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Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 08-15-2016, 12:36 PM  
Talk to me about fine art photography... Need some advice
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 36
Views: 3,926
I'm also a mechanical engineer by training, but I don't necessarily fit the typical definition of one. I was always drawing as a kid and doing well in art projects at school, and people generally viewed me as "artistic", with the notable exception of my art teacher who disagreed and said I was more of a "technician". I officially took up photography as a hobby while living in a small town where I had a lot of down time after work and didn't know a lot of people. My dad found me a Ricoh XR500 35mm SLR at a yard sale for $2, which I complemented with a string of K-mount lenses I found on eBay for next to nothing. The primary goal was a creative outlet so I took a lot of long-exposure night shots, photos of weathered buildings, abandoned cars, and stuff of that nature.

That turned into a part-time portrait photography business shortly after getting married. Part of the inspiration for taking that path was a really terrible work situation that ended with a layoff and had me considering giving up the engineering profession altogether. Photography seemed much more appealing, so I made the switch to digital with the purchase of a K-7 and a pair of lenses and dove right in, taking classes and shooting portraits for friends as practice. Shortly after getting laid off my wife and I started our business. I had the technical knowledge, she had a great eye for composition and excellent business sense.

For me I think a big part of the appeal of photography is the challenge of using both sides of your brain to create an image. A photo can be technically excellent without being great art, or vice-versa. I also think the subjective nature of it can be a welcome break from the more rigid rules of the engineering world, where creativity isn't always rewarded.
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 12-04-2015, 01:28 PM  
My rights?
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 28
Views: 1,972
The only experience I have that's relevant to this situation would be taking photos at the Calgary Zoo, which does have a policy in place stating “the commercial use of photographs, video and film you take during your visit is strictly prohibited without full written consent”. This seems to apply to both general visits by the public and special events. Not sure if something similar is in effect here.

Great images!

Forum: Photographic Technique 10-07-2015, 11:04 AM  
Why do these low-light flashed pictures look so well?
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 67
Views: 5,557
I like the DIY "better bounce card' approach, which is essentially a piece of white craft foam attached to the flash head with a velcro strap. I expect one could get results like the photos in question by using something similar.

With a 540 pointed straight up you can either bathe a room with light and overpower the ambient in a dimly lit room (particularly when used in conjunction with a ceiling or wall) or get a more balanced look simply by varying the flash power. In the link below we used large bounce cards for the photo of the band and the one of the couple dancing:

Polachek Photography: Our First Croatian Wedding - Calgary Wedding Photography
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 08-25-2015, 01:53 PM  
Should you bring all your gear to a wedding?
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 27
Views: 2,421
Are you working in an official capacity? That is, will you be coordinating with the pro photographer, or just tagging along doing your own thing? I think the answer to that may help narrow things down.
Forum: Pentax K-5 10-23-2014, 08:18 AM  
K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 410
Views: 74,353
Mine was done under warranty so I unfortunately have no idea what it might cost now, but after a little over 2 years since the repair it's still performing flawlessly and the issue hasn't returned
Forum: General Photography 10-22-2014, 12:01 PM  
Wedding Photographer and "Guests"
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 26
Views: 2,700
I recently heard a story about a guest bringing a remote-controlled drone to a wedding, mounting a camera to it, and flying it around during the ceremony.
Forum: General Photography 10-22-2014, 08:15 AM  
(also) going to shoot a friends wedding
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 53
Views: 3,956
^Agreed. I know of several photogs who use primes pretty much exclusively. So it can be done. That being said, fast zooms make life much easier during the fast-paced portions of the day. Which in some cases can be the whole day. ;)

Your gear list looks good, but one suggestion I would make is to forego the 32 gig cards in favour of several smaller ones. We actually use 8 gig cards. For instance, you can use one for the pre-wedding portion, then swap it out before the ceremony, then again before the formals. That way you're not risking the entire day's photos should you encounter a problem with one of your cards (heaven forbid you accidentally delete the entire contents of one, but should that happen you can just put that card aside and recover the data when you get home). 8 gigs are pretty cheap now, so it's more bang for the buck.
Forum: Lens Clubs 10-21-2014, 10:55 AM  
DA* Club
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 4,925
Views: 668,046
Here's one of my favourites from our most recent automotive shoot. Car is a 1981 BMW 535i. Lens is DA* 50-135.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-21-2014, 10:31 AM  
Poll: Going (semi)pro with Pentax - Is it a good call?
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 92
Views: 8,721
I could see the bolded part being a concern in certain situations, depending on the end use of the images.

Also, I have noticed many wedding photogs in my area have started requiring second shooters to have a full-frame camera. Some will even specify Canon or Nikon, depending which brand they use themselves (some want to use the second shooter's camera body and/or lenses as backups to their own stuff, so get quite selective as a result). Right or wrong, it does exist and I suspect it's largely an attempt to weed down the pool of potential second shooters.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-20-2014, 01:34 PM  
Poll: Going (semi)pro with Pentax - Is it a good call?
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 92
Views: 8,721
1- From the standpoint of weddings and portraiture, our go-to lenses are the 50-135, 16-50, and 15 Limited. So three lenses, two bodies. The 50-135 in particular is well worth the price of admission, and when evaluating the price of Pentax zooms I think it's important to compare against the stabilized versions of the competition's offerings.

2- Autofocus can be a challenge with the K-5 in certain situations, namely tracking and low-light, but I've never really used anyone else's stuff or had a chance to test-drive the K-3. So far it hasn't been a deal-breaker. It can be overcome with proper technique and a knowledge of your gear's strengths and limitations.

3- I'm a fan of manual flash and use it almost exclusively. In that situation the playing field is pretty level.

4- If a full-frame offering were to materialize I would definitely give it some serious consideration. But for me the increase in image quality would have to justify the weight and price penalties of FF. I would much rather have two high-end APS-C bodies vs. one FF body with no backup. Most importantly, the income of the business would need to be sufficient to justify an upgrade to a different brand or system.
Forum: Pentax K-3 10-16-2014, 10:24 AM  
Pentax K3 Wedding Photos
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 32
Views: 11,719
^Very nice work, and great review of the K-3's performance. An increase in focus speed and accuracy along with a reliable P-TTL mode would be a definite upgrade from the K-5. That being said, I've found the K-5 to be extremely capable, and it's shortcomings haven't caused any major issues.

I adopted a very similar approach with the K-5/K-7 combo we use, for the exact same reason. I want the jpeg histogram to be as close as possible to the RAW as possible, so I also have the in-camera contrast turned down. The goal being to nail the exposure and focus in-camera, then adjust everything else to taste in PP.
Forum: General Talk 10-15-2014, 09:31 AM  
Gearheads, Unite!
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 1,859
Views: 150,285
Thought I'd share this here. My wife and I did the photography featured in this auction. :)

1981 BMW M535i | Bring a Trailer
Forum: Pentax K-5 10-09-2014, 01:51 PM  
Rent a K5iis for wedding?
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 32
Views: 3,281
If this is the case, you may be very limited in the shots you can get of the ceremony as the person provided by the venue will be the official photographer. They may even have a contract that stipulates that they are the sole photographer for the event. If at all possible you should do some research on the hotel's policies, and talk to the official photog beforehand and ask if they mind if you take some shots as well. If they decline you may be asked to remain in your seat during the ceremony and not move around. Not to rain on your parade, just something for you and the couple to be aware of. Is the photographer being provided just for the ceremony?
Forum: Photographic Technique 10-09-2014, 01:14 PM  
Color / B&W Techinique Help
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 5
Views: 714
I'm not sure if the K-x or Q10 have it, but I do know the K-7 has a custom mode for isolating certain colour channels while leaving the rest of the image monochrome. I remember playing around with it a bit after first getting the camera. Using post-processing would offer more control, but if your camera has a similar mode it may be possible to do in-camera if you so choose.
Forum: General Photography 10-09-2014, 10:15 AM  
Have been asked to be the Photographer at a friends wedding.
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 34
Views: 2,469
^Agreed with aleonx3. Managing expectations is key, and they vary widely from couple to couple. Some want to be photographed standing on top of a mountain, while others are content to have well-exposed images of the entire family all dressed up and happy, all in the same place at the same time.

I will point out that weddings are incredibly challenging as they require a broad set of skills. At any given time you could be required to be a portrait photographer, a photojournalist, a family/kid photographer, a macro/detail shooter, a wrangler, an event coordinator, and a problem solver. You need to know your gear inside and out and be prepared for just about anything, as you're not getting a second chance to capture the ceremony. If you're stressed and frustrated during the day and show it, that will be picked up by the couple and make for a negative experience. I think that's why many will warn you that you're walking into a buzzsaw, but if you're confident in your skills and feel that you can deliver what they expect then it is completely doable.

Obviously there is inherent risk to the friendship if things don't turn out as hoped, so that will need to be taken into account. If you're not comfortable with what's going to be asked of you, then it would be best to communicate that with the couple and politely decline.

All that being said, it sounds like you've decided to proceed so good luck and have fun with it! :)
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 09-19-2014, 04:26 PM  
licencing and your municipality
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 25
Views: 1,628
As I understand it, the issue in Banff popped up after local pros started complaining about non-resident pros shooting without licences. The bylaw enforcement is complaint-driven, so the town took action. A local wedding photographer got a warning after Town of Banff officials spotted a local landmark in one of the photos in her blog post, and at least one person had a wedding shoot interrupted by a bylaw official. That's what really set it off, and many were caught unaware. A lot of people saw it as Banff picking on Calgary with outrageous fees, where in fact the Calgary non-resident fees are actually slightly more expensive.

There was discussion about forming a large umbrella company where a group of people would sub-contract under one licence, but that opened yet another can of worms regarding insurance, worker's compensation, etc. A group from Calgary got together and addresses the Banff town council a few years ago about licensing, which is what gave rise to their day rate. That helped a bit but the rate is still fairly high, especially for those who offer lower-cost packages and may not shoot in the parks very often.

Last I read (albeit a few years ago), the MD of Bighorn only requires visiting businesses to be licenced in their own municipality.
Forum: General Talk 04-30-2014, 10:34 AM  
Gearheads, Unite!
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 1,859
Views: 150,285
^Great shots! I tend to gravitate towards detail photos myself. :)
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-15-2014, 02:23 PM  
Pentax 645D high speed sync?
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 4
Views: 2,124
What's your end goal? Are you trying to freeze motion, or shoot wide open in full sun?
Forum: General Talk 04-10-2014, 08:46 AM  
Gearheads, Unite!
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 1,859
Views: 150,285
^I think that's about the first time I've heard "more practical" and "Camaro" in the same sentence. ;)

Here's a few of our more modern Z:

Polachek Photography: Highwood Pass - Calgary Automotive Photographer

As sportscars go it's actually quite practical despite the two-seater configuration. I can actually fit a pair of 10' lightstands sideways between the seatbacks and the strut tower brace. :)
Forum: General Talk 04-08-2014, 08:14 AM  
Gearheads, Unite!
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 1,859
Views: 150,285
Yup, I'd like to get it that low in a driveable state but the stance as pictured is courtesy of a flat tire on the driver's side, and a missing wheel and brake drum on the passenger side. ;)
Forum: General Talk 04-07-2014, 03:18 PM  
Gearheads, Unite!
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 1,859
Views: 150,285
Definitely appears to be a bit of a chop there. I believe at that time Monarch was its own division, so this example would simply be referred to as a Monarch (though there was a Mercury Monarch in the 70's). There was also a Meteor division in later years, with names like Niagara and Rideau. We also got Mercury trucks until '68. Here's my '62:

The photo is from 2005, and was taken with my garage-sale find Ricoh XR500 (my first true SLR). I believe the lens was a Sigma wide-angle zoom I purchased off eBay for $20 or so.

The camera itself was $2 with a 50mm prime. ;)
Forum: Photographic Technique 04-03-2014, 10:13 AM  
Motorcycle Photography
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 4
Views: 805
Solid article on a technique I've been meaning to try for some time. Thanks for posting!
Forum: Photographic Technique 04-03-2014, 09:14 AM  
Gary fong flash gel trick ??
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 21
Views: 3,522
I'm not sure if this is relevant to the discussion but it's worth noting that the default behaviour for the K-5 is to fine-tune WB even when it's set to one of the presets. It may even do so if you select a colour temperature, IIRC. However, there is a menu option for disabling this feature.

I've encountered this during a lighting workshop where the instructor recommending setting a fixed WB for consistency. Even after doing so my shots were showing noticeable colour temperature shifts on the camera's LCD.
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 03-31-2014, 11:45 AM  
Photo sales: SmugMug, Zenfolio, or PhotoShelter?
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 15
Views: 6,681
Thanks Miguel. After checking into it I see the option to customize each gallery does exist for Business users. With a Portfolio account you can set multiple profiles but it seems only one can be active at any one time.
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 03-30-2014, 02:56 PM  
Photo sales: SmugMug, Zenfolio, or PhotoShelter?
Posted By polachekphotography
Replies: 15
Views: 6,681
We use SmugMug and are really pleased with it, and I'd say it meets all your requirements. They have a lot of different options for security settings, such as making individual galleries public, private with password protection, or unlisted, and there is an option to automatically apply a watermark. As for print ordering, we use the Bay Photo option and the service has been very reliable. No issues with customs or anything of that sort. They do an excellent job of packing the prints too.

One thing that could be improved is the option to select colour correction on your prints. It would be nice to be able to assign it by gallery, where at the moment it seems to be a site-wide setting.
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