canada

An Aerial Photography Adventure by Ricardo Seah

An Aerial Photography Experience Over Vancouver

Shot above downtown Vancouver from a Harbour Air Seaplane 

Shot above downtown Vancouver from a Harbour Air Seaplane 

Back story 

A couple of Fridays ago I attended the Vancouver Tourism Awards Gala at Canada Place at 6.45am (yes that's right in the morning!!! Who holds a gala that early!?!?! Ok ok calm down Ricardo, I'm sure they have their reasons..). Anyways the Gala ended at about 9am and so I decided I'd walk around the waterfront area to soak in the views of the snowcapped mountains as it had snowed the night before.

View of North Vancouver

I mean look at that view! It was gorgeous!! So I continued to walk around the convention centre and of course I'm greeted by the seaplanes by the waterfront as they took off and landed. It was not raining (a mega plus for this time of year in Vancouver) and the thought of capturing the snowcapped mountains and the city from one of those seaplanes raced through my brains.

Vancouver seaplane harbour air

It was so so tempting.. But of course I had to act rationally and so I put up a poll on my Instagram story asking if you guys thought I should go or not. I waited awhile at the lounge of the Seaplane airport and let the results come in.. needless to say, I let the results (96% said "Yes, do it!") guide my decision. 

Ready for an adventure
harbour air

I ran up to the counter to get myself on the next scenic flight tour around Vancouver, and in 15 minutes I was boarding my first ever seaplane flight. Woohoo!!! I was so excited! 

Thankfully it wasn't a full flight and I rushed to the front to be the third person to board, and was able to pick out a good seat at the back with an unobstructed view (window seat goodness).

Sat through a little flight safety video and a welcome by the friendly captain and off we went taxiing the runway (or water-way.. not sure what it's called) and up into the air with a fanatic view of North Vancouver from my side.

We went up north and checked out the mountains that had been covered in snow from the night before which was just breathtaking.

From there we circled around and made our way to Vancouver and got a good view of Kits Beach and downtown Vancouver before going over Stanley park and landing back at the waterfront.

It was definitely a great experience and I highly recommend it! The views are just amazing and the pilot really knew where to take us for good shots. Also, it will be one of the softest airplane landings you'll experience.

Check out the HarbourAir website if you're interested. I did the extended panorama tour and it was definitely worth it. They apparently also do flights to Bowen Island, Whistler and Victoria. Definitely not paid by them to say this (but of course if you work for Harbour Air please consider hiring me for a shoot). It's fantastic way to see Vancouver!


A mix of some of the shots I took with my phone and cameras 


Aerial Photography Tips:

  • Have the right lens attached to the body of your camera before the flight.

    • Trust me, you DO NOT want to be changing lenses while flying. It can get quite bumpy, space is confined, you're gear might roll all over the cabin and you are going to miss shots.
    • What I did was shoot with my phone and two camera bodies with two different lenses on each so that I was able to get a range of shots. Now of course not everyone will have two camera bodies in which case having one camera body with a zoom and your camera phone with you to capture wide shots will suffice. 
  • Sit either right at the back or right at the front of the aircraft. 

    • Unless you want to get the wing in all your shots (not necessarily a bad thing but just my preference)
  • Don't attempt to manual focus, just let the camera work its auto-focus magic.

    • Do yourself a favour and just let the camera handle the focusing. As long as the window is clear and clean there shouldn't be a problem.
  • Use a fast shutter speed. 
    • The plane is going to be moving fast and its going to be a little bumpy. I found myself fighting hard to stabilise my camera for shots while trying to fight the G-forces as the pilot pulled and rolled to steady the aircraft.
  • Shoot on continuous high setting or the highest continuous shooting mode your camera will allow.

    • This will maximise the chance of getting that awesome shot.
  • Make sure you have your gear strapped to you. 

    • The last thing you want is to lose grip of your camera or your phone mid-flight and have it roll around the cabin. 

  • DO NOT just look through your camera viewfinder the entire flight.

    • Trust me I got super nauseous looking through 3 different cameras constantly throughout the flight. And this is coming from someone who usually doesn't get nauseous on flights (I've been on everything from small planes, to commercial and military aircraft) but it's something about constantly looking through different zooms that messes with your orientation. 

    • I recommend taking breaks in-between shooting to live in the moment and enjoy the experience. 

As always thank you for coming on this journey with me! I hope you enjoyed this little adventure in the air and that it inspires you to get out there and capture some awesome shots!

Till next time, stay tuned on my instagram for the latest shots and and news on my insta stories. 

Β 

Of course, if you liked this or have any questions please leave me a like and or a comment below :) Take care, keep warm, keep exploring, and get those amazing shots!

A Spontaneous Adventure to the Rockies by Ricardo Seah

Spontaneous Overnight Photo-trip to Banff

First stop on the photography checklist. Photographing Moraine Lake as the sun is setting.

First stop on the photography checklist. Photographing Moraine Lake as the sun is setting.

From deserts and canyons of Arizona to the cool and lush Canadian Rocky Mountains. Here’s a little summary of my latest spontaneous adventure to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. 


Q&A Time

But Ricardo haven’t you been to the Rockies before?

Yes! And the thing is I can never get enough of it! It’s just such a beautiful and picturesque place. Literally everywhere you turn is a photo opportunity and its a place you can keep returning to because the seasons change and theres always a new location to shoot.

How long was this adventure? 

It was literally a 2 Days 1 Night spontaneous adventure

So where in the Rockies did you go to this time?

 

This time I visited Banff and due to the time constrain only managed to photograph a few locations. The primary objective of this trip was to photograph Moraine Lake at sunset and sunrise the following day. 

The secondary objective was to photograph other lakes within Banff such as Peyto Lake and  the famous Lake Louise. 


Here are some of my shots from Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake and Lake Louise

My tips for photographing the Rockies during this time of year:

  • Have a tripod.

    • I cannot stress this point enough. Especially if you want the best sunset-landscape or astrophotography shots, you are going to need a proper tripod. Do yourself a favour and invest in a good one, not that cheap plastic/tacky ones. The last thing you want is for your tripod to fail on you and have a tripod leg break during your trip (just ask my buddy @guangyow whose old tripod broke while doing astrophotography).  

  • Bring gloves and dress appropriately.

    • Although I brought the right attire and shoes, I’ll admit, I totally forgot to bring gloves. And because of this my hands were absolutely freezing especially since my tripod was made of metal. But its a good lesson to learn from and the pain was worth enduring for the pictures.

  • Get to desired shooting locations before the crowd.

    • If you know you want to capture a specific event such as sunrise then you should be aware that you aren't the only one who has that in mind. Get to the location before the crowd does because the last thing you want is a bunch of tourists with selfie sticks in your frame. 

    • Arrive an hour beforehand if possible, this will allow for time to find parking and will allow you time to find the right spot. This will also hopefully help you avoid those big bus loads of tourists. As I left Moraine Lake after getting my sunrise shots there were at least 6 buses that were going in while I was going out (that would have been at least 200 people to deal with).

  • Include buffer time.

    • Related to the previous point, allow yourself some buffer time to get to locations because there is considerable traffic at certain times of day approaching places of interest such as Moraine lake. Parking can also be a hassle because of the sheer amount of people who want to visit the location so take into account that it might take some time to get a parking spot.

  • Bring extra batteries & memory cards.

    • The last thing you want is for your battery to die or realise you don’t have anymore space on your card while a magical moment unveils (eg. sunrise/sunset). Batteries die faster in the cold so bring a couple of spares. Since you are probably going to be shooting in RAW file format (recommended if you are doing any post-processing), you will be filling up those memory cards fast so definitely bring extras and keep them in a proper case to keep them protected.

  • If you have polarising & ND filters bring them.

    • This will help bring back some of those blown out highlights in the sky while exposing for the landscape/foreground. (i.e. these filters can help you get a more evenly lit shot)

  • Take all the shots but be intentional and don’t delete anything.

    • I don’t know why but especially when I was first starting out as a photographer I just didn’t take certain shots because in my mind they weren’t going to be perfect or were just inconvenient.

    • But think about it. you’ve travelled all this way and that one shot you didn’t take could have been "the one". Whats there to lose? Just take everything you have in mind and don't give in to self doubt and irrational fears. It's better than going home and hating yourself for not shooting it from up there or from down low or across there.  

  • Take a couple shots where everyone is then move.

    • Shoot where all the other tourists and instagram folks are shooting from but move on after that to find the shot that will make your image unique. 

    • I like to to spend 10% of my time on locations taking the "popular shot" or "postcard shot" and 90% finding "my shot". Find a way to make your images different or stand out by shooting from a different angle or by including different elements.

  • Don’t shoot for the first 5 minutes.

    • As photographers we always want to get right into it. We tend to get excited when we come across amazing scenes and dive right into it.  The problem I find is two fold:

      • 1) we tend to settle on the first composition which we think is β€œthe one” and negate ourselves from exploring other (potentially better) angles & compositions. I always tell my students to take 5 steps to the left and right, go high, go low. In essence what I’m saying is to explore the environment because it is foreign to you, understand it and look for nuances that make it unique and give it time to speak to you.

      • 2) Once we start shooting that scene we don’t stop and before you know it the moment is lost and the only memory of it will be looking through a viewfinder. Take 5 minutes to soak it in, the visuals, scents, air, vibes,  the way it makes you feel. Take time to be in the moment because you travelled all the way there.

  • Lastly, don't forget to take a self portrait 

    • Don't forget to take a self portrait on location to remember the moment and place yourself within the environment. 

    • I'm guilty of this and as such I don't have shots of myself on location the way I see the scene. Too often I live behind the lens and I'm sure many fellow photographer do too, but it's a nice change to make yourself the subject and places yourself in perspective of the body of work you are creating.

My turn to be in-front of my lens!

That concludes my blogpost on a super spontaneous trip to Banff and I hope you liked it!

More photos of this adventure can be found on my instagram account @ricardogtaphy so don't forget to check that out! πŸ“Έ

I hope this has inspired you to get out, explore and take some awesome shots! And as always, don't forget to leave a like below if you enjoyed this and share this post with family and friends!!

Thank you! 

New Beginnings by Ricardo Seah

Happy New Year everyone! 


It's 2017 and I have a good feeling this is going to be an awesome year :)

With a new year comes new beginnings, so I'm glad to welcome you to my new website with a new look! (I hope you like it)

2016 Summary
Before I go any further I would like to say that 2016 has been an eventful year full of new experiences and learning points for myself as well as for society. It has been a good year and I'd like to thank everyone for the love and support you have shown :) #muchappreciated

There was no better way to end off the year than to be featured by Narcity's article: "15 Super Talented Vancouver Photographers You Must Follow on Instagram"  as well as taking a weeklong road-trip through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the images of which can be found on my Instagram (ps. I feel so blessed that I got to see the Northern Lights yet again! It was the best Christmas surprise).

The Northern Lights helping the countless stars illuminate the night sky over the Rockies


2017 Looking Forward
Here are some goals for myself this year:

  • Get at least 3 people interested/serious about photography
  • Try to post a photo each day on Instagram
  • Attempt to set up some way to sell a selection of prints as some of you have requested
  • Connect with and shoot with more photographers 
  • Go on more photo-adventures
  • Write a blog post fortnightly 

Anyways I think thats all for now.. Here's to greater heights this 2017!