Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
December 9, eviction day for Occupy Calgary protesters. The tents were gone, but in their place was a statue entitled "Heart of the Beast."
Here is an excerpt from the media release that demonstrators were passing around:
"In the space where our community once stood, we leave a physical monument "The Heart of the Beast" to all the human suffering in the world, past and present, and to our desire to overcome. Embodied within this monument are the convictions and determination of all those who continue to seek and have sought out, throughout history, humanity's noble course. We humbly request that it be seen as a permanent reminder to all people who visit Olympic Plaza of all the voices throughout history that have been silenced."
A court order demanded Occupy Calgary protesters remove their tents by 2:00 pm today (December 9) or face charges of contempt of court. Occupy Calgary tents were removed during the night. Dawn found the tents replaced by dozens of signs and a handful of demonstrators.
At two o-clock -- the time the courts gave Occupy Calgary to vacate Olympic Plaza -- Occupiers were without tents (having taken them down in the night), but not without conviction. Sarah holds a bag of symbolic ashes representing Native people who have died in Canada.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
The squirrel's chattering caught my attention, otherwise I would have walked past them and not noticed. Initially, the cat was looking at the squirrel. Then they both stopped what they were doing and stared at me. It was like I'd interrupted an important conversation or something and they were waiting for me to leave.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Except for a few boxes I'm trying to ignore, the moving is over. I'm ignoring them, because I don't know where I'm going to put the contents yet and I don't want to know what's in them.
So many boxes.
The late George C was right. I have way too much stuff.
One of the motivations to moving to this new place was the large storage closet that will hide my stuff.
It begs the question. Do we collect stuff to fill a void, an emptiness? Spiritual pondering is not my thing. My minute attention span just can't focus long enough to come to any kind of conclusion.
I like to think my stuff -- the music, the books, the movies -- keep me amused. Especially in winter when the temperature screams, "You've got to be crazy to go outside!"
Like this past weekend where I had the heat cranked up enough for Kit to feel toasty.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Only a few more days to go before the big move. Kitlin seems to be having fun climbing on and crawling in the packing boxes. At the same time I'm sure she senses my stress. She keeps giving me her best pretty kitty pose, which distracts me into taking her picture.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Another big event last Saturday (October 15) was the annual Zombie Walk. This is the third walk that I've photographed, but I think there's been five or more. Always a blast.
At one point I climbed onto a bandstand to get shots of the zombies parading by. A bunch of them pretended to climb up to get me. I'm quick shot shooting at them with my DSLRs yelling, "There's too many of them! There's too many of them!" It was wild.
Occupy Calgary, a take-off of Occupy Wall Street in New York, was one of the major events happening last Saturday (October 15th). The other event being the annual Zombie Walk.
Depending on who you spoke to (or which conversation was overheard) the people in front of Bankers Hall were protesting against big banks, big companies, inequality, homelessness, lack of funding for schools, and lack of democracy. When the zombies walked past one fellow holding up a sign twice his height was yelling, "Just because you can vote doesn't mean we live in a democracy!" Umm... zombies?
There was a ton of media and photographers there to capture the event. An overheard conversation between two videographers had one speculating that there were probably 300 people in attendance. I asked them how many they figured there would be if all the photographers left.
I missed the march from Bankers Hall to Olympic Plaza (I was following zombies), where a small tent hamlet was pitched. The camp was still there today.
This afternoon I took photos of the camp just after lunch and then again just before a late afternoon General Assembly (GA). Maybe a couple dozen people showed up for the GA. I read the posters pinned to the ground and observed the general goings on. A reporter from CTV was there to cover something, anything, but the designated facilitators were fifteen minutes late for their own GA.
My feeling about the whole Occupy Calgary event is that it lacks credibility. There were idealist university graduates wanting to change the world into a better place. As if wiser people haven't been trying for centuries. Then there were young people basking in the narcissistic glow of being seen to take a stand on a serious issue, while looking cool at the same time. Impoverished, insane, and unwashed hoards shouted out their entitlement to riches. What would they do with their handed down wealth? What have they ever done with money? In drum circle harmony were people promoting love and peace over money. They all agreed that governments and greedy companies were evil, but I heard a few sour notes in the ranks. For instance, the overheard catty remarks between a couple of women who had a difference of opinion.
It could be a lack of strong leadership or it could just be there are too many issues to fit under one umbrella, but Occupy anything doesn't seem like an efficient way to change an ancient system that favors the wealthy and powerful.
There will always be wealthy. There will always be poor demanding what the wealthy have. My support is for the individuals who work quietly, one selfless act at a time, to change their small space in the world for the better.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
The Family of Man statues have been yarn bombed again. One winter it was rainbow colored leg warmers. Today, it's a white burka with matching rainbow mitt and cap created by fiber artist Suzen Green. Called "The Come From Away, " it's part of the Artcity Festival happening this week.
I've seen yarn bombings on smaller scales around downtown, but this is huge. There seems to be a movement of fiber artists keeping the city's park benches and statues colorfully warm.
This Flickr Yarn Bombings set shows some of the fiber art I've discovered.
The Come From Away
Family of Man Gets Yarn Bombed
Calgary's Knit in Public Day and the Art of Yarn Bombing
Monday, September 5, 2011
The 2011 Pride Calgary parade and party was huge this year! Everyone and their dog was there.
Mayor Nenshi marshaled the parade and gave a speech at the beginning of the party, held this year at Shaw Millennium Park. Heck, the fact that he is the only mayor in Calgary's history to actually even attend a Pride function might have something to do with the size of the crowd. But not necessarily.
Mayor Nenshi wasn't the only politician to attend the parade. Dr. David Swann, current leader of the provincial Liberal party walked, as he has done in past parades. Now that Pride is so huge, it has prompted other policitians to join in the parade. Kent Hehr, another everywhere-man and MLA for the Calgary Buffalo constituency was glad-handing. His father, a longtime member of the Kerby Choir, showed his support by doing is famous Elvis impression. Dr. Raj Sherman, a legislative Independent and incumbent for the provincial Liberal leadership election was also there.
If anything, Pride is not just about sexual preferences. Pride also about the freedom to love and treating people equally. I loved Mayor Nenshi's shirt (on so many levels) which read "Straight Not Narrow." Also, my thanks to the hostess who gave a long list describing the types of people attending; gay, lesbian, transgender, two spirited, social activists. She gave be a label (besides photographer) that I could claim as my own, "ally." Anything that brings peace, positivity, and makes this world a little better place to live in... I'm all for.
I've been to three Pride parades and parties and they have gotten bigger each year. It's a movement. It's a celebration. It's amazing.
An interesting side note... just discovered that Freddy Mercury, lead singer and driving force for the rock band Queen, would've been 65 today. Happy Birthday, Freddy!
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
India Fest samosa eating contest. Contestants had to either eat 10 samosas, or as many samosas as they could, in 10 minutes. The guy in the striped shirt managed 10 in 9 minutes. One of the last of the summer festivals, on a hot summer Sunday.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Also this weekend was the annual Bow River Flow, not to be confused with the masses involved in a Bow River float (of which there seemed to be hundreds). This event gets better every year. I managed to capture a social media pre-planned battle of silliness between inflatable hammers and swords.
Calgary's first ever People's Poetry Festival took place this weekend in Kensington. People were encouraged to create haikus, build visual art poetry, judge various poems, and listen to the local wordsmiths near the Plaza Theatre. I had a listen to some of the poets on Sunday, including the coolest guy in Calgary... Wakefield Brewster.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Participating in a demonstration is another great way to spend a hot Saturday afternoon. This was Calgary's first ever Slut Walk, held Saturday, August 20. The well attended protest against archaic attitudes towards victims of sexual violence started off around noon with a rally at Eau Claire Market. It was followed by a short walk through Prince's Island Park.
With a media pass on wrist, thanks to Len Chan, Calgary's long time cultural events photographer, I was able to take in and photograph the Calgary International Reggae Festival concerts held Saturday, August 20th.
The Calgary International Reggae Festival is an annual event held in downtown Calgary's Shaw Millennium Park. This year the festival ran from August 18th to 20th with musicians from all over the world, plus vendors and local organizations displaying their wares.
The biggest draw were the evening performers, especially Freddie McGregor.
It was one great way to spend a hot summer afternoon. This lovely lady was hand dancing in the shade of the sound tent. It was a quick shot, snatched as I was coming around the front of the tent. I don't know if she knew I photographed her.
Friday, August 12, 2011
So it's my day off work and I'm sitting on my balcony, sipping tea, and playing with the Kit. Suddenly, we hear a loud crash.
Kit jumps into the apartment and I look over the railing to see this truck hauling a trailer that is suddenly leaning slightly to one side, like it has a flat tire.
Next thing I see is four people jump out of the truck to tend to the trailer which has half of the back door open. When they couldn't tie the door closed they backed this horse in and out. Took them several tries and almost half an hour.
It's never boring in my neighborhood.
Friday, August 5, 2011
To celebrate completing SAIT's Fast Track Photography Certificate program this afternoon I cycled to Edworthy Park. It was a spur of the moment decision.
Around noon, I decided I was less than inspired to print off photos. After two days of printing, there wasn't a whole lot left I wanted to do.
On the way home I was thinking of how I hadn't been to Edworthy Park in ages. Afraid that once I got home I'd get too comfortable to go back out, I turned my bike around and headed for the river pathways.
It was worth leaving class early for.
All the rain has made the park forests lush with plants and flowers I can't identify. Sweet bird song followed me. I made my destination a tasty veggie burger at Angel's Cafe and then decided to walk back along the Edworthy bikepath. On the the walk back is when I saw the most amazing thing.
Dozens of large dragon flies were buzzing around the area like mini-helicopters. I'd never seen so many in one place before. I wanted to stop the people whizzing past me... look up... isn't it amazing... but they would've probably thought I was a lunatic. All I had was my little PowerShot, so there was no way I was going to be able to capture a dragonfly in flight. Even a big one.
Then again maybe some things, like dragonflies and lightening storms, should be left to the realm of magic... to enjoy for a moment without being captured. Not everything needs to be photographed.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Well I survived my first and last rodeo. Actually, I only stayed for less than an hour, I think. It's not just that I don't get a thrill out of spurring an animal to buck, I'm just not a sports person, period.
So, I wandered around the grounds looking for people shots. It was late in the day when I shot this, my favorite photo of the day.
My favorite part of Stampede is watching the competitive dancers in the Indian Village. This elder was one of the judges, I think. The dances commenced at his command. I'm sure he knew I was shooting him. Later he struck a whimsically thoughtful pose.
The lighting situation was a bit tricky. It was later in the afternoon, around 6:00ish, and I had to work around bright sunlight and dark shadows. I used spot metering throughout, but alternated between using the Canon 50D (for this distance shot) and the Pentax K-5 (with a 50mm lens) for closer shots.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Can't sleep. I had a look at the CPRA rodeo rules so that I would know what to watch out for in terms of getting a great shot today.
Then I remembered, even though I am a born and raised Calgarian there's a reason that I've never wanted to see a rodeo. No wonder animal activists get uptight. It's going to be tough for me to photograph this action without cringing or wanting to close my eyes.
I'm more of a Cowboy Up Challenge fan. It's a kinder, gentler rodeo with not a bad winning purse. The audience sees samples of the cowboy lifestyle and lively competition with minimal animal cruelty.
Even watching the Calgary Stampede Rodeo 101 videos didn't help. Could be what's contributing to my insomnia.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Having an awesome time in the SAIT photography program... wish you all were here. The lectures are great, especially the personal side tips that are thrown in, and the assignments are amazing.
So far, we've completed the Basic and Intermediate classes, and two thirds of the Photoshop for Photographers class. This morning we started the Sports Photography class. Tomorrow we shoot the Stampede rodeo... yahoo!
In the spirit of sharing knowledge here are web site links for four out of five of the amazing instructors teaching this summer's fast track program and their classes. (Stephan Jarche teaches the Intermediate Photography class, but does not have a web site.)
* George Webber (Basic Photography)
* Anthony Neilson (Photoshop for Photographers, and Digital Darkroom)
* Dr. Rob Berdan (Sports, and Scenic & Wildlife Photography)
* Patrick Kornak (Studio Portrait Lighting, and Wedding Photography)
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The Super Dogs are always fun to watch and photograph. Unfortunately, they're not in the Corral any more, and you have to stand in line a long time before you can see them.
My friend and I risked visiting the grounds on Family Fun Day. We tried to see the 12:00 showing of the dogs, but wound up standing in line for an hour to get tickets for the 2:30 show. The usher suggested we come back at 2:00 to get a seat.
We joined the line, which wound past the Big 4 Building into the midway, around 1:30. Basically we stood in line for two hours for a 45 minute show. Crazy.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Well, I've finished the first of eight classes of the SAIT Photography Certificate Program. Today I did the final for Basic Photography 200 taught by George Webber, got 90% on the final, and some nice comments about my photos -- including some class "awwws" for Kitlin's portrait.
Tomorrow, I start Photoshop for Photographers with Anthony Neilson. Mr. Webber warned us that he is a fast pace instructor. I hope I can keep up. Last time I took a PhotoShop course it was at Mount Royal and the computer and my camera wouldn't talk to each other. I was a tad behind throughout most of the class. Here's hoping that the same thing doesn't happen tomorrow.
* SAIT assignments posted on Flickr.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Millarville Canada Day Races 2011 - true north strong, a photo by Wanderfull1 on Flickr.
As per tradition, Canada Day was spent with friends at the Millarville horse races. This was the 106th running of the races. In perspective, the Calgary Stampede celebrates its 100th anniversary next year.
Every year on Canada Day, Millarville has horse races, kid foot races, locally made food, crafty vendors and lots of people. This year was really special. I had a blast shooting candid shots of people and I made a little money.
Although, I'm still trying to figure out stuff on my Pentax, I was able to take a few good candid shots of bystanders, as well as participants. I took this shot of kids racing while we were having our picnic in the infield. Capturing the racing horses was a bit trickier. Mostly it was trying to get them in focus. The Pentax has a 50-200 mm lens and quite often I was wishing I could get a wider angle like the Canon 50D, which has a 18-200mm lens. I figured the extreme dust would not be a good thing for the Canon, though, so took the weatherproof Pentax instead. Looks like I might be searching for another Pentax lens.
I've never bet on the horses before, so my friend's husband set me up. I picked the horse, gave him $2 and he did the rest. I won $12 and change. Very cool.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Aside from shooting performers, I love doing street photography for so many reasons. There's the adrenaline rush of trying to capture an un-posed, authentic moment without being spotted by my subject. There's the thinking of nothing but what I see around me that totally takes me outside of myself. There's the capturing a moment that may never be seen again. It's all cool.
Here are some amazing street photography web sites that were recently posted to the Downtown Calgary Flickr group discussion:
* The Living Breathing Street
* Street Photography for the Purist
* Bruce Gilden’s In-Your-Face Street Photography - an interview video of a really obnoxious "in your face" photographer.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Con Slobodchikoff, a biologist who has been studying the American prairie dog since 1959, speculates that prairie dogs barking at each other across open fields are gossiping. Slobodchikoff was able to identify nine words used in non-random ways. That is to say, some words would appear at the beginning of conversational sentences, others in the middle, and still others at the end of sentences – similar to Mandarin Chinese where the word "ma" at the end of a sentence signifies a question. Anyone familiar with prairie dogs has seen them chirp and whistle danger warnings, but Slobodchikoff discovered that they also describe in detail the nature of that danger. When various researchers wandered near a prairie dog community, not only did the sentry bark the alarm call for a human intruder, their call also described who the intruder was based on the colors of the shirts they were wearing. Phoneme patterns allowed Slobodchikoff to identify the part of the alarm call that coded for the shirt color. He also discovered that the same barks occurred in various prairie dog communities throughout the United States, but with slight variances in dialect.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Blackfoot Crossing 2011 - Treaty 7 monument, a photo by Wanderfull1 on Flickr.
Yesterday my friend and I did a road trip to the Blackfoot Crossing Heritage Museum, just east of Gleichen, AB. While you cannot take photos inside the museum, there were ample photo ops outside, including a memorial to the signing of Treaty 7 and the Crowfoot Cemetery.
During the trip we saw new lakes formed from the massive amount of rain that hit us this June. Last I heard we've only had 6 dry days this month. The mosquitoes love it.
At the crossing, my friend and I tried walking to the Bow River which flows just below the museum, but got only as far as a swamped playground where we were swarmed by over-sized, overzealous, bombadeering mosquitoes. On the way back to the museum I wondered if staff were laying bets on how close we'd actually get to the river.
My job is the best when they pay me to do something I love... like taking photos of zombies and other costumers in front of the Calgary Public Library table at the Comic & Entertainment Expo, last Sunday.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
|Today we had a break in a week's worth of rain. I spent it exploring the Reader Rock Garden with a nice bunch of people from the Calgary Flickrmeets. This was my favorite of my shots of the day.|
The sun was bright and I did my usual spot metering, then stopped down a bit until only the flowers and the leaves were visible. It kind of reminds me of a Japanese embroidery on black velvet.
This was my first visit to the garden and I'm thinking it would be worth going back later in the summer and then in the fall to see what's growing.
There is a colony of gophers living in the park next to the Workers Compensation Board building. They are a joy to watch (and photograph) at the end of the day.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Using a time travelling tabo (the blue pot), the audience experienced historical Filipino and modern (well 1980s) courtship dances and rituals. Not sure what a tabo is, but every time it was mentioned someone said, "What do you need that for? We're in Canada. We have running water."
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Men in bright blue tunics shouted, cheered and danced around a single drummer. Lovely ladies in their colorful traditional dresses danced arms raised just outside the circle of men. This groom and a little boy sat patiently on a sleepy-eyed white horse, just outside the dancing circle.
There were lots and lots of photographers there to document the event. The professional photographer and his assistants were there, of course, with their mono-pods and zoom lenses, but it seemed as though everyone attending the wedding party had a camera, as well.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
- what will I need it for (how will I use it),
- how much money to spend,
- what my photographic goals are (future aspirations), and
- what kinds of accessories (lenses) could I buy
Then there's how it feels in your hand. Is it heavy and cumbersome or light and easy to figure out?
Here are some camera reviews that I found useful and kept as bookmarks:
Digital SLR Camera Guides for Beginners -- Low tech, high information reviews for beginner digital photographers.
C/NET Reviews -- Reviews by camera price, brand, and more. Plus under the "Find a Camera" links are everything you need to know (or didn't know you needed to know) about digital cameras.
ConsumerSearch DSLR Camera Reviews -- ConsumerSearch lists the top 3 best reviewed cameras, but it also has information on what to look for in a camera.
Digital Camera Info -- I like this one because it categorizes cameras by how you would use them.
DPReview Side-by-side Camera Comparison - you pick the cameras you want to compare.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
There's an election? This is the only politician and campaign sign I've seen in my neighborhood. I took several photos, but liked this one best. The passing pedestrian pretty much sums up the general indifference the public feels towards this election.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
This Calgary Transit bus was stuck across three lanes at the top of Centre Street Bridge. Usually when it snows heavily it's the long accordion buses that have trouble getting up Centre Street hill. I spotted this as I was walking to work.
Despite the fact I've lived in Calgary my entire life, I doubt I will ever get used to winter lasting seven months of the year. Please, please, please nature gods, let this be the last of it.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Last Sunday night I attended the Multicultural Gala put on by the India Canada Association of Calgary (INCA) and the Southern Alberta Heritage Language Association. I was fortunate to have a friend get me a media pass and full access to the Jack Singer Concert Hall , so of course I took a ton of photos. It was a blast!
The performances were stunning and the audience was very lively with cheering, shouting comments and applause. Mayor Nenshi gave a short speech and then handed out INCA Awards of excellence.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
People often tell me they think I'm creative, then they claim that they are not. Ever watch toddlers play? (Before they are introduced to electronic games.) I believe everybody is creative and has something to say, it's just been programmed out of us by parents, peers, life. I like Canadian photographer Freeman Patterson’s comment “nobody can survive for less than a minute without using imagination.”
Trolling through Google I found some web sites that I hope help spark the creative instinct. I threw in the right brain/left brain test just for fun. Don't believe it if it says you're not creative. You just have a lot more deprogramming to do.
9 Attitudes of Highly Creative People – Darren Rowse.
Photo of the Day to Increase Photography Creativity – Loreen Liberty
Creative Composition in Digital Photography – Wayne Turner
Right Brain / Left Brain Creativity Test - Art Institute
Sunday, February 27, 2011
- Government of Alberta: Service Alberta - Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
- Ambient Light: What Can I Photograph (Ontario laws)
Friday, February 25, 2011
The following is a super simple demonstration of how aperture works and how to create depth of field in your photos. If you want a little more detailed information I’d recommend reading “Aperture – Everything you wanted to know but thought it was uncool to ask” by idigitalphoto.com.
For this experiment you will need:
- a digital camera that has an aperture priority setting (either AV or A) If you are unsure about where to find the aperture priority setting, refer to the manual that came with your camera.
- a standard 50 mm lens (works best, but any lens you have will do)
- a bright, consistant light source
- 3 objects
First, I’ll cover some basic terminology and then get into some easy step-by-step experiments that you can do anywhere.
What is Aperture?
Aperture is the lens shutter that opens and closes allowing a certain amount of light to reach the sensor of a digital camera or, in the case of an analog camera, the film.
The amount that an aperture opens is the aperture size and is measured in “f-stops.” F-stops can range in size from f/1.4 to f/36. A lens with an extremely low f-stop number (like 1.4) is considered a fast lens. There is a technical mathematical reason for this. Unfortunately, because I am numerically challenged I choose to remember that the lower the f-stop number the faster the shutter speed I’m able to use. Most cameras will default to the lowest f-stop when set to Program or Automatic.
How does Aperture work?
Camera apertures and eyes work similarly. It’s all about letting in light. In bright light pupils are smaller to allow in only the enough amount of light needed to see everything. A photographer will use the smallest aperture on their camera to get everything they can in focus.
In darkness pupils grow large to let in as much light as possible. Pupils also grow larger with excitement, allowing the brain to selectively focus. Ever noticed a cat’s crazy eyes when she’s about to pounce on a target? A photographer can use a wide aperture to selectively focus on their subject, as well.
What is Depth of Field?
When aperture settings are used to selectively focus on a subject in such a way that the area surrounding the main subject is out of focus, this is called creating "depth of field." The lower the aperture used, the more area is out of focus, the greater the depth of field.
The following experiments will illustrate what happens when you change aperture f-stops.
First, let’s set up:
- Set your camera to Aperture priority – AV or A. The camera should automatically select the proper ISO and shutter speeds.
- Set up your three objects so that they are about five inches away from each other in a row, one behind the other, but all still visible through your camera’s viewfinder. (Distance apart will depend also on the size of the objects. Larger objects should be placed further away from each other for this experiment to work.)
Question: What happens when you focus on a foreground object and change the f-stop settings?
- Focus on the first object.
- Set your aperture to the lowest f-stop available for your lens.
- Snap the photo then look at what you shot.
- What do you see? What happened to the other objects? What shutter speed did your camera choose?
- Reset your aperture to f 5.
- Snap the photo then look at what you shot.
- What do you see? What happened to the other objects? Did the shutter speed change?
- Reset your aperture to the highest aperture setting on your camera.
- Snap the photo then look at what you shot.
- What do you see? What happened to the other objects? Did the shutter speed and ISO change?
Question: What happens when you focus on a middle object and change the f-stop settings?
- Focus on the second object.
- Repeat steps from Experiment 1.
Question: What happens when focused on a far object and change the f-stop settings?
- Focus on the third object.
- Repeat steps from Experiment 1.