Close-up with the Stars

Last Stars on Ice post, I promise. At least, the last one until next year, if there is one. I guess there's going to be. They're selling pre-sale tickets, but there are ugly rumours that it's merging with Champions on Ice and it's going to be more like COI. COI has more skaters, but each person only skates once and there aren't awesome group numbers like SOI. SOI is the real deal, in my opinion. So I guess we'll see what happens. Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon officially announced their retirement from competitive skating, so I hope this means they'll be back. If they're back, I will go to multiple shows again.

But anyway, this is about this year's show. These photos are from the stop in Hamilton, ON at the end of April. Jules and I scored some sweet tickets right before the show at the box office - something like fourth row, on the opposite end from where the skaters enter. Fabulous seats, great photo ops, and although the people next to us were a little too enthusiastic, at least they didn't tell us to shut up, right?

Since I've done so many SOI posts, I'm making this one a theme-post. These are all close-ups that I took of the skaters. I had some great opportunities to play with some close shots, because of our seats, and these are some of the winners. All shots taken on 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 800.

Joannie Rochette

It's hilarious to watch old tapes of Joannie Rochette after watching her now. She's become such a pleasing skater to watch, she's a great entertainer, and she skates with so much emotion now, too. This is from her number in the first half to Fergie's "Finally."

Jeff Buttle

World Champion Jeff Buttle got a hero's reception at this show before his second number, when Kurt Browning welcomed him into the "world champion club." It's not often that a skater gets a standing ovation before skating, but that's what the Hamilton crowd did for Jeff. Hamilton is the best skating crowd in the world. End of story. Anyway, this is actually from his first number, to "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode. Sweet shot from a sweet program.

Jennifer Robinson

I strugged with the crop on this one, but I finally decided that although the crop is awkward, I had to have both of her hands in the shot. In the closer to act one, "Hard Steele is Back," Jennifer Robinson plays a reporter and here, she's attempting to keep the "fangirls" from storming the "stage." She is not successful. Sorry if I ruined it for you. It's a great number, though. Watch it on youtube from the Japanese tour.

Jeff Buttle

I've been trying not to post two shots of the same skater, but I had to make an exception so I could include both of these shots of Jeff Buttle. Besides, he's in disguise here as a member of "Hard Steele." During the number, he came over and led the crowd right in front of where I was sitting, and he was just so into the part. Awesome.

Kurt Browning

Kurt Browning counts the number of show warm-ups he's done over the years, as part of the opener to the second act, which is a peek into SOI's warm-up.

Dubreuil & Lauzon

Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon send the warm-up into chaos when they appear, doing a rhumba (for people more accustomed to ballroom: the rhumba is a quick dance in ice dance, for whatever reason). It's cheesy, but Dubreuil & Lauzon have the best rhumba in the world, in my opinion, so I love it.

Salé & Pelletier

Okay, this isn't a close-up, no, but this shot of Jamie Salé & David Pelletier's "Lovestoned" program is one of my favourites from the tour. I hate that I have to wait for the broadcast until I see this program again - I love it!

Up next: Not! Skating! I really don't know what's next. I might have to dig through my archives for something, or go out and actually take some interesting photos this weekend.


stars on ice, again, eh?

I thought that this year's Stars on Ice tour was so incredible that I just had to see it multiple times, and in multiple countries. That, plus the Canadian tour features some different skaters, plus I love the reunion that tends to happen among my friends when Stars on Ice goes to southern Ontario.

These are from the Toronto stop of the tour, just a few weeks ago. I'd also like to proudly say that I managed to get the white balance, exposure, and everything right at the actual show - these photos have only had minor adjustments done after cropping for sharpness. Woot!

Virtue & Moir

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir were asked to join the tour for a few of the stops as guest stars after they won a silver medal at the World Championships. It was only their second trip to Worlds. Yep, they really are that good. It was awesome to see them in southern Ontario, since they're both from the London area. For their show program, they did this ballet thing (they always do a ballet thing, it seems), and I was able to get this shot because Jules and I had terrible seats in a very awkward corner. Don't worry, though. We snagged some better ones for the second half. 1/500, f/2.8, ISO 800.

Dubreuil & Lauzon

Michelle, editor extraordinaire, thinks this photo is pretty hot. I guess I didn't realize it until she called it to my attention, but it is pretty sweet. It's verrry sharp, even in its original size, and there's a ton of obvious motion in it. Underneath the hair-band costumes are Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon, and this was snapped at the end of the group number that is a hilarious tribute to 70s and 80s hair-band rock. 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 800.

Dubreuil & Lauzon

Here are M-F & Patch in more natural costuming, skating to "She's Always a Woman." Because I am such an ooshy-gooshy romantic type, and because they are always flaunting their seemingly perfect relationship around, I think this is one of my favourite photos that I have ever taken of them. 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 800.

Kurt Browning

Keeping with the "favourite" theme, this is one of my favourite pictures that I've taken of Kurt Browning, from his program to "Papa was a Rolling Stone." It's a little soft in places, but I love his line, even with the big coat and being mid-leap. 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 800.

Sasha Cohen

I do wish Sasha Cohen's arms were a bit more relaxed here, but besides that, I love this shot of her. She was sporting a new haircut that looked adorable at the reception later that night, but I think I like her look better on the ice with a bun. Just my two cents, though. You can barely see her hair here, though, so I guess it doesn't matter much! 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 800.

Jeffrey Buttle

Jeff Buttle, fresh from becoming the WORLD CHAMPION, joined the Canadian tour, and with it, brought this incredible new program to "Ribbon in the Sky." It suits him perfectly, and I love it when guys rock Ina Bauers like this. Mad props, Jeff. 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 800.

Next: one more Canadian Stars on Ice. Last one, I promise.


south of the border

Here's a fun fact for you: Windsor, Ontario is the only place along the U.S.-Canada border where Canada is actually south of the United States. There's a little plaque in downtown Windsor, which is right across the river from downtown Detroit, that informs interested tourists of this. I took a photo with it a couple of summers ago.

So, Windsor. I have such fond memories here. As the nearest interesting Canadian city to me (because the only thing that Sarnia has going for it is Coffee Lodge, and that one time when they had one of the greatest Canadian casts for a skating show ever), there was a time when I found myself in Windsor about once a month. That time has passed, but I still do enjoy it, especially the Med Bread at Moxie's. And the Chapters. Mmm, Canadian books. It's so difficult to find Will Ferguson's hilarious travelogues even just across the river.

So on a sunny Saturday in April, BFF Jules and I headed to Windsor for the afternoon. I was writing a travel article on it for my school's newspaper, and I wanted a fresh perspective and photos that weren't terrible. If you want to read the article, it's here, on page 9. Oh, and it's a PDF file. But if you just want the photos, here they are. Apologies for the dust...I shot the whole day with a dirty lens, and I had no idea. Oops.

Ren Cen

Taken from the riverfront park in downtown Windsor, this is GM's Renaissance Centre in downtown Detroit. It was built a few decades ago to help revitalize downtown Detroit, and it's a living/working/entertainment/dining conglomeration of steel. The idea didn't really work, because it ended up being a self-sustaining bubble that didn't need the rest of the city, but it was a nice idea, and I guess the Ren Cen is kind of sweet. 1/1600, f/14, ISO 1600.


The rest of Detroit's skyline is much older, and I think the old style skyscrapers are just so pretty. Of course, I have the heart of a city girl, so I think that the steel-and-glass variety are gorgeous, too. 1/3200, f/14, ISO 1600.

Jules and Detroit

Here's a pretty great photo of BFF Jules, gazing lovingly across the river at Detroit. She really does love Detroit more than anyone else that I know. (Nope, she's not from there.) 1/2500, f/14, ISO 1600. (Apparently, I had NO idea I was shooting on ISO 1600...)

Pray for Peace

One of the new additions to Windsor's riverfront - a sculpture imploring passers-by to "pray for peace." I like this shot, but I wish that the Radisson's sign wasn't right in the middle of it. 1/400, f/18, ISO 1600.


If you read the article, you know all about the Odette Sculpture Park. If not, well, the OSP is part of the riverfront in Windsor, and it features all kinds of random sculptures. I guess the really crazy stuff is further towards the bridge, but we were tired of walking, so we turned around. Next time. 1/1600, f/18, ISO 1600.

Sculpture & Detroit

Kind of an interesting shot with one of the sculptures and part of the Detroit skyline. 1/1250, f/18, ISO 1600.

Next: Canadian Stars on Ice. Once I post those shows, I'll be all caught up!


more stars on ice

One show on the U.S. tour just wasn't enough for this year's Stars on Ice, which in my opinion, is one of the best tours in the post-Kristi era. So when the tour came to Michigan in March, I went to the stop in Detroit. I didn't have great seats, but they were cheap, and I still got some decent shots anyway, so all was not lost. Here are some of my favourites:

Yuka Sato

Yuka Sato is like butter on the ice, and her program to "1000 Miles Away" by Jewel just suited her perfectly. I like the washed out quality of this shot. I'm usually big on colour, especially in skating photos, but something about the position I caught and all of the white makes me like this photo a lot. 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Too Cool to Warm

After the intermission, there's this cute number about a "typical" Stars on Ice pre-show warmup. In this shot, Yuka Sato, Jennifer Robinson, Michael Weiss, and Todd Eldredge are marveling at the discipline that world champions Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao have. 1/500, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Dubreuil & Lauzon

From the same warmup number, Marie-France Dubreuil & Patrice Lauzon are absolutely rocking their warmup. These edges are insane. They are fantastic. I love everything about this photo, I'll say it. 1/500, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Shen & Zhao

For a long time, Xue Shen & Hongbo Zhao were, technically, among the best pairs in the world, but they struggled with their artistry. In the past 5 or 6 years, however, they've really unlocked an emotional side, as seen in this photo from their program to Lara Fabian's "Adagio." 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Salé & Pelletier

When Jamie Salé & David Pelletier introduced this handstand lift (yes, she does an unassisted handstand on his forearm - while he's skating) in 2002, I so desperately wanted a photo of it, but my camera could only do so much. Now, I finally got my crisp handstand photo! 1/500, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Todd Eldredge

I'm always trying to get great shots of split jumps. Here's Todd Eldredge's Russian split jump in his program to "Nights in White Satin." (Yes, he's wearing white satin.) 1/500, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Sasha Cohen

This photo of Sasha Cohen, from her program to "Imagine," was one of my favourite shots of the season. It's a beautiful moment, but it doesn't look overly posed, her face looks lovely, but again, not overly posed...love the colours in the costume and the lighting, and I didn't have to do a thing to edit it besides a quick crop. I wish I could get this on every shot! 1/500, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Next up: touristy shots from a trip to Windsor that I took so I could write a better article for my travel feature in the school paper. I am so hardcore with my travel writing.