Category Archives: War Art Photography

HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sailing along the St. Lawrence | Pont de Québec

HMCS Toronto sailing nearby le Pont de Québec and le Pont Pierre-Laporte

One of my all-time favourite mottos in life is: “the early bird gets the worm”, and while most normal people would safely pass on getting up at 3:00 a.m. to find early morning photography moments, on this mighty fine day I had the great pleasure of photographing the HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sailing in the St. Laurent with le Pont de Québec and le Pont Pierre-Laporte in the background – a spectacular photography angle!

The HMCS Toronto is a Halifax-class frigate that was commissioned in 1993 and its motto is “Excellence with Vigour” — something any early bird can certainly appreciate! The HMCS Toronto is a general purpose warship with a particular focus on anti-submarine capabilities, but in times of peace it’s a real beauty to photograph!

VIMY | Communications and Electronics Branch Vimy Battlefield Study Tour

Earlier this evening I had the wonderful opportunity of photographing an event hosted by Scotia Wealth Management at the Canadian War Museum.   In commemoration of the sacrifices Canadian men and women made one hundred years ago at Vimy Ridge in France, I was deeply moved by a short presentation delivered by a young Canadian soldier (28-years old) with the Communications and Electronics Branch Vimy Battlefield Study Tour (April 2017).    In addition to learning about his study tour on memorials and key battles involving Canadians, I thought deeply about the sheer hell my fellow countrymen experienced as they fell hard and bled out on foreign soil, so that myself and all others after them could live in more peaceful times.    As I photographed the moment and the many people in attendance I again felt proud to be Canadian, and took comfort in feeling that I too, despite not being a soldier, would do the same to protect the people I love and answer the call of duty to vanquish tyranny in the best way I could for Canada and like minded nations.

 

If you’ve yet to see the Vimy exhibition at the Canadian War Museum, then I’d highly recommend you drop by and give it a look.   As you enter the exhibition you’ll be enlightened by Captain William Longstaff’s painting called the “Ghosts of Vimy Ridge” (Pictured below) – one of the best points of imagery I’ve seen in a long time.  Next to the painting, and on the wall, you’ll see these inviting words to reflect and discover more…

After the Battle, Memory Remains.   One hundred years ago, Canadians fought a bloody battle at a place called Vimy Ridge in France. No one is alive today with direct memory of the battle or even of the war in which it was fought.  But Canadians continue to remember and commemorate the Battle of Vimy Ridge.  We erect memorials, we tell and retell stories, we treasure keepsakes, and we participate in public and private rituals.”    The exhibition at the Canadian War Museum “sheds light on how and why we commemorate war by exploring private and collective memories of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the First World War, and more recent conflicts.”

Après la bataille, il en reste le souvenir.   Il y a cent ans, les Canadiens ont livré une bataille sanglante à un endroit appelé la crête de Vimy en France.  Les témoins directs de cette bataille ou même de la guerre dans laquelle elle s’inscrivait ont tous disparu.   Mais les Canadiens et Canadiennes continuent de se souvenir et de commémorer la bataille de la crête de Vimy.  Nous érigeons des monuments, nous en racontons et en répétons les récits, nous en gardons précieusement les articles souvenirs et nous prenons part à des rituels publics et privés.   Cette exposition met en lumière les raisons pour lesquelles nous commémorons la guerre, et les façons dont nous le faisons, par l’exploration de souvenirs personnels et collectifs de la bataille de la crête de Vimy, de la Première Guerre mondiale et de conflits plus récents.”

Painting by Captain William Longstaff, “Ghosts of Vimy Ridge” — Canadian War Museum

 

1942 | War Machines and Communication Tools Behind the Tulips

A snapshot of military history on display at the Canadian Tulip festival

Canon EF 11-24mm f4 L USM-3

Canon EF 11-24mm f4 L USM-4

Canon EF 11-24mm f4 L USM-5

Canon EF 11-24mm f4 L USM-6

1942 | War Machines Behind the Tulips

Testing out my new Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM by photographing a canon and machine gun bunker placed on historical display.

 

Canon EF 11-24mm f4 L USM-1

Canon EF 11-24mm f4 L USM-9

1942 | War Machines Behind the Tulips

An anti-air gun used in the WWII campaign to liberate the Netherlands stands on display during the Canadian Tulip Festival. During battle time this machine (manufactured in Canada near Hamilton, Ontario) could defensively shoot up to 2,400 bullets per minute to shoot down oncoming bombers – now it thankfully stands still as a reminder that given the option between war and tulips we should opt for tulips. Next to the history lesson, the opportunity offered me a chance to try out my new Canon EF 11-24mm camera lens. This picture was taken at 11mm, with two off camera flashes that I remotely triggered with a radio signal.

Canon EF 11-24mm f4 L USM-2

A Mari usque ad Mare | From Sea to Sea

Canada’s Coat of Arms – etched in stone at the Fort York Armoury

Featured here is Canada’s Coat of Arms — etched in stone and proudly adored above the front entrance to the Fort York Armoury in Toronto, Ontario.

Canon EOS 1Dx Camera Review | Speed Test Tracking Results: Pass

Canon EOS 1Dx Speed Performance next to a McDonnell Douglas 4-Wing CF-18 Hornet

Canon EOS 1Dx Camera Review | As fast as a CF-18 Hornet

A McDonnell Douglas 4-Wing CF-18 Hornet caught cold with a Canon EOS 1Dx

Hi, if you’re reading this blog post than chances are you wondering how the new flagship Canon EOS 1Dx performs in real life situations. Well, after a full month of ownership I can categorically tell you that this is simply the best camera I have ever owned and operated!  I purchased the Canon 1Dx from Henry’s in September of 2012, and it now serves as the main camera in my photography business.  My former camera was the highly regarded Canon EOS 5D MarkII, but after placing the Canon 1Dx in my hands it’s hard to look back.  While my learning curve on the Canon 1Dx has been very steep I’ve now had enough time to form a few quick opinions.

Things I love about the Canon 1Dx:

 The Speed – as in sonic jet speed. Like most professional grade cameras, the fastest shutter speed on this camera is 1/8000th of a second. But, when that shutter speed potential is matched with a burst rate of 14 frames per second, this camera can crank out some serious fire power. While my personal photography style relies predominately on natural timing and patience, having the option to shutter burst a sonic jet right out of the sky makes this camera totally laugh-out-loud awesome!   The picture you see here was taken straight from the camera – no photoshop CS6 editing here.   I Love the thrust!  If you like this picture, then it and others will soon be available for sale in my Prints section.

The Memory capacity – With two Compact Flash card slots available on the 1Dx I never need to worry about running out of memory at a critical moment in time. This is an incredible feature, and speaking from experience, the extra confidence is liberating when you know you can’t miss a shot.

The Eye piece shutter – When performing product photography, or long exposures, I love the built in eye shutter thingamabob which is a much, much better design than the former rubberized piece found on the 5DMarkII strap. Again, just one less thing to worry about and fiddle with.

 

Things I’m learning to live with, but wish were better:

The placement of the exposure meter – The bulk of my photography has been performed with a Canon 5DMarkII, and on that camera body both the exposure meter and camera settings are shown on the bottom horizontal plane. With the Canon EOS 1Dx, the exposure meters are located vertically on the right hand side, while the camera settings (shutter speed, aperture value, ISO, card count, shooting mode) are located on the bottom, horizontal plane. When shooting in portrait mode (vertical alignment) I find it really difficult to scan my settings. Perhaps it’s just me and my personal preference, but having the exposure meter separated from the camera settings has gotten me in trouble on a few different occasions. Speaking from experience, nothing is worse than thinking you have just landed a perfectly balanced meter reading, yet only to learn that reading came with your camera settings shifted to with f/22 and 1/30th of a second – ouch.  I just need to learn how to get use to it, but my eye is protesting and spending more time on aspects than before.

Battery Charger – Holy smokes, it’s huge! Definitely not travel friendly. Be prepared; leave home with charged batteries.

The RAW file conversion – I needed to upgrade my Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop software so that it could read and convert the CR.2 Raw Files into something viewable.   I don’t mind having the latest-and-greatest upgrades from Adobe for my business, but it was an added and unwelcome expense.   While not scientific, I feel as if my 5D Mark II RAW photos were easier to process and convert into JPGs, but my workflow is quickly recovering as I learn more.

Things I need to learn  about the Canon 1Dx

There are a dizzying amount of options on this camera – seriously. I’d really like to learn the difference between the different AI Servo tracking modes, of which there are six options or cases.  My photography style has always placed a premium on:  ready, aim, fire, but with these options I think it would be totally possible to just go ready and fire! LOL Crazy, I know. But, I don’t believe any self-respecting professional would simply just fire and ask questions later.   If you want to continuously burst 14 frames per second all over the place, then maybe a video camera would be better…lol…but if you find yourself needing some suppressive fire here-and-there, then this camera certainly fills that niche.

Ottawa War Art Photographer | CF105 Avro Arrow

CF105 Avro Arrow

This model replica of the CF105 Avro Arrow was pictured at Zurakowski Park located in Barry’s Bay, Ontario. The park is named after Janusz Zurakowski (1914-2004) who was a long-time resident of Barry’s Bay and the Chief test pilot of the CF105 Avro Arrow. The Avro Arrow is often cited as Canada’s most famous Canadian-built aircraft, yet in the final analysis, was a cancelled project that never flew to defend the skies of Canada’s borders.

Ottawa Travel Photographer | Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow, Russia

Hall of Glory, Museum of the Great Patriotic War

The “Hall of Glory” featured in full state grander with thousands upon thousands of names etched into the circular wall. The names commemorate every Russian soldier who laid down their lives to hold back and eventually defeat the Nazi Germany advance. This room was just so large that my 16mm lens was perceptively incapable of photographing it – actually the scale of everything in Moscow is just off the charts in a really neat way. This picture was taken with me lying on my back and doing a crunchy. The lighting in this room was just so very nice too…it will surely be a museum room that I’ll always remember!

Ottawa Travel Photographer | Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow, Russia

War Art – Museum of the Great Patriotic War

March into Red Square…

Ottawa Travel Photographer | Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow, Russia

War Art – Museum of the Great Patriotic War

World War II depictions from “The Great Homeland War” between Nazi Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Ottawa Travel Photographer | Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow, Russia

War Art – Museum of the Great Patriotic War

World War II depictions from “The Great Homeland War” between Nazi Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Ottawa Travel Photographer | Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow, Russia

War Art – Museum of the Great Patriotic War

World War II depictions from “The Great Homeland War” between Nazi Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Ottawa Travel Photographer | Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow, Russia

War Art – Museum of the Great Patriotic War

World War II depictions from “The Great Homeland War” between Nazi Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Quite honestly some of the most impressive war-history-art exhibits I have ever seen. My photographs really don’t give it justice, so I would definitely recommend this museum as a “must see in person”!

Ottawa Travel Photographer | Military Hat, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

War Art – Military Hat from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

This picture was taken at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War located in Moscow, Russia.

Ottawa War Art Photographer | Beechwood Cemetery, the National Cemetery of Canada

Beechwood Cemetery, The National Cemetery of Canada

This powerful picture features military grave sites at the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa – also known as Beechwood Cemetery – the National Cemetery of Canada.

A photo tribute to the men and woman who laid their lives down in the name of freedom and dignity, and in so doing, left behind themselves and a dark road in human history for a brighter future. Lest we forget…

M4 Sherman Tank | War Art Photography

War Art Photography, M4 Sherman Tank

War Art Photography, M4 Sherman Tank

Ottawa War Art Photography | M4 Sherman Tank

War Art Photography, M4 Sherman Tank

Ottawa War Art Photographer | Salaberry Armoury, Régiment de Hull

War Art Photography, M4 Sherman Tank

This armoury was built in 1938-39 by Hull architect Lucien Sarra-Bournet, and is named in memory of Colonel Charles Michel de Salaberry – a hero of the war of 1812. More detials on the history of this building can be found at: http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/regt_hull/histmanegeuniteen.aspx

Featured on the left is – I believe – an M4 Sherman Tank with a 75mm turret, which was commonly used by the Allies during their armoured land offensive in WWII.

Ottawa War Art Photographer | The Discovery Air Canadair Sabre 5 (1954)

The Discovery Air Canadair Sabre 5, 1954

The Discovery Air Canadair Sabre 5, 1954

The Discovery Air Canadair Sabre 5, 1954

The Discovery Air Canadair Sabre 5, 1954

The Discovery Air Canadair Sabre 5, 1954

The Discovery Air Canadair Sabre 5, 1954

Featured here is the Discovery Air Canadair Sabre 5 (1954), which flew early in the Cold and Korenan Wars to battle against Russian MiGs. With a wingspan of 37 feet and an Orenda Series 14 Turbojet, the Sabre 5 not only looks forceful in the sky, but it sounds incredibly powerful too as its thrust pounds through the exhaust system. What a deep, heart pounding sound! The “Golden Hawks” were created in 1959 to honour the 50th anniversary of powered flight in Canada and the Vintage Wings of Canada Sabre wears the same metallic gold paint scheme to celebrate the 100th anniversary of flight in 2009. An all out beauty to photograph in the skies. These facts, and many other interesting points about Canada’s war time aviation history, can be found at: www.vintagewings.ca

Ottawa War Art Photographer | The North American Harvard Mark IV (1952)

The North American Harvard Mark IV (1952)

The North American Harvard Mark IV (1952)

The North American Harvard Mark IV (1952)

The North American Harvard Mark IV (1952)

Featured here is the North American Harvard Mark IV, which I was able to see flying in all its glory at the “Birds are Coming” airshow, and thanks to all the wonderful efforts of the Vintage Wings of Canada. This yellow bullseye beauty was manufactured in 1952, but the model itself first starting flying the skies in 1935 and was used, at the time, as an advanced training aircraft of war. Nearly 50,000 Allied pilots received their wings using the Harvard Mark IV at air training bases across Canada, and as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). This plane uses a single Pratt and Whitney R-1340 engine. It has a wingspan of 37 feet, and John Gillespie Magee, author of the poem High Flight, is known to have flown under the Harvard 2866 markings. These facts, and many other interesting and notable points about Canada’s aviation history during 20th century wars can be found at: http://www.vintagewings.ca/

Ottawa War Art Photographer | World War One memorial with a fallen lion

A World War One Memorial in Toronto, Ontario

This picture highlights one of three beautifully stone cut lions guarding the 1914-1918 War Memorial located in Toronto, Ontario at the corner of University Avenue and Elm Street. This monument was sculpted by Charles Adamson in 1923, and when I saw this fallen lion in front of a tomb of names I felt a need to photograph it and consider all the symbolism of the moment. The other two lions – not featured here – continue to stand pound, brave and ready behind the fallen. Added to my picture is the Mosaic Tile Texture effect available in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Ottawa War Art Photographer | A balance of darkness and brightness

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Memorial Museum

Performing two of my favorite photography effects straight out of the camera – a star light burst and a deep silhouette – on one of my greatest photography interests – war art, or something I personally call w(ar)t. This spectacular moment and opportunity was taken at 19:38 under clear skies and a rapidly setting sun. Located in the backyard of the Holiday Inn hotel in Trenton, Ontario, this monument is visible from Highway 401 – the Highway of Heroes – at exit 526. According to the plaque on site, “this plane was placed here by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Memorial Museum as a memorial to all those airmen and airwomen who served in the air forces of Canada”. As the plaque goes on to note, “it is especially dedicated to all those who gave their lives while in that service. WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM. Dedicated May 6, 1995”.

After reading the distinctly Canadian air force blue painted plaque I starting thinking about how I was taking this picture almost exactly sixteen years after it was erected, and that made me wonder in awe about all the sunsets and sunrises this war art has seen, and will continue to see to keep remembrance alive and in the air. At the time I took this photo, this monument would have enjoyed no less than 5,860 sunrises and 5,861 sunset moments. Just Beautiful!

HOLIDAY INN TRENTON
HWY 401 & GLEN MILLER RD
TRENTON, ONTARIO K8V 5R1

Ottawa War Art Photographer | The colours of war

War Art Photography

Colours of passion, anger, destruction, blood and war…