Dec 19, 2011

Toronto downtown at night

Canon 5D Mk2 with Canon 17-40 lens from the second floor of the parking lot of Loblaws downtown. Shows the CN Tower, CIBC, and the new Telus building, Fairmont Royal York and the elevated Gardiner Expressway cutting through it all.
Car light streaks are as a result of the 1 second exposure.

Nov 12, 2011

Beauty and the Booth at Graphics Canada

Beautiful women at Graphics Canada
Beautiful women attract trade show visitors to learn about printing services at the Boss Logo booth at Graphics Canada 2011.

Fujifilm booth at Graphics Canada 2011

A beautiful 2 level booth attracts visitors to the Fujifilm exhibit at Graphics Canada 2011.

These examples of trade show photography doneout for Graphics Canada and Aplphaform

Oct 6, 2011

Trade Show Video for Lumber at Home Hardware Marketplace

OWL Distribution, wholesale lumber distributor, wanted a high impact video presenting both major product lines and features of the company itself to attract attention at the Home Hardware marketplace, a tradeshow for suppliers to Home hardware, attended by buyers from the Home Hardware stores. The 8 minute video was played on two 55 inch TVs in the booth. A 5 minute shorter version is featured here.

The video was created from footage shot at the OWL yard, clips from suppliers' product installation videos, stills provided by suppliers and HD stock footage from Digital Juice, Artbeats and FootageFirm. On site footage was shot with a Sony NX5 and V1U. The V1U was mounted on a Cobra Crane. Some of the dramatic yard shots were taken with a Canon 5D mounted on a car driving through the yard. All in all, there were 1000 elements composited over 18 layers of video and graphics in Premiere Pro. Many of the supplied still were animated, and enhanced with keyed in stock footage.

The video will be re-edited into versions for YouTube, PowerPoint, and other trade shows.

There is a bridge in Hamiton

Francis Fougere Photography needed a drive by video of a bridge in Hamilton Ontario that the City of Hamilton wanted to document. The objective was to show what the bridge looked like to drivers passing under it on the QEW.

We shot the video in HD while driving down the QEW with the camera on a tripod projection through the sun roof of the camera car. Delivered in HD mp4 and as a windows media file for PowerPoint.

Music from Digital Juice.

Focus Group Becomes Conference Speaker Support Video

Theresa Dietrich of PeopleTalking Market Research Services wanted to capture the essence of a focus group's deliberations to support a conference presentation. I recorded the a two camera shoot of the focus group, and edited two hours into four minutes. The AV group at the conference were provided with a DVD of the video, as well as an HD mp4.

Sep 13, 2011

Downtown Toronto Construction

Downtown Toronto Construction
Surrounded by glass towers, a new construction site springs up at Bay and Lakeshore.

Shot from the Harbourfront Parkade with a canon 5D 24-105 lens

Sep 3, 2011

Halifax Refinery with Canon 2x

I spent a few nights at the Westin Hotel in Halifax and was amazed at the lights on the refinery stacks at the Esso refinery across the harbour in Dartmouth. It is a pretty wide harbour, and a Canon 2x extender on a 70-200 made it effectively a 400 mm lens. Not as clear as the native 70-200, but nice enough to reach out across the water. These shots were taken from warf at the Halifax Seaport.

Jul 6, 2011

More Caribbean Carnival - Junior Carnival

Caribbean Carnival - Junior CarnivalCaribbean Carnival - Junior Carnival with local police officerThe Yorkgate Mall preview of 2011 Junior Carnival brought out bright costumes and smiling faces. Kids and adults.

May 30, 2011

Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival

Denise Herera-JacksonScotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival CEOChris Alexander
Chris Alexander Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival CFO
Chris Alexander
Chris Alexander

MPP Mike Colle

Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevic

Caribbean Tourism Roanne Argyle

May 26, 2011

Beautiful Caribbean Dancer

The event formerly known as Caribana's new name was announced this week, complete with pan music and girls in costume, what little of it there is. I took photos for pres purposes, including this gorgeous dancer.

Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival is the new name

Canon 5DII, 70-200 with 2x, no flash

May 1, 2011

Contact @ ROM

Photographer Ed Burtynsky and admirers at the opening for Scotiabank Contact 2011 of his exhibition at the ROM.

Irony is photographing a photographer.

Apr 25, 2011

Toronto City Hall HDR

Continuing the photographic journey to see how HDR enhances the look of otherwise ordinary scenes, I went back to Toronto City Hall on a bright sunny day. I shot a series of 3 images, bracketed by 2 f stops. Photoshop's HDR Pro merged the three exposures to generate a surrealistic image that emphasized the highlights. To see what the photo looked like on a larger scale, I printed it at 18 by 12 at Pikto in Distillery District. The large image revealed gorgeous smooth tones on the windows, almost like water colors.

Before, top, after, bottom.

Apr 19, 2011

Event Headshots

Gorgeous Smile

A client had a dinner event and I shot candid photos of the guests. Including Dawn and Mike.

Canon 5DII, flash, f4.0

Apr 18, 2011

Corrosive Tank Cars at the Edge of Town

Toronto eastern railway yard tank car downtown1760 is the code for corrosive liquid. The eastern end of downtown Toronto, on both sides of the Don River, was once full of factories, and railway tracks to supply them. Box cars and tank cars. Big chemical users included the Unilever Sunlight Soap plant. But that plant has been closed for several years after a long, fruitless labour strike. Now the only thing left is the Ashbridges Bay Sewage treatment plant. And the tracks themselves are being torn up. What is the point? No industry, no need for trains and the tracks they run on. No tracks, and industry will never come back. Make way for more condos.

Shot, just before noon on a sunny day, with a Canon 5DII, HDR and image merging in Photoshop. Lots of Photoshop.

Inglis, A Sign of Toronto De-industrialization

Inglis, A Sign of Toronto De-industrializationToronto's railway lands west of downtown were once the heart of a major manufacturing centre. One of the companies there was Inglis, makers of machinery and household appliances, and during World War I, Bren machine guns. Employing thousands in the 1950's, high labour costs lead to those jobs moving to Mexico and China. All that remains of Inglis is a stump of a factory building that is the base of a sign. Meaningless philosophical nonsense slogans beckon Gardiner Expressway motorists as cheap ( by Toronto standards ) condos encroach on areas that once provided jobs and a way of life. Factories provided work for 50 years, construction jobs to build the new towers will be gone in a year, leaving work only for a lone building superintendent. And the Fridges and stoves in those apartments probably all say "Made in China" on them. And the condo dwellers will complain that the sign is an eye-sore and finally have that razed as well.

Apr 15, 2011

Abandoned Kodak Plant in Toronto Weston

Looking for more evidence of de-industrialization, i found Building 9 as the only remaining evidence of the once huge Kodak manufacturing facility that once employed over 2000 people. Partly boarded up, the building is now a haven for graffiti artistes, whose work can be seen through the windows. Local kids who would once have found real jobs there. Now closed since 2005, this is the end product of de-industrialization.

Irony is taking a digital photo of a former film manufacturing plant.

Taken with a 70-200 mm lens on a bright morning.

Apr 9, 2011

Canada Malting Abandoned Silos in Toronto

Canada Malting Abandoned Silos in TorontoLike bookends, the silos form Canada Malting company on the west end of downtown Toronto are ghostly reminders of a once flourishing waterfront industry, providing thousands of jobs and financing the early development of the city. Now, partly torn down, waiting for an opportunity to be turned into over mortgaged condos, or a government funded cultural space for government approved culture. With the railway gone, highways turned into streetcar tracks and only the Redpath sugar plant still making any use of the waterway, it seems that Ayn Rand was right. Atlas shrugged and went on his way.

Shot with a Canon Powershot while looking for scenes of de-industrialization.

Apr 4, 2011

Abandoned Victory Soya Mills Silos in Toronto

Abandoned Victory Soya Mills Silos in TorontoWhile looking for the remnants of Toronto's industrial age, when the waterfront was a source of wealth and jobs and a means of transportation I came across this view of the old Victory Soya Mills Silos. This shot was taken from the lift bridge over the Keating Channel, itself a remnant of a bygone maritime industry. Plans for the building are all sad statements themselves. More condos. Another display in the "closed all the factories and put them in a factory museum". Toronto's trendy blogs say that marine and rail transport and industrial jobs are dead. But look at Bunge's huge canola processing plant on the waterfront in Hamilton with several hundred jobs.

Taken with a Canon SX120is on a cloudy, rainy evening. I will go back with a better camera and a better lens.

Mar 25, 2011

Mayor Hazel McCallion at CLM 2011 tribute to Jack Prazeres

Mayor Hazel McCallion at CLM 2011 tribute to Jack Prazeres
Portuguese singer Hernani
90 years old and still a great speaker. And at 90, when she talks about the history of Mississauga it comes from having lived it.

I finally got a great shot of Mayor Hazel McCallion at the Community Living Mississauga fund raising tribute to Jack Prazeres. At 90 years old, the mayor is still going strong. But the lines on her face make it a chalenge to get a flattering photo. This one shot with a Canon 5D MkII and a 70-200 2.8 lens and a flash is as nice as I have been able to get.

A stage spotlight provided the ultimate hair light for Portugese singer Hernani performing at th eevent. Had to get down on teh floor to get the right angle. And man, what a wonderful voice.

Mar 16, 2011

De-industrialization in Hamilton

abandonned factory de-industrialization in HamiltonIn search of material for a documentary on de-industrialization, I spent an afternoon in Hamilton photographing the remains of de-industrialization, including the Rheem plant on Barton and the Otis Elevator plant on Victoria.

And this unidentified building carcass on Hess North. Further research suggests it was a company called Imtrex, closed in 1986. Now planned, according to "the internet", by the City of Hamilton for residential development. Or maybe not.
Walking the hill by Otis Elevator brought back memories of selling Dickie Dee ice cream to the guys in the plant 40 years ago. They lowered money in a bucket from the second floor windows, I sent ice cream bars back up. Just a s summer job for me. But, according to that plant had real jobs for 900 Steelworkers in the 1950's and just 230 when it closed in 1987.

Shot with a Canon 5DII. And then a touch of Photoshop HDR.

Mar 13, 2011

WordPress photography website for

I had used the built in Flash photo gallery function in Photoshop to create a website for George Socka Photography. At that time Flash was cool. However, Flash has become a pariah on websites, as has the concept of finely hand crafted but hard to change static HTML. My new website to promote George Socka Photography in Toronto is based on WordPress. Easy uploading of new images and easy changes to text makes WordPress an ideal content management system for changing content.

The new website is

Feb 26, 2011

Spoke at Podcamp Toronto about blogspot

21 iMacs at RyersonI have set up websites with many technologies, from hard coded HTML, WordPress, Drupal,, even an IBM AS/400, but blogspot is a hands down choice for a fast, easy, effective web presence. Free without advertising in fact.

I spoke about blogspot at Podcamp Toronto 2011 to share what I have learned with others.

Now, I am a PC / Windows guy. Ever since those AS/400 days. But walking into a room with 21 iMacs sitting dourly on desks, silently ignoring you by facing the back wall and refusing to turn around, THAT is freaky. I had to raise my BlackBerry Torch over my head to ward off the evil spirits.

Feb 25, 2011

Marilyn Monroe comes to life at McMichael

Marilyn Monroe look-a-like interview setI taped interviews with guests and staff at the Marilyn Monroe exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. These interviews will appear on the Gallery FaceBook page to celebrate the opening of the exhibition.

Linda Morita took this great photo of one of the interviews. The interview area included a collection of photo flash stands to create a photo studio photo shoot environment.

Feb 14, 2011

WordPress Website for Sonya VanVeen WordPressWhen Sonya, a Registered Equine Massage Therapist, wanted to be able to upload photos of some of the horses she works with, it became to much programming to add upload capability to the custom static website I had created for her five years ago. Instead, I converted the original website to a WordPress site hosted at goDaddy. The original static pages became WordPress pages at She will use blog posts to create a photo blog.

My original reservations about running WordPress on a goDaddy Windows hosting platform were totally overcome, both with the ease of installing WordPress, and with activating its features.

Feb 4, 2011

Ships Frozen In The Ice in Winter inToronto Harbor

Algoma Ship Frozen In The Ice in Winter in Toronto Harbor
I needed a few seconds of Great Lakes ships in winter for Dave MacAdam's "Echoes in the Wind" and "Great Lakes Ships" music videos. After a pretty cold January, and a recent dumping of half a foot of snow, it seemed that there would be a lot of desolate looking ships tied up in the Toronto Harbour.
Upper Lakes Ship Frozen In The Ice in Winter inToronto Harbour

These two shorts, and similar video clips almost make you shiver just looking at them. And wondering just how cold the water in the frozen over harbor is.

Shot with a Canon 5D, 70-200mm lens just after the sun went below the horizon.

Feb 2, 2011

George McLean Speaks about his Wildlife and Landscape Paintings

I interviewed George McLean for the McMichael website on the opening of his retrospective exhibition there. He spoke about he walked the countryside in Grey County on the shores of the Georgian Bay looking for unique landscapes and the animals that live there. He described how he painted, starting with sketched studies, how he placed his animals in the landscape and how he transferred the detailed studies to finished paintings 5 feet wide and more. And he added an anecdote about how he and fellow artist Ken Danby watched a hawk attack a snowy owl. He introduced a new book of his art titled "George McLean: The Living Landscape" whose authors include renowned art writer Tom Smart.

The video was shot in HD on a Sony NX5U in gallery space that was not yet hung. Music by Dave MacAdam.

Jan 30, 2011

Motorcycle Supershow Leather Fashions

Supershow Leather FashionsSupershow Leather FashionsSupershow Leather Fashions

The International Centre's 5000 parking spaces were overflowing with visitors to the Motorcycle Supershow. It was minus 10 outside but these gorgeous models in the leather fashion show made it easy to think of warm summer days. Start your engines.

These were shot with a Canon 5D, 70-200 mm lens, f5.6 at ISO 800 with a flash.

Jan 29, 2011

George McLean - Canadian Artist

George McLean by George Socka

I interviewed George McLean at the McMichael on the opening of his exhibit of Canadian Wildlife and Landscape titled The Living Landscape. I also shot a few available light and low light stills, which in the gallery is pretty low to preserve the paintings. This was shot in gallery space that was not yet hung, with two umbrellas on video lights at ISO 2500. 1/125 second f4.5.

Eat your heart out Yousuf Karsh!
George McLean

Jan 12, 2011

Green Power @ 2011 Toronto Motorcycle Supershow

Green Kawasaki ZX-14Snow on the ground in Toronto after a January storm, but the Toronto Motorcycle Supershow was full of summer toys. I am referring of course, the motorcycles, eh? This 1350 cc Kawasaki Ninja ZX14 was in the stunt rider's booth.

The bike was shot with a Canon 5DII, 70-200 f2.8 and a 580EXII speedlight. The motorcycle has been composited onto a photo of power panels in a factory being demolished. The factory was shot with a 24-105 f4 lens. This composition was submitted to a photo contest on "power" at

More on

Jan 11, 2011

Trade show booth video provides great visiblility

The National Yacht Club trade show booth video for the Toronto International Boat Show went live today. Visibility of the short, large, high contrast titles, designed to draw visitors to the booth proved to be excellent. Even more fortunately, the booth is in an area of open display areas, without walls, improving the ability to notice the video from half way across the Direct Energy Centre show floor.