Sunday, June 30, 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lavender and blue door

June 29th.

Robin with berries

on the deck... must be a nest close by. June 29th.

A shortage of names

The 2013 Buick Enclave (photo by General Motors)
You know the Marketing types are short (bankrupt?) on ideas  when they start naming a car "enclave", meaning a territory surrounded by another territory but is not a legal or political part of it. What does enclave have to do with a car, except for sounding novel or exotic, perhaps to a high school flunkie?
Why not autoclave? Sounds more automotive. It also sounds sterile (and boring), which is what it means: a device for sterilizing equipment.

Friday, June 28, 2013

the Real Russia

Unvarnished, honest,and engaging!

iPhone Diaries #634: Ridged is best.... how?

This premium toilet paper works just like ridged potato chips: the ridges pick up more dip! June 28th.

iPhone Diaris #633: a disaster waiting to happen

It's a wet drizzly early Friday evening and the commuter exodus out of the city is its typical snail's pace. The roads are clogged (7 days a week, actually), flanked on all sides by brooding condo towers, scores of floors high. Tens of thousands of units mean thousands of cars on roads meant for 1980 capacities. 
An emergency response vehicle with sirens blaring threads its way through the traffic, a lot slower  than desired. Which leads any thinking person to dread the potential for disaster if and when several emergency situations arise simultaneously. Factor in the vertical component and... it is a scary thought.
June 28th. 

Listen to the message, not the medium nor the messenger

This is an excellent article on how we look at and listen to, other people... how we should get past our culturally (read: media) conditioned view of other people, to get past the clothes, the accents, the sub-languages and the dialects... to be more emphatic. It will take a conscious effort to do this on an ongoing basis but it'll make for a better life.

On being a parent in your 50's

As my wife and I approach our mid-fifties, the once creeping realization of a finite life is gaining speed.  This provides the motivation for making every moment count, of making the right (productive?) decision, and of not "wasting" time. Subconsciously, and inadvertently, and without malice and with only the best intentions, we project this new-found life discipline on our children, from pre-teen to early twenties. 
We sometimes forget what it was like to experiment with love and relationships, to be reckless, to play, to try new things, to make mistakes. We forget what it's like to live in the moment, a way of life that's already discouraged early on in our Western culture.
So for our children, as well as for others, listen to us but don't always do what we ask you to do.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pascal Pinon: Inspired by Iceland

Despite their young age, Pascal Pinon have been touring in both Europe, Japan and China already, capturing a growing audience with their honest and genuine performances. They started recording music when they were just 14 years old – now, four years later, they have developed into young women with a strong sense of direction and very high vocal- and instrumental skills.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

It was both a pleasure and a privilege to photograph Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as the guest speaker at the 2013 Sustainability Summit. 
The prospect of meeting a bona fide environmental crusader who has, and continues, to contribute to the betternment of our world is very exciting. Here is a man, both blessed and cursed with the Kennedy name, with his own all too human domestic issues, taking on Big Coal, Big Oil, Big Electricity in a fight for the preservation of our air and our waters.
On the podium, he really comes across as just another concerned human being, albeit with a Harvard law degree, vast experience as a New York Prosecuting Attorney, and a long resume fighting (and winning) corporate America. He has charm, and wit, and behind the tailored suit, the impression of a fit, tightly coiled  streetfighter,
His message was, for me at least, surprising. Full-bore free market capitalism is compatible with saving the planet. (Isn't government regulation necessary for setting limits on whomever and whatever?). The only requirement is that the products delivered by the energy companies be priced it's actual cost. All subsidies (the cost of navies keeping the shipping lanes safe, the cost of maintaing the roads that tankers and coal trucks travel on, the cost of cleaning the water from fracking gas, the cost of carbon sequestration, the cost of leveling mountains and  cleaning streams from coal mining, cleaning up spills, tailings ponds, etc) have to  be, henceforth, be paid for with the revenues from the product itself. At this rate, gasoline at the pump will cost $30/gallon.
So price energy with its actual price and let the markets rule!
It was a very inspirational talk, one that more people should listen to!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

iPhone Diaries #621: Optimus Prime...

... soon to be known as ├╝ber, the Frankenstein cat (will explain why in subsequent posts), soon to be home. Photo taken at the Petsmart Adoption Centre, affiliated with the Guelph Humane society. June 11th.

iPhone Diaries #620: The Chives of June

June 11th.

Monday, June 10, 2013

iPhone Diaries #619: kids at play

June 1st.

Wedding Photography: a shooter's look into the future

This week, the Toronto Star had an article on wedding couples crowdsourcing wedding photos. This past Saturday, I was a guest at a wedding where there was an official photographer (OP) as well as place-cards encouraging guests to upload  to Here then is my take into the future of the business of wedding photography.
As phone cameras (and cameras with wifi capabilities) get better, and image quality expectations go lower, there will be a rapid increase in the use of crowdsourcing as way for couples to obtain their photos for free. As a bonus, crowdsourced photos have a unique look and feel that may be an art form in itself.
In addition, the turn-around time for the images is as fast as the shooter can upload, whereas the OP can take 2-6 weeks to deliver. The excitement will be there when photos show up on Facebook, Twitter, or on the predetermined gallery on one of many crowdsource sites, e.g., and Shootaround. The excitement may not be there when the OP delivers the photos a few weeks later. 
I can see 3 classes of clients:
Class #1: Will only use a professional photographer. Expense is not an issue. Proper decorum is a must and the use of iPhones during the ceremony is looked on as declasse.
Classs #2: Crowdsourcing is tolerated and is encouraged but photo  memories are considered too precious to be left to chance. Expense is a consideration but there is money in the budget for an OP; the best value in photography is sought out.
Class #3: Expense is a primary issue. A budget photographer may or may not be hired, and crowdsourcing is actively demanded.
How does an OP compete in such a scenario. Arguably, the OP will have the technically and artistically superior images but will not have the instant gratification factor. As consumer cameras get better and cheaper, guests (likely shooting over the shoulder of the OP) will take the credit for "wowing" the bride and groom with pics the very next day! When the OP delivers his DVDs in a few weeks, the WOW factor will have dissipated.

The solution is for the OP to offer next-day-edit! The OP's  images will be showcased in the same venue as the crowdsourced ones; the OP's (hopefully) superior images will shine in comparison and will most definitely be primo great advertisement! The OP's images can be rough edits; the colour-corrected, print ready files may be delivered weeks later. 
How is this doable for a photographer tired from a 15-hour Saturday wedding? Or worse, for a studio with a stable of photographers out shooting on a Saturday? Well, time will have to be set aside as I feel that this will be the new reality in the wedding industry. For cameras with 2 card slots, 1 slot will have to be dedicated to  medium-res jpg files. For cameras with only 1 card slot, cameras will have to shoot RAW+medium jpg. The jpg files can be rendered overnight using Lightroom (read: fast computer required),  and quickly edited for uploading on Sunday. This minimalist workflow rewards the photographer who produces "almost-ready-to-go" photos that require minimal-to-no post-processing. A photographer who "gets" the in-camera- metering with a camera that gets excellent AWB is well worth it!

I honestly think that this is a seismic paradigm shift in wedding photography and I, for one, will be rewording my offerings to reflect this new reality!
(Photo taken with a Panasonic Lumix LX3, 1/3 crop from original image. Not bad for a small 1/1.7 sensor... must be the stabilized Leica lens!) 

iPhone Diaries #618: The views from the Islands

 Toronto skyline from the Boathouse on Ward's Island. June 8th.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Words to live by.... by Edward Abbey

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

iPhone Diaries #616: yummy

first course at a wedding at the Eagle's Nest Golf and Country Club. June 1st.

iPhone Diaries #615: Wedding Ceremony

from the balcony at St Thomas Aquinas Church, Eglinton and Glenholme, Toronto. June 1st.