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a portrait a day: 2013

  1. 12/31/2013 - Mike Lipnowski - 6:13PM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Saving the best for last! My brother Mike is the very last portrait for this project. He is the best brother I’ve ever had (the only brother I’ve ever had). Mike is a Sound Engineer, and music is his life. He is a multitalented musician himself, and plays guitar, bass, as well as drums and piano. He is a busy guy, but he made time in his busy schedule for this portrait today.

    Mike wasn’t always sure what he would do for a living, and he always wanted to work in the music industry. He worked extremely hard in school and found his calling. I’m extremely proud of him.


    Thanks so much to everyone for following this project over the past year.

    Please be sure to check back here in a few days, as I will post a recap with some fun facts, stats, and my thoughts and reflections on the trials and tribulations of completing this year long project. 


    EXIF: f/3.5 @ 1/200 ISO100 @ 24mm  - 3 strobes + 2 flashes used in creating the last one: 1 strobe in a shoot through camera right, 2 strobes behind Michael on both sides (you can see them both), as well as two flashes behind the monitor (speaker) that Michael is sitting on to light up the black bank of speakers (otherwise there would be little to no detail in them)


  2. 12/30/2013 - Shaun Rykiss - 12:35AM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Shaun is the brother of one of my best friends, Matt, which automatically makes him my good friend. He and Matt were both competitive hockey players growing up, and Shaun is also really into canoeing, camping, and full enjoying the outdoors during the summer months. He is leaving Winnipeg today to go back to Vancouver where he currently lives and works.

    Shaun is originally from Winnipeg, but went to Vancouver a few years ago, where he attended and graduated from the Vancouver Film School. Shaun is a director/editor/filmmaker, and you can check out his awesome work on his website here. Shaun is currently working as an editor back in Vancouver, on a new television show that will be airing on the Outdoor Network this summer. He told me about the show, and it sounds pretty exciting.

    Since film/movies are such a huge part of Shaun’s life, he wanted to shoot it in a theatre, and luckily was able to get access to a movie theatre close to where we live today. The only catch was that we could only have access after midnight the day he was leaving, so we got it done really early today.

    EXIF: f/3.2 @ 1/30 ISO100 @ 16mm  - 1 flash in a shoot through umbrella camera left, as well as 2 flashes (one behind the other) at the back of the theatre. both gelled blue to look like the projector


  3. 12/29/2013 - Sam Levy - 9:15PM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Sam is one of my best friends, and I’m still learning new things about him. I honestly think that Sam knows me better than most of my other friends, he is a very intuitive person when it comes to reading people. We first became friends in middle school when I transferred over to a new school. I asked him tonight if he remembered a moment or event when we became friends, and he immediately remembered a photo of us in a group on a couch at the new school. I didn’t remember the photo, but do remember that area where we would hang out on our lunch breaks. I now need to find this photo from 15-16 years ago. I discovered tonight that Sam has a love for Lego. He is a self described “big kid”, and at one point in the evening, he went into the deep meaning behind lego: with the independent pieces creating new things after they are taken apart and put back together.

    Sam is currently completing a masters degree in supply chain management, while working as a Program Manager. We play ball hockey together during the warmer months, and I’m looking forward to some decent winter weather so we can continue on skates.

    EXIF: f/5 @ 1/125 ISO100 @ 32mm  - 1 flash in a softbox over top of Sam, and 1 flash in a shoot through umbrella camera left behind Sam


  4. 12/28/2013 - Sophie Becker - 11:02AM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Sophie is a happy little four month old. Her grandmother had me shoot their family portraits today, and during the session I photographed each of the three grandchildren by themselves on some tiny chairs in the library. I was a little worried about Sophie breaking into a tantrum a few times during the 1 hour shoot, but she kept her cool the entire time, which was pretty impressive. Sophie really turned on the charm and showed the camera some love at the end, which made choosing just one cute frame a tough decision.

    EXIF: f/3.2 @ 1/80 ISO250 @ 56mm  - 1 flash in a shoot through umbrella camera left, and 1 flash in a silver bounce umbrella camera right for fill


  5. 12/27/2013 - Leilanie Giordmaina - 6:58PM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Tonight I had two assignments for the Winnipeg Free Press, a group meditation assignment, and covering the Wesmen Classic basketball championships. I didn’t know where I’d be making my portrait when I left home, but both assignments looked promising for a location. The first assignment was to create a unique image from a night of meditation, community, clearing and creation, and in the organizers words: "The theme of the night is to re-inspire and re-ignite the magic in Winnipeg, so that we may all have our dreams come true in 2014".

    I was testing the light and angles from above the pool of the black star at the Manitoba legislative building when Leilanie grabbed one of the organizers and started dancing in the centre of the circle, and then they both layed down on the floor. I headed back downstairs, and spoke with Leilanie. I basically explained that I wanted to recreate her laying on the floor in the star, and she was really excited about that. She has done a lot of modelling, and told me that she was a Sunshine girl too.

    I placed the flashes on the ground firing up into the ceiling to try to evenly distribute the light over a fairly large surface area. The event started just a few minutes after we made this image (at 7pm), and I did not have a lot of time to speak with her, as the event started with mediation. But she did tell me that she is an actress, is in to meditation, tarot card reading, and energy healing.

    EXIF: f/3.5 @ 1/125 ISO640 @ 48mm  - 3 bare flashes around the circle bouncing up at the white ceiling


  6. 12/26/2013 - Rimma Pilat  - 9:30PM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Rimma and I go way back, to our days working at McDonalds many, many years ago. We have travelled as far as England together on a group trip as well. Rimma is currently finishing off her accounting designation, and is a lover of cats.

    We were supposed to shoot Rimma’s portrait on Christmas Day, but I didn’t have time after my shift, so we had to reschedule it for today. After a long day starting at 5:30AM covering boxing day madness (although it was pretty tame this year) for the newspaper, Rimma came over and I had an elaborate lighting setup ready to go. Even though we spent about 25 mins shooting with that setup, I didn’t think the images were looking genuine, most likely because I had her contort to the lighting for something dramatic.

    At the end of the shoot, she told me she chose what she wore because she thought it would be a standing up portrait. So after we had some chocolate cake, we tried just a few standing against a wall portraits, and I really feel that this funny one matches Rimma’s personality.

    EXIF: f/3.5 @ 1/100 ISO100 @ 70mm  - 1 flash in a shoot through up high on axis


  7. 12/25/2013 - Rashelle Eden Kamminga  - 11:31AM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Rashelle is the youngest portrait a day subject for the year. At the time of the portrait, she was just 8 hours old. Almost every year I work the Christmas shift at The Winnipeg Free Press (I’m the only Jewish photographer), and the past few years I have self assigned myself to photograph the first baby born on Christmas day.The hospitals usually dress them up in full head to toe Christmas outfits, which often makes for a cute photo.

    This year I went to St. Boniface hospital, but baby Rashelle only had a festive hat, which didn’t quite make for as telling an image that it was Christmas. After making the standard parents holding the baby image, I saw this other angle of Rashelle being held by her mother Lorien. Interestingly enough, parents Lorien and Chad told me how Rashelle wasn’t even born in the delivery room, as at the last minute Lorien went into labour in triage, as there wasn’t time to get to the delivery room. Labour lasted only 7 minutes, and Rashelle was born into this world.

    EXIF: f/2.8 @ 1/100 ISO640 @ 200mm  - available light


  8. 12/24/2013 - Dr. Stan Lipnowski - 11:41AM - Winnipeg, Canada

    It’s my dad. Thats it. Just my hero.

    I asked my dad a long time ago why he decided to go into paediatrics. His answer was: (and I’m paraphrasing, I’m sure his answer was more eloquent) because a lot of the time adults get sick because of their choices, but kids are innocent and when they are sick it is often circumstance, and not a direct result of their poor choices. He has this Forest E. Witcraft quote hanging in his office too: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
    My dad was the one who got me interested in both cycling and photography. I thought for the longest time that I would go into medicine as well, until I hated biology in university. He worked for Kodak when he was younger, and I have fond memories of tagging along with him at Kildonan Park as a kid, learning the basics of photographic composition.

    Again, I had a lot of time to think about this portrait of my dad. I had a lot of elaborate ideas, but time got away from me, and the weather would not allow for those crazy ideas at this time of the year. Scheduling has been very tough at the end of the year, and the best time we both had was on Christmas Eve. My dad thought that today would be busy, but I got a last minute text message from him this morning, telling me that he would have time before a noon meeting, so I headed down to his office.

    EXIF: f/4 @ 1/80 ISO160 @ 24mm  - 1 flash in a softbox camera left, and 1 flash in a shoot through umbrella camera right (just outside of the office in the door frame firing in)


  9. 12/23/2013 - Ian McCausland - 6:07PM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Ian is the photographer that I most consider my mentor, and taught me how to be a professional photographer. He is extremely well known in Winnipeg, and every time I am with him, half a dozen people stop to say hi to him. He is one of the top photographers in the city, and I can’t believe I now call him a colleague. You can check out his incredible work here on his website, and on pretty much every social media platform. Ian is an avid curler, as well as a husband, a father to a cool 8-year old son, who is also into photography, and they are also getting a puppy soon. 

    When I first met Ian, I was working as the Photo Editor at the University of Manitoba’s official student newspaper, The Manitoban. I had very little experience with photographing people one-on-one at the time, and the entire process of creating a portrait intimidated me. At that point, about 7 years ago, I honestly had no idea what I was doing trying to use flash. Ian had posted a message in a local online photography forum, looking for an assistant for a couple of shoots, and I jumped at the opportunity to work with an established pro.

    Luckily he hired me, and the first shoot I was on with Ian was up at Hecla Island on a fashion shoot. I remember how cool it was to be on a really big shoot with lighting, hair and makeup people, and of course pretty models. While assisting Ian in those early days, I learned a lot about lighting, which I knew absolutely nothing about prior to the assisting gig. I now apply those lessons every single day while working as a full time pro, as well as in this portrait a day project.

    I had a long time to think about the portrait of Ian, and I had envisioned something in his studio with a dozen+ studio lights firing in synchronicity. Scheduling didn’t quite work out as planned, as we both got really busy at the end of the year, so we decided to make the portrait at Ian’s home this evening. We shot it in Ian’s ‘man cave’, which has some old cameras, and this huge bookcase filled with mostly photography books he has collected over the years. After we had played with old cameras like little boys, we made this portrait.

    EXIF: f/2.8 @ 1/80 ISO160 @ 27mm  - 1 flash in a softbox camera right, and 1 bare flash on top of the bookcase camera left (you can see the flare off of it)


  10. 12/22/2013 - Carlos Teran - 5:09PM - Winnipeg, Canada

    I met Carlos this afternoon at Grant Park mall where he was working alongside his wife, Sarah, at her recently new business, Fair Trade Alliance (FTA). It is seasonally located in Grant Park for the holiday season. Carlos is an entrepreneur, and coffee farmer, and told me he is helping his wife in a mentoring role with the business that they created in the fall of 2011. It is dedicated to Direct Fair Trade of high quality 100% certified organic products such as: Coffee, Cocoa Beans, and Goldenberries (Physalis peruvians).

    Carlos is from Ecuador, and he continues to farm coffee beans in Ecuador, and travels back and forth to be with his family here in Winnipeg. Kichwa Coffee comes from the Chocó region, which is considered one of the most biologically diverse regions of the planet. His wife’s shop sold some beautiful first nations rugs, and we hung one of them lower to act as a background for the portrait. I asked him how he likes Canadian coffee, and he immediately pulled out a big bag of his coffee beans, which they sell at the store as well.

    According to Carlos, the aim of the business is to “promote our traditional crafts, products, and other alternative activities that strengthen entrepreneurship while promoting strong liaisons and relationships between Ecuador and other countries allowing for a unique perspective of our ancestral culture”. He added that: “we are working on preserving our culture and way of life, while we strive to provide positive changes towards self-sustainable community and economic development based on our own resources with the utmost consideration and preservation of the natural environment. FTA promotes respect for the Kikawiyinaw (Mother Earth), the Universe, and the rescue and preservation of the Andean agriculture and our approach to agro-ecology. FTA supports and encourages local farmers toachieve agricultural growth through integration of a collectively organized business and cooperative participation”.

    EXIF: f/5 @ 1/160 ISO100 @ 52mm  - 1 flash in a softbox camera left, 1 bare flash on the background, and 1 bare flash aimed at his back for a slight bit of fill

  11. 12/21/2013 - Santa Travis Taylor - 12:24AM - Winnipeg, Canada

    I have been shooting the SantaCon Winnipeg event since its inception about 5 or 6 years ago. It is an annual event in which party goers dress up as Santa Claus and go on a pub crawl. The event often gets a bad wrap for some mischief that a few bad apples perpetrate at international events, the Winnipeg party is usually pretty tame. All of the participants are always named Santa, so that is how you address them.

    I met up with my friend Santa Dwayne midway through the event at The Zoo (the bar, not where the animals live) after shooting the Jets game, and yesterdays portrait. This years event raised money for The Childrens Wish Foundation, and by the time I got there, the party had been already underway for many hours.

    I liked Santa Travis and his real beard, and he agreed for a portrait. I didn’t have a lot of time with him, as the bus was about to leave for its next stop on the pub crawl route. He confessed that he is a huge nerd, and I did learn that when he is not dressing up as Santa, he works in IT/ quality assurance, enjoys playing warcraft, and drinking.

    It was very dark and loud in the bar, which made focusing the lens a little more difficult than I would have liked, but after reviewing the images, I noticed the red lipstick on his cheek, which just added that little extra special touch to the portrait.

    EXIF: f/5.6 @ 1/8 ISO500 @ 28mm  - 1 flash in a softbox camera left

    P.S. A big thanks to Dwayne for being the voice activated light stand after my hot shoe adapter fell apart while setting up this portrait


  12. 12/20/2013 - Rhéanne Marcoux - 11:25PM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Last night while photographing Margaux’s portrait, I was telling her I would likely try to make todays portrait at the Winnipeg Jets game. Her eyes lit up, and she said that I should try to meet up with her friend Rhéanne, who is the face of JetsTV, and works at the MTS Centre. After the game I was shooting video of the post-game press conference, and Rhéanne was as well for JetsTV. After we had both finished our editing we shot this portrait. You can check out my Jets Vs. Panthers photographs on my other recent work blog here.

    Rhéanne is the web content co-ordinator for JetsTV, and she has been doing a lot of travelling since starting the job. She travels with the team, and enjoys traveling for pleasure as well. She and Margaux have an exciting trip planned for the spring. She told me that she also loves baking and cooking, and has a food blog called Sucre & Farine with some amazing looking creations on it.

    EXIF: f/2.8 @ 1/200 ISO100 @ 135mm  - 1 flash in a shoot through umbrella camera right, as well as 1 bare flash behind Rhéanne


  13. 12/19/2013 - Margaux Miller - 7:39PM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Margaux is a good friend of my brother. I don’t think we have ever formally met, but we have followed each other on social media for at least a few years now. Margaux works as the Marketing Co-ordinator at Pinnacle Staffing Agency, and she is a competitive soccer player in the Premiere League. She recently bought her first home in St. Vital, and I came over for this shoot. She has this large hope chest in the middle of her living room which acts as storage as well as a coffee table. She had the idea to lay down in it.

    During the late 1800’s Mennonites travelled great distances by boat from Europe to North America to emigrate. Because of the great distance, many could only bring a few items with them, and that rarely included furniture. Many of these Mennonite people could only bring a dowry chest, which acted as a travel trunk. Margaux’s dowry or hope chest was passed down through generations and was a gift from her father to her when she was born.

    The piece belonged to her great great grandmother Anna, from whom she got her middle name Anne, and fun fact: Anna also had red hair.

    EXIF: f/3.5 @ 1/125 ISO100 @ 24mm  - 1 flash in a softbox camera overtop, as well as 1 flash in a shoot through camera left behind Margaux


  14. 12/18/2013 - Chris Thephasone - 6:20PM - Winnipeg, Canada

    While leaving Wal-Mart this evening, I saw Chris and his big fur hat first, and then his Buddhist grandfather wearing traditional orange Buddhist robe second. I spoke to his grandfather, but he did not understand English very well, so Chris and his sister translated for me. He didn’t want to be photographed in his traditional clothing in or around Wal-Mart, but did tell me I could stop by a Buddhist event later that week to make a portrait there (it ended up getting postponed).

    After his grandfather passed on the portrait, I asked Chris, and he agreed. We walked a few hundred meters to a big snow mountain in the parking lot, so the hat would feel more in place with the snow in the background. 

    It was a painfully cold night, and Chris wasn’t wearing gloves, and his jacket wasn’t even fully zipped, but he was very giving of his time. He is into photography as well, and we chatted about that for a while as I was setting up. He also really enjoys macro photography, which was my first passion while I was still learning the basics.

    What I really took away from my encounter with Chris was that he is a soldier with the Canadian Military, and he recently came back from his first tour of Afghanistan where he worked as a Signal Operator. When we are rushing through our daily lives, trying to complete basic tasks such as grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, the people around us doing the same boring things also lead extraordinary lives. I knew that a signal operator involved use of the radio, but he told me that his job was to teach Afghan soldiers to use radios.

    EXIF: f/5 @ 1/160 ISO100 @ 70mm  - 1 flash in a softbox camera left, as well as 1 bare flash aimed at the snow hill behind Chris


  15. 12/17/2013 - Kepha Verrier - 1:39PM - Winnipeg, Canada

    Common Sense is a restaurant/cafe/store in an unlikely setting tucked behind a lot of heavy industry in St. Boniface. It is housed in a 100 year old paint factory, that has been turned into a majestic eatery with a very hippy vibe to it. I was meeting a client who suggested I make my portrait here (thanks Shirley!). I was really hoping to photograph one of the many interesting employees (they all have a lot of character) in the restaurant at a booth, as there is a lot of sculpted wood, but as it was so busy, I had to make the portrait behind the counter. You can check out the website for the restaurant and store here.

    I didn’t realize that the place is owned and operated by a local branch of a religious group called the Twelve Tribes Community, and the people working there live on a commune. There are two homes in and around Winnipeg, including a 70 acre farm property on the edge of the city where a lot of the produce is grown. When I asked Kepha what he did before managing the restaurant, he told me that he was a carpenter, and he like many of the community members put together the incredibly detailed woodwork in the interior. I also asked Kepha what he does when he is not at the shop in St. Boniface, and he told me that life on the commune doesn’t stop at the end of the workday. It’s not like he goes home, and turns on the TV and relaxes. Everything is done for the commune, and to keep the restaurant going strong.

    EXIF: f/5.6 @ 1/40 ISO100 @ 55mm  - 1 flash in a shoot through umbrella camera right