Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Best of 2010-19: The decade in pictures

When we consider the past decade and attempt to describe the impact on NAIT, “change” is perhaps the first word that comes to mind. Change is a constant at the polytechnic, from the construction of state-of-the-art facilities that have altered the physical look of our campuses to teaching and research programs that are always adapting to industry.

Through it all, techlifetoday photographers Blaise van Malsen and Leigh Kovesy (Photographic Technology ’01) have been there documenting history through their lenses. We’re happy to share a selection of their favourite photographs from the past 10 years.

Walk like an Ook

Walk like an Ook mascot

“This photo was shot for NAIT’s 50th anniversary [in 2012] and the techlife issue that featured the history of the Ook. This was a fun shoot. I actually got a peace officer to come out and stop the traffic for me, because I was shooting from the road [with a 300-millimetre telephoto lens]. It has that really compressed depth of field.” - BM

Nanotech clean room

nanotech clean room

“This was for techlife magazine’s Spaces feature, to show the Nanotechnology Systems’ clean lab. I like the perspective. I rented a fisheye lens for this shoot. Actually, for my 21st birthday, my aunt and uncle bought me a fisheye lens and I loved that thing … I like the symmetry of this photo, the yellow and the white. It brings me back to the early days of my career when I ‘fishedeyed’ too much, probably. - BM

Alberta adventure to remember

laughing in a boat

“This one is really funny because that student was laughing the entire time she was operating the boat – it was her first time driving a boat. We were laughing too and it was a lot of fun watching her laugh. This was in the middle of nowhere, near Nordegg I think, where the Biological Sciences Technology - Conservation Biology students went for a field trip. You could literally see to the bottom of this lake.” - LK

A milestone celebration

hugging it out at convocation

“This was just a nice shot from convocation. He looked so happy and was so excited to be graduating. I think that’s his instructor he’s hugging on stage.” - LK

Chief Billy Morin

Billy Morin in a headdress

“This was for the cover story of techlife and a profile of [Enoch Cree Nation] Chief Billy Morin (Civil Engineering Technology ’11; Bachelor of Technology in Technology Management ’13).This was a gift from his grandfather, too, which I think is really cool. It’s special because he wanted to bring it.” - LK

Wet ‘n’ wild car wash

wet at a car wash

“This was one from my first year at NAIT, a weekend shoot of a car wash fundraiser [put on by NAITSA]. It’s pretty neat; it looks like it’s from the ’70s, just the colours. I just love the fun, the action. I love photographing people when they’re enjoying life. But I think my camera got pretty wet in that shoot – my camera and I got wet.” - BM

Proud in Peace River

Bin Xu in Peace River

“This was shot this past fall with Bin Xu [NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Peatland Restoration at the Centre for Boreal Research] in Peace River. I wasn’t there long and this was the day that had good weather. I love how he’s framed by this piece of grass. I like how he’s standing there, like really proud.” – BM

An achievement worth celebrating



“This is just the epitome of optimism of students at convocation. They’re so excited and I feel like this photo really reflects the excitement of the day. We did five or six shots like this; they were really into it.” - BM

Revved up for Revolution Ice Cream

Revolution ice Cream

“This was a fun photograph to set up and shoot. First of all, it’s ice cream and I have a sweet tooth. And it was just fun; they were up for anything I suggested. When you get good subjects that are really into the photography, it always [makes for] a better photo. And the ice cream was delicious.” - BM

Big box shoot

photoshoot in a thermotron

“This is the Thermotron [in the Productivity and Innovation Centre], which changes the temperature from hot to cold, so I wanted to get a photo showing that it can go from one extreme to another. It’s a hard thing to photograph – it’s just a box. This is the same guy in multiple exposures. So it was quite technical to shoot; I put some lighting inside the box to get it lit up and tried to make it look interesting.” - BM

Holding court

Gregg Meropoulis

“Sports is not normally my thing so I was wondering how can I photograph [retired athletics manager Gregg Meropoulis]? I did some research and decided to use some dramatic lighting and put some basketballs around. I like the colours and how it’s something I normally wouldn’t shoot.” - LK

Proud to be a pipefitter

Pipefitter/steamfitter in the shop

“This is a Steamfitter/Pipefitter apprentice. I like the blown-out background on the one side, the little bit of flare that I added in post-production, the lighting, shallow depth of field. And again, I liked the guy’s expression. This was a fun shoot.” - BM

Surviving winter camp

Forest tech survival camp

“The Forest Technology students used to do a week of survival [at Kidney Lake], in the bush in winter. They’d sleep out in tents, like the lean-tos they built, for five days … they were so dirty and only had so much food with them – they would have competitions to win food and milk. The whole scenario was funny. I like the way the smoke and sunbeams are shining.” - LK

In the Alternative Energy Technology lab

happy to be in Alternative Energy Technology

“I just love the subject’s expression, the depth of field in the photo. I love the brightness and the lighting. It looks very ‘techie’; I think it’s the epitome of Alternative Energy Technology images.” - BM

Avro Arrow at dusk

Avro Arrow replica

“This was 2010 at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin. There was a student project [in the former Aircraft Structures program] to restore a replica of anAvro Arrow. We photographed them quite a few times and this was when it was finalized and put out on display. It’s a timed exposure and [art director Derek Lue] and a staff member from the museum ran around with flashes. Technically, it was pretty challenging.” - LK

Sunrise at the Centre for Applied Technology

CAT at sunrise

“I just liked this because it was pretty. The sun was just coming up and it was really pretty so I grabbed my camera, walked across campus and shot this. I always like those pink mornings.” - LK

Putting the fun in fitness

cycling in the fitness centre

“This is a spin class shot for a recreation [marketing photo]. I just really liked the fun and energy of the gang that I photographed. And it was quite technical to light, a little bit tricky because I had to use a lot of studio lights. I really like the symmetry of the photo as well. It’s got that triangle going from front to back; everything’s geometric.” - BM

Field trip to the quarry

at the quarry

“This was on a field trip with Geographical Technology. Field trips are always fun to go on because there’s a lot to photograph. This day we had nice weather and nice lighting and I like the geometry of the photo, all the shapes and the framing of the person looking out of the frame, facing away, which isn’t not the norm where people are usually looking into the frame.” - BM

Horse play

caring for a horse

“This is at the Whitemud Equine Learning Centre. The Animal Health Technology students go there once a year. We’ve been a couple of times with them and it always makes really good photos. I just thought this was a nice, quiet moment. The lighting is pretty, just lit by that one little window.” - LK

Ookpik optimism

convocation with an Ook

“Convocation is a long process, it’s three to four days of shooting and we do a lot of stage crossing shots. So this part of convocation is my favourite. The weather was pretty gross but it made for some good photos. I love this guy’s expression, like he’s trying to make the best of it but you can see he’s hoping for a little sunshine.” - BM

Window reflections

Dr. Clarence Preitz

“This one [of Distinguished Friend Award recipient, the late Dr. Clarence Preitz] I just really like for the window light; it’s kind of soft and quiet. He was a woodworker and his house was full of wood carvings and fancy woods. He was a quieter man and I liked how he was looking out this window.” - LK

Colour punch

colourful arrangement of food

“This was a photo I just shot a month or so ago for [marketing the vegan campus eatery] Square Root. [Graphic designer] Dru Davids wanted to do something fun and interesting. I brought in a bunch of bowls and stuff from my house and Dru brought some bowls and then we had nice tomatoes and other food. It was laid out really pretty and we lit it really nice. I like the shadows; it’s something different.” - LK

A proud moment

man at convocation

“I guess I do love shooting convocation – three of my favourite photos were from convocation. This is one of those candid convocation photos. I like the lighting, the flare that is coming into the lens, the detail on this guy’s eyelashes and the hair on his face. You see those people in the background, the fellow students, the people proudly watching. He looks inspired for his future.” - BM


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