John Hryniuk and the War of 1812

by Colleen Smith

This is an important year in Canadian history commemorating the bicentennial of The War of 1812.  There are many activities and events across Canada celebrating 200 years of peace including battle re-enactments in period dress.  Celebrations honouring troops who fought in the 32 month war will continue until 2015.   Photographer John Hyrniuk shares his experience through images of battle re-enactments from this past summer.


When Zoomer magazine originally approached John with the idea of shooting the War of 1812 re-enactment they wanted him on the battlefield with his gear. They soon realized they couldn’t get John on the field while the actors were doing their work, and they dropped the concept. Not to shy away from a challenge, John decided to head out on his own and shoot for himself. Armed with his Canon 5D MK II, the EF 85mm f1.2L (his favourite lens), a Profoto Pro 7B pack and head with small softbox, he set out to various locations across Ontario where these battles were being “fought” over the course of the summer.


A self-taught photographer shooting professionally sine 2002, John likes to photograph the unusual and the quirky – usually celebrity lookalikes. The war re-enactment and its colourful characters fit right in to his photographic philosophy.


I asked John which of the many portraits he captured over the summer was his favourite, he answered without thought “The kid with the Bugle”. Why?

“I don’t know…I just like it, it’s one of those pictures that captures the moment well, the setting, the expression”

“I don’t like to have the people just standing there, it’s more interesting if they are doing something”


When he finished this project he went back to Zoomer with his photographs, and though they weren’t images captured on the battlefield, Zoomer Magazine was more than happy with the portraits John captured. They can be seen in their September issue.


You can find more of John’s work on his website and Facebook page:

Summer Sale

B3K Digital has been around now for a few years, starting off small, but growing steadily. You may remember that small little office at Dundas & Logan, where Walter, Jim and Kim were practically sitting on top of each other with barely enough room to get up for a cup of coffee. It’s a wonder they managed to fit lighting and camera equipment in that space as well as the 3 desks (and coffee maker).

Last year they made the decision to expand into a much-needed larger space, and after some searching B3K Digital moved into our current location at 250 Carlaw, Unit 102 – down the laneway right beside SML Graphics. The new space, nearly 5 times larger than the Dundas & Logan office, quickly filled up with people and equipment.  A dedicated rental department was introduced, stocked with Phase One, Arca Swiss, Cambo, and Hensel lighting (and recently added Canon and Broncolor).

All of a sudden there was enough room at B3K for a Gitzo tripod display, studio stands, lighting demos, booms, and even a sitting area with a couch, coffee table and chairs, and a kitchen too.

Our new space is a year old now, full of gear, and in need of a clean up.

Just last month B3K hosted a Phase One IQ conference here in Toronto, and while Walter and Jim were out of the store for the conference, the ladies of B3K did some serious house cleaning. Showing up in our messy work clothes we tackled the main store area, re-organizing, cleaning, taking stock of our stock and general tidying up. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was quite the undertaking.

Following our two days of cleaning we then tackled the back room – the room no one else sees, the room that seemed to have accumulated mass amounts of “stuff”. It was a two-day job but Kim and I managed to organize everything. We came across a TON of stuff we forgot we had, things that got lost in the shuffle.

After our clean up, we were left with a pile of stuff that simply didn’t fit into our new tidy model of a stock room. And so, we decided the best way to celebrate our One Year Anniversary in our new bigger location; would be to have a sale, a big sale. A sale of our demo gear, open box equipment, new gear, used gear (yes, we have a whole lot of used gear), and over stock.

Now with this big sale just two days away, our floor area is not quite so clean and tidy. We’re getting ready for Wednesday July 25th. We are excited about this sale, something we hope to turn into an annual event. So please, come by on Wednesday, see what we have, check out the gear, you just might find something you need, or better yet, something you want.

B3K Digital Has Rentals!

It’s true! There is a new Rental Department in Toronto renting professional photographic equipment. And we’ve got it, right here at 250 Carlaw (unit 102).

It’s been awhile in the making, starting off with just a few PhaseOne pieces, but it has been growing steadily to supply you with everything you need. We’re very excited about our Rental Department and the gear we’re putting into it.

Do you need a lens for that shoot next week? Book it!

Do you need a softbox tomorrow? Book it!

Did your strobe fail right in the middle of a job? Call us!

We’ll get one out to you so you can finish your job on time. We are currently renting out PhaseOne backs and cameras, the amazing Arca Swiss M monolith 6×9 view camera (complete with a sliding back adapter and that really awesome Arca Swiss Cube).

We have the Cambo Wide RS camera and the Hartbliei Hcam. Our PhaseOne lens selection is pretty extensive, with everything from the wide 28mm to the 75-150mm zoom lens, and even the telephoto 300mm lens (and everything in between).

We also have a growing inventory of Canon glass in the cabinets, and several DSLR bodies, speedlights, and accessories. Our Strobe selection includes the Hensel Porty L 1200 – an amazing little, lightweight battery pack, and Hensel self-contained units. We have some Profoto, some Dynalite, and Just added Broncolor Scoro A4S, Pulso G heads, P70 Reflectors, the Softlight Refelctor P-Soft, the Ringflash C and the Para 88.

We’ve got digital camera bodies like the Canon 5D MK III, but did you know, we’ve even got a Hasselblad 555ELD FILM body/backs/lenses? Film is still here, it’s harder to find, but it hasn’t gone away completely. It’s a small department right now, but we’re adding new gear every week, watching our shelves fill up – and empty out as those new pieces go out on rentals.

Here’s hoping you’ll come in and see what we can do for you. We’re committed to providing the best possible service, and although we’re open Monday to Friday, if you run into a problem with your rental on a Sunday night, we’ll be there to help solve it. Just call us.

Heck, we’ve even got a shop-vac if you need one. Full Rental Price List May 2012