My time here as Metroland’s summer photography co-op student at Toronto Community News is over. Today is my last day, my last assignments have been filed and tomorrow I’m moving things to Belleville. School orientation starts this week and it is going to be a crazy year.
I’ll start this blog post in mid-August. Two Thursday’s ago I went to Albert Campbell Square in front of Scarborough’s Civic Centre. It was India’s independence day, so the local Indian community came out to celebrate.
As the sun was setting it was a great time for pictures, with some dramatic light.
Also interesting dances with great symmetry can make nice pictures.
And then Ghanafest was happening in North York. A colourful day celebrating all things Ghanian.
On Sunday I went to a car wash in Parkdale (over)run by zombies. The Toronto zombie walk was there washing cars in blood, then soap, although one zombie told me blood was preferred over soap…
I capped off the day with a trip to a multicultural street festival on Eglinton Avenue. It was actually pretty empty and low key when I got there, however, I found these steel drummers performing under and awning and the main drummer
When I returned next week on Thursday I started off heading to the renaming of Toronto’s island ferry terminal. It was renamed for the late-leader of the opposition Jack Layton.
Members of his family, unions and supporters were on hand, and they unveiled a statue of him riding a tandem bike.
It’s the back to school season as well. So I was sent to shoot a portrait of a school principle in a newly renovated wing of his building. I confess portraits are still a weaker point of mine, I thought I would be shooting more of them this summer but I didn’t. We tried a couple of things but I figured this one was my favorite, nice and simple.
In a sure sign my summer was ending, later that day I was sent to cover an exhibition game between the University of Guelph and University of Toronto baseball teams.
The day after was a day of ethnic celebrations. The Toronto Chinatown Festival kicked off with politicians, Chinese dragons and traditional music.
Later that day I drove north to Downsview Park and Rastafest. It was a hot day in direct sunlight, but pretty interesting nonetheless.
And finally this past Sunday I started down at the beaches, where an organization called surfers healing has been running a free day camp for autistic children. The camp pairs up kids with a pro surfer who teaches them how to stand up paddle.
That afternoon I was in east Scarborough at a private home for a fundraiser for the Scarborough Terry Fox run. There was a family of five there who all agreed to either have their heads shaved or dyed to help raise money.
And with that I’m signing off. My next post will be about the return to school.
August has dawned, nights are cooler and days are getting shorter, as is my time here in Toronto.
This past week I got to shoot the Rogers Cup. It was my first time shooting a world class sporting event. I’ve photographed University level sports and even professional level hockey with the Belleville Bulls, I even once photographed a Raptors scrimmage in Ottawa but nothing at this level or speed.
To say it was a challenge is an understatement, not only have I not photographed sports at this level before, but I’ve never taken a single picture of people playing tennis. Ever. I had ideas of where to stand and which pics to get but factoring in my ignorance of the game and the insane speed of the players it was a bit of a challenge. After ten minutes of fumbling around and getting lots of pictures of returns with no ball visible I started to anticipate better and they started rolling in.
My biggest disappointment was not getting to court level in time to see Serena Williams play. I had a job at the same time her match started, and I wanted to do a good job of both assignments. By the time I drove to North York (30 minutes from the previous job), parked, got my media pass and got in she was well on her way. My route to court level took me past the top of the upper bowl so I snapped a few pics just in case I couldn’t get lower in time. As it happened by the time I had all my passes and was in the right place, her match was over. Although I was court-side for her accepting the trophy and for the doubles match which followed. A full gallery of what I filed is online here.
Earlier that day I attended a Catholic Mass at St. Clare’s church, they were celebrating their 100th year anniversary. It was double booked for me though because the Roger’s Cup Women’s Final started at the same time as this assignment. Somehow I managed to be in two places at the same time.
It was interesting, I find faith and religion fascinating and Catholic Masses are so ornate and full of ritual. Having some degree of access near the alter was really enjoyable.
On Friday I was at the opening of the Taste of Danforth, a huge Greek food and culture festival in eastern Toronto. The festival was opened with an event called the Danforth Dash. Corporate teams of four raced hospital beds down Danforth Avenue to raise money for the Toronto East General Hospital Foundation and to be the winners of the coveted Gold Bed Pan Trophy.
Rewinding a week earlier, I was out on feature patrol looking for standalone to help fill space. I’d wandered over to the Ashbridge’s Bay Skatepark down by Toronto’s beaches. Usually I have good success with the skateboarders there, but this time there was nothing. So I wandered up to one of the upper bowls in the park and found a scooter team doing tricks, they were really good, so I asked to take some pictures, one kid eagerly hoped in and promptly did a backflip for my camera.
The day before I was down at the famous Caribana festival for the grand parade, due to a logistical issue I spent over an hour waiting outside. It turned out the media check-in booth was inside the paid admission area, which I wasn’t able to access until I picked up my media pass from the media check-in which was located in the paid admission area which I couldn’t access…. The only way I got out of that repeating loop was because a photographer friend of mine who had a pass went into the event and came back with mine.
That headache set me back and meant I was only able to spend little under an hour at Caribana, and never quite got into the vibe. Maybe next year?
My week that week started in the extreme ends of Toronto. On Thursday morning I headed into Etobicoke in Toronto’s west end, it was my first time working in this part of the city. Seems a local boy, Dave Bolland, was in town with the Stanley Cup. Bolland won it playing with the Blackhawks, but everyone there was excited because he had just announced he’d been traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The crowd was a mix a dejected Blackhawks fans and hopeful Leafs fans.
Did I mention it was Etobicoke on the day of the by-elections? Rob and Doug Ford were there leading the parade and campaigning for their guy Doug Holyday who ended up winning Etobicoke-Lakeshore.
That gave me the rest of the day and evening to get across town into Scarborough where another by-election was happening. It was my first time shooting political news, unless you want to count student council election at Carleton University. It was intense because I was fighting with crowds and other photographers. I know a few of the photographers ended up on insanely tight deadlines because Mitzie Hunter arrived late to the after party (by insanely tight I mean they had 15 minutes to shoot, file, edit and transmit). For my part Inside Toronto wanted their pictures that night as well, although I was had more time.
The last two weeks have been busy but good, with a few bigger assignments. While the stress level is always much higher with these types of events so is the reward.
That being Said I’m now into the last two weeks before school resumes and the summer job ends.
Well as I approach the end of July and the start of my final month here at Toronto Community News, it feels like it’s been a valuable summer so far.
I’ll start with this past weekend at the Beaches International Jazz fest. I was sent to cover a specific singer, but once you have a decent shot of them performing it’s fun to look around and see what else is there.
Earlier that Day I had been at Scarborough Town Centre for a vintage car show, it took me a while to find the actual part of the parking lot where they were, but once you found it, all those shiny old cars stick out.
The day before I was downtown at Yonge – Dundas Square for the Unity Festival. It featured music and breakdancing, the breakdancing took me back to shooting Ottawa’s House of Paint event on film a few years ago.
Earlier on Saturday though I got to check out a rugby game down in the Beaches area.
My weekend started off with some huge technical obstacles though. On Friday afternoon I went to photograph a graduation ceremony for some new Toronto Paramedics and EMS workers.
However, I started noticing a black bar across my photos, when I checked the sensor I realized a shutter blade was loose. That black bar has turned into a horizontal light leak across my sensor. The biggest issue is it’s my 1D MKII body, it’s one of Canon’s proline camera body and I use it in inclement weather or situation where I fear for the safety of my, much more fragile, 5D MKII
The above photo was shot on my 5D. The photo below was on the 1D after the light leak, at that point it was still only affecting some of my pictures. It was at the Cultura Festival in Mel Lastman square and there was a sudden thunderstorm, blowing rain sideways, I was soaked from head to toe in seconds, this is the type of situation where I need this kind of bulky camera.
Here is a sample of just how the loose shutter blade was affecting my pictures, until I can find a repair quote (because I’m not sure Canon Canada still services this make) I’m down to one body.
The weekend before that I got to check out the Thai Festival in Nathan Phillips Square.
Sometimes interesting photos come from other things too, like off to the side of the Mad Pride Parade in Parkdale. Mad Pride is a march to celebrate of those who have interacted with the mental health system and while waiting for the march to arrive at an intersection I looked down the road and spotted a lady leading another one by a leash. Not something you see everyday, so I instinctively took a picture… Before I got the chance to go over and introduce myself, they turned and came towards me and offered a business card asking for a copy.
The evening before I popped by the Latin Arts Festival in Mel Lastman Squre in North York. While it was slow to start, in terms of interesting pictures, it turned out to be quite the event.
While the event was still gearing up I walked around to a few vendors and asked to do some portraits. One of them, an artist from Buenos Aries, had great pieces for a backdrop but I discovered quickly spoke limited English, at one point he asked, “Hablas Espanol?” Which coincidentally, I do, so we had a brief conversation I snapped a picture and continued on.
It had been a South American kind of day. Before the Latin Arts Festival I had been to the Salsa on St. Clair festival, a huge dance festival on St. Clair Avenue downtown. Nice light, low film speeds, almost wide open apertures and cool dancing made for some interesting pictures.
However, the biggest surprise was twenty minutes after arriving while I was still making my way down the festival from one end to another the first time when I came to a road block. The police had set up tape and were blocking access to a section of the street. I learned later that two people had been stabbed pretty much at the same time I was arriving at the festival at the other side, about twenty minutes earlier. One man had been taken to hospital with a chest wound, the other was in the ambulance still on scene about to leave with a hand wound.
Blood was still fresh on the pavement, CBC was a sponser of the event and had been handing out pins.
That Sunday was a busy day, before Salsa on St. Clair I stopped by a local hockey arena, the ice had been melted and a massive all day roller derby was happening. I only had time to photograph one game, and by total coincidence (honestly) the game that I ended up shooting was Ottawa Vs. Guelph (my two homes). Guelph destroyed Ottawa.
Even earlier in the day before, the Roller Derby, I went to Ashbridges Bay Skatepark, the beaches editor wanted some filler, in the form of nice pictures of regular things happening. Skateboarding is always fun to shoot and that’s where the photo request said to go.
The day had started off near the harbor at Yonge and Lakeshore heading south. The festival of India had begun and they started with and epic parade down the centre of Toronto to the harbor front, where the festival then moved to Toronto Island.
Going into my last month I’m pretty excited, there’s a by-election in Scarborough next week and soon it will be the Rogers Cup. Until next time.
On Monday I was just leaving the office as some nasty storm clouds rolled in. I started to drive home and after I got off the highway it became apparent this storm was more intense than a regular one. I spotted a road off to the side where cars were trying to push through more the 3ft of water in some cases. Not realizing then how widespread the flash floods across the city were I found a parking lot a little further down, threw on my rain gear and went to work. The pictures turned out great and ran on the front page of the York Guardian and inside all the others. I felt vindicated for my unpaid over time, which had me standing waist deep in water.
The greatest part though was the irony I encountered. An hour before the storm, one of the reporters in the newsroom made a crack about journalists being soft these days coming out of school. Soft, pfft.
The weekend before was very busy, very hot and also very wet I found myself with eleven assignments over the two days, although that’s common on weekends. There was the Taste of Lawrence festival in Scarborough, which featured performances and food.
There was a baseball game that was very nearly rained out, and I had to devise a system to stay dry while standing in a field in a rainstorm.
Then there was the Italian Festival, which happened to get soaked in heavy rains while I was there.
The weekend though began with fun in the sun at the Heatwave Charity volleyball tournament. Metroland had a team, and their own photographer (me).
Prior to the busy weekend though I spent my Friday evening wandering around Ford Fest, the Mayor’s annual BBQ, it was a very interesting assignment for me.
Earlier that week I went to Ottawa for fun, and even earlier that week was Canada Day. I took lots of flag waving pics in Scarborough, but my favorite one for some reason was this one below. It never even ran I just like it for some reason.
Prior to Canada Day I had, had another busy weekend. Including a soccer tournament called the Robby. It had been a long time since I photographed soccer but I felt like I fell back into it quite well. This one ran on the front page of the City Centre Mirror.
The week before many of the assignments were about the run-up to Canada day. Like the Canada Rocks event which was hosted at the Scarborough museum, and where I took this picture. This and the Capoeira photo of Jimmy doing the flip were my two favorites from the last two weeks.
And before that? Well that’s detailed in the previous post. Anyway for now it’s back to work.
It’s been just over a week since my job officially began here at the Toronto Community News. It’s been a fun and challenging week, with a steep but manageable learning curve.
I should start by saying Toronto is the biggest city I have ever lived and worked in. I grew up In Guelph and Milton, so I’ve visited Toronto often and the cultural impact of the city on southwestern Ontario is huge. Living in the shadow of the city is different than living in the city itself.
However, once I find myself on assignment there’s no much that makes working in Toronto different than working in other towns. I should point out through my beat is mostly community news. The company that owns Toronto Community News, Metroland Media Group is a subsidiary of Torstar media. Torstar’s flagship publication is the Toronto Star. So while I’m in Toronto most of the events I shoot are at the community level, or typically the things that the Star wouldn’t catch.
So I approach each assignment with an old acting adage ringing in my ears, “There are no small parts assignments only small actors photojournalists.” In my first week I covered multicultural festivals, cricket events, a midget level baseball game, a regional track meet, the tall ship festival, Guyanese independence day, one of the Toronto Jazz Festival events and community fundraisers to name a few.
Most of the papers publish on Thursday’s some like the North York and Scarborough Mirror’s publish on both Tuesday and Thursday. I had Tuesday and Wednesday off this week so when I came in this morning I got to see my pictures in print. This isn’t the first time, but it’s the first time in a while and it is still exciting to see your pictures in print.
With this introduction aside here are some pictures running loose in reverse chronological order.
On Sunday I only had four assignments, however, they were mostly outside and Toronto was under an extreme heat and humidity advisory for the day. I averaged drinking a litre of water per hour just to keep hydrated. Considering the athletes at the baseball game and track meet I photographed though I don’t think I can complain.
It was my first time shooting baseball at any level. I really liked it. I like the sport anyways and it’s great for pictures. Hopefully I will shoot more baseball games this summer and get better.
After the baseball game I rushed out to Centennial College’s progress ave. campus for the Toronto Guyanese community’s celebration of their independence day. Guyana was celebrating their 47th year of independence and their President happened to be in Toronto visiting that weekend so he came by to visit the celebrations.
My Sunday though had started out at York University in the morning. There was a regional high school track meet hosted by the Royal Canadian Legion. In the 40+ degree heat, running a 100m or 1600m race is not my idea of fun. Photographing it was good though.
I also got my first cover photo with Metroland there, the photo below ran on the front page of the Tuesday edition of the North York Mirror, hopefully there’ll be more of these in the following weeks.
This photo was me trying different things, while I have no issue getting the ‘standard’ images required. After that it’s fun to play around and try new things and new ways of telling the story.
My Sunday was capped off with a nice walk around the Fairbank Village area of Toronto near Eglinton and Dufferin streets. There was a multicultural festival on the street that day. While actual cultural activities seemed to be lacking there were food and buskers.
The day before had me running all over town for six different assignments. Once again most of them were outside except on this day instead of extreme heat it was periods of thunderstorms.
This photo was from a block party neighborhood event; the rain kept most people home or seeking shelter under things.
I was also able to catch part of the Toronto Jazz Festival, at one of the satellite shows at the Shops at Don Mills. There was a performance by the Toronto based Dixie Demons, it was pretty fun, despite the small crowds and rain.
On the Friday before I was asked to go and shoot the Redpath Waterfront festival, a four-day festival along Toronto’s waterfront featuring a fleet of tall ships. They also had events and performances; one of these events was a Flyboarding demonstration. Which was one of the coolest things ever.
Personally though I was interested in the ships. About ten years ago I sailed aboard a ship called the STV Fair Jeanne, which sails out of Ottawa. I distinctly remember being on watch at 4am in the middle of a rainstorm in June, under sail into Toronto harbour as the sun slowly started to rise behind us. The event lets people who may be interested tour the ships and get a feel for them before they all move onto the next stop and the Fair Jeanne was there this year too.
Last Thursday was one of my first officially assigned assignments at a small community park in York. The Jays Care Foundation, or the charitable wing of Toronto Blue Jays, had just refurbished a local ball-park, they had some community leaders and two former Jays on hand for the event.
They also had some of their trainers on hand to offer up a skills clinic to local kids.
When there’s down time and during the first day or two I was asked on occasion to go look for enterprising or feature pictures. These are standalone photos of daily life in the city. Sometimes they can have a newsy focus though it’s not needed. An example would be weather pics on a hot or rainy day.
Feature hunting as it’s called is just walking around taking pictures and talking to people, not a bad way to spend a few hours on a working day.
It’s been a diverse week and while the past week was mostly settling in I think the next few will go well. I look forward to shooting more and posting more, and if you’re in the Toronto area check out the Metroland Mirrors you might see my pics.
I have been an inactive blogger for sometime. I think in February I thought life couldn’t get busier than it was but that changed in March, when I had an assignment (at least one) due every day for the entire month. By April things started to slow down, and since May it’s mostly been a waiting game.
However, while things in April started to slow, I had also begun my chase for summer work. Initially I began with high hopes, at one point in mid-April it seemed like there were at least three reasonably likely prospects with different newspapers. Those petered off and by mid-May I began fearing I’d have to find work outside photography for the summer.
So I travelled to Ottawa, there I found work as a student house painter. On the day I was supposed to start working though I received an email offering me a job with Metroland’s group of newspapers in Toronto.
While I start tomorrow I realized I hadn’t posted a blog update in months. First I was too busy, then I was too lazy and on summer vacation and finally my computer was in for repair. So now I’ll catch up.
My last blog posted was at the end of February, so I’ll start in February in Ottawa.
In mid-February I photographed the Ottawa Fashion Week for FAJO Magazine. It was an interesting affair and my first time shooting anything in the fashion world. While most of the weekend was spent at the end of the runway, I was able to get some interesting moments and get a tour backstage.
My trip backstage was brief, I was only allowed ten minutes but it was fascinating to see what happens behind the scenes at a fashion week event.
Most of my other February exploits are detailed in a previous post here.
As March dawned the second years began finishing up their final projects in preparation for their end of program internships. The first years meanwhile were trying to keep from drowning in tedious assignments. The program is four semesters long and semester two and three are notorious for their intensity.
On the second weekend in March I returned to Ottawa to photograph the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Final 8 men’s basketball championships. It’s Canada’s version of NCAA final in March.
The games were hosted at Scotiabank place in Ottawa, and they were very well attended. As a student at Carleton I photographed this tournament twice before for the charlatan, Carleton’s student newspaper, you can check out some of those pics here for a look at some of my older stuff. I was flooded with nostalgia, especially because several friends from Ottawa were also there photographing the event it felt a bit like a working reunion.
For a while it looked like it was going to be an Ottawa vs. Ottawa final, but The University Ottawa Gee Gees didn’t quite make it. The Carleton Ravens won again making it a record number championship wins in CIS history.
Next weekend I drove a carload of Loyalist students past Ottawa to Montreal for the annual anti-police brutality protest. The protest was begun 17 years ago in response to suspicious deaths at the hands of Montreal police officers. However, in the years since, the march has attracted a more dubious reputation as an opportunity to confront the police directly on the streets.
After last year’s student protests in Montreal new legislation had been passed. In addition to the more controversial Loi 78, Montreal passed municipal laws requiring rally organizers to submit march routes in advance for approval from the police. If not then the protest could be declared illegal and that gave the police sweeping powers of arrest. Which is exactly what happened, as soon as marchers began assembling the police declared the protest illegal and began dispersing it and making arrests.
Loyalist students, completely by accident, went en masse to Montreal. There were about 23 of us in total. We stayed at hotels and spent a few hours chasing columns of police who were chasing the scattered protestors around the downtown core.
I ended up in a CTV News clip during one of the several on street interactions with the police. You can view it here, I’m on the left of the screen taking pictures when the police charge, it’s at the 48-second mark in the clip.
Just before 7pm, two hours after the protest started, the scattered protestors and police now converged at the intersection of Rue Sainte Catherine and Rue Saint-Andre. The police formed a kettle and closed ranks.
Partly by chance and partly because of experiences learned from the G20 I jumped back, narrowly avoiding a gloved hand that was pulling people in. As we found out later 15 Loyalist students were caught up in the kettle.
Some were released on the street, after Montreal police filmed them, and took down their info. They were told they’d be mailed a $640 ticket and to return home, that if they were found out on the streets again that night they’d be arrested, spend the night in jail and face possible criminal charges. Those not released on the street were loaded onto a repurposed city bus and taken to various precincts where they were processed and released. By 10:30pm we had confirmation that everyone was out and everyone was safe. By the numbers Loyalist students, there to photograph the demonstration, accounted for 8% of total arrests that night.
Everyone in my car, myself included, avoided the kettle and arrest and the next day we were all cheerfully headed back to Belleville, where Loyalist College is located. Along the way as we were passing Napanee, which is near Belleville, we spotted a huge plume of smoke rising from a field off the highway. We pulled off the highway and found the source of the fire, a barn in a farmer’s field and began taking pictures. The timing was convenient as we had a spot news assignment, any news that is not scheduled, due in class in two weeks time.
Later that week came the second round of advisory board meetings of the year. Advisory board is a once a semester picture review with photographers and editors from newspapers and newswires across Canada. I sat down with four different people and showed them the same sets of pictures, I heard four different critiques ranging from, “Yeah! This is great!” to, “None of your pictures are memorable.”
The most useful piece of advice I received was to stop pursuing things I thought others wanted to see and instead go with my gut more. So I decided to try and do that, although I was a little uncertain what that meant, I thought I had been going with my gut before.
Around this time we had a whole host of different projects to work on, from videos to picture documentaries, and once a week a lighting assignments. One of the more interesting lighting assignments was the environmental portrait. Which is a fancy way of saying a portrait in a relevant environment… So a firefighter in a fire hall, or a doctor in a hospital. Ours was specific, we had to find either a CEO or business owner, a blue collar worker or a luthier (someone who repairs stringed instruments, specifically lute based designs). I was in Ottawa one weekend, so I started phoning luthiers in the city and David (below) agreed to pose for a photo.
A week later I found myself once again in Ottawa. It was now the end of March, school was truly slowing down and I was trying to find a way to keep busy. So I returned to photographing the drag queen Savannah Couture. Savannah had agreed to let me photograph her before during and after performances a few times and the project had been universally well received amongst the advisors I met with.
Savannah started drag professionally only a month earlier, but with the help of her brother, who also happened to be a well-known queen in Ottawa, she was able to secure a regular weekend performance at Edge, a well-known gay bar in Ottawa.
A drag performance is essentially three parts, the first is the dress, which needs to compliment the queens own style and the song choice. The second is the performance, which is generally a lip sync set to music, song choice determines clothes, hair make-up and the dance itself, and most queens won’t repeat songs, every weekend it’s something new. The final part is audience interaction, like at a burlesque show in part drag is a celebration of sexuality, and so queens interact with and tease audience members usually as part of the show.
On this night there were three individual queens who performed and a fourth, Savannah’s brother and drag mother, who MC’d the evening. The night ended with all four of them dressing like the girls from the Lady Marmelade music video and performing the song as a quartet.
I had produced far better performance pictures that night than I ever had but I also recognized the familiar symptoms of artistic burn-out starting to set in. All of my pictures looked like crap, or that’s how I felt at the time. Scrolling through contact sheet after contact sheet they all looked uninspired. I began to understand what the advisor had meant about photographing things as I felt others wanted to see them. As the end of semester began to wind down I started focusing more on the multimedia projects I had to do, and writing.
In the final week of classes I received a call from the Oakville Beaver, they had been one of the many places I’d applied for a summer internship with. I had been selected for a working interview of sorts along with two others. So I scheduled a day to come down to the 905 and work for the Beaver for the day. In addition to a job interview I was asked to photograph two assignments as a freelancer, one for the Oakville Beaver and one for the Burlington Post, they both work out of the same office.
The first event was a children’s French ‘rock’ concert with Gregg LeRock, I remembered going to a similar show with a guy named Etienne who had songs like, “Etre is to be not, not, to be…” and other such clever things. The kids seemed to genuinely like it though which was the point after all.
Next I had to hop on the 403 and race to Oakville for a presentation at a local public school about a new energy use and education initiative that was being launched in the region.
A week later I was told I didn’t get the job. Later that afternoon I applied for another job at Inside Toronto another paper owned by the same company. After an interview there and a few more weeks of waiting I was offered a paid-summer internship there.
Starting Monday I expect to be busy for at least the next calendar year. This internship has me working full-time until I start school, then I enter into the most important and competitive parts of the Loyalist program and hopefully that leads to an internship and summer job next summer. All of that is to say I spent the last week watching cheap made-for-tv documentaries on Netflix and playing computer games, biking, reading and generally having a pretty ideal summer break.
Fortunately I have a friend who has agreed to rent me an air mattress in a corner of his bachelor’s apartment near High Park and the Junction. So for two months I’ll be living the dream… of sorts.
So with a new job in hand, motivation, functioning computer and period of artistic burn-out conquered, hopefully I’ll be inclined to blog more regularly. I think the summer’s going to be a good one.
So it’s been well over a month since my last post. Whoops?
Frankly since this blog is mostly about me I’ve been waiting until I had some interesting pictures to share. My main focus over the last month has been finding work. It’s been a pretty decent month, albeit low key.
First off though I want to show some pictures from Nosara. Since being back I’m now slowly working my way through the unprocessed film I have. While there I used two rolls of Fujichrome 100F. It’s a beautiful daylight slide film and it worked pretty well in combination with my antique Baldex.
The film was processed by a place in Ottawa, Labworks, where I’ve been going for years. They have a great deal too on 120 prints; one processed roll plus a set of 5×5 prints for about $12. Since I don’t have a medium format film scanner I scanned the prints and at 2400dpi it managed resolutions at 6000px x 6000px. Which is higher resolution than my 5D mkII. Not bad for a 65 year old camera…
Slide film doesn’t have a lot of latitude. You either get the exposure or you don’t, which made shooting with it much more difficult because I had no lightmeter… so I guessed most of the exposures, using some basic photography principles like ‘sunny f/16,’ and some basic math. However, the following two were a little overexposed and pulling down the exposure using modern editing techniques did some cool things to the colour.
This one from when Yamina (girlfriend) came to visit me the second time in May.
So I’ve been trying to keep busy and keep some of the momentum gained from school and Nosara as I continue through the fall. I am slated to start at Loyalist College’s Photojournalism program in January 2013 but that’s a few months away.
School went back two weeks ago and though I wasn’t there, my good friend was, and I’ve been receiving reports on the program and what to expect. Including some of the assignments. Each week there is a photo assignment where you have to do something specific. In abstentia I’m going to try to do as many as I can.
The first one was to take a picture of an interesting person, who is not a friend, family member or member of the Loyalist community. It took a day or two to set up the interview, but I ended up doing a photo of the dude who repaired my cellphone a few weeks ago. He has a unique operation run out of his apartment. So I showed up and photographed/interviewed him while he worked on a clients iPhone.
Photography has not been my main pursuit recently though, finding a job has been. I succeeded in finding a job as a full-time dishwasher at a restaurant/café around the corner from my house called With the Grain. I also got a job as a nightclub photographer for Guelph nightlife promoters Freshmedia. Tonight is my first night with them and it will be at the Vinyl (always the Trasheteria in my heart) and Friday and Saturday will be at the Loft.
However, whilst job searching in August I had a pretty fun time running around Ontario. I went to My dad’s cottage in Huntsville, stayed with my girlfriends family in Ottawa, saw some old friends and spent a day wandering Toronto before landing back in Guelph.
In Toronto I took a lot of pictures of the CN Tower… I haven’t actually tried to photograph the CN Tower since I got into photography, so it seemed like a good idea. But I was trying to find something unique and I think I did beyond just a tourist shot.
Toronto has a lot of Pigeons and there were a lot in the park near Kensington where Yamina and I ate lunch, I spent more time than I should have trying to photograph the nearby scavengers…
To get there we took the GO Train from Guelph to Toronto, which meant an early morning, by the time we arrived in Toronto I needed coffee. So we stopped at this place on Queen St West. It looked like grunge and dirt was the theme of the place….
Over the Labour Day weekend I had the opportunity to go to my dad’s cottage on Cowan Lake near Huntsville. There are great sunsets and glass-like water. I spent most of the weekend sitting on a dock drinking beer.
Also hung out with this wonderful lady.
See what I mean? Great sunsets…
So that about sets the tone for the next few months here. I’m trying to work as many hours as I can in anticipation of school, and keep from falling behind. This week we need to make three pictures, all themed around motion: one using a panning motion, one freezing motion and one blurring motion. So this Sunday I think I will pop over to the University of Guelph for some sports.
I’ve also been looking for assistant work in Guelph and have had some minor luck. I photographed a wedding with Trina Koster Photography on August 11, pictures are here and I assisted Ross David-Pilon from studio 404 during a commercial shoot with the Brampton Arts Council as an onsite editor. I’ll tease my new wedding post with one picture below.
Autumn must really be coming and for the first time since January it actually feels cold…
Well I’ve made it… or almost.
I’m in San Jose, I need to be in Nosara…
I should start with mentioning that I didn’t sleep the night before my departure, my nerves made sure of that. Thus at 5am Ottawa time (4am Costa Rica time), on zero hours of sleep, I trekked out to catch a bus to the airport. Ottawa was freezing, something like -30, I wore the only pair of pants I’m bringing, in addition to my packed sweater and windbreaker – I was just warm enough to wait for the bus.
Departing Ottawa was like clock work. However, because of the sub-arctic temperatures they had to coat the plane in a layer of anti-freeze. It was a little concerning at first because we weren’t told that this would happen. Suddenly moments before the engines lit to carry us into the sky the plane stopped and a weird looking truck drove up to the plane. A part of the truck lifted on a small crane attached to the back and then began spraying the plane in an orange mist from some attached hoses. I deduced it must be anti freeze.
In Toronto I had to re-check my bags, because I was transferring through Miami and the US makes you clear customs (even if you’re just transferring through an airport) before you take off. I arrived in Miami and had 45 minutes to race from one end of the huge airport to the other. Than my flight was delayed, so I bought Wendy’s and watched Boston Legal to pass some of the time.
One more uneventful flight (third flight that day) and I landed in San Jose, Costa Rica. I was bound and determined to get downtown via local bus as opposed to taxi, which meant saving around $19.60 USD. It also meant dusting cobwebs off my Spanish, despite running on zero energy. The bus rise was a little tense… I didn’t know where the stop was, what it looked like, when to call the stop, how to call the stop or if I was even on the right bus. Turns out I was, the bus dropped me off about a block from my hostel where I am now.
The hostel is cool, painted in random colours and run by some fat American ex-pat who wanders around between the front desk and his Wii console… That said this place has charm I was told there were three rules that applied to me when I arrived: 1. No drugs, no outside booze, they have their own 24h bar. 2. Return sheets and towels when I check out. 3. Be cool. I’m in an 8 person room, the hostel is almost empty right now and my room is something like $10 a night.
I haven’t slept in two days. The last three have been a crazy emotional rollercoaster, however, sitting here typing this out over a beer in the front foyer of the hostel has me facing a really cool new reality… I’m actually going to be in Costa Rica for the next six months. Crazy. Anyway, I need to sleep, tomorrow is touring around and I need to purchase a bus ticket to Nosara for the day after.
P.S. I’m currently talking with a lady who works at the hostel… she’s from Guelph, what a small world.