Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fashion Week Mix-up

The main hall for L'Oreal fashion week.

Due to a small mix up with my media badge I had shown up to the Liberty Grand to pick up said badge early in the morning. I was politely shooed away and told to show up at 2pm, three hours later, then at 4pm, 2 hours after that.

There's not much around the Liberty Grand as it's located on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds near the highway. For the first three hour wait period I walked up to King street and grabbed a long lunch. The second two hour wait I found myself sitting across the street at this gazebo.

The gazebo.

As it turns out there was a live power outlet. I hooked up my laptop and did some work while waiting around. The air was cool. The time passed rather quickly and before I knew it, it was time to go back to the Liberty Grand. The person I was waiting to see had shown up and had my pass ready for me.

My fashion week gear.

Everything went rather smoothly for the rest of the day.

Nice Lens Design

To continue my unfortunate story about my lens being damaged, I've shot a series of photos of my lens in the different stages. You can see how and where it was damaged, and how I managed to fix it.

Here is my Nikkor 70-200 mm 2.8 lens. From here it looks okay.

Upon closer inspection you can see that the plate that mounts the tripod adaptor is bent outwards.

With the tripod adaptor on you can see how bent the plate is.

How did my lens manage to get so bent without a scratch on my pelican case?

The construction of the lens has this metal plate that gives or bends leaving the rest of the lens alone. If you look at the equivalent Canon lens you'll notice that the adaptor is one piece that wraps around the lens. You can still remove it but the foot part is solid. Should something hit it, like the ground, the damage would go through it right to the lens. With this Nikon feature the plate acts like a crumple zone. The damage is directed at the plate made from softer material.

The replacement plate (shown here) was just under $67.00 CAN after taxes. Not bad considering the whole lens is just under $2000.00 CAN.

The plate is screwed on with standard tiny Phillips screws. To fix it, all I had to do was unscrew the bent plate and screw back on the new flat plate. Note: if you try to do this yourself make a note that the screws are of two different lengths. If replaced in the incorrect position the lens with not rotate on axis fully.

Here's the lens once the new plate had been installed.

Woo Hoo just like new!

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Boots, the Beach, the Blister

a large ice covered puddle

It's been awhile since I've taken pictures outside just for the sake of taking pictures outside. Mainly due to the cold weather and the slippery surfaces but also because of my Warcraft addiction. Yes, I'll admit that becoming a slug in front of the computer has it's rewards (like being a level 30 mage!! Take that you orcs and slime monsters!).

Before starting to feel those bed sores coming on, I decided to force myself to go out. A) to work in the new boots, B) to get away from the computer (and WarCraft), C) to get outside while the sun was out, D) get some exercise.

a tree surrounded with ice

I just liked the lines here

tree reflection

If you look closely you can actually see the squirrel in the tree taunting the dog

the thin layer of ice on the ground

the empty cold beach

A life guard station

In case you're reading this blog entry wondering where the blister was. I got one on the back of my foot breaking in the new boots. Nothing crazy ass big, just thought it sounded better in the blog title line to have three things that started with B.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Don't forget the Zamboni

Janice Williamson embarrasses herself at a birthday party

At the intersection of Bloor and Clinton, at a place called Clinton's, Rob Pincombe had his 40th birthday party. Darryl Gold who turned who knows how old only two days earlier was also on the scene. Alas, the Zamboni (the vehicle that makes the ice rink ice smooth) was forgotten.

The anniversary of the Zamboni is actually the day in between Darryl and Rob's birthdays and the date is a stupid piece of trivia burnt into my brain from when we all worked on the NHL hockey rulebook CD way way back long before this blog was even born.

In birthdays past, Rob and Darryl used to have grand birthday parties involving talented friends getting up on stage and doing their thing. Singing, telling jokes, playing some instrument, there were even conspiring sock puppets. It seemed nothing could stop these two from having fun... except maybe all the prep work involved.

Today was a scaled back tribute to the birthdays long gone. Maybe not as much prep work went in, but the payoff was just as good and entertaining. You might recognize some of the following Canadian (and British) talent, and if not, keep your eyes glued for them. They'll pop up somewhere. Yes, they are that good.

Dave Sparrow tells tales of being a dad to two daughters

Claire Jenkins sings with an almost hypnotic spell

Chris Gibbs shows his talent at making a balloon animal (a worm with a blister)

Graham Powell - singer, song writer, member of the Supers and a photographer!

Clinton's - the back party room

Rob Pincombe and Darryl Gold

Happy Birthday you two!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

When it rains it pours...

Gudrun directs her latest epic

I'm not really sure what's been happening lately. Is there a full moon or some other astronomic oddity? Today I had a lot of stuff crammed into my to do calendar. The day started off with an meeting regarding some motion graphics animation, followed by a mocumentary set shoot, ending off with a shoot at the local Indigo bookstore to shoot a few stills of some book writers.

Lisa hides behind what looks like a script while Mike waits to get make up.

Sven and Lisa in their 70s gear.

Mike gets into character

Hamming it up for the photographer

The mocumentary was a film being made for Darryl's next HLAP film festival. The director and producer of the film Gudrun Heinze, now a seasoned B-movie film veteran, took command of the cast and crew while running around the location looking for props and clothing.

Due to my squished schedule and having to get to Indigo I only had about an hour to shoot pictures before running out the door to the next venue.

Fans that make the authors day

I was told that for a saturday the crowd that packed the Indigo bookstore was pretty large. Over 200 people crowded around to listen to Sanjay Burman (author of "The art of Persistence") and Marie Diamond (contributer of "The Secret") talk about their books and inspirational stories.

A book fan with Marie Diamond

The picture above is of a laywer who was a huge fan of Marie Diamond. I gave her my card so she could get a copy of this picture but haven't heard from her. Hopefully she'll try google or use some other search engine to find this. If you are reading this email me I have a larger res photo with your name on it. Likewise if anyone recognizes this woman have her email via the bagelhot site.

Sanjay Burman and Marie Diamond

Marie and Sanjay pose with their poster

Friday, March 09, 2007

Flirty Girls turn one

Climbing in the pole dance studio

There are things about women that while kept secret are quite fascinating to men. There's an air of magic and mystery and sensual pleasure. Take underwear for example.

When I first started dating Helga (name changed to protect me), I was under the impression that she always wore sexy french cut lingerie panties. When we first made out I found that she wore that underwear that was be fitting to a catalogue model. After "seeing" her on other occasions I came to realize that she had a bunch of sexy under garments that made my head spin.

It wasn't until later, when she became more comfortable with me (or knew I wasn't going to dump her) that she switched over to the granny panties. What the hell? I was shocked. At first I felt like there was some sort of bait and switch thing going on. In the end I was grateful. I mean after all she was putting out... with me. And to be honest if she wore those panties during the first night of fun I would still have thought I was pretty darn lucky. It's what's in the inside that counts. Still there's something to be said about packaging and the whole magical idea that one gets in their mind before reality kicks in.

Take the women's washroom. Upon entering the washroom women strip off their clothing and wearing nothing but skin tight lingere or their birthday suit, they sit on sofas, take the odd soapy shower, frolic in the large water fountain (that are in women's washrooms and not mens washrooms), and interact with other women, actions essentially bordering on a full out lesbian orgy. This explains why women take so long while going to the washroom, usually go in pairs, and seem so much more refreshed and relaxed when they come out.

In reality women use the washroom to take a dump, adjust themselves, a analyze the crap out of the guy that just made a pass at one of them or the guy that was "checking them out", little did they know it but the guy was really trying to watch the TV that they were standing in front of.

Belly dancing

This brings me to Flirty Girl Fitness, an exclusive women's fitness club here in Toronto, had their one year anniversary party and I was to cover it for Juicy Stuff. Images of girls dancing with poles and doing other sexy moves and all while wearing sexy outfits came to mind.

Of course once at the actual party reality would kick in and destroy that ideal image... or would it. To my surprise it was pretty much what I thought it would be if not more. When you think of going to see pole dancing, for some reason, the most neanderthal type guys showing up in attendance come to mind. The ones that hoot and hollar while trying not to scrape their knuckles on the ground. The guys that yell "Show me your T__s!" and make the rest of the male population ashamed to be grouped in with these vulgar apes.

Jesika Joy from Video Object

Surprisingly and I'm not quite sure how they did this but the low brows weren't in abundance. People of both sexes were having a grand old time, socializing and trying to dance using the poles. Some with more comical outcomes than that of others. I'm sorry to say it but guys should stay away from pole dancing. It just looks too funny and awkward.

Why is it that guys look goofy while women look sexy?

The Flirty Girls had pole dancing demonstrations, belly dancing, chair dancing, even that bar dancing based on the dancing in the Coyote Ugly movie. The athletic coordination and arm strength required for some of those moves was pretty impressive.

Coyote Ugly bar dancing

For more information on Flirty Girl Fitness click here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Mounting Bracket

Rico's cat eyes my scrambled eggs

This morning I had gotten up to get over to Rico's by 10am. Rico is a guy that has the occasional computer laptop or desktop that needs fixing. Installation of software, new hardware conflicts or something weird taking over the computers. As a good friend I usually see what I can do to help.

Today's job was pretty easy. It was to introduce Patsy, Rico's wife, to the fun world of digital cameras and photoshop. As a reward for helping them out they fed me a nice breakfast/lunch. Shortly after I went over to James' place to borrow his van.

James being in L.A. loaned me his van so I could travel out to Nikon. This was a very nice gesture as Nikon is about a 2.5 hour commute to Mississauga via TCC combined with the Mississauga transit (and that's just one way!).

The hope was that I could get my 70-200mm 2.8 lens fixed. As it turns out, while coming back from Heathrow, the mounting bracket on it got damaged during the flight. I'm still not sure how as it was in a pelican case with a lot of padding. Since the case had no external damage I can only guess that it was during the inspection at customs that it broke. This deduction is strengthened by the fact that my case was open and all my gear was moved around within the pelican case when I took my luggage off the conveyor belt. They didn't even close the case properly!

On the bright side when looking closely at the lens, Nikon in their infinite wisdom, designed the lens with a small plate that attaches to the rest of the lens with four small phillips screws. This piece that is used to mount to a tripod slides onto this plate.

The plate is made with softer metal than the rest of the body so it's designed to bend first keeping the rest of the lens intact. Sort of like a crumple zone for your lens.

to be continued...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A nice place to eat but a bad place for a catwalk

"The Drake"

It had been a while since I did a Juicy Stuff assignment. Tonight I was to help cover a fashion show at the Drake Hotel. So maybe I've been spoiled from shooting fashion shows in London but I have to say shooting at the Drake hotel had really bad lighting.

The area that made up the catwalk was poorly lit. It is a restaurant after all and not a photo studio. Still the busy backgrounds of people and the drastic bright to dark pools of light didn't help my photography all that much.

One of the models walking in one of the few lit areas

There were three areas to shoot the models walking around with semi-decent light. This meant you had to shoot around people or other photographers to get the shot. Usually someone's head was in the way. It wasn't nearly as bad as the topshop Christopher Kane show in terms of people but the lighting was terrible.

Juliet interviews the designer

Okay enough ranting about light, the big plus for having the fashion show at a restaurant is that you can actually eat and drink there. The finger food put out for the media tasted great.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Gerrard Square

The new and improved Gerrard Square

It was -10°C today. For a large chunk of the day I spent time backing up some images from 2004 to 2005. As the computer cranked out copied files back and forth I decided to get out to get some air, stretch the legs, maybe even grab something to eat.

But where to go? It's freezing outside. Perhaps I'd been getting used to the toasty warmth of my apartment? I decided a mall would be good. I could walk around and pick up some stuff in a nice warm environment. This led me to Gerrard Square.

Gerrard Square, when I was growing up, was the mall that time and people forgot. Sometime in the seventies it was the first mall to get a McDonalds in Toronto. I was in grade 2 or 3 when that happened. I remember going on the McDonalds tour as part of my grade school outing. Since we didn't actually get to leave school all that much that was one of the trips that stuck. From the "We throw fries out after X minutes to guarantee freshness" to the video of the Burger University. After the trip half the class wanted to work at McDonalds.

That was then when the Mall was at the peak of it's coolness. After only a couple of years of neglect the mall has become a stomping ground for senior citizens and other unemployed folk. It's dark depressing halls were... well pretty depressing. That is until recently.

Sometime last year, maybe the year before, Gerrard Square changed anchor stores. Anchor stores are the large stores (usually department stores) that sandwich the smaller stores in between them. Usually they are the ones that the mall is built around. For example Eaton's in the Eaton Centre. Although now I guess it would be Sears.

Anyhow, the Sears located at Gerrard Square was replaced by a Home Depot. The upstairs of the mall was renovated to include a Winners and a bunch of new sky lighting allowing for natural light. There's a Staples where the Bi-way used to be. The pet store, Fins and Feathers, is gone and so is the ICEMAN video game store. That and the Radio Shack is now called the Source.

Temperature -10° C

Like a footprint in the sand, places from my childhood are fading away. I wish I took more pictures as a kid.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Forcing oneself to go out

King Kong climbs the memorabilia shelf at Monster Records

Today, with hardly anything to do at home, I forced myself to go out to...
  1. buy new boots
  2. buy a few drive enclosures
  3. get groceries
I decided to retire my old boots which I had been wearing for the last two years. The back heel of my left boot had a large rip between the back of the boot and the sole. It could now talk should I want to start up a kid's show for reading. Step in a puddle and the whole back of the foot was frozen with the cold water. The hole was a lot smaller before going to the UK but over the last few weeks it had become more noticeable.

I tried putting off the purchase of the new footwear for at least another month... oh well. Originally Kyoko asked if I wanted to get new boots before the trip and my answer was "no". Not that I didn't need them but because I didn't want to be wobbling around in new shoes. Breaking in new foot wear while balancing on something while shooting usually ends up in a tragic fall to the ground. New shoes or new camera gear? Hmmm....

The purchase of the new boots was pretty quick. I had gone to where I bought the previous boots in Kensington market. After that it was off to pick up another drive enclosure. The computer store that had some in stock was conveniently located near Monster Records. I popped in to see Roger climbing a ladder to check on the leak.

After that I went home. I was too bushed to go out for groceries.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Amanda's Dogs

Clancey and Bailey

I went to visit Amanda and Brian today. The main purpose was to drop off a lens cap and a camera body cap that Amanda had lost during our wedding shoot back in September. Months ago, maybe around Christmas, I had bought new caps for both of us but until today had never managed to be able to coordinate a time to meet.

Amanda has two dogs. One is Clancey who has lost a lot of weight since I last saw the dog, the other is Bailey who likes to lick the air around you. He's a very strange dog. If I didn't know any better he was licking the aura around me. I'm not talking a lick here and a lick there. I'm talking a dog that licks the air like a machine gun. The dog is really odd.

Clancey tries to lick my face
photo taken by Amanda Shear

I'm more of a cat person myself and I think the reason why is because although I am fond of dogs I'm not fond of their slobber. Dogs also smell odd when they get wet. That said, being around friendly dogs is okay from time to time.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

It's all about the Hors d'Oeuvres

Apples with sliced cheese

I went to a birthday party for a guy that I've only met by going to his birthday party. This year however I actually had a present for him. It was a CD with a nuch of pictures from his birthday party last year. What an ingenious angle. Taking pictures this year I now have a present for next year.

As a friend of Emmanuel, Greg (the birthday and gift recipient) invited a bunch of friends who in turn were allowed to invite a bunch of their friends. The turnout was incredible. Lots of people from various backgrounds all knowing or knowing of Greg.

We had arrived early-ish, the party started at 9pm and we got there around 10pm. Things were just starting to pick up. I noticed the apple cheese slices on the table and thought "Wow, nice presentation. Simple but effective and great for us lazy people that don't like to cut our own cheese."

The apple cheese girl

I suppose hanging out in front of the apple cheese dish started to make me stand out, especially after pulling out the camera and taking pictures. I'll admit it, food fascinates me. The girl putting together all the food noticed and started asking me if I was going to take pictures of the other dishes.

I've totally blanked out on her name... Jessica? D'oh! Too many people, not enough brain cells. She will be referred to as the apple and cheese girl. Very nice and very photogenic. If you're reading this... thanks for the food and the posing.

Emmanuel soaks in the party

Meanwhile in the quiet of the coat room, aka the bedroom, I wondered in to find Emmanuel talking to someone while lying down next to the cat. The bedroom was a lot quieter than the rest of the packed apartment. Like the eye of a storm. Probably why the cat took refuge here.

A meatball martini

It was nice to get out and meet new people. I should be doing this more often.

Happy Birthday Greg!