Whistler helicopter pilot Steve Gran
This was for a feature on Whistler residents who work in the film industry, including Blackcomb Aviation pilot Steve Gran who does a lot of flying for international film productions. I went up with him for an arial shoot where he was flying in close formation with another helicopter. It looked cool with the other helicopter, but Steve had his eyes glued to the other helicopter the whole time, so I couldn’t see his face. Once we were done with that, I asked him to fly over to a nearby glacier and put the helicopter into a steep banked turn so I could see the glacier out the window, and to look over my shoulder while he was doing it. I had the camera with a fisheye lens on in my right hand and was hitting the motor like crazy while I was holding on with my left hand to the seatbelt, as the g-force was pushing me nearly out the door. The sun beam through the back window was a happy accident.
The Whistler Magazine, which is the main Whistler resort magazine that goes into all the local hotel rooms, just won the gold medal at the BC Newspaper Awards for special publications. I photographed all the portrait and dining sections for the magazine, so I thought I’d share a few favourites of mine from the edition.
200 Degree Bakery owner Jen Park pulls loaves of bread from the oven.
Jen Park is the owner of the 200 Degree Bakery, which bakes bread for some of the top hotels and restaurants in town (these loaves are for the Four Seasons Resort). The first time I shot this, the wash station on the back wall got picked up by the flash. Art director Shelley Ackerman hated it, so I went back, and this time, we moved a bread cooling rack in to hide the wash station. Definitely a huge improvement.
Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa food and beverage manager Tim Koshul poses with a glass of his Swedish wife’s grandmother’s Swedish glogg at the Cinnamon Bear Bar lounge. This was for the cocktails section that had a piece on the Hilton’s famous Swedish After Ski Party. Tim’s an old friend of mine, so I asked him to bring every Swedish piece of clothing he owned for the photo.
Ill Caminetto executive chef James Walt with their fried broccoli dish. This was the lead photo for the dining section and featured the newly renovated Ill Caminetto restaurant.
Jack Fawcett of Whistler Metal Works at work in his Whistler shop. This was for the local business section.
The Longhorn Saloon Nacho Plate. This was for the casual dining section. Since I didn’t bring an assistant along for this shoot, I got see how much of a nacho plate I could eat by myself.
Incidentally, The Pique Magazine won the silver award for it’s 25th anniversary special section, which I also contributed a major photo story on the day to day operation of the Pique. Sadly, I didn’t pick up any personal awards, but hey, always a brides maid, never a bride in this businesses. I’ll have a blog for those photos soon.
With the shot in the helicopter, I used an old Nikon 10.5mm fisheye lens for it. Since it’s a DX lens which are for the older DX imaging chips now really only seen in consumer grade cameras, and would lose 50% of the image size, I used a 32mp Nikon D800. Back when I was a staff newspaper photographer, you would get fined a case of beer for the gratuitous use of a fisheye, so out of habit, I only use it in very specific situations, like the cockpit of a helicopter. The fisheye takes in a wider view than you can see with your eyes. To give you an idea of what it’s like to shoot in a moving helicopter, it’s like sitting in an old Honda Civic while it gets swung around under a crane.
For the rest of the photos, I used a Nikon Z6 camera with the Nikon Z 24-70mm, which has really become my go-to set up for most commercial photo shoots. I lit all of it with a Godox AD200 strobe with a medium 24X32″ softbox.