Conqueror Virtual Challenge - Berlin Wall

Another short-ish challenge, the Berlin Wall. From the site, "The Berlin Wall takes you on a powerful 30mi (48km) journey through the center of Berlin, Germany, from Waltersdorfer Chaussee to Hermsdorf. What used to be a symbol of a world split in half by the Cold War now is the symbol of freedom, liberty, and unity."

FireShot Pro Webpage Screenshot #758 - 'Berlin-wall-map en - Berlin Wall - Wikipedia' - en.wikipedia.orgHere's a map from Wiki of the wall back then, showing checkpoints. Key: Solid line: the Berlin Wall Dotted line: edges of East Berlin Blue dots: Checkpoints open to Germans only Red dots: Checkpoints open to Germans and non-Germans.

64681748I got a postcard and letter soon after starting out. I'll add the text from the letter here. 

The thriving city of Berlin is home to 3.8 million people. It is the capital city of Germany, the largest city in the country and one of the most populated in Europe. A tourist destination, Berlin is rich with culture, diverse architecture, vibrant nightlife, a plethora of festivities and a very high quality of life.

Yet not so long-ago, Berlin was a decimated city, a result of heavy bombing during WWII. When Germany lost the war in 1945, the country was divided by the Allies into four sectors. The Allies consisted of the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union (USSR). East Germany was occupied by the USSR and West Germany was split between the other three. Berlin, as the capital city, was located in East Germany and it too was carved up into East and West Berlin.

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Conqueror Virtual Challenge - Angkor Wat

FireShot Pro Webpage Screenshot #345 - 'The Conqueror - Virtual Challenges I Virtual Challenges' - www.theconqueror.eventsTL;DR -Time to get moving again.
I really like this site, and want to get back into the challenges. The locations are from around the world, often with amazing sights to explore via Google Streetview. The Facebook community is awesome, support desk is fast, and such cool medals once you finish.
My first challenge was the 42km Marathon to Athens.  I used my Fitbit to track steps and travelled the same route daily via Streetview - taking screenshots and commenting on my discoveries in my Facebook. I really enjoyed it. My second was the 66km Flower Route , in the Netherlands. Great Street Views and I did the same screenshot commenting - just not as frequently. Next was the 161km Cote d'Azur. I started with good intentions but my steps/day, and (new) rowing machine time, as well as my views and comments, fell off. I think it was boredom with the walk - beautiful but repetitive - as well as my boycott of much of Facebook. Maybe less peer pressure? My last one was the 56km Amalfi Coast.  - no added steps, no tracking, took me 28 days. Just no motivation. 
I'll restart small - I have some codes and I hear that Ankhor Wat has nice views. So, it's off to Cambodia for me. I'll try to track my progress daily in this post, just adding to the end as I go.

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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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