Sunday, May 29, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
May 27th brought members of the Paranormal Research Society back to Toronto for the third time. This event would prove to be their most interesting to date for me, for a wide variety of reasons. Not only was this an almost completely different show, but it also brought two additional members of PRS north of the border. Namely, Elfie and Whitney.
I bought my ticket a few days after they were released, since I knew these sell out quite quickly here, and there are usually less than 100 tickets available. Then, about a week ago, they sent out an email asking for a few volunteers to help out for a few minutes before the event, since they don’t travel with a crew. I didn’t have to work, so I said yes. I was so wrong as to what I was getting myself into…but for the better!
I ran a few errands before going to the venue, and was a little late due to traffic and some idiot cops. I had a feeling that the day was not going to be exactly uphill from there. I got to the venue a few minutes late, but WELL before there was anything to do. Everything else, with the exception of PRS and the volunteers, was stuck in traffic.
All there was for me was to set up a few chairs, a projector and screen. Well…that was before... I ended up running the PowerPoint presentation for the show, as well as taking some photographs for them, and various other things. All in all…it was like an easy day of work.
It also got me in contact with their Toronto promoter. Who is going to be calling me to work! Seems he wasn’t exactly pleased with how things went. But was I guess impressed with my level of work. Which was quite ironic, seeing as it was a rather ‘lazy’ day of work. He does a lot of paranormal and celebrity events in the area, so this is a rather good contact! He also saw some of my photography, and was impressed. He said he was always looking for crew to run the shows, photograph, and lead ghost hunts. He was surprised to find that I’m almost all three! So, this is one of the things that could get interesting. I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, but this could be a real game changer.
All in all I spent almost 7 hours with PRS yesterday… which wasn’t a bad day at all! They’re all genuinely nice people, and despite all the problems pulled off one great show! What really saved the show was the fact the venue was licensed, so the hour wait wasn’t so bad!
After the show, but before the ghost hunt, the rest of the volunteers got another chance to talk to Ryan and Serg, and get a few photos and autographs. And then of course…the swag…t-shirts and mugs. And for helping out as much as I did, Ryan comped me to an event in the future. Like I said before, their nice people…and show it!
This certainly was great event, met some great people, and might even swing a job out of it. So I guess I really should say thank you to PRS, Ryan, Serg, Elfie, Whitney, the rest of the volunteers, George the promoter, the traffic of Toronto, idiot cops, and ghosts.
Did I mention the mug? It’s a really nice mug!
PSST...the mug is available HERE > > > http://paranormalresearchsociety.org/store/
As always...click to embiggen.
The VIP reception before the event
The view from the stage
My view of the stage
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
It's looked fairly promising all week, including one night running home trying to beat the rain... I could see the clouds moving nearer and nearer to me as I was trying to get home from work and grab my camera gear and head up to the roof. Unfortunately, though there was some lightning, most of it was on the other side of my building, blocked from my view. So I shot myself.
Tonight, I wasn't even expecting rain. I thought it was coming much later. To my surprise, it was pouring when I left work. I took the subway most of the way home, then walked the rest of the way home in the rain. It felt good!
Got home, sat down on the couch. Then, a stroke of lightning. Then a few minutes go by...another stroke, a little closer. I thought: "okay, I've been hosed a few times this month. I want a few more strikes in the next few minutes before I set up my camera." Needless to say, the sky obliged and I set up my camera. Storm was pretty active, but continued to evade my lens. A few shots lit up the sky behind the clouds...making a beautiful purple colour. I did get one bolt of lightning. It's not one of my better shots...but it'll do for a storm I wasn't expecting!
Photos are below...and as always, click to embiggen.
Friday, May 6, 2011
So, it’s Emergency Preparedness Week. I was going to do a post a day on this, 7 everyday tips to easily get you prepared for whatever may come your way. However, I only found out today that it was this week, so, that’s not going to happen! What I’m going to do is do a few tips here, and then a few tips later on. Trust me, these are really easy to do, and if the shit hits the fan, you’re one step ahead of everyone else. Possibly a few steps!
They say you should be prepared to be without assistance for 72h. Aside from water, you can easily make a small kit that will last you for a week or more, which is the far more likely scenario. I would prefer to have a day or two of rations left when being rescued/assisted than be without for a day or two.
This is exceptionally easy. Find out what you, and others you are caring for really like in terms of canned/dried food. Next time you’re out shopping, buy a few extra and set those aside. Once your regular supply runs out, buy more. Only this time, move the ones you’ve set aside into the ‘regular pile’ and put the new ones aside. This way, you keep your stock rotated so that you don’t suddenly find yourself with expired food. Which may still be good mind you, open it to see if it is spoiled, if it is then throw it away. Otherwise, a few days or even a few months and it’s likely still edible, may not taste as good, but that’s why it’s a BEST BEFORE date!
Keep rice on hand. It’s easy, and can be made quite simply if you’re also without power. It takes a little longer, and you can’t cook as much at a time, but it can be cooked over a candle! Those heated butter dishes for lobster are great for cooking ‘just a little of something’.
Energy bars are also good to keep on hand. Try them before you stock up on them. Some of them are good, some are not. You don’t want to be stuck with food you don’t want to eat should something happen. Try to get something that doesn’t have a lot of sugar either.
This is also quite easy. If you buy soda in 2L bottles, when you’re done, rinse them and fill them. Fill them as full as you can, then, before the final turn of the cap, squeeze the sides to expel just a little water. This gets rid of the air that’s left in it. This water should be replaced every 6 months to a year. I find this is a lot more convenient than say a 55 gallon drum of water. It’s convenient, it’s easier to ration if need be, plus easier to move around and distribute. Another thing that I do is have one or two bottles (smaller than 2L) of frozen water in the freezer. Not only do you have some extra water, but if the power goes out, you have some extra freeze time until it comes back on.
If you camp, you’re pretty much set. There are a few other things I would recommend, but you’re probably good. One KEY thing though: Re-stock your supplies when you return, versus when you leave as you probably do now. This accomplishes two things. It gives you all that you need for survival in case the worst happens, and you don’t have to go out buying things when you should be on the road to the campsite!
Any Questions? Post them in comments and I'll get back to you!
This post will be almost exclusively photos.
(Click to embiggen)
Protecting Sovereign US Soil
Media (OMNI TV)
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Part two was going to come sooner than this. Weather said thunderstorms were in the air, and I was going to try for a shot for the post. However, the rain was so intense that you just couldn’t see anything. I heard some thunder, but I couldn’t see any lightning, or across the street for that matter.
So, before the NEXT thunderstorm, I’ll give you the technical bits of how I shoot a thunderstorm. I don’t storm chase. I wait for the storm to come to me, like an ambush. I guess you could say, I’m a Storm-Busher.
There are two sets of basics that I try to use. Two sets simply because storms happen day or night, and I try to get the best of both times. Shooting daylight is much harder, since there is a lot more ambient light than at night. Luckily, the storm takes away some amount of light, but it’s still not dark enough to be able to leave the shutter for more than a second. You’d have to be really quick to catch lightning like that!
For shooting in daylight, I shoot at ISO100, F32 (or as small as you can go), and try to be somewhere in the range of 2 – 5 seconds of shutter time. This is usually never possible without using Neutral Density (ND) filters. These cut out light without changing other qualities of the picture. During the day I’d often find myself switching within 2 – 5 seconds due to the ever changing cloud cover letting in various amounts of light.
I have yet to get a descent daylight lightning shot!
Shooting at night is much easier. It’s easier to see where the storm is coming from and easier to pick a location in the storm to shoot towards, since you can see the lightning much better in the dark.
For night, I shoot at ISO100, F14 – 25, and 5 – 30 seconds of shutter time. The variety in Stops and Shutter time here is for variance in the amount of lightning happening. If the storm is particularly violent, you’ll want a shorter shutter time, or you photos will be more white than dark. In a non-violent storm, you’ll want a longer shutter time to increase you chances of getting one or two strokes in the scene.
Even if the lightning strike is far away, or not all that bright; the time that the shutter is open, combined with the fill flash of the lightning should be enough light to light the rest of the scene.I mentioned in the last post that I got a shot of lightning the first day with my new camera last year. Here is that photo.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
We have probably just witnessed once of the worst “American Style” campaigns Canada has ever seen. I don’t want to ever see it again. I’m not sure when the tide turned to attack ads versus and ad that actual has some substance, but from what I saw, there wasn’t much good out there. The Conservatives have been putting out attack ads for months before the election. No one really responded back in any way that made a difference. Were the Conservatives trying to bankrupt the Liberals before the election, hoping that they would respond with ads of their own? Or was is simply to set a narrative?
This campaign season seemed to be a lot more about making the other guy look bad, than to make yourself look good. This was true of ONE of the parties. I’ll let you in on a secret, it was found in contempt by the Majority of Canadians (if you want to use the Parliamentary terms), a first in Commonwealth history. This is UNLIKE the majority of Canadians that Prime Minister Harper talks about.
This was, by all accounts, a dirty campaign. It went far further than we have ever seen in Canadian Politics. When was the last time that a reporter has been shouted down by supporters AND campaign volunteers for asking a legitimate question? Or people registered for an event being asked to leave, but not for their conduct AT the event, but for their supposed connection to another political party. When was the last time someone campaigning refused to ask questions ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN!
If campaigns want more than 60% of people to vote, they need to do a few things. Drop the negativity of the other party. They’re not the devil. Talk to 100% of the people, make as many events as open as possible. “Private events” for supporters only should ONLY be used for fundraising. All campaigning should be open events, in as much as possible. Obviously, a campaign stop at a factory can’t be open to the public.
Smearing opponents doesn’t work. It drives people away. Let people know what YOUR issues are, how YOU want to fix them, and how YOU will help the people who are in front of you. There is nothing wrong with attacking the POLICIES of opponents, as that is what you are supposed to do, it’s called a debate.
Regardless of your political stripe, people need to fight back against this sort of campaigning. There is no need for it. It looks like a schoolyard fight and is unbefitting our society.