My Favorite Piece of Photography Gear by Stephen Roberts

My Favorite Piece of Photography Gear

by Stephen Roberts

Hi All,

Firstly, a big thank you to Steve for giving all photographers, including myself, a platform to post their work to a bigger wider audience.

It’s such a cliche, but I fell in love with photography after the birth of my first child 10 years ago. It was festering in me a little longer than that, but I definitely became smitten with it once my little princess arrived. I have been dreaming of the next shot morning and night ever since. It really has consumed my life in an amazing way. I was drawn to dance photography, in particular, a few years ago after my fist born became involved in competitive dance. (Not sure how dance can be deemed competitive, but that’s a topic for another day.) Coming from a competitive tennis background myself, and reaching a pretty strong level, I could appreciate what was needed to achieve a high level of performance. However, professional dancers take it to a whole other level. The only tennis player, I would say, who comes close to a ballerina on the tennis court is Roger Federer. The guy is a magician and seems to float around the tennis court with ease.

Anyway, suffice it to say, I was blown away by watching these dancers perform. The amazing, technical, powerful moves that would bust a gut of 99.9% of the population but make it look like second nature and a breeze to these artists.  The ability to be strong, powerful but also elegant and graceful at the same time, only a few can achieve. Yes, I believe Roger would have made a great ballerina too….lol! Considering this site is a gear related site, I probably should add at this point what my favorite piece of gear is with my photography. This may seem a little cheesy, and you may role your eyes but I have to say my notebook is my most prized possession. I am always scribbling down ideas for future shoots or different techniques for painting my backdrops. I highly recommend it if you’re not doing it already. Cameras and lenses can come and go, but the vision and creativity of the photograph is what should drive you to better photos, not the gear. 

I love to take control of every aspect of the process of my shoots. I have hand painted about five backdrops of differing colours. Along with my wife, I go fabric shopping and make some of the clothing for the dancers. But probably my favourite part of the process for me is to see my work in print. I get really emotional seeing my work come hot off the printers. Nothing beats viewing photographs than on a nice, fine art paper. My paper of choice is a Hahnemuhle soft rag. It suits my work perfectly, I just love it.

My father was an artist by nature and, at one point of his career, an Art lecturer at a University. In the last years of his life he was practising a painting technique to make his art look like a photograph. So I’ve flipped the switch and try and make my photographs look somewhat painterly. I hope you enjoy these few sample images from my portfolio.

You can see more of my work at my website www.floto.ca or on

instagram @stevofoxy

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21 Comments

  1. Beautifully evocative photos, Stephen. I was particularly struck with the title photograph. Could you tell us how you did that? I was intrigued by how you managed to get the dancer’s face to be so sharp. Thanks.

    • It’s a one second exposure. She stayed on pointe the whole time. It took many attempts….lol.
      The idea behind the image was the ballerina version of the Indian ‘Durga goddess’

  2. Excellent images, Stephen. Did you use a green screen for some of these (the last one in particular)? Even though your favorite piece of gear is your notebook (love that), being that this is a gear focused website, I would be curious what gear you used for these shoots? Camera, lens and strobes? Just curious…Thanks!

  3. Sumptuous photographs.

    Lady in Red with floating “peacock” arms
    personal favorite .

    Evernote app (Elephant logo) : electronic notebook is my favorite idea recording tool, voice records too.

  4. This is very nice work, Stephen. I respect the total dedication that you have for this. Making your own backgrounds? That’s quite something!

    You raise an interesting question: what is my favourite piece of photography gear? I have no idea, although I do also have a notebook to write down ideas. 🙂 Perhaps it is this: any website which lets the most people see some of my best work. There is no point in taking photographs if you don’t show them.

  5. Excellent captures and lighting but the grain effect (or artifact?) is too distracting for me to truly enjoy your images.

    • These are art and meant to be viewed the same as you would a painting, not pixel peeping with your nose to the screen.

      • I agree. Any noise in the the photos here do not distract from the beauty of the photos. It’s crazy that today many think noise = bad photos, but pixel peeping is not photography, it’s more of a gear thing and yes, they are totally separate. There are those who love the gear and get addicted to what the gear can do, and those who use gear to take photographs and in this case, art. These are lovely images shot by Stephen.

      • Why so negative about someone else’s experience? Paul is not pixel peeping, he is making a positive comment with one personal reservation. For example, I think Stephen has a marvellously consistent style and approach to his subject matter, and these are some of the best photos in their own way that I have ever seen. Even so, in the B&W I should like a minimal increase in light, and that is NOT a negative comment!

      • I’m just saying, the grain effect is not adding to the image but rather taking away from it. If you turn it off, then I think it would improve the image. They ARE great captures, and I don’t intend to take anything away from the photographer’s obvious skill and talent, but for me it is diminished by the effect (or artifact). I look at it, and I can’t help noticing it, and it’s not attractive. (I’m literally looking at it from 2 feet away, but it may just be me.) No need to read into more than that.

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