2018 was definitely a year of ups and downs; ups in the form of some well met photography and videography goals and streamlining of our business (combining our photo, video and audio production all under one umbrella, as it were), and downs in the form of dealing with some health issues that were rather problematic and the associated changes to our business to accommodate said health issues. Not to worry though, we’re ending the year on a rather high note and the ups most definitely outweighed the downs!
It was a stormy start to 2018 for me, as I was stranded in Cape Breton for several extra days due to some wintry weather after playing some gigs with Drake Jensen and my sister Inez Hill in Glace Bay over the Christmas holidays, and perhaps it was a reflection on where I was physically and mentally given that both my wrists, elbows and shoulders had locked up nerves and tendons from a lifetime of playing guitar and bass. Can’t say I was terribly happy but I did get some images of a couple of trips to the Louisbourg Lighthouse with Inez that I was very happy with, showing the massive waves left from the storm that had us staying another 5 days in Cape Breton. Inez also dragged me out to her favourite eagle spotting location which also didn’t disappoint.
Once back home in Ottawa, I didn’t do much work of any sort due to a steady schedule of physio and massage therapy that had me under orders to not pick up a guitar, or a camera, or much of anything else until told otherwise. Things did pick up again in April however with the change in weather, with a couple of trips to Montebello, QC’s Parc Omega that were a lot of fun and the startup of the British High Commission’s RAF100 program which I participated in as official photographer being hosted at Vintage Wings of Canada’s hangar at Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport. The RAF100 program brought in many local high school students and air cadets and hopefully inspired some of them to pursue a career in aviation. It certainly was a lot of fun to be a part of that program!
On the videography side, Ann and I filmed two concerts in Kitchener, ON in May for our friends in the Genesis tribute band G2R and Boston tribute band Hitch a Ride. Both were very fun and resulted in some very good material and a major honing of our concert/event video skills as a team. We also continued our promo and event video work for our friends at Iron X Fitness, always a pleasure working with them.
June brought airshow season which had me shooting much photo and video for Vintage Wings, with various Warbird U, open house, and general flying events which continued for the rest of the year pretty much. June specifically though had the Great Lakes International Airshow where I was Vintage Wings’ photo and video presence as well as ground crew in support of the Roseland Spitfire, piloted by Dave Hadfield. We had a good weekend, the aircraft performed without issue, Dave flew both great solo and formation routines along with Waterloo Warbirds’ de Havilland Vampire which was a real treat to experience. Ann and I also made a trip together to the annual WWII Weekend in Reading, PA but were somewhat disappointed by poor weather, although we did get some decent photos and finally got to meet our jazz vocalist and re-enactor friend Theresa Eaman. Seeing her perform was worth the trip in itself!
In July, I made my usual pilgrimage to Geneseo, NY for the Greatest Show on Turf!, this year with Vintage Wings’ P-40 Kittyhawk in attendance as part of a program celebrating aircraft built in the Buffalo area during WWII. As usual, Geneseo didn’t disappoint, with an interesting lineup of aircraft as well as good company in the form of P-40 pilot Joe Cosmano and many friendly folks that came by to talk to us about the aircraft. The photo highlight of the weekend for me I think was seeing the National Warplane Museum’s B-17 “The Movie Memphis Belle” in the air after a long period of heavy maintenance, what a joy to see her fly!
After Geneseo, I didn’t travel at all for any airshows with the exception of September’s Airshow London, but there was more than enough activity at Vintage Wings to keep me occupied. The Commemorative Air Force sent both their B-29 “FIFI” for a visit which happily coincided with one of the RAF100 events. Also visiting after “FIFI” was the CAF’s B-25J Mitchell “Maid In The Shade” which was also a treat to see. In August, Ann and I made a trip out to the east coast to visit family which was also a satisfying photo trip, getting to make some of my own version of iconic Cape Breton imagery. Much fun was had with my sister again towing us around to some of her favourite photo haunts!
One other thing that happened with us in August was our first commissioned wedding shoot at Beantown Ranch east of Ottawa. Our friends Marie and Derek hired us to cover their wedding and we had a blast with their families and friends capturing their day. Some of the images we got from their wedding day were well up there as favourite images of ours for 2018 and we are now proud to offer wedding packages as part of our photo and video services.
September brought the impending AeroGatineau-Ottawa airshow, and during the preparations I got to meet and photograph Canadian astronaut and all-around cultural icon Chris Hadfield. Chris got himself checked out on the Spitfire for future flights with Vintage Wings and I was thrilled along with fellow photographer Andre Laviolette to witness that little piece of aviation history. As I did for the previous year’s airshow, I spent the rehearsal day taking photos and then the show itself was streamed on the internet, with me as lead camera hand. A lot of work but quite satisfying. As mentioned before, I also attended Airshow London in Southern Ontario, lots of fun, big, fast jets but the weather was problematic and I only got some images I was happy with.
Heading into fall, I was plagued again with more tennis elbow issues that had me doing mostly editing the year’s images when I could and taking very few of them unfortunately. I also parted with some of my heavier equipment, acquiring a Sony a6500 to supplement and outright replace a few things, and selling my much used Sigma 150-600mm Sports lens which I had never been content with the weight of it. Great lens for image quality, but definitely not the easiest thing to handhold and certainly a pain to haul around. Geneseo was my first airshow with the Sony, and it performed admirably, although it struggled a bit with the grey skies at London. All told though, I’m very happy with it and the video quality from it is outstanding.
Fast forward to December, we filmed a new music series in conjunction with Ottawa’s Johnny Hall Productions and the Heart & Crown Byward Market, showcasing some of Ottawa’s premier bands. The first video to date is our good friends leMeow with their take on the classic “No Diggity”, with new releases coming out every two weeks. We also worked with country music up and comer Ches Anthony for a promo video for him through Soundcheck Entertainment.
All in all, it was a good year. Not a great year, but definitely a good one and we hope that next year is spent less with health issues and more on bringing you great images and video, and serving the Ottawa area and abroad with our photo and video services. A safe and pleasant holiday season to you all, and best wishes for the new year!
Jonathan Edwards and Ann Allain