Ottawa photo show - urban reality

We're planning a photo exhibit as part of the annual House of PainT hip-hop festival here in Ottawa. The exhibit will be at Fall Down Gallery, 288 Bank, opening August 4th.

The concept behind the exhibit is 'Ottawa as an Urban City'.

We're constantly shown images of Ottawa produced by the NCC or Tourism Canada, featuring sunset bike rides along the river or skating along the canal, but for most of the people who live in Ottawa - and love the city - the reality is much more urban. We're looking for images that show Ottawa as a CITY - a place where people live, work, travel, shop, party, chill, play, on streets, sidewalks, back alleys, yards and parking lots. We want to show that Ottawa is beautiful not only for our tourist attractions, but also for those things we experience day to day.

So in keeping with the 2011 festival theme - CONNECT - we're looking for work that, in some way, connects the viewer to Ottawa (the architecture, the landscape, the people, etc...) in that way. We want to connect Ottawans with the urban reality of the city.

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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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Art exhibit - June 18 to July ?

   The Canada Dance Festival is putting on HipHop360 here in Ottawa from June 19-23. There will be bboys/bgirls, MC's, DJ's and graff. And the big finale on Saturday is the amazing House of Paint.

As part of this, I'm putting on an exhibition in the foyer of the NAC, by the fountain. Big thanks toNoora and Jamie and all the rest of the NAC "gang" for making htis happen. The exhibition will be there from June 18 to 25th. (Update - exhibit stays until after Canada Day - big ups to the NAC)

There will be 15 photos from the past House of Paint events, 15 photos of graffiti from a number of Canadian cities, and 4 canvases by local graff artists. In addition, I've set up a graff demo by four local graff artists. It's June 19, on an NAC terrace, facing the canal. 

Here are some views of the exhibit itself:

2007_06_18_1_large_3 2007_06_18a_large_2 2007_06_18_5_large_3 2007_06_18_2_large_2 2007_06_18_3a_large_2 2007_06_18_4_large_2 

Festival-X - more info

I've an update to my previous post on Ottawa's photo festival this fall. The media launch is May 28th at La Petite Mort Gallery, 306 Cumberland, 4-5pm (by invitation), others welcome from 5-7.

Theme is "wide angle" - as in scope, not lens type. From black and white prints to conceptual installations, fine art to commercial, student to professional - the whole range.

I've attached the latest release here, it's a PDF file. Registration deadline is June 15th.