Francois Paulette

30 Apr
Dene leader and activist, Francois Paulette.

Dene leader and activist, Francois Paulette.

I met Francois Paulette last year, at this photo session, but I had heard of him throughout my few years living in the North. He is a respected Dene elder who has always stood up to big oil, gas and mining development. In the early 1970’s, he was part of the Indian Brotherhood that fought for land claim rights when a potential oil pipeline was proposed for the Northwest Territories. He was a leader then and is a leader now, fighting against the Alberta oilsands that are allegedly polluting the water that flows North along the Athabasca River – a river that many First Nations rely on for drinking water and fish. In recent years, he has met anti-oilsands celebrities like director James Cameron and even took Prince William and Princess Kate on a canoe ride near Yellowknife. But he’s not in it for the PR stunts, he wants to see real change in how the environment is treated. And for that, he is one of Canada’s most respected leaders.

Susan

4 Apr
Susan looking great!

Susan looking great!

I don’t get too many calls for maternity shoots but just this week I had a couple requests. Well, to answer your question: I do! It’s probably because I’m not the best self-promoter in the world but maybe I should make this more of a priority in the future. Anyway, here’s some shots I did of my friend Susan at the end of another shoot I was doing a few months ago. How awesome does she look!?!? She’s due anytime now and I couldn’t be happier for her and her husband, Byron. All the best to both of you and the latest addition to the family!

DSC_3289

DSC_3238

My Love/Hate Relationship with the Aurora

8 Mar
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) seen over Colville Lake in December, 2012.

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) seen over Colville Lake in December, 2012. This is one of roughly five aurora photos that I’ve ever taken in my entire life on this planet.

*Note: Please take this post with a grain of salt, it is intended to give you a chuckle more than anything. 

I can’t stand aurora photos. There, I said it. Anyone who knows me well, knows that pictures of those waving green globs of goo drive me up the wall. I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I know it was sometime shortly after my first few months in Yellowknife. I recall being asked to judge an “Aurora Photo Contest” for some ad agency and they wanted my opinion. At first, I was captivated. What beauty! What glorious angels could harken such lights to appear ‘cross our blissful night sky? I swear that Eros, himself, was playing ten thousand flutes just for me! I looked at another. And then another. And then another. And one more still. And more after that. This continued for over 3 hours and I think Eros and the angels said “Screw it, we’re outta here” because the beauty and wonder was completely and totally lost. At the end of that session, I couldn’t look at another aurora photo – it became unbearable.

Fast forward a few weeks after that, as I was settling into my new job as photo editor at Up Here Magazine, a general interest publication that covers Canada’s Far North. I would often ask photographers for pitches: “Send me some work and your ideas – I’d love to see what you have!” And there it started again. Slowly but surely aurora photos would creep into my emails. Aspiring photographers would show up with portfolios full of aurora photos. And worst of all, during our annual photo contest, my inbox would be absolutely flooded with the unsightly pictures!

Green blobs with trees at the bottom.

Green blobs with trees at the bottom.

Over and over and over again, they continued to pile in.

Wasn’t there anything else in this beautiful, spectacular North that people could photograph? What about the people? The culture? Anything but this godforsaken aurora! And then, after several thousand aurora photos, I became numb. My inner aurora had faded.

***

Roughly seven months ago I decided to try the life of a freelancer. It was time to move on and really challenge myself. So far it’s been a great ride and I’ve worked with some great clients both locally and nationally that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. But the aurora stigma has a way of rearing its ugly head, even when things are hunky-dory because just a few weeks ago I got “The Request”:

“Hi, we really love your work – do you have any aurora photos?”

“Could this really be happening?”, I thought.

“Um, well I do but not very many,” I said.

“Well, we really want to show people what the North is like, and an aurora picture would be perfect,” the voice on the other line said.

“I’ll check my archives and see what I can dig up for you,” I said.

And that was it, my first (and probably last) aurora request from that client. So I guess the joke was on me. For whatever reason, for whatever purpose, those pictures of green goo really resonate with people. It is what the Statue of Liberty is to New York or the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The aurora is loved around the world, and for that I must step back and graciously accept defeat.

People have asked me if I actually and truly hate the aurora, and my answer is of course not. I guess for me, the magic of the aurora doesn’t happen when I haul out a clunky tripod and fiddle around with my camera and look at it on my computer. Sometimes you just gotta look up, take it all in, and be totally awestruck and happy with where you are in the world.

My Tips for Aurora Photography

  • Go outside when the aurora is out
  • Stick your camera on a tripod (make sure you have a camera that lets you manually set the shutter speed)
  • Point your camera at a bunch of trees and make sure the aurora is above those trees
  • Take a 10-30 second exposure as the lights “paint” themselves onto your camera’s sensor
  • Be amazed at: A) How cool it looks, and B) How frigging easy that was

2013 Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race

27 Feb
A dog team rests at Braeburn Checkpoint.

A dog team rests at Braeburn Checkpoint.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to work as alongside my friend Alistair Maitland as the official photo team for the 30th running of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. The race is a long one: 1,000 miles (1,600 kms) that crosses some of the harshest terrain in Alaska and Yukon. To those not very familiar with mushing, you may have heard of the more well-known Iditarod Sled Dog race? Yeah, well, this is the difficult one.

Sometimes called “the toughest sled dog race in the world”, the trail follows the Yukon River between Whitehorse and Fairbanks, alternating directions each year (Fairbanks to Whitehorse in even years). Mushers travel day and night, from checkpoint to checkpoint, over mountains, through overflow, across streams and sometimes surrounded by caribou. When one musher was asked why she did what she does, her answer was simple: “To get away from you people!”, a musher’s way of saying, “to be one with nature.”

For nearly 3 weeks I traveled with the awesome PR team at Outside the Cube based in Whitehorse and helped capture the event as it unfolded. Thanks to all the good people I worked with and met along the trail. I made some great new friends and it was awesome to be part of The Quest Family. I’m not going to post many mushing photos here, but more behind-the-scenes of the places and people that were part of the Yukon Quest. Enjoy!

To see more photos and get updates, visit: www.facebook.com/YukonQuest and www.yukonquest.com.

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

YUKON QUEST 2013

Workshop: Getting Published

25 Feb

Get Published_web

Ever wonder what it takes to get published in magazines and newspapers? How do you get your images from your desktop to the printed page?

Editors look for so much more than a pretty picture when deciding what gets published and what doesn’t: the photographer’s knowledge of the publication, their professionalism and reliability, design needs of the publication, seasonal needs, budget restrictions, the list goes on. The publishing world is a competitive one, and knowing how (and when) to pitch is crucial in getting your work printed. As a photo editor and freelance photographer, I’ve had the rare opportunity to work on both sides of the editor’s desk. Join me in a discussion about the publishing industry and the do’s and don’ts of getting your photography published. In this 2-3 hour discussion, we will talk about:

– “production cycles” and how publications are organized (and why this is incredibly important for you)

– where editors look for photos

– stock vs commissioned work (and how to do both effectively)

– marketing your work and getting noticed

– the “do’s and don’ts” of pitching your work

WHERE: TBA

WHEN: Tuesday, March 12, 2013

COST: $40/person

SIGN-UP: Email me at patkanephoto@arcticmail.com to reserve your spot.

EXTRAS: all participants will receive a free PDF of the discussion for personal reference

A Little Bit About Me

I’m the former staff photographer and photo editor for Up Here Publishing which produces Up Here and Up Here Business magazines – both of which have won a number of national awards during my term, including Canada’s Magazine of the Year in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, I took the leap of setting off on my own to start Pat Kane Photo where I specialize in editorial, documentary and corporate work.

Some of my editorial clients include Maclean’s, Reader’s Digest, The Globe and Mail, Canadian Geographic, Toronto Star, Canadian Business Magazine, Albertaviews, Alberta Venture, Alberta Oil among several others.

I studied print media and photojournalism at the School of Media Studies at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario.

Colville Lake, NWT

21 Dec
KANE-5930

Colville Lake, Northwest Territories.

I just returned from a pretty awesome assignment in the tiny hamlet of Colville Lake, NT, just north of the Arctic Circle. I was invited by ENR and the GNWT to document the annual Christmas “fur run” where wildlife officer, Marti Lys and Francois Rossouw, the head of fur marketing for the territorial government, purchase pelts from local trappers. What made this trip really unique was that we snowmobiled from the town of Norman Wells, an 8 hour excursion in bitterly cold temperatures reaching below minus-40.

The trail was pretty rough so it took us close to 12 hours to reach Colville. Along the way, my sled broke down (not my fault!) and the trail was brutally bumpy which slowed us down a fair bit. But we eventually made it. Over the next few days, Marti met with trappers and purchased furs which will make their way to auctions in Seattle and North Bay, Ontario in January. Some might question the ethics of trapping and harvesting fur but I got to learn some of the ins and outs of the industry: not only is it sustainable and manageable, but the economic and traditional boost it gives to the families in this remote community is essential. Simply put, trapping is a way of life here. An important way of life for adults and kids alike.

Here are some photos from the trip. I’ll be pitching this story to a couple of magazines in the new year – Colville Lake is a community you have to visit if you ever get the chance, and the people I met while I was there are some of the most interesting and good-hearted in the North. I hope to make it back some day.

The trip: flight from Yellowknife to Norman Wells, snowmobile to Fort Good Hope then on to Colville Lake.

Flight from Yellowknife to Norman Wells, snowmobile to Fort Good Hope then Colville Lake.

KANE-4355

Marti and Francois.

KANE-4379

Fort Good Hope.

KANE-4460

Modeste, a Colville Lake trapper, scrapes down a wolf hide outside his cabin.

KANE-4483

Inside Modeste’s cabin.

KANE-4537

An elder rides through town.

KANE-4801

KANE-4576

Bern Will Brown, founder of Colville Lake. Bern is a former oblate missionary who is a renowned artist, journalist, writer and explorer. He lives with his wife Margaret in the log home he built more than 50 years ago.

Margaret Brown feeding one of her dogs.

Margaret Brown feeding one of her dogs.

KANE-4726

Bern's museum.

Bern’s museum.

Bern's church.

Bern’s church.

Adrian

Adrian

Hockey rink.

Hockey rink.

Dogs wander freely in town.

Dogs wander freely in town.

Marti counting marten.

Marti counting marten.

Robert Kochon with marten, fox and wolverine pelts.

Robert Kochon with marten, fox and wolverine pelts.

KANE-5226

Mark Kochon.

Mark Kochon.

KANE-5269

KANE-5362

KANE-5371

Robert Kochon with marten and wolverine pelts.

Modeste with his wolf pelts.

Hauling in 8 wolves.

Hauling in 8 wolves.

Inside the cabin.

Inside the cabin.

KANE-5430

Wolf carcasses are sent to ENR for sampling.

KANE-5490

KANE-5515

Marie Kochon.

Marie Kochon.

KANE-5587

Sheldon Snow, teacher and head of the Youth Fur Trapping program.

KANE-5541

The local B&B - only $260 a night!

The local B&B – only $260 a night!

Antler tower at the Colville Lake Lodge.

Antler tower at the Colville Lake Lodge.

Marti Lys.

Marti Lys.

Abandoned cabin overlooking lake and mountain.

Abandoned cabin overlooking lake and mountain.

Northern Lights. Proof that I took an aurora photo for once in my life.

Northern Lights. Proof that I took an aurora photo for once in my life.

Face Off

19 Oct

About the competition

Face Off is a competition and exhibit made up of amateur and professional photographers. Using only one lens and one camera, each participant has exactly 20 minutes to photograph 2 different models independently, at a secret location. The photographer then must choose 2 photos (one of each model) to have printed and displayed at a gala at the end of November. All participant photos will be anonymously displayed for the general public. The catch? The audience will also decide the winner of Face Off by voting for the photo they feel shows the most creativity and vision. The winning prize is a secret for now, but is valued at roughly $500.

Rules for Participants

  • Contest is open to anyone interested in photography, to a maximum of 30 participants
  • Entry fee is $50 – this money will go toward the cost of models, printing photos, prizes, and venue rental/administrative costs. Payment must be made in advance. There will be no refund for dropouts, no-shows, camera or editing malfunctions, or if you fail to follow the rules below. Please contact patkanephoto@arcticmail.com for payment and registration. Entry fee can be done via email transfer to the address above.
  • Deadline to enter is Nov 1, 2012.
  • Shooting day is Sunday, Nov 4, 2012.
  • One lens
  • One camera
  • One prop (up to the photographer if they choose to use it or not)
  • No assistants
  • Exactly 20 minutes of shooting – you will be timed!
  • Artificial lighting gear is acceptable
  • Tripods are acceptable
  • Must choose one photo of each model for exhibition
  • Participants are allowed to: crop slightly, colour correct, de-saturate, make B&W and adjust contrast. Over-use of Photoshop is NOT ALLOWED, ie HDR, superimposing images, extreme cropping, etc.
  • Photos will be printed at larger than 11×14, up to 24×20, so you’ll need a camera that can handle that print size (DSLR or Film)
  • Most important: be creative and have fun!

 The Fine Print

  • Photographers own the copyright to all of their images, printed or otherwise, in any and all instances
  • Organizers of the event are not eligible for prizes
  • If you have any other questions or comments, please contact me

*Face Off is designed to showcase the incredible talent of Yellowknife’s photographers. With that goal in mind, be respectful of the rules and regulations and lets show our support for this great artistic community. Good luck!

%d bloggers like this: