September 30, 2009
Pardon the cynicism, but the person or people who made these posters probably did the same thing when Michael Ignatieff propped up the current Conservative government. Big whoop.
I waited until the subway stopped at Spadina station in order to take this photo. By the way, if "only cults advertise," the Freethought Association Of Canada is technically a cult. God knows they advertise, even if they don't know that he knows. ;-)
In other news, a Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle photo I shot yesterday is now featured at Wikipedia. That makes for five Wikipedia features since I upgraded my Flickr account (four with my DSLR, one with my point-and-shoot). Also, the photo shoot to end all photo shoots (i.e. Nuit Blanche) is getting closer and closer. I'm going to plan my evening for maximum impact very soon, but the weather forecast looks as if it's going to somewhat ruin things once again.
September 29, 2009
Feel free to draw your own conclusions. I was going to speculate, but despite my internet handle, I have to use my mental filter at least some of the time.
Click this post's title to see all 84 photos at my Flickr page.
Click this post's title to see all 87 photos at my Flickr page.
I'm not going to try to write coherent paragraphs to describe my day, so here it is in bullet points:
- I'd do this all over again if only to ride the 300 Bloor-Danforth Blue Night bus. There's nothing like travelling on Bloor Street above ground as opposed to underground.
- If I knew the track-cleaning car would have passed through Jane station when I got there, I would have taken a picture.
- Thank God the rain stopped right before Joshua Cockerill busked at Union Station.
- Two words: Nifty Fifty!
- Next time, remember to bring a garbage bag for kneeling or laying down when taking shots. Lord knows who (or what) did what on the ground.
- I have two less MOO cards to hand out.
- To Sara(h?) and Emma from War Child: hello. *waves*
- To Luther and Matt from Crush Luther: thanks for the jump shot.
- To Chantal Kreviazuk: don't act like you don't remember how to sing "Eve". :-P
- By the time Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle started their set, the audience pretty much disappeared. :-/
All in all, it was a good day.
If all goes well, I'll be at Union Station in time for the morning gigs for War Child's 2nd Annual Busking For Change event. I initially thought that only First Canadian Place was participating, but I found out the error of my thinking right before going to bed yesterday night.
One way or another, I'll have photos for you when I get home!
September 28, 2009
The f-stop on that first shot is 2.2, in case you were wondering. ;-)
I purchased it in the summer of 2006, right before I took my vacation in Montreal. At the time, I thought that I'd just need it for that vacation, but the many photo albums I've uploaded to my Facebook account proved me dead wrong.
On days when I don't have my DSLR with me, I usually carry this camera with me. That proved to be a shrewd move last Saturday, when Brian Burke made a visit to Future Shop which I didn't previously know about. That visit would also give me my first Wikipedia photo shot with this camera.
Old Faithful has been good to me. I'm not finished with it yet.
If you recall, I also intended to purchase a tripod. However, when I fully grasped how much money I'd have to spend in order to make a sturdy investment, I scratched that notion for the time being.
Here's my Nifty Fifty in the flesh.
This will probably be my last major camera-related purchase for at least a few months. Lens-wise, I'd like to buy a telephoto lens that goes up to 200 or 300 mm. I said "major" because, due to a brain cramp from God-knows-where, I didn't think that purchasing another UV filter was necessary until I was already on my way home. I ended up heading back to Downtown Camera to rectify that mental error; good thing Stan didn't catch a glimpse of my return visit.
On a side note...before leaving the store after my initial purchase, Stan told me that the "Nifty Fifty" term only applies to the Canon version. That was the first time I'd ever heard that rule...
I probably should have used my DSLR for this shot, but I want it to be completely fresh for tomorrow. Besides, why use a bazooka when all you need is a flyswatter?
Right, about tomorrow...First Canadian Place is hosting War Child's 2nd Annual Busking For Change event, with performances happening from 7 - 9 a.m., 12 - 2 p.m. and 4 - 6 p.m. I'll be taking photographs within the lunchtime slot.
I've previously thought about the fact that I haven't really done anything with my life thus far, and as I showered this morning, the same thought came to mind. Perhaps it's because I'm approaching thirty years on this planet, but as I get closer to this milestone birthday, taking stock makes sense.
My last job was nothing to write home about. To make a long story short, I was balancing internal bank accounts by updating spreadsheets, something far beneath my potential. As a matter of fact, I probably made more of an impact as a games operator at Centreville Amusement Park; at least I had face-to-face interaction with the people I was serving. Perhaps my income has taken a hit as a result of being unemployed, but at least I don't have to worry about being a cog in the modern machine for now. It's not that employment is the only area that's indicative of my lack of impact; romance is another significant one.
So how does all of this relate to putting a viewfinder in front of my left eye, pressing a button and repeating the process ad nauseam? At the very least, photography is something I love to do. Even if it doesn't lead me to bigger and better things (though I hope it does), it makes me happy. Period.
As Switchfoot says in one of their songs:
If we've only got one try
If we've only got one life
If time was never on our side
Then before I die, I want to burn out bright
September 27, 2009
September 26, 2009
I don't think John Tory would cross the floor in order to gain more votes for himself. At the very least, he'd have a press conference announcing his switch. Ergo, methinks someone at Global News has some explaining to do.
Between Burke's honesty with each question and one of the Future Shop staff in particular (I hope she knows who she is if she reads this), the visit was very enjoyable. This poor guy, however, might have wished that Burke wasn't so forthcoming with his opinions.
This pair of shorts got two sets of disses from the current Maple Leafs GM, the most memorable one being "Get your eyes checked." The rest of us ate it up, but for this photo's subject, it must have felt like the equivalent of letting in an easily-saved goal. Thankfully, he was gracious enough to let me take his photo without even knowing if I was with the media or the media.
After everything was over, I headed upstairs to buy lunch. (In case you asked - rotini with rosé sauce, pepperoni and chicken.)
Click this post's title to see all 14 photos at my Flickr page.
I was going to start deeplinking photos starting with this one, but it isn't available for that yet. All I'll say right now is to note the effective use of perspective.
Click this post's title to see the photo at Flickr.
P.S. I subtitled this post "Part 1" because I have a good feeling there will be a "Part 2" sometime in the near future.
September 25, 2009
Hopefully, when I reach 65, I won't only be thinking about sex. ;-)
Ahem...when I get my tripod next week, I plan to do a nighttime photo shoot in this neighbourhood. It'll be good to do a practice run before Nuit Blanche.
I put "mistake" in quotes because, now that I think about it, the watermark looks better without the punctuation. Ergo, going forward, no more exclamation marks in my watermarks.
As for upcoming photo shoots: I want to shoot a Havana Cultura event tomorrow, but I don't think the weather is going to hold up. That's okay; an event I'm super stoked about is happening in one week: Nuit Blanche! Between my new DSLR camera and the tripod I'll be purchasing next week (and maybe the Nifty Fifty lens), I'm especially excited about this year's edition of NB.
September 24, 2009
Before that point, I was giving my attention to self-defeating thoughts and emotions; if I continued to do so, I would have wasted my day. Right after Creflo's question, I searched for the video where Will Smith and Tony Romo motivated a group of high school students - specifically, the one I posted here. While watching it, I decided to either buy more camera gear or do an unplanned photo shoot. I chose the latter option; my chosen location was a bridge I passed while joyriding the 100 Flemingdon Park bus.
I've already posted the results of my decision. No post, however, can do justice to the relief I feel after refusing to wallow in self-pity.
I'm either going to buy a Nifty Fifty lens and a tripod* or go somewhere unplanned and take a photo. Either way, expect at least one more entry from me today.
It's on and poppin'!
*I know this smacks of retail therapy, but I've been contemplating a tripod purchase for a while. The Nifty Fifty lens would just be a bonus.
I found out about a free concert being held by The Canada Council For The Arts in order to showcase the winners of the Musical Instrument Bank Competition. A news conference was held at 10:00 a.m. to announce these winners - however, being the overly cautious person that I am, I waited until 1.5 hours after that time in order to reserve my ticket. When I called, no more tickets were available.
I charged my D60's battery in anticipation of a photo shoot this morning, but as I sit and type this entry, I don't know what to do with myself. Perhaps it's this cold that I'm fighting right now, but I don't have the energy nor the desire to actively seek out a place to do a photo shoot. On top of that, Toronto's weather forecast for Saturday is not good, so I may not be able to take photos at the Havana Cultura event.
September 23, 2009
On my way there, I looked at a few other CDs - but right before going to the register again, the thought of leaving empty-handed crossed my mind. Normally, I'd ignore that thought, especially considering the inexpensive price. However, I eventually returned Tonic to its shelf, thinking that the price of $9.95 would be better spent on camera gear...like a Nifty Fifty lens.
This post is bound to become moot when I purchase the upcoming Switchfoot album, but that doesn't matter right now.
September 22, 2009
I know the exact cause of this squandering of opportunity. Last night, I started working on a mash-up of two songs: The Chemical Brothers' "It Doesn't Matter" and Tye Tribbett & G.A.'s "Stand Out"; the idea popped into my head earlier in the day. As the project progressed, I got so into it that I didn't care about petty things like getting enough sleep. As a result, I have a techno/gospel soundclash to show for my efforts, but I won't have any photos. That sucks.
Having said that, given the uncertain weather, the venture would have been a gamble from the outset. Looking out my window now, however, the forecasted rain seems to be holding up.
September 21, 2009
In other news, I'd like to shoot Car Free Day in downtown Toronto tomorrow, but the weather forecast looks gloomy. Also, the cards I ordered from Moo should be arriving sometime this week. I'll also be purchasing a tripod in the near future; I'll definitely have it in time for Nuit Blanche.
September 20, 2009
Click this post's title to see all 99 photos at my Flickr page.
Anyway, Chuck was rapping and genially signing a lot of autographs for his audience during his appearance. I was taking photos during one of his autograph sessions when he suddenly turned my way and greeted me. Being a gentleman, I responded back - but the D wasn't done with me yet.
After giving me a fist bump much like one that Barack & Michelle Obama shared, he looked into my camera and pushed his fist out. You know what happened next.
The fist is out of focus, but I honestly don't care about that. What really counts is that, in a week where I attended red carpet events to get close to celebrities, a non-red carpet event ended up giving me my favourite shot of this year's TIFF.
Thanks, Chuck D. Much respect.
September 18, 2009
Three of my photos are at blogTO as part of their TIFF Photos collection; they're in the slideshow after the featured photos. Also, Roger Green, a professor at the University Of Western Ontario, used one of my photos to illustrate his article on TIFF's spotlight on Tel Aviv. He was even nice enough to credit me under the Creative Commons license.
Onward and upward, getting ready for two photo shoots tomorrow. I especially look forward to the TIFF Wrap Party at Yonge-Dundas Square; Chuck D and Clyde Stubblefield (the drummer behind "Funky Drummer") will be in attendance.
Click this post's title to see all 12 photos at my Flickr page.
September 17, 2009
This is Cheryl Izen, the Red Carpet Organizer at Roy Thomson Hall for TIFF. As you can see, I named this photo Silver Bullet due to her hair; I was going to name it Silver Fox, but she may have objected to being called a fox, even if it was a compliment.
Note how her outfit is perfectly co-ordinated, particularly in the choice of scarf.
Anyway, the photo.
I took a few more just like this one using different orientations and compositions. This one made the cut.
Click this post's title to see all 52 photos at my Flickr page.
The more astute among you may have already figured out where this story is going. For the rest of you, I'll just say that I made sure to get the yellow out right before leaving the gym.
Anyway, I arrived at the scene of my photo shoot and staked out what I thought was a good spot. As the screening time of Cooking With Stella drew closer, I noticed two things:
- the air was getting colder
- I'd eventually have to get the yellow out again
The second point proved to be my downfall. After the movie's cast started arriving (in rickshaws, no less), I eventually had to leave my position and answer nature's call. After I returned, I waited a few minutes to see if I could reposition myself at the security fence for the next gala, but to no avail. I eventually decided that Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow weren't worth waiting for, probably due to being afraid of having to go again.
September 15, 2009
You'd think that grown adults would know better than to behave like animals, especially the ones who are tasked with setting examples for their children. Unfortunately, as Naomi Watts signed autographs, a few people behind me decided it was a good idea to push me in order to get a better view.
I bet they didn't expect me to push right back; heck, I didn't expect myself to push back - but I'm glad I did. I had to do it one more time when someone to the right of me didn't take the hint the first time around. I also had to punch upward when some genius obstructed my camera's flash by placing his autograph material over my head. Better still, a short lady behind me decided to forego the concept of personal space and use my shoulder in balancing herself (or some other reason which I care not to speculate about).
At this point, I snapped. "Don't touch my shoulder," I said firmly. "You should have brought better goods...and you should have come earlier." The truth is that I was already pissed off at her for using a very small gap between myself and another person to place her bag; her general lack of manners also drove me to the edge. If she came earlier, she surely could have staked out a better and bigger spot for herself and her stuff. I don't normally go out of my way to be a jerk, but when it comes to red carpet events, only the carpet should be stepped on.
I conclude this post with a much more lighthearted incident revolving around my Kangol hat and Mayor David Miller. His appearance was a surprise for me; here's how our exchange went down:
Mayor Miller: "That's the best hat I've seen in ages."
Tsar Kasim: "Thanks."
Miller: "Can I have it?"
TK: "No...you don't look like you need it."
I had to reassure him that my last line was a compliment; this photo should be sufficient proof.
My hat would only ruin his coif. ;-)
Click this post's title to see all 32 photos at my Flickr page.
September 13, 2009
When I'm shooting photographs, no one can tell me what or how to shoot. When I'm editing photos in Photoshop Elements, I don't have to think about someone else's possible opinion about my finished products. Everything starts with me and ends with me.
If ever a photography firm takes me on, I don't want to lose (or even compromise) that control. I'm not a control freak in other areas of my life, but since this is the only thing I have which no one else can touch, any loss of control would be akin to stabbing myself in the heart.
Click this post's title to see all 169 photos at my Flickr page.
As I returned home from my Zombie Walk photo shoot on Saturday afternoon, some of the thoughts running through my head before and during the shoot returned to me. For instance, upon seeing a SNAP Downtown Toronto photographer who had much better goods and an easy-going manner of co-operating with his subjects, I suddenly felt nervous and inadequate. Fortunately, one of the zombies provided encouragement by reminding me that since I was working for myself, no one could control my photos. After a few more minutes of dealing with those feelings, I went straight to work.
I'd also be interested in how the brain works as inspiration strikes. For example, check out this photo I took during a break at Nathan Phillips Square.
As you can see, the faces are a bit blurrier than the hand; this was done on purpose. I recall a weekly assignment at the Digital Photography School; the task was to show a photograph which was a mistake, but ended up becoming a keeper. The winner was a photo where the focus was meant to be on the singer's face, but the hand became the focal point instead.
With that picture in mind (perhaps unconsciously), every time a zombie reached out its hand toward my lens, I switched to aperture-priority mode in order to get the desired depth of field. In the above case, the effect wasn't as stark as I would have preferred, but it also isn't invisible. Besides, I was working at my lens' lowest possible f-stop number of 3.5.
As is often said, you have to use what you've got to get what you want.
September 11, 2009
Torontonians should know which three stations were involved in the making of these photographs: Christie, Islington and King. Personally, I've seen the Christ in Christie for years, but I never would have come up with something like this.
Note that I'm not trying to push the King Of Kings through this blog entry, but rather, highlight clever photographic technique.
With that in mind, an idea hit me during my stargazing, although it's one that's already doing wonders for Scott Schuman. That's right: taking pictures of well-dressed citizens who are stars in their own right. The focus wouldn't be on high fashion or trend-breaking outfits per se, but I'd like to shine a spotlight on people who could be stars at a time when people who are stars are getting the most press.
I actually asked a fine-looking woman on Cumberland if she'd let me take her picture. She turned me down (some things never change), but due to the fact that I asked the question in the first place, I'm actually making progress.
Pray that I don't chicken out on my planned start date of Saturday or Monday.
Technically, I'm still unemployed, as I have been since May 1st. I still don't earn a paycheque for the work I do (yet); eventually, I'll have to find an income-generating vehicle one way or another. So far, I have refused to be stressed over this inevitability.
That doesn't mean that I haven't had dark moments where I've acted out temporary frustrations over my circumstances. I've had moments where I thought that I had failed everyone who put their faith in me over the years. I went from having ambitions of being a doctor or accountant to the low point of doing meaningless and unfulfilling work which any idiot could do. (No wonder I was outsourced!)
I thought things were supposed to be different for me; my future was supposed to be so much brighter than this. I thought I'd be on my way to saving up for a home of my own; I'm nowhere near that goal right now. I thought that, at the very least, I'd be in a long-term relationship - but since this costs money, I can't pursue that avenue at the moment. Actually, I don't want to.
I thought that I'd be happy. The truth is that I'm not...in the way that I thought I should be.
It's funny how "tragedies" can work out for good when we let them.
I'm a risk-averse person by nature. I won't ask any woman out unless I know for sure that she's interested in me; to this day, I've actually never done it. I won't spend money that I don't have unless it's related to an important expenditure, like rent. Until this summer, I wouldn't have considered pursuing a career path other than working for someone else...or, at the very least, working in the field that I trained for. Yet, here I am at the end of the summer, taking what could be the biggest risk of my life.
I've started my fourth blog with no idea of how successful it will be, or if I will have any interest in maintaining it past six months. I've heavily invested in this possible career of photography, going so far as to use my savings to buy a DSLR, speedlight and various other accessories. (By the way, don't be surprised if I buy a tripod before Nuit Blanche.)
Yet, in spite of the high possibility of this dream crashing down, I have experienced euphoria that always eluded me at my previous jobs. Even with the disappointment of Labour Day, this past week has been one high after another - and that includes yesterday evening's concert.
I had to lose my job to realize what on-the-job happiness is. Kind of like having to die in order to live.
I leave you with a song that literally just popped into my head as I typed that last sentence...
During the downtime, I met three photographers who were either working on their own or for a photographic agency. It didn't matter that I didn't have an official media tag or any other credentials. When they saw me with my newly-accessorized DSLR, the ice melted; there was no need to break it.
Oh, and in case you're wondering...one of them asked me if I had a card. I gave him Kristen Gale's suggestion from earlier in the week, then probably made a promise to myself that I'd work on getting my own cards next week. I mean, what's $19.99USD compared to the money I've already spent on this new vocation? ;-)
Click this post's title to see all 89 photos at my Flickr page.