Thursday, August 28, 2014


On one of my Facebook groups someone posted that Calgarians are no longer friendly.  The other day I met a friend for lunch in Inglewood.  As I was sitting on the park bench in front of the Inglewood burger place, I had all kinds of strangers smiling at me, saying "hi", and wishing me a good day.  A woman cycling south on 12th street smiled at me and nodded hello. My point... there are lots of nice people in Calgary.  They seem to appear when you least expect it.

After lunch my friend and I strolled the shops and ended at one of my most favorite places in the world; Recordland.

In the amazing maze of floor to ceiling CDs I stumbled upon the room where 45rpm records are stored.  I was in awe.  Not just for the number of records, but because to me it was a room of beauty.  I had to take a few photos.  Later, during editing, I thought I'd try stitching them together in Photoshop.  Awe revisited. : )

  • New Owners at Recordland - CBC EyeOpener - Note: even though the sons now own Recordland, the old guy is still on his stool behind the counter chatting with customers.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Carifest & Protests

The Synchronicity gods were smiling on me yesterday.  They bumped the beginning of the Carifest Parade to 11:00 a.m. which gave me an hour to chase the parade from Olympic Plaza to 4th Street (about 6 blocks), snapping merrily the whole way and then 1/2 hour to get to work.  

Bumped into my friend, Len, who is a regular sight at any multicultural event. Groups who organize festivals or multicultural events know Len Chan.  He has gotten me free media passes to a few events that I would have had to pay.  In return I share whatever I shoot with the organizers of the festivals. Win, win.  Sometimes I even get fed.

It was uncertain whether I'd be able to do any shooting for this year's Carifest due to organizers deciding to move it from June to August to avoid the rains (and on a day that I was scheduled to work).  There are pretty elaborate costumes in the parade that cost hundreds of dollars to build and don't do well in rain.  Yesterday's forecast? Rain! Luckily, while it was overcast and chilly it didn't rain.

In a previous blog entry I fussed about not being able to shoot the Parade or Sunshine Festival because of work.  But it all turned out okay.  I took an hour's worth of photos, went to work, then took another hour's worth of photos at the end of the day at the Sunshine Festival. 

Every year I send my photos to the Carifest organizers and the past two years they have used one of my photos for their posters, advertising, and banners.  There was a bit of weirdness during the parade yesterday when I caught myself watching the participants for the next poster moment.  At first my timing was off (I have a lot of dud photos) until I realized what I was doing and decided to just go with the flow.

Actually, it turned into a twofer day. On the way to work I bumped into a small group of activists rallying in front of City Hall in support of Ferguson, Missouri protesters. Recently a young black man, Mike Brown, was shot six times by a white police officer. Witnesses say there was no provocation and three forensics autopsy reports found that the 18 year old had his hands up in surrender. Grant Neufeld, local everywhere activist, was happy to see me and I took as many photos as I could before rushing to work. 

While I can see the activists' point, the racism at home needs to be addressed much more urgently.  Just a few days ago a missing teenage First Nations girl, Tina Fontaine, was found murdered.  She was not the first. According to CBC News: 
"In May, the RCMP issued a detailed statistical breakdown of 1,181 cases since 1980. It said aboriginal women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, but account for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women."
Many First Nations people have called for a national inquiry.  Prime Minister Harper doesn't see a need, calling them murders crimes and not racially motivated.  

You have to wonder if there's something to hide. Something to rally against like the protesters in Missouri.

So, Saturday was a day mixed with joy and protest and synchronicity.

Here are some of the photos of the day.

This guy wasn't actually part of the parade.  Judging by his t-shirt, I think he was doing a charity marathon on his monster unicycle.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Freebee video editing

Event Photography

The Calgary Public Library has asked me to do a presentation on event photography in October (Saturday, 10:00 am, October 18 to be exact). I thought it would be cool to start the presentation with a quick video, just to get everyone's attention.

So, I put together a mini video using a freebee vid website called Animoto. It was super easy to do and came with a huge selection of copyright free music to use. The hardest part was picking the photos because the freebee account only allows 30 seconds worth of video time.

I could even post it to Twitter and YouTube, but the photo quality seems a bit soft:

This was my first try, but it was so easy I'm thinking of making more theme videos, like photos of  "Musicians" or "Activists."  Or... oh! Raging Grannies!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Photography vs the day job

On my way to spend Sunday with a friend, I spotted this ad in a copy of a Calgary Sun newspaper left behind on the bus; another one of my photos on a Carifest poster.  

Here's the Flickr version:

Carifest 2013 - smile

This is the Carifest 2013 poster, where they used a photo I took during the parade the year before.

The Flickr version:

Carifest 2012 - Parade

No, I didn't get paid money and since I have a day job getting paid doesn't matter. The warm tummy tingly of having my photos used for posters and in advertising is nice. There's also the love of taking photos of joy and fun.  Since warm tummy tinglies are few and far between they have been payment enough.

However, more and more I'm finding myself pulled between my day job and taking event photos. I work every other Saturday. An ache develops when something I want to photograph is over-ruled by work. Usually responsibility picks paycheck over the love of photography. There's also the reality that Kit and I would probably be starving and homeless if I relied on my own business sense for a living.

It should be a no-brainer.  

Recently a friend's grandfather passed away.  Even at 92 years the grandfather said, "There's never enough time."  Which begs the question... what do you want to fill that time up with?

Is it about finding a balance?

Still, the conundrum.

This year, the Carifest has been rescheduled for the end of August in the hopes that the weather will be better than the monsoon month of June. The change puts the parade and Sunshine Festival on a Saturday I am already scheduled to work.

Because Carifest is so much fun to shoot and the Carifest people like my photos enough to use them for ads, my first thought was to find someone at work to swap my Saturday with.  Or take that day as a vacation day (without pay).

A lot of photographers shoot the parade and Sunshine Festival.  It's not like the Carifest people need me to be there. [sigh]  Then again, do they really need me at work? [double sigh]

What to do.

Being the responsible person that I am, I will probably work and then go the Sunshine Festival afterwards.  Will really really miss the parade, though.