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.


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