May, 2009

Counterpoint Community Orchestra Concert

This was the big night that Erika had been practicing for months: playing in CCO’s performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. I had been asked to bring my camera equipment along, having taken a few pictures for the orchestra at a previous concert.

The event was held at the University of Toronto’s MacMillan Theatre, which is a nice large, acoustically robust stage. I’d been in this theatre before, taking in an opera performed by U. of T. student from about a year ago, so I already had a good idea as to the place’s layout, and where to set up in order to get some good pictures.

Vanessa had fractured her foot only a few days before, so we had borrowed a wheelchair so that we could get her to the concert. Thankfully she was in no pain, and managed to hop the few steps over to the seat we ended up taking in the balcony, where I set up my camera and tripod.

Before the concert started, I managed to make my way down to the main level and take a few shots of people practicing before the concert started.


The conductor in a blue t-shirt and jeans during the final practice.

The string section listening to the conductor’s final words of encouragement.

Practicing her cello

Practicing on the double-bass.

The first piece was a flute concerto in d minor by C.P.E. Bach, with Jennifer Langton dressed in a gold sequined dress playing flute with the woodwinds.

Jennifer Langton taking her bows


The chorus taking their seats for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony
The conductor addressing the audience on the subject of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Conductor explaining how the various parts of the piece come together.

Erika on trumpet, our neighbour Dave beside her.

Tympany and strings
Everybody assembled for the final movement

Close-up of part of the chorus
Close-up of another part of the chorus, with Erika and Dave playing trumpet below.

Jennifer Raxor (soprano) and Martha Spence (mezzo soprano)

Trombones and strings

More of the string section

The conclusion of the performance, and everyone takes their bows.

It was a good, stirring performance. Beethoven would have been pleased.

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Victoria Day at Ashbridges Bay, 2009

Good show this year.

I took the girls down to the beach, walking straight down from our house. (Unfortunately Erika had an important practice to go to, so wasn’t there for it. This time last year, I was away in China, so I missed out on last year’s show).

Everything started at about 9:45pm and lasted for maybe 15-20 minutes. Lots of very noisy fun!

The following pics are a small selection of favorites I took during the show.

Annie illuminated by the light of a sparkler

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Fountains and Birds Down by Woodbine Park

After lunch, the girls, YoBob and I headed down to Woodbine Park. I took the ball chucker in order to wear-out YoBob, and the girls played in the playground. The fountain had also been turned back on, and the water-level of the pond has risen considerably, making it attractive for people and for the local birdlife.

The fountains at Woodbine Park

Close-up of the smaller “sub” fountains by the base of the big fountain

Shot of an accommodating female Mallard duck who was swimming with her drake

This female Red-Winged Blackbird alighted on an adjacent bench, and allowed me to take a couple of quick pics before she flew off

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Shooting Shy Birds and the Inevitable Twig in Front of Them

Took a walk by the scrub-land adjacent to Livingstone Park, which is close to where my office is located, and saw this Baltimore Oriole and his mate in a tree. Almost every shot I took had a big twig directly between me and a bird. This was the best shot of the bunch.

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Learning More About How to Shoot Using the Macro Lens

Even with the macro lens, it is increasingly clear to me that good composition matters along with an interesting subject. So I’m glad this fly landed (and stayed still long enough) on this ripped leaf.

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Dandelions and Miniature Fauna

A trio of dandelions on the verge of flowering

Close-up of a closed-up dandelion

Found this little guy lurking on the side of a tulip in our back garden. He crawled inside the closed flower soon after, settling in for the night.

Small fly on the underside of a leaf

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Dandelions and Miniature Fauna

A trio of dandelions on the verge of flowering

Close-up of a closed-up dandelion

Found this little guy lurking on the side of a tulip in our back garden. He crawled inside the closed flower soon after, settling in for the night.

Small fly on the underside of a leaf

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Scenes from the Toronto Comic Arts Festival

After visiting Michael’s gallery showing on Saturday, I still had time left over and decided to head up-town to check out/reconnoiter the Toronto Comic Arts Festival which was happening at the Toronto Reference Library on Yonge just above Bloor. I was planning on talking my daughters to it the next day (which I did) but I thought I’d scout things out first.

Glad I did because I knew what might interest the girls and what might not. I also found the place to be pretty crowded, so I vowed to take the girls here early On Sunday in an effort to avoid the crowds.

On the first run-through I discovered that David Malaki, who is the artist for one of my favourite online cartoons (Wondermark), was there. I ended up buying all three of his comic strip compilations from him directly, along with his autograph.

I brought the girls on the second day and they had fun making their own comic strips, and enjoying a lot of the freebie comic books stuff that was being handed out. They both ended up buying posters from Imaginism Studios, Annie bought a book from Matt Forsythe (which was signed by him), and I bought a signed illustration from him.

Annie and Vanessa creating their own comics during the second day of the event

Annie explaining her “Super-Budgie” comic strip to Vanessa

Annie and Vanessa having fun with a cut-out

Comic artist Matt Forsythe adding a dedication in one of his books for Annie, drawing one of his trademark squid characters on the frontispiece.

Graphic novel artist Seth

She knitting “Plushtaches” for sale. $8 apiece.

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Hailstones

It hailed this morning and during a lull in the storm I went out and took a few shots of some of the pea-sized stones that fell on our deck.

Everything melted/dissolved in the rain about 5 minutes later.

Hailstones piling up on the deck

Inside the planter

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Michael Willems at his “Intravenous” Gallery Showing

I had the chance to get out sans kids to see friend and former work-colleague Michael Willems’ photography exhibit Intravenous gallery showing at the New Gallery at New Gallery in Parkdale.

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