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Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremonies February 13, 2010

Posted by jessicraft in Admin Messages.
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The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

A few things on the Olympics — I love the Olympics, and I love the city of Vancouver. The Olympic values – friendship, respect, and excellence – the engendering of pride in your country, fueled by healthy competition – even the bloody Visa ads every four years (right now – we are all tied) — I love. I’m able to overlook the controversy, the commercialism, because of the way watching my country compete makes me feel. And after my visit to Vancouver in 2008, I feel hard pressed to find city that is friendlier, more vibrant, and filled with more natural beauty.

Vancouver Skyline

I watched the Olympic flame in my community, met former Olympian Barbara Ann Scott, and partied with a friend of mine, who was one of the torchbearers! Decked out in Canadian swhag last night, I watched the Opening Ceremonies with friends, eagerly anticipating how anyone could possibly follow the amazing spectacle of China’s 2008 Summer Olympic opening ceremonies.

There were many things about last night’s ceremony that I enjoyed — watching the parade of nations coming into the stadium, punctuated by the sheer joy on the face of mega-Olympian Clara Hughes; the amazing fiddlers performing with Ashley MacIsaac; k.d. lang’s performance, stunning as always, of “Hallelujah”; was pleased with the choices of those carrying the Olympic Flag (Donald Sutherland, Terry Fox’s Mom Betty Fox, Barbara Ann Scott, Jacques Villeneuve, Romeo Dallaire, Anne Murray, Julie Payette and Bobby Orr), taking the Olympic Athlete’s Oath (Hayley Wickenheiser), the final torch bearers (Rick Hansen, Catriona Le May Doan, Steve Nash, Nancy Greene, Wayne Gretzky); and of course, the fantastic set and effects – the centrepiece transforming from the Northern Lights to the Rocky Mountains, with skiers and boarders floating through the air, the whales, the fields of gold beneath a floating boy.

There was also much to be desired, I am afraid. To me, the whole thing smacked of an event totally organized and coordinated by a government committee (which it was). For all of the desire we have to be seen as more than traditional Canadian stereotypes, nothing was done to show anything but. For all the talk of unity in the face of such amazing diversity, there was virtually nothing to show for it. Much as I enjoyed the performances, a “safer,” if you will, selection could not have been made. The very typical – west-coast natural beauty and aboriginal culture – east coast celtic-fiddling culture – and prairie provinces with LITERALLY a quote from W.O. Mitchell – to say nothing of Quebec, really, that I saw and their profound artistic cultural influence, to say nothing of the current Montreal music scene, and nothing representative of Ontario, really, either – where most of us actually live! I’m not even going to touch Wayne Gretzky on the back of a truck to the outdoor torch — that was probably the worst Olympic ceremony moment ever — Ridiculous.

Elements of the “slam poet” from the north were great, but totally deflated for me by the blatant rip-off of the Molson Canadian “Joe Canada” advertisement — it was uncalled for, and not necessary to focus on these “zed not zee” type of “what we are not!” identifiers. With so much that I enjoyed in it, every time those moments came out I just groaned in a big way.

Canada has so much to offer, Canada encompasses so much, to stick with the tried and true, right down to the lumberjack scarves on the athletes, made what were some great performances by talented performers ultimately disappointing. No disrespect to Anne Murray, but before she came out I literally thought “the only thing this thing is missing is some Anne Murray and Gordon Lightfoot.”

All of this said, I’m still in the Olympic spirit, still excited to see the competition begin – to watch the speed skaters, to watch the skiers, to watch hockey and curling.

On a final note, what an absolute tragedy in the death yesterday of the young luger – Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia.

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Y’know that night time… July 27, 2006

Posted by jessicraft in Admin Messages, photography.
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.. is the right time.

This might be a little jumpy, but what can ya do. First of all, I seem to have a small consistent readership so to those of you who check in regularly, thanks! It’s cool to see how I come up in people’s searches but it’s also pretty cool to notice that (I think, anyway!) a few of you are coming back. Cheers for that.

Before I get to what prompted me to post I just thought I’d share another PhotoStitch image and point out the new set I’ve created on Flickr: PhotoStitch Images. Figured I would keep all of ’em in an easy-to-find spot. I like the tags and I could do a lot of my organization through tags in lieu of sets (say just remember to click my “Ottawa” tag instead of having an “Ottawa” set) but – well, I like sets. I heard a rumour that someone heard a rumour that Flickr is working on super-sets/sets-within-sets, so I’m looking forward to that if it’s true!

Anyway. I may have mentioned previously that I first “stitched” an image in high school by creating a large panorama with a series of 8×10 prints in black & white (an image I’ve yet to really try to recreate, eugh!). I remember being very careful, using a tripod, wanting a smooth transition. With PhotoStitch software and how easy it is I’ve learned that I don’t have to do that – really, could’ve been more creative with the prints and didn’t have to do it then, either, but hey. So here’s an example where it works and click here for a sample of when PhotoStitch isn’t always perfect. I may be able to correct that by learning more about the software, I pretty much still just let it do its thing.

Pinhey's Point: Horaceville PhotoStitch

Both of the above were recent pictures from Pinhey’s Point in Ottawa, ON. Onto the night time.. a friend and I recently decided that we wanted to take photos at night. Try the moon, some stars, long exposure fun. Unfortunately we had this moment of genius when the weather sucked – the temperature was lovely, it was a nice night to be out, but it was overcast so that meant the sky was out. Fear not, however, traffic would be a good thing to try, too.

The set is here: Long Exposure with Kasia. Things worked just as expected – tried different apertures and different shutter speeds. Mostly shot in aperture priority, never used a flash. I have two shots that stand out as favorites for me and the first is actually a bit of a disappointment. The problem with the shot is I didn’t take the time to think about composition. I was preoccupied with timing and threw my usual thoughts of composition out the window – basically the angle of the shot bothers me, it’s just boring. Still, the whole light thing as the cars turn the corner is pretty cool.

Turning!

The other stand-out shot that I really like from that night isn’t of the traffic and the lights at all. The following shot is just some trees along the side of the road but I’m really pleased with it. It’s one of those things where you just kind of get lucky – with the trees, the clouds behind them, and the glow from nearby street lights. I’ve tried this shot in colour and in black & white. I like the B&W version but I think my preference is the colour.

Trees

This is definitely something I want to get out and do a lot more of, this night time thing. Hopefully these clouds will clear out soon and give us a chance to shoot some stars.

WIP – Mom’s Sophisticated Scarf March 30, 2006

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I haven't made much progress on most of my WIP scarves in a while, but I felt like posting a picture of Mom's Sophisticated Scarf that has a minor alteration. Instead of doing the whole thing one colour I added a little stripe. The colours were chosen before the pattern by the scarf recipient so that's where some of that comes from.

I'm really enjoying the look so far, so much so that at some point I will have to make myself one, too! Really, I swear, I promise, at some point I really will make things other than scarves..

Not the greatest photo, but you get the idea. : )

I think when I make it for myself, I may make it a little less wide (it's about 6.5") and I am going to do it either in the grey again, because I love it, or I will do it in a nice bright colour. This is Paton's Classic Wool, black & dark grey.

The Digital Photography Manual March 22, 2006

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One of my favorite things in the world is Chapters’ Bargain Books section. I always find good things there, and on my last trip I picked up a copy of Philip Andrews’ The Digital Photography Manual (Fully Revised and Updated): An Introduction to the Equipment and Creative Techniques of Digital Photography.

$12, not too shabby. I have been reading through it and making notes – that’s something I’m getting back into the habit of doing now, taking real actual notes on paper with a pen. So far I’m liking this book, really great explanation for people who know a little but not too much.

The big draw for me is all the stuff on manipulation – it’s the post-processing thing that I know virtually nothing about. While I’m only just starting to get that info now I’m very pleased with this book.

While I’ve only read about a quarter of it I’d have to say I recommend it for amateur photographers who are comfortable with the composition thing but not so hot necessarily on the technical side of things. Good stuff.

Last.fm & more. February 14, 2006

Posted by jessicraft in Admin Messages, music.
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So I’m having more issues with this thing – for some reason my About page has disappeared, it is a “draft” and won’t change the status to “published.” Dunno how it changed in the first place, dunno how to put it back – ugh. Maybe it’ll fix itself the way the links problem did.

In other news, I’ve signed up with last.fm finally. Have been trying to post my chart, but that’s also problematic. So when that’s ready I’ll edit this post.

Blogroll Shmogroll. February 3, 2006

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I’m having some serious issues with the Blogroll there.  Okay, they’re not serious issues they’re minor irritants but STILL.  Trying to edit, change, and even delete links and it isn’t happening.  Very strange, I’m not impressed.

So that there’s some craftiness, I’d like to announce that I started up the ol’ sewing machine and tried to re-size a t-shirt.  Limited success there.  Wouldn’t be a bad job if the sleeves weren’t now inside out.  It happens – will have to fix that, and I’m going to have to make the shirt shorter ’cause it’s just far too long.  Will post a little written instruction thing and the result once I get the hang of this.  It’s easy, takes no time, just have to pay attention and not put the sleeves on inside out.  I don’t feel like a total craft superstar, but my scarves are still awesome.  So there.

Welcome to Jessicraft. December 30, 2005

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Hey there.  I’m a recent university grad and am currently on the job hunt.  Kind of a newbie to the craft scene, while I have the rare gift of a lot of time currently I decided to further develop some of my creative interests.

Mostly this blog will chronicle my progress on various projects and offer tutorials or how-tos, useful links, and more.  For the time being, most of my craftiness goes to photo projects and knitting.

For more photography without all these words, visit me on flickr at flickr.com/photos/jessflickr.