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Planning on getting together with family and friends over the holidays? Of course you are. Here’s your chance to take that family photo you’ve been meaning to take, like, forever!

All you need is the right gear to make it a professional-looking job, such as lighting, and all the accessories like stands and softboxes and umbrellas and grip gear and maybe a better camera and a super fast lens or two, whew! You do need a lot. And alleluia, are you in luck!

Listen to this. Over the holidays, Vistek is offering an unreal rental offer. Quite possibly our best ever! It’s our HAPPY HOLIDAY RENTAL OFFER. You get 14 days of gear for the price of 2.

It’s so good, even Santa is swinging by for the offer.

Check it out. Get the gear that will help you take the photos you’ve always wanted. Uncle Charlie’s not going to be around forever you know.

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Get your daily dose of ‘what’s happening’.

As a Toronto filmmaker wouldn’t it be nice to see, at a glance, the full list of productions currently filming in the city? Or, get to read all about the latest industry news, top stories, and how they affect Canadian filmmakers? And on the same site, get a glimpse at what’s new in terms of gear and new tech toys? Wouldn’t that be great?

Well, it is great and it’s called TO411daily. And it should be your daily link to what’s happening in the film industry, including upcoming events and major industry shows.

Stay up to date. Make it your go-to link. Check it out today. And make it a habit of clicking TO411daily every day.

The Exciting World of Scanography – A Q&A with Janet Dwyer

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Photographer Janet Dwyer utilizes a flatbed scanner as an imaging tool instead of the traditional digital camera to capture images. Inspired by the infinite variety and exact structures found in the natural world, Janet scans plants, feathers, bones, ice, live and dead insects on a flatbed scanner, as a way to convert the 3-dimensional objects to digital information.

And here lies the secret: the scanner magnifies details that are often too small to see, offering a sense of intimacy and a unique connection to structures within objects.

Dwyer’s work has won several international awards, including a first-place prize in the IPA and a second-place in the Master’s Cup. Her work is also featured in numerous magazines: BW and Color, Amateur Photographer, Photo Techniques, Photo Life, Photo Ed and Pro Nature Photographer. Currently, her solo exhibition “Conversations with Nature” is touring public galleries in Western Canada.

Meet Janet Dwyer

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What is your background/education?

In 1973 I enrolled in a three year photography program at Conestoga College in Kitchener Ontario. A year after graduation I was asked to teach BW darkroom at the college, which began the educational aspect of my career. In 1987, after a decade of combined teaching and freelancing, I enrolled in the fourth year at Ryerson University and completed a BAA in Photography. In the years following, I continued to work as an instructor, shoot stock and other freelance assignments, eventually specializing in photographing works of art for artists, galleries, and museums.

In 2001 I bought my first flatbed scanner—to test it out I placed my hand down on the glass and hit scan. Seeing the incredible resolution I quickly realized its potential as an imaging device; been playing around with it ever since, creating a personal body of ‘scanography’ work.

How did you get your start as a photographer, did you have a special mentor?

No special mentor in particular but I am grateful to people who visit my studio bringing me interesting things to scan.
Enrolling in a college photo program was the suggestion of a friend who observed me photographing with my father’s camera when I was 19.

What inspires you?

Nature in its infinite variety is an endless source of inspiration.
Seeing the large format polaroid work of Olivia Parker had a profound effect on me as a student on a field trip to the George Eastman House.

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Who are your favourite photographers?

Hard to name them all so here’s a few: Olivia Parker, Rosamond Wolff Purcell, W. Eugene Smith, Ernst Haas, William Eggleston, Diane Arbus, James Nachtwey. Recently Karl Blossfeldt’s was brought to my attention and it really struck a chord.

What has been your most memorable (crazy, interesting, amazing or inspiring) photography experience?

Flying in a helicopter with the door off to shoot a remote mining site was very exciting. Also the first time I scanned tiny orbweaver spiders. They built a dense web on the glass flatbed and their movements left vibrant, digital RGB streaks – a surprising effect that opened my eyes to the possibilities of the medium.

What has your greatest career accomplishment been to-date?

Photographing all the Artifacts from the “Out of Mist” Nuu-chah-nulth Exhibit for the Royal BC Museum on 4×5 slide film.

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What are some of your biggest challenges? How do you overcome them?

Feeling like I am living up to my own expectations to make images I am proud of or feel good about, images that I will still feel good about ten years from now. I keep pushing myself to try new things especially with scanography as it is a relatively new technique.

Is there anything you would have done differently in your own career?

Not especially, I have been at it for forty years now and have enjoyed ‘being my own boss’ for the most part.

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Do you have any advice for photographers starting out?

Look at work by Masters of Photography

Tell us a little about some of your favourite photo gear.

I use Epson Scanners in my studio. For my commercial work – Canon dSLR with mostly 100mm macro is useful for shooting art, dynalite studio strobes, chimera softboxes.

What is your favourite photo accessory, other than your camera?

My studio camera stand on rollers. I use it for holding and positioning scanners as well as cameras. It spoils you—it’s really frustrating to photograph using an ordinary tripod now.

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If you had to choose just a single camera and lens would it be and why?

Well that would be the one I use 95% of the time in studio – Canon Mark II with 100mm macro lense for perspective, subject distance, and macro features.

Can you share with us anything that you’re working on right now?

If I find time to do personal work these days I am often working with things that are frozen in ice because I like the challenges – (get it done before it melts) and appreciate the textural qualities of ice as it melts, plus the excitement of making a composition in water as it freezes.

Where else can people see your work?

Currently in my studio on Salt Spring Island and also in a touring exhibit- ‘Conversations with Nature’ which is showing in Western Canadian Public Art Galleries ( Okotoks and Maple Ridge coming up this spring).

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A Selection of Janet’s Scanography  is currently on display at Vistek’s Mississauga location until January 2, 2015.

Other Dates and locations:

Ottawa: February 2 – February 27, 2015
Toronto: March 2 – April 3, 2015
Edmonton: June 2 – July 3, 2015
Calgary: July 6 – July 31, 2015
Willow Park: September 7 – October 2 2015

This year, Christmas comes a week early!

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HO – HO – HOW can you not take advantage of this great chance to win free stuff?

Sign up for Vistek’s now-famous Shopping Spree. It’s the contest where you get to shop for free! Just sign up for Vistek eNews – a great resource you want to receive anyway — and you could be in-line to win the Grand Prize $3,000 Vistek Shopping Spree.

Bonus! By signing up this week, you could win a Kata GearPack camera bag. Again, just for signing up to receive eNews.

So fill out the eNews form. Be first to hear about all the newest products, latest contests and exclusive offers at Vistek. All that, plus you could win the Kata camera bag AND the $3,000 Shopping Spree.

Hurry, contest closes Friday, December 12. Winner will be announced the following Friday, December 19, 2014. You guessed it – just in time for you know what!

ENTER NOW

Call for Entries!

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2015 Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Awards

Want your work to be acknowledged and profiled at the country’s most esteemed and highly regarded Creativity Awards Shows? The Applied Arts Photography and Illustration Awards celebrate the very best work produced by some of the world’s leading artists. Here’s your chance to shine.

On top of being published in the Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Awards Annual, published in May 2015 — a reference guide used by more than 46,000 senior professionals and decision makers. Winning entries will receive year-round recognition in other high profile media platforms, including the Applied Arts Winners gallery on www.appliedartsmag.com, which attracts more than 300,000 visitors annually.

As an award winner, you’ll also enjoy personal recognition at the Applied Arts annual AACE Awards Party.

There’s more. All winning entries become part of the Applied Arts Awards Archive. The Archive features more than a decade of stunning, award-winning work. Become part of the legacy! Click here to view the 2014 Photography & Illustration awards winners. Obviously, if there was ever an ideal way to show off your talent, this is the place.

To find out how to enter and submit your best work, go to http://www.appliedartsmag.com/pi_awards/categories.php

Entry Deadline is January 14, 2015. Best of luck!