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Oct 27, 2011

Saskatchewan Swashbucklers

I could barely wait to post this. Saturday I was given the opportunity once again to make photos for the Saskatchewan Fencing Association. This time not for a calendar, but portraits for the provincial team.

The shoot went off without a hitch largely in part to the superb attitudes and dispositions of those being photographed. It occurred to me just now how having your friends and colleagues there could both help you smile but also add a degree of stress as a person wants to look good around your peers. They did an excellent job.

Rehearsal, our solid communication and Angela knowing what was needed before anything was said made certain the equipment and setup was as it should be so that the focus could be on the athletes and working their expressions and poses.

Once again it was a pleasure to work with such great athletes with such great attitudes. I'm far from the sports fan I used to be, but even greater is the sophistication of fencing than golf or tennis.

I really hope that all comes together for a special event planned shortly (that we're not at liberty to divulge) and for the upcoming national tournaments. I have been more than a little surprised at how much sports have been my subject in the last year. Certainly not my strong point, but practice makes perfect.

I provided a sports drink commercial look version of the team members' more serious poses as well as natural tones. Some may love it, others may not. At least the option is theirs.

This was not all of the team members and it was not my desire to exclude anyone. I simply chose to include a selection of my favourite photos from our session on Saturday.

Working with people like this, helping them to intimidate their opponents, making Saskatchewan look good and building ongoing relationships with great organizations really makes our work rewarding and fulfilling.

Oct 21, 2011

When the Going Gets Tough

The smart person buys a Chevrolet.  That is what we used to say about the old Ford commercial.  I suppose since Chev has let me down I'm down to only caring for Chrysler vehicles as far as domestics go.  So far the Toyota has been great.

But, that is not the reason for the title of this post.  In the last week and a half or so I have experienced some extremely tight muscles in the left side of my neck which had been accompanied by sporadic numbness and periodic weakness in my left arm and shoulder.  Some spasms, some tingling as though waking up from being asleep in places where I do not have any sensation and other symptoms that seem a little bit like a downed power line sparking and jumping around the ground from place to place.  It is my hope that it is nothing serious or if it is something that requires attention that it can be diagnosed easily and treated promptly.  Thankfully, after being told that my family doctor's first appointment was not until December 7, I was able to explain the situation and getting in just over a week.  Though, because of the numbness and weakness it was recommended that I go to emergency or the walk-in clinic.  I'm pretty sure the message that was left for him did not include the duration of the symptoms and that his concern over me having a stroke or heart attack were very likely unfounded.

I'm pretty certain that had I gone to one of those locations I would have been told that I would need a referral to a specialist from my GP anyway.  Why spend eight hours in an ER waiting room just to be told to go home, have a nap and talk to my GP.  I don't mean to be cynical but I have had some less than encouraging experiences in those places and cannot give them my full trust.

As with the first big opportunity I ever had to make some photos for a young hockey team, I got sick, really sick, just before it was about to take place.  There I was a week before one of biggest shoots we've ever done and I'm not feeling 100%.  Thankfully Angela's capable massage therapist hands have kept me functioning and I'm sure that we will make photos that will please our client tomorrow but I certainly am praying for enough function to do a top-notch job.  Then, comes the game of patience waiting for appointments and hopefully solutions.

I'm hoping that the timing of these very likely appointments coincide nicely with a number of other events that I really hoping to be able to participate in.  Congregation photos, additional work for the client we will be working with tomorrow, another round of congregation photos, website work for our church, and largest of all, Help-Portrait on December 10.  That was by far the most fulfilling thing I've ever done with my camera and I really hope to feel confident enough to commit to a full day of making portraits for those less fortunate or who would otherwise never be able to afford a professionally made photograph of themselves.

This year the plan is to provide food, educational booths, possibly a health practitioner on site, financial advice to keep people busy after they have had their portrait made while we process and print for them before they leave on the very same day.  This should be an excellent way to make sure everybody gets their photo quickly and not have to come back the following week as they did last year.

You can see why I want to be a part of this.  

More experienced photographers will be pairing up with less experienced photographers so everybody is learning together.  Rotating between shooting, processing and any other duties will make sure everybody gets a nice proportion of opportunity to help in all areas.  All I can say is that this year is not going to be a mild improvement from last year, it is going to be a substantial leap forward in what it is going to do for people, and not just those receiving a portrait.

I will try to keep this space bit more active in the next little while.  It's good to be busy but I also want to make sure to keep those interested informed on things that are going on.

I leave you with a photo that seemed to be pretty popular on Facebook and may just give you a feeling of warmth in these increasingly chilly days.

Oct 9, 2011

Autumn Updates

It has been awhile since I wrote anything so I figured an update was due. The winds here have been cold the last week and a nasty and chilling day of heavy rain on Friday brought to mind a favourite Guns 'N Roses song and reminded me of the coming cold.

I'm not bothered by it this year as I have been in most years past. We have had a very good summer and an above average autumn. More than that, with respect to my disposition, are the blessings of a reliable new van, new wheelchair, places to go with them and a solid photography kit to shoot with at those locations. Regular exercise outings with a good friend of identical physical ability has taken it's toll on me with a bit of mild tendinitis and general achiness but it has replaced the worse achiness of inactivity and been a solid boost in my mental state. Exercise in proper amounts cannot be a bad thing.

Among the places of interest for me to travel to with the new van and wheelchair is the previously mentioned Hot Racks Bakery, focus and direction working with the Fine Arts Team at Ebenezer Baptist, and an unexpected email from the Saskatchewan Fencing Association. Seems the estimate I submitted three months ago to make provincial team photos was indeed accepted, I just never received the confirmation email. In addition to the they want me to shoot a special event for them and two national tournaments. Yeah, I was a little shocked, briefly overwhelmed and just a little scared. These "first times" seem to be coming in waves. I guess I can take a hint and just make photos.

I know it won't guarantee success, but I feel like I've been devouring educational material like a wildfire the last while. Practice makes perfect, but I'm glad that every time I've applied untested theory it has worked well for me. A little bit of gear has been ordered that will enable better, quicker results. I have nothing against second hand items or makeshift solutions if they provide the same results, but when they take twice as long to implement that simply translates into time lost, greater cost to the client and greater stress for us. Cheaper solutions are often not cheaper for very long.

That has been the news from here. Again I will mention that the newest photos are being uploaded regularly and can be see under Latest 500px Uploads on the right side of the page. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Have a filling and safe weekend.

Oct 3, 2011

Autumn Walk at the Forestry Farm

Two weeks ago Jason and I made an early autumn trip to the Forestry Farm. The day was fresh and the colours were mostly just beginning to turn.

What we did discover were these unknown nuts falling from a nearby tree. The foliage was turning a deep orange, even red. The tree's bark is somewhere between a poplar and an Elm. If anyone knows what type of tree this is, please share it with us in the comments.