Family and fun in KCMO

Rebecca and I got back yesterday from a one week stay in Kansas City, MO. My mother grew up there, and it’s where my parents met and got married. The road that took our family to Iowa is a whole other tale, but there is still a large portion of extended family that lives in and around KCMO.

KCMO from Liberty Memorial

My grandmother turned a young 90 years old this past Wednesday, so that, of course, means one thing for a family with hefty Mexican roots. It’s a party, and I think I’m still recovering.

The birthday girl

Otherwise, this trip was a chance to get away from the craziness in Vancouver, enjoy some family, and relax a little bit. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, and you can see more of them in the Flickr set.

She really was here

Truly the “City of Fountains”.

Neptune

Pomona

Brusch Creek

Choices

I haven’t been able to find Mexican bread as good as this in Vancouver.

Mi madre y mi tia

My mom and my aunt, but you can’t see the three pitchers of sangria that were absolutely amazing.

La Bodega

And the scene of the crime.

Rebecca in KCMO

KCMO Pose

Liberty Memorial Park

It was a really great week in Kansas City. Hot, but great to see all of my family. Hopefully a trip to Iowa can be the next leg when we go to visit, but now we’re anxious to show them some of the sites here. Pictures can’t do KC or Vancouver justice, both great in their own right.

Photos from the Surrey Fusion Festival 2008

Last weekend, Rebecca was contacted by the city of Surrey to come out and help cover the events of the Surrey Fusion Festival. The three days of food, live performances, vendors, and artist displays were brought together for the soul purpose of putting a variety of ethnic flavors that comprise the areas of the lower mainland into one place. And let me say, they did an amazing job of pulling it off.

Surrey Fusion Fest 2008

Once again, I played photographer for the day, gathering shots for coverage on miss604.com. The organizers understand and recognize the reach that a hyperlocal blog like Rebecca’s has, so they wanted to make sure that they did everything they could to spread the world about the event, even if it’s after the fact.

Surrey Fusion Fest 2008

Here’s a variety of shots that were my favorite of those three days.

Surrey Fusion Fest 2008

Surrey Fusion Fest 2008

Surrey Fusion Fest 2008

Surrey Fusion Fest 2008

Surrey Fusion Fest 2008

Surrey Fusion Fest 2008

Surrey Fusion Fest 2008

This last photo is by far my favorite out of the whole bunch, and it’s not because of the photo quality or how the light hits the shot just right. It’s the fact that when we saw these prawn crackers, we more so thought about how it would taste. The spelling didn’t catch us until after the fact.

Surrey Fusion Fest 2008

With hope, those “pawn crackers” helped to make you understand how great the Surrey Fusion Fest was this year, and I really hope that the momentum is there to do it again next year. The whole gathering was laid back and a great atmosphere that one has to experience to really enjoy.

If you would like to see more photos, please see the entire set on Flickr, and Rebecca has some great posts highlighting the festivities from day two and three. Our social media ninja in arms DaveO even made a guest post to give his perspective, and he was just as pleased with things as we were.

Photographs from Surrey Canada Day celebrations

Rebecca was contacted by the fine folks at the city of Surrey to be a media co-sponsor for their Canada Day events in Cloverdale. July 1st saw nearly 40,000 people crowd onto the Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheater grounds to play games, see stilt walkers, get their faces painted, and see a jam packed line-up of musical acts on the main stage, including the likes of Rymes With Orange, The Payola$, and Loverboy.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Events like this tend to find me with media access for the both of us, and of course that means I have to take my camera along with. You can read all of Rebecca’s coverage of the event [Surrey Canada Day 2008: The Schedule, Morning Recap, The Music], but the following are some of my favorite shots that I took.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Will is a really amazing musician. See him live if you can because you must.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

Surrey Canada Day 2008

That’s Mr. Bob Rock[wiki], ladies and gentlemen, in the flesh.

Surrey Canada Day 2008

You can see all 104 photos on Flickr. Shooting outdoor events can be a lot of fun, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s loud in the photo pit, not to mention the sweltering heat on that day. Sometimes I feel intimidated by being surrounded with folks that have larger and much more expensive photo equipment, but the pictures that come out from my endeavors tend to speak for themselves. It’s not what you got that matters. It’s how you use it, and I’m doing my damnedest to learn my camera and get better with every shot.

The folks at the Surrey Canada Day event were amazing in terms of getting us the media access and letting us know the low down on what was going on, where everything was located, and were just generally awesome people. By far, the best treatment I have ever experienced in terms of media access for new media folks.

Playing photographer at the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival 2008

Entrance to the Vancouver Dragonboat Festival 2008

About a week and a half ago, I had the extreme pleasure of joining Rebecca on a really cool experience of covering the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival for the festivities of 2008.

Cycling teams through

People come from all over to compete in this event, not to mention watch and enjoy the festivities.

The Festival was created to show off Vancouver’s growing cultural diversity and to promote racial harmony among Canadians – new and old. Vancouverites were invited to the festival to experience spectacular food, entertainment, arts and children’s programming reflecting Vancouver’s cultural diversity. At the same time, interest in paddling was taking off and more and more teams formed and registered each year.

Twenty years later the Festival still fulfills its mandate to promote cultural harmony among Canadians. It has developed into one of Vancouver’s most anticipated summer family events. [dragonboatbc]

Throw ring, win tinfoil!

This was just a little bit more than the run of the mill walking around, shooting pictures, and seeing the sights. Thanks to Anita, we had media passes to the event.

Pretending to be in the boat

Rogers team stretches before racing

Probably the best thing about the media access for this event was being able to ride in the media boat and follow the racers as they went from start to finish, paddling along until their bodies couldn’t give anymore.

Warming up

Smile

Keeping guard

Good game

With my trusty camera, I decided to try something a little different and shoot some video with it of an actual heat or two.

The Dragon Boat Festival is a real passion for some of these racers. There’s a community that comes from the numerous teams, and the action is just as intense. This is something that you don’t really get a sense of until you get away from all of the tents and vendors on dry land. When you get down to the water level, it’s a whole other experience that I’m really glad I had the opportunity to see.

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.

Lanyards

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.

Using CSS to attribute photos in your blog posts

Rebecca recently made a post about using the AddQuickTags plugin for WordPress to display captions on photos in her blog posts, I would elaborate on the CSS styling it takes to get this. The WordPress plugin makes this easier, but I thought it would be useful to share how you can do this with some simple CSS, especially if you don’t have WordPress at your disposal.

First, how do you get this…

John and Becks by duanestorey on Flickr
Photo credit: duane storey on Flickr

to work?

To start with, you need your image and then link it to its origin or creator to attribute credit to. This is just good practice and makes the original author happy. We’ll have to peak at some quick HTML to get a sense of what’s going on here because we don’t like using visual editors. Code might be tough to work with for some, but it’s second nature to us.

<a href="http://website.com"><img src="http://photosharingsite.com/photo/image.jpg" /></a>

Your HTML might look different, but the premise should be the same. It’s a linked image, but how do you get the “Photo by:” tag underneath the image? Let’s start by adding some code to your CSS.

.captioncentered {
display: block;
text-align: center; /*centers text & image*/
margin: 10px auto; /*centers the whole div*/
padding-bottom: 1px; /*this depends of your design*/
font-size: 0.85em;
color: #ccc;
}

This will make like somewhat simple for you in the long run because this will set the design of your blog to work for all posts you use this styling for. So now what do you do with it?

You just setup a “class” to use in the “div” tag. It works like this.

<div class="captioncentered"><a href="http://website.com"><img src="http://photosharingsite.com/photo/image.jpg" /></a></div>

That centers the image, so now you need to add a little more HTML to this in order to get the credit where it deserves to be. This just requires some text and then linking the words you want linked. However, this extra text must be inside the div tags in order for this to work!

<div class="captioncentered"><a href="http://website.com"><img src="http://photosharingsite.com/photo/image.jpg" /></a>
<br />Photo by: <a href="http://website.com" />author</a> on PhotoSharingSite.com</div>

Once you have this, you are able to to display an image, such as a photo from Flickr, with proper attribution. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do, not to mention a legal way to not get yourself into trouble with the original author for taking their content.

The next thing you can do is edit your CSS to make some adjustment to the look of your text or perhaps the background. It really comes down to what you want to do. There might be a better way to do this, but this is how we get this function to work.

A trip to Osoyoos in pictures

It must have been nearly a month ago, and it took me a long time to get the pictures posted from our trip to Osoyoos for a quick weekend getaway, so here’s a delayed recap in photos. Rebecca has some good posts about the trips and various portions of it here, here, here, and here.

Downtown Osoyoos

Welcome to the wild, wild Washington State

Those trees are really that huge

Lake Osoyoos below

Seriously, go slow

Burrowing Owl Winery

Vines getting ready to grow

Sahara Courtyard Inn Motel

Beef and pork on the grill

Lots of rest and relaxation, but we don’t own a car. It’s nice to take long drives through the countryside, see the land, and listen to music. That’s what makes us happy.

CityTV in Toronto punished for using Flickr photos and not giving proper credit to owner

CityTV in Toronto had a great story. Burglar gets caught in the act by home owner, attempts to get away by leaping off balcony, busts his leg, and someone snaps pictures of the poor sap while he lays on the ground as cops are called and arrive to the scene. What avid Flickr user Joel Charlebois did with the photos afterward is the real story.

When CityTV heard him mention that he was going to post the photos to Flickr, they not only checked them out but used them in a news story. Problem is, there was no mention of the person who took the images. This is also known as a violation of copyright. As any good Flickr user and avid photographer will tell you (like Duane did on his blog post on this same topic), you protect the things you love. Yes, you can protect your photos on Flickr with a copyright, and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council agreed with the complaint brought against CityTV.

Charlebois, displeased, took his case to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), and today, nine months after the complaint was filed, a majority of the National Specialty Services Panel found that City’s broadcast did indeed violate the Association of Electronic Journalists of Canada’s RTNDA Code of (Journalistic) Ethics, which states that “Plagiarism is unacceptable. Broadcast journalists will strive to honour the intellectual property of others, including video and audio materials.” (The full decision is here.) The panel took particular issue with the lack of credit to Charlebois, stating that “the broadcaster knew full well the identity of the photographer whose still shots were used in the news report,” an omission that they deemed unfair, for news reporting or otherwise. (They note that the American RTNDA states that “professional electronic journalists should…clearly disclose the origin of information and label all material provided by outsiders.”)

As a result, City must issue a rare on-air statement at least twice, during prime time, over the next ten days. That statement will follow a script set by the CBSC, stating that, in part, the news organization breached the aforementioned Code of Ethics and “included three still photographs of the injured burglar without providing any credit to the photographer, whose identity was known to the broadcaster. By failing to provide that accreditation, the broadcaster has failed to honour the intellectual property rights of the photographer.” [torontoist]

What is important to me on this story is that intellectual property was protected as it should be, no matter how it is being utilized. On top of that, it gives comfort to know that mainstream media will be held accountable for violations of copyrighted material. It’s not a full safety net, but that means that even the little guy stands a chance against big media companies when it comes to protecting your content.

Even Charlebois admits in the story that all he was really concerned about was the proper accreditation, not the punishment handed down to CityTV. I think it’s interesting to note that there is very little discussion of fines or compensation.

Some actual signs of progress in Stanley Park

About two weeks ago, Rebecca and I went for a walk in Stanley Park as we so often do. On one of my early morning runs that took me along the drive near Prospect Point, I’ve noticed a trail that was never visible since the storm damage from over a year ago. I always thought that it was interesting how you could see the Merilees Trail from Stanley Park Drive due to all the fallen trees, but then the gate blocking access to that and the Siwash Rock Trail was gone.

On our walk, I said I wanted to venture that way and see what we could find. What we found was somewhat surprising.

Nifty metal rail

Gone is all of the wooden, almost farm-like fence that separated you from falling fifty feet onto the Seawall below. Now it has been replaced with a craftily welded, metal railing that goes along the entire length of the trail, all the way to Siwash Rock itself.

Man made nature spot?

There was also this bit of landscaping that is destined to become a posh little spot along the trail. At first I didn’t think there was much to all the piles of gravel and the machinery in the area, but looking back at it from this angle, you can see the tiny steps going into a fun little spot that will be bound to attract multitudes of couples looking to make out from the nice viewpoint.

Bit of welding going on here

It’s nice to see that this millions of dollars being spent on the cleanup in Stanley Park is resulting in some obvious results. The landscaping is questionable, but there is also a vast amount of work down to improve the drainage in the entire area of Prospect Point. I’m sure this is to ensure that landslides will have less of a chance to occur in the future, but nature has its way of proving that wrong.

Of course, I already mentioned Hollow Tree, but it’s still sad to see it go. Stanley Park has been there a lot longer than Vancouver has existed, so life will go on, millions of dollars at a time.