Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flickr Users Secret Meeting

Dara Skolnick examining her D70 S

I was invited to a birthday party for someone I never met and there I found a secret meeting of Flickr users. What is a Flickr user you ask? It's another web site that specifically allows people to upload and share pictures.

My cousin Dave - the odd man out.

Everyone at the table had a camera of some kind. Nikon D50, D70s, D200, Canon Rebel, Sony. Everyone that is except my cousin Dave. It was kind of strange seeing a camera crossfire. Cameras pointing from each person shooting some other person across the table.

Stephanie Cloutier, photographer, writer

I managed to get another user to hold my sb-800 (flash) and tried out the D200 in commander mode. The camera uses a bunch of preflashes to control the remote flash. The result being a subject (in this case Stephanie) with nice modeling (lighting) instead of flat on flash with no defining shadows.

Plant Progress

The Garden gnome is starting to be buried in vegetation.

For those gardeners out there that have been wondering what's become of the green life in my backyard this picture is for you.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Why the Bleep are we here?

Emmanuel shares a book and some Oreo cookies.

Movie night tonight at Emmanuel's place featured a movie/documentary "What the bleep do we know?". It's an interesting look as to how people can affect their lives just by changing the way they think. Whether you believe in abstract ideas like this or not it's an interesting perspective none the less.

Picking up blank CDs

The dogs of CCBC

I went to pick up some blank CDs from CCBC down on King street. I was greeted by this really tiny dog and Sophie the hound in the background. Shooting dogs with a fish eye lens is trickier than it looks. Milk Bones help though.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Kids Spirit Foundation

Pan Canada cyclists Jeremy, Steve, and Adrian

The three cyclists that started in BC heading toward Newfoundland cycled into Vaughan today with a police escort. They were followed by their camper van. Jeremy, Steve and Adrian are guys that work at the Keg and decided they wanted to do something that matters resulting in a bike ride across Canada.

The Drake Hotel on Queen street west

With the help of the Keg restaurants and Keggers (that's people that work at the Keg) across Canada they will raise money to go to the Kids Spirit Foundation. Yesterday was the Tour de Vaughan and the car wash, tonight's cycle for spirit fund raiser event was a Karaoke all night long event taking place at the Drake hotel down on Queen street west.

Country and western anyone? Yee Haw.

The singing started slightly after 7pm and went on until at least 2am. That's seven hours of shooting in low light conditions. I fired off a lot of shots. With each RAW 10.2 megapixel image taking 16 megabytes each the total night's worth of pictures came to just over 27 gigabytes. Geez.

Compared to the D70, the D200 uses about three times more disk space and sucks up three times the amount of power. I went through two and a half batteries that night. Keep in mind that I was using a VR lens so I'm sure that sucked up a lot of the power.

Anna rocks the house with Cheap Trick's "I want U to want me"

Overall it was a really good shake down of the camera features. My back was hurting by the night's end. Probably something to do with holding the camera and lens all night in shooting position.

Sing along by reading the words

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Le Tour de Vaughan

Kyoko barks out safety orders such as "Wear your helmet!"

After a day and a half of testing the gear gear it was time to do the first real run with the new camera body. Todays event: The Tour de Vaughan. A mini bike ride to help raise money for three cyclists biking across Canada and in turn raising money for the Keg Restauants Kid's Spirit Foundation.

The event started at the Vaughan Keg. Cyclists would ready themselves to bike a 25km ride. Each cyclist with a minimum of $100 in pledge money would make their way north and west to Kyoko's parents house. Along the way there were checkpoints where they could get water, first aid, directions, bike repair, and some verbal encouragement

Keg girls advertise for the car wash

Meanwhile at the Keg restaurant another fund raising event was taking place. That being a car wash. Yes there were cars. Yes there were girls. Yes there were suds.

Chris biking the route

Victim of the egg toss (click image to see exploding egg)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Trip to Welland

Andrew drives while I snooze in the back of the car.

Saturday, and other fun filled outing with Andrew and Josie. This time to Welland Ontario, Crystal Beach and the Merrittville speedway. The speedway was celebrating it's 55 anniversary.

The cannonball at Crystal beach

Bringing a camera to the beach seems to scare me more than I can say. Perhaps this is due to frying the motherboard of my Nikon 990 a few years back while standing in a slight drizzle. Imagine dropping the D200 into the water. That would suck.

It's times like this where I could really justify buying a water proof case for the camera. More so than a blimp. (A blimp is an enclosure for the camera that muffles the sound - you are required to own a blimp as an on set photographer - and at some point I'll have to buy one). The water proof case made by Ikelite is good to 200 feet down and costs a mere 1500.00 US dollars. Sheesh.

The Shoe Tree

Next to a gravel road we stopped by this tree with the shoes. Instead of being "shoed" away we stopped the car to specifically get out and take pictures of it. Some of the shoes were pretty high up. I wondered if someone actually came out with a ladder with the express purpose of attaching a shoe. Odd. Very odd.

The 55th Anniversary of the Merrittville Speedway

Andrew's friend reluctantly comes out and becomes the winner of the 50/50 draw and $1755.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday Fight Night

Boxing at the Docks

The fight night at the docks was a great place to practice taking action shots with my new camera body. Yes, I broke down and picked up another camera body. I couldn't go two to four weeks, the time Nikon estimated for repair, without my D70. The new body is slightly different and takes a bit of getting used to.

The idea of going on a shoot without intimate knowledge of the cameras functions scares me so I picked up the camera body a few days before and went to the first thing that presented itself to me. In this case it was a boxing match, er... matches. An event that will be a regular occurance at the Docks so we were told.

Shooting boxing matches is pretty difficult unless you're right up against the ring side. Even when you're there (not that I was) the ref tends to block your shot as he's trying to get out of the way of the two fighters.

The new camera body supports shooting in black and white so I took some pictures a la "Raging Bull". My vantage point was above the ring for most of the matches. The shot above was taken while downstairs getting food. It's not as clear as I would have liked but it's not bad considering I was using my 70-200mm lens with a 2x teleconvertor and weaving between a crowd of people between me and the boxing ring.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Day the Shutter Stood Still

The Scandal Scouts

Tonight I covered the Pride party, an event to kick off Pride week here in Toronto. Well almost covered it. The fancy scmancy event would have been covered in full had my camera not stopped working. Yes my Nikon D70 shutter died somewhere inbetween shooting our Premiere (of the province) and the B- girls.

Rex Harrison

I couldn't believe it. The camera didn't knock something, get immersed in water, or get hit by lightning. It just stopped working. Luckily it's still under it's two year warranty.

David Miller, Mayor of Toronto

When I brought the camera into Nikon and told the guy behind the counter I took about a half million pictures with it. He seemed to be surprised that the camera could take that many shots. Of course the conversation was followed up by the "You should be using a camera of higher quality" blurb.

As stated before, I was a little pissed off that the camera was designed so "poorly". Then again I thought how many shots I would have taken with my film camera. Half a million shots? No probably not. At least not without bringing it in for some repairs or at least a tune up. In hindsight it could have been a lot worse. The camera could have conked out in Montreal or on a studio shoot. Now we know why the union, in this case IATSE667, requires an on set photographer to have two camera bodies.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Juliet's Allergy Bag

Cat allergies abound.

Visiting Juliet's place I was greeted by "Stinky" the uber-shedder. The cat's hair stuck to my black clothing like I was tarred the feathered. Later on while I was sitting in a chair the cat pounced onto my lap then head butted me in the chin.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Lula Lounge

Listening to Afro-Cuban music at the Lula Lounge

After FAME I made my way downtown to the Lula Lounge. It was there that my friend Lisa was celebrating her birthday. The Lula Lounge featured a set price menu and a nice evening of afro-cuban music.

Might as well Jump

Darell R. Wambolt gets pretty good air as he skips rope to high energy music.

Today at FAME I witnessed something truly stupendous. Without any overhead announcement Darell got up on stage and started a skip rope routine. Sure that may not sound very exciting or even remotely interesting.

Try skipping rope while doing gymnastics. Add to this the rope skipper can jump right over you while you're standing up! Holy cow!

Hi-tech jump rope for kids, adults, beginners and "experts".

After the demo on stage I went to check out the booth. It was there that I found a bunch of skipping ropes made from some space age material that prevents getting tangled while skipping. Another feature was the rope was specially designed to be responsive to the slightest hand motion from the skipper. For the skipping impaired Ropenotixx sold an instructional DVD for a mere $25.

Yes, way back when, I was that kid that got tangled in the rope and had the ability to trip myself. Since I was pretty uncoordinated I was usually the one relegated to spinning the rope for others. That or I was shooed away so as to not cause injury to others. This would happen if trying to skip in pairs, the evil double dutch. A dark time indeed.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Dance Recital

Two to Tango

After the TAB launch, Juliet and I hurried across the city to a dance recital at the Jewish Community Centre (the JCC). A bunch of dance troops showed off their stuff. Unfortunately due to a miscommunication between the PR firm and the people working on the floor I wasn't able to shoot the first half of the show.

There was a performance done by a dance company that had a world war two theme. A story, as told through brilliant dance choreography, of a husband that gets called to go to war and the reaction of the wife and daughter. They had impeccable synchronization.

The second half of the show hilight, for me anyways, was a pair of dancers doing the tango (see first picture). They had incredible leg work where one would flick their legs between the other's legs while moving. It was like an optical illusion. It would have been great to shoot them on high speed film so you could watch them in slow motion to see how their legs did what they did.

TAB is Fab

Monique Drepaul enjoys a TAB

After the day at FAME I traveled downtown to witness the TAB launch. Yes, It's TAB, the coca cola drink from the seventies making a come back. The tag line was "Fuel to be fabulous" and at the launch I noticed I was surrounded by a lot of good looking people.

The fabulous TAB girls

Not just the girls handing out the drinks (see above) or the guys with TAB shirts painted on, This seemed to go over extremely well with the women that attended the party, it seemed like everyone at the launch was good looking (see picture below).

Does everyone look this good while drinking TAB?

Maybe it was something in the water (so to speak). The drink itself reminded me a bit like cream soda. TAB uses Splenda or sucralose as a sweetener instead of aspartame. After reading a bit on both man made substances I'd rather just drink something with sugar.


example 1: Wahid Gardizi's steel like abs.

example 2: Annik Naylor's fit body.

As someone that might be new to FAME, the fitness and model expo, one might have the misconceptions that all the people that attend have to be statuesque, have abs of steel, be able to break you (like a twig), and be stuck up ego maniacs.

Sure a lot of the attendees are fit and good looking (see above examples 1 and 2), it is a fitness expo after all, but something that I found as a nice surprise was that the people I talked to were also a very friendly bunch with a positive attitude that's instantly contagious.

Larry Vinette and the fuzzy slippers

I talked to Larry Vinette the 2005 FAME Muscle Professional World Champion. When meeting him I didn't know who he was. At the time he was in nothing but a pair of shorts and big fuzzy slippers and was getting a tan at the Arizona Tan booth. Just the fuzzy slippers alone made a picture worthy subject.

I found out later that Larry was wearing the FAME mascot costume earlier hence the fuzzy feet. After posing for me he shook my hand stating that he really loved the pictures that we photographers take and to keep up the good work. It's nice get that pat on the back every now and then.

During a pause between competition events FlirtyGirl Fitness had a demonstration on stage with two attractive ladies, Katie and Daina, doing some pole dancing. Yes, it's a work out. Yes, it takes coordination. Yes, it's sexy. If I smoked, after their demo, I would have smoked a pack.

Katie demonstrates on stage for Flirty Girl Fitness

Katie, Kerry and Daina of Flirty Girl Fitness.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Hey DJ

DJ Cassano spins

After Charlotte's birthday gathering for food, a bunch of us made our way down to Stone, a bar-ish place on Queen just west of Dufferin. It was there that a friend, Serge Cassano, was DJing. Elaine, who I found out was Ryan's sister (small world) was also taking her turn at the turn table.

Real records! You don't see that much anymore. The music was a 60s motown type of feel. It was pretty hard to keep a conversation in the place but I managed to say hello to a few people I hadn't seen it quite some time before leaving.

Elaine Banks DJs a portion of the night

Erin Dances

Party-goers winding down

Charlotte's Birthday

Hilights from Charlotte's birthday

After finishing all my shopping and saying "Hi" to various people I remembered, at the last minute just as I was going home that pt was Charlotte's birthday. I made my way back up to Monster Records. Just south, around the corner, was the Ethiopian House and Charlotte's birthday gathering. Located on Irwin just west of Yonge street.

Walking Up Yonge Street

Peter Jarvis at the Eaton Centre

I had a bunch of things to do today so I found myself walking around yonge street and stopping by the various familiar haunts. Darryl's new office, CCBC (a place that sells CDs and other recordable media), Mountain Equipment co-op, the Eaton Centre (and Leanna our favorite Lancomb sales girl), and finally Monster Records.

Dave and Terrance relax while the boss is away

As it turns out Roger, the local propriator, wasn't in. He was replaced by Dave and Terrance (see photo above).

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dance the Night Away

Ballerinas as runway models? Cool.

Tonight's Juicy Stuff assignment took me to the 606 on King street (west of Portland). There was a sick kid's hospital charity event and to my surprise a fashion show. I was a little miffed at the poor last minute intel on the event and as a result I didn't bring enough flash batteries (AAs) as they were all still drained from Montreal. I also left my fast lens at home. It's heavier after all and who wants to lug all that stuff around all the time anyway?

The fashion show consisted of a bunch of ballerinas wearing the garb and dancing down the long narrow path of onlookers and party goers. Not the best lighting and definitely not the greatest set up for actually seeing the clothing. Having graceful women doing the toe thing across the floor was pretty innovative though.

I managed to get in a few good shots (see above) but next time I'll be bring the heavy equipment.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Brampton Transit Hell

Laura from Niagara Falls, Marie from Toronto, Amanda from Brampton get their photo taken.

For anyone that has to travel from downtown Toronto to Brampton using the GO transit on a regular basis this entry is dedicated to you. As a non-GO trainer getting into Union station and figuring out how the ticketing system, the zones and what track to get onto is a bit of work.

I managed to get on the right train but wasn't sure if I was getting off at the right stop. As there are two stops for Brampton I got off the train looked around, wasn't sure and jumped back on the train. It was only after the doors closed that I realized that was the stop to get off at. D'oh!

Six minutes later I arrived at the next stop (Mount Pleasant) at 18:03. Luckily I picked up a schedule and noticed a train was going back in the other direction at 18:08. I got off the train and proceeded to the other side of the tracks. Only there were no other tracks! I looked at the schedule again and realized that it was a bus going back! Running over to the bus area I arrived just in time to see the bus pulling out way across the the lot. Crap!

Squinting down at the schedule I found the next bus to leave the station would be at 21:08. Three hours! There were other buses in the area labeled with the Brampton transit logos. I approached a bus driver and asked for directions. He pointed out that I had just missed the GO bus then told me how to get back using the local transit. To get back to the Brampton GO station I would have to use two buses. I took these buses back. It took an hour. An hour!

From the station it was another 20 minute walk to the local Hooters and the Bikini contest. I managed to walk in just as it was starting.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Best In Show

El Camino located on the north east corner of Dundas and Keele

The day after getting back from Montreal I attended a Team Thurling thank you party. For the three weeks prior to the Montreal trip I, and a bunch of others, worked away in our individual dwellings without seeing much of the light of day. Connected only by high speed modems and phone calls we managed to get out if only to attend a meeting so we could go over files and notes.

It sounds like dreadful work and it easily could have been. Thanks to Zoe and David our team leaders, what may sound like the ingredients for a life draining work schedule turned out to be pretty enjoyable. As an added bonus it turns out that we helped produce a booth that won a best booth award at the GlobalComm convention down in Chicago.

See the photo below. It's a scan of the daily trade show newspaper.

The Daily GlobalComm News

A closeup shot of the photo

Team Thurling of Thurling Design