Last weekend all across the city, the doors to architecturally, historically, culturally, and socially significant buildings usually closed to the public were thrown open for the 15th annual Doors Open Toronto. Down on the waterfront Doors Open turned into Gangways Open as ships usually not accessible to curious by-passers welcomed crowds of happy locals and tourists alike onboard to discover these ships.
Over the course of the weekend plenty of pirates – presumably drawn to the area by the lovely new boardwalk, the numerous restaurants and retail outlets (including the amazing new Amsterdam Brewhouse), or by the sandy beach at H2O Park complete with cozy muskoka chairs – were found roaming the area. After all, what pirate wouldn’t want to take some time out from their busy plundering to relax in the cool breeze of the waterfront?
At the end of the day we had a few minutes to grab a few of these pirates, quickly set up lighting onboard the Empire Sandy tall ship, and in between the mild chaos of setting up the shot, corralling those happy locals and tourists into areas of the ship NOT in the shot, and managing the breeze that threatened the shooting umbrellas, were able to capture this photo above. It tells the story of the day: blue sky, puffy clouds, a tall ship… and some rogue pirates.
In the end, what else would you want from a weekend on the water?
As you may know, each year we cover the ScotiaBank BuskerFest in Support of Epilepsy Toronto. This year the festival moved to the Downtown Yonge neighbourhood and spanned the area from Queen St. to College/Carlton. Above you will find scenes from the festival and some of the talented performers who provided Toronto with four days of world class street performance.
In its new home on Yonge Street the festival drew enough people (over 2 million) be be officially recognized as the world’s biggest busker street festival. That’s no small accomplishment, and all of the dedicated and talented people that we’ve had the pleasure of working with on and off the pitch over the past 10 years (this is the festival’s 14th year) have all had a part in making it the biggest, and – we think – the best street festival in the world. Congratulations BuskerFest!
To those performers (and readers of this blog) who asked us about the staged portraits we usually do, we apologize but weren’t able to do them this year… we hadn’t realized that they were quite so popular, so maybe we will arrange something different next year. Who knows…?
For now, enjoy reliving the fun of the festival’s best moments – above.
Filed under Buskerfest, Charity, Dream State Circus, Epilepsy, Events, Fire Photography, Our Job is Fun!, Photography, Street Photography, Summer Festivals, Toronto, Uncategorized
One of the things we seem to have become known for – and in fact Mark has inadvertently become quite an expert in – is fire photography. It takes a specific understanding of lighting and fire, not to mention very precise timing to capture fire the way he does. When we covered Toronto Buskerfest at the end of August we were reintroduced to Pyromancer (David Bolee), one of the world’s best fire breathers and a fantastic performer. He wanted some new promo to showcase the funnier/whackier side of his fire show and so we collaborated to come up with some ideas on how to bring this side of him to light.
We don’t want to toot our own… oh, never mind… but we think we managed to bring out a bit of that fun in the photos above… what do you think?? 🙂
So… every spring the condominium corporation that runs the building that houses the loft hires people to come and wash the underground. Today was the the day they did that this year. As you might know (if you have been following us) we have started to take on more commercial and promotional work this year, which has meant honing different skills and coming up with creative ways to shoot new material. It is a movement forward in our work that we have really enjoyed – and so with a day ‘off’ so to speak, forced because we had to remove both car and truck from the underground for the day, we chose to take the cameras out and shoot for ourselves (rather than clients) to test some methods that will come into play in the work that we will in fact be doing for clients in the upcoming days and months…
And I was a model – or my very small footwear was anyway.
Above, some of the results from an hour or so spent by the lake on one of the first warm days of spring… more to come… (photos AND warm spring days).
The winners of this year’s People’s Choice Award at the ScotiaBank BuskerFest in Support of Epilepsy Toronto was Dream State Circus – the multitalented duo made up of Sophie and Jacob McGrath. We have shot several of Dream State Circus’ performances in past years – they were also People’s Choice Award winners in 2009 – and this year when they approached us to do a full on promo shoot for them in the week following the festival we jumped at the opportunity.
Apart from being a world renowned acrobalance, fire juggling, and highly synchronized circus act Sophie and Jacob are really wonderfully fun and honest people, they are very open minded and our shoot was a complete collaboration of creative ideas – the best kind of situation that we can hope for when shooting promo. We shot using a few different locations and were enjoying ourselves so much that it seemed the time just flew by (well, it flew by for US – we’re not sure about Sophie and Jacob who were responsible for doing all the acrobatics required and still had to make the trip to Niagara that night in preparation for another festival that weekend)!
At the end of the afternoon we felt we’d created some material worthy of these power performers – a couple of samples can be seen above.
We also should take a minute to thank Julie Pilkington and the staff at the Novotel Toronto Centre. We are becoming known for our fire photography and as I’ve mentioned before, when we shoot fire the fire is real – there is no photoshopping or post production to make it bigger, brighter, or more ‘fiery’ – it comes out of the camera just as you see it in the photos and Dream State Circus does BIG fire. With our assurance that all of the necessary precautions and safety measures were in place (Dream State is also very safety conscious) Julie allowed us a perfect location to shoot uninterrupted, so again – our thanks to Julie and of course to Sophie and Jacob of Dream State Circus. We had such a lot of fun.
Filed under Buskerfest, Dream State Circus, Editorial, Epilepsy, Events, Fire Photography, Our Job is Fun!, Photography, Portraits, Promotional, Summer Festivals, Toronto, Uncategorized
One of the most popular performance duos at ScotiaBank BuskerFest this year was 2 on 1, made up of Peter Rabbit an established drummer and all around entertainer (who we last shot in 2005) and Snap Boogie (aka Cjaiilon Andrade) a blindingly talented dancer who some might have recognized as a semi-finalist from Season 6 of America’s Got Talent. As 2 on 1, Peter drums on buckets demonstrating his incredible skill in percussion while Snap Boogie displays his talent and passion for dance in a routine that ends with him front flipping over a line of audience members – inevitably to wild applause.
While this duo puts on an energetic and masterful show for the audience, a part of their obvious fan appeal is in the way that they approach everyone who has come to see them perform. Peter Rabbit and Snap Boogie are two very open, friendly, and accommodating professionals and we can tell you first hand they are a real pleasure – and a lot of fun – to work with.
We grabbed each of them individually for a series of portraits in an alley on the grounds of BuskerFest – as you can see we also grabbed a few helpful chefs who came during a break from a nearby restaurant to see what we were up to and ended up standing in for some lighting tests. Both Peter and Snap collaborated fully with us bringing their own ideas, and though their schedules were busy and they had been performing all day they gave us as much time as we needed to bring the ideas to life.
Above a portrait of each.
After seeing the proofs Snap mentioned that he’d like to work with us again because we made him look ‘ripped’ and ‘sexy’… but that’s no trick. The talent, charisma, the positive attitude through adversity that he shares with Peter, and of course – the 8 pack abs – are very real, and combine to assure us that this young performer has a serious future.
And we would never turn down the opportunity to play a part in promoting it.
Filed under Buskerfest, Charity, Editorial, Epilepsy, Events, Music, Our Job is Fun!, Photography, Portraits, Promotional, Summer Festivals, Toronto
Above, the final set of portraits from the greenroom of the ScotiaBank BuskerFest in Support of Epilepsy Toronto. We would once again like to thank everyone who stood in front of our camera, allowing to create a collective picture of all those who are so important in making this festival the success that it is.
Next week we will post some of the portraits that we took outside of the greenroom as well as some photos from a private shoot that we did with the festival’s People’s Choice Award winners, Dream State Circus earlier this week.