RockPointe “Compassion in Action” Photo Shoot

On Sunday the 18th of March, 2007, members of RockPointe church, along with interested visitors, assembled in the Crowfoot movie theatres to view a message from U2’s Bono and Bill Hybles about combating AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa. It was, frankly, a nightmare to shoot because of the low lighting. The ultra-high ceilings in most locations made a flash bounce impossible, so I ended up shooting without a flash for most of the shots. The end result is ISO 1600, fairly grainy photos – some of which I transformed into black and white where the grain helps the image have more impact. Looking at them at smaller sizes (sub-1000 pixels), they don’t look too bad actually. That’s the thing I always forget about ISO noise, odds are few people are going to be staring at the photos on a 24″ LCD monitor running at 1920 x 1200 like I am…and when the photos are smaller, the ISO noise tends to vanish.

This was my first real use of Adobe Lightroom, and I was quite impressed with it (for the most part) – look for a review of it on Digital Media Thoughts. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite B&W images…






You can check out the rest of the gallery if you wish.

The Windows Vista Wallpapers That Didn’t Make It…

Hamad Darwish is an amazingly talented photographer who had some of his work selected for the wallpaper backgrounds in Windows Vista. His work is extremely impressive, and I find the high-contrast, super-saturated effect stunning (it’s what I tend to try for myself with my own photos, though they’re nowhere near as great as these of course ;-)).

He’s been generous enough to release 22 high resolution (1920 x 1200) images to the public, ones that didn’t make the cut into Vista. Microsoft’s loss is our gain! And because the bandwidth requirements were causing problems for his one and only download location, I’ve offered Thoughts Media resources to host the download for him, and we’re now an official mirror.

So if you want it, click here to download (31 MB ZIP file).

A Fun Photo Project

I did a fun photo experiment on Digital Media Thoughts today, and it turned out quite well. Here’s the result:


You can download a 1600 x 1200 sized version for square-screen wallpaper purposes.

Dec 12th Suburban Sunrise



They say that most of what good photography is amounts to being in the right place, at the right time, and pointing your camera in the right direction. I was doing a Christmas photo with Ashley and Keiko, and the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon in my community of Tuscany. I have far more sunset photos than sunrise photos because I’m a lazy photographer (trying to change that) and I’m not much of a morning person, so I thought this was a good opportunity to see what I could come up with. Those are the raw JPEGs out of the camera, no adjustments were made at all. I have the RAW images to process, but I have a hard time believing I’m going to get anything better than what the JPEG captured. I’m going to put the set of sunrise photos onto my photo site soon, but I wanted to share two of them with you now…I think one of the reasons why sunrise and sunset photos move my spirit so much is that, to me, they’re crystal clear evidence that the world was created to be a beautiful place.

Sleepy in Seattle

Made it into Seattle tonight. I spent 30 minutes at the airport phoning electronics stores in and around the Bellevue area, trying to find a place that had a Canon Powershot SD800 camera in stock. Phone voicemail systems are really hell on earth, especially when combined with dysfunctional voice-activated 411 services. I’d dial 411, ask for the phone number for CompUSA in Bellevue, be transferred over, and while waiting on hold to speak to someone, the 411 system would cut in and say “thanks for using our service”, then terminate my call. Whaazaa? Very frustrating – this happened three times to me. The times when I wasn’t cut off, I was trapped being bounced from phone to phone. Frys Electronics in Renton was the worst – I call the front, ask for the camera people, they transfer my call, and it rings around 100 times. I kid you not, I was standing there for five minutes letting it ring. Why? The dysfunctional 411 service didn’t SMS me the phone number like it said it would, so I’d have to dial 411 again to get the phone number. Stupid. Thankfully, a helpful cab driver suggested I try Circuit City on the way to the hotel, so we stopped near Renton and sure enough, they had ONE camera in stock, and it was so new they hadn’t even put it behind glass yet, it was still in the stock room. I got it for $399 USD + sales tax, which is a heck of a lot better than the $549 CAD + GST it was going to be sold for at Visions. Why are electronics, and pretty much everything else, such a huge rip-off in Canada? Ashley and I were at Chapters on Sunday and it was amazing looking at the US prices being at $6.99 and the Canadian pricing being at $9.99. The two dollars have been within 10% of each other for pretty close to a year now, shouldn’t these prices have come closer together? Canadian retailers need to kick some ass in the channel and get better pricing. But I digress…the new SD800 is awesome, check out this wide-screen capture mode:


It’s been a couple of years since I’ve used a Canon point and shoot, so I’m a bit rusty with the menus systems, but this one looks like a winner so far. Great design, great screen, amazingly fast start up, very little shutter lag (none if you turn off the flash), a high ISO mode that still looks good, 3.8x optical zoom, 7.2 megapixels, and the image stabalizer is the real deal: I was taking images in my dim hotel room, without the flash, and they weren’t blurry. I’m very impressed with this camera so far! The only down side? It’s not as thin as the Casio S-500 I’ve been using for the past year and a bit. I think I can put up with the “bulk” though in order to get better pictures.

Tomorrow morning I have to race down to Circuit City in order to buy five Zunes – I hope there isn’t a line-up…

Rock ‘n Roll + Great Photography = Awesome


I’m a rocker (a geeky one, but a vocalist/bass player) at heart, and a photographer (trying to get better), so when I find something that combines the two passions, brother, that’s just plain cool. I discovered the work of Terje Sorgjerd quite by accident, but I’m glad I did. I haven’t heard of some of these bands, but even if the music sucks, the photos do not. The work is excellent, especially when you consider the difficult lighting conditions most live performances would entail. Great use of angles and wonderful colour tone – definitely check out the whole gallery if you’re into live performance photos!