Learning about photography for #3SkillsYEG

I’ve had a digital camera (many, actually) for as long as I can remember. You know those really old Casio digital cameras that produced super grainy, low resolution photos? Yep, had one. Today my primary camera is a Canon 6D, which is a full-frame DSLR. It produces incredible photos, technically speaking. But as any “intro to photography” book or course will tell you, it’s not the gear that produces great photos, it’s the photographer. The hardware has changed an incredible amount since the advent of digital photography, but the principles of taking better photos have changed much less. Like most people, I never really learned those principles. I picked some stuff up by watching other photographers of course, like my Dad whose work I really admire. But mostly my strategy has been “spray and pray”. Take lots of photos and hope for the best. I decided to change that for the “Creativity & Expression” theme during #3SkillsYEG.

Cloverdale Footbridge
Me taking a photo on the Cloverdale Bridge last summer

Obviously there are dozens and dozens of resources for learning more about photography through EPL. I decided to narrow it down to digital resources, and it wasn’t long before I stumbled across the amazing content available through Lynda.com. It’s truly amazing that Edmontonians have free access to this incredible resource with a free library card. I still can’t get over it, to be honest!

Photography is one of the top-level categories at Lynda.com so there’s definitely a lot of content to choose from. There are 643 courses and 28,488 video tutorials related to photography, to be exact.

“Whether you want to be a photographer or just love taking pictures, learn what you need with our in-depth courses in photography: how to shoot photos that tell a story, choose the right gear, create a photo book, and more. Get tips on photo editing, studio photography, and lighting, too.”

Here are the courses I completed:

I also skimmed through parts of a course on Lightroom, which I am using to edit and organize photos. Even with just those five courses, I learned a ton. I now have a good idea of how much I don’t know! I especially enjoyed the videos with Ben Long and was very happy to see that he has a weekly show on Lynda.com called The Practicing Photographer. I found his style very approachable and well-paced. At one point he shares that he used to get asked a lot what type of photos he likes to take – landscape, portraits, etc. He reflected on it and decided that he likes to photograph light. That really stuck with me.

Here are some of my favorite photos that I took while working through the videos:

Spring Snow
One of the first photos I took with my new 50mm prime lense

Peace Bridge
Always love the Peace Bridge in Calgary

Sunset Reflected Downtown
Experimented with stitching photos together here, using ICE

Morning Sunlight
I had Ben Long’s comment about shooting light in my head for this one

Victoria Promenade
An example of crouching down to get a better shot

Flying over the old Molson Brewery
Good timing, but also I like the color contrast

High Level Bridge
Another example of changing my perspective to get a different shot

I have started on my next course already, Foundations of Photograpy: Composition. After that, I’ll move on to the other videos in the Foundations of Photography series, including Black and White, Night and Low Light, and Flash.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’ll know that I am a sucker for gadgets. So it was a little dangerous to dive further into a topic like photography where you can spend thousands of dollars on gear! I did pretty well though, and ended up only making a few purchases. The biggest was the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM, my first prime lens and a great deal at just $170 or so. I also picked up a lens cleaning kit, and a few accessories from Peak Design to go with my messenger bag.

I have really enjoyed learning more about photography and working to improve my skills and I look forward to continuing it with the resources available through EPL! The #3SkillsYEG campaign is over for 2016 (I’m way behind on posting this) but that shouldn’t stop you from learning about something that interests you! If you need an excuse, remember that we’re a City of Learners!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #205

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • Karen and I announced Taproot Edmonton last week, and we’re pretty thrilled with the initial response! Taproot is our attempt to figure out what the future of local journalism looks like. We’d love for you to join us by becoming a member!
  • At the CAJ conference last week, it was mostly doom and gloom for local news. “I think local news is so screwed,” said one panelist. Obviously Karen and I disagree!
  • Trish Audette-Longo and Brian Gorman wrote about the importance of journalism to a community, as demonstrated by the Fort McMurray wildfires. “Journalists are storytellers, and that is very important work. It involves more than just gathering facts and repeating them. It is about selecting, organizing and interpreting those facts so they make some kind of sense.”
  • Reporters from Fort McMurray Today left their home on May 3 but haven’t missed a single day of printing. “With the help of our generous hosts at the Edmonton Journal, Sun and Examiner offices, we have been able to carry on with our jobs and bring some sense of normalcy back to our daily life.”
  • “A baby girl, born just days after her parents were forced to flee a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., will forever bear the name of a CBC reporter who helped document the disaster from the front lines.” Baby Briar was named after CBC reporter Briar Stewart.
  • Sportsnet is donating $400,000 to NAIT to fund “scholarships as well as support multimedia and digital media training, development and production.” More details will be announced tomorrow afternoon.
  • If you missed last week’s Journalist Interrupted panel, here’s a liveblog from J-Source.
  • Sam Brooks is moving on from Capital Ideas. His next adventure will be revealed later this summer, and it appears it’ll be with a startup of some kind!
  • Congrats to Capital Ideas on winning the “Best New Concept to Incubate Products or Ideas” category at the INMA Global Media Awards.
  • Episode 41 of the Seen and Heard in Edmonton podcast features Jess Holt, “the wry wit and graphic designer by trade who offers a raw, insightful look at life as the mother of twins on Grace & Champ.”
  • Marty Forbes was in New York City recently and caught up with former Edmontonian Pat Kiernan.
  • Edmonton-based Allarco Entertainment owes creditors $115 million and has been granted bankruptcy protection. The company owns Super Channel and Shine FM.
  • Stanley Burke died of a heart attack Saturday at the age of 93. Early in his career he worked for the Edmonton Bulletin. “His biggest scoop was applying for and receiving driver’s licences for a dog, a goat and a duck (the province reformed its licensing law after that embarrassment).”
  • Bell Media is looking for a part-time casual writer/web reporter. The deadline to apply is June 3.
  • CKUA is looking for a Digital Content Editor “to participate in planning, creating, coordinating, monitoring and evaluating CKUA’s web and social media content.” The deadline to apply is June 8.

Edmonton Tower Topping Off
Mayor Don Iveson getting ready to scrum

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

  • Here are Linda’s latest social media notes. She linked to Buffer’s blog post which shares some lessons from studying over 16 million posts on social media.
  • At the CAJ conference last week, “a new fellowship aimed at improving the skills of Indigenous journalists” was announced. Full details on the program are expected within the next few months.
  • Albertans will soon have an alternative to Telus and Shaw when Ontario-based VMedia launches in Edmonton and Calgary on June 15.
  • Huffington Post Canada celebrated its fifth birthday last week. “We’re now publishing 1,500 pieces of content a day in 10 languages on our platform, and we have more than 35 million followers globally on Facebook. Here in Canada, we’re the most popular digital news-brand with Canadian readers.”
  • HuffPo aren’t the only ones publishing a crazy amount of content per day. The Washington Post posts an average of 1,200 things per day, and even the New York Times and Wall Street Journal post quite a bit.
  • This video shows you the “most complete and functioning Gutenberg Press in the world.” Neat!

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for May 29, 2016

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Come Hither
Come Hither, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

Edmonton Cat Festival
Edmonton Cat Festival, photo by IQRemix

Announcing Taproot Edmonton

I’m very excited to tell you about a new project that I have been working on with Karen Unland called Taproot Edmonton. Taproot is a home for local journalism that is created with the community rather than simply for it. It’s our attempt to figure out what the future of local journalism looks like and we’d love for you to be a part of it!

Radishes

We believe the idea of journalism as a service is especially applicable to local journalism. There’s an abundance of information available to all of us, but extracting real value from all that information is hard. When it comes to news, there are plenty of ways to find out what happened, where it happened, when it happened, and who did it. It is less common to explore how and why it happened, even though that’s often where the real value lies. It’s that “how and why” journalism, with context, analysis, and insight, that we want to focus on.

We know this kind of journalism is expensive and that means we’re going to need a new approach to fund it. Advertising isn’t going to cut it (and this kind of journalism doesn’t lend itself to chasing pageviews anyway). While staying open to other potential revenue sources, we think focusing on memberships is the way to go, but with a twist. Our stories will be made available openly to all. If we think a story is worth publishing, we want it to reach as many people as possible and to have as big an impact as possible. The twist is that members will pay not for access to the stories (the paywall or micropayment model), but to be involved in the process from beginning to end.

As a member you’ll have access to the Story Garden, which is our list of story ideas. There members can plant new seeds (suggest a story idea) or they can cultivate existing seeds, by upvoting, commenting, and sharing their insight and perspectives. Our editorial team will assign thriving stories to paid freelancers who will produce the story. When that story is published, all members who contributed will be acknowledged and we’ll do our best to report back on the impact that it had. There will be other perks to being a member of course, which we’ll develop and share over time, but being a part of that process is fundamental.

We believe there’s a great deal of untapped potential in the current model of publishing for an audience. We are confident that collaborating with the community is a better model that will ultimately result in more meaningful stories about Edmonton.

Every week for the last few years I have chronicled the many challenges facing local media organizations in my Media Monday Edmonton updates. Layoffs, consolidations, and plenty of other cost-cutting measures have been undertaken and more are surely on the way. The doom and gloom reached new heights in January when Postmedia merged the Journal and Sun newsrooms and laid off 35 people. After the cuts, many Edmontonians I spoke to lamented the loss of local journalists and their work. And certainly we have seen the paper continue to shed pages. The good news is that there are still plenty of talented journalists doing great work at the Journal/Sun, but for how much longer remains uncertain. Many other local media organizations are not faring much better.

We can continue to focus on the doom and gloom or we can do something about it. Karen and I have decided to put our energy toward the latter. We hope you’ll join us!

Why ‘Taproot’? We love the gardening metaphor and think it works exceptionally well for what we’re doing. You can learn more about taproots at Wikipedia, but essentially a taproot is the largest, most dominant root. In some plants like carrots and radishes, the taproot as a storage organ is so well developed that we eat it. It takes plenty of nourishment to get there, just like good stories. And finally, taproots grow very well here in Edmonton!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #204

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

FT. MACMURRAY WILDFIRE 06A.jpg
Premier Rachel Notley meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Provincial Operations Centre in Edmonton on May 13, 2016. Photo by Premier of Alberta.

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for May 22, 2016

It has been soggy, but I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend! Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Jasper & 104
Jasper & 104, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Upcoming Events

Alberta Proud
Alberta Proud, photo by Dave Sutherland

Your Guide to Summer Festivals & Events in Edmonton: 2016 Edition!

It looks like summer is here to stay, and that means it’s time for my listing of summer festivals & events, powered by ShareEdmonton. Below you’ll find dozens of events with a website, dates, and links to social media for each. You’ll also find a link to the event at ShareEdmonton and a link to an iCal for the event. I hope you find this listing as useful as I do.

What the Truck?! at Churchill Square

Festivals

Here’s my list of 50+ festivals and events you can look forward to this summer in and around Edmonton!

Event Dates Links
NUOVA Opera & Music Theatre Festival May 21 – July 3 SE  
TALES Storytelling Festival May 26-29 SE
What the Truck?! May 28/29 & more! SE
Edmonton International Cat Festival May 28 SE
Oliver Community Festival May 28 SE
International Children’s Festival May 31 – June 4 SE
Bikeology Festival (Bike Month) June 1-30 SE
NextGen Month June 1-30 SE
Nextfest June 2-12 SE
Park After Dark June 3 – September 2 SE
Edmonton Craft Beer Festival June 3-4 SE
Edmonton Pride Festival June 3-12 SE
100In1Day Edmonton June 4 SE
Edmonton Pride Parade June 4 @ 11am SE
Bonnie Fest June 4 SE
eek! Comic & Pop Culture Fest June 4-5 SE
Heart of the City Festival June 4-5 SE
Sprouts New Play Festival for Kids June 4-5 SE
Edmonton Filipino Fiesta June 11-12 SE
Improvaganza June 15-25 SE
Latitude 53 Patio Series June 16 – August 25 SE
Mercer Summer Super Party June 17 SE
Beaumont Blues & Roots Festival June 17-19 SE
Porkapalooza BBQ Festival June 17-19 SE
Highlandia Festival June 18 SE
Summer Solstice Festival June 20-28 SE
Freewill Shakespeare Festival June 21 – July 17 SE
Slide the City June 23 SE
The Works Art & Design Festival June 23 – July 5 SE
Found Festival June 23-26 SE
Edmonton International Jazz Festival June 24 – July 3 SE
Feats Festival of Dance June 27 – July 10 SE
Canada Day July 1 SE
Historic Festival & Doors Open Edmonton July 3-10 SE
Lawn Summer Nights July 7-28 SE
Whyte Avenue Art Walk July 8-10 SE
Edmonton International Street Performers Festival July 8-17 SE
Seven Music Festival July 9 SE
Taste of Edmonton July 21-30 SE
Canadian Food Championships July 22-24 SE
Interstellar Rodeo July 22-24 SE
K-Days July 22-31 SE
K-Days Parade July 22 @ 10am SE
Servus Heritage Festival July 30 – August 1 SE
Rock’n August August 2-6 SE
Edmonton Folk Music Festival August 4-7 SE
Animethon August 5-7 SE
Cariwest August 5-7 SE
Cariwest Parade August 6 @ 12pm SE
Edmonton Airshow August 6-7 SE
Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival August 11-21 SE
Edmonton Rock Music Festival August 12-13 SE
Edmonton Latin Festival August 13-14 SE
Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival August 19-21 SE
Edmonton Blues Festival August 19-21 SE
Symphony Under the Sky August 26-28 SE
Viva Italia Viva Edmonton August 28 SE
Tour of Alberta September 1-5 SE
SONiC BOOM September 3-4 SE
Kaleido Family Arts Festival September 9-11 SE
Strathearn Art Walk September 10 SE
Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo September 23-25 SE
Edmonton Oktoberfest Sept 30 – Oct 1 SE

You can check out a calendar view of festivals here or you can download the iCal feed for your own apps.

Markets

This year I have also decided to include a listing of the many markets you can find around Edmonton! Some are open year-round, but many are just open for the summer, usually from late May/early June to late September/early October.

Event Dates Links
Beverly Towne Farmers’ Market Tuesdays, 4-8pm SE
Miller Crossing Farmers’ Market Tuesdays, 4-8pm
Sundays, 10am-3pm
SE
Callingwood Farmers’ Market Wednesdays, 2-6pm
Sundays, 10am-3pm
SE
Castle Downs Farmers’ Market Wednesdays, 4-8pm SE
Sherwood Park Farmers’ Market Wednesdays, 4-8pm SE
Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market Wednesdays, 4-7:30pm SE
124 Street Grand Market Thursdays, 4-8pm SE
Millwoods Farmers’ Market Thursdays, 5-8pm SE
Salisbury Farmers’ Market Thursdays, 4-7:30pm SE
Westmount Farmers’ Market Thursdays, 10am-4pm SE
Night Market Edmonton Fridays, 7-11pm SE
YEG Market District Fridays, 4-8pm SE
City Market Downtown Saturdays, 9am-3pm SE
Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market Saturdays, 8am-3pm SE
South Common Farmers’ Market Sat & Sun, 10am-4pm SE
St. Albert Farmers’ Market Saturdays, 10am-3pm SE
Century Park Market Sundays, 10am-3pm SE
French Quarter Grand Market Sundays, 11am-3pm SE

Alberta Strong

Summer came early this year, but the lack of moisture from a relatively mild winter has meant very dry conditions and we have seen some devastating wildfires around the province already. That is very likely to continue throughout the summer (you can get updates here), so you can be sure that many of the summer festivals will be accepting donations to try to help out. We’ll be accepting donations for the food bank at all What the Truck?! events this year, for instance. Check the festival websites before you attend to see how you can contribute.

Of course, a monetary donation is always a great way to help out! You can donate to the Red Cross here to help those affected by wildfires. Or consider donating directly to Edmonton’s Food Bank or to Edmonton Emergency Relief Services. Also be sure to check out the Province’s tips for donating to charities.

Happy Summer in Edmonton

There are of course many more events listed in the ShareEdmonton calendar, so check it out! Have I missed something that should be included? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it.

Happy summer!

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #203

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

FT. MACMURRAY WILDFIRE 03A.jpg
Premier Rachel Notley meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on May 13, photo by Premier of Alberta

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for May 15, 2016

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Good Morning Edmonton
Good Morning Edmonton, photo by Dave Sutherland

Upcoming Events

Jasper & 104
Jasper & 104, photo by Kurt Bauschardt

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #202

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

Fort McMurray wildfires 176
Premier Rachel Notley talks to reporters outside the Anzac evacuation centre, photo by Premier of Alberta

And here is some slightly less local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.