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Sep 25, 2013

2013 West Coast Vacation Video

Can you believe it!? Finally I am finished the video presentation of our trip to the West Coast. I promised it for a long time, worked on it when I had time, wrestled with the software that I am quite unfamiliar with until I was able to come up with a result that I felt worthy of sharing with you. Then, over 17 hours of time to uploaded to YouTube, two hours for you to to process and get it ready for presentation and it is finally ready. And that does not include the time it took to make all the photos and video clips that were used to create this. But, that was just a bonus of our trip.

For those interested in the technicals, as mentioned in the video, the vast majority of the content was created using a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and a Samsung Galaxy S3. A couple of our self photos done by the bay were made on a small Canon power shot. For commentary, my nasal voice was recorded on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 using the voice recorder app. The video was compiled and edited in Lightworks and worked flawlessly once I knew what I was doing with the software. It's been a long time since I did any video editing and this was far more in-depth than anything I had done before. The next video I plan on making embeds multiple frames together and I imagine I will lose a few more handfuls of hair getting that to work the way I want it to. :-)

Aside from the introductory track, the music was provided by David Hildebrandt's album "Instrumental Classics" which he was gracious enough to allow me to use royalty-free since I made the cover photo of that album as well as doing all the photography for his album "Ordinary Man".

The only note that I did not put in the video was the disappointing transition from the same class of highway from the United States to Saskatchewan. If you watch near the end just before the photos at the cabin you will see two highways, the first being in Montana, the second being in Saskatchewan, just minutes apart. I guess we have less population and more highways to maintain but it was a big difference in the comfort of driving just a few kilometers apart.

You can watch it on this embedded video but I may suggest that you click on the YouTube button in the bottom right and watch it on YouTube, in full-screen at full resolution. I took the time to make it is large and crisp as I could so it would be a shame not enjoy it at that quality.

Thanks for watching. Maybe in a few years I will have another video from Vancouver and Victoria to share with you.

Sep 21, 2013

2013 CPA Wheelchair Relay

Last Saturday was the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Paraplegic Association wheelchair relay. It is their major fundraising event that occurs once a year and occurs only because of the hard work of a lot of people. Delynne was the organizer again this year and she did an excellent job. She recruited top-notch volunteers, including a skilled photographer, had lots of prizes for everyone, great activities for the kids, information stations about wheelchair sports and adaptive videogame technology, a yoga demonstration by Heather Cuttai and some celebrity appearances for the initial relay.

Our very own Mayor Don Atchison was there to say a few words and participate in the initial relay. Since this is my site I will say that I always have to bite my tongue at these times. I'm afraid the City of Saskatoon just cannot be patting itself on the back about putting in a few curb cuts that are completely unusable in the winter and many in the summer, because of snow or the road pavement being higher than the low point of the curb cut which causes a very dangerous lip for the front wheels of a wheelchair. Meanwhile, new businesses are opening, freshly renovated, with inaccessible entrances or washrooms. Costco has a freshly redesigned parking lot with fewer usable disabled persons parking stalls and new strip malls have fewer sidewalk accesses and the ones they do have are often at the front of a parking spot so they are blocked by the vehicles of individuals who insist on pulling up to the curb until their wheels hit and their front spoiler rips off. Thank goodness that ramp is there so they don't damage that spoiler in those instances.

I suggested that they bring in a full zamboni just before the relay starts and dump it in the middle of the track to give our mayor a real feel of getting around by wheelchair, trying to plow through snow.

I suppose a lot of these complaints are part of the reason that I help out with this relay. It is my hope that the suggestions regarding accessibility that the CPA is able to provide businesses with will become laws. Until there is punishment for exclusionary decisions by businesses I don't believe we will have a properly accessible city.

Among our celebrity guests was Becky Richter who, since I first photographed her over four years ago when she was fairly new to wheelchair racing, has won plenty of medals and broken records.

Heather doing her yoga demonstration for us.
Heather's daughter rocking her face paint. She even had a leopardprint shirt on to match.

CTV's own Mike Ciona was our emcee for the fourth year and did his usual excellent job. Subway provided an excellent lunch for us and there were the many prizes provided by smaller businesses from around the city to give to people through draws, trivia competitions and other games.

Of course, there were the large corporate sponsors that are greatly appreciated and make this fundraiser the most beneficial to the longevity and effectiveness of the CPA.

I got a little heavy on the photos of Lawrence, but that guy can move! The sequence of six photos that I took of him making his passing maneuver above was a lot of fun to cycle between to watch him overtake the older gentleman who's reaching for him. Things like that make the day extra fun to participate in.

Some of the groups had the absolute best costumes this year. There were the biker women, as seen in the background of the last photo of Lawrence above, with their fishnet stockings, bicycle helmets and tank tops complete with knee-high stockings.

UPDATE: Angie suggested they may be roller derby players. I'm guessing she's right.

There was the team dressed country style with the fierce, but friendly, attitude to match.

And, of course, there were the Wheel Riders 1, Wheel Riders 2 and the Young Riders, all of whom were dressed in Saskatchewan Roughrider green apparel.

All in all it was a full and busy day with a lot of laughs and a lot of excitement. It's amazing how fast, with a little bit of training, a person can move in a wheelchair. It's also amusing at how someone who's not use to navigating in a wheelchair can come to a corner and push the chair the exact wrong direction that they intend. It was things like that that made for a few of the best laughs and best collisions.

Sep 11, 2013

I Was Due

Isn't it often the case? The photographer seldom gets photographed. Nothing like a new tool to test out and learn about to motivate oneself to shoot.

This time I couldn't let Angie be my subject. The lighting I had planned in my mind was not going to be flattering.

Since looking through the slides that came with my Light Blaster I have had an image running through my head that reminded me of Quickman's stage from Megaman 2 for the NES.

Many of the stages have that metal and pipes look, it is a robot fighting game, after all. But the blue hues from that one in particular had my memory jogged after looking at that slide.

I wasn't sure if the portrayal would come through, but thinking about how much hardware had been in my head, and still is in my neck, I thought a look of transparency, or peek below the surface of my skin, might be interesting as if the metal is being revealed.

Finally, I'm not mad, angry or hostile, but it doesn't take a master photographer to know that a big toothy grin wouldn't work very well for this photo, hence the firm expression.

  Self Portrait 09092013 - 2 by Jay Scott on

Sep 7, 2013

Light Blaster Cuteness

Help-Portrait planning is well underway and my hopes of using my new tool, the Light Blaster, as a part of the CPA event, is looking better. We will give participants the option of having an interesting portrait made but, of course, we will offer a standard studio style portrait if that is what they're interested. It is my hope that we can surpass the common look of a standard studio portrait that has been around for decades. Sure, they look nice, but they have been done billions of times. Unique is where it is at, in my opinion.

So, who do you think were my test subjects? Of course they were Kiwi and Angie. Posing as nicely as they always do for me while I tweak and adjust and struggle to get the look I want.

I know a lot of people have told me I am wrong when I say this, but I do not feel terribly creative. It has taken a lot of time thinking about how to use this tool to create unique photos. The top photo is the best example of what it is capable of. The slide I chose was one of a nebula. I fired it from the back of the chair onto the back of my subjects. You can see the pattern of the slide best on the chair next Kiwi's left side (camera right).

I'm not saying that these photos were the best use of this tool but the more I use it and the more I think about it the more I am beginning to understand its capabilities and get some ideas of how to use it in an original way.

As for taking Kiwi back to her original groomer, I think it was the right choice. She was shaved down perfectly this time, done faster than usual and it is only 10 blocks away instead of across the city.

Just look at those silky smooth shaved down flappy ears. :-) I can't get enough of them.

Finally, I got the chance to try out a new lens to make these photos. Sometimes I hate the idea of buying or selling on Kijiji. You can never be certain what you are getting or who you will be getting it from. This time I hit gold, though. Slightly above the fair market value, I bought a barely used lens to dedicate to the Light Blaster. Just like a slide projector you can use a lens to zoom in or zoom out there by concentrating or widening the projection thrown. Definitely not the quality of lens that I am used to using, but it is in mint condition, with the box with all the manuals and the case. Heck, he even gave it to me in the original bag he brought it home in from Don's Photo. A nice 75-year-old guy, which I did not expect because of how computer savvy he was in our communications, with stories to tell, a big smile and a firm handshake. Those are the type of people I like to deal with on Kijiji. He was not so different from the guy I bought my last flash from a few months ago.

Sep 2, 2013

Kub Kars - 1/2 Lb

Two decades ago I was a member of a Cub Scout pack in Swift Current. We did a lot of fun things, especially once my dad was a leader, that included being locked in a holding cell at the local RCMP station, touring the water filtration plant, scavenger hunts, cub camp weekends and, my two favorites, knot tying and Kub Kar building and derbies.

  Kub Truck 1 by Jay Scott on

All three years I placed with two years being first place wins in Swift Current which allowed me to go to the provincials. One would have been a win if only we had decided to not re-lubricate the wheels with graphite because it took a little while to work in and was not at its fastest when my turn came. At least, that is my memory of the derby. :-)

  Kub Truck 2 by Jay Scott on

Of course, the cars had regulation sizes and weights for the "driving" competitions but not for the show competitions. I remember seeing a huge fire truck at one of the provincials that, I believe, won for showmanship.

  Kub Truck 3 by Jay Scott on

However, my dad being a truck guy, decided to build this Kub truck just for fun. And did a fine job of it. I thought it might be a good glow stick hauler, but they were a bit too big to fit comfortably. Still, it made an interesting light source with a 25 second exposure.

Over the next little while my three cars will be posted on here and you can see what three winning cars look like, Stacey. ;)