Steve Sainas Photo Shoot

Steve Sainas Photo Shoot

This Summer, I had the honour of photographing Steve Sainas—2015 Juno Award Winner for MusiCounts Teacher of the Year—for his upcoming CD compilation Simple as This.

Our photography was crafted around the concept of simple, human consciousness, human element, organic, and natural world, which is the general theme of the compilation. The key to this shoot, at the Coquitlam River, was waking up early and capturing that blue hour when the light was soft with tall shadows. Once the sun was high during mid or later in the day, the light was stronger and not as soft compared to the wee hours of the morning. During the golden hours, the sun is also soft, but its position was opposite to where we wanted it to be.

“Steve Sainas is an original contemporary roots rock acoustic artist who has become a popular featured performer at venues throughout the Vancouver Lower Mainland. His versatile original style spans roots genres that include blues, country, Celtic, and progressive contemporary roots-rock.” Read more about Steve.

Listen to the incredible, sophisticated sounds of vocals, drums, and guitars. These songs were technically well engineered and recorded. Download the new songs.

As an aside, if any of your children are musically inclined, they need, or must, attend Terry Fox Secondary School‘s Rock School, under the direction of Steve. Perhaps the best music program in the world, and can even compete with private programs. Some of the students have gone on to be professional musicians. I’m glad that my oldest daughter graduated high school with 4 years of this program. As a side gig, she’s performing with her band The Bird and The Lion, as well as solo, throughout the Metro Vancouver area.

To experience Rock School’s band performances, contact the school for their 2, Winter and Spring shows at only $5 per tix. View some concert videos. Where else can you see great performances, a full drum kit, Marshall amps, professionally tuned sound system, and with a baby grand piano on stage at that price? Nowhere. And proceeds go towards the program.

To conclude the photo shoot, photography is all about controlling the light, or, darkness—either the glass is half full, or half empty. Art critics say that Claude Monet painted landscapes with beautiful light vs his contemporaries because he woke up earlier than they did.

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Fashion Anecdotes, Dec. 2015

Fashion Anecdotes, Dec. 2015

Specifically pertaining to jeans, and as inspired by Scott’s posts at The Sartorialist, I started wearing my winter whites again. One would think that whites were just made for the warm weather (or when painting lol), but guess again. Wearing them during off season adds sophistication to one’s attire, especially when paired with dark winter clothing. It allows you to break the rules when you know how. A co-worker commented that whites during winter can also act as a reflective safety material for on-coming traffic during the darker days… before the empire. Ok, I added a Star Wars line. Geek.

Swims, Norway.

I purchased a pair of orange galoshes by Swims, Norway from Nordstrom, Vancouver, BC. Slipped over a pair of brown or black shoes, the colour combination is G.O.A.T. Of course it’s even more effective for protecting leather shoes during wet days.

A Nordstrom sales personnel informed me about their minimal floor layout, and how he can see one end of the floor display to the opposite end display. Compared to other retailers with convoluted floor layout displays. Similar to cars with minimal dashboard designs, where the objective is to convey a clean surface; so, the driver can better focus on the road. In Nordstrom’s case, consumers’ eyes will better focus on the merchandise.

I was about to purchase a pair of brown shoes with straps. Upon deliberation, the single strap across the top is akin to those three-strap, toddler running shoes. The strap look signifies an athletic, casual persona vs. traditional laces ups. It’s like a button-down collar on a long-sleeve dress shirt, which has a collegiate, casual look vs. a more formal sans button-down version.

At Atmosphere, the outdoor retailer, I was able to ask them to match a Boxing-Day price reduction on a pair of Gore-Tex Solomon shoes. The sales personnel suggested if I can come in on the Black Friday, but I said that I couldn’t; so, he agreed to offer me the discounted price a day prior. I prefer to wear waterproof GT shoes during rainy-day commutes to work, or when coaching soccer during match days. Although during warm days, the GT fabric is toasty.

I love waterproof clothing, especially for the wet days here on the left coast. I have waterproof cycling gear, including waterproof shorts from Scotland by Endura; waterproof sailing drysuits by Bomber Gear, which can also be used for stand-up paddle boarding; if I had more waterproof gear, I’d be a duck.

Atmosphere is a great little retailer that can have items not carried at the other larger retailers. In fact, their only BC warehouse location, located in Langley, allows you to purchase the 1st warehouse-sale clothing item at 50% off, and get this—get the 2nd item for free. Their discounted shoes area has awesome deals too.

This week I returned to Atmosphere to purchase a Thule Crossover 32L backpack, and again they honoured my request for a Boxing-Day price match. I use a Thule roof-rack and bike-carrier, they’re reliably well-built and the company has a great reputation for manufacturing those products. In this case, their bag was well thought out as well with roomy compartments using sturdy materials.

Vinyling

Vinyling

Above image: Sunday morning vinylin, iPhone photo.

Playing vinyl record albums on a turntable is alluring. It’s engaging. And about 4 years ago, I rediscovered this pastime because I stumbled upon a gem of a record store, Apollo Records. Followed by asking my father in-law for one of his turntables, who’s a record enthusiast himself.

A former co-worker told me that there was some research done to the effect that if one lacks appreciation of music, then there’s something wrong with that person’s soul. How profound. So, naturally there’s the musical appeal to spinning vinyl. What else is there?

Grabbing that favourite record—whether it be pop, rock, jazz, reggae, indie folk, or whichever—is pleasant to the senses. First, looking at the eye-catching cover: Prince sitting on a purple motor bike in an urban, evening setting; the Irving Penn black-and-white, tight-cropped photograph of Miles Davis; or the suburban retro-styled Arcade Fire album cover. Second, pulling out the record from the lyric-printed sleeve. Or an inclusion of a poster of the musician, or band. There’s definitely an aesthetic and tactile involvement, which is absent from an iTunes download.

Also, during album play, a sense of reflection as to where you were in your life when you first heard such and such a song, or purchased the original album. As if that specific song ostensibly defined a moment in your life. Hence, record collections are also a personal collection of memories.

Audio-wise, the therapeutic warm sound with all the hisses and pops one hears as the needle lands on the vinyl—again, lacking in the digital download. That true sound is organic in character and feel. Not sounding flawless and flat like its download counterpart.

According to Friedrich Nietzsche, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” I think he had a large record collection too : )

Note: Apollo Records’ inventory section of used, dollar albums offers attractive selections, which would be several times the price at other more known record retailers. They also carry newly released or re-released albums.

Small Concept, Big Results

Small Concept, Big Results

photo 1
iPhone photos of 1st and 2nd appearance of Scott Lang Ant-Man. Over the summer, I sold and traded both copies for cash and a scarce, signed and limited edition portfolio by Frank Frazetta, Women of the Ages.    
photo 2
Both copies I originally paid newsstand price and had them in my collection since their first release.

Photo enthusiasts say that when one starts photographing with a macro lens—a lens that can photograph tight, close ups of small objects, such as bugs, coins and book typography—they are introduced to a whole new world, and they want to further explore and record those new visuals. This was my take on the Ant-Man film, which I saw this summer. Where typical superheroes are bigger than the average human, on most cases, this film dealt with macro objects that were fascinating and excitingly new. The film also had believable characters, tinged with a sense of  humor. I truly enjoyed watching this film.

Some interesting film notes… a character in the film, I think it was Hank Pym the first Ant-Man, had a descriptive line that included the words “tales to astonish” in his one of his sentences as he was speaking to a group of people. Well, Tales To Astonish #27 was the first appearance of the Ant-Man (Pym) in 1962. And the film also had the main character, Scott Lang (the new Ant-Man in 1979), and his crew stay at The Milgrom Hotel. That signage was a homage to Al Milgrom, a jack of all trades at Marvel Comics—editor, writer, penciller and inker. Marvel definitely knows how to speak to their keen target audience.

There’s a build up for an upcoming sequel that I hope they don’t ruin with too many added characters and a senseless plot. But I’m looking forward to the home video release of this summer film.