Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014 - smiley Library staff

I really love my job when they ask me to take photos. It's like getting paid to do something I love to do for free.

This is Shai, one of my co-workers from 5th floor, at today's Chinese New Year celebration. Held at the Chinese Cultural Centre, there were so many people. When I arrived for my shift around 1:00 Security was only letting performers or table reps in. I guess on Saturday the Fire Marshall deemed the size of the crowds unsafe. As it was, it took me a while to actually find our table.


* Chinese New Year 2014 - Flickr photos

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CrowdMedia Invite

This morning I opened the following Flickr email. BTW, I said "YES."

Hi Wanderfull,

You take amazing photos and I'd love to add some of your Flickr photos to CrowdMedia's collection, with attribution to you of course.

CrowdMedia is a new place where photographers like you reveal how they see our world and get their photos discovered by photo lovers and publishers.

If you agree, all you have to do is answer Yes.

I will send you your photos’ link in when it is done.


Martin Roldan


Monday, January 20, 2014

Neil Young Concert Demonstration - "Because you were first..."

The Idle No More Calgary movement staged a round dance at tonight's Neil Young Honour the Treaties tour concert. There has been much discussion about Neil's opinion of Alberta oil sands. Proceeds from the Honor the Treaties tour go towards legal fees for First Nations lawsuit against oil sands development.

Because he was the first to arrive at the round dance demonstration, this fellow (who is a regular sight at protests -- usually voicing contrary opinions) was interviewed by a local television station. As far as I could tell from listening to him, he had no knowledge of what the round dance demonstration was really about. I heard him shouting about First Nation reservation corruption, and Neil Young needing oil for his vehicle (this guy actually had a bottle of motor oil on hand). His posturing was reduced somewhat when a fellow from the area affected by the oil sands told water contamination stories.

The media were on hand, but seemed a bit confused that the round dance demonstrators were not there at 6:30 p.m. sharp, as per notifications.  Some stayed just long enough to interview the contra-protestors.  Note to media:  activists in Calgary rarely start demonstrations on time.  Besides, many of the activists were taking part in a related program at the Central Library's John Dutton Theatre.

Maybe that's why the pro-oil sands demonstrators seemed to get so much attention -- even after the activists arrived.  Or maybe it's because it's good business to give pro-oil sands coverage over First Nation concerns.  All I know, as a photographer piggy-backing on the videographers camera light, they seemed to linger the most on pro-oil sands people.  The apparent one-sided (or minimalistic) coverage is why I feel compelled to photograph activist activities in Calgary.

Although my Pentax K-5 was able to catch much of the action, the extreme ISO automatically chosen by the camera also gave extreme noise.  Some of it I cleaned up with Photoshop, but I'm thinking photos properly lit (especially these night time demonstrations) would turn out way better.  (The Camera Store has a LitePanel Micropro that looks interesting.)

Here's what I took using just the light that was available.


Friday, January 10, 2014

2013 Review

Calgary New Years Eve 2012 - protestorExposure 2013_IMG5751-169th Street LRT - end of the lineExposure Ex 2013_IMG6072Idle No More - Candle Vigil
Idle No More - Candle Vigila good laugh1 Billion Rising 2013 - dancers1 Billion Rising 2013 - Amanda LindhoutNMC Ground-Breaker Shaker - High Kicks
NMC Ground-Breaker Shaker - High Kicks fanuntitledInternational Women's Day - 2013: marchingInternational Women's Day - 2013: raging grannies 2International Women's Day - 2013: women's rights, human rights 1International Women's Day - 2013: Shirley Hill, fancy shawl dancer
"Wanna see something cool," he said."Ahhhhh!"TMC 2013 - Out of the Blue RevueTMC 2013 - Out of the Blue RevueMulticultural Night 2013 - Hopak National Dance of UkraineMulticultural Night 2013 - Canadian Indonesian Social Club
2013 Review, a set on Flickr.
Usually looking back while walking forward makes you trip over your feet. But out of curiosity (what else) I thought I'd pull together 100 memorable photos from 2013 -- not necessarily the best -- just one's that trigger a memory.


* 2013 Review - Flickr set

Thursday, January 9, 2014

To Buy or Not to Buy...

To buy or not to buy... that is the question.  Whether 'tis nobler  to stay with the camera equipment I've got or go with reviews and forums and fellow photographers and by yielding to my desires reduce the cush in my financial cushion.

Pentax has a new camera out, if you didn't guess.  The Pentax K-3 has had rave reviews, some forum buzz, and garnered second place in The Camera Store's best category for  The Best and Worst Cameras of 2013.  TCS also did a field test of the K-3 in November and this little 24 megapixel wonder has haunted my wantings ever since.

So yesterday, I challenged my camera craving head-on.  I went to The Camera Store and spent some time with the very patient Pentax sales guy.


My biggest concern was what is missing in the K-3.  First, the K-3 has less creative filters than the K-5, but the ones I use the most (shading, base parameters, retro, pastel) are still there. Although, the shading filter is missing the two diagonal choices, unfortunately.  I guess I could live with that.  Accessibility to functions is still as easy as the K-5, even easier with some.  Also missing is ISO 80, but really, how often do I use that?


Did I mention 24 megapixels?  Cropping my photos is a (some photographers would say "nasty") habit that I can't shake and these lovely extra pixels would make the habit worse.  Also... faster frames per second, better RAW buffering, 27 Auto Focus points, and dual memory card slots.


Then there's the price.  At The Camera Store, which has the lowest prices anywhere, the K-3's body alone currently sells for $1239.87.  The Premium silver edition with battery grip sells for $1549.45.  If I stay off, don't go grocery shopping for a month, and don't leave my apartment except to go to work -- I might be able to bring my savings up to where I'm not having price anxiety.

Will I need to buy another camera bag?


Okay.  The K-3 is nice.  Very nice.  But I subscribe to the philosophy that if it isn't broken why replace it.  Aside from a broken flash button (which I hardly ever use), my K-5 still works fine. But then again, what if the K-3 becomes unavailable when I really need one.  Then again, Pentax has been talking about a full frame camera coming out soon (they've been saying that for years, though) that might be even better.

Then again... then again... argh!!

Yes, I want the K-3 even more now that I've actually touched it, played with it, and found that I have more to gain than lose.  But "want" is not the same as "need."

The conundrum continues.


Pentax K-3 Hands-On Field Test (+playlist)

The Best & Worst Cameras of 2013