September 23, 2006

Flickr's Got My Back

Kerry and I are on holidays now, so this place will be left to sit and fester for the better part of a week and a half. In the meantime, I can't think of a better opportunity to have you leave this part of the blogosphere and go to visit my upstart corner over in the Flickrverse. It was not too long ago I started a full-fledged Flickr account to store the growing stash of photos that inevitably comes with digital camera ownership. And while I'll continue to post the best and brightest things that come out of my head here, my Flickr page is a great spot that allows me to display larger collections of images from days out, photographic experiments and other general goings-on.

I've been delving into the recent past to stock the site up to the state it's in right now. Currently on display is a gallery of stitched scenic panoramas, an extensive set of magazine spreads from work, local snapshots of shoes hanging on power lines and a stash of photos of random objects appearing in large numbers. There's also full sets of pictures from past events mentioned here, like my niece's August visit, the MS Bike Tour, our day at the Criddle-Vane homestead and my PhotoFortnight shoot for their winter theme of "night". And if that's not enough, there's also party pics from the awesome St. Jean-Baptiste Day party and the HOW Design Conference in Las Vegas. And if that's not enough, dig even deeper and find photos from past vacations in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Or, click here and view them all as part of a Flickr slide show (it's pretty cool). I'll make sure to post about any new developments at my Flickr site here in the future, likely starting with photos from the vacation I'm leaving for tomorrow morning.

And if that's still not enough, then I don't know what is. And I'm on holidays, so tough.

September 18, 2006

82: It's Hard Out Here For A Mobsta

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
What with these topsy-turvy economic times, even the mobsters are struggling. Or not. I don't know. But this mafioso certainly is. Originally a fast doodle drawn while performing volunteer duty manning a hole-in-one hole at the company golf tournament, I spent time this past weekend dressing this don up to the version you see here. I was attempting to honour the weblike and sketch-heavy style of the Winnipeg Free Press's inhouse editorial cartoonist Dale Cummings who, rumour has it, creates many of his works primarily with ink and toothpicks. I didn't stretch so far as to duplicate that feat, sticking with the pens I know best and some help from the brush pen for the fatter lines.

Drawn for Illustration Friday's theme of change. You can click here for a more detailed look.

September 16, 2006

Photomiscellanea III

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Top row (left to right): A guy at the ballpark who likes like Dick Cheney; shoes on a wire; popcorn in my glasses (photo by Kerry). Middle row (left to right): lobsters from my sister's summer visit; kitchen-related hubbub at my brother's house. Bottom row (left to right): how embarassing - Jason and I wear the same shirt at the Folk Festival; the Gladstone Happy Rock (get it?) on Highway 16.

I'm closing in on the 2,000th photo taken with my birthday Rebel. And granted, even though a vast amount of these were outright experiments and castoffs, I'm still as thrilled about it now as I was last October when I got it. In honour of this momentous occasion, here's pics and a post about as random as you will ever see me get here - largely since I promised that this site would ever get to "bloggy" (beak about politics, slag off about work, post pics of kitty).

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Top row (left to right): a sample of our bounty; our champion red peppers. Bottom row (left to right): colossal tomatoes the size of your frickin' hand! (photo by Kerry); morning glories.

1) We have been backyard slackers. Our backyard is in terrible shape: bumpy, weedy, infested with worms the size of snakes (side note: I'm OK with worms, but worms should be worm-sized, not snake-sized or bigger - which I have seen, with my own two eyes, in our back yard – but I digress). But probably our biggest success story from one year of homeownership has been our tomatoes. Kerry grew the hell out of some tomato plants we bought in the spring, mainly romas and grape, but also a few mutant giant ones and some yellow ones. Our summer was also a boon to tomatoes province-wide, but still. We also managed to squeeze out a few modest red pepper plants and a single banana pepper so far. Time is running out on all these veggies, but we hope to see at least another week of production out of 'em.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I get all gangsta about my beard: chin foliage (left) circa January (photo by Allan); photo #1,997 – my current attempt (right).

2) I've been letting my facial hair out. For argument's sake I am not calling it a beard because I reaffirm to Kerry on a near-daily basis now that I am not growing one. I have been living clean of such hair for quite some time – up to the turn of the century it was a constant part of my "frumpy college" look, when I gave scant thought to how much hair grew across my head. Rarely since have I attempted anything close; once was last Christmas, and now this experiment. The last time I did this it refused to fill all the way in and I was called out by my (then) boss:

Boss: Jeope, what the hell is that on your face?

Me: I'm trying to grow a beard.

Boss: Well then, sh*t or get off the pot.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Five-photo stitched panorama of Epinette Creek, Spruce Woods Provincial Park.

3) I neglected to mention that on the September long weekend, apart from visiting the Criddle-Vane Homestead, Kerry and I also followed through on an idea to completely plan a day for each other and see it through. Hers involved the aforementioned trip to the homestead, an afternoon hike on Spruce Woods Provincial Park's Epinette Creek trail system and dinner at the Headingley greasy-spoon stalwart, Nick's Inn. My day included our first visit to Riding Mountain National Park to test our mettle on the Gorge Creek Trail and a visit to see Ken, Kerry's favourite waiter in the city at Star Grill.

September 08, 2006

81: Riddled & Criddled

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This past weekend Kerry and I visited a hidden little bit of local history, the Criddle-Vane homestead south of Brandon. The Criddle family were pioneers known for contributions in the fields of science, art, sports and culture, as well as for their eccentric lifestyle. They settled in Manitoba in 1882, and the last family members left the homestead in 1960. The site is significant to the entomological research community for long-term scientific study; Norman Criddle collected specimens from the region which are now found in major insect collections around the world.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Not really well-known as a destination yet, the main house was left open so we wandered around inside, alone – quite creepy, but cool – the trip definitely wouldn't have been the same had we not been able to go inside. Click here to see a larger collection of images from the visit.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Top to bottom: the main house of the Criddle homestead; inside one of the biggest kitchens I have ever seen; the view through a second-floor bedroom.

September 06, 2006

80: Safe!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I was watching the BBC series Planet Earth – specifically, an episode about mountains and mountain-dwelling creatures – and saw amazing footage of a mother panda tending to a cub in her den. I thought, that's the ultimate sense of security and safety. So for Illustration Friday's theme of safe, I decided to draw myself a bear for the first time. Bears may not seem to personify safety to most of us, but whatever a bear cradles in its massive clutches must. But on the verge of hokey-ness, I veered off course and decided that my bear should hold something else. But what? Kerry and I brainstormed over a drive on the long weekend. A duck (my guess)? A jar of hunny (her idea)? A piggy bank (mine)? A backpack (hers)? A big fat turkey drumstick (mine)?

In the end I go with a baseball. Why? No clue. Just a loose tie-in to another popular usage of the word safe. This bear says "safe" – and who's gonna argue with him?

This sketch was loosely based off of a black bear photo I dug up to use as reference. I loosely sketched in a thin pen and then went over most lines again, working the thickness of the lines with a brush pen. Colour was added in Photoshop using a palette based mostly from the reference photo and a downloaded sequence of custom brushes by Keith Bowman. You can click here for a closer look at the brush effect, and a portion of the final drawing.

September 04, 2006

Silver Sliver

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photo Friday offers up a theme of silver – and I instantly recalled this abstract shot taken of the St. Louis Arch en route to New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 2005. Slight Photoshoppery was added to this image; I removed much of any colour reflected in the steel to make the silver tones stand out more. Jeopopolis stalwarts may remember this shot from my post for Illustration Friday's theme of reflection last summer.