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Potash Mine in Saskatchewan

My commercial work takes me all accross Canada.  I just got back from shooting in an underground Potash mine in Saskatchewan. I thought I would do a little post on my Prep before I delve too deep into the experience of working 1.5kms underground in a salty potash mine with sensitive camera gear.
For an industrial shoot my prep routine is somewhat different than a cozy commercial gig. I tend to travel light, and with all my own gear because I hate to wear things they give you on a jobsite.
So here is my industrial prep. I lay everything out and repack it so I know im not forgetting anything. Here is what you will see in these pics.

1. Warm clothing (It ended up being +30 in the mine, so the fleece jacket, pants and toque were not needed)
2. Steel toe boots. You can shoot anything industrial unless you have these.
3. Safety glasses. I use a set of Oakley’s that the US snipers in Iraq use. I met a guy in the US army who sent me a pair. I use them because one they don’t distort your vision at all, and two because they don’t look like silly “blue blocker” clear safety glasses you get for free when you arrive on any jobsite.
4. My hard hat. Yep, and Im really proud of it. Its old school NACG colors, and its covered in stickers from companies who have hired me in the past. I get instant “street cred” with workers on a site now. The stickers say I have “been around”…

5. Cameras x2… Canon 1dsMK3′s.. You should always have a back up, but especially when shooting industrial projects. The money that’s involved with you holding up a production to take photos is mindboggling at the best of times. Having to reschedule because of faulty gear would be unthinkable.

6. Lighting of some sort. I brought with me the ultra compact Elinchrom Quadra heads. They are super light and insanely powerful for their size. I have never shot underground before so I needed something with a punch of power just in case but wanted to keep my weight real light. The Quadra did it.

With everything packed the most important thing. Reading material. For this trip I bought “The Authority” graphic novel. When I got to the airport I realized my graphic novel sucked so bad that I had to by another book.
So it came down to the “80/20Rule” or “Shit My Dad Says”… hmmmm oh the dilemma.

What book did I end up buying? Well here a little quote from the book I choose – “A parent’s only as good as their dumbest kid. If one wins a Nobel Prize but the other gets robbed by a hooker, you failed.”

Editorial Interiors

Here is an interior feature shoot for Paige over at Avenue Magazine. This was shot this past spring, and I just finally got a copy of it. So I decided to post it. I have a lot of tear sheets I should be posting, and I hope to do more of it in the upcoming week or so.  This particular shoot was very challenging because we had a lot of vibrant colors to deal with as well as the home was very eclectic.

I also shot five interiors for the Alberta Ballet House and Garden tour. They wanted to go in a new direction so they ended up going with me after sticking with a local pro for the past five years. I decided to shoot it with a more balance between ambient and strobe.  I hope to post some of these tear sheets in the next little bit. What was cool with this, Is that I needed to shoot an interior cover option, so it was a pretty unique project for me.

Shooting Architechure Photos

vancouver architectural photographer

vancouver architectural photographer panoramic

Here are some photos shot for new schools across Alberta. These were shot for a joing venture btween construction companies called Bird and Graham constuction. Photographs shot by Curtis Comeau.  

vancouver architectural photographer

vancouver architectural photographer school photo

These were shot with a panoramic technique. Not many vancouver architectural photographers use this, however in some cases panoramic photographs work very well for client needs.


Inspiration comes from strange sources

A few blog posts ago I wrote about my top travel tips, and in it I posted a picture of my reading material for the trip… a few graphic novels (individual compilations of comic book story arcs).

Alot of people emailed me asking if I really read graphic novels, and if so why? Well I do read them, alot of them infact. I even use them as inspiration and research for upcoming photo shoots.

vancouver photographer comic collection

See in graphic novels the artists need to be very aware of lighting and composition. Each panel is used to move a story along, often without words or dialogue. So I study the image composition and the lighting and implement the same techniques  with my photographs.

vancouver photographer comic art

Especially in my industrial work. I have to clarify, I do not buy individual comic books though, because I am way too impatient to wait a month to see how a story will progress.

In addition to graphic novels I collect comic art. What is comic art that you ask? Well obviously comics are drawn first…. so I purchase the actual drawings that are used to make the book. It’s a huge industry with prices starting in the high hundreds for one page and often tens of thousands of dollars depending on the artist and character.

I personally prefer collecting only the cover art rather than the inside pages. The art is drawn on much larger pages 13×19 than the actual book.

vancouver photographer comic art

robert atkins comic cover

An artist will make a few sketches of cover options before they begin to pencil the real cover. These are called “Prelim Sketches”. The Prelims’ and are presented to the publisher for approval. I pick cover prelims that were approved on occasion as well… They are quite interesting because you get to see the progression of the art to the final cover.vancouver photographer comic art collection

I collect alot of Robert Atkins GiJoe work right now. He’s one of the hottest artists out there and a super cool guy to deal with. He also does the art that you see in Heroes the TV series.

vancouver photographer comic art collection

Anyways this post was ,not so much photography related but a little about me personally.




Here are a series of headshots I did for a few realtor friends of mine. They needed a few for new bus bench ADs so they came by the studio and we knocked out a few shots in about 15 mins. Vancouver offers quite a wide range of realestate services, so its a pleasure to shoot some of the people involved in the real estate scene.

vancouver headshots

headshots for realtor bus bench ADs

Whats cool is that these realtors are going to go with black and white benches… so its pretty cool and a little different from a realtor stand point.

vancouver realtor photographer

vancouver headshots



Vancouver Photographer photographs Safeway Campaign

vancouver campaign photography

recruitment photography campaign for Safeway

Here is a shot for Safeway Pharmaceuticals. It was shot for a Vancouver recruitment agency. I quite like this image. I’m not sure if Safeway ever used this one in any of the recruitment campaigns… but I still like it. We shot this series in about a half day.



Quadra or not to Quadra.

vancouver photographer ranger photo

photo with the elinchrom ranger.

I currently use Elinchrom lighting and am very happy over all with the product. I use 3 of the self contained heads, and the ranger packs for location work. I am off to Europe on April 5th to shoot for a few weeks. The work will all be on location, which normally would be suited for the elinchrom ranger packs.

 The only problem is weight is a serious consideration this time around… So the other day I was visiting Vistek in Edmonton and my sales rep showed me the Elinchrom Quadra packs. If you have never seen them, they are seriously the smallest packs on the market, and the heads are smaller than my 580′s. And they pack 400Wts/sec. I was blown away at the size.  

The problem is that the Quadra kit comes in at $1500-$2500. I am so heavily invested in Rangers, I keep asking myself do I really need another power pack.. then I think about lugging the Rangers across Europe and of course Vancouver and I really think to myself that maybe its a good investment. Im not saying the Rangers are huge… by industry standards they are quite nice… but the Quadras are just so damn small, its hard to simply ignore them as being an asset to a photographers kit.  

Anyways, I thought I would post a pic from ranger pack lighting just for kicks… In fact Im shooting an interior tomorrow and will be using the rangers… but the Quadra may be oohhh so nice..  


Portrait Works

vancouver photographer portait of mike percy

Vancouver Photographer Curtis Comeau photographs Mike Percy

I could days ago I was contacted by the Journals Les Affairs in Montreal to photograph the Dean of the UofA School of Business. The Dean who was a very very nice man,  had little time but did everything I asked… and never made us feel rushed. The stressful part of the shoot was the ridiculously fast turn around time. This shoot was seriously last minute. The deadline was 5pm Montreal time which was 2pm our time. Here is a breakdown of the crazy morning.

Vancouver Photographer Curtis Comeau photographs Mike Percy

8am – arrive on location set up lights, and block the shoot

8:45am The dean arrives, we begin to shoot

910am  I am in my car heading to the studio (its 12 noon in Montreal)… assistant tears down without me.

940am I arrive at studio, process proofs and send them off for editorial choices

10:15am choices made… processing x2 images for final out put.

10:45am  FTP the final files…

11:10 am head out to shoot an editorial home piece I need to have be at for 12:30 start time.



Spa Photography

vancouver spa photo

spa photo taken by vancouver photographer

There are no shortages of spas and hair salons in Downtown Vancouver, so its a natural that I end up shooting for a few of them. I enjoy shooting beauty and spa work. In part because alot of the times I get to create “fresh” feel images, which is what I like…

vancouver spa

vancouver spa photography

The other reason are that spas smell nice… and Its always enjoyable to work in an enviroment that smells nice.



Vancouver Photographer Airports

vancouver photographer shooting photographs in calgary

Calgary Airport

Shooting in Airports is fun.  I work quite often for NAS a Vancouver based recruitment advertising agency. This series was shot for YYC – Calgary Airports.

vancouver photographer shooting in calgary

YYC image stock

A while back we ended up photographing some recruitment stock for NAS and YYC. I thought these images are a lot of fun, and they are of real employees, and not mo

vancouver photographer shooting in calgary ab

YYC stock