How To Train Your Drone

by Tom Nesbitt on February 25, 2015

Its Wednesday!!

In celebration of hump day please take the opportunity to check out some fun drone racing & crashing through the woods.

Thanks to Gary Ogle for unearthing this for us.

As he mentions on Facebook, Its kind of like Return of the Jedi meets Batteries Not Included.

Some Credits and Specs……

Porket Racer 240:

Full Carbon Frame
Naze32 Board
RCX Motors
ESC 10A SimonK
Lipo 1300mAh 3S
Mobius Cam
Video 5.8GHz

Infos :



    Photoshop Wizards are a hard breed to tame.  They are able to conjure beauty from mere pixels with the stroke of a wand (wacom pen).  They are such magical beings that some have even been known to survive for days on end by only eating cookies and tea.  At least that is what we have learned after observing ours…

    We are extra excited to announce the addition of Nick Leadlay, to the Westside roster.  Nick is the first digital retoucher that Westside Studio has ever represented (yes, he is that good).


    “I am very excited to be joining the team at Westside Studio after working closely with them on multiple jobs over the past year.  The roster of photographers, along with the studio’s client list speaks for itself.  I am especially excited about the new ground we are breaking in Canada as far as retouchers being represented along side photographers.  Tom, Caitlin, Chris and the Westside family have been so welcoming to me since day one, so a special thank you goes to them.  I am really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together!”- N.L

    Nick has worked his magic with a couple of the photographers here at Westside Studio.  Nikki Ormerod and Joey L have both trusted Nick’s sorcery with some major projects in the past, resulting in images that you have probably seen hundreds of times by now.  Take the following images for example:

     Nikki Ormerod



    Joey L


    When you combine extremely talented photographers with an extremely talented wizard, you end up with simply the best images possible.  What, you didn’t catch his magic in the images above?  Take a closer look at this amazing image by Joey L, shot for the recent Canon Campaign.  Slide the bar back and forth to reveal one of Nick’s latest spells in action.

    Did you catch it that time?  I’m sure you did, but in case you are curious, Deathrider wanted to tell you a little bit about his work.

    “This image was retouched on set during the Canon Camera shoot with Joey L.  The deadline for the image was at the end of the day, so there really wasn’t any time for mistakes.  However, I have worked with Joey before and he creates a really relaxed environment to work in, so that made everything a lot less stressful.

    The basic elements that we addressed in this image were; the focus and angle of the camera, the exposure on the female model and the elimination of any distracting elements in the scene.  We also did some subtle skin and hair work on the models, along with some global color correction/grading. Joey always likes to have a hand in the post production process and prefers to do his color grading at the end of the workflow.  This image was no different in that regard.  The majority of my time was spent on compositing the new camera into the shot from a different frame, as well as manually rebuilding the clothing around the camera and fixing the shadows.”

    So there it is folks, Nick Leadlay  has joined the team and we are pretty stoked about it.  He is currently in Tahiti retouching bikini models, which we are confident he is enjoying quite well.


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      Project Winter Survival With Derek Shapton & Frank Hoedl

      by Chris Payne on February 19, 2015

      Not sure what it might be like where you are, but here in Toronto we are in the middle of a serious cold snap.  Over night temperatures have recently sunk well past minus 20 degrees Celsius.  Prolonged exposure can be deadly.

      The homeless in particular are in tremendous danger at this time of year, which is why when Derek Shapton and Frank Hoedl were recently approached to work on a campaign for Project Winter Survival, they did not hesitate.



      From Derek’s blog: “Frank and I shot two print ads together, an exciting collaborative process that made for a rather unusual workflow. I scouted and sourced the locations, we co-piloted the cameras and co-directed the talent, and Frank applied his post-production magic to the final retouching. Frank has long been one of my favourite photographers and it was great to be able to work so closely with him. The final results are outstanding, and in fact won an Applied Arts Award in the Public Service category back in November.” 


      Frank lying down on the job

      Processed with VSCOcam

      Assistant Rebecca Leach sourcing some props


      Derek in ninja-mode while framing a shot

      “One of the setups also seemed to have some solid potential as a compelling little motion piece, and with the blessing of the creative team at Cundari, we gave it a go. We enlisted the help of Mike Rybinski at Spot Cinema and once the print ads were finished, shot a quick spec spot that turned out surprisingly well.”   See the final result below and visit Derek’s blog to find out more.

      Agency: Cundari
      Creative Director: Andrew Simon
      Art Director: Jason Lee
      Writer: Francesco Grandi
      Assistant: Rebecca Leach
      Motion Camera: Mike Rybinski
      Motion Post Production: Spot Cinema


        George Simhoni revs up the Lexus F SPORT

        by Chris Payne on February 4, 2015

        The thought of ripping around a track in one of the new Lexus F SPORT models is an attractive notion for anyone with, or without a drivers license.  The Lexus F SPORT series is a luxury/performance line up for the car enthusiast, blending technology and automotive engineering to ensure to improve every driving experience.

        Legendary Westside studio photographer George Simhoni teamed up with Greg Trinier at DentsuBos to illustrate the power and beauty of these new slices of automotive heaven.

        “I was asked to photograph the new models of the family of Lexus vehicles.  I knew that the weather would not be my friend in December for outdoor automotive photography.  Greg Trinier and I decided to do something very dramatic and moody since the weather suited that look more.  Our scout Brian Joe sent us pictures from the Flamboro race track in winter.  It is a very lonely and cool place off season.  It was the perfect background to photograph and dramatize the new lines on the cars.” -G.S.
        Staying warm on this shoot looks like it may have been tricky, however it looks like George dressed for the weather while checking focus and preparing to shoot the magnificent beasts.  Producer John Stevancec kept busy by taking these behind the scenes photos.
        Client: Lexus
        Art Director:  Greg Trinier
        Agency: DentsuBos
        Producer: John Stevancec
        Assistants: Gabe Nivera, Abe Roberto, Jon Brown and Bryan Ulrich


          Tyler Gray makes Half of a half Marathon feel complete

          by Chris Payne on January 28, 2015

          When most people envision a Sunday in late February, they may envision a warm cup of tea, the great indoors and relaxation.  It takes a really good reason to turn that vision into a 10.55km run through Peterborough…

          This year’s Peterborough YMCA Half a Half Marathon runners are about to lace up and bundle up to raise money for the Balsillie Family YMCA branch in Peterborough.  BrandHealth’s own Klint Davies and Dave Snider teamed up with Tyler Gray to create an awesome set of photos depicting what half frozen satisfaction looks like .  Check them out!

          Half and Half 1

          Half and Half 2 Half and Half 3

          “Often my favourite layouts are ones that are sketched on a napkin, much like this one, it leaves things relatively open for creative interpretation.  Dave’s sketches gave me a good guideline to work with without being too specific, and Klint and Dave were both really open to my vision.”


          “Klint and Dave are always chill to work with and going into this we knew it would be a bit of a challenge and would rely heavily on photoshop. Thinking like a retoucher and visualizing how it would ultimately come together I decided to shoot all the ice and dirt in individual pieces and puzzle it all together afterward.  The main benefit of doing it this way was the flexibility of being able to move things around as opposed to using heavy makeup on our talent but then having to retouch things out if I didn’t like it completely or if it crossed the centre line.  It can be a bit of a “leap of faith” for the client often as they go home at night without ever seeing exactly what we captured.  In this case, however everybody was on board and understood that this was the best way to do it.  The retouching was a great challenge and totally worth the time spent on it.”

          -Tyler Gray


          These photos were also brought to you by the ever amazing team plaid!

          Agency: BrandHealth

          Associate Creative Director: Klint Davies

          Art Director: Dave Snider

          Assistants: Bryan Ulrich, Abe Roberto



            Westside’s Bringing the Payne. Chris Payne.

            by Alex Beetham on January 13, 2015

            We here at Westside are thrilled to welcome our newest member of the team, Chris Payne.  He is bringing his love of photography & marketing to the table, stepping up as Sales & Marketing Coordinator working alongside our always magnificent agent, Caitlin Robinson.  This is Chris, happily admiring the Westside:


            3 fun facts about Chris, from Chris:

            1. My last job was to handle reptiles of various sizes and put on educational children’s shows with them.
            2. I have played in bands for the close to a decade and have been photographing concerts and musicians for the better part of the last 4 years.  Music is my other love.
            3. I am a huge dog lover.  On my desk sits a jar of human treats (mints, Werther’s originals, etc.) and next to it sits a jar of doggie treats (milk bones.)

            Chris In a Nutshell (AKA, A Bio):

            Chris Payne, born here in Toronto but grew up in Acton, Ontario.  I grew up snowboarding, skateboarding, listening to punk rock and playing music.  Photography found me at a young age, but I began taking it more seriously after high school.  I melded my love for music and photography by photographing local punk shows in restaurant basements, and bands that would break up a week later.  It took a few years until I was shooting some of the worlds most famous musicians at the ACC, Sound Academy and other large venues around Toronto.  Around the same time I began shooting weddings and making money from taking photos.  I wanted to grow my business and decided that I would go back to school to learn how.  For the past 2 years I have been studying business marketing at Humber College here in Toronto.  I fell in love with marketing from my very first class and knew that this was the next big thing in my life.  This education resulted in a job that I never would have thought I could find in my wildest dreams, the perfect meld of my love of photography and business.  Now filling the role of marketing and sales coordinator at Westside Studio.

            We’re excited to have you on board!  Bring the Payne.  (Turn it up?)


              Dave Goes for Gold with Nike

              by Alex Beetham on January 5, 2015

              Hockey fans eagerly await the holiday season not only for their friends and family, but to cheer on their fellow countrymen in arguably some of the most entertaining hockey of the year.  Every Boxing day the first puck drops for the IIHF World Juniors Tournament, where the best of the best upcoming NHL/KHL super stars take to the ice to bring home the hardware.  And they’re all still in high school.

              Dave Delnea was hired on by Rethink & Nike to showcase the 100th year anniversary Jersey that the boys are dawning this year.  Take a gander:


              Client: Nike Canada
              Agency: Rethink Canada
              Photographer: Dave Delnea
              Creative Direction: Lisa Nakamura / Leila Rogers
              Art Direction: Mustaali Raj
              Producer: Tom Nesbit & Heather Hyland
              Digital Artist: Aaron Campbell
              Assistants: Jamie Rosenthal, Mike Smith, Spencer Robertson, Heather Hylander, Brendan Smyth

              A look onto Dave’s set on shoot day:


              All Images & BTS © Dave Delnea


                If you’ve spent any time with Shanghoon, you know that he’s essentially the Korean P.Diddy.  So it was really no surprise to me when I heard Traffik Group approached him to pop bottles, strut with models, and make that Vodka sparkle like only Shanghoon can.   Behold:



                When I first saw the Ciroc layout, I wasn’t sure how the talent and product shots were meant to be handled together – and the project presented an extra challenge for me, because I don’t usually shoot people. But doing a test shot helped me figure out the proper angle and way to manage the talent in the background to get all the elements to fit in the picture. It was a great experience, and it turns out that I do love shooting people! It was also fun to get out of the studio and spend a day in a club – we had a blast.

                Thank you to everyone from Westside and Traffik who came out to be in the shot!

                Enjoy Ciroc during your holidays.  -  Shanghoon

                Client:  Ciroc
                Agency:  Traffic Group
                Photographer:  Shanghoon
                Producer:  Phaedra Kennedy
                On Set Producer:  Kirsten White
                Creative Director: Dylan Welsh
                Art Director: Phil Smith
                Beverage Stylist:  Sarah Sweeney
                Wardrobe Stylist:  Nadia Pizzimenti
                Hair & Makeup: Taylor Savage
                Assistants: Jeff Jamison, Bryan Ulrich, Brendan Smyth

                2014-11-04 10.59.21

                Brendan, Jeff, & Bryan look on as Shanghoon lays out the battle plan.


                Hey! If it isn’t our very own super-agent/model hybrid, Caitlin Robinson!

                Stay tuned for some exciting new work from Shanghoon in 2015!

                Images © Shanghoon
                BTS Images © Kirsten White


                  Derek Shapton Envisions “Possibility” for United Way

                  by Alex Beetham on December 19, 2014

                  What you are about to witness, was created with only still images from Derek Shapton, and post production magic from one incredibly talented Joe Fellows.  Observe:

                  I’ll answer your question before you ask.  That gorgeous technique you just witnessed is named the “Parallax Technique,” from Make Productions. Mr. Shapton explains:

                  “In essence, and without giving too much away, the Parallax method is a way of using various digital transforms, effects, and animations to breathe light, life, and a sense of depth into a series of still photographs.”

                  For more insight into the day, and to learn more about the Parallax technique, Derek has assembled some words up on his blog.  Here’s who had a hand in creating this piece:

                  Client:  United Way
                  Agency:  TAXI
                  C0-Director / DOP:  Derek Shapton
                  Co-Director / Post Production: Joe Fellows / Make Productions
                  Producer:  Phaedra Kennedy
                  Creative Director: Steve Mykolyn
                  Copywriter: Jake Bogoch
                  Art Director:  Yuko Brown
                  Broadcast Producer: Nicole Poon
                  Print Production Director: Sharon Govang
                  Stylist:  Cheryl Thompson
                  Assistants:  Jon Brown, Gabe Nivera, Peter Olson
                  Production Company: Westside Studio

                  A few looks into the shoot days snapped by producer Phaedra:


                  Gabe with flawless typing form on the left, and the ol’ location laptop huddle on the right.


                  Derek capturing hoop angle variations.


                  Shoot essentials: Good coffee, Sugar. Shoot Bonuses: Working lunch patio pints & beers.


                  Derek caught this moment between shots. A trio of assistants, and one post production magician.

                  And while we’re on the topic of Derek Shapton, are you acquainted with his alter-ego Thunder_Pino?  I’d suggest you give him a follow.  Here are a few of his observations from the scout & shoot days:

                  Thunder_Pino_Assembled“Possibility” Video © Derek Shapton
                  BTS Images © Phaedra Kennedy & Derek Shapton
                  Thunder_Pino © Derek Shapton

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                    The Hood | Propeller Coffee Co.

                    by Alex Beetham on December 18, 2014

                    Who:  Propeller Coffee Co.
                    What:  Award Winning Roaster / Cafe / Event Space / Delicious, passionately crafted & curated coffee.
                    When:  October 19th, 2013 – the end of time (as we know it)
                    Where:  50 Wade Ave. Toronto, ON (Distance from Westside: 509m – door to door, as the crow flies)
                    Why:  Because coffee is the life blood of all photo studios.
                    How:  Good people + Passion + Hard work + Endless supply of coffee = Success


                    Last week I sat down with co-owner Losel, to discuss the finer points of roasting coffee in Toronto.

                    A:  Well for starters, Well let’s get right to it! How long have you guys been open here?

                    L:  We have just had our first birthday! Our first roast was October 19th, 2013, and the cafe has been open since the end of July, 2014.

                    A:  Propeller Coffee. Great name! Any aviation history attached to the business?

                    L:  Kind of! The key behind Propeller coffee is energy. The Oxford English Dictionary definition, is to propel, and move forward. We love the idea that our coffee is helping our customers move forward, and give them that moment of clarity, of energy, or of respite from a busy day.  Because of course, everyone loves their coffee moment! We love the idea of aviation and exploration, and in the long term we’d like to talk about propellers of ships.  It’s one thing to go explore new lands, new coffees, new origins, but most of the journey of coffee is done by ship.

                    Bean EditA:  Why Coffee?  What about it gets you out of bed every morning?

                    L:  There’s the romance and history of coffee, without a doubt. It’s so international… the idea that any given morning having a coffee from Guatemala, or Ethiopia, ya know?  These exotic far off places, that we culturally still think of as far off distant lands… even though we all travel a lot more then we did, they still evoke that feeling.  The other aspect is from a pallet or culinary perspective. Coffee has twice the taste points of  wine, and is a incredibly complex drink.  What differentiates us from some roasters, is that we follow the third wave principles.  We don’t roast as darkly as some others, which allows us to really show off those flavour points. Weather it’s citrus points from an african bean, or the richer, traditional chocolates and nutty tastes from coffees in latin America. … By roasting a little lighter, you can really expose those flavours in a fun way. We love to work with our customers, to show them how diverse and beautiful a drink coffee is… Getting those “Aha” moments is really motivating for us.


                    A:  So why THE HOOD?

                    L:  Great question. This hood… is all the things we were looking for. And we looked for almost a year and a half! It’s in the city, it’s close to our customers, it’s accessible to our customers. In the city, searched for a year and a half. If we had been in the 905 or 705, or even in the city with a space that wasn’t like this, it would have been really difficult to execute on any key elements of our vision. We wanted a space that took our customers through our journey, to properly show off our coffee, our whole process, the care that goes into …and to be interactive with our customers. …It’s in the heart of a completely thriving creative neighbourhood. There are all these great elements, plus being right around the corner from the subway… The initial gut feeling that this neighbourhood had stuff going on, has been reaffirmed in really fun, surprising ways day after day.

                    A:  Thrilled to see you guys getting involved in the area so quickly after setting up shop, and curating some great community events.  Food Truck Fridays were a hit!  Any insight into what’s coming down the pipe in this regard?  

                    Espresso Edit

                    L:  Oh totally, totally. One thing we did notice that this neighbourhood was missing, and we’re excited to offer, is the whole concept of that third place.  It’s not work or home, but it’s a place you can make your living room, host a birthday party, or event space that you can make your own. We’re really beginning to find fun ways to do this with dinners, event collaborations, etc.  We have some really neat collaborations coming up. A 4 part dinner series, with 40 of Canada’s leading chefs. So anywhere between 8 & 12 of Canada’s top-top-top chefs on any given night, over 4 nights.  We’re calling it “The Chefs for Change Midwinter Feast.”  That ancient concept of the midwinter feast, embedded in ancient Viking culture, embedded in Pagan culture… even in Japan they have the concept of the midwinter feast on the longest, darkest night of the year.  And then we have a Sake festival coming up, new collaborations, some art exhibitions, documentary film screenings, etc.

                    A:  Exciting!  Well not to get too serious, but we need an experts opinion:  Tim Hortons coffee…  Yay / Nay?

                    L: Hahaha well it’s a part of Canadiana right?! It’s hard to say anything bad about Tim Hortons… It’s that comfort drink on a long road trip.  Haha if given the choice I’ll default to a local indie shop, hopefully having some great sourcing policies.  But if you’re on the road and a long way from your destination…Haha

                    A:  Haha I hear ya!  Favourite caffeinated beverage?

                    L:  Hmm… If I’m having a clover or a pour over, I will have an Ethiopian or a Kenyan. They are such a rich complex drink… almost like having a wine, or complex tea.  If I’m having cappuccino, which is my go-to milk drink, I love our “Ace” espresso that really cuts well, and really like our Nicaraguan as a drip. We just did a tasting up at the Artisan Tasting fair at Wychwood Barnes and it was a huge crowd pleaser.

                    Bad-EditA:  Have any coffee tips or myths, you’d care to share or bust?

                    L: Absolutely.  I have both!  Tips:

                    1) Grind Size Matters:  If you are to invest in any one thing for your home coffee kit, get a good grinder.  Because freshness, just the quality of flavour and mouth feel is totally dependant on that grind.  We fine tune our grinds weekly to adjust for that weeks roast.
                    2) Try your coffee without milk/cream/sugar, if you traditionally do that.  Especially if you have a good coffee, and see those flavours.  Which leads me to the next point:
                    3) Let the coffee cool down a bit.  In the same way you let a bottle of wine breathe, you can watch the same complexity unfold in a good cup of coffee. It’s really neat to see!


                    1) Dark and oily:  Isn’t a sign of good coffee, it’s a sign that it’s been over roasted. Those oils that have been forced out of the coffee, actually taste much better while kept in the bean, and then into your cup.
                    2) Espresso doesn’t have the most caffeine.  Typically, a french press extracts the most caffeine, as the coffee sits in the water the longest, and is most exposed.
                    3) Latin America has a lock on great coffee. Latin American produces great coffee, but Africa and South East Asia also have some absolutely incredible coffees.  Coffee began in Africa, so it’s very much the France/Italy of wine.

                    Counter - EditA:  What playlists stimulate ideal roasting conditions?

                    L:  Haha oh very eclectic playlists here… we had a particularly good batch the other week that funny enough, came right on the heels of the John Fogerty concert.  He played on Thursday, a bunch of the team went, and the next Monday/Tuesday Fogerty was CRANKED in the roasting room, all through the roasting and bagging cycle.  And that coffee was extra good that week!

                    A:  What’s the most inspired thing you’ve seen/heard/experienced as of late?

                    L: Great question… OH! I was in Boston over the weekend, and there is this young Tibetan guy, who grew up in Switzerland, who was there rapping actually.  I had heard of Shabaley, abd he basically sings about identity, and as an exile community, identity is pretty important.  He takes a positive spin on what is really, a pretty depressing issue right now with the state of affairs in Tibet…  He does something which is really beautiful, really inspired…  He sings about his experiences in a really hopeful way, and through his music challenges other young people.  I was watching him this morning actually with my 6 year old, teaching to stay true to your roots, to your culture.  It teaches the value of art, the value of music in, really any struggle.  And he promotes truth… It was inspiring to see this guy take a completely alien art form to the Tibetan culture, and then just make it his own.  And he is every bit as good as aaany…so my sister used to work for MCA/Adam Yauch/Beastie Boys, so we hung out with them a lot.  And he is any bit professional as any of those guys.  A big part of his message is the conservation of both written and spoken language, so he raps mostly in Tibeten, but also English and Swiss German. Certainly inspiring.

                    A:  Wow…Curious!  I’ll certainly give him a listen.  Well thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with me, and on behalf of everyone at Westside, we’re thrilled to have you guys in our mugs every morning! (?)

                    Editors Note:  If custom industrial machinery is up your alley, (it kinda makes me warm and fuzzy,) definitely go in and ask about their roaster.  Gorgeous craftsmanship.

                    Words, Images & Phrasing © Alex Beetham