Mission: Capture the ancient treasures of Italy with a toy camera.

Award winning photographer Karen Perlmutter, on a recent trip to Italy, embarked on a photographic mission with a twist. She was determined to capture the phenomenal beauty of central Italy, better known as the Umbria region, and specifically to capture the exquisite beauty of the ancient foundations in Spoleto.

Why travel to far-away Italy and take photos using a $69 plastic Holga camera – using nothing but film, no less?

“With this camera, I was able to achieve such effects as blurring, vignetting, light leaks and distortions,” says Karen. As for using film, she claims, “With film I was able to capture the emotions of the shot – a dreamy, almost ethereal appearance, as though time has stood still.”

From the evidence provided, we’d have to say, ‘Mission accomplished’.

See it for yourself.


Photographs by Karen Perlmutter.


Opening reception: September 11, 2014  
The exhibit runs through October 6, 2014
Lower Gallery – Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery Inc.
Columbus Centre 901 Lawrence Avenue West North York, ON
General Inquiries: Tel: 416-789-7011 ext.245; Fax: 416-789-3951
Gallery Hours: Mon – Fri: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.



Olympus TG-3 Camera Hands-on Review

I got to take the Olympus TG-3 (Tough) camera out for a little spin last weekend (literally as you will see). The camera has to many features to even go through all of them in a blog post. So lets start by saying this is by no means a review, think of it more as an overview of what this little camera can do, and how it can inspire you to have some fun and take some great photos.  If you want to see all the specifications and features check out this link.

Let’s start off by watching a quick little introductory video. Also I want you all to keep in mind that I had the optional Fisheye Lens attached for the Motorcycle ride, and the camera’s video mode had the IS turned on, which worked fairly well, considering.

Visual Storytelling from North Bay and Beyond – A Q&A with Danny Turcotte

Danny Turcotte is both a North Bay Ontario based Photographer and owner of Catch-Light Photography. As a contemporary photographer who strives for a style that is both diverse and unique, Danny ensures that each photo he captures tells a story. With his camera, he has traveled as far as India, Cambodia, and the Phillipines. He has also ventured locally throughout towns all across Canada. Danny is constantly searching for new and exciting ways to share his amazing view of the world with those around him. When he isn’t working weddings, you’re sure to see Danny spending time with his son, Dali Roads, or having fun taking his own weekly family photo.

Meet Danny Turcotte


What is your background/education?

I’m pretty much self taught, other than taking a night course when I got my first digital camera in 2007 and reading every photo magazine I could get my hands on.

Who are your favourite photographers?

Freeman Patterson has had an influence on me. He had some amazing books that I read over and over. I have a few people on Flickr that I follow, but it’s more fun than anything, kind of like following along with their adventures.

How was your interest in photography sparked?

That’s really such a random part of my life, I had an old film camera that I used to carry around and take photos with but it was just for fun. Then one day I picked up the local paper and saw an advertisement for a course in Darkroom Photography. It was 3 hours a week but more important it ignited my passion.


 What was it about light painting that inspires you?

Light Painting to me is such an amazing form of photography and the thing that inspires me most about Light Painting is that you get to create a scene that doesn’t exist in real life. You get to make a story come to life with any visions that you may have. For me, it’s intriguing to use bright colours to create a story from an empty space.

What influences your art? Do you look to other photographers for inspiration, or does your inspiration come from other sources?

I think my inspirations comes from many places, from whatever I’m surrounded by each day. It could be  a painting or something I saw flipping through a magazine or online photos or a TV ad. Anything can trigger new ideas. That’s why light painting is so interesting to me. You can make those stories and create them with just your imagination and some lights.


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

I think my biggest challenges in light painting is always lighting myself in the photo. The problem is, when my camera goes off the flashes light me first, so I’m burned into the image before I start the rest of the light painting. I then have to remember where I was standing and where I placed all the lights.


What is the best way to get started if you want to try this technique at home?

The best was to start learning light painting is to put your camera on a tripod at night in the dark and open your shutter to 30 seconds. Alternately, you could buy a cable release and that will allow you to have your shutter locked open for as long as you choose. Then all you need is a flashlight or some glow sticks and just move then in the front of the camera as the camera is taking the long exposure and that’s how you light paint. You can use any kind of lights like sparklers or Christmas lights even your iPhone has apps.

Is there a single photograph that you have created that resonates with you more than any other – why is it significant for you?

I think it would have to be the first picture I ever took of my son with us as a family –that is always going to be a special moment.


Could you describe a typical set-up of one of your light painting shoots?

I start with my camera on a tripod then I usually mark the edges of my frame so I know what part of the scene is in the photo. Everything is done in complete darkness so that’s tough on its own. Then I test all my flashes and set them so they will light me first (if I’m in the photo) –that’s the hardest part is setting the flashes up to light me proper–after that I start to test the other parts of the photo and picking out what coloured lights I’m going to use for the shot. After I have all that set up, I start to test the image that I have in my head doing each part of the scene light painting one step at a time. This is where I usually start to map out the scene and add in new elements as I go, because sometimes certain colours look better so I change them up until I’m satisfied with the outcome. I always have a set plan in my head when I light paint and as I start it always evolves as I go. Sometimes I spend a few hours just on one photo trying it over and over again until it comes out just right. That’s the thing with light painting – every image is 100 percent original cause each time you try a photo it always varies just slightly from the last frame depending on how you shine the flashlights, what angle you use to light the scene.


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

When it comes to photo gear – I like my 30mm 1.4 a lot and the classic 50mm but I think I’d have to say my favourite gear to use is a Speedlight SB-910. I always have at least a couple with me every time I take my camera out.

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

Speedlight for sure, just give me a camera and any lens and a long as I have 2 flashes I’m good to go.


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

I still use a D300s and I’ve been waiting for a new camera and now that the D810 just came out I think that will be on my list. Also, the 30mm 1.4 is perfect for what I do. I also love the 11-16mm when I’m light painting; I’m a wide shooter more than a zoomed in type of guy.

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

I’m working on a few projects. One is Project 52 Year 2 which involves taking 1 photo per week of my son (he’s now 18 months old). I’ve actually been doing it for the last 2 years and it’s always the best day of the week. I’m also working on a book collaboration with a local author of short stories.


Where else can people see your work?

People can see more of my work on my Facebook page I usually post images every couple days. My full project 366 (a photo everyday) is on there and as well my Project 52 of my son Dali. 278You can also see Danny’s work in person at Vistek locations across Canada the following Dates and Locations.

Toronto: August 11 – September 12, 2014

Mississauga: October 13 – November 7, 2014

Ottawa: December 1 2014 – January 2 2015

Edmonton: February 2 –  27, 2015

Calgary: April 6 – April 30, 2015

Willow Park: June 2 – July 3, 2015

For more of his work or to contact Danny, please visit: www.catch-light.ca or www.facebook.com/catchlightphotography

The Mystique of Black & White


Have you ever had the chance to shoot a scene, then immediately re-shoot the identical same scene in black-and-white(b/w)?

It’s like an altogether different picture. Miraculously, the instant the colour is removed it becomes more intriguing. At least for me it does. Not only do I look at it differently, I often give it higher artistic marks.

Somehow by removing the colour, the image has seemingly acquired magical qualities.

Why do you suppose that is?

What is it about b/w? What’s the allure?

Does the lack of colour allow us to focus more intensely on the subject? In the case of objects, are we better able to appreciate shapes and angles? For example, a favourite b/w photo of mine is a shot of a winding staircase. It’s an elaborate structure with magnificent curves, and I think b/w not only captures but also magnifies the features. Another example is the Eiffel Tower, where out of thousands of pics the ones that best capture the intricacy of the iconic structure’s steel membrane are b/w.

Title: Early Lunch - Photographer: John Jeevanathan

Title: Early Lunch – Photographer: John Jeevanathan


And it’s not just structures. Does removing skin tones from portraits allow us to focus more strongly on the individual? The shape of the nose, the facial structure, the texture of the hair, does the elimination of colour force us to recognize the model’s distinguishing features? Do the eyes, ears and nose become more pronounced? When Vistek recently presented portrait photographer Gregory Heisler, his best photos, in my opinion, were his b/ws.

Here’s a thought, maybe the appeal of b/w is due to the fact that we evaluate photographs differently than other art forms?

Think about it. Have you ever heard of a gallery of b/w paintings? And although there are aficionados of b/w movies (guilty, I much prefer the original Casablanca) it’s safe to say the majority prefers living colour.

Here’s a weird thought. Maybe b/w has some primal attraction. Many species of animals see in black & white, or as is the case with dogs and cats a lesser ability to process colour. Maybe in an earlier stage of our evolution we did, too. It’s possible the ability to see in colour in Homo sapiens is a recent acquisition.

If you love b/w check out these sites. Also, feel free to share some of your favourites.

Sebastião Salgado via ideas.TED.com
Elliot Erwitt
Sally Mann
Richard Avedon


Retro for a Reason – Guest post by Ryan Tonegawa

Vistek staff members aren’t just sales professionals; many of them are active in the industry. Ryan Tonegawa, for example, is a sales representative at our Mississauga store. He also finds time to shoot wedding, event and sport photography. Ryan recently picked up some Fuji cameras and couldn’t put them back down. In his own words he explains why.

Photo by Ryan Tonegawa

Photo tek with the Fuji X-T1 w/ Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8

There are many fickle fads in the photography market. Such as selective colour images, focus peaking, “Tupperware diffusers”, heavy vignettes and HDR photos. Each of these ideas have a time and place to be used. (…or perhaps they don’t) But they will certainly shift, adapt or disappear altogether. Fuji is no fad. They are right on point, if not ahead of the curve entirely.

A popular trend that seems to have taken hold in the camera world is retro styling. Not that “old school” designs are anything new. (see Film &/or Auto industry) However, from nostalgic baby-boomers to the most über hipsters there is a certain appeal to the style from days past that seems to captivate people. The 80′s cropped up again in the 2000′s and the 90′s have enjoyed a good resurgence during this decade. We like the things we know.

Photo by Ryan Tonegawa

Photo taken with the Fuji X100s

Fuji has gone way back with some classic film camera design. They have combined all of the tactile, analog controls from early film cameras with the most cutting edge digital advancements. Wi-Fi, digital manual focus, hybrid viewfinders and HD video are all packed into bodies that could have easily come from the 70′s. The lenses are gorgeous and the selection is growing rapidly. I especially enjoy the 56mm f/1.2 lens for its creamy bokeh. The EXR processor provides excellent quality and the X-Trans II sensor does a beautiful job of recording every image with its brand new colour filter array. (it even has focus peaking!)

Photo by Ryan Tonegawa

Photo taken with Fuji’s X-T1 w/ 56mm f/1.2

I had the pleasure of shooting a wedding on Valentine’s Day this year with a full kit from Fuji. Which included X-E2 and an X-T1 bodies. The lenses I brought along for the day were the following: 12mm Zeiss Touit, 10-24mm f/4, 56mm f/1.2 and the 60mm f/2.4 macro. One of the best parts aside from my results? All of this gear fit nicely into one regular sized shoulder bag. I barely noticed carrying it around all day. It was awesome! To be honest the X-T1 & 56mm combo almost never left my hands. It was a beautiful set up to shoot with and provided outstanding results.

Photo by Ryan Tonegawa

Selfie moment with the X100s

I also had the pleasure of being in a wedding this year. It was in fact my wedding. I married the love of my life only a few weeks ago. As a wedding photographer I was banned from shooting at my own wedding. Needless to say, I had to find something compact that could be hidden or carried without issue and could punch above it’s weight. Enter the x100s - what a dream to shoot with. With exception to the X-T1, this is the most fun camera I’ve had the pleasure of using. I shot raw/jpg, popped it in Black and White mode and had a blast! At one point our hired photographer scooped it from me and shot for a while with the Fuji. I’m not sure if he had a bigger smile all day then when he was using the x100s.

Whether you are looking for a strong compact camera system, a stylish design or even a just a company to watch in the photography world, Fuji Film is where you should be looking. We have seen strong contributions from them in the past few months and only expect to see more great things.

Photo by Ryan Tonegawa

Photo taken with the Fuji X100s

If you want to learn more about Ryan or his work visit his website Fumio Photo or visit Vistek’s Mississauga Store location and see him in person!

All photos are © Ryan Tonegawa – used with Permission