January cold, warm lips

Funny how we get spoiled by a few above normal days, then when the temperature becomes "seasonal" we sit and glare at the weather forecaster. And he/she is often apologetic about the coming bad weather - reinforcing the myth that it's all their fault. In Ottawa, cold weather means good conditions on the Rideau Canal Skateway, allegedly the world's longest. And apparently it's also one of the world's smoothest, now that the maintenance company has built a wide Zamboni-like machine to flood the ice every night. Now that my January cough has cleared up, I might actually get out and skate a few times. I had a cold that seemed to just hang in there for weeks, trying to decide where it wanted to settle. Runny nose, then stuffy nose, then dry cough, then congested cough - rinse and repeat - it wandered from place to place and then finally left. As with all colds, you're never sure if the cure was the unique set of remedies you chose, or if it was just a matter of time. In addition to the regular plenty of fluids and rest, I trioed throwing Vitamin C and Cold-FX at it. The literature seems to indicate that those have both made a difference in clinical trials. For some patients. So maybe they helped me, maybe they didn't, and any rate it's nice to be relatively healthy again and go for a walk without hacking and sniffing through crowds like a Typhoid Mary. Good to get out and about but also is enjoyable to see the snow from my apartment window, especially when someone else clears it all away from the driveway. There are some quirks living in an apartment, but there are also some real benefits. Especially when it's in such a great area.

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Bluesfest 2009 - camera tips

After missing a couple of years, I went to this years Bluesfest, as a photographer for Soundproof magazine. I worked with two local writers, we managed to cover about 15 bands. I took photos of another 30 groups on my own. Soundproof magazine has almost all our reviews and photos online, and  will be adding some of my extra pics to the web page's scrapbook area. Also, have added to my Flickr page as a set.

I had a lot of fun at Bluesfest, going there eight days out of the twelve. I had a conference in the middle that I had to help organize and do a presentation for, so I got a bit of a break.  All my photos for scheduled events went in to the magazine the next day, so I wouldn't fall behind and so they could stay current online. I had maybe 40-60 to choose from for each show, I sorted and deleted and edited - all in PE7, then sent in my  best five from each one. I used my new D90 with the 18-200 VR lens, a combo selected for better concert work, especially in low light. The first few days I capped the auto ISO at 800 and used shutter priority at 1/40. Aperture was usually at f3.5. Pictures were OK, but I got face blur in some, as the VR compensates for minor jitters only. Next time I let the ISO go up a stop to 1600, and the speed down a stop to 1/80 -same overall sensitivity but th shots were generally sharper. D90 noise is fine at 1600, it doesn't really ramp up until after 3200. I'll try that setting later. Another handy feature was LiveView, in which the back display can be set to show the view through the lens, as in a point and shoot camera. That came in handy, especially when standing in front of the 6 foot main stage, as I was able to hold the camera overhead and get a couple of feet of height when shooting a group. I used manual focus also, as the LiveView focusing is slow. Exposure metering was centre-weighted, no time to spot meter and go manual, with the lights constantly changed colours and intensity. Dynamic full screen metering got fooled by spots shining from the back, so I gave up on that. White balance was on auto, and it managed OK.

I managed to usually find a good spot before the act began, so didn't have to gallop back and forth much with the herd. I found that small hip hop acts like Ludicris or Buusta Rhymes were so active that I just stayed put usually, and let them come to me. The only difficulty was in getting wide angle shots of a band, I didn't bring my 10-20mm Sigma - no time to swap lenses. And my D70 body is too slow for good night work at a concert. Many photographers went 10-20 feet up the passageway back to the sound tent, and shot the stage from there, a good strategy except for the fact that everyone was doing it so kept getting in each other way. In our crowd, I found that some photographers were courteous, some pushy. Oh well. I made sure to be nice - especially to security. My pass also got me access to the Empire Grill area, a wedge shaped section pointing to the stage, with chairs, no bathroom lines, and often a fairly clear and close shot of the stage. That's where I got some "wide angle" band shots, after leaving the pit.

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World Beats and Eats - Nov 4

For a good cause, and these events are dope. Can't go because I'm at a World Trivia Night fundraiser Friday, but I'll post info here anyways.

World Beats and Eats - Special Birthday Edition November 4th - 2005 Mercury Lounge - Ottawa

56 Byward st. (Sidedoor/upstairs)

$8 at the Door

-Benefit for - Ottawa Fringe Festival

-Eats by - Curries, La Vecchia Trattoria, as well as some assorted sushi.

-Beats from - Giveaways from Six Degrees Records - In house Beats by Emily Jones followed by Daser and Lance Baptiste -Live Art by - Daser -With a Special Guest Host - Mike MacNeil (a.k.a. the Door Guy)


The Beneficiary:

The Ottawa Fringe Festival "is a forum that unites artists and audiences in a fun, exploratory environment. The guiding principles of the Fringe include unrestricted artistic expression, accessibility and community development. The Fringe encourages artists to explore and test boundaries and make bold choices in the creation of art."

The Eats:

-Curries - Indian Restaurant and Sweet House

(114 A Gloucester Street - Corner of Gloucester & O'Connor - 613-598-6970) - with the first in a generous two month donation of their best in Indian delights

-La Vecchia Trattoria

(228 Preston Street - 613-230-0009) - Ottawa's Little Italy is once again represented, this time by the Italian fare from La Vecchia Trattoria.

-assorted sushi

this selection was added after the unfortunate and unexpected closing of the planned food sponsor Greek Greek. This restaurant has given previously to numerous events in the artist community and will be missed. The assortment of maki sushi will include: oshinko (pickled diakon), cucumber, fried tofu, inari (tofu pockets)

The Beats:

Always free CD's to giveaway from Six Degrees Records and always swanky in house beats.


beats w/ Emily Jones (emilyjones.ca, E18hteen, Social) 9-10pm Special Set by DASER 10pm-????

beats w/ Lance Baptiste

Live Art:

Last month we all witnessed an opening of DASER's amazing canvass work at the Mercury Lounge. This month we will get to witness his work in progress as he paints live in the Mercury Lounge.

Special Guest Host:

Mike MacNeil (a.k.a. the door guy) has been the longest standing, most dedicated volunteer to World Beats and Eats, having donated his time to every single event since the first in January. For this reason he is perfectly suited to assume the responsibility of guest host for the evening as Volunteer/Organizer Brad Campeau (a.k.a. B Rad) takes a night off to celebrate his birthday for this Special Birthday Edition of World Beats and Eats.


November 4th - 7-10pm

Mercury Lounge

56 Byward st. (Sidedoor/upstairs)

$8 at the Door (includes FOOD and MUSIC GIVEAWAYS)


This is a MONTHLY event so get your name on the mailing list at the event or Email [email protected] to get the details early for each event!

Brad Campeau

Kosmic Komply 2004

Went to my first rave last weekend - guess I've lived a sheltered life so far. I got the info via De Cypher Cru, some local b-girls. I met one of them a while ago at a meeting for Ottawa's Piece Park and the whole Cru at last year's House of Paint. I admire their skill and enjoy the music so offered to take some photos. Also gave me a chance to try out my new flash - to go with the new camera.
It was held at Carleton U, School of Architecture, as a party and fundraiser. Breakdancing, hip-hop, rappers, several rooms with loud but good music set up, different themes in various rooms, including a floor of sod, and lots of costumes. Dragged a friend along (actually, she needed no encouragement), we had fun.
It's toned down lately, and is not typical of a rave, but I can pretend.
Most of the pictures turned out OK, I experimented a bit when taking them, and cropped and resized on the PC. Shot all at "Large" image, "Fine" compression. that means a 3meg image but storage is cheap and all the detail is there if needed.
I'll keep posting pics to my album here as I get them done.

Dec 4 - added more pics, from a friend's camera I borrowed when my batteries died. New camera, they last a long time, UNLESS you play around experiment too much. Battery meter on Nikon D-70 goes from 3/4 to nada in a flash - so to speak. Thanks to N. for the loaner.