Left Coast By Design

Category: Photography

Poppy on a Memorial

Courtesy of Honor The Gift

A Maui Sunset

The sunset on our first day in Maui

Chris Can’t Shoot

Before I continue, I’d like to point out for those of you who think I’m talking about firearms, the title is likely still true – but this one’s about cameras. Just sayin’.

Sunset & Fountains

A Kihei Sunset

If there’s one thing I’d like to do this year, it’s to figure out how to take better pictures. I’ve always been interested in photography since I can remember, so it’s a shame that I feel that I’m limited to whatever an AUTO mode on a camera can provide me. Further complicating matters is my need to learn by seeing & doing (a Kinesthetic learner for those keeping score at home), so simply reading the manual or a book doesn’t quite cut it.

I’ve had some thought that going on a photowalk with someone would probably be best, but considering the cost of such events from the pros, not sure it’s all in the cards. So how else does someone become as good as a photographer as Rob Masefield or Allie Henze? Keeping trying? Yep… going to have to do that. But I’m also thinking there are other avenues.

Suggestions anyone?

Update: For those asking, I currently use a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT and a Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS.

Richmond Olympic Torch Relay Celebration

As I mentioned yesterday, the Olympic Torch Relay was passing through Richmond and I wanted to be part of it. Ideally, I would have wanted to see the torch in Steveston, but unfortunately work got in the way so I was left with attending the celebration itself at the Richmond O Zone.

And a celebration it was!

Richmond City Hall

Richmond City Hall Decked Out in Red

OZone Banners

Richmond O Zone Banners

Richmond City Hall is completely decked out in red maple leaves, red banners, red signage. Being a proud Richmondite, let alone a super proud Canadian, I’m completely stoked that the community is getting behind the Olympic movement.

Inniskillin Ice Wine Sculpture

Inniskillin Ice Wine was Flowin’

Olympic Ice Wall

Olympic Ice Gate

Inniskillin was front and centre providing tastings of it’s commemorative icewine designed especially for the 2010 Winter Games. I wasn’t able to score a taste as I was more concerned on getting a great spot to see the celebration, but having followed them on twitter, I discovered they would be present in the Richmond O Zone throughout the games. I also found out their parent company Vincor Canada was the official sponsor of wine for the Olympics:

To celebrate the 2010 Winter Games, Vincor Canada, Official Supplier of Wine, has created the exclusive Inniskillin Vidal Icewine Commemorative Edition. With a portion of the proceeds from every bottle sold supporting the Canadian Olympic Team and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, there is no better way to honor our athletes and celebrate the best that Canada has to offer.

It’s also important to note that the Ice Gate was made possible through the sponsorship of Inniskillin. Designed by artist Gord Halloran (a Sunshine Coast resident for those keeping score), the Ice Gate is a frozen canvas of ice and colour which will continue to change and evolve throughout the Winter Games. I highly recommend that you all take a look at this magnificent piece of artwork – you should also follow Vincor Canada (@2010Wines on twitter to keep up-to-date on other locations they will be visiting.

Torch Relay Celebration Stage - Before

Just a Few People

Over 20,000 people found their way into the Richmond O Zone and even more outside lined the street as Rick Hansen carried the torch to the community cauldron on the stage. I was fortunate enough to get there early and acquire what turned out to be a great spot to get some video (best footage is about 2 mins in):

I also caught footage of Rick talking about the importance of achieving your dreams – a very stirring speech that revived memories I have of his return from the Man in Motion tour. Having got my eyes slightly moistened, the following rendition of Oh Canada ensured that tears of pride flowed freely (something I’ll also have online sooner than later).

And what would any post about the Richmond O Zone be without pictures of Holland Heineken House?

Entrance to Holland Heineken House

Entrance to Holland Heineken House

Holland Heineken House

Me Thinks Orange is the Colour

Holland Heineken House will serve as the official home to to the Dutch sporting world for the duration of the 2010 Winter Games. Having converted Minoru Arenas in Richmond, Holland Heineken House will have a strong presence within the Richmond O Zone by inviting what will likely be a sea of orange to celebrate what it is to be Dutch. There will be medal ceremonies to celebrate the success of Dutch athletes, restaurants serving Dutch food, music from Dutch DJs, and of course, lots and lots of Heineken. I definitely plan to check it out once it opens – although I may need to become a Dutch citizen as those who can flash the passport will get some serious VIP treatment.

Bike from Holland Heineken House

Dutch Bike at Richmond O Zone

After having a fantastic time, I was amused to see one of the many bikes (400 to be exacty) that have been brought by Holland Heineken House. Free to use by anyone who wishes to go for a ride, I’ve actually seen them in action already as the many people who have been working behind the scenes at HHH have used them to get around town.

If you want to see more a few more pictures I took while at the event, feel free to check out my flickr stream. And for more info on the Richmond O Zone, follow them on twitter (@RichmondOZone).

Review: HP A646 Photosmart Printer

For the past three years, I’ve been using an HP A516 Photosmart printer to meet my photo printing needs. So when I saw that Raul was having a contest offering an HP A646 Photosmart Printer to those who left a comment, I figured I’d drop a line to let all those entering know how happy I was with mine. Now true I understood that by leaving a comment I was also entering the contest, but never in a million years did I figure I’d win.

HP Photosmart A646 Printer & Bag

HP Photosmart A646 Compact Photo Printer & Bag

Yet, that’s just what happened. So figuring that I now had this fancy dancy new printer in my hands, it made sense that I share my initial experience with all three of you that swing by.

Upon receiving the printer, the first thing that caught my eye was how eco-friendly it was compared to my “old skool” A516. Built from 32% recycled materials, the printer also includes a stylish carrying case which was made from recycled plastic bottles. It’s also important to note that it’s an Energy Star Qualified Product and uses less than a watt of energy while off. It also boasts a 3.45″ touchscreen to navigate through the many creative options and has ample means to acquire photos to print – whether plugging it direct into a computer, using a USB key, a number of memory cards, or via bluetooth from your phone.

Similar to the A516, the stylish A646 was a breeze to setup with my PC (I’m going to see about setting it up to my Macbook later tonight and figure the experience to be the same). I’m also happy to report that the pictures I printed using the included HP Advanced Photo Paper were phenomenal, but keep in mind that I’m no photophile – to a more technical saavy person the pictures may simply be acceptable.

Overall, I’m quite happy with the product. It’s done everything I’ve asked of it in the short time I’ve played with it and therefore I really don’t have anything to complain about. I do find it interesting that it comes with the tote, as it’s not necessarily something that’s all too portable considering it’s need of an electrical outlet to work (although a battery seems to be available, you still need to “plug” it in). It also prints slower than the 28 seconds as advertised, but I’ve got no need for speed so that doesn’t bother me too much. Lastly, it would have been nice if it was a WiFi enabled, but again not a large deal to me.

So if you’re in the market for a decent photo printer and the $189.99 pricepoint isn’t too scary (Best Buy – 17Nov), I’d recommend that you give the HP A646 Photosmart Printer a go.


I wrote this review after receiving the HP A646 Photosmart Printer via a contest (thanks again Raul of Hummingbird604.com & Linda of Hill and Knowlton). I was neither paid for this review nor asked to provide one and simply did of my own regard – so take what I say for what you figure it’s worth and read my disclosure statement. I’m always game to provide a review – feel free to contact me via this form so we can discuss the details.

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