Parting Shots from Ottawa Bluesfest 2010

Luckily I got most of the shots I wanted before Bluesfest started enforcing a ban on ‘people with nice cameras‘. At one event I was asked to put away my camera, while the guy behind me continued to videotape the entire show… wha? I will assume that they didn’t discriminate against me because my lens was white.  🙂

That one negative experience aside, I really enjoyed the music at this year’s Bluesfest, and taking pictures of some of my favourite performers!

Here is my last selection of shots, from Matthew Good and Crowded House.

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IMG_7815 Clap for me... like I care...
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THIS is ‘Drummer Face’

Security didn’t like me, but I managed to get a bunch of shots of Matthew Good last night at Ottawa Bluesfest. Apparently their camera policy has changed for the second week, probably based on the realization that camera technology has advanced so far that people were taking 1080p HD bootleg video that was of similar quality to the pro’s.

They seemed to be picking on people with big cameras, particularly ones like my trusty ‘Light Bazooka’. Meanwhile, the guy behind me with a tiny camera took video of the entire show.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. Some people don’t know what it is when I say ‘drummer face’; I saw such a good example of this last night that I had to do this post! This is the drummer from Matthew Good’s backing band (name please?).

IMG_7795 Classic Drummer Face!
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RUSH v. The Light Bazooka

I carried my trusty ‘Light Bazooka’ to try and capture one of my favourite –and oft-maligned*– musical acts, RUSH. I arrived over an hour early hoping to snag a reasonable mid-field location for the 100-400L to work its magic, but I forgot two important things about RUSH that could thwart the mighty Light Bazooka:

  1. Rush fans are overwhelmingly male, which means my usual height advantage in a typical Bluesfest crowd is negated for picture taking.
  2. Never underestimate how may RUSH fans there are! Even showing up 1.5 hours early I was relegated to the cheap-seats. I had been to big Bluesfest shows already (Metric, B-52’s, Flaming Lips) but this crowd was HUGE.

Below represent my best efforts to capture the 3-hour marathon (particularly for Neil Peart) that was the highlight of my Bluesfest so far!

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*For anyone who think these guys take themselves seriously, come to one show –especially on this tour– and you will find otherwise.

Save This Buddha!

Golden Buddah, Bangkok, ThailandI am watching with anxiety the events unfolding in Bangkok, where anti-government protesters are conducting sit-ins, and constructing barricades around areas of interest to foreign tourists, as a means to get the government’s attention. Initially, this all seemed like a great example of Ghandi-style peaceful civil disobedience (like when the protesters ground the Bangkok airport to a halt in 2008), but then the bullets started flying, with an accompanying Twitter feed).

My visit to Bangkok was one of my best travel experiences, a positive culture-shock, and one of my favourite places to take photos.

While the safety of the MANY citizens of Bangkok (10M+) is of the paramount importance, it always frustrates me that there doesn’t seem to be any way for the international community to protect artifacts and architecture of such cultural significance. When trouble breaks out, these artifacts become targets, sometimes intentionally, and sometimes by accident.

About 6 months before before 9/11, there were some very clear signs that all was not right in the heads of those ruling Afghanistan. In an effort to erase Afghanistan’s true cultural heritage, the Taliban decided to blow up two giant Buddha statues carved into a cliff near Bamiyan, in defiance of international protests.

Those are bullet holes!

Unfortunately, historic sites are often the most sturdy things to hide behind.

In Chris Hedges’ book “War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning” he indicates that this is a very common element of the prelude to any war; erasing the past to create a new fictitious present. It is particularly prominent in wars that result in ethnic cleansing, like the strife in the Balkan states.

I can’t offer any solutions, only raise awareness. Protecting items of cultural significance isn’t about saving tourism, it is about making sure the truth about the past isn’t eradicated just because it is inconvenient to the present (or it is the sturdiest thing to hide behind when the bullets start to fly).

Yah, I agree…

Life isn't about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.

My Favourite Concert Photo (by me)

I like this shot for a lot of reasons, but here is a few:

  • I had no business getting a shot this good from the 300 level (go Canon G9!)
  • Taylor Hawkins is one of my favourite drummers
  • Hey, he is a Foo Fighter
  • I really like the way the concert lights shine off that top cymbal
  • The blur in the image really captures his dynamic motion
  • He appears to be having a blast!

Technically speaking, you aren’t supposed to take pictures at concerts unless you have permission, but with the number of camera phones in existence, it is really pretty silly to try and enforce this (although one of the security guards did tell me to turn it off).

Great concert by the way!!

Rock Band Tour: Queens of the Stone Age

Ok, way too busy lately to keep up a regular blog. Any additional energy I have I am trying to devote to work trying to get my work blog going.

I actually have a lot to blog about, since I have yet to talk about my new iPhone (awesome) and how it compares with my old Blackberry (they each have their pro’s and con’s, each has a distinct market). I recently picked up a copy of Grand Theft Auto 4 (very cool) and the game Rock Band for my PS3. Rock Band definitely deserves it’s own blog entry as it is so stunningly well executed, and it has created an entirely new market for music! But more on that later…

The Rock Band Tour… well, what I mean by the ‘Rock Band’ tour, is that I have been seeing a lot of concerts lately, and the last two were both artists featured in the PS3 game ‘Rock Band’. The first was The New Pornographers at the Capital City Music Hall. The second was The Queens of the Stone Age at the Ottawa Civic Centre on May 11th (Mothers Day).

Queens of the Stone Age

Wow, what an excellent band live!! They have a distinctive ‘distortion-oriented’ sound which is accomplished by up to 4 guitars being played at the same time. Their drummer is a HUGE dude who just beats the hell out of the drums. Its like he was told that he wasn’t going to be mic’d for the gig and he was going to have to compete with the amplified guitars for attention!!

My friend Phil and I had floor tickets, but after a long day at work at the restaurant, Phil felt like getting seats. After two failed attempts at squatting in empty seats, that were then occupied by their rightful owners, we found the BEST two seats in the house: front row, dead centre, right behind the sound board and lighting guy; nobody ever showed up to claim these seats!

Two benefits of sitting behind the sound guy: (1) The best sound in the house, and (2) you get to read the set list before the concert starts.

Here was the set list:

  • EVA vulgaris 
  • Feel good
  • Go with the flow
  • Do it again
  • 3’s & 7’s
  • Burn da Witch
  • Misfit Love
  • Turning on The Screw
  • In the Fade
  • River in the Road (may have skipped this)
  • Rope
  • Mexicola
  • 1st it giveth
  • Fun Machine (I think he skipped this one)
  • Make it wit chu (in honour of mom on Mothers Day)
  • Little Sister
  • Sick, Sick, Sick


  • You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire
  • No One Knows
They are one of those bands that really sounds much better live than on a studio album!!
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