August, 2012

Sunday at Fan Expo 2012

My youngest daughter Annie has been wanting to go to this event all year, so I bought ticket beforehand for this day for her, Vanessa and myself. Vanessa wore the Catgirl t-shirt she had bought at the show on Thursday, her friend Hayley went as a Nerdfighter, and her other friend Lauren went as Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony. Annie joined up with two of her friends there too and they wanted to roam the show together, so I ended up spending my time with Bill sans kids, which was unexpected. Since I had already been on Friday I didn’t take as many photos, especially since the crowds were that much more dense, though I managed to see some things I hadn’t run across on the previous visit.

Fan Expo: Dalek Auric Entering Fan Expo

Fan Expo: Dalek Auric Entering Fan Expo

Fan Expo: Hayley as a Nerdfighter

Fan Expo: Hayley as a Nerdfighter

Fan Expo: ''Cyanide and Happiness'' Artists Tandem-drawing

Fan Expo: ”Cyanide and Happiness” Artists Tandem-drawing

Fan Expo: Muppet Animal Cosplayer and a Fan

Fan Expo: Muppet Animal Cosplayer and a Fan

Fan Expo: Lolita Cosplayers

Fan Expo: Lolita Cosplayers

Fan Expo: Dan Parent Drawing Betty and Veronica

Fan Expo: Dan Parent Drawing Betty and Veronica

Fan Expo: Ironman and Thor Cosplayers

Fan Expo: Ironman and Thor Cosplayers

Here’s a gallery of these and other images from the show:

On the whole this year’s show seemed bigger and better organized than the debacle in 2010. Still, there were some problems, like lack of decent cell phone coverage within the building as the cell phone repeaters were likely swamped by the sheer number of people in close proximity. This issue also affected the vendors though, as one of them told me that on the Saturday their portable credit card transaction machines couldn’t work due to the overwhelming volume of cell phone traffic. I also heard through the grapevine that many people who hadn’t already bought their tickets were turned away on the Saturday for the same reason at the ticket vendor booths. Bill and I were also wondering if this is now the single largest convention in Toronto, as expected attendance was in the 80,000 range.

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Big Rude Jake at Castro’s Lounge

For an early dinner I took the family to see the Big Rude Jake Duo (“BRJ2”) who were playing at the nearby Castro’s Lounge restaurant. I’ve loved Big Rude Jake‘s stuff since his first album release, and was pleasantly surprised to find a while back that he has a regular Saturday afternoon matinee gig at Castro’s Lounge. The food is all vegetarian there, and it is a small venue which was perfect for the BRJ2.

I didn’t want to use my flash at the show which would distract the players and disrupt the intimate scene, so the pics are all using natural light, tweaked in PhotoShop Lightroom to bring out a bit more detail where possible.

A good concert, I enjoyed the vegetarian menu selection at the restaurant, and it’s safe to say I’ll return for more classic blues standards from the BRJ2.

Big Rude Jake at Castro's Lounge #1

Big Rude Jake at Castro’s Lounge #1

Big Rude Jake at Castro's Lounge #2

Big Rude Jake at Castro’s Lounge #2

Margaret Stowe with Big Rude Jake at Castro's Lounge

Margaret Stowe with Big Rude Jake at Castro’s Lounge

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Friday at Fan Expo 2012

Had an unexpected opportunity to go to Fan Expo today, so I went with Vanessa and Carla Schengili. I have heard the Thursdays and Fridays of the event are the least busy, so all the more reason to go, even though we had already booked tickets for the Sunday as well. Carla hadn’t planned on going on Sunday, so this was her one-and-only chance to go, and as you can see, she had fun.

Here are some favorites:

Fan Expo: Frankenweenie Lab

Fan Expo: Frankenweenie Lab

Fan Expo: Doctor Who Cosplay Trio

Fan Expo: Doctor Who Cosplay Trio

Fan Expo: Cosplay Dancing at The Just Dance 4 Booth

Fan Expo: Cosplay Dancing at The Just Dance 4 Booth

Fan Expo: 501st Legion Stormtrooper and ''Hostage''

Fan Expo: 501st Legion Stormtrooper and ”Hostage”

Fan Expo: Anime Pillow Vendor

Fan Expo: Anime Pillow Vendor

Fan Expo: My Little Pony Cosplayers

Fan Expo: My Little Pony Cosplayers

Fan Expo: Airbrushed Make-up Subject

Fan Expo: Airbrushed Make-up Subject

Here are some more shots from the show:

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Visit to The Distillery District

One of the best things about having a guest from overseas is that it gives you the chance to show off interesting bits of the city that they might not have known enough to explore themselves. It’s also a great excuse to go to see places that you like but need an excuse to go to. So Carla Schengili was my perfect excuse to head to The Distillery District today, while taking Vanessa along for the ride as well.

The place is practically made for photography, so here are some of my favourite shots I took while there:

Garden Decorations

Garden Decorations

Vanessa Roberts and Carla Schengili at The Distillery District

Vanessa Roberts and Carla Schengili at The Distillery District

Sake Tasting at The Distillery District

Sake Tasting at The Distillery District

This picture of some old magnifying glasses in an antique shop didn’t come off as well as I had hoped — ideally I’d want them in sharp focus as well, but the picture is still interesting, but not what I hoped for.

Upside-down Beauty

Upside-down Beauty

Carla Schengili Shooting a Picture

Carla Schengili Shooting a Picture

Carla got what I think is a far better shot of the Martian sculpture (which apparently is officially called “I.T.” and is made by sculptor Michael Christian) where the blazing sun is in the background of a shot similar to this. Still, I like this result, but her’s was better.

Martian Sculpture ("I.T.") in The Distillery District

Martian Sculpture (“I.T.”) in The Distillery District

I look at this and can’t help but think of a new Cylon face. Possible inspiration?

Rusted Fargo Truck Grill at The Distillery District

Rusted Fargo Truck Grill at The Distillery District

Stone Rabbit and Garden Pots

Stone Rabbit and Garden Pots

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Warrior’s Day Parade at the C.N.E. 2012

Went down to the Canadian National Exhibition (C.N.E.) this morning with my daughter Vanessa in order primarily to show off the venue to my visiting cousin-in-law Carla from Germany.

In previous years I have deliberately gone to the C.N.E. in order to shoot the Warrior’s Day parade, but this time I hadn’t done the research as to when exactly it was happening and just chanced upon a notice at the Go Train entrance saying that it was today. So I dragged Vanessa and Carla with me over to the parade route and we stayed around for maybe half the parade. Luckily I had my favourite zoom lens with me and for once I got on the side of the parade opposite to the sun. I managed to shoot many pics, and here are some of my favourites:

Warrior's Day Parade #03 (Toronto Police)

Warrior’s Day Parade #03 (Toronto Police)

I understand from a comment from a previous year’s parade that this lady is a heroine of the Dutch resistance movement during WWII.

Warrior's Day Parade #10

Warrior’s Day Parade #10

This smiling veteran was asking the crowd to smile and cheer and as you can see, he got his wish:

Warrior's Day Parade #16

Warrior’s Day Parade #16

The next pic is interesting: I found out after the fact that my Step-Father-in-Law was also attending the parade, and that his brother Alan Roy was in the parade. He told me that he helped ensure that Jim Eddy, a highly-decorated veteran in his 90s who apparently insisted on standing in the jeep he was riding to salute the parade masters stayed safe. I went through my pics and sure enough there’s Alan marching beside the jeep holding Mr. Eddy:

Warrior's Day Parade #21b - Alan Roy Beside WWII Veteran Jim Eddy

Warrior’s Day Parade #21b – Alan Roy Beside WWII Veteran Jim Eddy

A smiling and waving female veteran nurse in the back of WWII-vintage troop truck:

Warrior's Day Parade #24

Warrior’s Day Parade #24

A smiling American vet riding in a jeep:

Warrior's Day Parade #26

Warrior’s Day Parade #26

Two airborne regiment veterans greet each other briefly during the parade:

Warrior's Day Parade #33

Warrior’s Day Parade #33

Here’s a selection of the rest in gallery format:

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Blue Jays vs White Sox Game @ SkyDome*

My cousin-in-law Carla S. had never been to a major league baseball game before, so I took her to the game the Jays were having this evening against the Chicago White Sox. I took my camera along as well as well as my big telephoto lenses, and I was almost not allowed with them in because of their size! Am guessing I am encroaching on professional territory here, and I suspect the reason they let me in was because I was seated in the 200 section, so nowhere near as close as the Pros in their reserved section just beside the TV cameras at the baseline. Still, I was able to get some good shots, while trying to explain how the game worked to Carla.

Blue Jays at Bat

Blue Jays at Bat

Here Comes the Pitch

Here Comes the Pitch

Davis at Bat

Davis at Bat

Davis Connects

Davis Connects

Highs and Lows

Highs and Lows

Glum-looking Blue Jays in the Dugout

Glum-looking Blue Jays in the Dugout

White Sox Conferring on the Pitcher's Mound

White Sox Conferring on the Pitcher’s Mound

This was also the game where a fan at the opposite end of the field from where we were sitting had a heart attack (and later, unfortunately died). I did take pics, mainly so I could see what was going on. Out of respect for the deceased man’s family (and also for reasons of good taste) I am not posting those pictures.

* (I know it’s officially called The Rogers Centre now, but SkyDome is how I still think of it, and let’s face it, it’s a far better name).

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