Sunday, September 28, 2014

Something "uplifting"

Out of the blue some friends invited me out with them to the Friday night High River balloon glow.  I was planning on doing something local, but since I had a really bad day at work, I decided I needed to do something "uplifting." :)  I love synchronicity.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Taking Back the Night, Nuit Blanche, People's Climate March & a Tesla car

Another exhausting weekend jam packed with photo-ops.  Too tired to write a full blog, but here are links to the photos I uploaded to Flickr:

A cool thing I will add is this:

I never thought I'd ever see one of these.  It's a Tesla electric car and apparently there are 30 of them in Alberta.  There were four of them on Stephen Avenue today, along with a Porsche, a couple Nissans, and a truck; all electric displayed by the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta.

The Tesla motor is about the size of a big watermelon and sits behind the rear wheels. The battery was described as a "big skateboard" and is the base of the body. The body is made of aluminum. 

Depending on the power of the engine, a Tesla can cost up to $100,000. At one time that is how much a new digital DSLR camera cost.  I can wait for Tesla.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Stephen Avenue

The weirdest thing.  

On September 4th I posted this photo of Stephen Avenue on Flickr.  Last night I noticed the stats.  Even though this photo has been on Flickr only 10 days it has 10,305 views and 121 favs, making it the most popular photo on my Flickr page.  It was shared with only two Calgary Flickr groups.  

I stayed up way too late trying to figure out who the 10,305 viewers were, thinking maybe it was attached to somebody's blog. Never did figure it out. 

Blows me away.

I posted it to National Geographic's YourShot website and within two seconds I received 2 favs. Holy crow!  Just checked my inbox -- now there are 12 favorites, within 6 seconds.  What the heck?

Not bad for a photo taken through a dirty Plus-15 window with a little point and shoot (Canon PowerShot G15).  Although, the Nik photo editing might have helped, too. 

Still, I've never experienced any of my photos going viral, if that's what this is.  I'll have to watch how this plays out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September Snow Storm

A giant squirrel skittered across the outer wall of my apartment building and then landed with a thump.  That's what it sounded like when a huge branch of the city tree in front of our building fell early this morning. Ironic, actually. Our yard has an ancient mountain ash that the landlord has been concerned about falling on the roof of our building. If any branches came off it today, it would be because of the other tree pulling them down.  My first thought when I saw open sky was... I'll be able to grow more plants next summer.

I spent almost 20 minutes trying to contact 311 online about the tree. Initially, I tried phoning, but there was a major line up.  While I was waiting I saw a firetruck pull up, but they just removed a tree branch that was in the middle of the road.

So, this morning I skipped breakfast and my morning shower, and left half an hour earlier for work so I would have some time to take some photos.  Later, after work, I wandered through downtown, Prince's Island Park, and the west part of Crescent Heights.  Then I looped back through my neighborhood again.  Not only did I get some cool shots, but some interesting conversation, as well.

It was a little scary walking to work this morning.  This young couple narrowly missed getting hit by this branch.

This lady also felt lucky this morning.  As she was clearing the snow off her car's windshield, a tree branch dropped on a car parked just two cars away from hers. She stopped only for a moment and then continued to clear her car.

A CBC camera person was out and about gathering shots.  I saw her earlier in front of my apartment and then later again shooting a couple blocks over.  When I suggested to her that my street was way messier than what she was filming she said she had already been there and actually got some footage of tree branches falling.  I didn't mention the car that just got clubbed.

The weather didn't stop people from getting to work.  I even managed to make it to work on time.

The debris left after the storm had passed was amazing.  Spent the afternoon after work capturing as much as I could.  I think I wound up taking almost 800 photos in total throughout the day.

On the way home, one woman driving by stopped to tell me that she experienced the Pine Lake tornado, last summer's flood in Calgary, and now this.  "I think my post traumatic stress is coming back," she said.

Another woman, checking out the damages, said that she had just got power at her place. This was after 1:00 in the afternoon.  One cranky old lady gripped about everyone taking photos of the trees, as if this kind of devastation was no big deal and happened all the time in Calgary. 


This guy was momentarily interrupted by his neighbor from across the street asking if he wouldn't mind sawing up the trees in her yard.  He had asked the firefighters if they would be doing any clearing and was told that they were only taking care of anything blocking the road ways.  Turns out the woman is getting married this weekend... under the trees in her back yard.  Well, now a few less trees.  The guy said sure, he'd help her out.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pride, Cyclists, BBQ, Surfers, and a New Library

Another jam-packed week of photography and work gone by.  There was the Pride Parade and Festival, Ride the Road Tour, the unveiling of the new Central Library building designs, and a bunch of unexpected sights in between.  Next week should be quieter, I hope.

August ended with my most favorite festival to photograph, Pride.  This year's Pride Parade and Festival, held Sunday August 31st, seemed even bigger than most.  It was also more colorful and family oriented (with lots of kids and dogs in the parade).  It was also more fun, with the parade partakers doing their best to get the parade-watchers participating.  I even got lassoed.

There was lots of action during the Parade, so much so that you almost just had to point your camera anywhere and shoot.  I was focused on the woman in front, but love how I also caught the smiley guy waving the big Canadian Pride flag in the back.

While not a great shot, I include this one because of the hand edging towards the cop's firearm.  The things you don't see until you edit.

My favorite photo I took.  Then again I have a thing for really good looking firemen. Are there any other kind?  During fire alarms at work a colleague and I almost coin toss to see who will be the one to meet the cute fireman in the stairwell.

Arh!  Gotta love pirates.

Beautiful two spirit.

Even disabled puppies walked the Pride Parade.

This person was intent on lassoing me... and roped me good, too.

These two kids were great fun to photograph.  They had great poses and engaged with the parade walkers in great colorful fun.

I didn't stay long for the Pride Festival, maybe a couple hours.  It was hot and my style of chasing a parade to catch everything kind of tired me out.

On the way home I walked along the north bike path and caught a bunch of river surfers having fun with the waves near 10th Street Bridge.

This shot was chosen a PhotoRepublik Photo of the Day.

There was a small crowd watching along the shore.  Listening in I heard the following conversations.

"That looks dangerous."
"They could hit their heads on the rocks and die."
"You'd never get me to do that."

Which is why they were on the shore and not having fun surfing.

Further along I caught the tail end of the BBQ on the Bow event at Eau Claire Market.  I wanted to try some catfish from the Blues Can truck, but they were sold out.  Did see a really good blues band, though who were trying to get the lethargic audience dancing.  I guess food and footwork don't go together 'cause the dancing didn't happen.

On Monday I got the chance to shoot the Tour de Nuit Ride the Road event.  I got an email on Friday or Saturday as a reminder.  Which was a good thing, because when I email chatted with the promoter earlier in the year they said they were going to move the event from June to August.  I thought I had missed it because Carifest also moved their event from June to August.  After I agreed to shoot I had a "what the hell am I thinking" moment.  There are actually three rides involved with Ride the Road; a north spoke, a south spoke, and two main rides (one for kids).  I'd only been on my bike once all year.  This is gonna kill me, I thought, but I couldn't say no.  

For this one I took two small cameras; the Pentax Q and my old Canon Powershot G10 as a backup.  The Q was great for shots during the cycle from Tuxedo Sports to Stanley Park.  The camera was slung close to my chest and I shot left handed with a kind of thumb action.  I had no idea if any of it worked until editing time.

Finally, a big deal this week was the unveiling of the new Central Library.  Almost 1100 people turned out to a free ticket event at the TELUS Convention Centre to see what the new Central Library building will look like.  Once we got past the half hour of excruciatingly boring government official speeches, the presentation was really good.  Chris Demeanor tried his best as host to make the whole thing entertaining, but even he poet-performer extraordinaire couldn't make the city officials or the young people reading essays at the end interesting.

Craig Dykers (Snøhetta) - Bill Ptacek (Library CEO) - Rob Adamson (DIALOG) answer questions at the unveiling of the New Central Library designs.  This was one of those shots that I am really glad that I took several times.  I could have stopped at one, because at a glance I thought I thought it looked good (great expressions, well exposed lighting).  Then in editing I noticed in most of the shots Mr. Ptacek had his microphone held straight up from his crotch.  Granted, the new Library building is exciting, but not that exciting.  Actually, I think Craig Dykers looks a little sexy in this shot, but a nice sexy.

And here are some of the design drawings projected to large screens, shot with the Canon Powershot G15 using night time mode.  Click on the photos to see them in larger sizes.