Monday, November 22, 2010


Toronto, Nov 22nd.

A rainy morning in T.O.

On Bremner Street,  Nov 22nd. Canon 40D, Tamron 17-50f2.8

Moxie and Belle

Last Friday, a kitten/cat, henceforth named Belle (or if Liam has his way, Ginger), sauntered into our lives. We will do due diligence and post notes all over the neighbourhood (done) and will phone the local Humane Society (hesitating to do). This is now familiar territory to us; this has happened before:
Moxie (on the right), is establishing the house rules with Belle (on the left). More pics at:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2010 Santa Claus Parade in Guelph

What's a Canadian Santa Claus Parade without clowns, the Legion, and bagpipes?
(Answer: It's not a proper parade)
Didn't hang around for Santa...he was at the tail end of the parade...and it was a bone-chilling afternoon. Macdonell Street, Guelph. Nov 21st. 
Olympus E1, 14-54f2.8-3.5

Goodbye Full Frame, Hello APS-C

Fell in love with the 60D, sold my 5D2.
I was an early advocate of full frame (FF) sensors (I had one of the first 5D1s in Canada, Oct 2005...had to be shipped in from the U.S.). There's nothing like big deep wells to soak in the light. Smooth and creamy tones, with a dynamic range previously unheard of. I went through two shutters on that 5D1. Sold the 5D1 for a 5D2.
And now the 60D. Articulating screen, clean ISO1600 files, manual audio for video, 24P, 30P, 720-60P, full HD, and way better low-light AF than the 5D2. Less expensive and lighter lenses.
I always knew that FF was overkill for shooting weddings and events ( 2005, the alternative was a 10MP camera with a rudimentary processing engine). Kind of like the old days of having to get a 5.0L V8 Mustang because size was equated with speed and power.
Nowadays, current APS-C cameras such as the D7000, K-5, T2i, E-5 have finely tuned processing engines and  highly-developed sensors...kind of  the equivalent of 1.8L 4-cylinder Acuras that will leave Mustangs and Corvettes behind. 
Of course, finances is always a concern. I got a relatively inexpensive Tokina 11-16f2.8 and a Tamron 17-50F2.8; both lenses are super-sharp (with just a touch of chromatic aberration on the wide-end on the Tokina at f2.8). A bonus is that the lighter weight of these lenses help alleviate the occasional bout of sciatica.
So goodbye full frame, hello APS-C!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Capturing the essence of being a Filipino...and the Pacquiao phenomenon.

He may be a boxing phenomenon but his personal attributes, as "un-average" as it may be to most people, is  typically Filipino. Filipinos already know this, first-generation Filipinos living outside of the Philipines know this, even non-Filipino spouses of Filipinos  know this. This article is a must-read for understanding the phenomenon that is Manny Pacquiao.
It has taken a non-Filipino (Michael D. Sellers) to make this observation; but that's okay, sometimes one has to be removed from a situation to appreciate the situation.
many thanks to my friend Rolly for pointing out this article.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In Mark Twain's words.

From a review by Shelley Fisher Fishkin (in the Globe & Mail, 13nov2010) of Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1, Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith, University of California Press.
(The University of California presents a version that preserves Twain's dictations as he left them, a huge volume of recollections arranged not chronologically but rather as they came to mind, ranging from his earliest memories to his last years. Seattle Times)

Reading this book is a bit like sitting at the breakfast table alongside Mark Twain as he fulminates excitedly about what he has just read in the morning paper. Take his comments on the massacre of Muslim Filipinos by U.S. troops on March 12, 1906: Twain quotes the president's cable to the commanding U.S. officer: "I congratulate you and the officers and men of your command upon the brilliant feat of arms wherein you and they so well upheld the honor of the American flag."
Twain writes that Roosevelt "knew perfectly well that to pen six hundred helpless and weaponless savages in a hole like rats in a trap and massacre them in detail during a stretch of a day and a half, from a safe position on the heights above, was no brilliant feat of arms - and would not have been a brilliant feat of arms even if Christian America, represented by its salaried soldiers, had shot them down with Bibles and the Golden Rule instead of bullets. He knew perfectly well that our uniformed assassins had not upheld the honor of the American flag, but had done as they have been doing...for eight years in the Philippines - that is to say, they had dishonored it."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

iPhone Diaries #259: "Yellow hydrant"

In front of 123 Edward Street, this morning, Nov 11th.

Whose wedding is it anyway? Notes on shooting Stills alongside DSLR video guys.

3 videographers, at least 5 Canon EOS video-capable DSLRs (mostly 7D's), fast and heavy lenses, several heavy-duty "you-don't-get-this-at-Black's" tripods and monopods, stabilizers, supports, halogen/tungsten lights (+ light stands, cords), assorted bags and cases, a Macbook Pro, a hugh screen.

This was the crew and equipment from Static Movement (not their real name), a video production company that proclaims on its website that "... our work is as much about the process as it is about the imagery itself...".  With its use of bright lights, heavy gear, and the innate need for choreography, subtlety/discretion and videography are oxymorons at the best of times; in this case, the pursuit of a cinema-quality product to impress the client, as well as a marketing tool to attract future clients (at the expense of disturbing the solemnity of the current atmosphere) results in a situation where the obvious question arises: "Whose wedding is it anyway?'

And so for the next 10 hours, as Stills photographers, my colleague and I would be working alongside this team who jumped in and lingered in front of, our shots, forbade us from crossing their lines of sights, shone ghastly lights on people's faces, created a pile of bags and equipment in a most obvious spot, and who were, on the whole, arrogant, boorish and impolite (at least to us fellow pros).

Admittedly, it is not easy shooting video to the EXCELLENT  standards of Static Movement. Even more so under the intense pressure to present a short video 9 hours after the start of shooting: a video that would not look out of place on MTV. Well shot (lots of close-ups; hence the video guy getting in front of me, the Stills guy), clever editing (short, short clips), set to loud music,  and with a semi-coherent  storyline, the video appeals to the current taste of a generation with short attention spans. It's like fireworks or fast food: instant gratification folllowed by an empty aftertaste.
(This is my personal opinion of the video presented at the wedding...I have no doubt that the final product given to the client days after the wedding will be a super, superior video; Static Movement has an excellent reputation in the industry.)

But hey, I'm not the client and as a professional who desires to deliver quality images under any circumstance,  I'll do better than "the best I can". But let me ask this question:

Whose wedding is it anyway?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The soaring price of sugar.

On the front page of the Report on Business Section of today's Globe and Mail, is a report on the rising prices of commodities, per cent change, year to date: Sugar has the fourth highest change at +57.3 (by comparison, coffee is at +52.0, gold is at +26.9, crude oil is at +2.1).
Let's hope the added value of sugar trickles down to the long-suffering sugar planters of Negros. But more likely, the money will go to the sugar monopolies!
For a primer on the history and current state of sugar, check out: