sometimes you just gotta skate

I had a burst of photographic activity in mid-October that started with a figure skating show called Gotta Skate. It's hosted annually by four-time World Champion Kurt Browning, and it generally has a good, Canadian-centric cast, and interesting musical guests. When I went to it in 2003, Michael Bublé provided the soundtrack to the evening. That was just as he was starting to gain popularity in Canada, and before most people in the States had heard of him. I got my picture with him when he was hanging out in the lobby after the show, and three years later, it was quite the envy of several of my friends. He also asked us for our phone numbers, but that's another story altogether. (He never called. But I forgave him.)

This year, the show was on October 10, and featured the music of Motown. The Temptations and Boyz II Men both performed. The Temptations. Boyz II Men. As a girl who grew up listening to oldies, seeing the The Temptations live was incredible, even though the lineup has changed so many times, I'm not even sure any are original members. As a girl who grew up in the 90's, seeing Boyz II Men was kind of hilarious/awesome.

I had good luck with pictures in the first few numbers, until an usher kindly told me that photography was not allowed. Fine, I know that events have their policies, and since I'd made a last-minute decision to go, I hadn't had a chance to try for a media credential. What wasn't fine was that there were people with cameras all over the arena who were not approached, and some of them were using flash. Flash photography at an athletic event, particularly at one that is staged in the dark, with spotlights, is extremely dangerous to the skaters. Plus...your tiny little flash on your measly little camera when you are 10 rows up is going to do nothing for you. So it's stupid and is it really worth making Sasha Cohen fall on her face just so you can have a blurry patch of lights that you tell people is a picture of her? If you say yes to that, then you are a meanie-poo, and she doesn't want you for a fan anyway.

Fortunately, at intermission, one of the friends that I met there said that the guy in the row next to her was taking pictures with a pro camera, and guess what - she also happened to be in the first row, and there was an empty seat next to her. I sat down, bonded with camera-guy, since we had similar cameras, and discreetly shot the second half. My lens was a little long for the first row, and it's fixed, so there wasn't anything I could do about that, but it was great practice. Some of the photos turned out well and I was pretty happy with my first experience shooting in show spotlights.

Sorry for all the babble. On to the pictures!

shae & kurt
Shae-Lynn Bourne, the 2003 world champion in ice dance, and aforementioned host Kurt Browning joined forces for a duet to "Proud Mary." They've never skated an entire number together before, and it was one of the highlights of the show for me. I wish Kurt's head hadn't been down in this shot, but I think that Shae's expression makes up for it.

pat and mary
Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon are the 2006 and 2007 world silver medalists in ice dance. They've been skating together since 1995, and I believe they have been a couple off the ice since 1996. They're very comfortable with having their relationship on display, and as a result, excel at romantic programs like this one, to a newer Temptations song. This photo was snapped when they were slow-dancing at the opposite end of the ice.

I tried to pick someone different, but I kept coming back to this picture, and besides, I knew it would still look good when I reduced the size. Here's Shae in Act 2, skating to "Respect" by Aretha Franklin, and looking amazing doing it. I feel like she has about 18 variations on this costume, but it's possible that there are only two. Whatever...with abs like that, she can do whatever she wants.

girls and boyz ii men
Well, I was going to pick another action shot, or at least one that I actually took, but seriously...how could I say no to flaunting my photo with Boyz II Men? We noticed that there used to be four boyz, but I guess that only three of them became men. Photo by Jen's mom, who learned how to use Jen's digital camera about 3 seconds before she took this. L to R: Christina, Boyz, Jen, II, Me, Men. Or something like that.

If you're interested in seeing more of my photos from the show, check 'em out here.


animals and apples!

It's been a while. The month of October has been...well, let's just say that I'm glad to see it go. The University of British Columbia will receive my application to their MFA in Creative Writing program this Friday, providing that I don't drop the ball, and then, sometime after 3.30 Pacific Time on Friday afternoon, then and only then...I will breathe. I will probably also nap. And then I will have a better November.

So while I catch up on the photos I took in October, allow me to be a little random with tonight's post. I give you: animals! and apples!

About a month ago, two of my friends came to visit another friend and me in central Michigan. We went out Saturday night, and on our walk back to my friend's house, we sort of adopted these two adorable kittens. They just appeared lost, and they were so cute! When we woke up on Sunday morning, they were still there, sleeping under a bush in her front yard.

kittens holding paws
Awww, hand holding! The kittens, since no owner was found, are now living with a friend of aforementioned friend's dad. But sometimes, when I look at the pictures, I pretend they're mine. I've never had a pet.

uncle john's
Taken from the parking lot at Uncle John's Cider Mill in St. John, MI. I'm assuming this is where the apples come from, but I guess I could be wrong. We usually go straight inside the cider barn, so I've never ventured into the...what's the word for this? Orchard? Do people still say orchard? It sounds so very "Johnny Appleseed."

minimum wage is a dollar?!
This is why Michigan's unemployment rate is so high! Who wants to work for a dollar an hour?!

Coming soon: sports. Lots and lots of sports. And maybe some music.


and so autumn begins

I celebrated the first week of autumn by taking some photos of my campus during one of my breaks. And if the past week is any indication of what is to come this semester, it may have been the first and last time for idle photography during the weekday.

I call this one Tree in Early Autumn in Midday Sun
After careful consideration, I decided that this tree, outside of the Kirk Center, was the best subject, with the greatest percentage of reddish leaves in direct sunlight.

Library with creepy outstretched branch hand
I'm not sure how I feel about this one. The library is the most architecturally unique/kind of odd-looking building on campus, but it's difficult to get a good angle with a 50mm lens, because the square is so shady. Maybe I'll do better in winter. I finally settled for using the tree branch to accent the photo, but I'm not sure about the contrast of it, and then of course, there's the fact that it looks a lot like a creepy branch hand. Don't look at this for too long if you're prone to nightmares.

South Tower of the Library
And attached to that odd-looking façade of the main door of the library is this stone turret contraption. Don't look at me, I didn't design it. But the stone turret really is kind of pretty. It took some effort, but I found a shot that wasn't ruined by power lines.

Squirrel bonus!
The weird black squirrels on campus are forever indebted to the Class of 1938's thoughtful gift of a stone water fountain that is always on. Wildly refreshing!

Next time: kittens! Then I'll finally be caught up and I'll have to actually start taking new pictures. Or posting old ones.


experiments in mirror photography

First, I must give you a proper welcome to my photoblog. I apologize for not having done that earlier.

In my house, a hearty "Bonjour!" is the greeting of choice. This is because I love speaking French much more than the average American. This has to do with the fact that I like Canada, I like France, and my mom was a French teacher for most of my life. My French is fair enough to get by, although I haven't studied it in a few years. Now, I mostly use it to gossip with my mom when we're on trains in Chicago, and to order cole slaw at the St-Hubert in Boucherville once a year.

Now, with that out of the way, onto mirror photography.

It's my reflection!
It took a few tries, but I was fairly pleased with how this came out. As for the Québec and British Columbia flags that hang behind me...it's a long story. The abridged version is that I think they're pretty, and that I've always been kind of fascinated by flags.

Fancy mirror photography
I tried getting fancy with the self-portraiting after that. Some ideas worked better than others, but the general consensus is that I'm not good at holding the camera steady with only one hand.

Not so sharp fancy mirror photography
See? Fancy, but not so sharp. I also cut off my forehead, but who needs that anyway?

Next time: leaves beginning to change on campus.