Thursday, December 1, 2016

Standing Rock

A small group of activists met in Olympic Plaza tonight to stand in solidarity for the Standing Rock Sioux of North Dakota.

The Standing Rock Sioux are trying to block a pipeline from being built on their land. They are concerned about it contaminating their water.  Plans also have it running very close to their burial ground.

 National Geographic calls what's happening in North Dakota a "national disgrace".

I've seen videos of peaceful protesters, water protectors, being roughly arrested by ND police.  One of particular interest happened on Black Friday.  Posted live to Facebook by the Ingenious Environment Network, it showed a small group gathered at the local mall for a prayer circle.  They were being treated like terrorists by the local police; forced to their knees and placed in handcuffs. Some of the women were crying.  The police officer claimed they were being charged with trespassing.  Technically, the mall is within their rights to have people arrested for being on private property.  However, in contrast, on that same day in Calgary, fifty or more people gathered for a solidarity flash mob circle dance in Chinook Mall. No police. No problems.

The cause is gaining speed with celebrities and even military veterans giving their support.

Tonight in downtown Calgary there were a few bicycle police watching the speeches and prayers from a distance.  Again no problems. When the group marched down Stephen Avenue to Bankers Hall the police acted as an escort, stopping traffic when needed.  All I had on me was my point & shoot camera, but when has that ever stopped me? 

 Word has it that military veterans plan to join the protest in Standing Rock on that same day.  Wish I could be there.  Still, there's going to be another gathering in Calgary.  This time it's a Grandmother's walk starting at the Peace Bridge on Sunday afternoon (December 4, 2:00 p.m.).

Canada is also having it's own conflicts over pipelines.  Corporations and politicians need to realize that the time is long past where relying on pollutants to live is no longer viable and makes no sense.

I cannot join the many protesters assisting the Sioux in North Dakota, but I can lend my support here.  Sunday I will be walking with grandmothers.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Beakernight 2016

Blazin Lily

So, I went to my first Beakernight last night... gotta say, interesting, but yet, a bit disappointing.  Beakernight is the grand Saturday night party for Beakerhead, a festival that celebrates science and art.

First, why so many inflatables?  While, yes the giant octopus tentacles waving out of a building was very cool, it seemed everywhere I turned was an inflatable something or other. 

There were so many inflatables the festival could've changed its name to Airhead.
 There was the inflatable whale thing near Fort Calgary and then in Bridgeland during Beakernight there was a giant space bear (kinda cute), a Pegasus (that was kept partially inflated most of the time so it appeared to kneel), a rocket ship, a flying saucer, a field of tethered white balloons, and Beakerhead volunteers holding huge smiley clouds.  The first disappointment was the Beakernight map showed hot air balloons. A hot air balloon basket shooting flame is not a hot air balloon.

Flame was another big theme, albeit not always successful. One display booth on Beakerstreet had cyclists powering a Tesla coil.  However, when I was there they barely made enough energy to create a flame that was the equivalent of the low setting on a gas stove. The Science Buskers, trying to blow things up in their combustion demonstrations, was fun. Loved their motto, "Safety third."

So, the night wasn't all bad. A tour through the beer garden drew me to the Bass Bus where a circle of people were cheering on individuals doing, of all things, the Limbo. It was too dark to take a photo. Beakerstreet had other interesting displays, like the Blazin Lily Gals.

There were long line ups everywhere. There was a man directing people inside a small camper trailer. He then had people sit on the bench for a "photograph". Since I have no patience for line-ups, I can only suspect that the trailer is a camera obscura. 

The "making a rukus" display was pretty interesting. A group of guys dressed as construction workers created rhythms on conventional and unusual percussion instruments.  Happened to bump into Malcolm, who has been a professional percussionist for the Calgary Philharmonic.  Again, the lighting was tricky, so wasn't able to get a good photo of Malcolm, but this guy was having a great time.

People were encouraged to dress up.  They even had photo "booths" where people could get costumed and photographed. So, had some fun taking candid shots.

My wrist is still recuperating from a fracture (cast is off, yeah!), but I opted to continue using the 50mm lens, which has an aperture of 1.4.  Handy for night shots. Unfortunately, I found that when I was already close to the action, I had to step back to include all that I wanted.  There were a lot of rude photographers (cellphone users especially) that have no problem with stepping in front of another photographer's shot.

There was the feel that there wasn't much of a budget.  Every vendor in Beakerstreet was donating money, based on purchases, to Beakerhead. 

 So, been to Beakernight. Unless they find ways to reduce lineups and provide a variety of experiences (i.e. less inflatables) I'm thinking I'll not attend another Beakernight.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pride 2016

Extra hours at work and a fractured wrist at the beginning of August put a bit of a kabosh on my photography this summer.  Or at least a crimp.  What photography done was done with one hand and with the Canon G15 point & shoot.

Except for Pride.

Capturing the action with my point & shoot was going to be frustrating, so I had to go with the DSLR. Still, with a cast on my left arm, shooting with my usual 18-135mm lens was going to be problematic. So it had to be a prime lens... and only one.  I decided to go with the 50mm and crop what I had to.  Interestingly, I didn't have to crop much.

This year's Pride had more banks, more politicians, the usual church groups, and... Star Wars Storm-troopers, Jawas, and sand people. Oh, and lots of dogs!  I actually got pup-kissed (nose to nose) by a young husky when I knelt down to take her photo.

This year I initially positioned myself at the beginning of the parade, behind the Glenbow Museum.  Great for crowd shots, but unfortunately I kept getting caught in the crush of people diving to get swag.  And there was a lot of swag.  Once the parade had past, I ran ahead to get more shots.

The gorgeous background is the south wall of the Glenbow Museum.  Best photography rule ever: Turn around!

While racing to get to Shaw Millennium Park for the festival I happened upon some people I know from work.

Emily & Luke
The festival was a bit different this year with less drag and more family and dance stuff.  Even Premier Rachel Notley, decked out in funky boots, rainbow tights and boas, did a little dance on stage when she finished her speech.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Inglewood Sunfest 2016

Spent some time, got a little burnt, and found the best pizza at the Inglewood Sunfest. Here are some photos posted to Flickr and a couple extra. A couple needed to be in color, but most look pretty cool in black & white. Click on the picture to see the larger size.