plum photography: Blog en-us (C) plum photography [email protected] (plum photography) Mon, 30 Nov 2020 17:15:00 GMT Mon, 30 Nov 2020 17:15:00 GMT plum photography: Blog 120 80 Taylor and Ronan The forecast leading up to the day of Taylor and Ronan's wedding changed constantly, but thankfully it ended up being a beautiful day.  Which was good, because I didn't want rain added to the mix because I was already nervous enough.  I was asked to do the cupcakes, which I could do in my sleep, as well as the photography.  I'd never shot a wedding as the lead photographer before, so I wasn't sure if it was something I wanted to do.  In the end, I decided to do it because a) they knew I was new to weddings and b) the bride's mom is one of my favourite people.  Had it not been this wedding, I don't know if I would have done it.  The fact that I'd known her for 17 years put me at ease. 


The day was fantastic, the people were wonderful (and photogenic), the meal was delicious (I still think about it regularly), the Jenga was stacked tall and fun was had by all. 


Thank you so much, Taylor and Ronan, for letting me be a part of your day. 


[email protected] (plum photography) Mon, 30 Nov 2020 16:14:55 GMT
How it all started I've loved photography for as long as I can remember. When I as 4, I won a Kodak Disc 3100 in a draw (or more accurately, Dad bought the tickets and all of our names went on them, and mine was the one drawn). Since I had not paid for the ticket, and I did not have the ability to drive to the city for more film, it was determined that ownership of the camera would be held by my mom. This might have also had to do with the fact that all of my pictures would be of knees or up noses since I was only 4.


Knowing that the camera was not mine did not stop me from getting up in the middle of the night on Boxing Day and taking pictures of every present I had received. I lined them all up against the wall in the dining room and slowly made my way around the room. I'm not sure if I was worried we would need a record in case of fire or theft, or if I was just so happy that I got the Sesame Street kitchen I'd wanted that I had to preserve the memory. You'd hate to take that chance that when you're in your thirties you won't remember the awesome gifts you got at 4. This was not the last time that I would have my own photo shoot, but definitely the most successful clandestine operation.

Hiding spot of the camera - the plate cupboard

Need the test shot to make sure it's working...

Regardless of what my reasoning was, this started my love of documenting everything in my life - sometimes the very important things like family gatherings, other times the simple things, like an outdoor Barbie wedding, or the balloons I was given for my birthday.


Slowly my choice of subjects has become more refined. Loving to capture moments in time, items that may be later forgotten and and images of people that will one day be gone is what lead me to enrol in photography school so that I could finally pursue my dream of being a professional photographer.

[email protected] (plum photography) Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:51:01 GMT
Miller Family I had the privilege of doing family photos for one of my favourite families this fall, at one of my favourite locations - my Granny's house.  Here are some of the images that I liked best.  

[email protected] (plum photography) Manitoba family photography Wed, 25 Nov 2015 04:36:19 GMT
The Last Day I went to Alberta a few weeks ago with my friends Cheryl and Dorothy to attend a workshop put on by Dave Brosha, Paul Zizka and John Marriott called October Gold.  It was a weekend full of fun, early mornings, late nights, wonderful people, and miles of driving.  We went to many locations in the Banff/Lake Louise area throughout the weekend, ending with a sunrise at Herbert Lake on our last day.  This was followed by some editing instruction, our final (delicious) meal and goodbyes.  The three of us also threw in an impromtu sunset shoot on the side of the highway on the way back to Calgary.

Below is a photographic recap of our last day.

[email protected] (plum photography) Alberta Gold Herbert Lake October Fri, 06 Nov 2015 04:14:51 GMT
Game Day One of the best things I've had the chance to do because of school is shoot Winnipeg Blue Bomber games.  Last year I shot three or four and this year I've been able to shoot one, the August 22nd game against the Montreal Alouettes.  It was soooo much fun!  I spent the first half on the field, then switched off with Cheryl and she spent the rest of the game on the field.  

I love being that close to the action.  It takes a lot of concentration because you can't keep your non camera eye closed - you need to watch the play since everything (and everyone) is closer than they look through the camera.  Luckily there were no close calls this year, last year I would have been run over if I hadn't been paying attention.  

Here are some of my favourites from that game.







[email protected] (plum photography) 2014 August Blue Bombers Day Game Winnipeg football sports Mon, 08 Sep 2014 04:52:23 GMT
Continued Learning


A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to take a workshop from a photographer that I've been following for about a year on Facebook, Dave Brosha (be sure to check his work out at  He decided to spend his summer driving across the country with his wife and three kids, stopping in some cities to teach workshops.  Lucky for me, he chose Winnipeg as one of his stops.  I really wanted to go, but was devastated to find out that the three days he would be teaching were Monday to Wednesday - the only three days that absolutely have to work.  The closer it got to the day of the classes, the more I wanted to go, to the point where one day The Sister said something to me about "guess who is in Saskatoon right now" and I said I knew, and I was so wishing I could be there to attend the workshops and wondered how she knew.  Turned out that she was talking about a hockey player, and I was obsessing about what I was going to be missing out on here a little while later. 


About two weeks before the class was going to start, I had a dream that it had all worked out, I figured out a way to make work and everything work, and I got to go.  I woke up in the morning and realized that the plan might actually work.  I mentioned it to The Sister, she said "that's that guy that was in Saskatoon a little while ago, right?" and after I sent a few emails to Dave to find out about timelines, she helped make it happen (also, thank you Donnie!).  And I'm soooo grateful that she did, because attending the workshops changed things for me.  A switch was flipped, my creativity started to come back, all with the only downside being gear envy.  I want so many more things (filter, softboxes, etc).


The first two days were called "A Planet of Light" and it was about landscape photography - my true love.  The first day was mainly in the classroom, with a couple shooting exercises.  Just regular 9-5 hours, which was good because I had to go to work after.  I got home from work at around 11, and decided I had to do laundry, so I only fell asleep at about 12:30.  Which was not good, since the second day was our shooting day - starting with the sunrise.  So I had to meet the group in the city at 4:30 IN THE MORNING.  You know, the city that's about an hour away from where I live.  So I got about 2 hours of sleep, met the group and then we went to The Forks and shot for a few hours (I got to use some graduated ND filters  yay!) and then went for breakfast, then back to The Forks to shoot some more.  At this point, Dave gave us an assignment to shoot for black and white images.  I LOVED IT! I didn't realize before that that I'd never really purposefully shot black and white.  It was usually just a fall back for when I couldn't get the white balance right.  


After that, we broke for lunch, at which time I decided to go back to our classroom for a nap on a table.  I was exhausted, but it was so worth it.  So was the 20 minute nap.  The afternoon was about editing, and for the first time ever, I was happy with everything and hardly wanted to edit.  I had very few things I wanted to adjust, and that never happens to me.  That alone told me that this was a good decision.  Once we were done, I headed back to work for the evening, since I had to be ready for the next day's class - Advanced Creative Portraiture. 


Below are some of my favourites from the second day of class.  I hope you enjoy them. 



[email protected] (plum photography) Planet of Light The Forks Winnipeg landscapes photos workshop Sun, 10 Aug 2014 08:33:34 GMT
Happy National Camera Day
Courtesy of: SnapKnot

[email protected] (plum photography) Mon, 30 Jun 2014 21:46:39 GMT
My journey through school Deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up was difficult for me.  I'd wanted to be everything from a hairdresser to a restauranteur.  When the time came that I really had to decide, I couldn't make up my mind so I decided to go to college and get a Business Administration diploma.  I figured it was very versatile, so it would buy me some more time before I needed to really figure out what the adult version of me would do every day.  I started off majoring in accounting, until I realized that I hated accounting (which will seem funny to those that know how much I love numbers).  It wasn't until one night filled with a bit too much alcohol and bratwurst that I finally knew what I was supposed to be.

I remember being at Oktoberfest at the Convention Centre during my second year, talking to someone I knew from a committee I was on at college.  He was telling me about the program he was in - photography.  I don't know how I hadn't realized there was a photography program, or that being a photographer was a career path, but it hadn't even occurred to me until then that I could have done that.  Twelve years later and I could probably show you the exact spot I was standing in during that conversation.  It was a moment filled with hope and devastation - I finally knew what I wanted to be, but I wasn't anywhere near doing it.  The next time I went home for a weekend I told my mom about what I had found out. We figured that I was far enough into my current program that I would not be able to quit now, but if it was something that I really wanted, I could always go back to school later.

Fast forward twelve years and I had done everything from managing a restaurant to payroll.  The job I was at was ending, and I had to decide what I was going to do next.  I figured I should make some lemonade out of the lemons I'd just been handed, and decided it was time to finally do what I'd always wanted to do (but had been too afraid to try) - be a photographer.

Since I knew that I learn better when I can do things hands on, I figured I needed to go to school rather than try to learn from the internet.  I'd heard of Prairieview from a couple of sources - the classes offered through the WAG as well as a friend whose daughter had graduated from the diploma program a few years ago.  I was still paralyzed by fear and it took a couple of weeks to finally send my application in.  I had every excuse in the book "I need to wait until I have more money," " I need to wait until I have my new camera," "I need to wait until I've learned how to use my new camera," "I need to wait until I've taken better pictures with my new camera" and so on. I'm pretty sure I was holding my breath the whole time that I was filling the application out and most definitely while I sent it.  Luckily I didn't have to wait long because I had an email back within 10 minutes saying that they would like to set up an interview.  Now I actually had to do this.

Looking back at the pictures that I brought to my interview, I can't help but wonder how Ross let me in - I'm going to have to guess it was based solely on my dazzling wit and sparkling personality.    Nothing was white balanced, the only design element I knew anything about was the rule of thirds, and I had no clue how to use the camera.  I honestly would sometimes spin the dial and try taking a picture to see what it looked like, and if it was bad, I'd spin to another mode and try there.  I knew what I liked to see in a picture, but no idea how to actually achieve it on purpose.


Interview picture - Dad on his motorcycle
Interview picture - Lily
Interview picture - Eddy


Interview picture - apple blossoms

Luckily, I had chosen the right place to learn.  Within a month we were learning about shutter speeds.  I went from all action being frozen or horrible ghosting to being able to plan for the effect I wanted.  I was delighted!  I now understood how other photographers got images where everything was blurred except the subject, and vice versa.

Out for a spin


Water Droplets
Stopping motion
Star trails
Star trails


Motion in traffic

The next months were a blur (hehehe) of learning about depth of field, histograms, all kinds of design elements, film and don't even get me started on the digital techniques we were learning.  Prior to this, I had never even heard of Lightroom and all of my experience with Photoshop was working on a Christmas card I'd made a few years earlier.  Since I had no idea what I was doing, every time I made a mistake I had to start over from scratch.  So I knew how to do that one card verrrry well by the end.  Now here I was being able to fix white balance and catalogue and keyword all of my photos.  I was in OCD paradise!  Since starting school I actually created a new catalogue and uploaded every digital photo I had from before school.  Just because.

During the school year, my sister and I went to Las Vegas to go to a Tragically Hip concert (why see them in Winnipeg when tickets are cheaper in Vegas).  I brought along a few assignments to shoot, since I was already tired of snow (little did I know I still had over 4 months of it ahead of me).  Ross gave me a driving tour he'd done last time he'd been there, and we spent one whole day driving around so that I could do my assignments.  It was amazing!  I can't wait to go back another time, for longer than 2 days and rent a car and just explore.


Exploring shutter speeds in Valley of Fire State Park


Landscapes in Red Rock Canyon


Moon over Valley of Fire




In the second half of the year we started learning more about lighting, one of the main reasons why I knew I had to do this in a school instead of being my own professor.  I needed to be able to use the equipment to know what I was doing.  And since there's no way I could afford studio lights, I needed to go somewhere with them.  I also am the type of person who needs to be able to ask questions (because I'll always have a lot).  Learning about studio lighting and product photography has been great with the instructors that we have.  They don't want us to just be able to do things, we are taught WHY we are doing things, so that later if we're trying to figure out a set up, we'll have the knowledge to be able to do it on our own.  This works great with my learning style, since I need to understand why things are done.

Product Mimic assignment: we had to find an image and copy the lighting.  Top image is the one I chose to copy, bottom is my version (with plenty of help from Dorothy and Paolo)
Product mimic lighting set up


It's hard to believe that it's been 9 months since I finished school.  I feel like I still have so much to learn, yet I know that I am miles ahead of where I was when I started.  I don't think that I would know how to use my camera on automatic anymore, or take a picture without worrying about my depth of field.  I can't drive home without using the aerial perspective to judge the distances of farms from the highway.  I think about how I would have lit a movie or a tv show differently, or how I know who the bad guy is because they're using split lighting.  Some days I wish I could turn it all off, but I like the new way that I'm seeing the world.  If it helps me to be a better photographer, and will push me to continue to improve after I've left school.

I'm not going to lie, I couldn't wait to be done school, yet I was terrified to finish.  There is a certain safety with being in school and continuing to learn.  Learning new things is what got me through the different stages of feeling like I don't know what I'm doing - and there were many stages.  I can't count the number of times that I felt like I should just put the camera down, and that my creative was broken but it always came back.  Sometimes all it would take was leaving the tripod behind for a day and going out and taking pictures of whatever random things I could find.  Other times it was grabbing the tripod and going out to catch my 7th sunset in a row. Or it would be learning a new technique that would make all of the others click into place.

Even more than I miss learning everyday, I miss the opportunities I had while in school.  I've always wanted to learn about film development and how to work in a darkroom and I had that chance there.  I could spend days in there, and am already planning on setting my own up in my house.  

Another opportunity that I had that I never would have had otherwise was getting a photo pass for Winnipeg Jets games.  I don't think I'd been as nervous as I was for that first game in a long time.  Even my interview was nothing compared to that.   I got to go to three Jets games, sit through three of Claude Noel's post game interviews, and it was a part of school?  That is still unbelievable for me.  By the third game I wasn't as nervous, but still had just as much fun.


Wheeler's empty netter


Acknowledging the crowd after another win


The road ahead towards the end was interesting.  I chose to major in Portraiture.  My true love is landscapes, but  I needed to learn all that I could about portraiture from our excellent resources while I could.  Landscapes can be my secret (well not so secret)  love - what I do for me, because you always have to have something that you shoot for yourself.

Flash portrait
Sunset panorama


I'm so grateful for all that I was able to learn, the wonderful teachers who taught us, and the amazing friends that I have met.  I could not have picked a better group of people to spend 10 months with.  We have become a family, which is very important when you're pushing along at such a fast pace.

[email protected] (plum photography) Thu, 13 Mar 2014 17:57:28 GMT