Monitoring Climate Change

A tri-national environmental organization which the governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico collaborate held a conference in Yellowknife to teach participants how to use their web based application to document specific changes that are occurring in the environment as a result of climate change. I was hired to document the day.  

In keeping with first nations tradition a talking circle was established where each member had the opportunity to express themselves and to have their voices heard by the community.  A sacred stone was passed along to each participant when it was their turn to speak.

It was the first time I would rely on Fujifilm's new EF-X500 Flash.   

Here are some of my favourites. 


All photographs shot with Fujifilm XT2, XF16-55 F2.8 and XF50-140 F2.8  Except for the group photo where I used a pocket wizard and Nikon's SB900 flash off camera, I used the Fuji EFX500.  

Women's March on Washington from Yellowknife, NT Canada

"The Rise of woman; the rise of the nation."  

This morning in Yellowknife, at least a 100 women, men and children braved the -20C weather to March in protest of what has been going on in Washington.  They marched to affirm the Charter of Rights in Canada which encompasses LGBTQIA rights, Indigenous rights, Immigrant rights, Worker's rights, Disability rights and Environmental justice.  "Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights."

"We believe that our Charter Rights are our birthright, including freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief and expression, freedom of the press, and freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.  These freedoms are inherent, in addition to being enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms - every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, gender, age or mental or physical disability."  

I do not think the politics of hate and intolerance will be successful in this country, but we have to be vigilant.  

Search and Rescue Training Exercise in Yellowknife, NT, Canada

With a background in skydiving (I have about 70 jumps to my credit) I got pretty excited when I saw five skydivers descending near the Yellowknife Airport.  There is no drop zone or sport facility in Yellowknife so I was wondering what was going on. I also noted that those jumpers must be pretty skilled as the area is surrounded by lakes. Anyway, Eddie and I drove over to investigate and learned that several RCAF Squadrons and Search and Rescue specialists from across Canada were meeting for their annual training exercise in Yellowknife.  I thought that could  be an interesting photo essay.  I spoke with Capt Matt Zalot about the possibility of me doing a photo story. When I told him I had a background in skydiving and that I was an X Photographer with Fujifilm, well that cinched the deal and I found myself invited onto their VIP/Media flight the next day.  We would be flying in a The CH-146 Griffon helicopter with 444 Combat Support Squadron, based out of 5 Wing Goose Bay, NL. The flight would last approximately 45 minutes and they would take us to view the different sites where Search and Rescue personnel were practicing ground searches, medical responses, parachute accuracy, as well as land and marine rescues. 

Here are some photo highlights from the afternoon as well as a video. I opted to bring my Fuji XF16-55 F2.8 lens for increased flexibility. Nothing is more irksome than having a good story unfold before your eyes and you can’t capture it because you are sporting a fixed lens.

BEHIND THE SCENES

There were approximately 200 people involved in this event and even had observers from the International Community. Pictured here are the guys from Mexico. I doubt they would be smiling as much if they arrived here in January. 

SAFETY PROCEDURES

Corporal Yvon Lachapelle explained all the safety procedures for getting onto the Helicopter safely. We would need to wear ear plugs and it is important to approach the helicopter from the front and leave the same way. The pilots and FE (Flight Engineer) always need to maintain a visual of who is approaching the aircraft.

Sergeant Timothy Hotton

Sergeant Timothy Hotton

We flew over Yellowknife to visit several locations where the training exercises were underway. 

Here is a video I put together. 

Fujifilm XT2 - Reporting from Yellowknife - July 7th, 2016

I am proud to to announce that I was one of five Canadian and 100 Fuji X-Photographers worldwide chosen to review and test what is Fujifilm’s new flagship camera: the XT2. This is the camera that is intended to sway professional dSLR camera users over to Fujifilm. It will be the camera you can take to work or not.

So here we are July 7th, 2016 and Fujifilm has just announced the XT2 and I can now reveal what I’ve been doing with it for the past couple of months. We were sworn to secrecy and had to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Fujifilm Japan. A pre-production unit arrived in Yellowknife, NWT in a nondescript black x camera box with my name on it. Getting it to Yellowknife, NWT was no small feat in itself. It arrived about 10 days after my colleagues got their cameras. The camera logo was covered up in black tape so no one would really know what I was shooting with. My job would be to take photographs, primarily landscape and wildlife shots and provide feedback. Billy the Fuji Guy tells us that “This will be a game changer! It will be a complete professional system with all the advantages of a DSLR without the disadvantages” and after a couple of months with Taurus - XT2 I believe him.

This is not a technical review with stats, charts and comparisons as I’m not really technically inclined and quickly get bored of numbers. I think its better to leave that up to those folks who are really good at it. Also, this isn’t a lengthy review. Being the eldest daughter of a Navy Captain I was raised to keep things brief and I believe a review should be about the kinds of pictures the camera can take. Anyway, you can get all the specs from Fujifilm here but I would like to however share my first impressions and some sample images that I’ve taken over the past two months. Please note that all photos in my report are taken with a pre-production unit and so are only offered here in low-resolution.

FEATURES AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Essentially this is an XPRO2 sensor and software placed into a slightly revised XT2 body and more. It shares the same new 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III image sensor, a 4x more powerful processor, 1/8000 sec focal plane shutter, focus joystick, faster synch speed at 1/250th sec up from 1/180th sec on the XT1 and the LCD screen now tilts 3-ways making it easier to shoot vertically.

It is a substantial camera and a little bit heavier than the XT1 but not by much. They increased the size slightly to accommodate the dual SD card slot. I love that they heightened and put a locking mechanism on the ISO and shutter speed dial. I think I might even be able to operate those dials with mitts on during the winter. The torque on both the Metering and Drive dials have been tightened which is great because they always used to slide around a bit on the XT1. They have extended the Phase detection and the tracking of moving subjects is much better. You can even customize the tracking depending on how erratic your subject is moving. The Across B&W film simulation has been added as well they did something with the On/Off switch to make it easier to turn on. When it is -30C below and you have to take your mitts off to turn the camera on, that is an important detail. And like the XT1 it is weather and dust resistant.

I love the feel of this camera and I love its ability to be almost anything you want it to be. If you pop the new XF35F2 on it or even the pancake 27mm lens you can probably carry it with you in your pocket. It wouldn't be much bigger than the X100S. Alternatively if you need to show up at a clients fully equipped you can add the Vertical battery grip which does a whole host of things including boosting the performance of the camera, increase the time you can take a video and I think makes a better platform for the larger lenses i.e. the XF50-140, XF16-55 and the new XF100-400. And speaking of video it has 4K video and an F Log coming soon giving me something else to learn. I think the way the market is going for photographers, acquiring video skill is hugely important.

IMAGE QUALITY

Fujifilm really has something special going on with image quality. I thought the image quality of the XT1 was fabulous with its 16mp sensor. But my goodness, there is just so much more detail now visible with these files. And the EVF is stunning (Magnification ratio 0.77x, Shutter time lag 0.005 sec, 100fps live-view). and is now my preferred place for framing my shots. Essentially the XT2 is everything I loved about the XT1 only better.

WILDLIFE WITH THE XF100-400

Shortly after receiving my Taurus camera Eddie and I set out to Edmonton and Jasper. At this point I’ll admit the camera was very quirky and not stable to put it mildly. I had Billy the Fuji Guy helping me sort out something to get it going again literally just a few minutes before we encountered these mountain goats. I was ecstatic that it worked to capture these beauties. They seemed to be saying “No way, is that a Fuji XT2 you got there!?” Actually, I learned that there was a wild cat lurking behind me at the time.

JASPER NATIONAL PARK

I normally like to use the Camera Pro Negative High film simulation. 

THE NORTH

A camera should help you tell your story. The story I like to tell is primarily about Canada… it’s land, people and culture. I feel that the XT2 camera system has everything you need to tell your story. Unlike the Rangefinder XPRO2 which seems more geared for the street or documentary photographer with more discreet prime lenses, the XT2 is geared toward the portrait, nature, wildlife and sports shooter and now the photographer who wants to shoot video as well.

I might add that with each firmware update the camera is very near its potential and at this point I hardly want to shoot with anything else.

TRACKING WITH THE XT2

Other than in the local park with my dog running alongside a tourist kid from Texas, I admit that I didn’t really have the opportunity or confidence to try out the AF-C Tracking much.  

It was just with the last few firmware updates where I felt the camera was stable enough to even try. It wasn’t until the Yellowknife Airshow where I was able to really give it a workout. 

VIDEO

I was able to track former Snowbird pilot Brent Handy's performance in a Pitts Special.  I really appreciate that they've added the vide to the drive dial.  It makes it so much easier to switch back and forth from shooting video to photography.  I do need to learn more about editing video but this gives you an idea of what an amateur can do with this camera. 

 And finally good night... or good morning wherever you are. 

A Yellowknife Sunset 10:45 pm  XF50-140 F2.8 ISO200 140mm F14 F1/125

A Yellowknife Sunset 10:45 pm  XF50-140 F2.8 ISO200 140mm F14 F1/125

Long John Jamboree 2016

I was asked by my client to cover some of the fun going on at the Long John Jamboree 2016. Boy Yellowknifers know how to have a good time in the middle of winter on a frozen Lake!    With its beautiful Snowcastle, featured artists,  curling Johnspiel, skijoring races, food, airplane and helicopter rides there is fun for everyone!  

Grand Opening of the Snowcastle in Yellowknife, NT

Yesterday at 12 noon, the Snowking:  Tony'unveiled' or more specifically carved the front door out of his massive Snowcastle and warmly invited people in.  Each year the Snowcastle is somehow improved from the year before and this year's Snowcastle is apparently the biggest ever in the 21 year history of building Snowcastles.  There are slides for children, a courtyard and a Grand ballroom of sorts.  There is an ice bar and VIP lounge.  Hot Chocolate will be served.   For the month of March the Snowcastle will set the stage for a variety of artists, songwriters and bands.  Here are some photos from yesterday's opening ceremony.

All photos taken with #Fujifilm XT1 and XF10-24 lens.

 

 

Aurora Ukrainian Dancers - Spring Recital

I had the opportunity to help a friend photograph an amazing dance group from Yellowknife.  They are the Aurora Ukrainian Dancers, a group that started in 1978 and has continued on to this day. They had a dress rehearsal and two show on February 12 and 13th.  This was my first time photographing a performance at The Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC) in Yellowknife.  These are some of my favourite photos from the show.