First courtroom sketches in 8 years

10 05 2016

From 2004-2008 I spent up to three days a week covering court for the Battlefords News-Optimist. During that time I did quite a bit of courtroom sketches. In junior high and high school I did a lot of sketching. For a brief period I dreamt of becoming a comic book artist. I drew the occasional portraits of pretty girls, hoping they would notice me, but it didn’t get me anywhere.

Jump forward 10 years and I was sitting in court, trying to sort out several brothers of the same last name who were being prosecuted as the biggest cocaine dealers in town. I sketched out mugshots of each in my lined notebook, and we eventually printed these with the story. Soon sketching was a way to stay awake during boring proceedings. It also added an element to my court coverage that is rarely ever seen in smaller centres these days.

North Battleford Provincial Court was set up in a way that it was impossible to get photos of an accused coming in or out. Cameras are forbidden in Canadian courts, and for good reason. Thus, the only way to get an image of someone was to sketch them. And I was the only one around who did that. For some big cases, my sketches even made it to the national news (although TV stations were pretty stingy on what they would pay).

Recently a friend was prosecuting a case in Estevan, so I took some time to attend court and do a few sketches. These are the result. Not bad, given the most recent sketches in that sketchbook were dated 2007.

Here are a few from back then, when I was hitting my stride. You might recognize the guy in purple – Curtis Dagenais. He was convicted of killing two Mounties near Spiritwood. It actually occurred just a few miles from where I had photographed a wedding the previous summer. I had just started to experiment with colour. Nearly all my previous work had been in pencil, from 4H to 6B.





First canvas went to auction

29 01 2016

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Today was a big day for me. It’s the first time I’ve donated a canvas of my oilfield photography to a charitable cause. In this case it was the Estevan Sportsman’s Dinner in support of the Estevan Bruins Junior A hockey team.

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This is the first time I’ve produced this image. It was taken a year ago, on a very cold January day five miles northeast of Stoughton. There are three rigs in the centre, flanked by two HG pumpjacks. There was actually a fourth rig in the sequence, but it was across the road and there was no way to line up all four in this manner.

Three guesses who they were drilling for.

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I have another copy of this image that will be mounted and ready for sale this weekend. I also have similar canvases available at the Solar Art Gallery in the Estevan Shoppers Mall.

 

I can also do conventional photo prints up to 44 x 96 inches, canvases up to 36 x96 inches, and metal prints up to 36 x 48 inches. Four of these are currently being installed in a Calgary-based junior oil producer’s office.

If you would like to order a canvas print like this, please contact me. Here’s a gallery of some photos you might want to consider.

 





A Jedi with a camera

18 12 2015

For many years I’ve joked with friends and assistants about being a Jedi knight with a camera, powerful with the ways of the Force. After all, photography is all about light, and dark….

For a while there I even had an unofficial padawan, as it were, who has gone on to do great things. You can check out Josh’s website at www.getmyphoto.ca. (“When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master…” Yes, I am that much of a nerd.)

Thus it’s entirely appropriate I bought some pre-roll advertising for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when it plays at the Estevan Orpheum Theatre. The 20-second clip highlights several of my specialties, but not all.

If you’re looking for a professional photographer, you want someone who can handle any situation and come away with high quality, usable images. That can be commercial work in the oilfield, or grad portraits that stand out from the rest. As a news photographer first and foremost, I have to be adaptable to shoot just about anything in any situation or lighting condition.

Here are some of the areas I’ve built my skills in over the years:

Additionally, I’m in the process of developing:

  • Video
  • Drone aerial work (coming spring 2016, as soon as some federal regulations change)

I also offer high-end products you don’t see around here that often like

So is that being a Jedi with a camera? Maybe. But I wield my Nikons like a lightsaber.

If you have a project coming up and need images that will stand out, please contact me at 306-461-5599 or brian.zinchuk@sasktel.net. You can also check out my Facebook page.





12 Rigs of Christmas 2015: Day 12: Saskatchewan Oil & Gas Show Album

12 12 2015

Early in 2015 I was contacted by the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show (a.k.a. Weyburn Oil Show) board to  prepare an album for them to present to some VIPs at the upcoming oil show. They wanted something that was representative of the industry, something that would be a “best of” sort of collection.

Wow, I was pretty honoured by that.

This is the album, as it was printed, minus the logo on the cover. Many of these have been printed as canvases up to five feet wide. My intention was for several of these to be included with a now-on-hold project that would have seen three of these printed as 10-foot canvases for a massive art installation.

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Album cover. Red Dog Drilling Rig 3, Northgate

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Vortex Drilling Rig 1, first hole, near Lake Alma

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Stampede Drilling Rig 2, near North Portal

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Red Dog Drilling Rig 1 (insert: hammer – Stampede Drilling Rig 1, cable – Red Dog Rig 2)

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Stampede Drilling Rig 2 near Bienfait

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Independent Well Servicing, south of Oungre, (insert, left: Gilliss Casing Services, same location). Right, Excel Well Servicing, Stoughton)

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Left, Betts Drilling Rig 1, first hole, near Northgate. Right, Red Dog Drilling, Rig 4, first hole, near Kisbey

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Pumpjacks near Glen Ewen

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Left: Fast Trucking Service moving Red Dog Drilling Rig 2, Estevan. Right, clockwise from top right: Betts Drilling Rig 1, first hole, Northgate; Vortex Drilling Rig 1, first hole, Lake Alma; Panther Drilling Rig 4, first hole, north of Estevan; Precision Drilling Rig 120, Macoun

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Left, top to bottom: Vortex Drilling Rig 1, Panther Drilling Rig 4, Stampede Drilling Rig 1. Right: Red Dog Drilling Rig 4.

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United Centrifuge, south of Weyburn

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Red Dog Drilling Rig 4, first hole, Kisbey, 360 degree panorama

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Stampede Drilling Rig 2, North Portal

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Red Dog Drilling Rig 4, first hole, Kisbey

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Left: Stampede Drilling Rig 1, Browning. Right: Vortex Drilling Rig 1, first hole, Lake Alma

 

And this is what it looks like in book form.

I tried to spread the love around as much as I could, as well as include other aspects of the industry beyond drilling. However, since the vast majority of my work has been on drilling, that was the key ingredient.

It took quite a while to pick the best out of several years of work. I had about 240 files in my selects folder, and had to whittle it down from there. This video shows the selects that were considered.


 

The six albums were printed in Venice, Italy, as are all my albums. They had 3/16 aluminum covers and leather bindings. That’s my usual album design. In this case, the albums were 1/2 my usual size.

I had thought they would end up as keepsakes for the oilman of the year and hall of fame recipients. It turns out they had other plans. Imagine my surprise when Premier Brad Wall and Minister of Economy Bill Boyd were presented with these albums.

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Premier Brad Wall, Minister of Economy Bill Boyd, Oil Show chair Del Mondor

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Minister of Finance Kevin Doherty, left, Minister of Economy Bill Boyd

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Other recipients included Deputy Premier Don McMorris and Minister of Health (and Weyburn MLA) Dustin Duncan. I believe Weyburn Mayor Deb Button got one as well.

 

Long-time oil show volunteer Ron Jeffery was also presented with one. After all his years of service, he deserved it.

After it was all over, I sat down with Ron and his wife and explained what each picture in the album was. They were quite happy, as was I. I was beaming ear-to-ear. It was definitely a highlight of my year.

 

If anyone is interested in a copy (minus the oil show logo), please contact me at brian.zinchuk@sasktel.net. This album had 30 pages, but I would likely add another 10 pages in a second edition.

These are not inexpensive items. They are made by one of the best album-makers in the world, and priced accordingly. But they are something you will cherish for a long time to come.

If you find yourself in these albums, be proud. There’s one sitting in the office of most of the power brokers in Regina.

 





12 Rigs of Christmas: Day 10: Stampede Rig 2

10 12 2015

On the tenth day of Christmas, the toolpush gave to me…  Stampede Drilling Rig 2.

I apologize for taking a few days hiatus on this 12 rigs project. I had to get a few things done over the past few days. It might be another couple days before I’m able to get the last two days posted.

Stampede Rig 2 has spent most of its career to date was working close to the U.S. border. Indeed, I think it has spent most of its career drilling withing a few miles of Mackenzie Meats.

For the video slideshow I had to pick a country song for Bill and Jackie, the crew that runs Stampede in Estevan. Turns out Bill would have liked some heavy metal. Oh well. Jackie’s still a cowgirl, as far as I know.

The Stampede Drilling Rig 2 gallery can be found here at Stampede Rig 2. This gallery has some of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve been able to get with a drilling rig. I read somewhere that when shooting sunsets, just when you think you’ve got your shot and are about to pack up, wait another 10-15 minutes. It’s true.

This series is special because some of them are when Rig 2 was working within just a few hundred metres of a working dragline. You might never see a rig and dragline so close again. It really says a lot about the Energy City.

If you’re looking for more rigs, check out the master drilling gallery here.

buy photos button smugmug

The time has passed for orders directly from the website, as they might not get her in time for Christmas. If you would like to order a print, please contact me directly at brian.zinchuk@sasktel.net. The prices will be similar to what you see listed. I can do paper prints and canvases here in Estevan, but the time is running out for Canvases.  a 14×18 (A common-sized frame you can get for a good price at Wal-Mart is $74 plus tax. It makes a nice, easy give for the oilpatch person in the family.

In case you’re wondering, I do a lot more than just drilling rigs. I’ve done a substantial amount of hotel and real estate photography, as well as general oilfield commercial photography. I’m one of the few, if not only, professional photographers in the area that has all their safety tickets and PPE to go on lease as required. As well, I also offer photobooth service complete with green screen.

What do you think of my 12 Rigs of Christmas? Put your thoughts in the comments on my Facebook page. Don’t forget to share, and scroll down to see the other Rigs of Christmas. If you recognize any of your buddies, please share.





12 Rigs of Christmas 2015: Day 9: Betts Rig 4

3 12 2015

On the ninth day of Christmas, the toolpush gave to me… Betts Drilling Rig 4.

Last year I posted 12 Rigs of Christmas, and it was a big hit. So here’s the 2015 version.

Betts Drilling Rig 4 was brand new, waiting to go out on its first hole at the time.

The Betts Rig 4 gallery can be found here

If you’re looking for more rigs, check out the master drilling gallery here. You can find Betts Rig 1, 2,3 and 4 there as well.

buy photos button smugmug

For the next three days (Dec. 3-5) I am running a sale: 15% off all Betts Drilling prints. This includes Betts Rigs 1, 2, 3 and 4. (Discount does not include shipping). You can order normal photo prints, canvases, metal prints (which are AWESOME) or even a coffee mug. The coupon code is: Betts

Do you have a rig you’d like me to profile in my 12 days of Christmas? Put your requests in the comments on my Facebook page. Please share!





12 Rigs of Christmas 2015: Day 7: Red Dog Rig 1

1 12 2015

On the first day of Christmas, the toolpush gave to me… Red Dog Drilling Rig 1.

Last year I posted 12 Rigs of Christmas, and it was a big hit. So here’s the 2015 version.

This rig was shot in 2013.

There’s something interesting about this rig – it’s the only one that I’ve shot that is no longer in operation. Well, to a point. You see, Red Dog rebuilt their initial rig, using certain components, into Rig 5. I like to think of it as the mythical phoenix, the bird that is reborn out of its own ashes (although no ashes were involved to my knowledge.)  I haven’t had the opportunity to shoot it as Rig 5 yet, but maybe some day.

The Red Dog Rig 1 gallery can be found here – Red Dog Rig 1.

If you’re looking for more rigs, check out the master drilling gallery here. You can find Red Dog Rig 3, Rig 3 and Rig 4 there as well.

buy photos button smugmug

For the next three days (Dec. 1-3 I am running a sale: 15% off all Red Dog Drilling prints. Includes Red Dog Rigs 1, 2, 3 and 4. Expires Dec. 3, 2015. (Discount does not include shipping). You can order canvases, metal prints (which are AWESOME) or even a coffee mug. The coupon code is: RedDog

Do you have a rig you’d like me to profile in my 12 days of Christmas? Put your requests in the comments on my Facebook page. Don’t forget to share.








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