Fjord-du-Saguenay

Quebec, National Park


 

 

Since I moved to Quebec 8 years ago I really meant to go wander during fall, witness the nature turning colors as it prepares for winter. I mean... Obvioulsy not THAT much otherwise i'd have done it sooner but it was something I had my mind on nonetheless.

So last friday, a friend and I left Montreal, heading east towards Saguenay for what promised to be a weekend of many discoveries: First time in the area, first camping below zero, longest hike planned...

After a long and uneventfull ride, we reached the national park around 01:00 crossing the thankfully-left-open abandonned gates and having the luxury to pick our own camping spot!

 

The upside of setting camp that late is the shimmering sky over your head
 

Despite the coldness of the night, the camping gear proved more than sufficient to keep the warmth inside and in the morning I felt ready to tackle the 21km long hike. 

 

First views from the bank of the fjord, the green-orange from the turning trees contrasting with the blue haze in the mountains make for a striking visual
 

From the start, the trail sinks into the forest, offering rare vantage points as we went through the slopes up until we reached the Géant lookout. Here you get a terrific view over the parc and the Fjord!

 

 

Various forest environments ponctuated the following 10Km of the hike, slightly decieved to relize that the second lookout offered no view over the surrounding areas. The light was quickly fading away and I wanted to stop over the shoot a timelapse of the sunset before reaching home (we went back to Géant). The sun was now gone and we had a good 2hours of walk in the forest left which meant it was time to get the headlights out. Now this is the moment in the day where everything starts to suck. Accordingly it was not a hike as difficult & technical as Mt Washington but the distance started to feel heavy on the shoes and the roots suddenly seemed to have the bad habit of crashing your toe!

Even if I like to complain about it, I tend to relish those moments were the conditions start to go off (exhaustion, wind, rain, night, sometimes all of them together) just because it provides such a different sense of adventure from the sunny-day often-planned hike.

So anyway, we made it back to the car welcomed by the stars in the clear sky (this is when I hate myself for being sometimes too lazy to grab my camera gear off), super happy for the new record distance. This was a call for celebration!

 


 

For those who'd like to do the same trail ( Sepaq Fjord du Saguenay / Trail Cap Éternité ), all the picture shown here were took between the starting point and the "Géant" lookout (6Km from the starting point); though it was a nice hike, I would encourage you to head back after reaching the Géant lookout and start another trail if you wanna keep going. The 10Km left offered no vantage point but the surrounding forest and there is no actual lookout from the Cap Éternité which is not really worth it except if you do the longest one-way trail up to Tadoussac.

 

Lunar Eclipse

Super Moon / Blood Moon


 

As you've (probably) heard by now a rare event occured yesterday as earth's shadow eclipsed the moon for a couple hours, this made even awesomer by the moon being at its closest point from earth and this being visible from pretty much everywhere! 

So heading up with all the gear required to attempt a proper timelapse we sat on a bar rooftop with a few friends, cold beer in hand, to watch the event:

 
 

As a note to my 2033 futur-self, here are 3 Pro-TIPS to keep in mind when photographing such Astral Elements:

#1 The Moon is FAR

If you want to get crystal clear shots you actually need some serious zoom lens and a decent camera to go along. At 363,104 Km and even with a super moon, my 23Mp 6D with an all around 105mm wasn't even remotely enough to capture all the crisp details on the surface and I had to crop it to the limit to get an half decent shot.

 
23Mp on a 105mm lens, cropped to the limit. Still pretty far from a NASA-worthy shot!

 

#2 The Moon is FAST

It's not that obvious when you stare at it with your bare eyes but once you're zoomed on it quickly gets tricky to follow as the mon rise up in the sky, crossing it from west to east. In term of timelapse it means that you have to account for a rather fast intervale (mine was 10sec between each shot, at least twice too fast to get a smooth, slow motion) as well as some extra room in your framing for the moon to move (or you can crop in post if you have the luxury of a zoom lens close enough to get you all those detail we're looking for)

 
On this frame, a shot is took every 60s.
You can see how fast the moon is travelling on the frame

#3 The Moon is BRIGHT

This one may be obvious but I completely forgot about it... If you're trying to catch details on the surface of such a luminous object you' re camera settings will end up pretty much like the one you might use during day time (ever tried to take a picture of a sunset, that's the same idea) which ends up being a constrain for time lapse where you want to have long exposure for each of your shots. Next time I'll bring a dark filter.


Nonetheless this was fun and I' m looking forward my next trip back country to try again and get some pictures of the stars!

Cheers

WORK IT UP

MADLY JUICY - SEPTEMBER EDITORIAL


On your mark... Get set... Go!

As summer is (quickly, for us northern countries) wrapping up, we`re tempted to enjoy every sunny moment left... I had the pleasure to work again with the team at Madly Juicy for this editorial hotly held on the track field.

The concept behind the shoot was to convey dynamism through motion, plays of depth and visual force lines. Thankfully, the stadium was offering plenty of opportunity

 
 
On a personal note, this was my first experience with more than two models. It was a great exercise considering that you gain in composition options what you leave in emotional precision
A symmetrical composition playing with models and background elements to strengthen the foremost model
Maina, rockin that grit again!

Geneviève

This bond of Us #3


Sometimes, small deviations from your usual workflow proves to be ''challenges'' you face later: to get closer to a square ratio I've shifted the usual 3:2 (what you're pretty much used to see from any camera) to a 3:4. Though technically it doesn't seems like much you have to mentally crop those extra bit off the height in the image. As an exercise, and to emphase facial expression I'm shooting that serie super tight yet when cropping in post I'm always missing that side room to breath.

Hiking Mt Washington

Journey to the top


 

At 6,288 ft, Mt Washington is the highest peak of the Northeastern United State. One renowned as the toughest climb of the area; and at that time. my first major hike in decade!  Located at the hearth of the National Mountain White Forest, New Hempshire, one can enjoy the scenic roads surrounding the place. If only for the view, it is worth paying a visit to New Hempshire and its luxurious pine forest sprawling on the gentle slope of the numerous mountains.

The sun is setting behind Mount Washington, a last peak before hike day.
The first section of the trail is a steep walk through the pine forest. The rocks roughly paving the way are there to make sure that you break your first sweat right from the start
Steadily breaking from the forest cover, what a view!
That rock trail is the way down... Brace your knees
Up there, the air is much colder than at the base. A much needed breeze to cool off and enjoy the view before heading back.

Cat'

THIS BOND OF US #2


As the project keeps moving forward (I've shot 4 people so far, yet to come) things slightly evolve. I started first with the idea of making this a B&W series, convicted that this would lead to a more unified feel, drawing even more attention on the emotions. A book from Steve Mc Curry later, I'm playing with colors convinced that properly used they could convey that authenticity I'm after. 

Through that my usual grading has evolved and I find myself de-sharpening a lot. Grain is back too, lots of it; still pretty far from the richness of a film but I feel it brings the blacks and shadows together. Less contrast, less clarity too (always worked better with colors in my opinion)

neBen-20150726-56.jpg

Sailor Jassie

This Bond of Us #1


I already had the pleasure of working with Sailor Jassie before so it felt natural to start this new series with her. "This Bond of Us" is an exploration, a personal reflection on how trends are born, spread on social media before fading away. It is also a really good excuse to shoot a lot of portrait and practice lighting and directing!

Back on social media (read Tinder) after my travellings I was surprised to realize that pretty much everyone was now showcasing a portrait with a septum ring, a jewel that was barely existing 4 month ago. The Normcore trend was reaching high tide and tattoos, only to name a few... Well tattoos will always be there.

All of that got me thinking about why we do what we do, on purpose to identify ourselves as unique being yet become part of an oddly standardized, ever evolving group of people. It seems to me the stronger fashion is present on social media, the more access we have to have, the less variety we actually see in the street.

All of that leading to a fairly strict series of portrait with similar clothing, lighting and minimal accessorization in hope of catching the uniqueness that resides in all of us when you actually take the tame to look one step closer. The pose, the expression, the spark in the eyes.

As I am writing these lines, I have now idea were this series might go given such parameters. Will it lead to a broad range of portraits and emotions or will people fall into a distinctive groupe

 

Oh Conney!

An afternoon in Conney Island


For reasons I cannot explain, Coney Island has always fascinated me. Maybe that hype came from the photoshoots and portraiture series I kept on uncovering, maybe from the idea of having an old, crazy theme park right on the edge of the city. Odder, as strong as that hold was, I kept on furthering my visit, slowly building the expectations.

At the end of the F line, it is a long ride from Manhattan, or from anywhere else in Brooklyn. As you get of the train you're taken by an atmosphere that does not quite feel like New York. It could be from the cuban music playing or the flock of tourist; there's an excitting feel of travel in the air.

 

Unfortunatelly the amusment park was closed during that week. Yet a warm sun and a clear sky was enough reason to get there.

If you're into people watching search no more. Everything New York has to offer in terms of eccentric personalities, crazy outfits and odd behaviour is crystalized on that strip. It's a refreshing place of people enjoying the best their city has to offer, be it for a sunbath, a ball game in the sand or a fishing afternoon.

Even a globe trotter deserves some holidays

My personnal favorite. Next time you're around, make sure to visit.