Sunday, June 28, 2009

The other gig

The Toronto skyline from lake Ontario

12pm. rain. boo. Would Joel's annual boat cruise be a wash out?

I had made my way to the launch just as the rain started to come down. The party boat luckily had three levels. The top deck with exposure to the outside and rain, the middle deck with food and shelter and the bottom deck with the dance floor and DJ (also sheltered). By half way into the cruise all floors had music being pumped into them from the DJ.

Mary Jane ready to shoot you one way or another

Despite the rain and my exhaustion I got a bunch of great photos. People were having a great time with or without sun. Half way into the cruise the rain let up and the ship goers wandered up to the top floor to get down with their funky selves.

Mary Jane, one of the passengers, had brought a whole slew of squirt guns. Despite the rainy weather they were still being used through out the day.

"Rain? What rain?"

The boat was a rockin' from leaving the dock to sailing in. One of the last songs was "Blame it on the boogie". It was a song I had requested and forgot about while I was working. Cool.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Beef Ball

The Opera House

The Beef Ball was the second party I would be shooting this Pride weekend. Located on Queen street (just east of Broadview) the Opera House boasted a bunch of party goers with a leather theme.

While I am probably too conservative to wear anything real skimpy (ie. cowboy chaps where the bum is exposed) I did notice a leather kilt that looked cool. Everyone knows women love kilts and make it leather and presto you're walking off the set of the Matrix. But the feature that was really cool is that it had a utility compartment. Batman could wear this thing should he ever want to change his costume to include a kilt.

DJ Neill MacLeod

The DJ was instantly recognized by me. Usually I'm terrible with spotting celebrities, which is one of the reasons I do not shoot paparazzi photos. Unless they are on set or someone points and says there's so-and-so, meh, the camera stays in the bag. Celebrities are like anyone else and deserve some privacy.

MacLeod had been on the cover of the previous issue of FAB magazine. It's the same issue that had my photos of green bag alternatives, a rainbow jock strap, and a dialogue shirt. Plus the article in the magazine said he was a DJ. It didn't take much to recognize Neill in front of the turn table / CD mixer.

view from the balcony

Unlike the AX party, this party went until 5am. It had a bus that transported people to and fro the location and like the AX party had performers popping up on stage at the odd interval to get the crowd going.

The drummer, Bobby

By the time I got out the door the sun was just starting to come up. I'd make my way home by 6:30am. That would give me four and a half hours to back up the photos, have a nap, and get out of the house for the next gig.

Ugh, morning sunrise

Friday, June 26, 2009

AX party

The church at the corner of Berkeley and Queen

The first assignment of the Pride weekend was the AX party that took place in a church at Queen and Berkeley. What looked like a stogy building from the outside became an enormous dance/party room when you walked in. This was the perfect venue for the "Saints and Sinners" themed party.

I was impressed that Michael Jackson got some air time. There are those that are getting tired of the whole tribute thing and over used radio play but not me. Good music is still good music. I'm a bit old school in that I like hearing lyrics to music.

Dance party!

It was a really nice venue. A large dance floor next to a stage and a second floor that overlooked the first one. By midnight the venue was packed. Doing the photography thing became a bit challenging trying to photograph what was happening on stage and the people on the floor.

The partying and dancing lasted until around 3:00am. I snapped my last photo at 2:58am, went home and prepped for the next day.

DJ Quinces serves up the musical goods
For the first half or more of the party DJ Quinces operated the music box. At the time of writing this blog entry, the web site is down ( but if you're on facebook you can get a hold of her through the "DJ Quinces and Friends" group.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


"Pot of gold? Where?"

On the way home from working on the set of Bloodletting we (James and I) noticed this massive rainbow. Originally it ended up going into a Canadian Tire but by the time I got my camera out of the bag the Canadian Tire had zipped by us and the rainbow was relocated above a park.

It's appropriate with this weekend being Pride weekend and all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

If the tree's a shakin'....

10 beady eyes

On the way home I noticed some rustling noises coming out of a tree from across the street. When I went to investigate I looked up and I noticed this family of raccoons looking back down at me.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

HCRG vs TORD 2009

Dicey sews on he coveted WFTDA badge.

The first period between the girls of TORD, better known as CN Power, and the Hammer City Roller Girls was a nail biter. Toronto was up a few points, then Hamilton would close in, and by the end of the period the score was Hammer City 33, CN Power 32.

The second period was much more easy to watch for the Hamilton fan as Hammer City zoomed into a 20 point lead. Final score Hammer city 82, CN Power 60.

The Eh Team (the Hammer City Roller Girls travel team)

Mia Culprit gets bitch slapped again.

An interesting thing to note was that I managed to get practically the same photo this year in Hamilton as the last year in Toronto. Mia Culprit being stopped by Bitch Slap Barbie. It's like deja vu.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not in the cards

Rain drops on the GO bus window

We had planned my visit to Hamilton about a week ago. The main purpose, to see a tarot card reader, and maybe squeeze in a bit of boggle. Yeah, boggle, the word game. I can't remember when I started playing that in Hamilton. It was an alternative to visiting Hamilton for roller derby. A social network helper if you will. Although our boggle social network comprises of two right now.

With a bit of wesearch (web research - I just made that term up) Kellie found out that the reader would be at the Rebel's Rock Irish pub later in the evening. So the plan was to meet up at Plucker's where I would order my usual coconut shrimp, maybe a burger, play some boggle and do a bit of catch up.

Coconut shrimp at the Plucker, yet another configuration

My trip to Hamilton was a bit nutty. Perhaps due to the abundance of rain, the train to the GO station was delayed. The cab I used, because I couldn't sit on a non-moving train, got stuck in traffic. While boarding the GO bus (the cab dropped me off just in time) I got squashed in the door while it was closing on me. Then the GO bus sat in traffic for about 45 minutes trying to get onto the Gardener to get to Hamilton. I arrived at the Plucker almost an hour late.

We ended up eating at the Plucker and reading this bad tattoo book. The book was good and even funny it was about "bad tattoos". Kellie would flip through the book page by page subjecting herself to a different form of visual punishment. She would laugh so hard she couldn't breathe at times, show me the photo, I would laugh/be disgusted or combination there of. We would both be wondering "who the ___ would get a tattoo of that?".

Two particular images now forever burnt into my brain are that of a dolphin on a lazy boy with a bong and a dinosaur with a fanny pack. The later looked like a kid drew it but it cracks me up just thinking about it. Ha ha ha! So cheesy.

Kellie checks the parking meter

We finished eating around 8pm and headed over to the other pub... only to find out the reader called in and wasn't going to be there. D'oh! After all that.

We made our way over to "This ain't Hollywood", a new bar/pub/venue that opened up recently, said "Hi" to Becky, looked at a few old bottles, said "Hello" to a visiting bulldog, and then returned to the GO bus station where I headed back to Toronto.

Becky at "This ain't Hollywood"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dance the night away

Rehearsing the dance number

Katarzyna, a friend of mine, who just happens to be a dance choreographer telephoned me to come out and see a dance rehearsal. It was based on a collaborative effort between her and some dancers she met a few weeks ago.

As a photographer it's kind of tricky to shoot a dance number the first time you see it. You don't know where or how the dancers will move. You have to rely on experience and luck to get the "good" shots. The challenge increases as the number of dancers increase as you then have to figure out which one to concentrate on at specific times.

Tonight there were six dancers. All moving at the same time. It was a bit nutty to say the least. They did the number a second time and I managed to get a few good shots before the night was over.

Kasia and I went for sushi afterward.

Katarzyna, dance choreographer

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ham it up

Lydia displays the wrapped gift - what can it be?

There's the odd time that you see something somewhere and it's screams "so-and-so has got to have this!" and because so-and-so is your friend you buy it and give it to them even if it's not their birthday or Christmas. It's one of those things that just has to make it into their hands as quick as possible.

Like giving the ring to Hal Jordan, the leather jacket to the Fonz, or spinach to Popeye, the item seems to complete them some how. It's that great. You don't find these things that often so when you do you've got to nab it right away. Who knows the next time you'll come across something so fitting?

This happened a few days ago. I was visiting Monster Records and on the way from there to the train station I saw a window display that screamed "Lydia!". I stood in front of the Shopaganda window for a bit checking out the display before going in.

They had done a great job on presentation. Usually they have crazy items in the window that make me stop to look when ever I pass by. This time it was a bunch of stuffed steaks and ham bones in the window hanging off string much like you would see in a butcher shop. Yes, stuffed, like in "stuffed" animals.

Lydia is one of those friends known for her knowledge and appreciation of meat, a meat connoisseur if you will. From bacon to steak to rabbit and lamb. If you have a question about meat, from purchasing, cooking to storage, you go to her. I don't think I've ever met anyone that liked bacon so much. I like bacon but on the Lydia loving bacon scale I probably only rate a 5, maybe a 6.

It's because of her love for meat that this stuffed ham bone seemed like a good purchase. So that's what I did, then bused it out to Hamilton to deliver it.

Lydia's ham reaction.

Melanie becomes victim of the ham.

Appreciating the ham.

It's the reaction as seen in the photos above that make the trip and the purchase worth while.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Jeff's weird chicken

Mutant on the barbecue?

This blog entry exists for only one purpose... to show you this mutant chicken on the barbecue. I was over talking to the neighbours, Jeff and Heather, and looked over at what was cooking. Jeff insisted I take a photo of this. So I did.

While it kind of looks like a mutant frog, It's actually a regular chicken, just sliced in a non-traditional way. At least non-traditional for me and the neighbours.

It smelled pretty yummy.

Steve and the Revolution

Steve (that tiny person in the background) uses his revolution to pick up a stuffed bear

This blog entry is dedicated to my friend who stays indoors and complains that nothing happens in his life.

It was one of those slow days where I found myself with an abundance of chores to do and no energy to do them. In other words I was bored. Chores? ugh. No, today I needed to do something else. After all, living the photographer's life is not all non-stop partying and fun, fun, fun. There's the reality of sifting through photos and doing the odd color correction, labelling, and renaming for delivery. That can be monotonous. Really monotonous.

I forced myself to get out of the house, go outside, go anywhere. The logic being that nothing really happens to you if you stay indoors. For me the highlight of staying indoors might be to watch a movie or TV show on DVD, socialize on facebook or get a flyer in the mail that's interesting. That's about it. Sure there's the whole cooking thing but sometimes you just need to be active not being active.

I ended up at the beach. There's one about a half hour walk from my apartment. Convenient to say the least. Nothing really interesting happened. That's the chance you take when you go outside. There were no beach parties, cute girls walking their dogs or rollerblading, large fires spewing from barbeques, birds attacking joggers, none of that. Then again maybe there was but I wasn't looking for anything specific. I wasn't looking for anything really at all other than to get outside and get some fresh air. I seem to remember seeing people being dragged across the water by large kites. They were on wake boards (like a skate board minus the wheels).

On my way back that I noticed a stuffed toy bear floating in the sky. It hovered slightly then came down to float in front of a baby carriage. Hey, something interesting that I wouldn't have noticed had I stayed at home indoors. It does happen from time to time, something interesting that is. The odds go up if I'm actually with other people or around other people.

The bear was hooked to a kite (see above). I looked over down the beach at the kite's owner and went over to talk to him. It turns out Steve, the kite flyer, had gotten off work early and came out to fly his kite (the revolution) just for the fun of it. He told me that it was painted by his wife. I took a second look and noticed the artwork. "Very nice", I said.

A plastic hook was attached to the bear so Steve could pick it off the ground with the kite by flying the kite just slightly over the bear's head and snapping it up with the kite string. He would then wait for kids to run by the board walk then dive bomb the bear in front of them. They would stop with wonder and stare at it, smiling, laughing.

Even adults would be entertained by this bear long enough to stop a few seconds before moving on. It's not something you see everyday after all.

After talking for about half an hour, I took some photos, promised to email Steve some of them and went home. That's it. Nothing crazy but in the end fun and different. No naked people, no crazy parties, nothing planned. It turned out to be a good day thanks to one guy, his kite and his bear.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Murder, suicide and hot dogs on fire

Sista Fista #54U Death Track Dolls

Part two of the Death Track Dolls photo shoot was today. The theme, death. Yes, pretty morbid. Not a photo shoot that comes along everyday (at least not for me). When the gig presented itself creative flags started popping up. It would be an interesting shoot at the very least.

Turns out the shoot was quite fun. Each girl had a "death" concept ranging from being quartered, to asphyxiation to getting stabbed with a beer bottle. After hearing the way they want to "go", we would set up the lights and shoot it. The average time being about 15 minutes each. Not really a lot of time , as I would think later "Oooh, I should have done that" or "If only we had that prop". But overall I think we walked away with some pretty cool stuff and ideas.

One of my favourite photos taken was that of Monochrome (That's her derby name) getting run over by a truck. There was a truck outside (parked) and we just took a photo of her lying on the ground behind the truck (with eerie lighting to enhance the mood). Later on, someone in photoshop (maybe me) will add the blood tracks to the tires. The shoot was simple but sometimes simple gives the best results.

Fear runs rampant