Family Portrait Session at Parkdale Market

I met with Don, Jennifer and their adorable two year old son Edmund a couple weeks ago on a perfect Sunday morning at Parkdale Park in Ottawa's Wellington West Village. Don and Jen chose this location because little Edmund likes to shop for berries at the adjoining market.

We really lucked out with the weather, because July has brought on a heatwave that has seen many days in the high 30s and low 40s. Not very pleasant for a place that is best known for having eight or so months of winter each year, but on this day the weather gods were kind to us. We spent some time schmoozing with the produce and flower vendors... or rather Edmund did, bought (and ate) a few favorite items, and then headed across the lot to play in the park.

I've known of Don and Jen through social media and our mutual friends in the local food scene, but this was the first time we had met in person, and their adorable little family was a dream to photograph. Don and Jen have such a wonderful warmth and calmness about them that make you want to spend hours in their presence, and little Edmund has so much personality that kept us all smiling and laughing throughout the whole session.

Rather than posed family portraits, I was tasked with documenting this amazing trio as they went about their morning together in the park. Don and Jen wanted natural looking images of them interacting with each other and with Edmund, which blends perfectly with my style and takes me back to my days as a street photographer.

I hope you enjoy viewing these photos as much as I did taking them. Don, Jen and Edmund, thank you for letting me be a part of your family for a few hours.

Newborn Portraits of Baby Makena

A couple of weeks ago I met and photographed baby Makena, and her mom and dad Roxanne and Chris. It's always nice when the parents are able to get in on some of the photos too. But seriously though, it was so much fun spending the afternoon with this new young family, and I'm thrilled to be able to share some of the photos from the session.

It's no surprise that babies have many special qualities about them, and their little fingers and toes, their lips and their nose are always such photographic gold because we all know how quickly these little ones grow.

And then there are the moms and dad who love each of these little bundles so unconditionally. 

Family Portrait Session at Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa

I received a call from a family friend asking if I was available to photograph the families of her two children. The only catch was that the two families were in town for one day as one of the families was had just arrived a day earlier from the UK, and was flying out the next day to live in a new country. I was warned that the grandchildren would be jet lagged and likely grumpy, and it was the morning after I had returned from my own family vacation... challenge accepted!

The other potential hiccup was the uncertainty of the weather. You see, it has rained almost every day, and the weekends were a sure bet to be a little soggy.

Luckily though, the morning was beautiful, albeit a wee bit buggy, and the grandchildren were incredible. Today I share Krista and Neal's photos from the session.

As a father of two energetic young boys, I can't stress enough how important it is to capture the precious moments we encounter as our families grow and develop. Whether it's during a conversation over breakfast, on a simple walk through the neighbourhood, or three days into a summer road trip, you're sure to experience moments that should be captured and cherished forever.

While it's unlikely that I'll be at your breakfast table or on your family vacation, although I'm always happy to tag along, I would love to capture priceless moments of your family that are meant to be shared in photo books and display in large print on your walls. Lets chat.

Photographing Chef Jesse Bell

I recently made a return visit to one of my favorite spots in Ottawa, The Albion Rooms, nestled at the base of Ottawa's Novotel Hotel on Nicholast St. The Albion Rooms prides itself as being anything but your typical hotel restaurant has been a go-to hot spot for many locals and visitors alike. My first visit was back in 2015 when then-Chef Stephen La Salle was at the helm. The food was great - often made with locally sourced ingredients, and the atmosphere was spot on - a perfect mixture of equal parts casual and class.

Today when you visit The Albion Rooms, you still find that same great flavour and service we've come to expect, but when you peak in the back room you'll notice a new Captain steering the ship. Enter Chef Jesse Bell. 

Though his youthful looks may deceive you, Jesse isn't new to the restaurant game. Like many in this city, he is a graduate of Algonquin College's successful Culinary Management program and cut his teeth by working his way up throughout the Capital. Jesse assumed the Head Chef position at The Albion Rooms a little over a year ago, after colleague and close friend Stephen La Salle moved to his new role down the street.

A perfectionist by nature, Jesse takes immense pride in keeping his mouth watering menu new and fresh. And his passion for sustainability and shopping local are a testament to his core values. If you're looking for that perfect location for a date, or need to grab a satisfying bite before catching a show at the NAC, I highly recommend paying Jesse and his team at The Albion Rooms a visit.

Chef John Morris Shot for Shepherds of Good Hope Calendar

Photographing people in and out of their normal work environments is something that really interests me. I have a curious mind and really like learning about what other people do, how they do it, and why they do it. A couple of weeks ago I shared an image I made of Chef Michael Radford for the Shepherds of Good Hope fundraising calendar. Today, I will share the second image I made for the calendar, which was of chef John Morris of the then Le Café at the National Arts Centre NAC) here in Ottawa, and now of 360 Restaurant at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto.

I was excited to meet John after learning how great everyone said he was, and after realizing we had a similar taste in music. I'm probably wrong, but I feel like music can say a lot about someone's personality.

I went into the shoot without having a clear idea of the image I hoped to capture, so we walked through the NAC discussing a few possible locations. And then we found ourselves standing at side stage of the NAC main stage and I knew I had to photograph him on the iconic stage. The problem was, we weren't allowed on stage because of rules and liability issues, and because the orchestra were beginning their evening practice on the stage. We decided to risk it and ran out on stage for a few quick shots. The resulting image for the calendar is the one you see above. 

I often like to light my portrait subjects, but due to the risk of security dragging us off stage I decided to use the room's available light and push my camera settings to their limits. The only strobist work I did in this image was to bounce the desk lamp off the top of the piano to help create a bit of rim light along John's right side.

Here's an out-take that I really like. Though the orchestra was practising behind me, it captures a quiet moment John taking a few seconds from his busy day to admire and appreciate where he worked.

If you haven't already, please check out the Shepherds of Good Hope calendar and buy one. The money raised from the sale of these calendars goes to an incredible local charity that serves thousands of meals each year to Ottawa's homeless community. The calendar also showcases the amazingly creative portraits made by Justin van Leeuwen, Jessica Deeks, Valerie Keeler, Lindsey Gibeau, Christian Lee and Chris Schlesak. If you like photography and you like food, you'll love this calendar.