Another killer 3rdThur Foto:RE photo review

FotoRE 3rdThur meetup 013

I was super-happy to re-engage with Foto:RE and friends last week for the regular 3rdThur photo review. I missed both June and July meetups due to travel and was very eager to share an image I had captured in late May while out in San Francisco. Will post that as a 1shot once I tune it up.

We got these reviews kicked off back in March and they have been invaluable in both the feedback I’ve received and the large tank of motivation they provide to bring my very best shot every month.

The format is simple: 1 image, 5 minutes, total honesty. Just show up on the 3rd Thursday of the month. For updated deets, just follow Foto:RE on fb or tw or check their website. It’s free-no-pay, but hey man, please buy drinks from our host venue.

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Hespeler hits the streets

A Day and A Night - 2014 195

Last Saturday Hespeler mashed up the art, music, and people out on Queen Street for A Day & A Night festival. I got down there after dinner to see what artists David Hoover and Woody Woodfield had painted up. I shot their work at the Hub a couple years ago. My interest was also piqued by a great piece on Jude Doble’s Red Leather Booth about Hespeler-based print maker Donna Stewart. Oh yeah, and live music in the street. I’m down for that anytime anywhere. Above is a backstage peek at Romeo Sex Fighter pumping out great covers with an awesomely self-deprecating sense of humour.

Click through for a quasi-reasonable number of pics…

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Hub Haps #002-talking photography at The Tannery

Talking Photography at the Tannery

Had a productive conversation about photography on Friday with representation from CAFKA, Christie Digital, Foto:RE, Communitech and the ever-awesome Catherine Bischoff. Stay tuned for more shortly. And let me say that this photo does not do justice to the panoramic projection of forest from the wicked Christie projectors in The Tannery Event Centre where we met.


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Metal for breakfast

Heavy Breakfast - Princess Cafe - 2014-08-24 315

Sunday morning. 7AM. Two heavy metal bands. And pancakes.

That’s what cultural instigator and owner of The Princess Cafe, Marc Lecompte, was serving up at his Heavy Breakfast this past weekend as part of the Uncross Your Arms Fest. Above is the band Total Bummer, with volume cranked to 11.

If you don’t know Marc, and his two great restaurants Princess Cafe and Cheeses Murphy, then you probably are also unaware of how much he’s weaving into the cultural tapestry of Waterloo Region. Marc got on my radar four years back from this Waterloo Chronicle article, and Marc’s DIYDAY event last year highlighted his deep background in the music scene and on-going commitment to the broader ecosystem.

The point of this post was to respond to the oft-uttered “there’s nothing going on here” and not an in-depth look at Marc, but I can’t just post the photos without recognizing that this kind of cool shit doesn’t happen by magic, people! It takes a belief that cultural investment pays back and a willingness to do the work. Are you too busy? Marc’s got two kids under the age of 5 and two restaurants on the go. Kind of makes me feel like I’m slackin’.

If you’re wondering how you can get more involved in the community, I’ll again offer this unsolicited advice: just show up. It’s a good start. Here endeth the sermon, now on to the semi-unreasonable number of photos from the jam…

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On DIY injection molding and living in the future

QuietCoach injection mold trials 008

There are few things more beautiful to me than machined aluminum. So, I was delighted when my friend Brett Shellhammer invited me across the Hub courtyard last week to check out the plastic injection mold he had milled and test driven at TechShop in Detroit. For the uninitiated, injection molding is how the enclosures are created for lots of your plastic consumer goods. You put these two mold halves together like a sandwich and use a big press to force molten plastic through that port in the piece on the left. When you crack the mold open, you have a hard plastic shell the shape of the mold cavity.

“So what?” you might say. Your iPhone case, laptop case, and coffee maker are all made this way. Very familiar, right? Well, the thing is that five years ago this process/skillset/toolset was invisible magic and we only ever had access to the output. The maker movement has facilitated a tectonic shift in that dynamic.

Serial entrepreneur and outwardly a business guy, Brett is also a hardcore maker, fueled by a large desire to GSD (get shit done). So when his latest endeavour, The Quiet Coach, needed a plastic enclosure for part of their product and 3D printing was falling short, Brett flexed his maker-fu. It’s not a trivial workflow. He needed to 3D-model this enclosure in software. Then he took that virtual model and create an optimized toolpath for the CNC mill. He trained on the mill at TechShop, and then actually ran his toolpath against some aluminum stock to carve out the shape. More training, this time on the injection mold press at TechShop, was necessary. Finally, he had a complete toolchain with which to experiment, molding shells from different plastics. More importantly, he is now equipped to apply his learning to future challenges, not only in enclosure fabrication, but in any hurdle that requires modeling, machining, or CNC technology to surmount.

This is a small example of the watershed in manufacturing. It doesn’t supplant offshore manufacturing for large volume production, but rather complements it. Smaller volumes and quick-turn design changes (we used to say “rapid prototyping”) are within the grasp of mere mortal makers.

Click through for a few pics of the output and more machining porn…

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Hub Haps #001-bucket list

Communitech and D2L ALS icewater challenge 123

Yesterday at the Communitech Hub, out on Francis Street, Iain Klugman and John Baker, CEOs of Communitech and Desire2Learn respectively, got doused by this eager crew.  Of course the good cause was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. With all the stills/video of the people on the receiving end of this icy payload, I thought I’d mix it up and show the bucket bearers.

This is a good example of the serendipitous fun that happens at the Hub. Since I’m now camped out here most days, I’m kicking off a Hub Haps series of short posts with a single photo and some context. Much like my 1shot series.

No buckets or CEOs were harmed in the making of this photo.


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1shot #184-we are all visitors

BC trip 2014 943

Caught these humpback flukes off Victoria harbour in British Columbia three weeks ago.

It made me think that on a long enough timeline, we are all visitors. It reinforced the necessity of seizing the day and humbled me.


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1shot #183-chess giant

Random 004

Found this endgame in progress out front of Kitchener City Hall a couple of weeks back.

There was such a great triangle structure in this composition that I had to shoot it. The distortion of scale with the serendipitous grid in the background made me smile. My son Calder taught me chess and in our case he is the giant.

This is Kitchener.


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1shot #182-everything is a mystery

Random 048

I was meeting with Bre Crossman from the Kitchener BIA at the Yeti Café in DTK last week and saw interesting silhouettes appear in the Market underground. I love to find extremes of light, with a nod to artist Caravaggio and cross-centuries shout to director Michael Mann, both of whom use this chiaroscuro to great effect in their work.

From Eby Street, this is Kitchener.


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1shot #181-Four on 305

Random 112

Wandering into DTK for a late lunch on Thursday, I caught these window washers on the side of 305 King. It struck me as a more pragmatic edition of my BANDALOOP shoot at CITS last year. When I squint my eyes, I imagine these guys in a swashbuckling battle with their mirror reflections.

Earlier that morning, Meg Leslie and I met up with Craig Beattie at 305 to talk about potential spaces for the next Flirting with the Arts (thanks Craig!) Meg asked if I would do a photography workshop, so I’m looking at contributing a smartphone macro photography class. I’m looking for a line on the plastic lenses found in disposable cameras so any help appreciated. A cursory search of dealextreme and aliexpress only turned up $2+ lenses which I’ve not tried and which seem like overkill. Looking forward to sharing some photo fun.


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