Thursday, May 31, 2007

Meeting and Leaving

Here's another panoramic photo of me and the rest of Thurling Design

I had another meeting today with Thurling design to go over some concepts for the new Microsoft work coming down the pipe. While at the house that David and Zoe were occupying I took another panoramic shot using my still new panoramic gear. I'm pretty impressed with the results. Without too much effort I managed to stitch together the above photo (click to enlarge). Not too shabby but it took a bit more work than the photo I shot at Deep Wireless last weekend.

After the meeting I got home in time to do my laundry, and pack my things. I'm off to Montreal. A car with Kyoko, Chris, Michelle and Hilary is arriving at 7am to pick me up. From the apartment we'll travel to another house where we will meet two other people who will be driving up in another car. This will be our chance to balance out the passengers.

The trip is estimated to taking 5.5 hours. We shall see.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Full Moon

Full Moon (or pretty close to it) shot with a 400mm

I was looking up at the sky tonight and noticed the rather large yellowish moon hovering above the horizon. Maybe it was an orange... at any rate it wasn't the customary white. "Is it all the smog floating in the air that's causing this?", I thought to myself.

According to my astrological friend Nilla, the full moon signifies completion in something or the end of a cycle of some sort. Usually along with the full moon also comes drama and big emotional waves with people acting more strangely. Although I haven't noticed anything with me this month there have been previous full moons where I could say she was right on the button.

I guess I should have paid more attention to the astrological spewings that came out of Nilla's mouth. It's one of interesting subjects that seems to pop up everytime there's a full moon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Deep Wireless

A panoramic view of the main room for the Deep Wireless conference

Today was the last day of the Deep Wireless conference and it didn't occur to me until today that the attendees that made up the conference flew in from all over. Halifax to B.C., Germany to the U.S., even Nepal.

As the day's activities wound down I managed to talk to some of the people about their projects and what they thought of the event. Even though I'm not a sound geek I can appreciate the work involved. A boring technical topic was made interesting by just listening to the enthusiastic person speaking.

That's the nice thing about the conference being small. The people that attend are that much more full of energy. It's their passion and consequently it hard not to get interested. Their energy is contagious.

When was the last time you went to a conference and were being sold a product or given a lecture by a "hired gun"? Usually, I have found, the person is the type that's waiting for the day to be over so they can go home. Their interest in being at the conference is just to make their hours and their money. Some guy with a monotone voice with no energy what so ever, or the other extreme, the guy filled with too much energy going for the hard sell but doesn't really know what he's talking about and can't answer a more detailed question when asked to explain things in more detail. Kind of reminds me of those sales people at FutureShop... oh they bug me (most of them anyway).

I managed to try out my new camera panoramic gear as things slowed down. (See above and click for a larger image). The results were amazing! I stitched the 17 photos on automatic with the only entry being the lens (28mm x the Nikon modifier of 1.52). The resulting photo was seamless. At 300 dpi I could print the image out 5 feet by 1 foot approx. Neato!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's a Tie. Sounds good to me.

Dan Bernard plays his tie

This weekend during the 2007 Deep Wireless conference in Toronto held by New Adventures in Sound Art, Dan Bernard showed us his tie. It was made of some form of magnetic media. He had a walkman that had the tape head exposed hooked up to the room's sound system. When he scrubbed his tie we heard watery blurby sounds.

The fabric is made somewhere in the States. It looked like there was a skirt made of the stuff as well.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sing ABBA or take off your pants

Ted options to sing Abba.

After reading the title of this entry you're probably thinking the same thing I was thinking at the time which was "What the...?". Let's rewind a bit as you're probably a bit confused and further explanation needs to be told.

I woke up early today (8am) to sort through some portraits (head shots) of a client I had shot just after the roller derby. Once I had the final CD burnt, I went to the grocery store to pick up some eggs for an appetizer to be had later that night. The client picked up the CD. I cooked the eggs and prepped them for transport.

I was making devilled eggs. The trick was to keep the center yellowy mush away from the hard boiled egg whites otherwise the resulting product would be a mess from transport. It occurred to me to separate the two and assemble them once at the destination.

I had just finished storing the two components (the mush and the egg whites) into separate containers and had thrown them into a portable cooler along with a ziplock bag of ice (which I froze the night before) when I looked at the clock. It was 5:30 and I had to get to Ryerson by 6:30 for a paid photo gig shooting a sound art convention called "Deep Wireless".

Once the last performance piece was done, I packed up my photo gear and raced over to Ted's place. This is where I was invited by Brigitte to play poker. As I wasn't sure how long they'd be there I got a little anxious on the subway ride there. It would suck to show up with devilled eggs to find out everyone went home.

People were still at the apartment when I got there. Upon entering the apartment I was told that I could either sing to some ABBA song or take off my pants. This was shortly after being asked if I wanted some ice cream sandwich cookie. The singing/pants demands took me off guard and I thought they were joking at first.

But no, this was the rule in order to buy into the poker pot. A rule that seemed to be made up by Brigitte and her friend Val. Where were the guys opinions on this? Ted seemed to be set on singing and Luke was pretty much on his way to the bathroom to take off his pants. What kind of poker party did I show up to? On top of these female dominated options I would also have to put in $10. The $10 seemed fair as everyone else that was playing had also put in $10 to play. It was now a question of "Do I sing the ABBA or pull down the jeans".

It's not everyday you get a girl telling you to drop your pants. Let me rephrase that... It's not everyday "I" get a girl to ask me to drop my pants. Getting my ass grabbed or felt up is a different story. I'm not really sure why but the occurrences of women making contact with my rear has been increasing these last few weeks. I'll have to detail this in another blog entry. As for tonight's poker demands, besides myself and Brigitte, there were three other people in the room and I am a shy person. I went with ABBA. The song, "Momma Mia".

Now it's one of those songs where you think you know the words but in reality it turns out that you, or more specifically I, thought I knew the words but in fact just placed gobblety-gook in where I didn't know the lyrics. This became apparent as I started squinting at the lyrics in the CD book while trying to sing. The results were just a bit worse than a cat under duress.

Luckily Brigitte was a good sport and thought I did okay considering. It was because of her I was allowed to play poker without further humiliation. It was also because of her that I won the poker game, her and that fact that I was dealt some pretty great hands. It was then also because of her that I won the $50 poker pot. The devilled eggs seemed to go over well. I'd say the night was going very well.

We watched a 12 minute movie Ted had directed and shot on video then ended up at the Velvet Underground to join Brigitte in her quest to dance. We were there drinking, socializing and dancing until the last song which was the Cure's "Close to me". I got home at 4am. Just in time to recharge the camera batteries and wake up to leave at 7am the next day for more Deep Wireless shooting.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Victoria Day

Tweety Bird, our marker on the beach.

This weekend I took it upon myself to organize a group to head down to the beach to photograph the fireworks. Originally I was going to go down to the beach by myself with a tripod but I figured I'd be more social and invite friends to join me. I would like to point out that part of the friend prodding was to get some of my shut-in friends to get out to meet some new people as some of them have been complaining that they never get invited to anything or know anyone.

I posted a general invite on facebook and because it was the long weekend and the saturday (the fireworks were on monday) I figured the group would be small or even non-existent consisting mainly of just the shut-ins. Surprisingly we had a pretty good turn out.

In order to meet up in a large crowded area I got an idea to place a Tweety bird on a light stand. I had won the stuffed animal at the CNE at one of those guess your age/weight booths and it's been sitting in a ziplock bag ever since. It seemed like a good idea. The light stand is ten feet tall and the Tweety Bird is a bright yellow.

When faced with reality I should have gotten a 10 foot blimp. From the boardwalk, looking at the designated spot on the beach just south of the change room hut I couldn't see the Tweety Bird marker at all. It was completely blended in. A "Where's Waldo" picture would have been easier. The sun going down coating the beach in darkness just made things more difficult.

Luckily I had also posted my cell phone number. Simon Lau, another photographer friend, managed to come out and couldn't find us. Calling me on my cell phone I managed to describe where we were on the beach relative to fireworks going off around us. Eventually we could see him on the horizon walking toward us on the phone. He looked like a guy walking through a field being bombed by enemy fire just like in those war films... only with more color. I swear he just missed a firecracker going off by centimeters.

The fireworks lasted for about 15 minutes and were over with a dud firework going off right at the end that seemed 1/10 the size of the fireworks before it. Below are some of the fireworks I managed to shoot. For more images you can see them on Facebook.

This firework was cool in that is left behind long strings of pixie dust... cool that is until we almost got hit with some debris.

The sky was actually this red.

Personal fireworks collections going off on the beach.

Sparklers and a long open shutter.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hammer City Roller Girls

Helmets belonging to the Steel Tank girls roller derby team

Despite not finding the arena last night I actually found it today after picking up Leah's brother. We were only 10 minutes late. Not bad considering we didn't exactly know where we were going. I knew the general direction but the roads in Hamilton and region consist of a lot of one way streets which I found seemed to all go in the opposite direction that you wanted to go.

As a photographer they let me have the run of the rink. As a result of my floating around the track there were a few close calls of a girl skating into me and all my gear but usually they recovered at the last minute or I managed to back away just in the nick of time.

"Get ready..."

While shooting at the Molson Indy, one thing they tell you to do is if you're crouching down, always crouch down on on knee and not on both. With a foot firmly planted and leg that's ready to push yourself into standing position you can get away from a wayward car speeding toward you or at least your changes of avoiding the car are better than if you were sitting on the ground. It was this technique that helped me move away from the skaters and save my gear from possible ugly circumstances.

Miss Carriage gets a pull from SleezeBag

Shooting the bout was quite challenging. Mainly due to low lighting with quick movements but also just finding the spot of action taking place in the group of skaters. I found that whatever side of the rink I was on the accidents and people falling over one another always seemed to take place on the other side. Luck of the draw I guess.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Car Trip

Daniela Suppa gets her photo CD finally

The night before or maybe two nights before I had gotten an email from Andrew the designer regarding some photos I had shot and that Daniela, the make up artist, hadn't gotten any copies. Since it had been months since the shoot I had felt pretty bad not sending anything to her. On top of that I totally forgot to send the pictures. This seems to have been a common thing in the last few months of being out of it.

The day started in the early afternoon. I had reserved a car for rental in order to drive out to Hamilton to take pictures of a roller derby. I picked up the car at 3:00pm with the intention of driving to Hamilton a day early. Mainly to figure out where it was I was going to be. I could take my time driving around getting to know the city, the one way streets, parking, where the nearest Tim Horton's was, and all that.

To start I picked up Laer who wanted to get out and needed any excuse to do so. I enticed him by saying we could stop in the city and take some pictures. He just bought a D80 and was itching to use it. There were two conditions that had to be met. 1) We had to drop off a CD for Daniela in Mississauga, 2) We had to get Laer back home by 7pm before Elaine (Laer's girlfriend) got home.

At the time it seemed like a possible feat. It wasn't until we actually got on the highway and noticed the snail's pace at which the traffic was moving that the trip to Hamilton seemed more improbable in the time alloted.

After dropping off the CD to Daniela we decided that going to Hamilton would be rushed and we probably wouldn't make it back to Toronto (and Laer's place) by 7pm. So instead we travelled out to Bramela to visit Laer's folks. Since he wasn't going up there for Mother's Day we figured we could surprise them a few days early.

Laer shoots a bird feeder

No one was at home. Being a friday it turned out (we learned this from the neighbours) that the parents went to some restaurant for fish and chips. This I suppose was a weekly thing. Laer and I took some time to take pictures of his mom's garden and talk to the the neighbours next door. A conversation that mainly centered around camera gear and old pentax equipment that the neighbour owned.

The 70s glass partition between yards

I forced Laer to go with me to the local Hooters Restaurant. Most people do not know this but they have some of the best honey garlic chicken wings anywhere. Sure there's a bunch of young nubile women in skimpy clothes that serve you but really I was starving for chicken. Forcing Laer probably isn't the right word. I had the car. I was driving and I was going to get those honey garlic chicken wings.

Laer and Hooters like oil and water

After a basket of ten wings and a Coke equivalent later we drove back to the parents house to see if they were in, they weren't, and then drove back into Toronto to drop Laer off at the apartment.

As it turns out I managed to get a phone call from Marc seeing if I wanted to go eat. I told him I'd pick him up and we'd find food on the way or in Hamilton. By the time we had arrived in Hamilton, after getting lost in Burlington for a bit, it was around 11:30pm to midnight. Drowsiness had hit Marc to the extent he wasn't hungry any more and just wanted to go home.

Marc with Maps of Burlington at Tim Horton's

It took us a while to find Market street and when we did found that we were in the wrong city. Whoops, not Hamilton, but Dundas!! I never got to go to Dundas as Marc was getting a bit squirmy and just wanted to be taken home. So back to Toronto we went, not stopping for food or anything. I dropped Marc off at his apartment then drove up to a local donut store to pick up some meat filled buns.

A Two Month ReCap

Okay I know it's been a while since my last post. It's been two months. Chances are you're not even reading this because you've given up looking for updates and are now doing something more interesting with your life. However if you're one of the one's that still checks this spot everyday or perhaps you've subscribed to this blog then "Hello" I say and thanks for reading.

Despite the fact I've been neglecting the blog, I have been taking pictures pretty much every day with the odd picture blackout in between, It's okay Hell has not frozen over, there are actually good reasons for putting down my camera (or not picking up as the case may be). There are reasons for not updating the blog as well. Laziness comes to mind, but I'll try to recap what's been going on over the last two months. I could post a picture for every day that has passed or at least almost every day that has passed but that would require a lot of work, a lot of writing and a lot of going into the bowels of my memory to reconstruct what happened.

Since I'm not trying to solve a mystery regarding a murder, lost child, or even missing keys I will let the reconstruction of the days past slide. To all those readers that live life vicariously through my blog entries I can only say that your life is much much more interesting than mine has been in last two months. If you as the reader still feel unnerved, pretend I was abducted by aliens, thrown into a time machine and popped out two months later with no memory other than the following notable experiences...

Fashion week Autumn Winter 2007

Arthur Mendonca boned for lighting.... again.

For the most part, the lighting was terrible. Most notable was the Rudsak show where the 24 hour newspaper only showed heads of the models because the bodies and what the models were wearing were in complete darkness. It didn't help that the clothing line was mainly comprised of black outfits. Lighting them with a single weak spot light that was aimed with the precision of a drunkard peeing and aiming for the puck, Rudsak's models had their heads and legs clipped by the dark. The sad fact is that this cost the designer more to light them this way than to use the standard crappy house lights.

Don't even get me started on the Arthur Mendonca models standing around in patches of bad lighting (this is the second season this designer was boned for lighting), the mixed colored lighting of Pink Tartan, or the gradient lighting of some other catwalks where models are walking out of the darkness. While this may be considered great stage lighting, catwalk lighting no. What's the point of having a catwalk if you can't shoot the models with the clothing flowing until they reach the end? The event this year was pretty disappointing from a photographers point of view.

Colin has moved

One weekend, I and some others helped Colin move out of his long time lived apartment.

Colin in his apartment for the last time.

The Moving Van

The Last Football pass (Hey why are they not helping?)

The last picture of the dot pattern.

Fan Appreciation day for fans of Falcon Beach

An onlooker looks to see if there's any activity.

The cast Of Falcon Beach.

This was an event that took place at Sam the Record Man, a record store, down on Yonge street. I was amazed at the number of teen girls that demanded the male actors take off their shirts.

Microsoft job

David and Neil looking at the electronic storyboards

This is probably the biggest reason that I haven't been updating the blog. I was working for about three weeks straight on some animation for the Microsoft booth at N.A.B. (National Association of Broadcasters) convention in Las Vegas. No, I didn't get to go to Las Vegas.

A Girl named Brigitte

Me and Brigitte at Sanjay's birthday party.

During the course of the Microsoft job I did manage to slink out of my apartment to do some things. One of these activities was to attend Sanjay's (the publisher) birthday party. While it wasn't my intention to meet anyone, I think I was pretty low on energy at the time, I did meet two new people of note. Vanessa, a model from fashion week that I took pictures of, and Brigitte, a fellow Nintendo player who claimed that she could kick my ass at Bust-a-move. Yeah right. She's also a Wii player. This piqued my interest as I've been thinking of getting a Wii since boxing day.

Brigitte demonstrates her kicking technique


Gabby and Melissa's birthdays

Gabby and Melissa seem disinterested

Rogers announces video conferencing on your cell phone

William Shatner talks over the cell phone with a video image!

To launch video calling in Canada, Rogers pulled in William Shatner from L.A. The press release was very secretive and didn't say anything other then to show up for something amazing. While waiting for the presentation to start I was talking to another photographer who said "I hope this isn't like the Burger King press release."

When I asked him for more details he told me that the PR company has sent out a vague over the wire saying something big was going to be announced. Perhaps a new sandwich. No one knew. The announcement was that People preferred Burger King hamburgers over other burgers. It was a let down for the reporter.

William Shatner and John Boynton (the senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Rogers Wireless) fiddling with the video phone.

William Shatner showing up to the event really worked. Pretty much everyone but the CBC showed up to see what the big news was. Video Conferencing.... the first thing I thought was that Star Trek communicators dont' have video. Oh well.

I took a picture of William Shatner's shoes as you probably wouldn't see this in the press

John Coburn's Art Exhibition

Robin, a fashion week model, poses for John

Another outing I managed to do during the Microsoft job was to see John Coburn's exhibition at a hair salon on King street. I was invited to this during fashion week and decided to pop in. After the show Brigitte and I went to grab some food. We stayed out much later than I anticipated and as a result I had to stay up until noon to finish a render and deliver it. Was it worth it? Yes, without question.

Robin looks at the camera

Brigitte flies into the painting at the Queen Mum.

Blueberry Juice - Something fishy

Blueberry juice with Omega 3

Maybe you've heard of weird drinks like Clamato, Tomato juice mixed with calm juice. What about blueberry and grape juice mixed with bits of anchovy and sardines. I kid you not.

Today I bought a blueberry grape juice with omega-3. When I got home I decided to read the label. It actually has fish bits in the contents. How weird is that?

Anchovy and Sardines? What the...?

The Microsoft job continues...

A last minute photo taken by me using the light coming in through the window.

After an all nighter we end up at the Goof for breakfast


Me, quite tired

Darryl with coffee

Al's Birthday Bowling

Danforth Bowl located just west of Coxwell on Danforth

Linda stretches

Leah bowls

Birthday Bowling Al.

More Microsoft Work

Zoe plans the next stage in the Microsoft project while squeezing her baby's stuffed animal.

Darryl hard at work in the kitchen

A quick walk to the beach clears my head for the Microsoft project

Ice formations on the edge of the lake.

The balmy beach club sign

Pippa, Zoe and David's baby, smiles when called "Supervisor" or hears "Darryl, get to work!"


My facebook photo taken in the back yard

Here's another reason I've neglected blogging. I've gotten sucked into the world of facebook. It's an addictive web site where you can reconnect with all your friends. I've heard it nicknamed stalkerbook by some people.

The Tijuana Bibles last performance

This photo taken by Alan Martucci shows me in the front (wearing white) waiting for the band to start playing.

The Tijuana Bibles

The Crippler

Super Destructor, Sky-Hi Lee, and Sonny-Boy Liston

Other Photos of Interest

A woodpecker in the back yard

Emmanuel at the Stem

My Hot Hamburger at the Stem

Christina Cruze

John Duncan of Swimsuit Canada and Christina

Simon Mah and "his girls"

John Philp film maker of "Yoga, Inc." stands in front of the Royal theatre

The Bust-a-move Showdown

Brigitte casts out.

Dinky the camera phobic cat

Dinky tries to squirm away from the camera

To follow up on the last entry where Brigitte said she would kick my Bust-a-move ass. She did! Out of twenty games she kicked my butt but good. Granted it was the Super Nintendo version of the game. I've called a rematch with the Wii version, a version which neither of us have played. Am I trying to level the playing field in order to win?... you betcha.

Brigitte kicks my Bust-a-move ass... for the second time, 21-14


William and Sara's baby. Alex doesn't seem impressed with me.

Sara and Alex say "Hi" as I get off the streetcar.

After about a year I finally get to meet baby Alex.

Other things of note

Brigitte with the coveted Filbert World Cup.

After kicking my butt, Brigitte and I decide to make a trophy out of this plastic fish. We've given the fish the name of Filbert. Whoever wins the next round gets to keep the fish until the next round and so on.

Laer with a new Nikon D80

Laer buys a Nikon D80.


Worked on a short film made by a friend (of Origasmi fame) starts a huge cast made up of mostly past Hard Liquor and Porn filmmakers. I worked on the film shooting stills and even made a cameo in a patient outfit.

That brings you pretty much up to date.