illuustrations X lifewithjson: More Behind the Scenes

More behind the scenes shots as well as some extra shots that I take here and there… This is kind of the first time Ricky and myself are doing something a little outside of our comfort zone in terms of video. Just to clarify – Ricky does really great video on the “lifestyle” side of things and cars are new to him, but the “people” aspect and “humanizing” a video is not. He captures emotions and everything that’s alive really well. On the flip side, I’m comfortable with photographing cars and writing passionately about my hobbies (as you can see with my blog) but not so comfortable with humanizing it and bringing the “realness” to it all.

What do I mean by all of this? Well, Ricky had this crazy idea to take some shots of my car to let him practice and I agreed. I’m always down to have someone other than myself take pics/video of my car. Halfway through it all, he throws a bomb on me that literally makes me shake down to the bone… He goes “can you talk for the video? Like answer some questions to make it more personal?”

At first I was totally against it and told him straight up “NOPE”. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy public speaking and I have no issues standing up in front of a room of people and presenting or talking… But to be pretty much interviewed and to answer questions that will forever be encoded into a video – that scares the living daylight out of me. I’m sure some of you understand – hearing your own voice is weird, right? Imagine hearing it while watching a video of your own car LOL.

Anyway – Ricky has been extremely persistent. I would shut the idea down one day and he’d be like “haha OK” and then the next day he’d hit me with questions to answer. I finally caved and agreed and have been putting it off for so long… But I finally sat my ass down and got it done. Just to be clear – it’s no full interview so I know it’s not a big deal but it’s a huge deal for me! I think the video is going to be new and different for the both of us and I’m glad Ricky has invited me to partake in the making of the video. I think I finally see his vision of what he wants it to be and it’s got me super excited and nervous for everyone to see it.

He’s working on the teaser for now and until I get the rest of my parts, we won’t go out and film the rest of it for the final video… Stay tuned for that! Onto the pics!

Ricky doing his thing while I try to stay out of the way…

I’m super glad I decided to go out sooner rather than later to these empty spots because they’re definitely not so empty anymore. I’m noticing tons of people now heading to these locations and even when we were out on this occasion, there was definitely larger traffic count…

When I first got here, I stayed here for almost 20 minutes and literally not a single car came through. On this occasion with Ricky – which was just my second time here after posting the first set – we almost couldn’t catch a break!

We stuck around that night just to wait for the sun to go down and for the street lights to turn on. I’m glad we did because we got some awesome captures. I’m super stoked on how the stills came out – it definitely gave a nice and peaceful ambience.

Again, you’ll notice that I start to play around with edits as we go – sorry to those of you that like consistency LOL. Don’t worry – I like consistency too but the need to experiment outweighs my OCD to be the same…

Probably my favourite shot of the night. This one just had perfect lighting for me…

Started to get really dark at this point but luckily the lights under the statues started lighting up. They change colours so that might explain some of the differences in all the pics.

Lately, I’ve really been digging the addition of cyan/teal into pictures and then trying to pair it with its complimentary colours of red/yellow. Gives a cool night-time vibe.

Just some shots of Stephen Ave while we’re actually shooting. The only cars that really come through here are SkipTheDishes and UberEats drivers to pick up food from the nearby restaurants.

A shot of those statues with the changing lights. It’s a cool scene but a little hard to work with.

On the way home, I played around at an empty FasGas cause there was some good lighting LOL

Gas station shots will never not be cool.


illuustrations X lifewithjson: A COVID Video Production

Some other things that’s been happening during this isolation is the beginning of a video that’s been in the works for years. I say “years” because Ricky has been wanting to do a full video for my car since I had the FRS. He even had a bunch of clips all ready to go for the FRS and only needed a bit more then my jerkass decided to sell it and get a CTR instead. As a result, the FRS video never really made it beyond a teaser video. 😦

Now that I’ve got the CTR to a better-looking state than stock, he’s at it again. This time, I don’t think I’ll be selling the CTR before the video is done so it’s something to look forward to.

With all this time on our hands in the evenings, we’re taking advantage of all the dead space I’ve been going on and on about in the last several posts to get some cool footage. Ricky has this vision of how he wants to do the video which (spoiler alert) includes some voice over and talking featuring yours truly… Not going to lie, I was (and still am) a little intimidated about it all because I’m usually the one on the back-end of the camera, so my face is rarely in photos – let alone my voice.

After thinking about it and trying to build upon his vision, I think it’s going to turn out super cool. He’s going to continue taking footage and piecing it together and make edits until it’s where it needs to be. I’ll be the first to admit that I probably will never do video after seeing how much work it is just to get the footage. I can’t imagine editing it LOL.

Anyway, here’s just some behind the scenes shots when we made a trip back to the airport. I’ll be taking a lot of BTS shots that lead up to the final video… Enjoy!

I thought it only fitting to wear the fresh blazers that Ricky helped me get for this video shoot. I’ve had them for almost a month but since we haven’t gone anywhere, I haven’t been able to put them on. Had to get them in the shot lol

Ricky doing his thing… Most of the BTS shots you’ll see are just of Ricky doing his thing LOL… featuring my car.

And every now and then, I’ll sneak in a few shots while trying to stay out of the way. BTW, have I mentioned how much I love that grill garnish? Phewwwwwww

Video is so much more different than photos… Panning, zooming, and whatever else you do during video. LOL too much for me to handle.

After a good 20 minutes at the airport, a guard came and asked what we were doing. Ricky replies “just taking some video” and the guard goes “… Of what?” as he proceeds to roll his eyes up like there’s anything else to take a fucking video of.

Ricky replies “his car”. Meanwhile I wanted to ask him “what does it look like we’re taking video of?! the airport signs?!” Some people are just so purposefully ignorant, it pisses me off. Then he goes “you guys are being recorded – there are cameras everywhere”. Thanks Karen – we better stop harassing all the people around here and get out. UGH

Anyway – I get it. It’s technically private property and we shouldn’t be loitering but there is literally not a single soul around except me, Ricky and his dumbass and he’s still gotta be an asshole about it. If any of you do end up going to the airport and see a tardy, Dwight-looking couch potato, you know what he’s gonna do.

We ended up heading up the road a bit to overlook the city a bit and captured sunset nicely again. I’ve been getting some good luck with the light lately…

Especially this shot. I call it the COVID-distance shot. Plenty of those to be had lately…

Isolation Photoshoot – Part 2

I’m basically going to be going on photoshoots for the next little while as I try to experiment more on style and composition. I know, I’ve talked about it lots in my last few posts but each time I go out, I’m finding something new and I’m loving it. I don’t know what it is – perhaps it’s because I haven’t actually had anything interesting to shoot in the last little while, or maybe the small little mods make me excited to shoot again…

I think it comes down to being able to go where I haven’t been able to go before. I’m trying to think of all the places that were usually considered “forbidden” or difficult to get into and I’m giving it a shot. So far, it’s been amazing because I’m shooting with no distraction or worry.

In this set, I went out after installing the OEM grill garnish and I’m seriously loving how it looks. It looks great on champ white and adds a little more aggressiveness to the front. Also adds some nice extra colour to the photos. This time I went downtown to see if I could get onto Stephen Ave…

It was still fairly bright when I got there so the lights that usually light up Stephen Ave were not on but that evening sun lately is providing some nice, soft light.

I parked off to the side of the road just in case… But didn’t really need to. Not a soul around except for some walkers but that’s about it.

A close up of the grill garnish. Some might think it’s a ricer mod and under certain circumstances, if I were to have seen this anywhere else, I would think so too but man, I just love the look of it.

The beauty of downtown is all the glass you can get…

The other beauty of downtown is that the lighting can change in an instant. As soon as the sun sets a little more, you start to get a little more gloomy with a cooler light.

I circled around to get onto another part of Stephen Ave… Which was also dead. You can see at the top of the pic, there’s hanging lights that hang from one side of the street to the other. Those are usually on as the sun sets, but I was too early… Next time.

All by my lonesome.

I’m not joking when I say there’s literally no one around… Take a look down the street. Not a single soul to be seen. Again, it’s a little eerie but peaceful at the same time.

So, I decided to move to the center of the road. I was there for probably 15 minutes and no cars came to drive through either.

I think a little later in the evening once those lights are on, it would give a nice feel.

I decided to roll by the Hotel across from the Calgary Tower to see if I could get in to shoot. The last time we were here, I was in my STI and we were able to get in. The reception at the time said we weren’t allowed but we convinced them that we were just going to take some quick pics and we would be on our way.

Typically, this alleyway is full of cars and valet, but as expected – it was dead.

As I rolled up and looked into the window of the hotel, no one as at the reception desk. Initially I thought that it was closed so I was home free. After about 10 minutes, a lady showed up at the desk – she was probably doing some rounds. I made eye contact with her and signaled my camera and just mouthed “I’m just taking some pics” and she waved and mouthed back “whatever!” Score. I mean, if you got nothing going on here, and harmless little old me is just taking pics, what does it matter?

I think if I rolled through here a little later at night, it would provide some cooler pics as well.

That’s it for this chapter in “Isolation Photoshoots”. More to come soon, I hope!

Isolation Photoshoot

If there’s one good thing that comes from this isolation, maybe it’s that everyone now has some time to improve themselves and do some self-reflection? Before, those two things were an option for me whenever I had time but lately it seems like it’s almost coming naturally because all I have now is time. When you’re forced to stay home and do nothing, I think it’s natural to go and seek out some other form of therapy/activity that falls within the realm of acceptable practices.

For me, now that the weather is nice and I can finally drive my car – it’s given me a ton of time in the evenings to go out when the kids are asleep to just shoot. The added benefit (not sure if this is the right word) of this isolation is that literally anywhere I decide to go, it’s completely dead and empty. It’s given me tons of new opportunities to go to places that I normally couldn’t go and just shoot in peace. I love not being under pressure to shoot fast before someone comes and tells us to get out or having to move because a car is trying to come through.

I also find that by shooting in these areas in peace and quiet, it gives me time to be a little more objective with my shots and it gives me time to think about how I want to compose the shot. I know, it sounds super lame especially if you don’t really shoot – but having that freedom means a lot for me to be creative and thoughtful. At the same time, I’m thinking about how to edit the shot and how I want it to look. Everyone has their own way of  relaxing and enjoying the moment and this is mine.

Yesterday, I went out and decided to try some spots that I’ve been wanting to shoot at but never had the chance. I wanted to try a bunch of different tones again and as you scroll through the pics, you’ll see where they change drastically – I edited them based on which tone I felt suited the setting best. Some, I edited a lot more than I usually do – and others just tried out different hues, curves and tones… Either way, they’re just more content for you and more relaxing practice for me 🙂

This spot was right near my work and just on the edge of the hill, it overlooks Deerfoot Trail, so you get a nice view of the sun as it sets with no other buildings in the way.

Also – depending on what monitor you’re looking at these first few pics on, it may look a bit off with the light flare and the red ribbon wrapped around the steel tubes. On my calibrated monitor, it looked fine but on my cheaper work monitors, it almost looks too fake. The light flare is not fake btw – just the way the aqua/orange are portrayed I guess.

One thing I’m starting to enjoy more of is shooting right at sunset. I never really did that in the past, but it provides way better colours to set the mood.

I always loved trying different perspectives as well. Using foreground to my advantage to bring a different view to it all. Having the car as the main focus is always great, but giving the eye some slight distractions sometimes provides a different feel too.

As I was leaving, I decided to try driving by the airport to see what it was like. Whenever I drove through arrivals, I always passed the newly constructed section with a bunch of glass and wanted to take some photos, but there was no way I’d ever have enough time to park, get out and get a nice shot without being harassed to move if I wasn’t picking anyone up.

Last night was my chance… As I drove up, it was like a ghost town. It’s actually kind of creepy how quiet it actually was… The airport as I knew it was always bustling – cars in and out, cabs lined up waiting to be called forward, people crossing… Last night, it was like the entire population had been wiped out and I was the only one there. As I drove in further, there were a few cabbies standing outside waiting for what seemed like nothing and as I got to the newer section and parked, it was so quiet that you could hear a coin drop.

As I parked, I naturally hurried and got my camera ready and hopped out trying to get as many pics as I could. But very quickly I realized that maybe nobody was coming? Maybe there was no one around to tell me to leave and if there was, I’d just ask if I could take some quick pics since no one was here anyway. I had my alibi ready but I didn’t have to use it once LOL!

That’s when I started taking my time… I kept looking through the windows and down the road but nothing. Nada. No one walking inside the airport, no security speed walking my way… It was nice. Eerily peaceful.

As you can see – not much in terms of any living souls. Only big windows, nice light, me, myself and my camera.

With these pics, I loved the look the cool blue tones gave off. The same feeling as I had when I was there… Quiet, cool, kind of creepy…

On the other side, where you’d usually see rushes of people walking across with their luggage – not a single one last night…

The sun started to set quickly as I got there and when it did, I decided to switch up the tones a bit. A little warmer, a little darker… Look how damn empty it is!!! You had to be there to appreciate it.

On the stretch home, the sunset looked good. I stopped off on the side of the road and took one last shot. I’m itching to go out again and shoot some more!