December 24, 2009

Purple Waterfall

I was originally planning to go home immediately after photographing the lighting display at Yonge St. and Scrivener Square. This waterfall, however, put the lie to that idea.

Purple Waterfall

At the top is a seesaw which fills up with water about every minute. When this happens, the seesaw tips over and the water falls as illustrated in the above picture. Thanks to Legs, Millie and experimenting with shutter speed and aperture settings, it only looks as if water constantly falls from the seesaw.

There's no telling how many people you can deceive with the right settings.

Standing Room Only?

Just when I thought I was about to engage in another ordinary bus ride, an annoying kid and his father boarded my bus. During his reign of mischief, he stood on two of the seats near me.

Standing Room Only?

He was totally oblivious to the footprints he left. Unfortunately, his father just didn't care; neither did the two ladies who later sat in these very seats.

Cavalcade Of Lights 2009: Neighbourhood Lighting Part 3 (Dec 23 2009)

Continuing the Cavalcade Of Lights series, I visited Emery Village and Rosedale Main Street yesterday evening.

Click this post's title to see 10 new photos at my Flickr site.

December 22, 2009

Help, I Shot Myself!

For the longest time, I've been promising to change my Twitter profile picture. I've previously been stymied by a lack of desire and laziness, but after I came back from choir practice earlier tonight, I decided to go for it.

For reasons which I didn't initially anticipate, shooting myself took a bit longer than I thought. For example, I didn't think that focusing would be a big issue, but I must have taken at least fifteen blurred photographs of myself before I started seeing progress. Keep in mind that my 50mm lens doesn't autofocus on my D60, but even if I was using my autofocus-enabled kit lens, I still would have used the manual focus. In a situation like this where the photographer is also the subject, I can't rely on autofocus to make me look sharp.

Once I got the focus right, I had to try different aperture and shutter speed combinations in order to get the right exposure. On top of that, my pose had to be such that I didn't end up embarrassing myself. Not that I was going to upload this photo to a dating website, but you never know who will look at your Twitter page. For example, I won't mention names, but three famous people started following my Twitter account in the past few days.

After what must have been at least thirty minutes of experimentation plus a few more minutes of Photoshop tweaks (just lighting, nothing else!), here's my current Twitter picture.

Except for the hat, I wore this outfit to choir practice. Bonus tidbit: I got the shirt at Club Monaco for nineteen dollars. ;-)

Integrating Facebook And Flickr

Other than the recent addition of one fan, the Facebook page for He Shoots... hasn't been getting much love. That's hardly a complaint; even the son of God had to begin his earthly life as a baby. Just sayin'...

Yesterday night, I sought to better integrate my Facebook and Flickr pages, eventually settling upon an application called Flickr Tab. It puts a tab in your Facebook profile where your Flickr photos are displayed. This is an especially useful tool for me since I no longer upload my photos to Facebook. Unfortunately, I ran into a few hiccups upon my initial attempt because the program didn't link to my Flickr profile. Upon a second try earlier today, however, it's fulfilling its purpose.

You can now see my Flickr photos from this blog's Facebook page.

No More Flickr Features

A few minutes ago, I was looking for a Flickr photograph to feature at this blog. I usually search the most recent uploads and pick the first one which catches my eye (and is available to be deeplinked). Unfortunately, even though my SafeSearch filter is on, a few NSFW images sometimes slip through the cracks. Since they probably haven't been marked as adult content yet, they manage to appear in the queue.

I won't get into details, but thanks to seeing a pornographic image, I've just decided to stop featuring Flickr photos (other than my own) until further notice.

For the record, despite any assumptions you may have about the male population, I've never been nor will I ever be a fan of pornography.

December 21, 2009

Kensington To Welcome

In between finding my next shot and making my way through a sometimes-impolite crowd, I took this photograph.

Kensington To Welcome

In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have taken this photo. It's likely been shot one million times by one million photographers with one million reasons for doing so.

Then again, if I were you, I'd place my bets on #1,000,001. ;-)

Kensington Market Festival Of Lights 2009 (Dec 21 2009)

In celebration of the winter solstice, Red Pepper Spectacle Arts held the Festival Of Lights in Kensington Market.

Click this post's title to see all 34 photos at my Flickr site.

December 20, 2009

Death From Above 2009

Yesterday afternoon, I was feeling better after a bout of stomach flu. I decided to buy my bi-weekly Blizzard from the usual location, but right before doing so, I took this picture.

Death From Above 2009

I noticed the gang of pigeons right above this set of entrance doors. After remembering that I had Nicky on me, I went back outside and took a few shots, choosing the one which best reflected the humour of the situation.

As for the Blizzard itself, it didn't taste so good. As a matter of fact, I did something with it that I haven't done in years: I threw it away without finishing it. I guess wasn't completely through recovering from the stomach flu...either that, or there weren't enough cookie dough bits to justify completion. ;-)

Designer Saturdays (Dec 19 2009)

Click this post's title to see all 48 photos at my Flickr site.

December 18, 2009

Down With The Sickness

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a funny feeling in my stomach. It turned out to be the stomach flu, complete with an embarrassing case of diarrhea. If you've ever passed gas with a nice "surprise" at the end, you'll know why I used the word "embarrassing."

As I lay in bed this morning, I suddenly started thinking about the potential financial impact of a more serious sickness. Since I don't work for a company at the moment, my health care costs are being paid entirely out of my own pocket. This is something I'll have to get used to if my photoblogging gig takes off and becomes my sole source of income. I'm in pretty good health right now, but what if this were to change?

I've always known that self-employment isn't always what it's cracked up to be, but when the health angle is considered, a day job looks really attractive at the moment. By no means will I be looking at job ads just yet, but the last thing I want to think about is potential bankruptcy caused by a disease or something worse.

December 17, 2009

Man Up Or Shut Up

I knew that shooting Downsview Park's Trail Of Lights last night would be a challenge; there was the possibility of flurries making things difficult. Plus, in 2008, my efforts at photographing the Trail were hampered by cold weather and camera batteries which eventually died. In light of these potential roadblocks, I did everything I could to ensure a successful shoot.

Spare battery? Check!

Warm clothing? Check!

Umbrella? Check!

When I arrived at Downsview Park, things got off to a bad start. The bus driver thought he knew where I could purchase a Trail ticket, but he ended up letting me off at the wrong stop. Admittedly, the walk to the ticket booth turned out to be short, but nonetheless, I wanted to hit the ground running.

Speaking of the ticket booth, unlike last year, it was not indoors. Thanks to new routing which made the Trail car-friendly (pshaw), I had to buy my ticket at an outdoor booth. I was counting on being able to set up my equipment in an indoor area, but this would not be the case. As a matter of fact, immediately after purchasing said ticket, I readied Nicky, Legs and Millie for action.

A few seconds after I commenced the shoot, the cold temperature started to get to my fingers. Since I needed to use my wireless controller and manipulate my tripod, I'd either have to call off the shoot (shut up) or tough it out (man up). I chose to do the latter; even though I had to prioritize and skip a few photo opportunities, I made it with no frostbitten appendages. Intermittently blowing into my gloves helped somewhat, but this shoot required mental tenacity as well as good physical conditioning. Fortunately, right after taking my last shot, I caught a bus which I saw heading into Downsview Park a few minutes earlier. Despite my cold fingertips, I started collapsing my tripod on that bus and finished packing my gear when I got to Downsview station.

I usually pack two granola bars in case hunger strikes during any given photo shoot; I don't always need the second one. I didn't need it last night, but that didn't stop me from eating it before I went home. ;-)

Cavalcade Of Lights 2009: Downsview Park Trail Of Lights (Dec 16 2009)

Determined not to let a dead camera battery get in my way this year, I took photographs of Downsview Park's Trail Of Lights.

Click this post's title to see all 46 photos at my Flickr site.

December 16, 2009

Genghis Khan's First Conquest

A few weeks ago, I blogged about a crash course in Photoshop Elements - specifically, a few tools which I had never used until that point. A brief recap: I was asked to edit a few photographs for a client, but these edits were beyond the scope of my then-current experience. Fortunately, I found the right tools to help me in my mission.

This afternoon, I can report that this mission is not only accomplished, but that my client is pleased with my efforts. To make a long story short, I recently returned from delivering his images and getting paid for the photos.

Yes, you read that right - I got paid for taking photographs.

I'm not rolling in dough by any means, nor am I planning an early retirement (yet). However, in case anyone still thinks that this gig is a pipe dream (myself included), at least that pipe is still overflowing with optimism.

As for the title of this entry, it comes from this tweet. Perhaps my muscles are getting soft due to a lack of working out, but my ego is still as healthy as it ever was. :-)

December 15, 2009

Keeping Track

Even though my ultimate goal is to earn a viable income from my photographs, I sometimes think that this gig is nothing more than a pipe dream to shield me from getting a day job. Even if I end up doing another full-time job, however, I'll never completely give up my ambitions.

Case in point: I have two files on my computer where I've listed my accomplishments since starting this blog. One is ordered by date and lists my camera gear purchases as well as photo features; the other is ordered alphabetically and solely lists photo features. At the time of this posting, I've had my photos featured 43 times, including appearances at Wikipedia, blogTO and Toronto Life. I don't only do this for self-encouragement, but also to strengthen my case for photography employment if the opportunity ever arises.

I don't mean to sound proud, but I'm surely not done updating those files just yet.

December 13, 2009

Cavalcade Of Lights 2009: State Of Shock Concert (Dec 12 2009)

Vancouver's State Of Shock put Nathan Phillips Square in a state of shock with their Cavalcade Of Lights concert.

Click this post's title to see all 64 photos at my Flickr site.

December 12, 2009

Designer Saturdays: Melissa Clemente Designs (Dec 12 2009)

It was Melissa Clemente's turn to show her wares at Freedom Clothing Collective's Designer Saturdays.

Click this post's title to see all 24 photos at my Flickr site.

Take A Fare Hike

I was on my way to a photo shoot when I stumbled on a protest against the upcoming TTC fare hike. The shot below is the winning shot from the few that I took.

Take A Fare Hike

The placard doesn't connote that this is a TTC-related protest, but nonetheless, I wanted a streetcar in this shot anyway.

Okay, minor confession - I purchased a ticket for Avatar before going to the shoot. I don't want to be disappointed when screening time arrives.

December 10, 2009

Nicky Meets...

I knew that I'd attend Hulk Hogan's autograph signing earlier today, but before leaving home, I was still undecided as to whether I'd be taking Nicky. Even though I initially decided to leave her at home, I ended up taking her with me (along with Speedy and Frosty).

Upon my arrival at Chapters, I thought I should have left my gear behind. Let's just say that I'm glad I didn't.

Exhibit A:

Hulk Hogan #1

I had no idea that the Hulkster would be making his entrance from the same hallway where the washrooms are found. When I saw a media guy standing near the spot where I eventually stood, I put two and two together. As you can see, my focusing skills were a bit off.

Exhibit B:

Jimmy Hart #1

I also didn't know that Jimmy "The Mouth Of The South" Hart would also be appearing at this autograph session; he wasn't even listed. As a matter of fact, when I first saw him, I thought it was an impersonator. As Queenie (a friendly young lady I briefly talked to) said, "That mullet doesn't lie!"

Exhibit C:

Jimmy Hart #2

During the session, Jimmy briefly stepped away from the table for a few photos; I shot the above photos during this break. Before shooting those photos, I decided to stay until the end of the autograph session in order to get a better photo of Hulk Hogan.

Exhibit D:

Hulk Hogan #2

I thought my focus was dead-on, but the Hulkster is still a but blurry here. Perhaps it's because he was walking and I couldn't manually compensate for that.

I thought the story was over at this point, but the ending is even better. After going downstairs and putting my camera gear back in my bag, I went back upstaits to the men's room before going home. While drying my hands, Hulk and Jimmy (along with their handler) unexpectedly walked in.

Let me say that again for those of you who didn't quite book that. Jimmy Hart and Hulk Hogan unexpectedly walked into the men's washroom while I was drying my hands.

I thought I recognized them in the corner of my eye, but I checked the mirror on my left just to be sure. I wasn't starstruck, but I was pretty dang close - so close that I dried my hands a bit longer than necessary while figuring out how to leave the washroom without looking like a moron. I decided to say goodbye to Mr. Hart and Mr. Hogan on my way out; the former thanked me for my help even though I did approximately nothing, while the latter didn't say a word in return. I'm not complaining, though - I didn't even mention Hulk's name for fear of pissing him off and possibly getting bodyslammed.

Since we're talking about celebrity encounters, let me post one more from Saturday night.

After Jully's Concert

Obviously, that's me on the left; on the right is Torontonian songstress Jully Black. This photo was taken by one of her staff members after her Cavalcade Of Lights gig at Nathan Phillips Square. Meeting her wasn't part of my plans, nor was buying her latest album (The Black Book). I'm glad I got to do both on Saturday night.

December 06, 2009

Cavalcade Of Lights 2009: Jully Black Concert (Dec 5 2009)

As part of the Cavalcade Of Lights concert series, Jully Black and The Pages rocked the daylights out of Nathan Phillips Square.

Click this post's title to see all 102 photos at my Flickr site.

Designer Saturdays: Pretty Kitty (Dec 5 2009)

Kathleen Watt put the "pretty" in Pretty Kitty in this edition of Freedom Clothing Collective's Designer Saturdays.

Click this post's title to see all 61 photos at my Flickr site.