Thursday, February 24, 2011

Terry Fallis @ Ron Joyce Centre (February 24, 2011)

Today I was lucky enough to catch a talk by author and PR practitioner Terry Fallis at McMaster's Ron Joyce Centre in Burlington. Introduced by Master's of Communication Management program director Dr. Terry Flynn, Mr. Fallis discussed his experiences using social media (primarily podcasting) to find a market for his self-published first novel, "The Best Laid Plans". He also touched on the implications of social media for public relations practitioners.

Below: Preparing to speak to students of Communication Management.

Mr. Fallis won the Stephen Leacock Medal for "The Best Laid Plans" in 2008, and just last month for the same novel he also won the national "Canada Reads" contest run by the CBC. He's since had a sequel published, "The High Road".

I always enjoy taking pictures of people "performing" (to me, public speaking is always performing, just as much as acting or singing would be). Below: This particular speaker used a lot of hand gestures (as I know I do too), so I tried to capture that in the pictures. I'm not sure exactly what's being referenced in the one below, but it looks significant!

Below: a rapt audience (the rest of the class is out of view).

Below: This was one of my two favourite pictures from the talk. I love how the camera just focussed on his hand (also the microphone), I think that happened because I moved the camera and it didn't have time to re-focus on his face. A great effect though.

Below: This was my other favourite picture. I'm not quite sure why, it just has a nice feeling to it.

More hand gestures--I had quite a few more shots like that, they turned out surprisingly well. I decided not to go overboard and post a whole slew of them here. Taking photos like these reminds me of the 30-second gesture drawings we used to do as warm-ups in figure-drawing class at NSCAD. The photos turn out like those drawings did: many of them slightly "off", some that look pretty good, and maybe a few that "catch" something really interesting.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Feet (Part 1) 2000-2010

By the river. Ottawa, Ontario. April 2000. I went to visit Ottawa for the first time, with my friend Lucas from Halifax, and took this picture as we were sitting by the bridge closest to Parliament Hill. It's the first picture I can find that involves my feet, and I think I took it because we were having short rest/observation stop and I was fiddling with my camera. Those sneakers were always incredibly bouncy, due to their thick soles.

Zines. Hamilton, Ontario. March 31st, 2003. My mother gave me those sheepskin slippers which were from New Zealand; I wore them until they couldn't really be worn any more. Spread out in front of me are zine-making materials. This was the last zine I made before going back to university (McMaster) in May 2003. The spray bottle of water in the left upper corner was a tool to keep the cat from rolling around on my project-in-progress ("cat discipline").

Highway to Guelph. Ontario. May, 2005.
Just a spring airing, a country drive with D.D. though I'd never visited Guelph before so I was quite interested to see the place.

Cooling off. Lake Tekapo, Mackenzie Country. New Zealand. February 4th, 2010. We (our Stray bus) visited this lake on the way up to Christchurch, to take a look at the Church of the Good Shepherd which is perched iconically on the shore. I waded into the clear, cold water and watched some ducks gliding past a little way off, oblivious to my presence. It was completely peaceful in spite of the tourists milling around the church behind me.

Longitude zero (Greenwich Meridian). Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England. March 15, 2008. Here I am standing with, literally, one foot in the eastern hemisphere and one foot in the western one. It's hard not to be struck by the arbitrariness of the line, which, though so solid looking, has actually been moved about quite a bit over time. History is a funny thing.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Full Moon, Bay & Front Streets (February 16, 2011)

Downtown Toronto, in the financial district across from Union Station.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grass Shadow (May 25, 2010)

I like pictures that disorient.

This one is tricky to untangle, but as the one who took the picture, I get the pleasure of revealing the answer to a bit of a visual riddle. The photo was taken at Eglinton West subway station in Toronto, which has glass walls along the platform. I think it was later in the afternoon, and the sun was slanting at an angle that cast the plants' shadows against the glass. It's an unusual visual effect, probably because you can see both the shadows and the plants themselves behind them, and there is a thin layer of dust on the outside of the glass that is lit up by the sun, creating extra contrast.*

The ghosts of grasses.

*The "look" in this picture always reminds me of the video for "Go!" by Lemon Jelly.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowpocalypse (February 1, 2010)

For those who were bundled up inside last night, toasting their toes by a fire or a heating vent, you'll be pleased to note that I was in fact outside with a waterproof camera, taking pictures of the nasty snowstorm that hit sometime after 9pm.

We all knew it was coming of course, thanks to many media warnings; so most people were tucked away safely by the time the snow actually arrived. I, on the other hand, had been hanging out at a friend's place until about 10:45 PM; by the time I got outside the snow and wind had picked up, making things less than pleasant for my trip home by public transportation. The upside was the pictures, which turned out quite nicely given that I wasn't willing to go out of my way to capture any special effects or locations.

10:47 PM: Queen at George Street between King West & Main West, looking east towards Hess Street.

Queen Street north of Main West, looking towards King West: The castle-like structure seen through the trees is the Scottish Rite building.

Streetlamp on Queen Street, north of Main Street West.

Main Street West at the corner of Queen South: GO buses and city buses (Hamilton Street Railway) kept running, thankfully; it didn't take me too long to get home.

Queen Street South at Main, facing Southwest: A strong wind was whipping up the hill here. I was glad I'd bothered to bring a hat.

10:53 PM: Waiting for the bus on Main Street West at Hess; south side, looking West.

11:11 PM: Main East at Emerald, south side facing west. The wind was whipping eddies of powdery snow across the ground--like water across a river bed, or sand in a desert storm--which were illuminated in this picture by the car headlights.

Parking lot, Emerald Street at Main East: walking towards the alley, the sky's lit up by lights bouncing off the clouds and the flying snow. Cloudy, snowy nights in the city are always eerily bright in this way, as the electric glow of human activity is amplified umpteen thousand times in miniature by whirling airborne reflective flakes.