Canada – Day 2: 01/04/15

I slept like a log.

Normally in new surroundings I find it difficult to sleep, but not this time. It was 7.30AM; an hour before my alarm.

I arrived at the B&B the day before. After struggling to find a taxi due to my booked taxi not showing, I finally made it. To top it off when arriving at the B&B nobody answered the door for 20 minutes. Great, it’s a scam I thought. Now what do I do?

I crawled out of bed and peeked through the blinds. The sky was tinted pink like candyfloss, the light reflecting off the city buildings “wow…..” I breathe.

I’d been told to help myself at breakfast and make myself feel at home. I showered and crept down the stairs. I feel slightly awkward just helping myself. I do it anyway, no one else is around.

It takes me a while to find the cutlery; I’d truly gone through all the draws now.

It was a lovely, warm day with clear blue skies.

I keep looking the wrong way when crossing the roads. People must be able to tell I’m not from here, which must be what the strange looks are for. The walk into the city was straight forward and relaxing with a slight breeze ruffling through my hair.

I used the weather to my advantage, and went up the Calgary Tower, the third tallest building in Calgary and much like the Empire State building in New York.

I’m glad I did. What a site! You can see for miles.

The views are spectacular! I gasped as I walked around, soaking in each direction I look out of. I can see the snow covered mountains in the distance. It’s beautiful.

It’s strange; everything looks flat up here and looks to be no hills. It’s so brown here; where’s the green trees and grass?

I wander back over to the glass bottom and look down. Whoa it’s a long way down. I feel myself start to sway and grab the bar. I must have pulled a face, as a Canadian lady turned and said “Yes, that is the building swaying in the wind”.

“Well that’s reassuring to know, I wasn’t sure why I was swaying” I replied.

Gosh I love the Canadian accent.

I left the tower and with my feet safely back on the ground I went to explore downtown.

First impressions? It’s posh. Everyone is dressed up in posh suits, dresses and heels. I looked very out of place in my jeans, outdoor coat and canvas shoes. Wandering around I searched for a shop to buy a sandwich.

I feel worn out, my feet are killing. I should have broken my shoes in before coming. I head back in the direction of the B&B. I see a model horse outside a shop, oh my gosh! There are cowboy hats in there. I’m quite excited by the model horse. Turns out you can have your picture taken with and by the cowboy hats. I really want one. I step inside gingerly and am immediately greeted by an elderly cowboy.

He certainly looks the part.

Cowboy: “Hello, how are you today?”

Me: “I’m good thanks, how are you” 

Cowboy: “Good, where are you from?”

Me: “The United Kingdom”

Cowboy: “Ooohhhh say hello for the Queen for me when you’re back won’t you”

I chuckled. Why do people assume you know the Queen as soon as they know you’re British?

Cowboy: “I have one person in here last week who I said the same thing too and turns out they work for Prince Charles, small world isn’t it?”

“Sure is” I reply.

I wander off and look at the hats, they are so cool! Yikes, rather expensive though. I wander over to the clothes rack, where there a sale section. Bonus, I make a beeline for it.

29 Canadian dollars and a top later, I leave the store and walk back to the B&B to relax before heading out to the thing I’d been dreading – Eating out alone.

Lucky for me I picked a small local restaurant with hardly anything there. I slid into a booth, ordered, ate and left in a breeze. Not that bad I thought to myself, walking back in the snow and bitter wind.

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5 things I learnt at The Digital Imaging Show

Last Thursday I attended ‘The Digital Imaging Roadshow’. This show travels around areas of the UK and gives a series of Masterclasses each year. I really enjoyed all the talks and I learnt a lot!

So, seeing as there were five talks on the day, I’m going to share one thing I learnt from each masterclass!

Damian McGillicuddy -I Bet you wished you’d brought your brolley

Umbrellas may be the single most overlooked weapons in the photographer’s arsenal. The societies seven-time photographer of the year will demonstrate the power and versatility of the humble brolley by combining classic, contemporary and downright cool lighting techniques.

This talk seemed more tailored to those with studios and portable lights. Though I did learn a number of things in general from this talk one being when shooting a headshot you point the lens at the mouth, if a mid you point at the chest and for a full body shot you point at the stomach.

Charlie Kaufman – Selling, Selling, Selling!

Charlie will inject 25 years of experience in sales into the delegates of this fast paced, fun packed and informative talk.

Well this, certain was fast packed and fun! I did think during this talk I’d nod off because of the subject but actually it was really interesting and upbeat! I think this is one I learnt the most from so will be hard choosing one thing!

The major thing I’d take from this class would be don’t give all images in high res on a CD – as you don’t want to give them too much as overshooting and undershooting is bad! – Generally from photoshoots I come away with anywhere between 200-400 pictures a person which I cut down to 80!

Mark Cleghorn – The Photography Xperience

In this session Mark looks at ways that you can simply move from Bland to Brand with your photography and business.

Another talk I enjoyed! One thing to take away from this talk: Plan every session – Write a shot list, get that creative shot, change accessories, session flow new ideas and always do something different with every client.

Richard Storrs – The Power of Websites

An insight in to the importance of websites for photographers. Why, in today’s world you cannot afford not to have one.

Now, I already have a website so wasn’t sure how much I would take away from this.

If used correctly a website can save time in terms of order processing, taking and making payment, involving and customer contact – I don’t have a shop built into my website at the moment, however it is something I will now look into!

Richard West – Colour Management made simple

Former head of Apple’s Photography Market team in the UK and subsequently country manager for photo plug-in manufacturer Nik Software (now Google). Richard West runs Datacolor in the UK.

Monitor calibration is something I keep seeing pop up in a number of photography groups I am apart of on Facebook. One thing I learnt from this class (and there is a lot) is softproofing! I honestly thought this button in lightroom just showed you what the image looks like on a white background! Not that you can see how the image will be seen on the internet and also using printer profiles to see how it will come out when printed! I tested this out with my printer (I don’t use this to print photos) but if I did they would come out with a horrible blue tint! I then downloaded the printer profiles from the printing lab I use to see the difference – it’s not quite as drastic as the tint but they do come out duller than on screen!

Newsletter

I have been planning on sending out monthly or quarterly newsletters with information on what I’ve been up to, what I plan to do next etc.

If you have any reccomendations on content I’d love to hear from you. I plan on sending out my first one in a few weeks.

You can subscribe to my newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bkUaHn

Canada – Day 1: 31/03/15

The wind rippled across the lush green grass. Was it the wind? Steel wings rattled and shook, the engine hummed in anticipation, patiently waiting its turn.  The time came and it surged forward and accelerated to over 140 miles per hour, gently pushed me against the back on the seat. We have lift off.

I had successfully navigated Heathrow Airport on my own and made it to the plane. I’m on my first solo trip.

Ever.

And that would be across the world to Canada.

Talk about throwing yourself in the deep end.

I haven’t felt overly nervous, well only at the airport. Once sat on the plane I was fine.

The flight was long and tough on the legs. I slept for a short while on the flight, woke up to a very numb hand and cramps. Sleeping on planes is not easy; I’m dreading the flight home as its overnight.  I ended up reading, watching Paddington and Into the Woods to pass the time.

10 hours later I landed in Calgary at 12pm. Compared to the UK where the field were an array of patchwork green in colour, here it looked flat, brown and dull and everything looked square.

I took a taxi from the airport to my B&B in South East Calgary. The B&B (Riverpath B&B) is a lovely house very big and spacious, the owner Arlene was very friendly and we got along pretty well. It felt like I was visiting someone I knew.

I had a big debate with myself, stay awake and battle the jet leg or conk out. I chose option one; it was a lovely warm day out so despite being tired I went for a walk to the river. It’s beautiful a real nice aqua blue and clear too. I then walked to Inglewood which was voted ‘Canada’s coolest neighbourhood’. It was pretty windy out despite the warmth.

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