Saturday, October 13, 2018

Cat's World - video

Sarah Rose - Cats' World from SokoLove on Vimeo.

So, I'm browsing around Vimeo looking for interesting and inspiring short films and animations and I came across Sarah Rose's beautiful little "Cat's World". The lighting and photography are dreamy. Which makes sense from a dreamy cat's perspective. Lovely.

So far the videos I've taken of Lana look similar to the clips you find in cat compilations on YouTube. This afternoon I tried getting some sleepy shots of Lana in her favourite rocking chair. Unfortunately, it turned into a bit of a war movie when somebody's large fluffy white cat with dark grey cap and tail and hippy neckerchief decided to visit my patio.

Spitting. Clawing. Growling. Yowling. Grabbing at curtains. And that was just Lana. I tried to film it, but silly me turned "record" on too late so I just caught spitting and yowling.  I guess I'm not ready to shoot battle scenes just yet.

I wonder if people who let their cats wander around saw what it does to other people's cats would be more considerate and keep their pet at home. A quick spray of water sent the intruder on its way. Which I felt bad about because it's cold and snowing outside.

Lana went back to her favourite chair, but even in her restful place, she was alert to who or what might be lurking outside.

Here's a super short clip of Lana trying to relax. Both short Lana vids were shot with a Canon 80D and edited (fade in/out and converted to a small MP4 file) with Clipchamp.

The song in the background is "Castell Gwydir" from the album "Fully Present" (© 2010, Sawchuk Home Studios) performed and composed by Stephen Sawchuk. Stephen and I used to jam together back in the 90s before he and his wife moved to Ontario. Stephen on electric guitar, me on electric bass. The complete "Fully Present" album can be enjoyed on Stephen's Muon Bluze website.

I've enrolled in a January DSLR Video course at SAIT and am currently going through a series of tutorial videos (freely accessible through the Calgary Public Library webpage).

Starting point... two cats fighting... goal Cat's World.

Taking my photography to another level.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Calgary Zombie Walk 2018 - with video

So I went to the Calgary Zombie Walk today and decided to do something a little different. I attempted to make a video!

It was a much smaller group this year. Probably because of the big snowfall we had on Tuesday. Or maybe it was because the event was cancelled on the Facebook Events page. Who knows? Still, fun as you can see from the big smiles on these scary ladies.

The zombies did a flash mob dance of Michael Jackson's Thriller. No rehearsals. No repeating. One of my favourite zombies, the sweatshirt zombie, is in character as soon as she arrives in Olympic Plaza and stays in character the whole afternoon. She's brainlessly hilarious in the video.

I edited my single take video with Clipchamp, a freebie editing website I found using Google search. It took about an hour to process after I edited. Then another half an hour to upload to YouTube. Not sure why. Aside from shooting Lana dozing on a chair (very exciting, yawn), this is my second attempt at DSLR video. There is much to learn. lol

Of course, I also took lots of photos. (Click on images to see larger size.)


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Lost, lost, lost, lost... somewhere on Highway 533.

Lost, lost, lost, lost... somewhere on Highway 533. 

On the way to the Brooks Medieval Faire I missed my "short cut" turn onto Highway 22x in Calgary that would take me through Gleichen to Brooks. I keep forgetting the 22x sign was replaced by Stoney Trail. No problem. I'll just go down Highway 2 instead. There's got to be a parallel road that links to Brooks, right? Not so much. Realized by Nanton that I was not getting to Brooks by 9:00.

My wayward travels were even more interesting by the forest fire smoke settling in from BC, Washington, California, and Ontario. Could barely see a kilometre ahead. Feeling safe inside my air-conditioned rent-a-car, kind of like a space-traveller who doesn't leave their ship until they're sure of the air quality, I took a few photos of some of the landscape. There are also quite a few old and abandoned buildings in the area. And wildflowers. And a hawk or two. It might be worth getting lost there again.

After going through Vulcan and Lomond (who for a small town know how to do road signs properly!) and coming into Brooks from the south end... I got lost again. [sigh]

Eventually, I hooked up with my brother and his friends at the Faire grounds.

As usual, there were lots of vendors, medieval costumes, sword-play, and Knights of Valour. I even managed to almost not notice the heat wave (+34) while shooting the knights jousting. When I got home, the cool, breezy thundershower was wonderful!

I discovered it's difficult to edit the pinkish/green smoke hue so that it looks nice. So I decided to go b&w for most of my photos.

Click on the little photos to get a bigger one.

A piper wandered and played throughout the grounds. Made the place seem more authentic.

A maiden and little owl from the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre.

Medieval village resident.

More medieval village residents.

A couple more medieval village residents.

My brother and his friend trying to score bullseyes at the axe throwing display. It wasn't as easy as they thought.

Sword play.

A squire tends a jousting lance.

Even the kids had fun in battle. Yes, the little girl hit her opponent.

Lost knight searches for his peasants. "Bring out your dead."

Sir Knight.

Squires holding rings that knights have to capture with their lances.

Got one, three to go.

Just one more.

A gallant knight shares his gold covered chocolate winnings with the common folk.

Squire braking system.

A barn owl from the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre was one of six live raptors on display at the Brooks Medieval Faire this year. [Kind of reminds me of a high school portrait.]

Knight entertaining the crowd.

Suiting up for the jousts.


Monday, August 6, 2018

A four day Blues marathon with the little brother... done!

Popa Chubby

A four day Blues marathon with the little brother... done! Might sleep for a week. 

As usual, the festival acts I was most excited to see were not my favorite performers by the end of the Festival. I wanted to see Jim Byrnes and Sue Foley, my brother the headlining BB King's Blues Band with Russell Jackson. While they were good my brother wound up buying two Popa Chubby CDs and I fell in love with Duffy Bishop.

Best act = Duffy Bishop. In the pouring rain Duffy was entertaining, verging on quirky (with the voices) and her voice amazing. Duffy's rendition of "Insane Asylum" was comparable to Kathi MacDonald's, but also loved "Change Your Address" and  "Boom, Boom." Tried to find a CD of her doing "Boom, Boom" but it appears it was an improvised add-on to the show, it's not on any of her CDs which sold out pretty quickly.

Most intriguing = Popa Chubby. Self-described as "the Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motorhead meets Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson" he was a force to be reckoned with. Loud, powerful, and popular.

I asked the volunteer at the Information tent if the photographers were also volunteers and was told that they were all professionally paid. So, I have only one nit-pick about one of the "professional" photographers. Ages ago I was told by a long-time wedding photographer and SAIT photography instructor, who also did events, that a photographer should be practically invisible and not intrude on the concert goers good time. For the most part, all the photographers at the festival were, except for one. There were times when you couldn't see the musicians in the BB King Blues Band, even if you were standing in front of the stage like I was, because this photographer was so eager to get her shot. Guess which one...

The next day the white fluffy sweater was replaced with something more low-key.

Otherwise, everyone was great! Thanks, Calgary International Blues Festival for a good time. 

I left the big camera at home so I shot half of these with my cell phone and half with my point & shoot.

Click on Popa Chubby, or any, to see larger sizes.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Getting to know Lana

Confession - since well before Kit passed away, probably during the year she was ill, I really did not feel like taking photos.  There was nothing interesting or compelling about the festivals or street images around me. After she died I stopped doing volunteer photography for non-profit organizations. My heart wasn't into it.

After Kit died it was an effort to take my camera out.  I even tried buying a new camera, thinking to spark the creative juices with a new learning experience. Not a good idea. I understood that I needed time to grieve, but I couldn't show that grief in my photos. I didn't know how.

Well, there was that time with the squirrels and the birdfeeder, but that joy was short lived come spring when I had to bleach their pee off my patio furniture.

I'm still not doing the people-thing at festivals, protests, or on the street much. (Or the squirrels.) Not as much as I was. Seen it. Done it. Not interested. Except maybe when I don't have a camera on me, of course. What photos I have taken seem blah.

It's not that I haven't tried, though. The two community events I dropped in on were more self-promotion for local business; one winter doo was for a dance school and the other (a supposed flea market) was for two Asian restaurants that just opened.

Even the Kensington Fantasy Faire I attended last Sunday was a dud. I got there just after 2:00 thinking lots of fantasy and a faire.  Added with the big success they had with their previous Diagon Alley events = big fun, big crowds, lots of cosplay, right? Nope. There was not much in the way people participating or entertainment. A couple buskers, a warrior woman sword fighting with Beetlejuice, a couple wacking each other with padded clubs while balancing on a two by four, and what looked like tables set up to do Beakerhead science projects. Didn't see any quidditch games - maybe they ended early because of the heat (+31). Not many local businesses really got involved, either. Big meh!

And I missed a powwow!! Double crap!!

Parked and the non-parks.

Magic, muggles, and music at the Kensington Fantasy Faire, Sunday, July 29, 2018.

Since meeting Lana I'm back to taking my camera out almost every day. Lana sleeping. Lana eating. Lana looking really fat. Lana playing. Lana stretching like she's trying to look skinny. Lana with her wacky eyes. And of course, Lana looking cute. Not all of them work out. For a chunky kitty, she can really move fast.

Who knows maybe eventually I'll get back into the other stuff if the other stuff is worth doing.

But right now I'm getting to know Lana. And annoying her and probably everyone who visits my Flickr page and this blog.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Macro Lana

There's something relaxing about watching a cat wash.
No rush.
No other obligations.
A nibble between the toes.
A lick and swipe over the ears.
You can feel your heartbeat slow.
Tension eases away.
There's something relaxing about watching a cat wash.

This afternoon I pulled out my favorite lens (100mm macro) and caught Lana as she was grooming herself, in dappled light -- the sun filtered through the trees in the yard. Beauty.