Blog - Portrait Photographer Travis Allison

... it's worth a shot.

Spencer Blake Music

How was your Thanksgiving weekend? I was super-excited to spend the morning on Saturday shooting some promo pictures for our youngest son Spencer. He is working this year on getting out there as a musician and I have been doing what I can to help with promotion.

All bias aside... he's brilliant. You can listen to some of the music that Spencer has written on his Facebook Fan Page:

We were lucky to have some good weather and got to shoot in Woodstock and out at my Grandfather's place in Innerkip. He still has a small hobby barn on his property and it seemed like a perfect setting for us to shoot with my brother-in-law, Mike's, great old VW van.

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A couple of pictures of Spencer's girlfriend Stephanie as the assistant. She held the lights for me while Beth was doing all of the running around adjusting flash power and zoom.

Gotta have some shade:


Sometimes there is just no room for a flash stand...     SpencerMusic-178.jpg

Mix CD - allergy season

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It's fun to welcome Plinko into our CD Mixters group this month. She's joining David in putting out her mixes in June & December.

Our CD Mixters group is 12 people who each put out a mix CD 6 months apart. So Ra & I are March & September, Plinko & David are June/December, others are Jan./July, etc. This means that every month we each get two mix CDs in our mailbox. It is pretty great. I've been doing with two of the guys in the group for about 8 years now. My "Mixus" CD shelf has more than 100 CDs in it.

A couple of things of note from my allergy season disk:

  • Mike Evin is from Hali and he's awesome. He's got some great tunes on his Music page that you can download for free. Definitely grab "We Should Dance". It's amazing.
  • We first heard Mike when he opened for Craig Cardiff at the Bomber at U. Waterloo. Craig is another performer that we LOVE. He's played at camp for the staff at camp a couple of times and he's always a hit. If you click through to his page you can hear "When People Go". You can also see a typical picture of Craig. I've taken hundred's of pictures of him in performances and i think I have a half dozen of him with his eyes open.
  • "Everyone's a Hero" by Nathan Fillion. Yes, that (and that, and that) Canadian Nathan Fillion. Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog was an amazing summer internet-only show put on by the folks who gave us Buffy and Firefly. It's not available on the 'net right now... maybe if you search the bittorrent sites... but it is coming out on DVD. It will likely be in the video stores soon. I have never seen a better musical about a super villain. Ever.
  • K'naan - I wish somebody had told me about this CD when it dropped. It is my favourite kind of hip hop - purposeful, heavy beats, socially conscious, and with really creative instrumentation. K'naan (Myspace with his music) moved to Canada from Somolia in the early nineties and he's got a world of experience that not many others can match. When I can find it I think that African based hip hop has something that moves me every time.

Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Road To The Throwdown Documentary


One of my favourite_ever ska bands, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, has reunited and begun touring again. I found this cool six-part documentary Road To The Throwdown that documents their 5 night reunion party between Christmas and New Years 2007.

I had a fun little musical journey yesterday morning. I had talked with a consulting client about music for a video and I had said that I thought ska was a perfect soundtrack. He didn't know what ska was so I was trying to give him some Top 40 examples such as "The Impression That I Get" from the Bosstones and "Mirror In The Bathroom" from the English Beat. I left out Gwen Stephani & No Doubt - I'm never too sure if their ska roots show through enough.

Never too sure how you feel about ska? Try out these links:

Mighty Mighty Bosstones

The English Beat

Montreal's Planet Smashers

*** My all-time favourite: Me, Mom & Morgentaler :


I posted the story of Road To The Throwdown on Digg. You can Digg it - [Click Here]

Any other Top 40 Ska songs I'm missing? Leave me a note in the comments.

SOD: How Deep Is Your Love?

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I know your eyes in the morning sun

I feel you touch me in the pouring rain

And the moment that you wander far from me

I wanna feel you in my arms again

And you come to me on a summer breeze

Keep me warm in your love and then softly leave

And its me you need to show


How deep is your love

I really need to learn

cause were living in a world of fools

Breaking us down

When they all should let us be

We belong to you and me

Awesome Bee Gees Fans

On a separate note: Check out all of the information at Bee Gees World. If I was the Bee Gees (and their record company) I would be working night and day to make sure these folks are happy and well-fed.

They have even catalogued over 1500 other artists who have covered the Bee Gees.

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SOD: Money for Nothing

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I shoulda learned to play the guitar I shoulda learned to play them drums Look at that mama, she got it stickin' in the camera Man we could have some fun And he's up there, what's that? Hawaiian noises? Bangin' on the bongoes like a chimpanzee That ain't workin' that's the way you do it Get your money for nothin' get your chicks for free

YouTube - The Black Cab Sessions. Chapter Eighteen: The National

Such a great idea... The Black Cab Sessions are a series of videos with a one take/one song motto. Get a musician in the back of a London black cab and ask them to perform their favourite song. Simple. Brilliant.

There are some musicians that I didn't know and some old favourites like The National.

This is You've Done It Again, Virginia:

YouTube - The Black Cab Sessions. Chapter Eighteen: The National

31d1 - Great Music to Work With

Drum Machine ModificationI love to listen to stuff while I work. When I'm working on visual stuff like pictures it's usually podcasts or heavy music.

But when there's words involved I need the just the instruments. For me that usually means some down-tempo/dubstep. I love Dave's Lounge but my recent discovery is 31d1 (funny shirt). That's in heavy rotation for this evening's work party.

Subtlevox & Canadian Singer Songwriter Craig Cardiff

Craig Cardiff's Campfire Tour I was excited to have Canadian Singer-Songwriter Craig Cardiff use one of my shots to promote his Campfire Tour this summer. Craig is a great marketer and he does some really ingenious things to promote his work- see on his website > Performances > House Concerts. In the summer he travels around to camps and performs for staff and campers.

Craig at Cairn

Last year was the first time that Craig had been at Cairn and we are sorry we ever waited so long. On one of the hottest nights of the year he gave our staff of 70 a night that everyone still talks about. If you ever get a chance to see Craig when he is touring he does amazing things with a sampler. He records himself as he goes and uses the recordings to fill in the rhythm and sometimes even the harmonies. It's awesome.

Major Modern Marketing

I think it is such a brilliant idea to go directly to a place where student's live and work and bring your music to them. In the upheaval of the modern music industry Craig is applying some brilliant original thinking. Because camp people are so outgoing and confident they are excellent influencers of others.