First Professional Photography Job

Over the summer, I was hired by a local family dentistry office to provide photography services. It was my first professional photography job. I was nervous of course, but was determined not to show it.

I rented the Canon EF-S 10-22mm so that I would have enough width to capture a dental office when there is not a lot of room. I was also concerned about the lighting, but in fact the office was very bright with big windows letting in natural sunlight.

I held two sessions at the office. The first session was to capture some of the basics of the rooms, equipment, and the staff. The second session had specific goals to capture. All of the participants signed model releases of course. As some of the models were children, this is even more critical.

The photos will be used on the web site, Yellow Pages and some advertising. The contract covered copyright, usage, and delivery mechanisms. I spent nearly a week researching pricing to ensure that I was within the correct range for photography.

The client was pleased with the results and so was I. I hope this leads to many future opportunities. As the web site is not active yet, I haven’t included a link.

I spent a long time thinking about a name for the business. I didn’t want to use my last name, as many people don’t know how to pronounce it. I eventually settled on Ottawa Photoworks. I had envisioned a sort of steampunk or industrial feel to it without being about a specific genre of photography (i.e. “Bob’s Cat Photos, Inc.”). It provides opportunities for a logo too. I want something simple to reproduce, even at small resolution, but easy to understand.

2011 BEMC Indian Summer Trophy Races

Team00 was out for the 2011 BEMC Indian Summer Trophy Races at Mosport this weekend, in with the intention of doing better than we did at the first enduro of the year. We had high hopes and spirits that we would have a good weekend.

Jay and Frank left for the track Thursday with Car #40.

On Friday we encountered our first problem – the clutch on Car #00 broke while loading it on the trailer. A quick run to Plus 1 Performance fixed that issue and Steve, Nick and I left for the track with #00 around 6pm.

Arriving around 10pm, I immediately put up my tent. Jay and I shared the tent, as there was not enough room in the RV. I brought many blankets and a tuque; it was only 3 degrees overnight.

Saturday morning I took to the track in #00 for the 15-minute practice session. The track surface was so cold and the tires so old that I had a good scare at the bottom of turn 2. There was little available grip especially on the numerous concrete patches. I only managed a lap time of 1:53, well below the expected range.

Steve also went out for the practice in #40, but only managed 1 lap before he retired with a potential electrical issue. We managed to have a new distributor brought up from Acura East, the dealer in Ajax, and replaced it before the qualifying session.

After a long 2-hour delay to repair guardrail damage in the morning, Steve and Jay went out for a qualifying run. Steve again retired after less than a single lap; we could not find the root cause of the car’s electrical problems. This time, the fuel pump did not seem to be working. Steve was not able to continue and would not start the enduro. Jay took #00 out on old tires and qualified 10th of 13 in class, 30th overall out of 35, with a 1:46.

Jay and I both struggled with second gear during the day. I would normally use it only in Turn 5B. The shifter kept popping out of gear. The workaround was to stay in third gear for that corner.

The afternoon was long, so we had lots of time to prepare the one car for the race. We fuelled it up as much as we could, chose a good set of slightly used tires (i.e. already scrubbed-in) and put together the pit kit.

I made sure I ate a proper dinner this time and was much more relaxed for the start of the race.

Photo by Liz
Photo by Liz (

During the pace lap, the back of the pack was a mess – the rows were not formed up at all. After a previous experience, I decided to ignore the other drivers to my left and stay right on the bumper of the car directly in front of me. As I was wired up for radio, I heard the call for the start at the exit of Turn 9. I got on the throttle immediately. With the cars all strung out, I found lots of room to move around. I made three positions before the first turn! The other drivers might have been caught out without a radio.

I lost one position when a GT-2 Porsche GT3 went by in Turn 5 and another position when Nicholas Krikorian (GT-1 Subaru) blew by on the back straight. They are both in a faster class and had started behind me.

By the time I came around to complete the first lap, I was in 26th place, as some of the other cars must not have made it to mock grid.

During the first few laps, I had to work hard to hold off Jamie Steenbakkers in a Honda Civic. I believe it was her first time at Mosport, and put up a good fight. I was able to slowly pull away, mostly by capitalizing on my speed in the corners – Mosport is damn intimidating for a first-timer.

I stayed in 26th or 25th place until lap 11 when I started to climb up the charts. By lap 19, I was in 21st place. I had a good race against a Mazda Miata driven by Mike or Peter Adamovits. Sometimes he would get by, but I had higher speed on the long back straight and could take the position back.

By lap 47, I was as high as 19th place, but that was also due to the other teams taking their pit stops.

Photos by Liz
Photos by Liz (

Steve queried me on fuel state during my 90-minute stint. The first 60 minutes were ok, and I wasn’t lacking for speed. But after that, it became obvious that I would not make it to the 90-minute mark for our only pit stop. We think the bottom half of the tank is smaller than the top half, as we had similar fuel-usage results at the Victoria Day Speedfest.

I had to start short-shifting. At first, I just shifted earlier and earlier, but the fuel level kept dropping. I then started keeping it in fifth gear from the top of the back straight to Turn 9. Eventually, I also upshifted before Turn-2 as well and kept it in fifth-gear until Turn 10. This was not the best solution, as it meant that if I got into trouble I would not have enough torque to pull myself out of a spin. I did everything I could to conserve gas and keep my momentum in the fast corners. My lap times grew from 1:41.529 to 1:46.660 and finally to 1:51.409. That sucked. I kept telling Steve I was loosing places, but we had to keep moving to the 90-minute mark. The motor started starving for fuel in the corners, and yet I kept going. When the motor started starving on the straight, I called in that I had to pit “Now!”

It was close enough to the half-way point that the time for the pit stop would be enough to get us to the end of the race – if Jay could conserve just as much fuel.

During the pit stop, we switched the GoPro HD in the car for another one with new batteries. We found out later that the first GoPro battery died after 15 minutes, so I have little of my half of the race on video.

Jay went out and could start pushing right away. The tires were in reasonable shape and the temperatures were good.

Jay left the pits in 27th place but had to come in for a stop-and-go penalty as we spilled too much fuel during the pit stop.

Jay came back up to 25th place over the next four laps. He stayed in 25th place for the next 12.5 laps.

On lap 75, as he was heading down the hill at Turn 4, the motor made a “pop” sound and died. He used the momentum to pull off after Turn 5B, and parked the car near the woods, out of the way. There were still 35 minutes remaining in the race. It was depressing. We had such high hopes.

I only raced two weekends this year – the two 3-hour enduros. In both cases, the car died before the end. It is the first year of racing where I did not finish a single race.

I did find some positives about the weekend. I had another fantastic start, moving up a number of places. I was able to keep off a challenge from Jamie and had a good scrap with Peter or Mark in the Miata. And I learned about fuel conservation, short-shifting and keeping up my momentum. It was good experience and practice.

Steve and Nick left that night around 10pm. Jay, Frank and I retired to the RV for beers (or Pepsi in my case) and to watch some of our videos. We had a good talk, but I had to fight not to fall asleep – I don’t remember being so exhausted at the end of a race day. We had a quiet trip home Sunday morning.

Hot Air Balloon Ride – Not

Rosa bought us tickets for a hot air balloon ride. It was part of the Festival de Montgolfières de Gatineau – the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. It was something I’ve wanted to see for years and never made the time.

Rosa is very proactive though, and she bought tickets a few weeks ago – they were around $200 per person. Today was the final day of the festival. The weather did not look promising. Clouds, rain, and wind.

We left for Gatineau early, as we expected another traffic jam like for the fireworks show. When we arrived, we had a very difficult time finding the parking lot entrance. The signs were confusing and many of the streets in the area were one-way. Eventually, we found the lot and parked. We went to the entrance to ask about the rides. I tried to ask ‘en français’, but I could not understand the reply, so we had to find someone who could help in English. The ticket attendant called the organizer, but the go/no-go had not been finalized. After further discussions, we found we would have to buy tickets for the festival ($18 each) and go to the balloon launch point in order to get our refund, should the rides be cancelled.

We went in and went to the balloon ride starting field. There we were told we would have to sit and wait until the decision was made. They were nice and came out to keep us informed of the progress of the discussions.

After over an hour, it was announced that the rides would be cancelled. The winds were too high. They took down our name to indicate that we had been on-site, and then we could leave. We wandered around some craft tents before we got bored and left for home after sunset.

Montréal again

This weekend, Rosa and I went back to Montréal for a weekend of shopping and sight-seeing.

We arrived on a sunny Saturday afternoon and went immediately to the Saint-Laurent shopping area. Rosa went off shopping and I walked around with my camera, although I didn’t take very many pics. I had a nice snack and a drink, walked up and down the street and popped into a few of the interesting stores. I was looking in the used-clothing stores for props that I could use in future photo workshops. Although I did not buy anything, I did get a good idea what was available.

Rosa and I met later in the afternoon and she continued to shop until the stores closed. We had planned to visit Saint Joseph’s Oratory on Mount Royal, but we ran out of time during the day.

We went out for dinner at Ferreira Café Trattoria, a stylish Portuguese restaurant. We both had fish.

After dinner, we checked in at the Loews Hôtel Vogue, which was only feet from Sainte-Catherine, although Rosa did not do any shopping there as she found more on Saint-Laurent. The hotel was exquisite, but was a little more expensive. The location would have been fantastic, had we spent more time in the area shopping.

Dramatic Beaver
Dramatic Beaver

Sunday morning was dedicated for visiting Le Biodôme de Montréal. This was something I wanted to do, and Rosa was interested as well. Originally built as a velodrome for the 1976 Olympics, it was converted into its current biological exhibition facility in the late 1980’s. It houses four main ecosystems from the Americas: Tropical Rainforest, Laurentian Forest, Saint Lawrence Marine Eco-System and a Polar area (with both North and South Polar regions represented). There was so much to see, from marmoset and macaws in the trees to caimans in the water, a busy beaver and sunbathing river otter, lots of fish, the iconic East Coast puffin, shorebirds, and penguins. I really enjoyed the visit and could go back again to take more pictures!

After Le Biodôme, we went back to Saint-Laurent and had lunch at another Portuguese restaurant, Casa Minhota. It was quite good and we enjoyed the meal.

The afternoon was spent shopping, shopping and more shopping.

At the end of the day, we had a bite to eat in a café. We saw a lot of people walking out of a side street, so we investigated. It was some sort of Portuguese festival. There was a singer on a stage, lots of people walking around or listening. We watched for a little while and then we left for home.

Rideau Carleton Raceway

This evening Rosa and I went to see our first horse race. We went to the Rideau Carleton Raceway south of Ottawa. It is also a casino so technically this was our first time in a casino too.

This will be one of the final races of the 2011 season – its getting dark earlier. The temperature was very nice this evening.

Harness Racing
Harness Racing

The track is 5/8ths of a mile. when we got there and started watching the warmups we found that this track has only standardbred harness racing. We were hoping to see something closer to a thoroughbred race (flat race) or a steeplechase with a jockey on the horse. In harness racing the driver sits in a sulky, which is a very lightweight two-wheeled cart that is pulled behind the horse.

I wanted to come to take photos as practice. I walked around trying to use the setting sun to warm up the photos. It was an excellent opportunity to practice panning. I also wanted to get a photo of all four hooves off the ground like the famous Muybridge series.

We watched about four races before Rosa was too bored to stay. On our way out, we looked in on the buffet. It looked so good – we will have to come back again.