Independent Photography

Archive for January, 2011

Monday to Thursday

I was told to shoot every day.  Regardless of what, go out and find something to shoot everyday, so I’ve been trying to do that:

On Monday I received a last minute email from Carleton Now! an internal communications newsletter, they were asking for some last minute head-shots of a few Carleton Profs who were receiving awards for their research.  I was asked for head-shots, specifically only shoulders and up and told to make it interesting…

Prof. Michel Rod – Sprott School of Business – is looking at the realities and the causes of burnout to help companies either prevent it or decide how and when they can help their employees who work on the front lines, according to the Nov 21 2009 issue of Research Works.

On Tuesday, Aboriginal Awareness Week kicked off in the Atrium.  There was a performance featuring different dancers.  I really liked the frame I got.

Stephanie Sarazin, from Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation – Golden Lake, Ontario.  The hoop dance is symbolic of the circle of life – the never ending cycle of renewal.  Hoop dancers tell stories with their hoops, often depicting Mother earth, nature and all its elements – from the sun and the moon, to insects like the butterfly and animals.  The fluid movement of the hoops from one story to the next, represents the interconnectedness of all living things, according to Naomi Sarazin the Aboriginal Cultural Liaison Officer for Carleton University and one of the organizers of Aboriginal Awareness Week.

Wednesday was production night, the night before I had taken a TV apart in my living room.  It was for the cover of this weeks paper.  The headline was also my suggestion.  Although I set up and took the photo Tuesday night I spent most of Wednesday afternoon touching and retouching in Photoshop.  Some of the clone stamping on the left hand side of the TV is a little shaky, however, overall I like what we did.

On Wednesday night Andrew Nguyen, one of the news editors, shot a quick sign-off and tacked it onto video I had taken the night before showing how I took the photo.  The segment is called “Making the Cover” and it’s on Youtube.  Check it out here.

Thursday I started in Westboro helping a journalism student with an audio slideshow.  I really loved the background and lighting in the store, so I asked the store owner if she wouldn’t mind posing for a photo.  This is what I got.

Katie Bonnar works at The Candy Store in Westboro.

Later that day I was at Carleton.  They were unveiling of the new Canal Building which opened for the faculty of engineering.  The building was constructed using federal tax dollars as part of the governments economic recovery plan.  There were some interesting people there… So I went over and took some pictures.

Carleton University President Roseann Runte

Yasir Naqvi, MPP for Ottawa Centre

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

I know this frame isn’t sharp, but still, I love the oversize scissors… so pointless.

CUT THAT RIBBON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In a nutshell that’s been this week for me in pictures.

Until the next time, peace

Adam Dietrich






Munir Sheikh

First post of the New Year?

My year started out with the purchase of a brand new Canon 24mm L f/1.4 mk II.  It’s an incredibly nice piece of glass.  The super fast f stop lets it work in light where most lenses fall short.  And even as wide open as f/2 I still seem to get really nice sharp images.  Generally photographers tend to buy the 16-35mm f/2.8 L mk II or the 24-70mm f/2.8 L.  The allure of fixed focal lenses for me is simple, the faster f-stop gives me more space to work and the fact that its not a zoom lens forces me to be more careful in my framing.  Currently I have the 24mm but also Canon’s “thrifty 50” or their low-end 50mm f/1.8, which is still a solid lens.

The first real assignment where I was able to use the lens was on Wednesday morning.  Munir Sheikh, the former head of statscan who quit during the summer in protest over the governments decision to scrap the mandatory long form census, has started work at Carleton.  He’ll be working out of the Carleton school of journalism and communication, he is here as a distinguished scholar and will also be teaching a course on public policy.

Naturally we were all really excited about breaking this story, since no other media has covered it.  We managed to get his home phone number, so on Tuesday I called and left a message and two hours later he called back.  We set a time on Wednesday for 11:30am I thought…

So Wednesday morning I trekked out to Hunt Club and Prince of Wales to go and meet Mr. Sheikh at his house.  When I arrived he answered the door in his bathrobe.  It seems there had been some confusion, he thought we’d said 1:30.  He was very gracious about the whole thing and I waited in his living room while he changed.  After we went into his basement where he has sort of a quasi office set up.  I made about 6 pictures before calling it a day.


I was generally pleased with what I got.  There’s one awkward shadow that I didn’t notice on the back of my camera.  I was operating with one flash off camera, I probably need to get a second flash to properly do portraits.  For me the whole expirence was an important one.  My friend Jenn Pagliaro (Jpegs) interned at the Globe and Mail this past December and at the Ottawa Citizen over the past summer.  The thing she noticed that differed between small daily photojournalists and Globe photogs was the ability of Globe photogs to work with their sources, e.g. be a journalist as well as a photographer.  Overall there were setbacks, but it was successful and I’ll watch my timing and lighting more next time.

We rarely run portraits or head-shots on cover.  However, in this case the news value of the situation meant we ran with another of my Sheikh frames.  We don’t use them typically because, honestly they’re usually not that grabbing.  I would argue this one was actually pretty decent.  You can view the pdf here.

One final note: I set up an account at and applied to Loyalist College’s photojournalism program.  There’s still a few hurdles, but the very real possibility I will start a 15 month program in photojournalism in September…  Now I must wait.


Adam Dietrich