Canada Day 2010

Surrey Canada Day 2010

A little belated but worth mentioning that yesterday was Canada Day. We spent the day in Cloverdale for the Surrey Canada Day festivities out there, and I shot a lot of photos during our time on the ground.

The main reason we were out there was to cover the celebrations on

Even though it was rainy, it was still a great event. I only wish we could have stayed longer, but Rebecca’s health was waning at the onset of early evening as she’s been battling a head cold over the past few days. Short on time right now, but I’ll post some more of my favorite photos from the day later.

Updated: August 2, 2010: It’s taken me a while, but here are a variety of other shots that I took. Event photography continues to grow on me, but it’s really a fun challenge each time. You have to adapt to the venue, lighting, crowd, staging, and entertainment.

Surrey Canada Day 2010 Surrey Canada Day 2010

Surrey Canada Day 2010

This is a great tradition of Surrey Canada Day celebrations. If you come up, you can get a cupcake for free. And quite honestly, everyone loves cupcakes. People from all walks of life, young to old, line up for these things.
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Vancouver 2010: Day 11 – Flickr meetup in Yaletown and Rebecca on CBC Radio 3

At this point in the games, I think Vancouver is a little worn down from all of the excitement of what’s been going on up to this point. That’s not to say that the excitement is any less, but it just seems a little quieter.

Vancouver 2010: Day 11 - Flickr meetup in Yaletown

After a pretty normal workday, it was really cool to head down into Yaletown to check out the official Flickr meetup, put on by the folks at Yahoo! themselves.

Vancouver 2010: Day 11 - Flickr meetup in Yaletown

Vancouver 2010: Day 11 - Flickr meetup in Yaletown Aside from the familiar and not so familiar faces that I see at an event like this, members of the IOC were in attendance to talk about some of their efforts into the realm of social media.

More importantly, these guys were there to talk specifically about the sharing of images taken at Olympic events, which is a highly debated topic among many photographers involved with the True North Media House project.

Vancouver 2010: Day 11 - Flickr meetup in Yaletown Essentially, the IOC is endorsing the sharing of your photographs on their Vancouver 2010 Olympic Photo Group on Flickr. This maintains their stance on what you can and can’t do with the photographs taken within Olympic venues. They want you to share what you see and shoot with the world but not use them for personal profit.

Talking to the guys from the IOC, it was even more interesting to hear them talk about Sochi 2014. Essentially, what you will see in Whistler right now is being built from scratch for the Olympics in Russia. They’re tunneling from the city of Sochi to the other side of a nearby mountain where many of the outdoor events like alpine, sliding, and ski jump will magically appear by the time 2014 is on the horizon. You had to agree with them that a project like that is daunting, amazing, and scary all at the same time.

Vancouver 2010: Day 11 - Miss604 on CBC Radio 3

Our evening took a brief detour up to Georgia Street for a quick appearance of Rebecca on CBC Radio 3 with Lisa Christiansen. They had a great setup outside on their recently renovated concourse, and kudos to them for doing their research on their guests. As some one who works in the industry, we cannot have enough of this by on air personalities, if it not being an absolute must. All you aspiring broadcast stars should write that one down.

We wrapped up the night at the Flickr party, having a lot of fun with close friends and recounting everything that we’ve seen and has happened. I even got a free, one year pro membership extension!

Flickr Meetup @ Yahoo Funcouver
Flickr Meetup @ Yahoo Funcouver, Photo by John Biehler on Flickr

It’s been a lot of fun to see how True North Media House has come together over the course of the months before the games and during. A lot of great stuff has been coming through all sorts of channels by self-accredited media contributors, documentarians, writers, bloggers, photographers, Twitter, and everything else yet to come.

Vancouver 2010: Day 6 – Mailing it in

So my experience of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics boiled down to letting the wookie win, and this implies the cold that was just a tad annoying the day prior. I waived the white flag in the battle when my head felt like it was in a vicegrip, taking in the games by whatever the TV could bring me while I slipped in and out of consciousness on the couch.

I make it sound worse than it was, but sometimes you just need to rest it out.

Day 6 certainly had some action to it. I missed Lindsey Vonn’s gold medal ski run but caught most of the last handful of skiers who had a heck of a time in Whistler. Shani Davis rocked that 1000 meters in speed skating, and Shaun White pretty much blew my mind.

Combine all of that with Twitter and Flickr, I have all I really need to find out what’s going on between all over B.C. in terms of these games.

So what I thought I would do is poke through some of the photos submitted to the True North Media House photo group on Flickr to pull out some great stuff that’s been filtering through the social media news wires. A lot of people are doing cool stuff, and the photography that’s coming through really pushes that concept of cool to a different level of storytelling rather than just saying what happened.
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November trip to Punta Cana

As hoped, I got to head to Punta Cana with the radio day job as a sequel to the very short trip that Rebecca and I had there in July of this year. This one was for a week, and it wasn’t as much relaxation as I had hoped but still provided some great, warm weather and tropical sun.

I just got through all of my photos this past weekend, so here’s a small collection of my favorites from the trip.

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Where do you draw the line with being social when it comes to social media?

I Facebooked Your Mom

I’m not mentioning this to be mean or rude, but there is something to be said about the sphere of social media that I and many others exist in and what it means to actually be social. It’s a tough line to walk, so let me explain a little.

Hockey MySpace porn what? In the realm of myspace, you add as many people as you possibly can. I never quite understood this mentality until I tried to build an account for RadioZoom and use it as a matter of promotion for the podcast. Pretty soon, promotional reps for various bands were adding me as friends and sending out mass messages of what their bands are doing. That’s a great mechanism for the network, but last time I checked, I have a very hard time making it to rock shows in North Carolina even though I’m on the guest list. I certainly appreciate the offer though.

The point I’m trying to make is that I have never met these people, and it’s fairly clear that they’ve never met me, nor do they know what I really do, where I’m located, and that I haven’t actually published an episode of RadioZoom in quite sometime.

Enter the realms of Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, and I have taken a very upfront, social approach from the onset of joining these networks. For the most part, I try to apply a one degree of separation before claiming someone as a contact or friend. Or to put it in simple English, I like to at least meet someone before I actually say that we’re a contact or friend.

Ready for demos It’s a simple matter of putting a face to the name. If I say that I know you in a social network setting, it makes much more sense to me to actually know you in a setting that goes beyond a connection between your terminal and mine.

And just to address the age old story of the person on the other end not being who they say they are, there is still some merit in that mindset. You can’t let that scare you though because how many times have you not believed something someone told you until you could prove the fact for yourself? It’s the same concept, and the episode of The Simpsons when Bart gets a credit card when he fills out the application as a joke is a bit of testament to that. If the credit company actually checked on this applicant, they would have known that “Santos L. Halper” was the family’s dog[wiki] and not an actual person.

Since moving to Vancouver, the world of the Internet has progressed from this nerdly world of ones and zeros and into a sphere of actual social settings where the computer is replaced with actual meetings and face to face conversations. Of course the convenient proximity I have to a major metropolitan area lends to this compared to others without such social resources, but it’s tough to just add someone to whatever social network because you know someone I know and yet we’ve never had any interaction whatsoever.

Now, yes, I do bend these self imposed rules from time to time because social interaction can derive in the sense of emails, Twitter @’s, Facebook messages, etc. This might happen because I find what you’re saying or doing to be worthwhile in terms of quality. However, if the quantity of what you are producing, in terms of content or contributions into the social sphere, lacks substance or is useless dribble, then that factors into things as well.

With so much to see, hear, read, and choose from, I simply need what’s worthwhile to me and my time. I know I can’t be the only one with these “rules”, so feel free to add your thoughts on this complicated topic below.

Sennheiser Canada uses my photo in a press release for the new GM Place sound system

My photo used in a Senheiser Canada press release

I was contacted a few weeks ago about a photo that I posted on Flickr by a rep at Sennheiser Canada. It turns out that they saw my photo and wanted to use it in a press release regarding the new sound system they provided the equipment for at GM Place. Canucks fans might have heard about the new setup at the rink, and a lot of people that I’ve talked to have been really impressed by it, myself included.

When I was contacted and asked for my permission, I ensured that I would get credit in the release and gave my go ahead. I was told that they had numerous photos of their equipment, but they really liked the way my shot captured the system.

New sound system in GM Place

If you get a chance to make it down for a Canucks game, it will impress you. It sounds a lot clearer than previously, and your seat will rattle when they crank up the bass. Certainly gives you a different experience at GM Place than before.

One of the best things about summer

I know that it’s only sugar, water, lemons, and ice, and they cost $4, sometimes even more depending on the money swindling location and/or event that you are at. Still, there is nothing better than a lemonade like this on a hot, sunny, summer day.

Weekend camping at Cultus Lake for drunkcamp02

Camping on Cultus

Three days in Chilliwack, B.C. at Cultus Lake with Rebecca, John, and Duane. Lots and lots of sitting around the campfire, laughing a ton, good drink, good food, and the weather was… good.

Home for three days

Nerd City

The forecast in the days leading up to the trip just got worse and worse. Everyone we knew told us that we were nuts for going camping this weekend. It ended up being awful on Thursday night, Friday was actually really nice, and Saturday was off and on in terms of being cool from winds that would whip up from time to time. Other than that, everything went off great.

I like fire

I even busted open my right shin a tiny bit when a piece of wood I was chopping got away and clocked me. That’s about par for the course, no other major injuries.

Sunset behind the mountain

Drowning tree

I can still smell the smoke, if not taste it. That’s only the real complaint of the trip, even if the coolness kept us all pretty close to the fire. Couldn’t even fathom jumping into the lake, no matter how inviting or calling it might have been. Fleece under a rain jacket was just right. Bone chilling lake water from ice run off from the mountains in the area, not so much.


Ah yes, we indeed called this drunkcamp02, complete with lanyards. It’s more of a statement of enjoying the time away from laptops and technology and becoming one with nature. Even though there are public washrooms within easy walk and Duane’s family brought us amazing food(perogies, cabbage rolls, and KFC), donuts from Tim Horton’s, and fire wood in three separate trips on Saturday, it’s tough country out there “in the Wack”.

You can see more of my pictures from the trip on Flickr.

Comparing nearly six months progress of the Vancouver Olympic Village

I have a mild obsession with the Olympics. The fascination has been with me for as long as I can remember, so it’s no surprise that I watch all the construction with anticipation, all political arguments aside. I just love the games. Period.

So almost six months ago, I took this photo on my way into work in the morning.

Daily pass of the Olympic Village

This afternoon, I took this photo on my walk home.

Overall shot from Cambie Bridge

The progress of this small city is astounding. We watch it everyday at work, and I battle the lines at the various places to eat near work on a constant basis. No matter when or where, there is always at least one construction guy or gal either buying coffee or having a bite to eat. The day I don’t have to cross the street without the fear of impending doom from a cement truck barreling down the street will be a strange day, especially with that Canada Line going in just a few blocks away.

Here’s another neat comparison of a photo that I took back in January, looking towards Science World from the Cambie Bridge.

Very Vancouver

And then, today, looking from about the same point, slightly more zoomed in.

Can't see Science World anymore

I’d say that’s progress, but here’s a couple more photos for fun.

Crews at work

Looking down the streets

You can see more here.