Roth and Ramberg in Archives Top Advertising Photographers 2014

We were thrilled to be chosen as one of the Top 200 Advertising Photographers (2014) by Lurzers Archive.

After submitting some photos, they chose one of our favorites. A photo we did for Travel Alberta last year! This particular photograph was shot from a helicopter and we were able to find just the right location before the sun went down. Below is the layout and photo they picked. Also some other photos from the same shoot. 

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A big thanks to Venture Communications and Travel Alberta for bringing us on this project. Thanks to John Halliday who provided awesome art direction.

Roth and Ramberg go to the Zoo (Lights)

Our good friends at Trigger were putting together a campaign for the Calgary Zoo. Every year the Zoo sets up an incredible display of 1.5 million Christmas Lights for all to come see. Zoolights, as it is called, is a very popular family event and it gathers thousands every December to the zoo. This year is more important than ever since the Calgary Zoo needs help raising money to repair damage they received in the devastating flood in June. So if you have time to go, Go!

Roth and Ramberg say it's okay to play with your food

Jeff at Calder Bateman in Edmonton wanted to know if we could shoot some still life shots for the Edmonton Christmas Bureau. Of course we said yes! He sent over the sketches:

Fortunately for us Nicola Pringle (art director) is an incredible artist so all we had to provide was dishes and tablecloths. We just sat and watched her magic food skills. In the end, we got to be a part of some fun posters/billboards for a great cause.

Roth and Ramberg shoot with ZGM

We got an email from Kristen Thompson at ZGM. They were working on a campaign for Deerfoot Mall and needed some photos done. They sent over some sketches and we thought it would be a fun to do and luckily for us we got the job.

The job involved some interesting propping-workboots, antlers, Santa outfit, hardhat etc. We spent the next few days tracking down the props. The antlers we finally sourced and found in Vernon BC. They were unable to ship to Alberta without filling out the proper paperwork (learn something new) so we shipped them to Vancouver instead. We shot the boots and Santa shot in the Calgary office, and the antlers with hardhat in the Vancouver Office.

Our photoshop whizz, who prefers to be nameles, combined, tweaked and composited the photos. Below are the final posters.

Roth et Ramberg finir avec le style

The first thing we did this morning was get gas—over 100 Euros of it. A 2003 Ford Explorer fuel tank holds about 85 litres and this morning our tank gulped down 80. Not sure if that’s luck or karma, but we’ll take it.

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Fame caught up with us today in the form of a local TV and radio station crew. They found us near the docks taking photos of an old fisherman. We’ve always been suckers for good fishing tales and this man has over fifty years of experience to pull from. What an extraordinary life complete with unbelievable truths. Thank goodness he came with an interpreter or we would have seriously missed out.

It’s a bit hard to go unnoticed in a town of 6000 people, although we did fairly well considering this was our last day. We can’t emphasize enough how local we’re beginning to feel. This afternoon we accepted an invitation to have ice cream and beer in the baker’s secret garden. The storefront was adorable, but we’d have never guessed there was a spacious garden full of peonies hiding on the other side.

The finals days are always a jam-packed blur, trying to get everything in. Over the course of the day we orchestrated four shoots and still found time to say farewell to a few of our Saint Pierre friends and purchase some last minute souvenirs.

Tomorrow we have one quick shoot and then we’ll be back on the plane heading home. Time to get back to normal and catch-up with our families, friends and clients. Thanks for following our journey; the 2014 calendars will be mailed out in December. Let us know if you’d like to be added to the list.

Au revoir Saint Pierre et Miquelon.

Roth et Ramberg sont comme les locaux

We managed a handful of notable accomplishments today.

1. Squeezed in a photoshoot at the bakery before catching the 9:30am ferry back to Saint Pierre.

2. Dale used the word ‘vert’ correctly. Unfortunately, it was to describe the colour of Elise’s face during the ferry ride back to Saint Pierre. The waves were so big even the Gravol got queasy.

3. Complained that there were too many tourists. Overnight ‘our’ town has been infiltrated with visitors arriving for Bastille Day, including a ship carrying 130 individuals from the U.S. Coast Guard.

4. Snuck in a two-hour, seven-day overdue nap.

5. Caught Joël’s band playing at the local pub, La Chauve Souris. One of our Tourist Information helpers came over with her friend and they even bought us a beer.

Mostly today was used to recharge, do a bit of shopping, eat more macarons and have a few drinks.

Retour au travail demain.

Roth et Ramberg sont à l'heure locale

Our stalking abilities aren’t by any means covert, but the longer we’re here the easier things are getting. After driving by the old red house at the point half a dozen times, we finally managed to connect with one of our missing models from Tuesday. When we spoke about a 1:00pm rendezvous, it meant if the weather was favourable enough for an afternoon outdoors. Thankfully our persistence was rewarded with an amazing calendar shot. This one has February written all over it.

We got a nice compliment today from one of the first people we met. He seemed pleasantly surprised to hear all of the things we had accomplished in our week in Saint Pierre. On our first morning here, Fabrice spent an hour educating us about the island. When we ran into him this evening he said, “I couldn’t tell you everything in an hour, you have to discover some things yourselves.” This was said in a thick French accent, so it’s likely not verbatim. He’s a bit like an island Yoda.

Timing here is everything. We aren’t talking about getting the sun at the right angle to light our shots—that now seems easy. It’s coordinating everything else. Being at the right place at the right time now has a whole new meaning.

Shops are only open for a couple hours here and there, same for restaurants and museums. Each place has their set hours and none of them are consistent. They fluctuate from day to day, so it’s hard to remember all the different hours. For instance, Elise needed a new notebook because she’d run out of paper and we had to schedule making it to the store. This store is only open from 10:00am to noon and from 2:30pm to 4:00pm, four days a week. Once the sign even said open, but the door was locked. We passed by five different times before the stars aligned.

We’re not sure how people manage to coordinate their schedules around all the services they need. Perhaps they were programmed with the French schedule at birth, as most people we meet were born here.

Another challenge seems to be getting gas. There are only two gas stations on the island and we’ve never seen them open. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if the gas gauge in our rental worked, but since it doesn’t we have no idea how much fuel is left. Our fingers will have to remain crossed until it opens again on Monday.

As for eating, we’ve settled into the mandatory French etiquette of making reservations. They only do one sitting per evening, so it’s possible to arrive early to an empty restaurant only to be turned away if you don’t have a reservation. All the tables are full by eight or eight-thirty and people generally make a night of it. We’ve felt pretty smug the last couple of nights already seated at our cozy little table, being the tourists in the know.

You can probably appreciate how difficult it can be for us to keep our supper reservation when we are busy taking photos and being swept away by creativity. Today at sunset we were out on the edge of town getting caught up taking pictures of horses, ducks and chickens. What can we say? This place is a gem.

Demain et le quatorze juillet.

Roth et Ramberg expérience le vent de la mer

Thankfully our faces have sun kissed glows from yesterday, because today isn’t nearly as nice. In fact, it doesn’t really feel like summer at all. When the wind blows in off the water, the temperature drops considerably. Chilly temperatures and wind aren’t great for taking photos, but overcast skies tend to give agreeable soft light.

Our first visit of the day was to see Roger. Roger is a self-taught naturalist who welcomed us into his home for a short lesson on the island’s flora and fauna. He’s been an avid bird watcher for 39 years and has a cabinet full of dried vegetation specimens. Plus, he’s a dedicated whale watcher. He showed us how to differentiate between different humpback whales by comparing their flukes (tails), which act like fingerprints. The big bonus for Elise was that he spoke English incredibly well. Apparently translating is way harder when you don’t even know the words in English, go figure.

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For a small community Miquelon has a significant amount of historical artifacts. We visited their museum and it was full with rare stuff including: old French money, a funny cigarette making machine, a dried/salted cod from 1992, along with more interesting but less bazar fishing things and some old radios.

The archipelago, or group of islands, has a long history of being fought over by the French and the English. From what we understood, most of this had to do with wars and fishing rights. And no matter what the English did, the French always returned. We’re not doing their history justice. It sounds incredibly interesting but would take more than a year to comprehend and more than a paragraph to explain.

We took lots of pictures today, including some calendar worthy photos of a musician, a fisherman and also Patricia’s dad who seems to be a jack-of-all-trades from fishing to music and gardening.

Big thanks to Patricia, from l’Auberge de l’Ile, who introduced us to many wonderful people during our stay and made things happen.

Demain c’est le retour à Saint-Pierre.

Roth et Ramberg arriver au paradis

Although it’s called Saint Pierre and Miquelon, there is also Langlade. The town of Langlade is a summer community for people from Saint Pierre. About 600 people relocate here for the warm months, but nobody stays through the winter. Miquelon on the other hand is the same size, but everyone stays year-round. According to our guide, the population is always around 600 people. That probably works out to about 3 people per square kilometer of land. Hey, can you move over? It’s really crowded here.

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This morning we took the ferry from Saint Pierre to Langlade. It runs daily to transport passengers and supplies. The ride is a beautiful hour of scenic coastlines and the occasional glimpse of a whale or two if you happen to be looking the right direction.

As we approached Langlade this morning, we began to wonder where the dock was. It’s not like you can just pull a ferry up to the shore, unload and push it back out to sea. But Langlade doesn’t have a dock. Instead our crew put on hip waders and shuttled us ashore in a black Zodiac. Had this not been in broad daylight, it would have been incredibly stealth. And had we not shared the Zodiac with a bunch of children headed for summer camp, we might have pretended we were sitting along the edge in scuba gear ready to flip backward into the water. Maybe we can plan that into our next trip.

It took them three trips to transport everyone and the luggage to the shore. And with great community spirit, the men formed a line from the Zodiac and passed all the bags hand to hand up to waiting vehicles. Our guide Patricia was there to greet us. Patricia and her husband, Claude, run a wonderful bed and breakfast in Miquelon called, l’Auberge de l’Ile. We can’t say enough great things about it or them.

The Tourist Information centre in Saint Pierre had helped us call ahead to arrange for Patricia to be our driver. It was impossible for us to rent a car, so she came with her truck to get us in Langlade and spent the entire day touring us around the islands. This arrangement was ideal. It started with a relaxing coffee break on the vista overlooking the sea, followed with meeting a shepherd, his herding dog and flock, and continued to build throughout the day. We picked wild strawberries and walked barefoot along a beach that felt like our toes were sinking into chocolate mousse. Plus, we saw a pod of seals and had the most delicious fresh snowcrab sandwiches you can imagine. Dale and Elise even thought so and they aren’t big on seafood. This really is paradise. 

Not only is Patricia a fantastic tour guide, a warm hostess and wonderful chef—she’s one of the best agents/talent scouts we’ve ever had. She arranged for us to meet several people today and has our day jam-packed with interesting characters tomorrow. At this point we’re betting if we asked for a dancing cod, riding a horse, on a red fishing boat, she’d just pick up the phone and arrange it.

C’est juste une autre journée au paradis.

Roth et Ramberg aiment les français

In case of emergency dial 1-8, there’s no 9-1-1 in Saint Pierre. This morning we met our friend Joël for a private tour of the local fire hall, the only one on the island. We’d met Joël playing guitar beside his wife’s organic grocery shop on Saturday. He’s in a country band and had sung us something he’d written. Strangely, the only word we really understood was ‘cowboy.’ Fitting for us since we’re missing the Calgary Stampede.

And back to the fire hall. This station has the usual stuff, fire trucks, hoses, fireproof clothing, but these guys were most proud of two things. The big water pump that pumps 1000 gallons per minute, compatible with both saltwater and freshwater. And their old 1959 Ford fire truck, the only working fire truck of that year left in North America. It was actually retired last year, but it’s still considered a viable backup.

We only managed to shoot two models today, but that’s okay because one of them bought us ice cream. We thought we’d lined up a seasoned fisherman for our first shoot, but something must have been lost in translation because there was nobody home. Onward.

Our new ‘first’ model of the day was a runner named Gaston. He started running at 45 and is now in his 70s. From what we can tell, age isn’t slowing him down at all. We even saw him take stairs two at a time. He was very animated with lots of stories to share and spoke English well, which made the shoot fun and easy. We were even invited back for a drink later and upon our arrival back to Gaston’s we found this note on the door.

Another gem we had the opportunity of photographing today was a local artist named Patrick. Stamps are a big deal here, in fact they’re world famous for stamps, and many local artists have been commissioned to create them including Patrick and his daughter. Patrick has been creating illustrations for Saint Pierre and Miquelon stamps for over 25 years. His studio is an artists dream and to think, he just does this as a hobby. We were extremely fortunate to have met this man and seen some original drawings from his stamps. Upon our departure, Patrick generously gave us each a signed copy of his book, which is a history of his stamp art.

This is Saint Pierre hospitality. It seems to be everywhere, across the board. From the ladies at the tourist shop bending over backwards to organize our travels to the restaurant that gave us takeout in their personal Tupperware.

Demain nous partons pour Miquelon.

    Roth et Ramberg obtenir une voiture

    Today we did a happy dance. Or at least we would have, if we weren’t sitting on nice leather seats driving through the countryside. To fully appreciate this moment, one must know where it began.

    It started after we got the Ford Explorer unstuck, which was just after we hauled large flat rocks to put under the spinning tire. That was after we used a super clamp to replace the missing crank arm on the jack. Which was after we tried that same sequence, with some wood that just spat out from under the spinning tire. This, of course, was after we got the vehicle stuck, as far away from town as possible. Which was after we consciously rented a vehicle with no electrical—no power windows, power locks or instrument panel containing the speed and gas gauge. And this was after being told we couldn’t get a rental because the windows didn’t go down. 

    That precious moment was after two rental places told us they did, and then did not, have anything to rent. And this, dear friends, was after we’d already waited three days for them to open so that we could rent one. So, despite our legs sticking to the hot leather seats in our sweaty rental, we were living the high life. We now have transportation.

    Also worthy of celebrating was the fact that it’s hot and sunny. The weather in Saint Pierre is generally foggy in July, but we lucked out with gorgeous blue skies. Plus, we captured our first calendar worthy person today. Our first models are actually third generation Saint Pierre-ians. They were natural subjects and happy to have a chance to do something different then their normal routine.

    French normal routine for adults is a 35-hour work week, Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 12:00pm, lunch then 2:00pm to 5:30pm. This is quite the adjustment for those accustom to working all hours of the day. We just can’t seem to get it through our heads that they aren’t always available. Not to mention they all have five weeks vacation a year, they’re living the life. 

    Today we ate supper at the same time as the French—that’s anytime after 8:00pm, the later the better. And it’s the same for the children; they stay up late and even get to sleep in. No such luck for us, we’ve got four models lined up for tomorrow.

    Beaucoup plus d’aventures demain.

    Roth et Ramberg gravie une montagne

    It’s Sunday and since most shops are closed we seized the opportunity to sleep in a bit. Our room is a cozy ‘family’ room with two beds and a pullout couch. The only downside is that Dale saws logs, so we end up dreaming of dirt bikes, chainsaws or old lawnmowers with pull starts. Somehow we manage to sleep through it all and start the day ready for adventure. Today’s adventure started with late morning omelettes and potato juice for Dale. That is what he ordered, jus de pomme de terre. Thankfully this wasn’t the waiter’s first tourist blunder so he brought Dale some apple juice instead.

    Speaking of food, we finally located the macaroon shop and to our surprise and delight it was open. We knew that eating macarons in France would probably make them taste a bit better, but we wanted mind-blowing. We wanted it to be the best macaron tasting experience ever, so we climbed the ‘mountain’ overlooking the city to eat them.

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    The hills here aren’t exactly the Rockies, but many refer to them as mountains. And being able to climb a mountain in thirty minutes gives you a wonderful sense of satisfaction, a great view of the city and the ideal place to eat macarons. You could call it a ‘Mountaintop Macaron Moment’ or perhaps just ‘Triple M’ for short.

    We rounded things off with a quick trip to the Museum, Musée de l’Arche. It’s a tourist destination, but also one of the only things open on Sunday. The most interesting thing we learnt was about the colourful buildings. We’d been wondering why the majority of the buildings were painted so brightly and apparently they haven’t always been so. Historically, they were known to have muted tones of white and beige with only limited use of yellow and red. We still aren’t clear as to why the bright colours were introduced, but it might have something to do with a visitor from the early ninety hundreds calling the town “a study of gray and brown.” And what the heck, it looks lovely and undoubtedly makes it easier to find your house in a snowstorm.

    Today’s jackpot was Cathy Simon. Cathy runs a small tourist shop on the main road and sells custom painted pottery. Oddly enough a few years back she’d brought a photographer in to take photos of Saint Pierre for souvenir postcards and books. Understandably, we were very excited to meet her. With enthusiasm she started to help. She pulled out the local phonebook from behind the register, about ten-pages thick, and started cold calling people. Perhaps it’s not a cold call when whoever’s on the other end knows who you are, but still.

    Our feet are tired from climbing ‘mountains’ and exploring. It’s time to get to bed before Dale so we can dream of macarons instead of lawnmowers.

    Plus de macarons demain.

    Roth et Ramberg se faire des amis

    Apparently it’s tough to go unnoticed in a town of 6000 residents, we’re already running into people we know. Of course, we’re using the term ‘know’ very loosely, but by the amount of things we’ve learnt about them it feels that way. That’s all part of small community charm and it’s magnified here due to geographic isolation from the rest of the world.

    Everyone is friendly and everything is nearby. You can get anywhere on the island in five minutes or less. Anywhere. That’s by car, but even walking most places is easy. We’re actually carless at the moment since we arrived on Friday night and we can’t rent a car until Monday morning. 

    Two-legged transportation is great for burning calories, but isn’t ideal for lugging our gear. Getting a packhorse might be an option since horses appear to be plentiful. We’ve seen more of them than dogs and from what we hear there are over a hundred horses on the island. They appear to be Saint Pierre’s unofficial lawnmowers.

    Thankfully today is more about scouting, getting a lay of the land and discovering the incredibly friendly people. And they are beyond friendly. In fact our schedule has been filling up rather quickly despite our clunky French. On our travels today we were invited by a guitar-playing fireman to visit the fire station Tuesday morning and see his band on Friday. Another offered to take us on a private zodiac tour to Ile aux Marins, the abandoned historical site that used to be home to 800 fishermen. Plus, an elderly man tried to lure Michele in with a box of candy. Classic move. Thankfully he turned out to be a very proud world-class runner excited to show off his trophies. Ten minutes later he hosted us in his living room and invited us back for a longer visit on Tuesday afternoon. That didn’t even include our quick van tour of the island.

    Our heads are now spinning like a colourful carousel loaded up with French men. Fabrice, Jean-Claude, Joël, Jean-Pierre and Gaston all twirling around. A lot has happened since our day started off with a light breakfast of croissants.

    Bonne nuit.

    Roth et Ramberg sont arrivés

    We’ve landed in Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Apparently most people arrive by ferry, but since we’re super classy folks we flew. The flight from St. John’s was only about 45 minutes and once onboard we were enclosed in France. This left Dale and Michele tongue tied as they quickly realized their French was lacking. Elise managed to resurrect French from her elementary school brain—then later thanked the customs officer in Spanish.

    Our taxi driver from the airport didn’t speak English and seemed disinterested in our mangled French. Getting him to warm up seemed futile, until a quick stop at a bank for Euros had him chuckling. We stayed in the car while Michele went to the bank and watched as she hopped about waving her arms trying to trigger the automatic door only to realize there was a side door. After that his character softened, we told him about our project and he told us he was Parisian. We’ve unanimously decided he’s solid calendar material, so expect a follow-up on Monsieur Taxi.

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    After checking into room 213 at Hôtel Robert, we took to the streets to find some French cuisine and a litre of red. Le Feu de Braise ended up a charming choice. We did have trouble convincing our extremely nice and helpful waiter, Emmanuel, not to speak to us in English. His patience with our language struggles was as good as the food.

    A few hours wandering in Saint Pierre hasn’t told us much. Even online we had difficulty finding history about this place. We’ve heard tales of people being paid to live here and that it was previously known for smuggling booze. Someone even told us that Al Capone spent time here. So, tomorrow’s task is to dig up some history and get to know the locals.

    Á demain.