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Monday, March 31, 2008

Summer is ready when you are

The video for The Breeders "Saints".

Air Bear

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mike Blouin 2

Mike Blouin 2, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Here's another head shot of Mike Blouin from last evening's Factory Reading Series at the Ottawa Art Gallery.

For fun, I looked at the EXIF settings embedded in the image files, and all told our impromptu photo shoot lasted a mere one minute and sixteen seconds.

I try to make my photo sessions as efficient as possible by planning the layout as much as I can before I click the first frame.

I first look for the best available light in the immediate environment. I choose what I want to portray, in this case a simple headshot. That deterimines the lens that I want to use (85mm f/1.4). I pretty much knew ahead of time that this photo would be in black & white so I didn't mess with dialing in the "correct" white balance.

Finally, I needed to get the subject seated and positioned properly. Easy. There were chairs in the room and I moved one into the light that shone from the ceiling and I showed him where to look. I made him sit in the chair backwards which automatically gives him a place to put his elbows and sit in a relaxed position.

So, all told 15 frames clicked, two basic poses (hat on, hat off) in 1 minute and 16 seconds. Painless. Thanks for posing for me, Mike.

Mike Blouin

Mike Blouin, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Mike Blouin read from a new novel-in-progress at the Factory Reading Series last evening (27 March 2008). You can find out more about Mike's writing on his personal blog:

See also rob mclennan's interview with Mike as well:

I am very eagre to read his novel, Chase and Haven , which will be published in September 2008 with Coach House Books. I remember hearing him read from it four years ago - almost to the day. It's a long time coming for this one but it'll be worth it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

w inter net

w inter net, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Gail Anderson-Dargatz, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Gail Anderson-Dargatz read from her latest novel, 'Turtle Valley' as part of the Tree Reading Series in combination with the Spring edition of the Ottawa International Writers Festival, 26 March 2008.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


summer, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hindu Temple of Ottawa-Carleton Inc.


Photo Op, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tibet Protest in Ottawa

Tibet Protest in Ottawa, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Tibetan protester looks back at towards his fellow marchers as they walked down Wellington onto Sussex in Ottawa. The mass rally, on 20 March 2008, was to show Ontario and Canada's solidarity with the Tibetans inside Tibet.

Here's the official Chinese Government's Position on the Lhasa Unrest as of 2008/03/15 as quoted from the website of the Chinese Embassy in Canada:

"The recent unrest in Lhasa, involving beating, smashing, looting and burning by a small handful of people, has disrupted social order and undermined the lives and property safety of the local people. There is ample evidence proving that it has been organized, premeditated and masterminded by the Dalai clique aimed at sabotaging the Beijing Olympics, which has drawn strong indignation and condemnation from the local people. Their separatist plot will never succeed. The local authorities are taking effective measures to properly handle the incident. We will severely deal with, in strict accordance with the law, those who engage themselves in activities of splitting the nation. Any responsible governments will take the same approach to stop this kind of violence. We are fully capable of maintaining social stability and safeguarding the safety of the lives and property of the people of various ethnic groups in Tibet. The attempt by a small handful of people to disrupt the tranquility and harmony in Tibet runs against the will of the people and is doomed to failure. Lhasa is not under the martial law and no casualties have been reported among foreign nationals who were in Lhasa during the unrest."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Curry is Good for You

rob mclennan writes:

"Called the best concrete and visual poet in Canada as well as the third
largest collector of small (& micro) press in Canada, Ottawa
writer/editor/publisher/bookseller jwcurry is going through financial
straits, so I am posting this (first) list of some (selected) items you can
purchase directly from his Room 302 Books; other items available by
various writers such as Stuart Ross, bpNichol, Frank Zappa, Nicholas
Power, Peggy Lefler, Nelson Ball, David UU, Daniel f. Bradley, Mark Laba,
Lillian Necakov, Steven Smith, Laurie Fuhr, William Hawkins, Steve McCaffery,
issues of Open Letter, The Berkeley Horse and others; check with curry
directly for other lists, titles, etcetera. If you want to know more about
some of jwcurrys publications, check out the piece I wrote on him in Open
Letter (or wait a few weeks for the same piece to run in my collection of
literary essays); hes an indispensable resource that isnt taken advantage
of nearly enough. Items run from into the hundreds of dollars to mere a
penny; annual subscriptions available. "

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Winter Corn

Winter Corn, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Janice Tokar

Janice Tokar, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Photographer Charles Earl captured local Ottawa poet Janice Tokar last evening in his own photo blog: I thought I would give my take on the same subject, Janice.

I believe that ambient light, in most cases, like in Charles' photo of Janice, makes the photo a more intimate visual experience than using a strobe flash at an event such as this. Most times public readings and event photography pose a lighting challenge for photographers. The existing light is either very harsh, incorrectly placed, very dim, or non-favourable to making a properly exposed photo. It doesn't help that the venues are usually basements, bars, libraries or combinations thereof...and held at night.

The solution I have figured out is using fast glass (pro-grade lenses with an aperture at f/1.4 or wider) to let as much light as possible hit the camera's sensor. This will let you use a lower ISO which means less digital noise. The other important factor is using a slow enough shutter speed to let in the available light but also fast enough to allow for a sharp image. Nothing worse than motion blur to ruin a photo in this instance. I was also using a monopod to help steady the camera.

This venue at the Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery is such a challenge to photographers. But on the other hand, it is elegantly lit for the occasion at hand. I really enjoyed the placement of the red panel behind the podium which created a depth in the room.

Anyhow, that technical treatise aside, I think I captured a nice moment as Janice had just finished her reading and was about to take her seat. I love that brief pause, the fleeting look of satisfaction in her eyes, and her easy smile knowing that she shared something special with the audience. Click!

Janice Tokar's work appears in a chapbook featuring poems by members of the Pumping Irony Poetry Workshop. She has read at Tree, Sasquatch and the Muses reading series. One of her poems will be published by Bywords in their March on-line edition at

rob mclennan & Susan Newlove take 2

This my 2nd annual-Newlove-toasting-mclennan-photo. The last time I saw these two together with a beverage was last August at rob's farewell party held at the Carleton Tavern 25 August 2007. This occasion marked the launch of rob's book Ottawa: The Unknown City published by Arsenal Pulp Press. This event was also a celebration of mclennan's birthday today and it took place at Nicholas Hoare Books.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ottawa: The Unknown City

Book launch: Ottawa: The Unknown City
With rob mclennan
Host: The Ottawa International Writers Festival
Saturday, March 15, 2008, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
at Nicholas Hoare, 419 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON

Video clip from A-Channel Ottawa posted by the Piries

Also... AB Series #6 tonight 7:30pm 14 March 2008
Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery, Main Floor 110 Laurier Avenue West

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ottawa Citizen Headline: Snow

A rogue snow plow apparently did some damage to a row of three newspaper boxes on Shoreline Drive in the Riverside South area. The Citizen's box took the brunt.

As of this afternoon, much of this community's residential roads are limited to only one narrow lane of traffic.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Matthew at age19 months

Matthew at age19 months, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

It's photo op time while we wait for the snow to melt.

Ottawa Snow Plow

Ottawa Snow Plow, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

The driver of this City of Ottawa snow plow pulled over to make some minor adjustments to his side blade as he made his way through the streets of Greely West, south of Ottawa. I have to say the plowing service this winter has been *outstanding* despite the record snow falls we have received.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Kodachrome - Paul Simon

Kodachrome - Paul Simon

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Rhonda Douglas

Rhonda Douglas has a book of poetry coming out in the Fall 2008 with Signature Editions titled "Some Days I Think I Know Things: The Cassandra Poems."

I was very pleased to be invited by Rhonda to take her author photo for the book. In addition to being an award-winning poet and active member of the writing community in Ottawa, Rhonda runs her own consulting businesss specializing in fundraising and communication.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Buzz in PEI

A big thank you to Peter Richards, Managing Editor of The Buzz, Prince Edward Island's Arts & Entertainment Newspaper. They licensed my photograph of Erin Knight in February's edition. It was used to advertise her appearance as part of the Winter’s Tales Reading Series at The University of Prince Edward Island. The reading which was held on 25 February 2008 also featured Nova Scotian writer Leo McKay Jr..
Erin Knight
Poet Erin Knight
© johnwmacdonald

Turns out this is my 1000th post on blogger. Wow. This figure is approximate since some posts were deleted or self-censored way back when.

Anyway, the point of *this* post is that my photos are for sale and/or licensing options are available. Yes, I receive plenty of requests for freebies and I have to turn them down. Ever since my previous employment was terminated waaay back in 2006, I have been relying on my photography as a source of income (paltry as it currently is). So, please keep in mind my most frequently asked question as seen here and my answer to that question.

A HUGE thank you for all your support in the past, present and future!

Two Greats

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Healey play 'Look at Little Sister' in a live studio performance.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Garry Winogrand

Documentary on Garry Winogrand - Part 1

Documentary on Garry Winogrand - Part 2

Saturday, March 01, 2008

New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Pyongyang, North Korea

The mysterious shroud which protects North Korea from outsiders has been revealed a little more in recent days. By little I mean not really at all. However, the audio slide show created by Reuters photojournalist David Gray provides some interesting comments (both in photos and text) and personal insight into life and facade of the main city of Pyongyang. Click on the following link to view his story, Perceptions of North Korea.

To view an audio slide show of David Gray's experience in North Korea click here. The audio is from the New York Philharmonic orchestra’s performance in Pyongyang where they began their show with a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.)

One day I would absolutely love to go to North Korea as a 'free tourist' without the prying eyes of the state watching one's every move. "Be careful what you wish for" goes the saying -- but it seems that this country has not yet fully given up its secrets, both wonderful and horrific.