One of my great mysteries of Toronto will always be: Why the hell do people actually goto the CNE?

Erin asked if I wanted to do a shoot when the Ex was in town--full disclosure, I thought she meant her ex, which could be an interesting photo session, and should tell you how low on the list this place is for me--and I said sure, I havent been to the Ex in 14 years. Honestly, I am good for another 14 or 70 years now. There are too many people and you surely can't go with any real purpose without spending a lot of money, right? I love shooting with Erin, but when we left I felt very relieved.

But I digress. This isn't a blog about why the CNE is the worst.

Despite the list of reasons I could give you of why I hate this place, it does have a couple of redeeming qualities: cotton candy, bright and colourful lights at night, and weird mirror mazes (this is only partially redeeming, I had a small panic attack inside of this maze).

We arrived just in time for golden hour, snagged some cotton candy and went to town. Once the night was upon us, we found the aforementioned mirror maze, which was cool to take photos in but put me into a total panic. Once we got through the worst of it, there was this cool part up stairs with the blue painted steel you'll see in the later photos. All in all a success. I spilt a watermelon smoothie all over my backpack, but I also got to eat really good nachos. 

Gear note: Taken with the Nikon D5, (*sigh* I will never actually own this camera) and the Nikon 35mm f1.4 lens. 


Farrell & The Tale of Gear Failure

Photographers put so much trust into our gear - trust that it's going to help us do what we want to achieve the outcome we are looking for, and trust that it's not going to fail mid-way through. Gear failure is a bit gut-wrenching.

I showed up to the parking garage in Kensington Market to shoot with Farrell with my camera in hand, ready to take some portraits with the Toronto skyline looming in front of us. A few frames in, something seemed wrong; Farrell wasn't in focus. I tried trouble shooting, but I came to the unfortunate conclusion that my camera was back-focusing, which meant it needed some TLC from the good people at Nikon and it wasn't going to be fixed then and there. 

Patient Farrell made lots of silly faces while I tried to get my bearings, and I decided I was going to go manual focus. I have photographer friends who go manual focus most of the time (legends!), but I wear glasses and can't see well far away, so trying to be precise and depending on these ol' eyes is not a great combination. But you do what you have to do to get the shots, right?

It wasn't easy, but it was definitely a lesson in patience (for both of us, I reckon) and in the end we came away with some good shots, boisterous laughs, and a sense of accomplishment. I felt lucky this snafu happened when it did, as I had a company event to shoot the next day, and luckily had a second camera at home to save the day. Lesson learned? Test gear meticulously before a shoot, and bring a backup if you can. What a rookie mistake!

Have you ever had gear fail on the job, photography related or not? I'm curious how it went! Let me know below!

The Dreamboats

These are some of my favourite guys, hands down. I'm totally biased, being that I've been friends with them for years, but they are truly a great group of musicians. The Dreamboats are a band that hails from Mississauga and plays 50s/60s rock and roll. Starting out as a cover band, they do bar nights chock full of 50s/60s covers that brings everyone onto the dance floor to twist. They write and play their own retro-style original tunes as well. 

I got a chance to shoot their recent show at The Cameron House in Toronto before they jetted off to Europe for a tour. The guys were on fire this night, and I was 100% covered in sweat (both mine and other people's...) by the 2am mark when the music finally stopped. 10/10 I recommend getting to see these lads if you get the chance!