Thursday, October 29, 2009

"If you are going to San Francisco"

If you are going to San Francisco. Yes, that is indeed a great song and I am sure as many before us, we cranked this tune up as we drove into San Francisco on a beautiful day this past August. The first snow of the year is falling outside my window right now so I thought it would the perfect time to catch up on some great summer memories and post a couple of shots from a visit to San Francisco.

We drove into the city on busy afternoon with rush our traffic all around us. It doesn't take long to master driving on the steep streets but the first few times it is a bit of rush. I was in San Francisco with my son and we ventured out mostly on foot and enjoyed everything from the great architecture, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, the trolleys and Union Square.

We stayed at a nice B&B, Edward II Inn & Suites, on the corner of Lombard and Scott. We loved this neighbourhood near the Yacht Club. It was easy to find good meals and a great atmosphere here. The hotel staff were super friendly and because we were there midweek and it wasn't too busy they upgraded us to a nice corner suite.

For more photos please follow the link to my SmugMug site.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lent Fraser Wall at the Junction

Friday night I joined a couple of good friends for a musical treat at the Junction Cafe' in Armstrong. It is hard to believe but it has been more than two years since I last saw/heard them live, also at the Junction. John, Neil and Shelby aka Lent Fraser Wall had not been wasting these two years. In fact they had all new material in mix of mainly covers and some of their own songs. Musically this trio is very strong. Backed by an an extremely solid rhythm guitar by Shelby Wall, an out of this world lead guitar by Neil Fraser and solid blues voice from John Lent these guys can entertain. I encourage you to catch them again as they are back at the Junction in November.

Check a few more photos from Friday's gig at my SmugMug site.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Canon EOS-1 Mark IV is here

I have made mention of an upcoming Canon EOS-1 Mark IV in earlier blog posts. Well now it is here and my early conclusion of this camera are mixed. Of course without having tried the camera these thoughts or opinions could be swayed in a different directions when and if I will be able to try this beast out and see the final image quality.

There are plenty of good sites where you can study the specs of this camera. I will list links at the bottom of this post. The first thing I gravitate towards when reading these specs are the price point and the sensor size.

Let me talk about the sensor size first. I am disappointed to see that this release is a 1.3x crop sensor. I thought perhaps this time around Canon would have taken the opportunity to drop the crop. Three years ago I was in line to purchase the 1D III but could not wait the three to four months after the release announcement to get one so I ended up with the full frame 5D instead. Since then I have also added the 5D Mark II. I have become so accustomed to shooting full frame that I do not think I am prepared to look back and work with a cropped sensor again. I am sure Canon will follow up with a full frame 1Ds IV in 2010 and I am afraid that it will come in around $8000.00 again, which I find appalling for a piece of photography gear. Where do you draw the line?

Now lets talk more about price point. Many shooters had hoped Canon would slide the 1D IV in at price point of the excising 1D III at $4000.00 US, but unfortunately it isn't so. The initial price will be $5000.00 and $5499.00 Canadian. I also just checked the Canadian price of the newly released Nikon D3s and it comes in at $6500.00 Canadian. This is indeed an unpleasant trend if you aspire to shoot with these pro level cameras.

Now on the positive side of things it does sound like Canon has fixed the auto focus issues, which has plagued the 1D III and they do boast increased high ISO performance. Several modes of video has also been added to the 1D Mark IV. Wildlife shooters, die hard sport shooters and photo journalist have been waiting for this release for quite some time. For the type of shooting I mainly do I am not convinced that the 1D IV will get me out of my seat full of joy. With my 5D II I have higher resolution and a full frame sensor at almost half the cost. I find the 5D IIs AF tracking fine for the sports shooting I've been doing. As mentioned tests of the 1D IV may prove this wrong but for now these are my early thoughts.

For a good early review go to:

And check out an impressive video shot by Vincent Laforet:

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Dark and Rainy Fall Weekend

So what are you to do on a dark and rainy fall weekend. Well how about inviting a good friend to town promising him that we have all kinds of wild life here in Vernon and of course shooting conditions will be great. Well, as the head line says shooting conditions were not optimal but we still got out there and tried to find some action. As a rule in photography you just have to get out there, rain or shine, and the world will present images around every corner and for almost every step you take. So we only saw one eagle and I only got one chance to fire away so this is certainly not my favourite shot of the weekend but I still include it in todays post.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Whitecaps FC Vernon Soccer Academy

I just wrapped up a window display project with the Whitecaps FC Vernon Soccer academy and Jr. Academy. The window displays can be seen at the entrance to the indoor soccer facility in Vernon BC. The originals are aprox. 35" x 64". I captured the school academy players outdoor in late September while photos in the second display were shot indoor in early October. It was great to witness the talented coaches and players we have right here in Vernon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Running the Victoria Half Marathon

Running half a marathon has been on my list of things to do for quite some time. As a young lad and into my twenties I ran several 12K races and always enjoyed the feeling and atmosphere surrounding these events. I started training for a half marathon a few years ago but my back gave me some trouble and I never made it to the starting block. I could probably write a book full of excuses why I haven't done one yet but it would be an awful boring read.

Sunday was redemption time for me in Victoria BC. It was time to try out the ol' legs and see if they would carry me he distance of 21.1K. I have been training for the event since June and despite a couple of set backs (cut a toe in August and twisted my ankle quite badly just a month ago) I felt ready to go.

These events start early. We scrambled and got the car at parked just in time and found our way to the starting line near the BC parliament building. The first kilometre took us by the harbour front and the Empress Hotel. Then up Johnson and into the rising sun. I could see at least 3000 runners ahead of me at this point, heads bopping up and down, an awesome sight in the morning light. Then through the beautiful Beacon Park and down to the water front. There was not a wind and the sun gained strength and warmed up the runners. Coming towards us at this stretch were the top athletes... man are they ever fast, running half a marathon in about half the time it takes me. This was a good inspiration and gave me a bit of extra energy.

Around the 14-15K mark we ran though a nice sub division. People were out in strong numbers cheering us on, music blasting from iPods and trumpets. Around this point my legs started saying; What the heck are you doing to me? It was also around this point that I overheard other runners saying that we were right on the mark for a two hour finish. This came as a bit of surprise to me as I had anticipated a finish around 2:10-15. For a while I ran next to a blind runner and his very supportive coach/lead. The coach kept talking to 'his runner' letting him know when the hills came and also that he was on track for a two hour finish time. What a great team.

The home stretch along the water front seemed to go fast despite my legs feeling heavy at this point. At the 20K mark I heard another couple of runners mentioning that they felt they were going to make the two hour mark. This of course made me pick up the pace for the last 1K. I came in just over two hours at 2:00:27 and was very thrilled. I have photographed marathons and ironman races this summer but Sunday it was great to be on the participant side of things. Will I do it again? The Victoria Half Marathon next year will be held on October 1oth making it an 10/10/10 event. How can I miss it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Buying Prints and more from

I now have more than 19000 images on my SmugMug site and my goal is to see the photos come to life on your walls in the form of enlargements or in your photo album.

The product selection has been vastly expanded. You will have a range of print sizes available which can be printed on glossy, matte, lustre, metallic and even canvas. In the Merchandise Section you can add photos to T-Shirts, sweatshirts, mouse pads, key chains, mugs, ceramic tile and more. You also have an option to download a digital file for personal use.

As prints from mfoto/SmugMug are shipped from The States please note that pricing is in US Dollars.

If you are unhappy with your prints or gifts, SmugMug will reprint or refund your order, whichever you prefer.

Take the mystery out online shopping from my SmugMug site and check the help section.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Seaton Volleyball

The high school volleyball season is in full swing with midweek games and weekend tournaments. Today we were at Kalamalka Secondary for a couple of games. You can catch some of the action via this link. My favourite shot tonight was not an action shot but a shot of a time-out. I love the way they have painted the end wall at the Kal Gym. Perhaps it was created in order to keep the kids on their toes during gym class or maybe it is the artist's idea of what Ogopogo looks like?