Friday, May 27, 2016

Eunice - a portrait

Eunice needed a portrait for a book she had written.  She wanted some nature shots. We started at Princes Island on what was supposed to be a mostly cloudy day with a possible thunder storm. [perfect!]  The sun was shining brightly. [sigh]

We took a little walk around Princes Island Park, but not satisfied with the results I suggested we go to my backup rainy day location; the second floor atrium at the Jameson Building.  The skylight lighting near the wall garden is beautiful.  Eunice was beautiful... you'd think she was a model.  Much, much better portraits.  Aside from using Photoshop for color adjustment, NIK software to bring out the details in her hair and eyes and adding a bit of vignette, there was very little editing required.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

A walk, some pot, & a mosque

Every year around the world people get together to explore their communities by taking part in Jane's Walks.  The Calgary Women's Centre asked if I'd be interested in taking photos of their feminist themed walk, held  Saturday, May 7th.  For sure, I said.  An added bonus, at City Hall, our last stop, we encountered a Global Marijuana March. Jane's Walk done, I followed the legalize marijuana protesters down Stephen Avenue. Up wind.  There was some blazing up and chanting "Free Pot Now!"  When I told a passerby what they were protesting she asked, "Isn't Trudeau making it legal next year?"  "Then I guess they'll be chanting 'pot for free'," I joked.

CWC Jane's Walk @ The Bow Building
CWC Jane's Walk @ the Glenbow Museum.  The young lady was concerned about a couple of really loud people on Stephen Avenue.
Global Marijuana March

A friend was invited to a free community brunch held Sunday, May 15 at a local mosque.  I told her she would have to tell me all about it. Instead she managed to get an invitation for me, as well.  When we entered the Calgary Islamic Centre we were asked if it would be okay to take our photos during the event.  I said sure, then asked if I could take photos in return.

Very, very friendly people. The food was good, light Mediterranean fare.  In the basement, tables were set up diner-style with the buffet of food lining a wall.  At other tables volunteers drew mehndi designs on our hands, demonstrated how to wear a hijab, wrote our names in Arabic, and handed out leaflets and copies of the Quran.  A mother of one of the mehndi artists, who did not look much older than her teenage daughter, sat with us and spoke about the mehndi she had done when she was married. Another young looking volunteer, a father of 4 children ranging from age 3 to 12, sat at our table and answered any questions we posed.

Later, up stairs, there was a lecture about Islam followed by a 45 minute Q&A.  The lecturer really, really loved to talk. His Q&A replies were usually 15 minutes each. The mosque itself was very understated, not much in the way of decoration, and functional. I counted four wall clocks, not including the digital board indicating the times for the day's five prayers.

The lecturer and his teacher. Behind them are boards indicating the times for the day's five prayers.
There was not much in the way of decoration in the mosque.


Movie: Janis - Little Girl Blue

Spotted a riveting documentary at the Calgary Underground Film Festival, Janis - Little Girl Blue.  The movie showed Janis' life - her childhood, her hellish school days, making it in the music business, and the end through interviews with people who spent time with her back then. Including interviews with lovers; some the source of the extreme pain and loneliness that she expressed so strongly in her performances.  The most gut wrenching scene for me was an interview Janis did at her High School reunion. I felt so sad for the normally vivacious woman reduced to a shy lonely girl.  Janis was asked about attending football games and she replied that she never went. "I was never asked," she quietly added.

Janis - Little Girl Blue inspired me to explore photos taken during the 60s.  Highly recommend another documentary film, Monterey Pop, not so much for the filming but for the photo essay extras by magazine photographer Elaine Mayes.  Other documentary photography of the time can be found in Joel Slevin's book, The Haight - Love, Rock, And Revolution : The Photography Of Jim Marshall. There is also an Official Jim Marshall website with his iconic photos of the era.

April - Juno Awards

April 2016 -- the Juno Awards came back to Calgary.  Since I missed everything the first time they were in this city I applied to volunteer as a photographer for the 2016 awards.  After some confusing email, one rejection and one acceptance, I was initially given 3 assignments to photograph for the Juno Awards Host Committee: Playing Our City, Listen to Our City, and the Host Committee After Party.  In the middle of Juno Week I was given a list of required shots to pick from.  I chose: Juno banners, Juno Hub, the fan Red Carpet event, and the Calgary International Airport departure waiting room for Juno nominees.  I don't know much about the actual Juno Awards. I wasn't one of the official Juno photographers.  Which was fine, because it gave me a chance to dash home to download images and to free up SD card space for the After Party.

Playing Our City

People passing by at the Genesis Centre were asked to make stomping, slapping, and pop bottle whacking noise in the main entrance area -- in sync with people doing the same thing at the downtown Central Library.  

Playing Our City - Genesis Centre and a TV view of the downtown Central Library. 
Playing Our City - Genesis Centre
Playing Our City - Juno volunteer shirts.

Listen to Our City

Think kids' concert with professional musicians thrown in.  That was the Listen to Our City evening at the new Mount Royal University Bella Concert Hall.  I arrived a few hours early to catch the performer's rehearsing, which turned out to be my best photos, I think.

Listen to Our City - rehearsal time
Listen to Our City - Michael Bernard Fitzgerald & chorus rehearsing
Listen to Our City - Juno Week banner
Listen to Our City - dancers and my best shot of the night.
Listen to Our City - Michael Bernard Fitzgerald applauding chorus and grand finale.
Listen to Our City - little fan hamming it up at the red carpet wall. There was no special lighting for the wall and I was wishing I had a proper flash.

Juno Hub & Banners

In the middle of the week I received a list of required photos.  Which was a bit of a shocker, because I thought I was only doing three things during the Junos.  So, I gamely tried to do some of the photos within a couple of days; the Juno Hub (in the downtown Core) and street banners.

Juno Hub @ the Core.
Juno Hub @ the Core.
Juno banner on Stephen Avenue & 1st Street SW
Juno banner on 16th Avenue NW, near Motel Village.
Pre-Juno Fun

Before the Juno Awards the Calgary Stampede Show Band performed for in-coming attendees.  There was also a red carpet wall where a couple Green Fools Theatre performers inspired some fun photos with Juno fans.  After struggling with low light at the Listen to Our City event, I bought a proper flash for the fan red carpet wall.  Which I didn't need.  The wall was set up on the +15 leading to the Saddledome -- so, lots of ambient light.

Juno Awards - Calgary Stampede Show Band shout out
Juno Awards - Fan Red Carpet
Juno Awards - Fan Red Carpet - some Drake look-a-likes

After Party @ Cowboys

The last time I was at Cowboys it was as a chip-runner for a non-profit fund raising event. Never saw the concert area, which was where the Juno Host Committee After Party was held.  It was smaller than I expected.

Juno Host Committee After Party - Calgary Mayor Nenshi and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said a few words. Next year, to commemorate Canada's 150th birthday, the Junos will be held in Ottawa.
Juno Host Committee After Party - Lemon Bucket Orchestra
Juno Host Committee After Party - Tom Wilson, who gave a little rant about being a several times Juno nominee, but never a winner.
Juno Host Committee After Party - sorry, I don't remember the name of the band, but the lead singer kinda reminded me of a big salamander-like alien, like you would see in Heavy Metal magazine.

Calgary International Airport Departure Lounge

On the Monday after the Juno Awards I was asked to take photos of the departure lounge at the Calgary International Airport.  When I got there, though, I'm told that I cannot take photos of any of the musicians by recording agency request.  Interesting conundrum.  So I had fun taking photos of the White Hat Greeter and food shots.  So, while shooting a candy dish I managed at the same time not to shoot a reggae musician crashed in front of his laptop.

YYC Airport Departure Lounge - musician watching a Bob Marley video.
YYC Airport Departure Lounge - White Hat Greeter checking a name.  Musicians were encouraged to autograph the YYC guy.
YYC Departures Lounge - No Media, No Mirrors, No Makeup.
Juno Extras

There were a few shots I did on my own, because, hey I took the week off to shoot photos. So, I took photos while riding a C-Train with a busker, feasted at the Volunteer Orientation party, and bounced at the Juno Jam at Flames Central.
Busker doing a noon hour gig on the Tuscany/Somerset C-Train.
Organizing at the volunteer orientation.
A scene outside the Juno Jam held at Flames Central (Palace Theatre).