Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Now back to the regular programming

Friday night Salsa in TO - As usual, DJ Nelson was spinning the dance tunes at Acrobat but this night DJ Efrain also held court spinning from his vinyl collection.

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There was a special appearance by Manuel.
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If he looks familiar, you may have seen him on TV when he auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance Canada – reality show.

Here is a clip of his audition


Appearance and performance by the City Dance Corp crew.
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Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Canon 5D MKII

Well the Canon 5D MkII is finally released. For the full specs, go here

From reading the forums, you see people complaining about the camera construction and AF of the camera – how it should have more focus points and faster AF, how it should have full weather seals, how it only has 3.6 FPS, how it doesn’t have 100% viewfinder, how the shutter life is only rated at 150K frames, etc.

If you look at the request, Canon already makes that camera – it’s a 1Ds MkIII. I guess the real request is, can you lower the price of the 1Ds MkIII from $8K to $2.5K?

Hindsight being 20/20 – the specs from the 5D were not unexpected 

Look at the original 5D when it came out, it had Canon’s second highest rated MP sensor when it came out, it was fitted to an advance-consumer class body. Priced at less than half the price of the flag ship 1Ds MkII at that time.

Look at the 5D MkII – it has Canon’s highest rated MP sensor and is fitted to a 40D/50D class body. Priced at less than half the price of the flagship 1Ds MkIII.

The idea of the 5D class camera reminds me of the old Hot rods or the Muscle cars made by the American car manufacturers. Take an inexpensive platform / body – put in the biggest engine / sensor that will fit in that platform / body – price it not at the top end but in the middle. The MkII just follows the original formula; hence it’s a 5D MkII and not a 7D.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Shooting the Galas at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)

The press conferences where I have been practicing my trade as a Paparazzi are now over. Feeling like an addict looking for a new fix – I head on over to Roy Thomson Hall for the Gala of "The Lucky Ones". I had some advanced intelligence and tips from a fellow photographer who told me to head south for a good vintage spot.

However, as soon as I got there, I forgot everything I was told – like a man dying of thirst, I take the first available spot and set up. I think I was under the mistaken impression that the stars would pose in front of the banner for the nice fans and that I could peak into the media tent from where I was.
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(Here are some non-stars standing in front of the media tent - unfortunately, none of the stars stood there like this)

The stars arrive and here is what happens:
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(That's Tim Robbins back as he faces the photographers)

Tim Robins and Rachel McAdams stop in front for the press photographers as they exit the limos and the crowd moves forward - blocking any view I have of the stars.

If I get lucky, the stars may stop on the red carpet and pose for some pictures and I will get their backside.
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Here is a shot of a model that I do not have the name of. Or she could be a news journalists posing as a star. If anyone knows her name, please send to me or leave a comment please.

Due to luck and not any planning on my part – I did manage to get some shots of Rachel McAdams
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Moral of the story, always scout out the location first before settling on a vintage point and don’t forget tips from your fellow photographers!



Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Cult of Celebrity

I need to be deprogrammed! I have joined a cult.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Toronto International Film Festival (aka “TIFF”) is in town along with the Celebrities. At first, I was just an observer looking down on the mob that was the cult. It was fun to look down on them. They were like a crazy mob chasing down their prey.

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(That's Dakota Fanning being surrounded by the cult)

Everyday, the mob lined up and waited for their prey – they drew me in slowly. I was no longer looking down from above, I was on the same level but I wasn’t part of the mob – I was still separate from it (so I said to myself).

The Edge
(That's the Edge of U2)

Before I knew it, I was part of the mob – being beaten back by the security guards and fighting for position in the crowd.
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(That's Keira Knightley signing for the cult)

I will be happy when TIFF ends and I go back to being Salsavaders instead of a Paparazzi!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

No Salsa at the Canadian National Exhibition

I haven’t been to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE, aka EX) since I was a kid with my parents. I remember in yester-years, there was a free day or a discounted day sponsored by certain countries and there were booths to promote their country and culture.

For the past couple of years – since I got seriously into photography – I see all these great photos of the mid-way and this year decided I wanted to see what I could get. So I called up my buddy and off we went.

I read in the paper and forums how the EX is all crowded and full of line-ups and not much to see, too expensive, etc… I also saw the special for $5 after 5 PM on the weekdays (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) before the closing weekend.

I personally was impressed for what you get for $5. I saw a horse show with dancers (no salsa though),

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an acrobatic fireworks show,

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I missed the water escape show and the 6 PM daily parade but all this was included in the $5. Even at the full price of $14, I would have gone to see all these things. There were people there but no big line-ups for the shows on the nights I was there. I guess if you wait till the Labour Day weekend – it will be crowded.

I debated about driving and paying for the underground parking on the grounds or taking the TTC. Because of the gear I lugged with me - I ended up driving but parking about 10-15 minute walk away from the main gates. During the long walk with all the gear I seriously regretted not parking underground even if it was $20 parking. However, it all worked out when I left and saw the traffic jam of cars trying to get out of the parking lot and the people lined-up for the TTC street cars at closing time. It was faster for me to walk to my car which was just far enough away to avoid the traffic jams and parking was cheap too - $4 only.