The Sunday before last was a hell of a night and the intervening week and a bit has been somewhat of an equally hectic blur.
There was the collapse of the main stage at this years Bluesfest here inOttawa; caused by a sudden high speed downburst of fast wind from an incoming thunder storm. Three people were taken to hospital with injuries; one had been pierced through the abdomen by falling debris, although all would be released the next morning.
I wasn’t aware of any of that; no one on scene was at the moment. After leaving the scene I bumped into some friends seeking shelter from the rain following the sudden storm. It was at this point that they noticed the camera I was cradling under my shirt.
“What’s up? Get any good pics?” I was asked, it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn’t entirely sure. I had pictures, but I also had serious doubts. I use a Canon EOS 1D MK II, a top of the line piece of equipment in 2003… The thing’s a tank. However, I used it without regard to the rain during the Black Keys storm a week earlier on July 8 and serious damage I believe was done to the lens contacts. An error 99 message, an error code meaning general or unspecified mechanical error, flashed and the camera has been steadily losing functionality since. Two of my lens’ (70-200mm and 50mm) no longer function properly either, the only lens I have that will work is my 24mm. It’s a great lens but not everything can be shot with a wide angle. Finally the shutter seems on the edge of malfunctioning, a piece of plastic has collapsed partially obscuring my view through the lens. Although it is above the mirror so it doesn’t affect the actual picture, it significantly reduces my ability to properly frame pictures.
Bearing all these mechanical failures in mind I raced home on my bike through a rainstorm, fearful that the water had already creaped into the camera and corrupted the memory card somehow. I knew I had friends who’d like to see the pictures ASAP, so I threw together a hasty blog post and posted links on my Facebook page and Twitter account. I have a modest following of about 100 humans and 50 bots on Twitter, but the power of the #hashtag and RTretweet got the link to my blog to other more prominent bloggers who then retweeted to their 4000+ followers…
Suddenly I began receiving text messages from a friend who is interning at the Globe and Mail inToronto, she earnestly suggested I contact some photo editors about the pictures I’d just posted… With her help I decided the best option was the Toronto Star. As they were outside Ottawa and not a part of either Postmedia or QMI, both of which had photographers there in the form of the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun, they may actually want to PAY for images, a rare thing for an outsider.
The Star got back to me almost immediately saying they wanted the photos but that they weren’t sure if they had money available, the photo editor then suggested contacting the Canadian Press, who were apparently looking to buy photos; she gave me their phone number only.
I hastily tried to calm my anxiety and focus; this had escalated fast. The Canadian Press is the Canadian subsidiary of the American press wire, the Associated Press. As a wire this is the company that sells the news to everyone else. Photos and stories filed on the Canadian Press wire are accessible by subscribers to CP inCanadaand subscribers to AP globally.
I picked up my phone and dialed the number, the phone was picked up on the first ring… I hastily blurted out my memorized intro, explaining who I was and what I had. The guy on the other end of the line explained that he was actually looking at my blog post, someone had sent him the link and he was interested in buying four pictures. He told me which ones and I emailed them to him.
Within an hour the photos were on the Globe and Mail’s website, in the article, the teaser photos on the main page and a special web gallery featuring all the CP photos from the collapse. I couldn’t believe it, at the same time I watched the publications and news alerts roll in I watched my website page views. On July 18 there were more than 5500 page views; in all of 2010 I had 2200 views, prior to that the single busiest day wasJune 26, 2010(G20) with 246 page views…
On Tuesday after the collapse I googled, “Adam Dietrich Canadian Press,” my photos were in papers across north America, linked to in music blogs in Brazil and Portugal, and even used on a news site in Indonesia, which got the photos from AP. Wednesday afternoon my friend at QMI called and said he’d been on a flight coming back from vacation and AirCanadagave him a copy of the Globe and Mail, they’d used one of my photos in print in the Folio section.
The final feeling of accomplishment came when I found a copy of the previous days issue (July 19), which had run the photo. On the front page, below the fold, was one of my pictures in a standalone photobox teasing the folio section which had coverage of the stage collapse.
Since then I’ve been trying to save some cash and work out a plan to get some new equipment…. Freelancing is not lucrative, regardless an invigorating experience.
Here are some of the places the that popped up in google….
Yahoo! Via 2space (US/International) – http://www.2space.net/news/article/369427-1310957402/
Middletown Journal (Ohio, US) – http://www.middletownjournal.com/entertainment/stage-falls-at-ottawa-bluesfest-8-injured-1209414.html
Globe and Mail (Canada/National) –http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/in-pictures-storm-brings-down-main-stage-at-ottawas-bluesfest/article2100366/?utm_content=2100366&utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=News
The State (South Carolina) - http://www.thestate.com/2011/07/17/1901835/stage-falls-at-ottawa-bluesfest.html
Merced Sun-Star (California) – http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/07/17/1972729/stage-falls-at-ottawa-bluesfest.html
Access Atlanta(Georgia) – http://www.accessatlanta.com/celebrities-tv/stage-falls-at-ottawa-1022695.html
Kansas CityStar (US) – http://www.kansascity.com/2011/07/17/3019879/stage-falls-at-ottawa-bluesfest.html
Global (Regina) – http://www.globalregina.com/story.html?id=5117889
Komo News (Seattle, Washington) – http://www.komonews.com/news/national/125726133.html?tab=gallery
Canada.com (National) – http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=5117889&sponsor=
Springfield News Sun (Ohio) – http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/entertainment/music/stage-falls-at-ottawa-bluesfest-8-injured-1209414.html
KimaTV [CBS] (Yakima, Washington) – http://www.kimatv.com/news/national/125726133.html?tab=gallery
Stamford Advocate (StamfordConnecticut) – http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Stage-falls-at-Ottawa-Bluesfest-8-injured-1470172.php
Lancasteronline (Lancaster, Pensilvania) – http://lancasteronline.com/article/ap/423063_Stage-falls-at-Ottawa-Bluesfest–8-injured.html
Greenwich Time (Greenwich, Connecticut)- http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Stage-falls-at-Ottawa-Bluesfest-8-injured-1470172.php
Hey all, here’s what happened to me this evening at Bluesfest.
I had been booted from the media pit of the MBNA stage this evening, right before Cheap Trick began their set. The media guy didn’t seemed to think a university newspaper was big enough to deserve access? So I bitterly wandered into the crowd and snapped some photos regardless. Then I looked back and saw the same ominous sky I saw the night of the Black Keys. I Decided, “fuck this,” my gear was breaking, Bluesfest wasn’t letting me shoot, and it was about to piss rain. Time to go home, crack a beer and edit. So I started to leave. Around 7:15 and 15m from the exit I turned and watched the MBNA Stage fall on Cheap Trick. My camera was in my bag so I missed the actual collapse but I whipped out my pass and camera and rushed forward to photograph the aftermath and damage. Needless to say, Death Cab for Cutie who was slated to take the stage after didn’t play…
I’m gonna relax a bit. Work on a stats lab but photos from Lupe and Cheap Trick’s performance before will be up shortly.
July 8 I continued covering Bluesfest with a solid Friday evening lineup. In the early evening there was Chicago punk, Rise Against and in the evening the Black Keys.
I was pumped for Rise Against. I love punk music and I’ve been listening to Rise Against since the seventh grade. It’s true that they’ve changed, lost much of their edge and commercialized. Regardless its always awesome to photograph an artist you grew up with. the band seemed to recognize the diversity of their own fans in attendance and played a fair number of older songs as well.
I last saw them play in 2004 behind Siren Song of the Counter Culture at Elements nightclub in Kitchener, I was 15 I think. The music has grown somewhat poppier, but I have to admire their longevity.
They had a lot of energy, which after 12 years is impressive.
And as always with punk shows… the crowds are nuts. I had some kids fall out of the crowd onto me while I was shooting…
Then came the rain… I was backstage at the MBNA stage around 9:15 waiting for the Black Keys to take the stage. Suddenly gale force winds swept up and intense rain started. I hid under a fence like a lean to with a few other photographers. Then around 9:30 the cables on the left side of the MBNA stage broke lose under the pressure of the wind. Security freaked and pushed all the gathered media back about a hundred feet while they tried to fix the problem.
So after an hour of that crap it seemed like the Black Keys weren’t going on and I had plans for later in the evening. I left at 10:30, around 10:40 they went on stage. Fuck. And lesson learned.
Sunday was a much drier affair. I was there to see the Dropkick Murphys (speaking of longevity in punk). From Boston, they play punk infused with Irish folk, its a cool combination and anyone who has seen The Departed has heard their song, “Shipping up to Boston.” I was pretty excited to see them. There were a lot of mohawks, Bruins jerseys, green shirts and even kilts out. Ken Casey jumped in the crowd but I missed that one… I think I was drinking and dancing with some friends by that point.
Ken Casey was an ass and talked about how great it was to gloat about Boston’s win in Canada. Good thing they were in Ottawa not Vancouver.
I discovered too I’m having camera issues. My EOS 1D MkII developed an error 99. Error 99 is a terminal disease for Canon cameras, I had one with my 30 D last summer and the camera just started to degrade and break down rapidly. I’ll have to send it into Canon, depending on the cost of a refurbishment it may be worth it, it’s been a good camera. Also i’m not sure if this is related to the error 99 or not but my 50mm and 70-200mm no longer work well. There is a small black circle in the view finder covering up the light meter. Even still the exposure meter is inaccurate and the autofocus won’t work. However, I put those lenses on my EOS 1N (old film news camera) and the lenses work fine. Also my 24mm works fine on the digital. Ergo, it has some problem with lenses that use compression and concave glass.
If it’ll hold out a month I can send it off and finance a 5D MkII… Fingers crossed, knock on wood etc.
Because there’s still Bluesfest and other things!
There is some exciting news this week as yesterday I found out that I will be going to Costa Rica in January of 2012 on an expenses covered, paid internship with a community newspaper called Voice of Nosara. Although I still need to hammer out the finer points it looks like I’ll be producing content, mostly photos although stories and multi-media as well, for the papers hardcopy and website. In addition they have an apartment they’ll give me and pay for and an ATV to drive to local assignments and a monthly salary of $500.
I urge people to go to http://www.voiceofnosara.com/ and check out the work done by Pinar Istek. She’s their current intern.
The opportunity came during game six of the NHL playoffs. I was at the Georgetown Pub in Old Ottawa South with my girlfriend and some journalism friends. My friend and former coworker/boss at the charlatan, showed me an email he’d received from the journalism department. It was a forwarded internship opportunity looking for an advanced photojournalism student who spoke Spanish. I figured, “what the hell,” and applied. The deadline was July 1st and on July 2nd I had an interview over Skype with the managing editor at Voice of Nosara.
In the meantime I have the time to brush up on Spanish, finish my degree at Carleton and pick up a few pieces of equipment I’m missing.
For those curious my portfolio is available here: http://adamdietrich.carbonmade.com/
…Now onto BLUESFEST. The annual music festival hosted at the Lebretton Flats here in Ottawa. Yesterday was the second day. I saw the Roots and Skrillex, although I missed the media call for the Roots, so I only have pictures of Skrillex. Enjoy.
So I was merrily making pictures, then crap started happening during the second song then after security called a stop to the music because their barricade had broken from the crowd.
There will be more Bluesfest…. Rise Against, Lupe Fiasco, Black Keys, Dropkick Murpheys and Cheap Trick are what I can think of off the top of my head.