Saturday, May 31, 2014

iPhone Diaries #685: "The Second Gates of Paradise: The Anthology of Erotic Short Fiction, by Alberto Manguel

"The Latin dictum regarding the shortness of life and the perseverance of art speaks of a valiant hope: that against all odds, the brief pleasures of our present can live on in something more durable than mere flesh; that the experience may outlast the body that experienced it; that like tentative gods, we can bring to life in words or clay a semblance of what we continually lose. Perhaps that is why we carve the name of our loved one on school benches and on the trunks of trees, why we keep a paper napkin from the coffeeshop of our first date, why we recognize in tearjerkers and great dramas our own intimate experiences."
 - Alberto Manguel, 1994
(with contributions by John Cheever, Alice Walker, Tenessee Williams, John Updike, and 30 others)

An excellent read found at the soon-to-close Macondo Books, a wonderful used-bookstore that has fallen victim to changing times: soaring rent and a generation of non-readers. We are the poorer for this. May 31st.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Debutante's Party: Where content is always Queen.

This was my second shoot in the same venue: slightly better than crappy lighting but on occasions such as a Filipino Debut Party, where the expectations are to include in the finished video as much footage as possible, CONTENT is everything. Shot with a Sony HXR-NX30 and a Sony a57 with a Bower 14f2.8 (soft wide open…. reminder to self to sell this cheapie), I felt privileged to record this special occasion in an 18-year-old's life. Allysia is a beautiful, intelligent woman, surrounded by good friends and a loving family. May 3rd.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"We are complicit in our deception"

"Part of being human is that we are often complicit in our own deception. Companies don't really need to make a claim about vitamin C. They simply advertise its presence (fortified) and then we fill in the miraculous power with our own imaginations.  Alan Levinovitz, special to National Post May 24, 2014.

iPhone Diaries #684: a dog and his stick

May 24th.

iPhone Diaries #683: Dog Save The Queen

Dufferin County Museum and Archives, May 19th.

iPhone Diaries #682:

iPhone Diaries #681: Cold Brew

on the window sill of the Planet Bean on Carden Street. May 24th.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 Victoria Day

A languid late afternoon on a Monday, Victoria Day… last few moments before the boys have to go their separate ways.
Handheld video using the BOSS (Balanced Optical Steady Shot) feature of the Sony HXR-NX30 (also known as having the best IS in the industry). Creative Commons music by The Easton Ellises, "Dance it, Dance All (Motel Costes Mix)".

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jamie & David: A Languid Moment

I am so very fortunate to have had the pleasure of shooting the video for Jamie and David's Wedding. This is one of those times where all I had to do was to get the camera rolling... Jamie and David just had to be themselves... and themselves they did.
Sony a65, Minolta AF100-200 f4.5.
"Fly Love" by Jamie Foxx

Sunday, May 11, 2014

iPhone Diaries #679: Mothers' Day: the Mother of all holidays

If we were allowed only 1 holiday to celebrate for the year, it would have to be Mothers' Day. Mothers' Day celebrates real people who do the actual creating and nurturing, every moment in our lives. This day recognizes the half of the population that earns way less than the other half, the half that suffers disproportionately more in war whilst historically being less prone to violence.
Let us celebrate mothers everywhere. Let us celebrate those who toil in faraway lands so that their families back home can have decent lives. Let us honour those who give up their newborns for adoption so these babies may have a better future. Let us celebrate the surrogate mothers, the "like-a-mother-to-me-aunts", the nurses, the caregivers, the dedicated day-care providers, and all the mothering types everywhere!
I thank the mother of my children for her genetic endowment, for her patience and understanding, for her home-cooked meals, and for providing a balance: the yang to my ying. 
May 10th.

iPhone Diaries #678: Panoramics of the Speed River on Mother's Day

 May 10th.

Friday, May 9, 2014

iPhone Diaries #677: Graffitti Alley Photo Shoot

At a Sony Meetup Group: Portraits with Off-Camera Strobes.
One of the benefits of getting into the Sony Photography System is meeting people like Rob, Isabel, and Patrick, all from Sony Canada, who devote their time demonstrating Sony products in the studio, in coffee shops, on the streets, and yes, in alleys and back lane ways. Friendly, approachable, and speaking in layman's terms, Rob and Co. bring with them on each outing, assorted Sony items for demonstration, from fast Zeiss primes to the latest mirrorless cameras.
May 8th.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

video setup for a Debut Shoot

A Debut (or Debutante Party), is a Filipino tradition for celebrating a girl's/woman's 18th birthday. Venues and degree of extravagance will vary but one thing is certain: it's a happy occasion with lots of opportunities for shooting video.
For this Debut this past weekend, the venue is the same venue as another Debut party a month earlier. This venue is a converted industrial warehouse, with either sodium arc lamps, or fluorescent tubes, 25 feet  overhead, with no facility for modulation. So it's either full-on, or darkness. Remember, this is a warehouse.
So for this event, the overhead lights are turned off, and the only source of light is a row of spotlights trained on the head table, and the candles on the tables. The resulting high contrast is a  guaranteed video killer. BUT, the shoot must go on.
Below is my setup for this video.
Main cam, a Sony HXR-NX30 with a Sennheiser lav mike, with the transmitter  on a light stand a foot away from a speaker box. The shotgun mike on the main cam has proven itself to, on its own, capture sounds well. This cam is on & off a dolly as needed.
B-cam, a Sony a57 with a Samyang 14f2.8 (21mm with crop factor). Beachtek preamp, RodePro Mic. On a tripod, stationary on one spot for minutes at a time.
Videos to come (and lessons learned) ...

Why I blog (courtesy of Gail Edwin Aguiar)

With over 1400 posts in the last 4 years (since late 2009), I have recently been asking myself, "why do i blog". The most articulate way of answering this is through the words of Gail Edwin Aguiar, my nominee for an inaugural "Blogger Hall of Fame", if ever there was one.
Herewith is her reason (and my reasons) for why she blogs (in her own words:
1. I'm a chronic revisionist. I write late at night in various state of wakefulness and often return to the post the next day to fix errors or rework sentences. sometimes I review the posts and wonder where on earth my mind wandered to when I typed it out, but there's always an opportunity to revise it to make sense. As someone passed along to me recently, the phrase is "Write when drunk, edit when sober."
2. I can reference previous writing material and add external links. You want to go down the garden path, reader? Sure, why not? Go wherever you want.
3. Content can be random. Each post stands alone, and I don't have to make them connect to each other at all.
4. No real deadlines. I can also schedule the post to publish in the future, or in the past.
5. Content is published in instalments, not all at once. I can write every day, skip a week, be prolific, or just write a line or two
6. Content is easier to index. Remember the index at the end of the book/ Don't need it, there are other ways to search and index content. Search engines do a lot of that work for us, anyway.
7. Readers can filter by topic, tags, time, author. It's a big archive, i don't expect anyone to read even a fraction of it. You can find what you're looking for and skip the rest.
8. Wider audience. My blog is free and available 24/7, wherever there is an internet connection.
9. RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) fetches my writing for you. What could be easier?
10. Additional features such as widgets, plugins, tag clouds. with a large archive, these become more and more valuable as a means to serve up content in different ways, such as frequency by tag clouds. On the sidebar you'll see a widget for Top 10 Posts and Pages, family sections, and the latest tweets in my Tweeter feed. Not even eBooks show content this way.
11. Readers can translate my blogs themselves. Most books are not translated and published in different languages because it is expensive. Blogs can be translated instantly, although not very eel. But online translation is improving.
12. A variety of media (videoclips, audio, text, music, slideshows) can be embedded. This is a big one for me. I like media-rich blog posts. Not always, but at least one picture enhances.
13. Password-protection by post and page. I don't do this often, but I like having the option.
14. Stats. Another big one of me. I'm a stats nerd, not just for this blog but it's been part of my working life, too.
15. This writing platform is free. Sure, I pay for hosting but my operating costs are covered by a mix of advertising and invoicing. I've been using WordPress since 2005 for my blog, which is free. Before that it was on Blogger, which is also free.
16. No promotion required. No book tours or paying for advertising.
17. Self-publishing. I could self-publish a printed book, but it would still cost me and it's a hassle deciding on a print run.
18. Environmentally-friendly. No trees or shelf space required, and it doesn't need to be lugged around. Imagine if I'd printed out all my blog posts WITH pictures? I'd oil a lot of trees.
19. Interface control. I can change the template, fonts, etc. whenever I want. this blog has undergone a number of facelifts already. I wish I'd kept screen caps of them all.
20. Evolution. this can only really happen over time, and a blog ends only when the writer decides (or it's the end of the writer). There is no unfinished blog per se, while there are unfinished books. Once a book is written, it can't be extended, only followed up with another book published separately. I like the continuous nature of a blog versus the beginning-middle-end format of a book.

A really sorry state of affairs

Looking towards more of summer

Southampton on Lake Huron, summer of 2013

Events in Nigeria, the Congo, and your cellphone

Africa is an immense continent, and Nigeria is not the Congo, and is not Sierra Leone, and is not the Ivory Coast. But one thing they have in common is human misery, brought about by the Western world's (plus China) hunger for resources: oil and minerals.

A participant in a demonstration against the atrocities committed in The Democratic Republic of Congo as a result of the mining of Coltan.
your cellphone and the atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo