triangle, which is a case of Zen balance. How do you balance all three items and ensure quality does not suffer.

…fairly straight forward but to execute a number of requirements needed to be met, especially with three storm troopers in the middle of winter.

Planning and Execution


Stormtroopers – the models, I had put out a call for models. Two criteria were are available to shoot in December (see time / location below) and ensure that the “aren‚Äôt you a little too short to be a storm trooper” does not occur ensure that all of the storm troopers were the same height.

Our amazing Vancouver models were
Sylvie  , Janice and Candice

the Stormtrooper team!

Make up Artist – A makeup artist who would be able to do consistent makeup for 3 models within a 1-2 hour timeline (see below)

Photography Assistant – I had to ask around to see who I can rope in to help out. Candidate was found (unlisted and un-credited due to possible failure of marriage due to being around models? ok that is a project outside of MY scope) .

the team, mua, photographer and the models!

Shoot Location and Time: 

Time – Shoot needed to be executed before December release of the Last Jedi, also in a time when models can be available and have beauty sleep to ensure glowing skin (see MUA)

Location – We actually shot this in December in prep for Last Jedi release, therefore an indoor location was required.

Shooting outdoor in Vancouver was not an option as the available outfits (see Costumes below) did not allow for sufficient body heat retention. Although, Vancouver is not a very cold city compared to the rest of Canada its still cold. No we did not get snow in December, and temperatures were still around 0-5 Celsius (low 30s in Fahrenheit – thx Greg N).

The solution was an indoor space, I was able to locate an indoor green screen location in the city and ensure it could be booked after hours to allow for schedule of the models and makeup artist. Also it needed heaters, if you are shooting in any studio location in the winter MAKE SURE you have heaters going HOURS before the shoot to warm up the space and the air.


At first it seems quite simple shoot models dressed up as stormtroopers. The break down of this becomes a bit more complex, from looks and outfits to make up and gear. (for those who asked about the outfits details for cosplay this is a fairly detailed breakdown)

Outfits – Finding the props and styles was perhaps the trickiest with first looking for costumes online. Amazon was my first choice, however, the quality of the costumes was a bit too cheesy where as the prices for the more advanced costumes was quite high.

Costs -As this was an unfunded project (i.e. funded by me) I wanted to ensure the costs were not too crazy.

Breaking down the costume: Working with the black and white concept the solution came together, helmets and guns had to be ordered online and from Toys R US, the tops were sports/workout bra-tops from Sport Check. The bottoms and stockings Amazon had latex style leggings and shorts were from a local sports store. The boots were a courtesy of a local “fashion” store, and through negotiation I was able to rent them vs buying them as long as no outdoor shoots were done to scuff or dirty them.


Makeup was to be completed in about 1 hour for 3 models, to prepare I had to ensure the models and the MUA were in touch. This allowed them to communicate in advance of the shoot to check for any allergies, skin concerns so the makeup artist knew what to work with.

Also to ensure that a consistent makeup free or basic foundation was in place for all models when then came to the location. Yes I know way too much about this side of the business, but it helps to know and be aware..

The makeup artist was amazing and consistent and yes although storm troopers wear helmets! Great work by Andrea Kristina 

behind the scenes at the stormtrooper shoot with Andrea Kristina the amazing MUA!

The Shoot:

Shooting, that’s easy, lighting, gear and the actual shoot, it was business as usual. Really this is the easiest part, yes I had to manage lighting, and help with poses, ensure the models knew how to hold blasters, but compared to all the prep this was a piece of cake for me.

Note РWell except for one thing, the green screen room kept casting a green hue due to color contamination on the white of the trooper outifts. This is covered here in a great petapixel article:

photoshoot lighting setup, model group shoot

The lighting setup and you can see the heaters to the right.

What Did I Learn:

….Thinking back on the project which I started planning around October 2017 and executed on December 12 2017 it was about two months of work. The results, costs were maintained within reason, and the models ended up with a sporty outfits to keep (along some got trooper helmets which could be re-purposed for another shoot).

See the photos below! Also! Before you do follow me on twitter / Instagram!

In closing, this is what went into this shoot, coordination, planning, execution, last minute changes and revisions, minor cost overruns. With some amazing results and lessons learned for the future. For you, all I can say is if YOU are planning a shoot, YOU ARE THE PROJECT MANAGER!

vancouver fashion cosplay photography star wars


PS.. and personal grumble, due to the Last Jedi, but that’s a different story.

Flying Angels Christmas Presents in Vancouver – Journalism – Photography

vancouver lifestyle and event christmas present delivery
This morning the Mission to Seafarers РFlying Angel Club ( and TYMAC Launch Services organized the annual presents to sailors delivery of holiday gifts and presents to crew and staff on vessels on anchor and in port throughout Vancouver. This annual event has been held in different forms by the Mission and Tymac since the 70s and this year was no exception. 
Setting off at 9 from the foot of Main Street at the Tymac tug terminal and  am led by Anglican Rev Peter Smyth (Port Chaplain for the Mission to Seafarers), Deacon Dileep  Athaide (Roman Catholic Church РChaplains) and Stephen David (TYMAC) the teams on two boats made their way to the cargo vessels on anchor in English Bay. Moving from ship to ship and dropping off packages for the crew at each vessel they delivered over 400 presents to the nearly two dozen vessels in the harbor. 

For each boat, some of whom were expecting presents and some who were quite surprised the gantry was lowered and the team embarked with bags of presents. Wrapped and encased in waterproof bags these were hand delivered to the ship crew whose smiles were beaming at the surprise. The crew on these ships bring us 90% of everything we own and work for generally 9 months straight with no real time off, something that is felt even more during the holiday season. 

Contacts for the mission is: 
Mission to Seafarers
Vancouver and Roberts Bank

fax 604-253-0874

Tragic Fire takes life at Vancouver Shelter

A fire at one of the Vancouver’s downtown homeless housing shelters at a former¬†Vancouver Quality Inn located at¬†1335 Howe Street, near the Granville Street bridge today took¬†a life of one of the residents there.

The fire which broke out early this evening at the Howe Street site ( a hotel converted by the City of Vancouver in 2014 ) which provides spaces for up to 175 residents was localized to a single room/floor. The fire led to a closure of Howe Street from Davie to Pacific, and Drake from Granville to Hornby Streets. The Vancouver Police, Fire and Ambulance Departments arrived on site were unable to save the victim who was found dead.

Bus blocking Howe Street - north towards Davie

City bus used to block Howe Street – north toward Davie Street


All Clear is given for the response teams

All Clear is given for the response teams

VFD Chaplain Bruce R. at the site

VFD Chaplain Bruce R. at the site

The cause of death has not been released but speaking to the emergency response teams it appears that personal possessions and a mattress in a private room caught fire and led to the death.

Vancouver Quality Inn Hotel

Vancouver Quality Inn Hotel

The Howe Street facility was converted in 2014 along with a number of other facilities by the City of Vancouver to house the city’s homeless who were camping at areas such as the Oppenheimer Park.

Homeless passes in front of the scene of the fire

Homeless passes in front of the scene of the fire

for more:

City of Vancouver facility page

Family Day and Bubbles – Vancouver

A non work, or photo or business post, this is all about fun in the sun. I must admit, I haven’t seen that many people with smiles on their faces for a long time!

As my godson in the video said, ” real friends not virtual are the best, and as for chasing bubbles, it’s way more fun than playing xbox at home. ”

Family day has been designated a few years ago as a new statutory holiday in British Columbia, falling on the second Monday in February.  Today Family Day decided to happen on a lovely sunny day with just a little bit of breeze.

Local “Bubble magicians” – as that is the term that best applies – were en force sending small and giant bubbles into the smiling faces of adults and to the delights of the kids who were running to pop them!

I had posted some photos on Instagram but here is the rest of them, a very quick blog entry but it was awesome.

A video and photos below.

Some photos too..