Monday, December 28, 2009

Nature's Swarovski!

The most ephemeral and transient of "things" in nature are more beautiful than any of man's creations. Please see more images here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

iPhone Diaries #31 "medieval"

One of the challenges one faces in trying to come up with interesting images is the dearth of discretionary time, not just in the physical search for that image(s) , but also time for reflection and meditation...those moments when the mind is allowed to wander to "play".

Monday, November 30, 2009

iPhone Diaries #27 "a rainy night in Guelph"

A rainy night on a warm late November, multi-textured and many-layered, like Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", taken last night on the corner of Gordon and Macdonell.

Friday, November 20, 2009

iPhone Diaries #16 "cheese at Costco"

Philippine Educational Project (PEP), update #2

A brochure and some printed material from St. Mary's Publishing Corporation came in the mail a few days ago. It shows the textbooks required for the elementary and high school grades. At the same time, I received a wish list from the public school principal for the pre-school grade, 1 textbook for each of the following (with the purchase price in Philippine pesos with Canadian dollar conversion): prep math (219.00/$5.05), prep reading (219.00/$5.05), prep language (189.00/$4.35), prep writing (219.00/$5.05), prep Filipino (175.00/$4.04).
To equip a child with all 5 textbooks would cost, in Canadian funds, $23.54! It is likely that at least 2 children will share a set of textbooks, and the same textbooks will be passed on to the next batch the next year.
So for the price of any one of the following: 3-half chicken Swiss Chalet meals, or 4 Big Mac meals, or 11 tall Starbucks regular coffee, two or more children will have a set of textbooks. In Ontario, $23.00 is not enough to buy a dozen regular beers!
The textbooks will physically last a few years and the learning will last a lifetime whereas the food items will be excreted from your system in 24 hours!
Think about it.
More updates to come, of course.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Emma Rose Fund's Night of Enchantment

Grenville Pinto on violin

October 23, 2009, I had the distinct honour and privilege of shooting the Emma Rose Fund's inaugural fundraising gala, a Night of Enchantment, at Le Parc in Concord, Ontario. The Fund supports the families of children with Mucopolysaccharide (MPS) diseases.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

iPhone Diaries #8 "moxie"

Vintage photograph by A.G. Pittaway

Last July 26th, I wrote about finding a "treasure trove" of 12 vintage photos of varying provenance. These photographs are windows to the past, and I set out to find out as much as I could about the photographs, specifically, about the photographer.
Pictured above are the front and back images on thick card stock measuring 4.25"x6.5". The photo of the woman measures 4"x5.5" on thin photographic paper meticulously pasted on to the card. The text underneath the photo is deep-embossed gold-toned lettering. The whole effect is a look of elegance, as befits an infrequent, and therefore treasured, occasion: a photo sitting. The photo would have been taken with a large format camera (4x5? or more likely with a 5x7) and the print looks like a contact print, judging from the sharpness of the image. Retouching was most likely done on the negative. The print processing is superb, with no discernable fading. Until the advent of the Kodak Brownie in the 1930's, the operation of a camera, and the subsequent processing, required expertise (and artistry). Photographs from that period have stood the test of time, with minimal fading and discoloration.
Alfred George Pittaway opened his first solo studio at 58 Sparks Street, Ottawa, after a brief partnership with Samuel J. Jarvis from 1882-1890. Ottawa was "infested" with photo studios in the latter half of the 19th century (the original tech boom), and Pittaway was a mainstay of that period. He died in 1935.
(with facts from

iPhone Diaries #7: "Yellow"

iPhone Diaries #6 "the blues"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

my posting on dpreview re my beloved Olympus system

It's been an intense relationship and it will soon be over. It's not the Oly, (here's goes the proverbial...) it's me.

A month ago, my 5D died (shutter death) in the middle of a wedding shoot. Reluctantly, I reached for my seldom used 40D. I sent off the 5D for a shutter replacement ($348CDN, not a bad deal at all!). Having more weddings already booked, I had to have another FF body and there wasn't a brand new 5D to be had. So I went ahead and bought a 5DMk2.

(One can argue the merits of using a 4/3rds vs FF...I personally don't mind using my E-3 for weddings but the studio I work for will only accept FF, or at the very least, a D300-class camera).

So now, I have to have the funds for the 5DMk2. With much reluctance and going through the mental gymnastics of rationalizing my decision (it's not that pretty, it's not that good in low light, etc), I went ahead and posted my system on Craigslist (E-3, FL50, 11-22, 14-54, 50-200).

I will however, hang on to my E-1 and E-330. The IQ of these cameras is not reflected in their selling price!

For bio-medical purposes, I have been using the E-3 (with a Metz 15-MS-1) with it's live-view and articulating LCD. I've been looking at a replacement, particularly the Canon G11 with it's articulating LCD and macro capabilities.

I will miss my Oly!

Philippine Educational Project (PEP), update#1

I have discarded the idea of shipping books to the Philippines. Shipping is expensive and the books themselves may not prove to be useful to the children over there. This would be an inefficient use of limited resources.
Last year, I had a talk with the principal of the local public school and he had given me a wish-list of reading materials. I have since lost that list but what I do remember is the name of the supplier, Saint Mary's Publishing Corporation. It is one of the major suppliers for educational materials. Their website is under construction so after a bit of googling, I found their email address. I got a very prompt reply (sadly, not everyone over there is as prompt) from the President himself, Jerry Vicente S. Catabijan:

Thank you for your inquiry. It is unfortunate that our website at present is still under construction. It could have been more convenient for you to browse about our products.

We admire your benevolence to donate books to your hometown. Please allow us to become a partner to this endeavor by extending to you a special discount so many may benefit from your donation. It will help us a lot in identifying the fitting textbooks to be donated by informing us exactly the name and address of the school recipient.

We could send you our brochure and price list by courier. Please email us your complete address.

Mabuhay po kayo!!!

I have since replied stating my lack of knowledge of the local schools' needs as well as my limited funds (but with unlimited great intentions!), and that I am very open to suggestions to a work that is very much in progress!
We'll see how this goes...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

iPhone Diaries #1 "beautiful zombies"

I was shooting a wedding on Oct 31st at the old Berkeley Church on 315 Queen Street East when I found these zombies in the basement. I had left my camera upstairs so I took this photo with an iPhone!
I love the quality of the photo...I think this will be the start of a series of images taken with my iPhone (the new Polaroid). This not a groundbreaking effort. According to American Photographer, the second most popular camera used by Flickr subscribers is the camera phone (the Canon Rebel XTI comes in first).