Monday, February 28, 2011

floatplane photos

I had trouble deciding which photo was my favourite from the takeoff of a Beaver floatplane, so I put them all in today. Editing is about making decisions and this does not bode well for me today, as I have a wedding to finish editing today. I took a trip 2 years ago, and I forgot about these... and I might never have found them had I not had a very lazy Sunday looking at old, forgotten, digital photos.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

the cry stand

From Schmidt & Weston blog

This is the place where you stand and cry. It is the cry stand. If you want to go there and cry, it's near the corner of Cambie and Hastings in Vancouver. I won't be there because I always sit when I cry. I mean, I never cry.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

yoga pants

From Schmidt & Weston blog

Wisdom sometimes appears unexpectedly. This is a store front in the hyper cool Gastown of Vancouver. Vancouver is the sort of town where most of the women (and a large number of yoga loving men) from 22 to 52 own a pair of Lululemon yoga pants and wear them as if they were real pants. There is a myth that Lululemon pants will make your ass look great. If your ass isn't already pretty great, or you at least feel great about it, lululemon pants will not help.

Also, Lululemon has a very dark side. It was created by a man that forces all employees from middle management on up to attend a Landmark Education seminar. The consequences of this modern brain washing/peer pressure mis-adventure can be devastating.

Friday, February 25, 2011

trees in a mirror

From Schmidt & Weston blog

ust some trees in the middle of nowhere, very close to the exact geographic middle of Alberta. There was a fire there a couple of years ago. I fought it, but not alone. Right next to this spot is a large swamp that me and my guys had to wade through every morning for about a week. It was a miserable way to start the day. That part I don't miss... the part I do miss was having co-workers to laugh with about it. Laughing at misery is a pretty good way of dealing with it. Things can always be worse.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the number 80

From Schmidt & Weston blog

or 5 years, the number 80 bus was my main route. It was always crowded, being that our home was smack in the middle of the route. Usually I would walk, if I had the time, or head for the nearest Metro station. Trains are nearly always a better choice. Even if you are standing, it's a pretty comfortable ride. But the number 80 pretty much guaranteed that you would hear at least 4 languages being spoken in the course of the trip.

Monday, February 21, 2011

flying in helicopters

From Schmidt & Weston blog

erhaps this is my favourite office view. It's from the number one seat in a rappel helicopter. Every now and again, I miss this view. Now I work at a wedding boutique in Gastown. Mostly when I look up from my computer, I see wedding dresses.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

the old neighbourhood

From Schmidt & Weston blog

ometimes there isn't time to compose a photo properly. I still like this picture though. For a while I was taking photos randomly from my hip while walking around. It's pretty fun, but I'm not sure how much credit I can take as a photographer for merely pressing a button.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

camera versus security guards

ow and again I get into trouble with my camera. Since moving to Vancouver, the following has happened because I have a mid-sized, sadly now obsolete but still loved, Panasonic DVX-100b camera:

  • Accused by a protester, dressed in black with only his eyes showing, of unlawfully videotaping him at a public protest in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery against the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
  • Threatened with the untimely smashing of my camera by a drug dealer on Hastings and Carrall street who then proceeded, despite having full knowledge of my presence and where I was shooting and that he wasn't the subject, to carry out more than one crack deal right in front of my lens.
  • Detained by Translink security guards while being told that the presence of my camera was a security risk and possibly offensive to passengers.

In each of these cases, I've gone out of my way not to piss anyone off. Provoking reactions with a camera is not something I try to do.

What I was going to add with the video, but ran into a deadline, was to point out each of the other cameras that are in my shot, There are at least 2 different iPhones video taping and multiple security cameras. The unhelpful security guard told me that he couldn't do anything about all the camera phones, but he could do something about mine. Turns out, no... no he can't really, and his ego was grandeur than his actual authority. I suspected as much, but I wasn't sure.

The most they can really do is ask for my bus pass. Until you are a real security risk, and not just a guy with a camera, they can't touch you at all. Security has no more power of arrest than anybody else other than cops.

I know all this because I checked with the BC Civil Liberties Association. They are very helpful at clarifying the rules.

As for the drug dealer, well, I wasn't going to argue, so I tried to make friends. He apparently doesn't have a problem with the near daily presence of movie cameras in the area, or continuing his trade in front of my camera. Just a friendly threat. I'm not a tattle, and I think the police have left that part of the city up to it's own devices (unless it gets Robocop bad, I assume).

The first guy was just one of those annoying kids who think that smashing windows at the Bay are going to stop the Olympics. He had a tenuous grasp of the legal system and reality. Seems the young are far more certain of their rights than I am.

None of these people have a problem with the big network cameras, or camera phones. Just mid-sized, obviously independent, polite film makers.

I'm sure there must be some reasonable limit to this, but if you are taking photos or video in a public place, you are allowed to. It doesn't matter if you use a pinhole camera, or a leica, or a huge video camera with a CTV logo stuck on the side. This applies even more if it's a news event. Strange as it might seem, random people singing on the train, is a news event.

It was surprising to be busted by Translink Security. Mostly I resent the attempt to talk to me like I was a junior high kid trying to get a free train ride.

Next time I'll just keep recording.

pdate: This 3 minute human interest story was supposed to air on the Shaw program that I volunteer with. Apparently the show where this was to appear has been pulled because of me, mostly. My little video has been censored.

I confess, I'm torn. While I'm sort of proud that I've created something that was too hot for tv, that was never my aim. There isn't any swearing or nudity (which are the two things I would make sure to do if I really wanted to be too hot for tv). This story was always supposed to be about some people singing on public transit. The powers that be at Shaw would like there to be only 10 seconds of copyright protected singing... even though this is a news item and thus not held to the same rules. Not sure how the Beatles and Journey would feel about people singing their songs on the skytrain. I'd be pretty proud if I had written the song.

The other issue was that I should have gotten a release form from the security guard. That is debatable. While this would have been ideal, it would not likely happen. Besides, he made it even more of a news item. I would never have included him had he not decided to stop me, something that is beyond his authority to do. The footage just wasn't that strong. I was supposed to follow these guys for another half hour of fun. I could have made it prettier.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

excepté livraison locale

From Schmidt & Weston blog

often find myself missing Montréal, but I find it hard to articulate why. The language politics drove me near insane. The supposed friendliness of the city seemed largely mythical to me. A series of disappointing professional experiences caused pre-mature bitterness for a time. And if I think of the spring in Montréal, all I can conjure up is the slush and smell of dog shit flagrantly ignored for months.

Still, I miss it.

Perhaps it is similar to how New Yorkers feel about their city, rife with smells. "It smells like a urinal, and I love it" was one of the most memorable quotes I got from a very rough and reluctantly friendly bar denizen in the Bowery district.

So it isn't just the Fruiterie that I loved, or the bagels that caused me to gain 15 pounds over 5 years, or the sighting of Leonard Cohen (who I didn't bother to say hello to due to my bad mood at the time and I'll continue to regret that). What brings on these feelings of missing that old city is represented by this photo; the drive the local folks had to change things just subtly enough to suit their tastes... and the complete lack of drive from the city workers to do anything to correct that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

bust my heart with love

From Schmidt & Weston blog

he only concession I'm giving Valentine's day is this photo of some street art in a Montréal back alley. It mentions love, heart, bust, and has a pretty drawing of a lady.

The sad truth is that St. Valentine is no longer a saint. Back in 1969, the Pope took him off the list of catholic saints. It was a rough year for organized religion with all the drugs, music and 'freedom'. The Pope was probably in a pretty bad mood much of that year.

Turns out Mr. Valentine probably didn't exist at all. But the story that started the legend went as such:

He was a christian priest that got caught marrying a couple in Rome when christians were considered highly annoying and illegal. He did manage to become a star prisoner and eventually befriended Emperor Claudius.

However, much like the Jehovah Witnesses that showed up at my door a couple of weeks ago, Valentine wouldn't shut up about the Baby Jesus and kept on asking if Claudius had read the bible.

Now I didn't beat the JWs with sticks and stones, despite comments that might have driven me in that direction ("oh you're one of those." in response to me saying that I don't think the bible is full of facts, but some good ideas along with some really bad advice). Emperor Claudius didn't have my restraint. Valentine got beaten, stoned and then beheaded.

And that is the day we are meant to celebrate by spending money on flowers and chocolate - all for a non-exisitant saint with a story fabricated in fourteenth century England. Nice try Geoffrey Chaucer.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

my last rappel crew

From Schmidt & Weston blog

reat jobs are hard to find, but this one was pretty great. A good day at work looked just like this photo. We would practise rappelling out of the helicopter, eat lunch, fly around looking for forest fires in the mountains, land by a stream, eat another lunch and then sit around for the afternoon by a stream drinking coffee and waiting for something to happen. Sometimes nothing would happen for days. Also, you get to hang out with these guys. Except for those two weeks where we landed in a bug infested swamp and then had to walk through waist deep frozen muskeg, it was a good summer.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

coffee break 2009

From Schmidt & Weston blog

y disorganized ways of filing my photos has the one very grand advantage of always leaving the possibility of discovery a treasure. Somehow I never forget where I took the picture and I'm can instantly return to what was going on. Hopefully this will be helpful should I ever get the dementia. I wonder if there will be blogs or even the internet then.

If you are wondering about my drop cap, I got it at this very excellent website created by Jessica Hische. I like it when people want to help make things prettier for free. It is a very kind thing to do. I believe I'll use her drop caps for my future posts. It forces me to write at least one decent paragraph, just to make the big letter worthy of being there.

Friday, February 11, 2011

an open letter to Mr. Gamingfuture2999

From Schmidt & Weston blog

I've been sitting on this screen capture I got off of YouTube. I can't remember why I was looking up Fergie though.

It bothers me how the internet brings support for a flawed argument. 132 people have never given me thumbs up for my cyber rants.

People can't post movies on Youtube with other people's music because they don't own the copyright to the songs. When you broadcast something, you just gotta have permission.

This is annoying, because I would love to throw in music that is much better than anything I can come up with, but if I have to play by the rules or risk professional shame, shouldn't amateurs who get millions of hits for a video of their cat dancing to Poker Face also be held accountable?

The corporations, evil as I'm sure they are, do own the copyright and thus can spend thousands on a music video... so sadly, this is completely fair, Mr. Gamingfuture2999. Equally sad; YouTube doesn't belong to the masses (which only seems to work in theory, comrade).

I posted a comment pointing out everything I've said here, but nobody gave me a thumbs up.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


From Schmidt & Weston blog

Pineapples are ridiculously good for you. I try to eat them frequently, but I find that when I buy a whole one, as with much fruit in my life, I forget that I have it. Or say "I'll get back to that fruit first thing in the morning" and then I don't because I tend to eat yoghurt with hemp seeds and at least one good cup of coffee. I have very high standards for coffee.

As a further resolution in a long list of resolutions (this year nearly 100% observed, so far) I will eat all the fruit I buy... excluding the two sad looking oranges that currently reside in the fruit bowl next to me.

Enjoy a most excellent Thursday.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

la fleuriste

From Schmidt & Weston blog

I lived around the corner from this flower shop in Outrement.

I never went in.

Somehow I regret that now.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

fishing boat

From Schmidt & Weston blog

It's hard to get a good photo of a whole boat.

Instead, I just try to find the most interesting parts, and take pictures of those.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

parenting advice

From Schmidt & Weston blog

People like to offer unasked for advice about children.

They shouldn't.

It's rude.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

angry bird

From Schmidt & Weston blog

That is an angry looking bird.

One day the farm animals will revolt.

It will be bad times for us all.

Friday, February 4, 2011

other jobs I would like to do

From Schmidt & Weston blog

Lately, I've noticed that I tend to covet the jobs of other people. I think "I would like to be doing that right now."

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Thank you for visiting. I live in Vancouver now, but I've lived in other places too. I take photos and make short films about things and people. Please comment and be argumentative. It amuses me.

My main website is

other posts