Images I created for Black Rifle Coffee Company

I’m a fan of the Black Rifle Coffee Company. I enjoy their marketing and funny videos, recipes and how-to walkthroughs. And their coffee is damn good, even when taken black (as it should be).

I created these ads to stretch my creative muscles and have new stuff for my portfolio.


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Echoes of Niagara’s Past 2017

A few weeks ago I attended Echoes of Niagara’s Past, which showcased Niagara’s Military History from 1812 to the present day. There were reenactors, Jeeps, tanks, and historical demonstrations.

Here are some portraits I captured over the weekend on Kodak EKTAR100 35mm film.

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Film is not dead – Restoring a 1970s Minolta camera

A few weeks ago a friend came to me looking to get rid of some old photography equipment. In this lot was a Minolta Hi-Matic F from the 1970s. It’s batteries were long dead and so old that they weren’t even made anymore. I was going to add it to my collection due to its awesome retro looks but I decided to see if I could fix it. I love old-school analog technology.

Using the wonderful tool known as Google I was able to see that the old mercury batteries it used to run on had been replaced by the LR44 button style battery. They would provide the same voltage required to operate the internal light-meter and to make the shutter open and close. The new batteries weren’t the cheapest (unless you get the shady made-in-china ones) but they did the trick. You stack two of them on top of each other and they will fit inside one battery slot as they are half the size of the battery they replace. You then take a piece of tin foil, fold it up, and fill the other slot with it, shorting it out. According to multiple sources this is in fact safe for operation.

The Hi-Matic F is a manual focus rangefinder style camera and its operation is completely automatic aside from film loading/winding/re-winding. You cant select any apertures or shutter speeds. It knows what to do.

I brought it to a friend’s housewarming party and took some test shots. I was worried I didnt load it right, but it has an indicator telling you when it’s working properly – always read the manual for this stuff! However when I rewound the film, the winding lever broke and I had to unload it manually in a dark closet into its storage canister. Thankfully the photo centre attendant kept his old film processing gear and was able to wind it back into the canister by hand. I had to wait two weeks as it had to be shipped to Montreal for development, but here are a few of the test images I made. There’s even a shot of me! (Tony Stark beard)

All shots are from one roll of Ilford XP2 400 ISO C41 process film.

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(More) Fitness with Sarah and Carm!

They’re back! Sarah and Carm once again competed in fitness competitions over the weekend, and what a change they’ve both gone through from a year ago.

We shot at Carm’s gym, Fitness Zone in Niagara Falls. We then took a few shots at Oakes Park and then went down to Dufferin Islands in the tourist area to wrap up our session.

At the time of this writing Carm had won 3rd place and Sarah’s position was still being scored. Look how awesome they look!

Rode a heatwave back through time to 1969 (and more!)

The unrelenting sun beat down on my face as I wondered if the SPF60 sunscreen would work. I felt the sweat form on my brow and run down my face onto my shoulders. The sparse trees inside the fort stood at attention like the reenactors in front of them; there was no wind to give us a respite from the heat. “God save the King” and “Rule Britannia” played on and on with fife and drum. Every note played brought us closer to being able to break our formations to find the nearest shady spot and have a drink.

With the temperature reaching 41 degrees Celsius with the humidex and heat stroke an ever present threat (an even larger one when you are wearing a uniform made of wool), hydration was key. Bless whoever invented Gatorade.

Along with a few dozen of my Second World War and Vietnam War reenactor friends, I traveled to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario this past weekend to take part in Echoes of Niagara’s Past – a military timeline event. A living history event showcasing Canada’s military history from 1812 to the present day. Taking place inside historic Fort George, the event drew a large crowd over two days. Events included a vehicle parade through the historic downtown, uniform and camp displays, day and night battles (with real guns firing blanks and REAL EXPLOSIONS), and even the “dapper soldier” fashion show which showcased the changes in uniforms over 200 years of evolution.

Of course I took photographs again, but I went one step further one more time and again used film. Here’s what I shot.

Photographs are of World War 2 (1944) and Vietnam Reenactors (1969).

All images captured on Kodak EKTAR100 colour film.


Abs with Alyshia

“Come with me if you want to lift.”

Last week I received a message from friend Reuben Jarvis, a personal trainer. He had been training Alyshia for a few months and she was about to participate in her first fitness competition, the Mindi O Fitness Extravaganza, and reached out to me to do some photos for her. Last Sunday I found myself shooting with her, Reuben, and her friend Jamie. While Reuben (aka El Reubeno) and Alyshia prepared to shoot (by doing A LOT of exercises) Jamie quickly tossed herself into an assistant’s role which was very welcome.

The fitness competition was the previous day and Alyshia placed 2nd in her division. Did I mention it was her first show? She definitely earned that medal after seeing just a glimpse of all the hard work she puts in at the gym and eating right.

Here’s a few shots of what we captured inside the gym at White Oaks Resort and Spa.

Photographer: Sam Cino | | IG: @cinofoto

Model: Alyshia I. | IG: @Lilchicklifts

Trainer: Reuben Jarvis (He’s also won an award for his glorious moustache!) | IG: @JaxonJarvis

Photo Assistant: Jamie Janzen | IG: @Jamiejanz

Shot on location at White Oaks Resort and Spa

Fitness with Sarah and Carm

This past weekend I shot a fitness session with longtime client Carmen Scordino of Primo Body Works. This one would be a little more special as it was for his client Sarah who had just received 2nd place in her first ever fitness competition the previous week in Toronto (and a pretty awesome birthday present for her as well!)

Fitness isn’t just a choice, it’s a lifestyle. Sarah and Carm told me about adhering to their strict diets and workout schedules. Such dedication is amazing.

Here’s a small sample of the fun we had on Saturday.


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Kristine & Steven – also known as that time I hid in a tree.

“So Sam….I’ve got this idea.”
“You bought a ring didnt you.”

And that is how my friend Steven pitched the idea for how he would propose to his girlfriend (now fianceé) Kristine.

About a month ago, Steven and I planned out the entire operation (you just read the introduction to it). He mentioned how she wanted it to have someone taking pictures secretly and she wanted it to be a total surprise. I asked if he had a location in mind. He said somewhere outdoors, possibly Balls Falls Conservation area. We decided to do it there during an afternoon. He would plan it as an outing for the two of them to take new pictures for her website (she is a photographer too) and during that time I would be hiding somewhere taking photos as he would propose.

I hadn’t been to Balls Falls in a very long time but remembered it had heavily wooded areas and that would hopefully make it easier for me to hide. I would use my telephoto zoom lens to allow me to be further away yet still get in close for photos.

The day finally came and Steven enacted his master plan. He booked Kristine a hair appointment knowing that it would take up most of her morning, while we prepared secretly for the afternoon. Steven and I let ourselves into her place and he made her a lunch with notes telling her where to meet him, and he had all her camera equipment ready in his car. We then drove to Balls Falls and began to look for the perfect area. The weather was perfect for what we were planning to do. It was completely cloudy, no sky visible at all, which would give really great soft lighting.

On the way over I told Steve that I had borrowed a military friend’s camouflage suit and would use it if we could find an area with lots of trees. We decided on a historical area within the park that had a large barn and a few spruce trees. I changed into the suit (now looking like a tree myself, or Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy) and hid amongst the branches. Steve would bring her down the path to the barn, then he would have her stand in front of the barn and take her picture. She wouldnt be able to see the tree I was hiding in then, so I would be able to step on some lower branches to open up a wider area for me to shoot through when she came back towards him. This is important because if she saw the tree move when I did this, she would probably figure out what was going on (or be freaked out that a tree just moved on it’s own). As we discussed this, two people walked past us. Steve said hi. I remained motionless and didnt speak. When they were far enough away Steve said “Well those people think I talk to trees….Haha sweet.”


I Am Groot!

I Am Groot! Steve took this picture while we set up.


Steve received an alert on his phone. Kristine had arrived! He left me in the tree with my camera as he went to get her from the parking lot. As I now had about 10 minutes to myself before they would return, I thought I should take a selfie.

Groot 2

Camouflage Level: Solid Snake. Selfie Level: Super Operator. It is unfortunate I forgot my facepaint at home. To compensate I wrapped my face with extra material from the hat.

During my time in the tree I triple-checked my camera settings. This was going to be done live and as a surprise and there was absolutely no room to make mistakes. As I did this, a family walked down the path and past my tree. I froze. They continued on, completely oblivious that I was there. A few moments later a second family walked past, and again I wasnt spotted. It was so cool.

A few minutes later Steve and Kristine came down the path hand-in-hand. Time to go to work. I began to take pictures as they came towards the barn. Kristine looked right at me in the tree and didnt see me. Perfect. I kept shooting. They stopped and Steve told her to stand in front of the barn. She walked out of my area of vision and I opened up the tree braches as far as I could. Steve bent over to get to her camera bag. The ring was inside. He called her over and as he was down on one knee I saw her extend one hand. I saw the ring box come out of the bag, and only heard a “yes” before the hugging and kissing started. Then I heard Steve say “OK look over at that tree” and she was confused as to why. After a few moments they walked towards my tree and I was given the OK to come out. She was totally surprised that I was in there….and couldn’t believe what I was wearing! She even took MY picture.

Groot 3

like I said, nobody saw me!

After I explained to her the master plan Steven had come up with, we did some more posed photos in front of the barn and a “heart wall” that she liked, having visited the area many times.

Below is a gallery of our afternoon. Thanks for reading. Leave a comment.


@sam_cino | @cinofoto | cinofoto