Monday, 28 December 2009

Update from FL

Christmas was awesome... After Christmas sales were (are!) great! Hanging out with friends. Eating good food. Enjoying the sunshine (even if it is a little bit chilly out). All around good times!
Here's a shot of a bunch of us hanging out the other night at New World Brewery in Ybor.

There's a whole bunch of pics up here: Flickr.

But the real point of this announcement is that I, with a few friends, have decided to take on Project 365 for 2010!
Beginning on January 1, 2010, I will take (at least) one photo every day.
I'll make up a special album on Flickr for the project, and I haven't decided if I'll post the photo on here, or at a tumblr blog. I will contemplate, and let you all know.

Anyone ever done this? Want to join in for this year? Have any thoughts on the best way to chronicle the year?
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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas from the Sunshine State!

I guess I haven't mentioned that I'm back in Florida ;)

I already opened one of my Christmas presents from my aunts & grandmother... and the only reason I mention this is because you will surely see the product of it on this blog. They bought me a Lensbaby! Here's a few of the first pics with the new lens (and there's a few more up here:

Merry Christmas to one and all!
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Saturday, 19 December 2009

Mouthparts+Wings presents The Christmas Show (review)

It's no real big secret that I've been a bit out of the loop of the concert scene lately. But when think that I would have almost missed out on such a fantastic show if it hadn't been for my BFF coming home from Montreal for a visit and looking through the weekly papers to see what was going on, it makes me realize that I should really pay more attention!

The show is an annual Christmas concert presented by Mouthparts+Wings. It featured some of my favourite artists, including Hawksley Workman, Luke Doucet & Melissa McClelland, and some new folks that I hadn't heard before, but I must investigate: Justin Rutledge, Paul Linkletter, and John Southworth, just to name a few.

The evening, hosted by Mia Sheard started out with an a cappella choral song, sung by four of the ladies that would be appearing later in the show. One by one, artists were brought out to sing a Christmas song (with only a few exceptions). It was fantastic - especially since last week at the Andy Kim show, my only complaint was that the artists didn't play very many Christmas songs. They played a mix of original Christmas songs and traditional ones, in various arrangements.

The last performer of the night was one of my favourites - Hawksley Workman. A few years ago, he released a Christmas album called Almost A Full Moon that immediately became one of my favourite Christmas albums ever. He played two selections from the album last night - "A House Or Maybe A Boat" and "Merry Christmas (I Love You)" (which always makes me think of my grandfather, and how much I miss him, along with another one of his tunes from that same album, "Three Generations").

After Hawksley, all of the performers came out for one last song - a group sing-a-long to "Deck The Halls" - it was super fun!

I'm so glad an impromptu plan for a night out turned out to be one of the most festive things I've done all year. I'll have to keep this show on my radar again for next December.

Happy Holidays to all! For more photos, visit my flickr.
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Sunday, 13 December 2009

Andy Kim Christmas Show 2009

The Andy Kim Christmas Show is a newish tradition for me during the holidays. Five years ago, Andy Kim (who has written songs such as Sugar Sugar and Rock Me Gently) began putting on this show at the Mod Club in Toronto. I have gone to every show since then.

As mentioned last year - I was probably the youngest person in the audience that knew all the words to Andy Kim's songs... but that doesn't bother me much!

The acts this year were:
  • The Beauties - They are a GREAT alt/rock band. They played a song of their own, plus, a fantastic version of Fairytale of New York, up on youtube here.
  • Broken Social Scene - I liked them better than last year... the first song they played was a new one that reminded me a bit of Kings of Leon. I liked that one. The other ones, I didn't care for terribly, but they were tolerable.
  • Kim Mitchell - always amazing to see a legend on stage - I only wish he had played Patio Lanterns, but I bet he's probably sick of playing that song!
  • Gentleman Reg - he was okay. Not my favourite, but not bad either. I don't have much to say on this one...

Divine Brown was supposed to play, but she got sick at the last minute so there was an extra set by Andy Kim, which was great for me, since I mostly go to the shows to hear Andy's songs.

The only disappointing thing was that most of the bands on this years' show didn't bother to learn a Christmas song. It doesn't make much of a Christmas show if you're not playing a Christmas tune! Hopefully next year, the acts will bring it back to the feeling of the first Andy Kim Christmas Show (which was still my favourite one ever).

Photos from the show are up here!
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Friday, 23 October 2009

Amy's Cottage (better late than never!)

Amy invited us (Errol and I) up to her cottage one weekend in August when he was back in town. Although it was a bit chilly (unseasonably... kind of like our entire summer here in Toronto), we still made the most of it and had a great time. There was lots of nature involved. The Muskoka area of Ontario is truly beautiful though, and even an indoors type of person like me enjoyed it (though they couldn't convince me to get in that canoe!!) Here's a few pics.

You can view all the pictures from our cottage trip right here.
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Sunday, 13 September 2009

Culture of Greed Session - Last one!

The last location for the Culture of Greed shoot was actually the first one I thought of: train tracks. Tracks always feel so symbolic to me, and they can be interpreted in so many ways: movement/travelling/journeys... the past... desolation... crossroads... And, they just look cool.
Here's some of my favourites:

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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Toronto Roller Derby

On August 8 (yes, nearly a month ago, and I'm only just finding the time to write about it now) - a friend of mine invited me to go see the Toronto Roller Derby match between the Gore-Gore Rollergirls and the Death Track Dolls. I had never been to a Roller Derby before, and had no idea what the sport entailed. But I thought it would be super fun, and I was right! It also made for some interesting photos. Check them out:

I think it's super cool to have alternative sporting events like this in the city. It's a fun event that kids are welcome to attend (Saw plenty of parents there with children - and all the kids looked really cool. I guess that says something about the demographic!) It's also fairly inexpensive - especially when compared to other sporting/entertainment events around the city. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something to do!
Check out more pictures here
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Sunday, 30 August 2009

Culture of Greed Session - Part 3

Just a few paces from that cool boxcar location, Jim and Jet wandered off and stumbled upon a goldmine, in the form of this dilapidated old trailer and dump truck. It was very hard to contain my excitement. These photos were exactly what I had in mind when I set out to shoot Culture of Greed. (In fact, I would love to go back here and just shoot a few rounds on my own. Maybe with my lomo camera & some film.)

Lots more pics, right this way, and one more location coming up.

(Also coming up, pictures from Amy's Cottage, our trip to the CNE, and lots more! I must find more time to edit photos and blog about them!)
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Monday, 17 August 2009

Culture of Greed Session - Part 2

So, after spending not too much time inside Culture of Greed's rehearsal space, we decided that it would be a good idea to find a new location. The rain had let up, so we went outside. Jim and Jet started wandering around to the side of the building, not really knowing what it looked like, and found an incredible location. The colours were perfect - faded reds and oranges. There was rust. There were box cars. There was even a shovel. I couldn't believe our luck. Here are some of the shots I took out there:

We even got in a few closeups, against a wicked rusty background:

There's some more pics up here, and a new location coming soon!
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Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Culture of Greed Session - Part 1

While I was down in Florida, I had a photoshoot scheduled with local band, Culture of Greed. This was a bit of a challenge, because it was in a city that I wasn't 100% comfortable with, with very limited transportation and time, and I had to rely on other people to scout my locations for me. But it turned out great because the guys are all fantastic and super professional.

The first location was definitely difficult. It was raining outside, so that ruled out outdoor shots for the first part of the shoot. We went inside to their rehearsal space, which had a very cool atmosphere, but was also very reflective, because of its aluminum walls.

We didn't end up spending too much time here, but we did get some decent shots.

The best are yet to come! Keep checking back for more updates, or for a sneak peak, check out Flickr

P.S. Comments make me very happy! I see all you lurkers from the Tampa/Clearwater area... say hi! :)
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Saturday, 8 August 2009

Florida: All is full of love

La piece de resistance... how can you not love a view like this? There's hundreds of different things that I love about Florida, but I think this sums it up. Being on the beach, you can feel your senses in action.

Take in the sight of the ocean... flip flops... blue water & white sand... Smell the salt water, the sunscreen, the people barbecuing in the distance... Hear the rolling sound of the waves ... Feel the mist, the sand beneath your feet. Taste the salt on your lips after swimming in the ocean. Honestly, nothing can quite compare to the beach, and Clearwater Beach just happens to be my favourite beach that I've ever been to.

more love?
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Friday, 7 August 2009

Beautiful Downtown Clearwater, FL

Yeah, I ran out of macro shots, so no more what it is... at least, not for now. Did you guys like that game? I can't tell.

So, I think I've mentioned before about how we've been going to Clearwater Beach since I was about 8 years old. This place is my second home, and I've watched it change and grow over the course of the years. A recent development to the area is the way you get to the beach from the mainland. On the beach side, they built a beautiful new causeway (it used to be a small drawbridge type, that I absolutely loved, but I must say the new one is much more aesthetically pleasing), and they created a roundabout down near the pier, where you can easily access the marina, the public beach and beach walk area, the residential area, and another random street (hah!) ... but on the other side, on the mainland, they changed the access to be two different one-way streets - Court Street takes you to the beach and the causeway, and Cleveland takes you downtown. (With the old bridge, you could take either street and still access the bridge easily)

Ever since they made that change, we've tended to spend less time in downtown Clearwater. I thought this was quite sad, because downtown Clearwater has lovely architecture, and they've really beautified it with flowers, statues and trees. So I went out there one night, camera and tripod in hand, to snap a few shots. (I didn't really take that many, because I had plans to meet up with Gregg later on, and I only had about an hour to shoot off some pics)

Welcome to downtown:

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Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Fourth of July!

Since we were going to be in the States for the 4th of July, Amy and I decided to go all out with an old-fashioned Independence Day Cookout! Only... we had never celebrated Independence Day before. So we picked our "Americana" theme and just went with it.... Flags, Red-White-and-Blue Flowers, Cupcakes, Cookes... Napkins... you name it! Apparently, we did it right! Amber told us that most American's didn't even go as all out as we did. Welcome to the 4th of July, Canadian-style:

On the menu:

Ketchup Chips (a gift for our American friends, from Canada!)
Nacho Dip (my personal specialty) & nachos

Corn on the Cob
Roasted Veggies
Argentinian Sausage (Juan brought them, and they were awesome)

American Sprinkle Cupcakes
American Sprinkle Sugar Cookies
Juan's roasted Marshmallows

Strawberry Daiquiri's
Juan's Midori & Cranberry specialty

After everyone came out of their food-induced comas, we took a walk/trolley ride down to the main strip to see some fireworks. Thankfully, the 4th ended up being the one day of the trip that it didn't rain at all. It was perfect weather, and there were tonnes of people out to celebrate the holiday.

When we asked a police officer on the beach where we should go to see the fireworks, his reply was "Just look up!" Hah... nice. I guess he was right though... the fireworks were literally going off all around us. It was pretty amazing. The best ones were shot off from across the causeway, at Coachman Park. We watched from a few miles down, and it was still a stunning display.

Happy Fourth!
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