Personal blog of Derek and Margaret, now living in Dominica, W.I., founders of Ozone Zone – an Independent Canadian book publisher specializing in coffee table books of architectural treasures and lush gardens. We also promote fine artistic photography. This blog contains unofficial reports and comments from our various trips, photo sessions and jobs – an unofficial scrapbook of our travels, explorations and photo-related work. See “about” for more.

Archive for September, 2011

Fun in Langford – my home town

I often shared with you on this blog our experience from various countries we visited.
What we find most enjoyable during our travels is that each country, each region has its own traditions, rituals, festivities. The culture is so diverse, there is so much to explore.
One can go to the Caribbean and participate in a Creole Fest. Enjoy a tea ceremony, or a traditional Kabuki theatre in Japan. Travel to Austria and experience Mozart festival in Salzburg, and so on, so on.

This gave me an idea to show you all, that the city I live in also has its tradition. I showed you lively photos from our travels – now perhaps it is time to share with you fun we can have here, in Langford – near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Langford is where we live, so I can be proud to call it my hometown. And, as already said – our town has its own tradition too. Unlike some others – this tradition is thousands of years old, and has roots in early Roman times, so we need to respect it and share with others with pride. Already in Roman times big Emperors concluded that their people need fun, games and excitement. Big Colosseums were built, where men in heavy armour struggled against each other, to give joy to ecstatic, entertained public. We learn about it in schools, and it is one of perhaps most known facts and traditions of fun and entertainment in human history.

We have our little Colosseum too, here in Langford on Luxton community playgrounds. And every year there are organized 4×4 truck challenges, where men in heavy armour of their cars struggle to woo the happy, entertained public. It is a weekend-long fun for everybody.

Last weekend our friends recommended that – after living here for almost 8 years – I should go and join the crowd, to enjoy our local life and attractions.

Surely I took my camera with me, and here I share my quick snaps with you. It was real fun to watch the trucks trying to get through heavy rocks and other obstacles, and cheers were most spontaneous when a strugling truck went belly up, and an ambulance was called to the scene.
Unfortunately, it was a hot day with strong sun – and when after an hour or so I noticed that my neck gets similarly red to exposed to sun necks of my neighbours – I decided to call it the day and go home. Therefore I never learned which of local gladiators won, but this – as I noticed – was not really that important. The idea was to just have fun and a joyful experience.
I hope that my humble shots will transfer you for a few moments to Langford – the town I live in.

The Knight Of Might

Trying to have a break from Caribbean and architecture photography every now and then, I enjoy working  with models from Victoria.
Continuing with series of portraits and studio works, I just had the privilege of working with  seasoned artists’ model, Michael Ward. He models professionally for about 30 years, and over this period worked with countless fine artists – photographers, sculptors and painters alike. Shooting with him was a real treat, and I was excited that he agreed to model for me in his fine armour from Britain – one of his 250 outfits, as I learned. We also selected one of his swords – a fine and authentic Claymore blade.
I spent a bit of time thinking ahead about the concept for the shoot. Surely, photographing a knight in armour asks for some mystical ambiance, a fairy tale like scenery and atmosphere like from famous William Waterhouse paintings. But, if I would go too much this direction and only this direction, it could be risky, touching of cheap and pretentious style. So, I decided to combine mystical feel of this shoot with real feelings and expressions – a human drama.

How was it to be a warrior on his long battle path centuries ago? How many horrors hardened his soul, how many tragedies and lost comrades made him weep when nobody was watching? Were there enough of happier moments helping soothe his way through pain in the name of glory, God and loyalty?
How about physical pain? The 40 kilograms of armour made him really heavy, struggling with every step and move. Wearing it in hot sun would add to this misery. Just helping Michael to dress for our shoot was an eye-opener for me. This gear is amazingly heavy and uncomfortable.

What about knight’s personal matters? If he was lucky, his beloved woman would wait patiently for his return home. But without any means of regular communication he would only keep his faith and remember her by embracing a little treasure she gave him as farewell gift – perhaps a handkerchief, a locket?
I decided that my Knight has to be a tragic person, longing, almost broken by too many unknown factors and hardships – but still believing in his return home and victory.

We discussed details with Michael prior to our session, and when he started to act – it was pure perfection. He gave me all I wanted – and more.
Rough and rocky ocean location near Taylor Road in Metchosin near Victoria, added to the feel of our setting.
For most shots I used switched white balance and flashes with yellow gels, creating late evening and bonfire mood.
Whole series has about a dozen of very different images. Some of them are saturated with vibrant colours, some are more documentary in character black and whites. I will remember working with Michael for long time, and i hope you find these images interesting. Live long, my knight. Let your path be filled with victories, so you can return to your castle with pride.

If you like it, please click SHARE on right top side of this post.
More photos from this series on my Model Mayhem page.

Etude Noire

I had lots of fun this summer photographing various models from Victoria area, and adding to my art portrait portfolio. And just couple of days ago, I’ve met known artists’ model, Lady Kimberly Rose.
When we first contacted by email, I had instantly a precise idea of how i want our photos to look like.
It was great experience to work with Kim – she recreated my ideas so well, that the whole series is 100% as I imagined it. Thanks a lot, Kim!

You can see the series (called Etude Noire) on my  Model Mayhem  portfolio page and of course on my personal site – but I also post here couple of images from this series, and i hope you’ll enjoy them.

Until next time, cheers!
If you like these pics, please click “share” on top of this post!

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