Local Colour

XXV Festival da Primavera, Moreira da Maia (Preview)

ranchos of Portugal at XXV Festival da Primavera, Moreira da Maia

Our Seattle visitors arrived today and their first cultural experience in the north of Portugal was immediately after: Festival da Primavera (Festival of Spring) in Moreira da Maia. I have plenty of images as usual, but here’s just a few for now plus a video clip while we continue our touring.

ranchos of Portugal at XXV Festival da Primavera, Moreira da Maia

ranchos of Portugal at XXV Festival da Primavera, Moreira da Maia

In this video I’m far away because standing close to the speakers distorts the music and singing. More photos to come, to better show the traditional clothing.

XXV Festival da Primavera, dia 24 de Maio em Moreira da Maia

XXV Festival da Primavera, dia 24 de Maio em Moreira da Maia

May 24, 2015
Album: Portugal [Spring 2015]

Saturday Smörgåsbord In Porto

street art in Porto

street art in Porto

I gave up on a more descriptive title for this post because today was such a mixed bag of activity that it defied a title. Our main plan was to check out the Festival Internacional de Marionetas do Porto (International Puppet Festival of Porto), but we wound up seeing a puppet show only at the end of the day and spent the rest of the time walking around and visiting the Centro Português de Fotografia (Portuguese Centre for Photography). There is always so much going on in Porto — all year — that I find it’s often easier just to show up around the centre and stumble upon events spontaneously than to try and fit them all in through rigorous planning.

These photos are just a smattering of what we saw (and ate) today, including street art, exhibits, churches, and Galician food. The rest you’ll find in the Autumn 2014 album.

heritage tram at Clérigos (Porto, Portugal)

heritage tram at Clérigos

heritage tram (Porto, Portugal)

Tram 22 on Rua de Santa Catarina

heritage tram (Porto, Portugal)

Rua de Santa Catarina

Rua 31 de Janeiro (Porto, Portugal)

Rua 31 de Janeiro

Praça da Batalha (Porto, Portugal)

Praça da Batalha

capoeira in front of Sáo Bento Station (Porto, Portugal)

capoeira in front of Sáo Bento Station

street art (Porto, Portugal)

Porto has no shortage of street art

pimento padron (Galician specialty) in Largo São Domingos (Porto, Portugal)

pimento padron (Galician specialty) in Largo São Domingos

(Porto, Portugal)

street cats and street art

(Porto, Portugal)

Clérigos and heritage tram

Igreja de São José das Taipas (Porto, Portugal)

Igreja de São José das Taipas

Igreja de São José das Taipas

Igreja de São José das Taipas

The rest of the photos are from Centro Português de Fotografia, where we happened upon the launch of two exhibits: TOET, The Other European Travellers, and a tapestry rug, which you’ll see further below (I’m still searching for info about this rug!).

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (21)

Centro Português de Fotografia’s courtyard doubles as a football pitch

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (13)

map of Europe, in photos (Exhibit: TOET – The Other European Travellers)

The TOET exhibit — The Other European Travellers — is a project of contemporary stories of mostly southern Europeans who left their homelands for countries further north in Europe to work. The travelling exhibition is a compilation of personal archives, from family albums and collections:

THE OTHER EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS is a photographic project developed by a selection of european photographers with the support of a group of experts and reknown artists.

This initiative – supported by EU Cultural Programme – aims to explore through a map of contemporary stories, the experiences of european citizens and their families who, for economic reasons, left their countries of birth to starting a new life in new lands.

TOET focuses on migrations between 1950 and 1980, mainly from south (Spain, Portugal, Greece and southern Italy) to central and northern Europe (France, Germany, UK and Belgium).

TOET aims to recover the memory and the collective imagination of these citizens, key figures in the construction of modern Europe, and also intending to offer an artistic and archival legacy for future generations, using the image as a vehicle for transmitting experiences.

TOET has been conducted by 1 coordinator, 3 co-organisers and a network of european cultural institutions.

As an expat and migrant several times over, this exhibit was very interesting to me. My favourite part was the one below, by Alberto Rojas Maza, of Spain:

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (14)

postcard magnets (Exhibit: TOET – The Other European Travellers)

Paint, Paint, Paint!

In 1958, and after finishing his studies of medicine, my uncle Enrique (1932-2009) left to Mannheim in Germany, where he started to do odd jobs until he could exercise his profession as a doctor in a hospital. He stayed there ’til 1965. Throughout this period, and in a permanent manner, he sent a series of postcards to his brother, Antonio (1930-1994), an artist who lived in Seville. The majority of the postcards depicted paintings from the museums he visited in his free time. Antonio “deposited” those postcards among the pages of an Art encyclopaedia, which I received years later through my father.

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (15)

magnetized postcards written by the artist’s uncle to his brother in Spain (Exhibit: TOET – The Other European Travellers)

The building that houses the centre used to be a jail back in the day… can you tell?

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (16)

artist’s opening

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (17)

artist’s opening

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (18)

taking in the views

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (19)

spy cameras

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (20)

Centro Português de Fotografia has a modern jailbird (hand by Paulo)

October 11, 2014
Album: Portugal [Autumn 2014]

Summer In Porto: Festas de Sant’ Ana e XIV Festarte

summer in Porto, Portugal

Filed under: “Only In Portugal”

Last night I had to top up my phone’s SIM card but had to go to a Multibanco (bank machine) to do it because I forgot my login code for online banking. And strangely, I also had a craving for a fartura, the Portuguese version of a doughnut.

Paulo was sceptical, since farturas are found at food trucks at festas (fairs), not from restaurants. We went to the beach looking for a food truck (none), then I spotted a light display in a roundabout that looked like one from a fair. The closest place was Leça da Palmeira, and there we found not only a farturas truck, but a Multibanco located conveniently across the street, and — what turned out to be the best part — ranchos (folk performers) on stage for Festas de Sant´Ana e XIV Festarte!

Success x3!

[video link]

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me, because my phone’s videocam is very low on detail and you can’t see the outfits properly. But at least you can see some dancing! I uploaded the longest videoclip (4 mins) to YouTube (above), and the rest are shorter (1-2 mins) and uploaded to Flickr (below). In some of the videos you can see very young children dancing — a few boys between 2-4 and a girl of about 5 — and they were absolutely adorable.

But man, I don’t know how they can dance and wear all those clothes! The daytime temperatures have been over 30C and while recording these videos I was roasting just sitting on the sidelines with my beer in one hand and the phone in the other!


[video link]


[video link]


[video link]


[video link]


[video link]


[video link]

Portugal’s Caretos Tradition: Mischief and Mayhem Before Lent

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

I posted a few videoclips yesterday of the caretos, these loudly-dressed masked characters that run up and down the streets of Podence ‘terrorizing’ the townsfolk. This street entertainment is a tradition from Celtic days called Entrudo Chocalheiro (carnival rattling?) that takes place in the days before Lent — not to the scale of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival atmosphere, but for a tiny village in the mountains of northeastern Portugal it’s a shake-up. The streets of Podence come alive with the sounds of cowbells and shrieking, drums and bagpipes. The population multiplies during this time, busloads of visitors arrive and the local fields are littered with vehicles, all to see the caretos in their devilish glory.

Official website for the Caretos de Podence (PT): http://caretosdepodence.no.sapo.pt/
Visit Portugal (EN): The Caretos of Podence
Azibo.org (EN): Caretos Tradition

High-quality video from the local TV station’s Facebook page (you can actually see us in the video at 0:50 and 1:49):

[video link]

This is definitely the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in Portugal yet. (Remember, it’s not São João for another few months, when Porto goes crazy.) If I hadn’t read up on Entrudo Chocalheiro the day before we left, I wouldn’t have had a clue what was going on. If you’re an uninitiated English speaker like me, I’ll direct you to Julie Dawn Fox’s website where she explains the events in greater detail.

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Basically, on the Sunday before Lent, these caretos unleash pranksterish behaviour on the public for about an hour. During this time a group of males of all ages — from little caretos-in-training (called Facanitos, or “little knives”) to veterans — wear what looks like a colourful head-to-toe fringed rug, some with long hats (all the better to clobber with), some with long sticks (all the better to poke with), and each with belts from which cowbells hang and make a racket when they walk and run. You would think the cowbells make it harder for them to sneak up on the unsuspecting, but caretos move pretty fast and I witnessed a lot of stealth attacks in the crowds.

Traditionally the targets of their attention are supposed to be young women (this is a tradition related to fertility, after all), but these days the caretos are easier on their victims and will chase after pretty much everyone who is looking the other way. They will grab you, rattle their hips against you, try and frighten with loud noises, knock their cowbells against you, that sort of thing. The idea is to keep on your toes and watch out for them, especially if you’re anywhere near the middle of the street. Unlike the Celtic days, however, the Portuguese witness this display with cameras and video recorders, and the caretos actually spend more time posing for pictures than practicing mischief.

For more pictures, check out the full-screen slideshow [Caretos de Pondence] (opens in new window).

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

March 2, 2014
Album: Carnaval 2014 Portugal
Full-screen slideshow: Carnaval 2014 Portugal (slideshow)

Wednesday Afternoon In Porto

Porto, Portugal

Last week I had arranged to meet a couchsurfer in Porto today for language exchange mixed in with some photowalking. The intention was to train my English ear for Portuguese with someone who isn’t family. Well, you know what they say about best-laid plans.

“Bring your camera,” I wrote in the email. I offered photography lessons/tips in exchange for his Portuguese to make it more of an exchange, since he already spoke English. It seemed imbalanced on my side, and when he said he wanted to learn more about how his SLR worked, I turned it into a photo-walking-talking excursion. This wasn’t a bad idea, but it led to very little Portuguese and a whole lot more English speaking from me to explain what the menus, dials, and buttons were on his camera. Which didn’t surprise Paulo one bit, when I told him later.

Porto, Portugal

Nevermind, I said. The Portuguese will come.

(This isn’t my first attempt at language exchange. A year ago, when my plans for moving to Portugal solidified, I found a Brazilian guy who offered to do a language exchange with me in Toronto. He’d just finished his graduate degree in Quebec City and wanted to improve his English and move to English-speaking Canada. Before he returned to Brazil we embarked on an exchange which was his Portuguese for business English and my reworking of his LinkedIn profile. We met at the Reference Library and he helped me find some European Portuguese language books/DVDs, which wasn’t easy! Portuguese language resources default to Brazilian Portuguese.)

Anyway, I didn’t take as many photos as I usually do since the purpose of the afternoon was talking versus shooting, but it was time well-spent in the photography department. Whether it’s through instruction or inspiration, I feel what you know should be shared with others.

Not to mention, you become more aware and on the lookout for unusual things, like this tree covered in crochet:

crochet tree in Gaia (Porto, Portugal)

crochet tree in Gaia (Porto, Portugal)

crochet tree in Gaia (Porto, Portugal)

crochet tree in Gaia (Porto, Portugal)

crochet tree in Gaia (Porto, Portugal)

And as you can see, Porto itself and the area surrounding the Douro River is very picturesque. It’s also very hilly, which means it has plenty of viewpoints and angles. And stairs! Great if you like the exercise. For the rest, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Sunday Previews

Subtle Technologies Festival 2013: Immortality

Subtle Technologies Festival 2013: Neutrinos – The Ultimate Immortals by Scott Menary

I haven’t verified it, but I may have reached a personal record for number of functions attended in a single weekend: 6. Not bad for an old lady. I didn’t appear at the barbecue last night until nearly 11pm but stayed ’til 2am. I even made it to the gym today, after going to bed at 5:00 and shooting a symposium this morning. Enroute to the gym I passed Toronto Taste at the Royal Ontario Museum, and a few blocks later, Annex Festival on Bloor. I knew there was no way I’d make it to the Portugal Day Parade, I would’ve had to clone myself. Between the SubtleTech event at Ryerson and the street festival on Bloor, my pile of images this weekend has turned into a virtual mountain.

You’ve heard it before: too many photos, not enough processing time.

Here’s a couple from today I really like. The light was really brutal at Ryerson — lecture halls have terrible lighting and during presentations I only have the projector light.

Subtle Technologies Festival 2013: Immortality

Subtle Technologies Festival 2013 at Ryerson University, Toronto

Speaking of tough lighting, bright midday sunlight is also not a photographer’s friend. Hard light with deep shadows is best avoided, but sometimes I can’t — especially at weddings. I ended up going back to the Annex street festival after the gym to try for better light.

Annex Festival on Bloor

Annex Festival on Bloor

Annex Festival on Bloor

Annex Festival on Bloor

Annex Festival on Bloor

Annex Festival on Bloor

Saturday Previews

Dundas West Fest 2013

Between the two-hour family shoot in Mississauga followed by a two-hour wander through the Dundas West Fest street festival, I shot over 650 images this afternoon. And now I am going to test my (nearly 41-year old) stamina by heading to a barbecue, when I really should be packing for the birthday trip… I know what my friends would say: “Typical Gail!”

You can see more photos of the Afrolusophone ladies here.

Cookie Martinez Container Launch @ Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

My friend Natalia has a pop-up shop in Market 707 for the month of June, selling freshly-baked cookies, brownies, and ice cream sandwiches. Today didn’t feel like June temperature-wise, but it didn’t stop us from pretending it was ice-cream weather and scoffing the goods!

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Market 707 is Toronto’s only shipping container market, located at 707 Dundas Street West in front of Scadding Court Community Centre, across from Toronto Western Hospital and just east of the Bathurst intersection.

Market 707 on Facebook
Market 707’s page on Scadding Court Community Centre’s website
Cookie Martinez: official website
Cookie Martinez on Facebook

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

The appetite was in full force today, and I simply could not pass the Filipino eatery at Market 707 without putting in a couple of orders (not balut, though! but they carry it) before indulging in ice cream:

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

lumpia (Filipino egg rolls)

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

sisig fries — pork belly, sauces, green onions, crispy fries

Get a look at the size of the sisig fries! I shared with as many people who were willing to try it. On to the desserts by Cookie Martinez:

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

If you’re a Cookie Monster like me, you won’t want to miss Cookie Martinez’s pop-up shop at Market 707 — especially the ice cream sandwiches! The four available are:

  • Vegan/Gluten Free Cookie with Vegan/Gluten Free Coconut Organic Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie with Strawberry Organic Ice Cream
  • Ginger Cookie with Vanilla Organic Ice Cream
  • Peanut Butter Cookie with Chocolate Organic Ice Cream rolled in roasted peanuts

There’s only a few weeks left in June, so get down there! Here’s a map.

The album is best viewed as a full-screen slideshow, or click through the set collage.

Play Me, I’m Yours

Play Me, I'm Yours

Maple Leaf Square

From http://www.streetpianos.com:

Toronto: 2012

Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me, I’m Yours is an artwork project by artist Luke Jerram. Located in public parks, streets and squares, the pianos are available for any member of the public to play and enjoy.

The Toronto debut presentation of Play Me, I’m Yours is brought to you in part by CIBC, Lead Partner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. From July 11th – 31st, 41 pianos will be installed throughout the streets of Toronto in celebration of the three-year countdown to the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

The 41 pianos represent the 41 countries participating in the TORONTO 2015 Games and each has been painted by an artist from the country it represents.

Play Me, I'm Yours

Maple Leaf Square

Play Me, I'm Yours

Maple Leaf Square

Play Me, I'm Yours

tickling the ivories in Maple Leaf Square

Toronto Pride Parade & Canada Day 2012

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

It’s quite fitting that the 32nd Pride Parade in Toronto happens to fall on Canada Day, because when I think of Canada I think of diversity, people of all stripes. The parade, like the country, is a rainbow of people with differing ideologies, ethnicities, ages, religions, politics, lifestyles, body types, professions, supported causes, handicaps, and genders. For people who are part of the visible majority a parade may not be a big deal, but for those who identify with the minority — visible or invisible — this is YOUR day.

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

Last week when I was Vancouver I was explaining my reasons for the Turning 40 Series to my friends. I said that part of my motivation is that I imagine what kind of society I want to live in, and this is my contribution towards a society where people accept each other (differences and all), are kind to each other, support and help each other. I do not personally know of anyone who has done what I’m doing, and I want to change that… (if that isn’t a big clue, I don’t know what is!) I don’t know if this act will become commonplace in society during my lifetime, but at least I am doing my part. The last thing I want to be is one of those people who complains about society and does nothing about it.

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

But widescale change does not happen overnight. Canada is 145 years old today, which is very young by world standards. We have a long way to go before we get rid of bigotry, prejudices, and fear. You might be wondering what good a parade can possibly do for a city, let alone an entire country, besides boost the local economy a little by bringing in spectators and corporate floats.

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

I’ll tell you, I shot hundreds of photos of people this afternoon who were standing together, smiling and laughing and representing all walks of life. Without the gathering, without the parade banners, how would you know who they are and who they represent? Many of these people are the visible and invisible minority in this country. Further, minorities within minorities — eg., Ontario Rainbow Alliance For The Deaf, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (sparking controversy), Totally Naked Toronto Men Enjoying Nudity (yes, I’ve got photos of them, too).

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

I’m proud to live in a country where its citizens have a right to live freely, and those rights are protected. People come to Canada to escape from persecution*, and we must uphold these values, as a nation. The Pride Parade is a way to remind us of our values — that we need to be accepting, that we shouldn’t live in fear of each other.

Happy Canada Day!

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

*the current federal government’s recently passed cuts to refugee health care notwithstanding

There are 196 photos in the Pride Parade set! There are six shots which are definitely NSFW, so I’m skipping the auto slideshow as they will all show up in an RSS Reader. Here’s the link to the full-screen slideshow if you aren’t at work or this isn’t an issue, and the link to the thumbnails if you prefer to preview the set and selectively view larger.

Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade 2011

centipede pumpkin

centipede pumpkin

I took a time-out from Heavy-Duty Editing Mode to look at a bunch of gourds in my local park, which has been a growing neighbourhood event for some time now. On November 1, people take their Halloween pumpkins and put them on display for all to enjoy for one more night in Sorauren Park. In an animated world, the pumpkins would be mingling and socializing with each other, maybe talk about porches and candle wax and the post-Halloween blues.

This is my third year of the pumpkin parade, and every year I tweak my strategy a little bit for taking photos… because you need a strategy when there are over a thousand pumpkins side-by-side and hundreds of people, all trying to do the same thing as you are. This year my main strategy was to go late and skip the crowds. It’s near impossible to take photos in a crush of people and the pumpkins are mostly on the ground, which requires taking up more space as you crouch or kneel.

shooting the shooter

shooting the shooter

Sorauren Park is to the east of Roncesvalles Village, anchored by commercial activity along Roncesvalles Avenue. Here at the park, there are neighbours bumping into each other all the time, which gives the pumpkin parade a block party feel. That plus the dogs and kids running around.

This year was the most interactive for me. The last couple of years friends joined me for part of it, but this time I went solo and chatted with more people. Previously, strangers were curious but nobody actually asked me why I was using extra flashes, but this year a lady did, and I explained to her the advantage of backlighting. I also bumped into the cafe owner I mentioned yesterday, and someone came up to me and said he recognized me from this blog when he searched online for “Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade”, which I thought was pretty funny. If he does another search he’ll find this post mentioning him recognizing me through this blog, which is even funnier… (to me, anyway).

lobster pumpkins?

lobster pumpkins?

Every year there are scene-stealers, and last year it was the massacre scene and the alligator pumpkin — which was really a bunch of pumpkins rather than one. This year the massacre was back, minus the alligator, but with the centipede-like creature in the top photo that looked like it was out for blood, and this giant lobster creature.

Some of my other favourites include this one — I thought the mice were a nice touch:

pumpkin mouse house

pumpkin mouse house

There’s definitely a fashion to pumpkin art; every year reflects current events and icons and this year was no different. There was a Jack Layton pumpkin, I noticed a few Lady Gaga pumpkins, and someone had the bright idea to carve all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Of course, being from Winnipeg, I spotted the Winnipeg Jets pumpkin right away (I even collected the team’s hockey cards when I was a kid; this was back in the early ’80s!):

Hooray for Winnipeg!

Hooray for Winnipeg!

What would a pumpkin parade in Toronto be without some Rob Ford pumpkins? Here’s a rather pointed message carved into a pumpkin:

not a Rob Ford fan

not a Rob Ford fan

And thus concludes another year of the neighbourhood pumpkin patch. Pumpkin numbers appeared to be down from last year (which was up from the year before), but I don’t know why. It was much colder last year, so you would think the warmer temps this year would draw more pumpkins, but it seemed to be fewer pumpkins but more spectators. I shouldn’t talk, though, my pumpkin from the corn maze engagement shoot is still sitting in my car, uncarved (and uneaten)!

In case you’re wondering whether it’s only the raccoons who benefit from a parkful of hacked pumpkins and the nearest houses get rotting stench, there’s an arrangement with the City to compost all this vegetable matter the following morning.

Photos from the previous two years:

Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade 2010
Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade 2009

This year’s display is best viewed as a full-screen slideshow, or thumbnails, or autoplayed in the slideshow below:

Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade 2010

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No time for commentary, unfortunately, I’ll add some later and leave you with some pics for now… here are last year’s. The alligator/crocodile pumpkin creature (above) was really impressive! Being adjacent to a scene of pumpkin carnage added to the Halloween effect.

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Justin Bieber really gets around, doesn’t he?

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I loved the bicycle! The flame in the second wheel went out, so I put my flash behind it to light it up. You can see the flash head through the hole.

GEF_2532

For those who don’t live in Toronto, Rob Ford is the city’s mayor-elect. No, I did not vote for him; I’m trying to ignore the sound of his voice.

GEF_2654

I haven’t figured out who this is. He looks like a cross between Freddie Mercury and a young Vincent Price.

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The photos are best viewed as a [full-screen slideshow], or just sit back and watch the smaller slideshow below (click on it to view thumbnails):

Two for Tea

two for tea

Taken yesterday in Wilkes-Barre, while David was at work.

I like the whimsy of the photo, that in all the crumbling brick and boarded-up windows, someone had the sense of humour to paint these two figures having a cuppa. (Upon closer investigation, it looks like they’re drinking martinis, not tea, but I like the original concept.)

This is the kind of scene that really excites me about taking photos. It’s a metaphor for living.

Steamtown National Historic Site

worn by time



To come from a tourism-mad modern city to settle in a former industrial boomtown locked in the early part of the last century means a changing of photographic gears. I have to go looking for the touristy bits to show visitors, and the most touristy place for miles around is the Steamtown National Historic Site.

It’s unusual because it was funded by the Feds as a national historic site, which is a designation normally reserved for nature parks, not museums. David says it was called a “pork barrel project” by other senators.

When I first met David, he’d planned on taking me to Steamtown, but in the end we didn’t go inside the museum because we’d run out of time, so we contented ourselves with taking a few exterior photos. I think it’s quite obvious the lower three photos were the ones taken last year, because… they’re crap! (Lighting, contrast, colour all need correcting.) I took the top three and the photo at left last Sunday, and except for the hydrant pic those four were shot with the Pentax K-1000.

Anyway, as is typical with most locals and tourist sites, neither David nor I have gotten around to visit Steamtown yet. It’s one of things we must do soon, especially since David is a history buff and I’m sure we’d could easily while away an afternoon or two in there.

Haunted Halloween House

Meet Our Ghoulish Neighbours

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Nature’s Mirror

More from Friday’s little foray around Nay Aug Park. (Can’t help but want to say Egg Nog Park instead.)

I now take three cameras with me everywhere:

Asahi Pentax K-1000 (film)
Canon A80 (digital)
LG C2000 (VGA camera on phone)

Each give dramatically different results, so now it takes me three times as long in every place we go… to move on to the next place. David’s still getting around quite slowly these days, so it works out just fine, pace-wise.

This tree shot was taken with the digicam, the two below with the film camera.

goldfish reflections of autumn (film)

More Coney Island Lunch

Coney Island Lunch counter Americana fries with gravy



Pure Americana. A follow-up of this post.

Hangin’ Out at Cherry Ridge

Cherry Ridge Airport, N30

I took both cameras to Cherry Ridge Airport today and spent some time fiddling with the 80-200mm lens on the Pentax K-1000. The airport has some great scenes of machinery oxidation and old abandoned cars on the property but we were running out of light. I can’t wait to return earlier in the day with the SLR to capture more, it’s a goldmine of photographic subjects.

sunburnt
rusty Roll-O-Matic


St. Patrick’s Day Parade

these ladies are so sauced


parades bring out
the best hats

Uploaded by gailontheweb.


We caught the last quarter of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Scranton today, an annual institution since 1962. As I’d mentioned in the previous post, it’s the fourth-largest St. Patty’s Day Parade in the country… who knew? Scranton only has about 80,000 people, and by the looks of things most of them were either in this parade or watching it.

We had a full day (we went flying, too), so we’re going to watch the “28 Up” DVD that arrived today from Netflix and take it easy. I’ve got some photos to colour-correct, so the set isn’t complete yet, but here’s the link to the concert and parade photos thus far. We’ll write about the day and post the flying photos later.

St. Patrick’s Day weekend – Friday night concert and Saturday’s parade