Haunt Manor Niagara Falls

Haunt Manor Niagara Falls

Frightened Yet??

If you are anywhere near Niagara Falls, Canada in the last part of September through to the end of October, be sure to visit Haunt Manor.  Located at Campark Resorts on Lundy’s Lane, just on the edge of the city.  You can’t miss the big red barn!  Inside is full of scary stuff.  And in saying, if you are near Niagara Falls, I mean a couple of hours drive is completely worth it, if that’s what it takes. 

Phil Van Kleef, the mad mind behind this whole creation, and his team have created the largest Screampark/Haunted attraction in Canada using professional make up artists, actors and set design. 

Phil and his crew tour some of the largest and successful Haunt attractions in the world to learn and get ideas so that Haunt Manor Niagara Falls can be updated every season to give you a new, exciting and ‘scary’ event! 

You can purchase tickets and learn more (hours, dates, etc) here: https://www.hauntmanor.com/

Below are a few photos of the actors decked out in their make up and costumes. 

Follow me on IG: @portraits.by.martin

#hauntmanor #hauntmanorniagarafalls #hauntedattraction #hauntedhouse #portraits #dramaticportraits #costumes #cosplay #halloween #halloweencostumes

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Muskoka Horses in the Autumn

Muskoka Horses in the Autumn

Bella, Kit Kat and others

Muskoka Horses

Muskoka is known for its tourism not necessarily its horses.  The bugs in the Spring and Summer can be a bit harsh on the animals, but the Fall, with the nice weather, it being a bit cooler but still nice the horses are much more relaxed.

Last year I made some new friends up the street from the cottage.  Also made friends with their horses. I had driven by their farm numerous times and seen these beautiful animals from the road.   One day I stopped and talked to Stirling, who allowed me to take some photos.  He put me in touch with his niece and sister who own and care for the horses.  So, the first of the two photo sessions with these horses was planned and they were groomed nicely.  (Aside from the rolling around on the ground after the grooming.)

Still lots to edit but here are a few sorted from both days.  They were all taken early October.  For me, the most beautiful time of year.  I was able to capture some colour with a few of the shots.  Nice to get some warm weather without the bugs.  For the people and the horses. 

One of toughest things about photographing horses, when you are in the field with them, is that they are such curious and generally friendly animals. When I want a bit of distance, they come right up to me, maybe they think the camera is food. 

The buckskin horse in these photos is Kit Kat.  Very photogenic.  Kit Kat will often keep some distance as well, allowing me to get some decent 'posed' photos, whereas Bella, the champagne/white horse, always comes as close as she can to me.   

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them!

You can see more of my photos on Instagram: @portraits.by.martin

#horses #muskoka #muskokahorses #cottagelife #photography #nikon #portraits #horseportraits

Instagram: @portraits.by.martin

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Horse Portraits

Horse Portraits


Some different portraits.  Sometimes horses are like 8 years olds, especially when you are trying to photography them.  They don't stop moving.  I was taking some photos of a friend's boys years ago.  They were 5 and 7.  Mom was in the studio trying as she might to get them calm and posed.  I finally had to ask her to leave the room.  There was no way those two boys were going to sit still with her in the studio.  Truth be told, they weren't a hundred percent better but I did get some great shots.  Almost like with the horses here.  They are such curious beasts.  One of the biggest challenges, often, is getting them to stay far enough away that I can get a decent photo.  They come up and are all curious about the camera!  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them.

#horses #horse #portraits #horseportraits #portraiture

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Antonio and the Hat

Antonio and the Hat

Antonio and I met and became friends when I was at my son's wedding recently.  I immediately wanted to photograph him when we met.  Later when he was wearing the hat, well, that clinched it.  Here are three from the shoot.  That overcast northern California weather at the time was perfect for outdoor shooting. 

#thehat #portrait #portraiture #headshots #portraits #strawhat #fedora #bilby

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Nicole and Spencer

Nicole and Spencer


A few weeks ago my wife and I travelled to California to attend my son's wedding.  It was quite an event.  He edits films in Hollywood and the talks and songs and everything really, evidenced a quite creative crowd.  I was not the photographer but couldn't help having my camera along with me.  I got a few shots of the reception. The day after, with some great locations along the California coast we got some really exceptional photos.  Everyone involved was so creative.  I was looking for some, well, not normal emotions.  We all had fun.  

#wedding #weddingphotos #bride #groom #californiacoast

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Music at Canalside Restaurant

Music at Canalside Restaurant

Mark Clout

Most weekends you will find some easy, mellow music at The Canalside Restaurant in Port Colborne.  The  town sits on Lake Erie and the restaurant views the canal.  Sit, have some dinner and a drink and watch the ships cruise through.   We've seen Mark play a couple of times.  Some nice guitar work.  Kinda what I call country blues.  A couple of photos of Mark.  

Check out the menu on The Canalside website.  We love their fish and chips.  Sit outside in the summer (and sometimes late into the Fall if you are lucky and watch the big ships go by as this restaurant actually is right across the street from the Welland Canal where is enters (and exits) Lake Erie.  See some interesting cargo.  It took me a few minutes once to figure that one cargo was wind turbine blades.  They are apparently 45 feet long and sometimes longer.  There were several on this ship.  

#music #guitar #canalside #markclout #portcolborne #streetphotography #portrait #wellandcanal

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James B

James B

James The Poet

This is my friend James.  You can find him on Instagram: @poejob and on Youtube at James Owen Brown.

He does local gigs in the Niagara Region (Canada).  You can always see him and his lovely wife Autumn perform at Haunt Manor in Niagara Falls during the season in Sept and October. 

Check his Instagram account for updates.

We did a short 15 minute photo shoot.  Me practicing with my Nikon Z6 and forcing myself to only use my 50mm F1.8 lens.  Great dynamic range with the full frame and extremely quick focusing even in low light.  Love this camera.


#portrait #streetphotography #portraiture #headshot

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Photographing Men

Photographing Men

I find there is quite a difference photographing men to photographing portraits of women.  The way I shoot and approach my subjects anyway.  Perhaps I’ve changed over the years and become a bit seasoned with age.  Don’t know for sure. 

Posing, editing, lighting, all these I do a little differently.  It has been said that one should first learn the rules extremely well, and only then one can or should be able, if one wants, to break them.

Shoot one style to the point there is no ‘thinking’ involved.  Then test the boundaries. 

It all goes back to what the photo, or you and the model, are communicating.  For example, having the shoulders of the model square on to the camera is normally a pose for a man or boy.  Women often, one might pose with one shoulder back and the other forward.  One pose is more aggressive than the other.  One might be interpreted to invite you in whereas the other might be telling you to piss off. 

One of the aspects of photographing men I’ve come to like is being able to play more with textures and contrasts in the editing.  Generally, it is frowned upon to show a woman’s ‘flaws’.  Again, it’s all about how and what you are trying to communicate.  A bit of what is accepted and what people want to view. 

That said, check out these few photos of Jordan.  He should likely be modelling but that’s up to him. 

#headshot #portrait #blackandwhite #portraiture #serious

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Lightroom Workflow

Lightroom Workflow


This is my workflow for portraits/headshots. I’m sure that I do other stuff than this but here is a general outline:

  1. If needed, lighten exposure to see enough detail
  2. Crop to desired shape.  Use Golden Rectangle.  Use Command-O  to change overlay.  Place a key element at ‘cross lines’.  Or have one of the vertical lines go up through centre of face, for example in a portrait.
  3. Overall: I play with Exposure/Contrast/Clarity/Saturation to get the balance the way I like.  If I up the Clarity and Contrast almost always drop the Saturation. 
  4. I’ll also play with the Highlights/Shadows/Whites/Blacks.  This can open up shadows and tone down the highlights if necessary. 
  5. Eyes: Adjustment Brush (I bought Sean Archer’s Lens Lab add ons  for the Adjustment Brush.  They are really handy.  https://lenslab.com/products/sean-archer-collection)
  6. Iris enhancement: If the eyes are pretty much evenly lit, I do both with same overlay.  If they have different amounts of light, I click ‘new’ for each iris.  Don’t overdo them but bring them up so that they can be seen.  If you are shooting outside and there is no ‘glint’ in the eye from a reflector, this will help with that. 
  7. Dark edge of iris: Click ‘New’ on Adjustment Brush and go to ‘Darken’.  Use your mouse to make circle small.  (You can also use the square brackets for this [ ] to make bigger or smaller.  Sometimes better control of the size this way.) Go around the very edge of the iris, not going onto the white of the eye. 
  8. Whiten eyes: Click ‘New’ on Adjustment Brush and click on ‘Lighten’.  Go over the white parts of the eyes.
  9. Click ‘New’ again and use ‘Lash and Brow Sharpen’ 
  10. Now but often later when I have done some other stuff, I may use ‘Lighten’, ‘Sharpen’ or ‘Clarity’ or a combination of more than on using a larger ‘circle’ over the whole eye/lid/brow area. 
  11. Whiten Teeth with Adjustment Brush.  You can customize.
  12. Lips: Use the LensLab colour of your choice.  Or just use Sharpen or Clarity
  13. Spot removal brush to get rid of blemishes.  This can be done in PS as well but pretty easy to do in LR
  14. Adjustment Brush: Soften skin or Soften Skin (light).  Depends on the skin.  Often ‘light’ is plenty.
  15. Adjustment brush: Lighten - use this to highlight/accent hair.  Don’t over do.
  16. Adjustment brush: Darken - Usually darken the background on portraits. Gradiently darker as it gets to the edges.  Do the whole background then hit ‘new’ leaving it on Darken and do further out in steps toward the edge.  You can also use Post-Crop Vignetting but using Darken Bruch gives you more control.
  17. Detail: For sharpening the image.  Hold the Option button down on your Mac keyboard.  Then slide the ‘Masking’ slider to the right.  This will sharpen just the edges.  Once you have got that over to 60-70 or so, you can slide the ‘Amount’ over to the right.  You may not want to use this on all photos but it’s a good tool to have.
  18. Make any other adjustments to Exposure/Clarity/etc like you did in step #3 and #4.
  19. I will then sometimes use Clarity/Sharpen/Lighten in Adjustment Brush for some piece of clothing or something in the background I may want to bring out a bit. 
  20. Photoshop: Go from LR to PS.  Use Liquify Tool to billow out the hair a bit on some of the ladies photos.
  21. PhotoShop: Get rid of any background items that are distracting.

#lightroom #lightroomedits #portraits #headshots #workflow #lightroomworkflow

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Portrait of Gerry

Portrait of Gerry

Black and White Portrait

My Friend Gerry

I asked my friend Gerry a while back if I could do some photos with him.  He has a great look.  Setting it up last week, he said that we’d better hurry up; who knows how long he will be around. 

Gerry is in his mid eighties.  In season he works at the campground.  He has no real need to work from a financial aspect.  He has done well enough in life that he doesn’t have to worry about money.  But he is aware that work is more than that.  It’s good for the soul.

In a day when it is hard to get people to work because the government is constantly throwing money at them to keep them home, Gerry keeps on truckin’.   He likes it here and feels part of the group

It is too bad that more young people these days don’t understand that part of the joy of working is the joy of working.  Exchange for that is not always money. 

I got him to take a 10 minute break from work and with my Smithbilt cowboy hat and his truck as props we took 15-20 photos.  Below you will see four of the best from that shoot. 

#blackandwhiteportrait #portrait #gerry #portraiture #headshot #blackandwhitephoto #streetphotography

Posted by photo-photo in Blog, Portraits, 0 comments
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