Independent Photography

Fire and Ice – Winter has come


Well here we are in 2014.  I haven’t really been into the blogging much these last few months, however, I have a really good reason: I’ve been insanely busy.

The irony though is I actually have less to show for it than I normally would…  The latter half of this past semester was focused on writing, multimedia and longer form photo pieces.  Meaning while I was busy it was doing things, like calling sources, conducting interviews and video editing as opposed to just taking pictures.

I am feeling a little more refreshed after the winter break and upon my return to Belleville my roommate and I and stumbled onto some news.  This morning after breakfast we noticed a huge plume of smoke rising about eight blocks away and decided to check it out.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) - Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) – Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

Frankly Chris (my roommate) and I hesitated to leave, it was minus 30 today and we’re still on vacation.  However, we ended up trekking out.  By the time we got there the fire department had already cordoned off the block.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) - Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) – Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

I spoke with some neighbors who were huddling in the cold, they speculated on the cause of the fire.  They also told me everyone made it out safe, with the possible exception of one of the neighbors cats.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) - Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) – Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

We didn’t stay long because of the cold.  However, sitting at my kitchen table editing I was able to watch as the smoke plume dwindled over the course of an hour or two from the comfort of my own home.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) - Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) – Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

Now, rolling back the clock a bit to early October, we had a news video assignment due for multimedia class.  We had to find a community event and shoot and edit a short news video about the event.  So I did some research and found a small concert series that was kicking off an eight-month season of monthly shows featuring local musicians.  It was a really fun assignment and good chance to further improve my video skills, which is a medium I am growing to love more and more.

As October wore on I dove into one of our major, and cross-platform, assignments.  It was called Sense of Place and we had to visually connect a Belleville resident with a significant place in their life in town.

I found Lois Foster, a wonderful lady who has become one of the cities best known archivists (which is important in a small town with a big past).  Her home was once a veterinary hospital staffed by her and her husband, they ran the clinic for 40 years before her husband died nine years ago.  She still occupies the house that they shared and worked out of.

At the time I thought it was a really touching story about love, commitment and devotion and their story reminded me of my own maternal grandparents.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (24/10/2013) - Lois Foster is pictured at her home in Belleville Ontario.  For more than 30 years she helped her husband run a veterinary practice out of their home, doing field work with farm animals and small animal sugary in their garage.  Now nine years after his death Lois still lives in the home they shared and has become one of Belleville's most respected archivists having helped author several books on historical properties in town.  (Photo by Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (24/10/2013) – Lois Foster is pictured at her home in Belleville Ontario. For more than 30 years she helped her husband run a veterinary practice out of their home, doing field work with farm animals and small animal sugary in their garage. Now nine years after his death Lois still lives in the home they shared and has become one of Belleville’s most respected archivists having helped author several books on historical properties in town. (Photo by Adam Dietrich)

Underscoring this whole term has been a news photo assignment we needed complete.  The spot news assignment requires you to get a photo of an unplanned news event.  Really the only challenge is in finding the event, after you show up just get a good angle/vantage point and wait for the decisive moment.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (21/11/2013) - A man is taken into custody after a three hour standoff with armed members of Belleville's emergency task force on November 21, 2013.  Police arrived at 56 Everett Street in the city's west end around 11am and apprehended a suspect around 2pm.  The man was later released without charge. (Photo by Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (21/11/2013) – A man is taken into custody after a three hour standoff with armed members of Belleville’s emergency task force on November 21, 2013. Police arrived at 56 Everett Street in the city’s west end around 11am and apprehended a suspect around 2pm. The man was later released without charge. (Photo by Adam Dietrich)

I had a big telephoto on that, to give you an idea of what I mean here is a photo from my Instagram that I took showing the view I had without a telephoto.

I did have permission from the property owner to be here, they were very helpful.

I did have permission from the property owner to be here, they were very helpful.

In addition to videos and stories, I’ve been working on a documentary project about the issue of gender dysphoria, which in a nutshell, is a disorder where someone is born the wrong sex.  The story is a work in progress and I have more images here.  Below is a portrait of the subject of this story, a trans-man named Martin.

OTTAWA Ont. (12/11/13) - Martin a trans-man sits outside the Loyalist College Residence's in Belleville Ontario on November 12 where he is currently studying journalism.  (Photo Adam Dietrich)

OTTAWA Ont. (12/11/13) – Martin a trans-man sits outside the Loyalist College Residence’s in Belleville Ontario on November 12 where he is currently studying journalism. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

That project sprang from one I started working on last year, also for class, on a drag queen in Ottawa named Savannah Couture.  I have a written profile and photo story here.  However, when it came time for us to do our final video this semester I thought it would be interesting to go and check out one of her performances with my camera, below is the result.

Also please check out this group project I had the pleasure of collaborating on, it’s a sweet story about a former CN brake man who now runs the Belleville model train society.

Finally with the passing of 2013 I feel it’s time to declare a theme, for me, it was the year of the car.  In January 2013 I bought my first ever car, a 1996 Mazda 626 DX.  It was a gutless, featureless, rust-bucket that cost less than most of my lenses.  But she bore me safely across 50 000km (Largely from trips to Ottawa) and through my summer in Toronto.  In October the problems started.  First a leaky tranny line, then the exhaust rusted off then I was told the engine sub-frame was rotten and needed replacing (about $1000…) however, when they took it apart I was informed the rust had spread further than they knew, in short, it was terminal.  We went for a final ride, and then I stripped her of her logos and useful components before dropping her off to be scrapped.

Brea I resting at Silver Lake this past summer, a rest stop on Highway 7 between Tweed and Ottawa, Ontario.

Brea I resting at Silver Lake this past summer, a rest stop on Highway 7 between Tweed and Ottawa, Ontario.

It took a month of concerted effort, but it was worth it, for the same price I paid for my 5D mkII I found a 1996 Acura (Honda) Integra RS, so for you Honda nerds that means there’s no Vtec, although I don’t care because I don’t wanna burn oil, use premium fuel or need to drive at 5500 rpm with any regularity.  That being said, the previous owner added a short ram air intake, heders, custom exhaust and three strut bars.  The car has a lot of power for a 1.8L and literally floats on air around corners and because it’s a hatchback, I still have the same cargo space I had in my 626.  It’s also the first manual transmission I’ve ever driven, and I am hooked, I never want to drive automatic again.

Brea II getting saftied in Waterloo just prior to taking ownership a week ago.

Brea II getting saftied in Waterloo just prior to taking ownership a week ago.

So last semester was a tough one, but standing on the edge of 2014 with a bad ass new car, and a confident set of skills I’m pretty excited for what 2014 has in store.

Paz siempre,

Adam Dietrich

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