Tuesday, June 26, 2012

iPhone Diaries #460: My final iPhone Diary, planned obsolescence, and saying goodbye to the familiar.

I went on an early evening bike ride last night to clear my head and just below the Gordon Bridge  I came across this gentleman in hip waders and as I got off of my bike to take in the scenery, several thoughts came to me.
First of all, this scene could only happen in Guelph. With a population of 125,000, the Gordon Bridge over the confluence of the Speed and the Eramosa is the busiest in Guelph. And yet the sight off of this bridge could be mistaken for rural Ontario. This area is a favourite of kayakers, canoeists, and picnickers. My kids have gone for a swim meters away from this spot. I love Guelph and I hope I get to stay here for the rest of my life.
Second of all, this fisherman is casting his line for the joy and the experience of casting his line. It's certainly not to catch any fish (although he might). It's the journey, not the destination. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in how things should be, how they ought to be, when in reality, how it is now is the best it will be. As John Lennon would say, "life is what happens when you're making other plans".
When I first came across this scene, I instantly wished I had my small Sony with the APS-C sensor and the superior lens. But the iPhone is what I had and I reminded myself of my own mantra, "the best camera is the one you have on you". Whether it be a place, a person, or something else, it's wise to remember this line from an old song: "if you can't be with the one you want, love the one you're with".
Thirdly, nothing lasts over. With less than 3 months to go on my iPhone warranty, the camera stopped working.... just went dark. Call it planned obsolescence, call it a malfunction; nothing lasts over. Sadly, nothing in this world lasts forever. Death by itself is never the end; it's the human decisions to end something, anything, that signals the end.
We can  decide, in each of our worlds, to continue with happiness, to create happiness, or to put an end to the unhappy. It is a curse not to ever know the right thing to do.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Stills and Video, to go

My current set-up for shooting Stills and Video. The Sony a65 does the bulk of the work; if it happens to be on a tripod shooting video, the NEX 5N is available to roam for Stills (as well as 1080 60p video too). I've used this for several assignments now and it works for me. July 20th.

iPhone Diaries #459: "the sun through the trees in the early morning mist"

Kortright Road East, June 17th.

iPhone Diaries #458: "a most handsome creature"

Mr. R, Ben's Rhodesian Ridgeback at Macallister Park. June 16th.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mabelle & Nick's First Kiss(es)

Here's a teaser video from Mabelle and Nick's wedding last June 9th. Lots of footage shot and lots of editing time coming up.

M&N_First Kiss (and 2nd, and 3rd, and 4th).mov from Diogenes Baena on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

iPhone Diaries #457: "stairs and shadows"

near the swimming pool at UofG. June 16th.

iPhone Diaries #456: "Foreign language"

"anut yadirf"
"bulc yawbus yadrutas"
"detsaor nevo tsaerb nekcihc yadnus"
June 16th.

What if...

... we were all just packets of energy, that there  is neither heaven nor hell, and that in this bubble we call our universe we will always stay, endlessly reformed, recycled and repackaged? Would a collective epiphany to this reality cater to our self-interests and encourage us to act for the common good?
Our actions (and inactions) now will have effects on  us further down our timeline. 
Perhaps we should take heed of the idea/belief in reincarnation, karma, and the Golden Rule.
Only then will we think twice about our daily actions that we take for granted: our lifestyle choices and personal habits, things that have an impact on our environment. No doubt it will take conscious efforts and we can't be lazy and be taking the path of least resistance. But it will be worth it. I think. I hope.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Corporate sports and breakfast cereals: I just don't get it! (a rant)

The Toronto Blue Jays against the Washington Nationals at Rogers Centre, in the shadow of the CN Tower. June 13th.
Perhaps it was because I expected to be wowed, to be amazed. But my experience at watching professional baseball was extremely disappointing! It was 2.5 hours of extremely mind-numbing boredom. Here you have guys going in and out of the dugout for the innings, warming up, stretching, throwing the ball around to warm up. The actual combined action probably amounted to a total of 5 minutes. Any excitement  in the stadium was generated by the staff who gamely tried to initiate "the wave", by the the announcers who may as well have said, "hey people, you just paid good money for this game so you better be having fun so you can rationalize your wasted money and time", by meaningless stats, by the occasional panning of the camera on the crowd to get people to be excited about "being on camera" for their 5 sec of fame.
Show me a game of rep soccer of 12-18 year-olds any day: now there's action from beginning to end.
Show me a game of pickup basketball of once-athletic 40-50 year-olds and I'll get excited.
Show me a chess game between two excellent chess players and I'll pay attention.
Furthermore, the concession stands were outrageously overpriced! $10.50 for a tall boy beer ($2.00 at the LCBO), $4.75 for french fries ($1.75 max at New York fries), $4.75 for Dasani water. (People are not allowed to bring food from outside... it's like airport security at the turnstiles). And there's the $7.50 mini Louiseville Slugger bat (made in China) that would be $1.25 at Dollarama (if they could pay the hefty licensing fee).
And there's the traffic after the game. What a f***ing waste of time.
Later today, I'll be watching the Guelph Royals for an inter-county game at Exhibition Park in Guelph. It should be fun sitting in the stands on a hot summer day, mere metres from the action, watching players who play solely for the fun of it, with affordable drinks and snacks. This is what baseball should be like. Baseball is not so much a game as it is a social and cultural experience. The action is just not on the field but also with the people around you.
There's something to be said for the local and the familiar.
And what about breakfast cereals? That's for another blog entry on corporate interests imposing an unhealthy practice to generate untold billions of dollars.
Full disclosure: This trip to the baseball game was initiated by my son's school for the 9-10 year-olds. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip as it was a chance to be with the kids, to watch their amazement at the game, at the CN Tower, at the festive atmosphere, at the "wonders" of the unique Slurpie at the concession stand. Our kids are growing up before our eyes and we should all take the opportunity to spend time with them as much as we can. 
Many thanks to Mr. R and the parents who came with us.
My negative comments on the day are solely on the idea of corporate sports itself, about the hijacking of a meaningful sport for the sake of making money.

iPhone Diaries #455: Moth

Found at the bus stop, 6:15 am, June 15th.

Photoshoot: Kelan

Osgoode Hall, June 14th.

KANTO: Fine Filipino Cuisine

Once in awhile, you come across a real find: a gem in the rough, a delicious treat with a unique ambience, excellent value for your money.
Kanto's website says it better than I could:
"Kanto will be showcasing Philippine cuisine with emphasis on street food as if you were in the Philippines.Live Local Marketplace in Scadding Court Community Center has revolutionized street food in Toronto. The community has set-up food stalls made from refurbished shipping containers and still following Toronto public health's guidelines. There's a variety of food from different cultures which are local, fresh and very inexpensive.Kanto literally means "corner". It is at the corner of Bathurst and Dundas.
Kanto is a division of Tita Flips and basically is a storefront at the moment where clients can drop by and get food readily available from our regular menu and daily specials.Kanto could also mean: "Kain na Toronto" (means Eat, Toronto!)Kain na sa Kanto!"
 refurbished shipping containers
 Diona with the Philippine flag
 I recommend everything, with special emphasis on the "halo-halo" and "palabok"
 street ambience: people, diesel fumes, and all
What the website doesn't tell you is that Diona has a genuine smile that greets you as if you've known her all your life! Here is Diona with her work of art: the pedestrian halo-halo transformed into a work of art!
(Check out the schematics poster of her halo-halo in the background wall)
many thanks to Ann Gagno for making me aware of Kanto!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


At the front of the house is a vigorous, ever-spreading lavender shrub that just won't quit. The following images were taken near dusk, first at ISO800, then ISO1600, sidelit by the low setting sun, exposed at +1.0 to 2.0EV.
June 12th.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

iPhone Diaries #454: "The flag of Suburbia"

June 6th.

iPhone Diaries #453: "whose tits are those?"

Is that what it is? Who knows what it is... must have pressed the shutter on the iPhone inadvertently. Could be a purse on the bus, a blue leash on a brown dog... June 6th.

iPhone Diaries #452: "Reflections at dusk, after the rain."

Who needs Instagram when you one can impose one's unique vision (as opposed to using templates) of an image using Photoshop. Dusk, June 6th.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sony a65 user review after the first six months

It was with high hopes that I switched from Canon to Sony last December and after six months of intense Sony usage, here's my personal impressions.
I miss my Canons for shooting weddings. Consistently accurate (and more importantly, precise) AWB and the best flash implementation I've ever had (I've also used pro Nikons and pro Olympus). Canon IQ is excellent overall, everytime. Canon bodies are solid, if uninspired.
The Sony, on the other hand, has AWB that is literally all over the place on the yellow (and red) side: too yellow, very yellow, and super yellow red. Setting WB to 5400K works until you use flash... then it's too blue!
Sony flash implementation is awful and it's just not me; do a search on dpreview and you'll find a lot of disgruntled users.
Sony IQ can be very good, after post-processing, of course. 

For everything else (and you may ask: what else is there besides the pursuit of the best IQ?), I love my Sony a65 (and it's cousin, the Sony NEX 5N... but more on this for another blog entry). The Sony makes photography fun again; and I find that I will be happy with my images when it is "fun" to take them. 
Sony has the great but under-appreciated Minolta line of lenses, phase detect video, real time EVF that I can't live without, really useful shooting modes and picture effects (panorama, twilight mode, rich tone B&W, etc).
For me, previsualization is very important. Imagine, or see, the "scene" before it's taken as a picture. I previsualize everything, even a 2,400-shot wedding. Heck, I previsualize what my day is going to be, what the rest of my life is going to be. It's not an exact science but it's what parapsychologists term "putting it out there". Self-fulfilling? Perhaps. But it works for me. And the 2.4M dot OLED EVF, with it's real-time "what -you-see-is-what-the-sensor-gets" is the key that gets my creative juices flowing.

Of course, if money was not an issue, I would have 2 parallel systems for work and play. But where's the fun in that?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Beautiful video!

Once in awhile, I come across a video that I think is elegant in its simplicity... just the bare essentials: camera, 1 lens, mother and child (what could be more elemental?), and an appropriate soundtrack.
I play this video (as well as a few others) to get inspired for a wedding video I am shooting this Saturday: keep it simple, keep it clean, and try to capture the essence of the newlyweds.

The definitive Guelph Blog: truly embodies the spirit of Guelph

Tripod and Bike (by the Speed River)

(along with a camera) the tools of my trade. June 3rd.

Bridge and Boathouse on the Speed River

June 3rd.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Church of Our Lady

Two versions of The Church of Our Lady, taken 30 sec apart.
Which one do you prefer? Comments are very welcomed! June 3rd.

Tracks and Train

Where Wellington turns into Woolwich and Elizabeth turns into Macdonell. June 3rd.

iPhone Diaries #451: WTF pineapples

Found these pineapples for sale at $1 each from my local No-Frills supermarket. For a dollar, a pineapple is grown and harvested, sold by the grower to a wholesaler, shipped to North America, sold to a sub-wholesaler, and then sold to the retailer (my supermarket). Along this chain, everyone has to make a profit, from the grower to the retailer. For a dollar each, somebody is sure to have been shortchanged! Most likely the labourer who planted and harvested, as well as the environment for the "efficiencies" that have to be realized. I cannot imagine the size of the carbon footprint for the shipping alone of this fruit from Costa Rica. June 3rd.
from Wikipedia:
"Three quarters of pineapples sold in Europe are grown in Costa Rica, where pineapple production is highly industrialized. Growers typically use 20 kg of pesticides per hectare in each growing cycle, a process that affects soil quality and biodiversity. The pesticides - organophosphates, organochlorines, and hormone disruptors - have the potential to affect workers' health and can contaminate the local drinking water. Many of these chemicals have potential to be carcinogens and may be related to birth defects. 
Because of commercial pressures, many pineapple workers - 60% of whom are Nicaraguan - in Costa Rica are paid low wages. European supermarkets' price-reduction policies have lowered growers' incomes".
Bitter Fruit: The Truth About Supermarket Pineapple
Mind you, pineapple is an astounding source of Vitamin C and manganese, to mention just a few. 

iPhone Diaries #450: Spiderwort

June 3rd.

iPhone Diaries: after the rain

We had May's supply of rain pour down in the last 2 days! June 2nd.

Friday, June 1, 2012