Allie was an absolute beast in the gym! I tried to replicate some moves she was doing myself, and my heart rate went straight up! I have no idea how she was doing all these moves without sweating. I had to bring out the old fake sweat trick.  

It was another good day shooting some personal work. It was fun figuring things out in a tight space with little time. A great exercise to keep my photographic mind sharp.

My friend Jeff is a great model, actor, personal trainer, and all around athlete. After we did the CEF shoot together back in December, last week I was lucky enough to photograph Jeff again for this little shoot we put together for ourselves.  Jeff couldn’t be more pleasant to work with. Really the perfect type of talent a photographer could ask for. Professional, well prepared, enthusiastic, and full of ideas. I was able to bounce ideas with Jeff as we go. It was initially a challenging shoot as the weather turned out to be nothing I prepared for, and I was just not that familiar with body building/ fitness. But now I can say I learned so much I am much more comfortable with this subject matter next time I go into a similar shoot. I feel a big part of a photographer’s skill set is the ability to quickly learn and adapt. To sharpen that skill is another perfect reason to do personal projects!

Although I hardly play anymore, basketball is still one of my favourite sports. When I am sitting in front of the computer, inevitably once in a short while I find myself checking out ESPN or Bleacher Report for hoops news and highlights. Last week I had the opportunity to spend sometime with 2 amazing Vancouver players: UBC’s Kedar Wright, and formal college and pro player Demitri Harris. They played hoops while I played D with my camera. It was good times. Definitely in awe of their skills.  Again, thanks to photography, I got to witness first hand how amazing these athletes are. Really grateful.

I got to spend an afternoon to photograph my friend Roma who is an amazing runner and yogi. Perfect combination really! As a runner myself I know how awesome it is to combine running and yoga. The recovery and extra core strength yoga provides is unbelievable. Roma’s inspired me to perhaps give yoga another try. 

Last month I went down to Colorado to photograph an amazing group of young Canadian freestyle skiers. I am still going through thousands of images to put together an edit, but here are a couple of teasers for now. Keep an eye on these guys. They are all going to be future stars!

A few months ago I decided it was time for me to revamp my portfolio. I looked into the catalogs of the images I shot in the last few years, and it was a shocking and very scary feeling to realize how little I had shot for myself. Nearly everything was done for commercial assignments. On one hand it was really good to see how busy I have been. But on the other hand, I felt like I had stopped experimenting. I promised myself that would never happen again.

So on Sunday I did this little shoot with my friends Clayton, Allie, and Sonya. Very spontaneous. Very little planning went into it. I just showed up with a camera and a couple of lenses. No assistant ( as much as I love the people I work with!) No lights. Not even a reflector. It was such a free feeling! I thought the images turned out well. It really reminded me that, as a photographer, I have the responsibility to myself and my clients that I continue to practice and innovate. Musicians practice all the time, so do athletes. So why don’t photographers do the same?

Here are some images from a shoot I did for the Compassionate Eye Foundation on Giving Tuesday. The concept was to create some stylized sports images that aren’t commonly seen in stock photography. Both were quite a bit of a departure for me as I don’t tend to introduce much artificial lighting in my images, and I haven’t shot stock in ages. But I have to say I am quite pleased with the result. But above all, the best thing was that I got the opportunity to work with a group of fantastic volunteers who all donated their time and energy to help me create these images on a very cold night outside. The resulting images will be sold on Getty Images, with the proceeds going to the Compassionate Eye Foundation, and the projects it supports around the world. Thank you CEF for letting me be part of this wonderful cause, and thank you everyone that helped out! 

Here is a blog post from CEF about the shoot. Check it out, and maybe join us in 2014? http://blog.compassionateeye.org/?p=4083

Fair Ball, Sportsnet’s documentary on the Canada Uganda baseball series premeres tomorrow April 1st! It’s going to be amazing to re-live the experience through the documentary. I cannot wait! 

It will also air repeatedly during the month of April.

For the first airing it will be titled “MLB SEASON PREVIEW on your TV guide.

Thereafter your guide will say “FAIR BALL.

For those of you in BC:

Sunday April 1st

Sportsnet Pacific channel

1pm-230pm pst (a one-hour MLB Preview followed by the half-hour Fair Ball doc) 

2pm pst (Fair Ball doc)

8pm-930pm pst (a one-hour MLB Preview followed by the half-hour Fair Ball doc)

9pm pst (Fair Ball doc)

For those of you in Ontario:

Sunday April 1st

Sportsnet Ontario channel

4pm-530pm est (a one-hour MLB Preview followed by the half-hour Fair Ball doc) 

5pm est (Fair Ball doc)

8pm-930pm est (a one-hour MLB Preview followed by the half-hour Fair Ball doc)

9pm est (Fair Ball doc)

The first solo airing of FAIR BALL (without the MLB PREVIEW SHOW) will be on Sunday April 8th on all Sportsnet channels at 12pm est, 9am pst.

Kenneth and Conner swapped jersey game at Kyambogo was a hit Right to Play came to lead some games Trevor always plays hard I finally got to meet Kid Ivan just sparks when he plays I had to say good bye to my friend Edgar Time to leave Coach Dean gave his last encouragements Jay and Ruth. It all started with them

Jan 21st was our last day in Uganda. So very quickly the trip was coming to an end. Although I had been exhausted from photographing during the day and editing/filing the images at night, my spirit could not help but pick up when I see the kids. They have so much joy on their faces, especially when they play. On this last day we played at Kyambogo, Ivan’s home turf. It felt like a picnic and party. Tents and BBQ were set up by the field. There was music blaring. Right to Play came to lead some games for all the kids. Of course by today the kids were best friends. They sat together, fooled around, played some really good baseball, and finally, it was time to say good bye. There was a little bit of tears ( mostly the adults… ), but if I had to describe it in one word, I think without a doubt it’s “hope”. The kids are going to be just fine, and I am excited for them for their bright future. Baseball is not the magic bullet to solve all the problems. Nothings is. But through baseball, I see enormous strength and wisdom in these kids. Uganda, Canada, the world. We are in good hands if we create more experiences like this for our future generation. Our kids don’t need us to hold their hands.  They just need the opportunity to go out and play. They are more than capable of figuring things out on their own. More often than not, there are many things we can learn from them. Thank you guys for allowing me the opportunity to be part of this amazing journey. I am very fortunate to be inspired by you all. The sincerity, curiosity, and joy. I am learning, but I hope one day I will be like you guys, always running at full speed with so much joy.

This is the end of my diary for my Uganda trip. Sportsnet also came along to Uganda to make a wonderful TV documentary. It’s airing this Sunday  on Sportsnet at 2pm PST and 5PM EST. Here is a link to the preview: http://righttoplay.akaraisin.com/YouthBaseball. If you are inspired by these kids, please consider donating to Right to Play. 

Sportsnet Magazine is also running an iPad special on this story this month with my photo essay. Here is the link to purchase the magazine on iTunes. 

As part of the Pearl of Africa Baseball Series, the Canadian and the Ugandan teams travel together to a couple of other cities in Uganda to put on baseball clinics and play with the local team. On day 7 of our trip we went to Jinja, the lush and beautiful town known as the origin of the Nile River. It was pretty awe inspiring looking at the river and thinking that spot is probably the beginning of human civilization.. or specie. Pretty powerful stuff.

In Jinja we played with this very good local team coached by a Japanese volunteer Couji-san. Jimmy Rollins also still traveled all the way with us to Jinja. I don’t know if any of the local kids recognized him, but to me it spoke volume of Jimmy’s character when he took the time to approach the local kids and shared his baseball knowledge.

Also I think for a lot of us it was the first time we hear a timeout called by the umpire because a motorcycle was racing through the centre field. After a few friendly innings, the Canadian parents treated everyone with a peanut butter jelly sandwich picnic lunch. I got a kick out of looking at the amazing sandwich assembly line the parents put together. With their teenage sons I am sure they have had plenty of practice.

In all it was another great day filled with baseball, friendship, and laughter. Our time in Uganda was almost coming to an end. We leave Uganda the next day, but we still had one more game to go. I didn’t want it to end.