Feb 26, 2009

Green Space NOW!

Green Space NOW!, originally uploaded by mdcellphoto.

Gordon Bell High School students rallied at the Manitoba Legislature Wednesday afternoon regarding the vacant lot currently owned by Canada Post adjacent to the school. They want the provincial government to purchase the land for the school so that they can build a playing field. Gordon Bell is one of only two schools in the city to not have an athletic field.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Day of Ashes

Yesterday was the Day of Ashes or Ash Wednesday which is the begining of Lent for Catholics. I was sent to St. Mary's Cathedral in downtown Winnipeg to get something for the paper. Unfortunately it didn't make it into the paper. Must have been a space issue.

Regardless, I was quite happy with the photos I got. It was a noon hour Mass and I had actually never been into the St. Mary's Cathedral before... very beautiful little space they have. I had also never covered Ash Wednesday before, though I did know that the faithful would be doing something like communion, but not communion.

After trying unsuccessfully to get a worthy photo of the procession that went up the main isle I started to move into a position that would allow me to get photos of people getting the ashes put onto their foreheads. At the last second I looked at the Archbishop and the other priests that were gathered around the table that held the apparatus for the ceremony and realized that they were performing the ritual on themselves first. I managed to get ONE frame off before it was over and at the time I didn't think anything of it because they immediately got into position to perform the ritual on the rest of the parish.

When I looked at the images later on I realized that the one and only shot of the Archbishop of Winnipeg James Weisgerber was THE SHOT.

Too bad it didn't make it into the paper.

Feb 25, 2009

WSO string ensemble

WSO string ensemble, originally uploaded by mdcellphoto.

Was at a school today that was taking part in the WSO Back to School
program. The Bach to School is an in-school program where ensemble groups of
the WSO perform and interact with students right in their own gymnasiums.
Each ensemble group shares two 35-minute presentations with various grade
levels of students inviting them to experience music from the Renaissance to
the current day. During these presentations, the musicians invite the
students to play the instruments, conduct the ensemble group, or clap along
to a familiar movie theme. At each presentation, the ensemble invites
students to ask questions about the group, their instruments or the music.

Only problem with the whole assignment was that I couldn't take any photos
that included the face of any students... umm that sucks. While I was
waiting for things to get going I saw one of the walls in the gym. Couldn't
figure it out but it looked kinda interesting.

Feb 24, 2009

Humpty dumpty

Humpty dumpty, originally uploaded by mdcellphoto.

This was looking down on me while I waited to take some photos for a restaurant review. Not sure what would happen if I ordered eggs overhard.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Feb 21, 2009

652 Toronto house fire

652 Toronto house fire, originally uploaded by mdcellphoto.

A couple of blocks from home on my way into work this morning stopped to get this fire pic. Was the first media on scene I think. Had unconfirmed report that someone was taken to hospital.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

UPDATE: It looks like the fire has left a family of five homeless.

UPDATE: A little girl that lived at the house is hailed as a hero in today's paper!

When I first got there I was fortunate enough to get into the back lane with permission from an official as long as I stayed out of the way. I walked between the house just south of the one on fire and the next one down. When I got to the back I was surprised to see over the fence that a huge ball of flame was coming out of the second story window. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to stay around for long so I quickly moved around the fence and got two frames off of the three firemen one of which was a district chief (white helmet) and a captain (red helmet) watching the flames. I think they had just pulled out of the house and were taking the hose away from the back door. I'm pretty sure that they had just decided to go from an offensive attack on the fire to a defensive protection of the other houses while the fire burnt itself down until they could get it an opportunity to get it under control.

I was right in thinking I wouldn't be able to stay there for long, because a policeman quickly moved over to me and asked that I move back to the front where it would be safer. I had no problems with that... I had my photo.

Feb 19, 2009

suspicious letter clears out CanWest Place

Almost 2000 people were told to get out of CanWest Place this morning after some received a suspicious letter. Police told media at the scene that building management decided to take the extraordinary precaution after they received a note that implied a threat in the form of a bomb had been placed in the building.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Feb 13, 2009

Festival du Voyageur part Deux

Had some food at Promenade Bistro and watched CTV set up a remote for the start of the Festival du Voyageur.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

UPDATE: Here are the photos that ran on the front of Saturday's paper....

Feb 12, 2009

Free Laptops!

Free Laptops!, originally uploaded by mdcellphoto.

Sixteen students at R. B. Russell school are taking part in the Aboriginal Youth ICT Challenge. The Information and Communication Technology sector has a huge gap in the number of jobs available (34,000 per year) and the number of ICT graduates (about 8,000 per year).

So, the local ICT Association of Manitoba has started an Aboriginal Initiative that they hope will encourage Aboriginal youth to explore the ICT industry. Currently Aboriginal representation is below 2%.

At the end of the current school year the students will have finished the program and will be able to take the laptops home.
How cool is that!

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

UPDATE: Naturally the editors chose the weakest photo I put into the system... (why I put it in I have no idea). The photo that should have been used is here... this kid is super happy and was so enthusiastic about the upcoming program. I hope that he is able to achieve his dream of making an RC car racing game. He had lots of positive energy, great kid.

Feb 11, 2009

Festival du Voyageur

Festival du Voyageur, originally uploaded by mdcellphoto.

Jim Alexander with G4 Sculptors from Winnipeg works on the very large snow sculpture at the main entrance to the Festival du Voyageur site at Fort Gibraltar at Whittier Park.

Feb 9, 2009

My Tom Canada tribute

Well I guess the trip on the Blue Bomber bus has come to an end for fan favorite Tom Canada. The player who managed to get my name into the pages of the Winnipeg Free Press simply by being a good guy.

On Thursday, August 14th, 2008 the Winnipeg Blue Bombers managed to win an important (at the time) game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. One of the big plays of the game came from Tom Canada when he caught an interception and ran the ball back for a touchdown close to the end of the game putting the win decisively into the Bombers hands.

I was naturally on the opposite end of the field when he ran the ball in for the TD... I remember running down the sideline behind another photographer who was not moving as fast as I would have liked. I don't think he realized there was jubilation taking place fairly close to the sideline in the endzone. By the time I got there I had just enough time to hold the button down on my camera to get the last of the celebration. Those photos sucked cause I had miscalculated the exposure. Then we all followed Tom into the players bench area where he was waving to the crowd and celebrating with other teammates.

After a few more plays I was walking behind the players bench again when I noticed that Tom was going through a bag looking for a football. He noticed I was looking and told me to stick close to him at the end of the game when all the players run onto the field.

I will let this quote from Ed Tait's story tell the rest...

IT was just one small moment -- a tiny blip in the marathon that is a Canadian Football League campaign -- but it could ultimately be remembered as monumental if the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are to salvage their 2008 season.

And it was captured perfectly by Free Press photographer Mike Deal after the Bombers' 37-24 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night.

Just to repaint the picture, Bomber defensive end Tom Canada and head coach Doug Berry are seen leaving the field after the win, both with huge grins on their mugs and Berry with one hand on the player's shoulder and the other gripping a football -- the same one Canada picked off and returned for a touchdown in the game's final score. That gesture -- Canada giving his coach the TD ball -- may just hint that this team isn't as fractured as it's been portrayed and there may be hope for this bunch after all.

Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to shoot a number of home games for the paper and have collected a small number of images of Tom Canada that I have put into a slide show. Enjoy!

Thanks Tom for giving me my 5 mins. of fame!

Feb 8, 2009

A walk in the park


Brilliant idea foiled by child.

Our first walk of 2009 in Assiniboine Forest and the inaugural use of the orange sled was drowned out by cries of "I want to go home!" and "its too cold!" also "the sun hurts!" "the snow is on me!" "ride on your shoulders!" "pick me up!" "I'm crying!" "theres fuzz on me!" "no daddy!" "where's the car?" need I say more?

Also A chimed in with, "I want to leave her here for the wolves."

The weather was great. The sun was out. Not much wind.

All in all it was a good walk.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Feb 5, 2009

The Mayors' happy place in Winnipeg

Doing a story for the weekend on favorite places to go in the city and I find myself standing under the skating canopy at the Forks. Waiting for the Mayor.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Update: Last week we spent a couple of days shooting some stills and video clips for this feature story that ran in Sunday's paper. A special video player was put onto the website page...

The first assignment was to shoot the Mayor at his favorite place The Forks. I got there about 20 mins. early and was able to scout out the location and decide that the canopied skating rink would be the best place to shoot. There was a school that had a field trip to go skating at the Forks, so it was the natural choice to get good background imagery. I was hoping to have the mayor finish off the video by skating away with a bunch of the kids, but he kinda nixed the idea right away. Right after we did the video I shot the still and was only able to get off about six frames before all the kids left the rink to go indoors... that was the end of that assignment.

The next day we did the River Trail assignment and for some reason I thought we were going to meet at the Forks again, but luckily the reporter called to make sure I had the location right... oops. On the walk down to the river I almost slipped and fell on my butt. Caught myself and slid on my feet arms waving... I don't think anyone noticed. I didn't notice the Christmas tree on its side in the background until well afterward.

The bus one was shot on a bus, but there were too many issues with the audio and the fact that someone talked through half of the video in the background. I shot the outside one as a back-up. For some reason that one took about five or six takes... all the rest were done in one take each.

Feb 3, 2009

Three die in Scotia street fire

Last night a house fire at 108 Scotia claimed the life of two people. A third person is missing and may have also perished.

There is a wheelchair ramp at the front of the house and one of the victims was 96 yrs old.

Our night photog got pics of the fire, so my job was to get an aftermath shot and video.

I was fortunate in being on my toes and ready when a chief fire marshal made a very brief statement.

I didn't get to spend much time at the scene as I had another assignment to get to. Two of our photogs called in sick.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

UPDATE (3:30pm): The video that I shot is up on the web now...

We also have a great relationship with Global TV here in Winnipeg and they will provide us with raw (and sometimes portions of newscasts) video from major stories. Our photographer was naturally shooting on deadline for the printed paper and couldn't do both video and stills... it's a great backup to our system. Here's their video...

Update (5:00pm): This was the image on the front of the website...