more sizes

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February steamrolls ahead into 2009 and we’re well into the winter semester now. I wrote a paper on project management execution and control last week – if anyone’s interested in reading it I will post it. Maybe I’ll post it anyway just for reference, along with the risk management and initiating and planning papers.
The goal of this site is to be a scalable resource-based site for anything that I want to put my name to. This includes my photography, mixes, production, writing, and design. I haven’t put a lot of design work up but it’s here, incidentally, through all the mix covers, production art, and site design. My writing is what you see here – but it’s not the only writing I do.
Some might suggest that I maintain a different website for each one of those disciplines, but to me there are at least three problems with that. Problem one is that they’re not all mutually exclusive disciplines, and they have a way of bleeding a lot into each other under the surface. Problem two is that maintaining four or five websites is a lot of work and spreads the updates thinly due to constraints of time and convenience. Problem three is that I am one person, and I’d like to appear as such. That might sound funny, but splitting off into many different areas, also under alias as I have in the past, undermines the ability to connect things that might not otherwise seem to be that close together. I used to do graphic design under a company name, DJ under another name, produce under several different names, and only write under my name. The separation, though a seemingly cool group of ideas, never focussed on who I actually was – just segments of who I wanted to be.
Sometime soon I want to put my design portfolio up. I haven’t updated my portfolio in a really long time but I’ve been a part of many design projects over the last several years and it would be nice to display some of that here.
All that said, it is Monday morning and I’d like to cut this off here before I create too much work for myself! Time for some more breakfast.

Trifecta – Terraforce

To say the first Trifecta release is a long time in the making is a severe understatement. This started off as a communal track a few years ago between myself, Dustin H and Justin (Formulate/Humbertron). We each took turns working on the basic sounds, melody and drum sounds and passed the working files back and forth around 6 or 9 times. Then once we had a chunk of it done and a couple movements, we all took it in our own directions resulting in the three finished mixes of the track:

  1. Trifecta – Terraforce (AFK mix)
  2. Trifecta – Terraforce (Dustin H mix)
  3. Trifecta – Terraforce (Humbertron mix)

We came up with the group name after going through several different potential names. We wanted something that would represent the three of us and Trifecta seemed to fit. At the time there were no other “Trifecta”s on Beatport, but as of this post there appears to be a “Tri-Fecta” which Beatport erroneously attributed the track to. That’s not us, and a change request has been filed so hopefully they fix that soon without breaking the link to the release.

“Terraforce” is just a made up word which means earth (terra) power (force). Lets greenwash this by saying that Terraforce will be released digitally only, eliminating tonnes of physical waste that is the result of making CDs and records and shipping them! More power to the earth.

The cover art is made of a few images – one is a volcano (I did not take it myself, but I did pay to license it for this) and then some other miscellaneous textures that have been given a spotty mosaic blend as well as some other stuff.

february trancewalk

february trancewalk
When the weather gets nicer, and the days last longer, it makes you want to spend a little more time outside, walking around and listening to some music. I have around 43 tracks for consideration for Pacific Front Sessions: March 2009, so I am listening and mentally shortlisting to the final 8 or 9 already. Also I’ve been practicing getting the shot I want right the first time as it’s becoming more important with Bergamot‘s endeavors. I am posting 11 photos out of 21 photos that I took total in the last two days – that’s just over 50% success, which is very good in my books. Of course, inanimate subjects make much more consistent subjects than animate ones. Still, focus, looking for the right angle for the available light, composition and framing are good things to practice and this was very satisfying.
More photos after the break.

Continue reading february trancewalk

new meaning

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New meaning is far too broad of a topic to write about so instead I will leave you with this photo. Perhaps it means something different to you than it does to me?
I took this photo from the street (you can see the chainlink fence this was shot through, blurred out) on the way back from Tofino. I don’t exactly know where we were as we took a secret shortcut which lead us to Englishman River Falls, but it’s not in Bellevue, Washington.

mists of the night

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This is a well known landmark in Victoria, Mt. Tolmie, backlit with some mists over the University of Victoria in the background. Taken from my deck downtown, this is facing north-east.
300MM (480MM film equivalent), aperture: F5.6, shutter: 1/8, ISO3200. I think I shot this hand-held, but I can’t remember for sure. I have pretty steady hands, and Image Stabilization would have helped.
Say, I wonder how closely digital photography ISO increases came to conflicting with completely non-photography related international standards. Good old ISO12232:2006 would probably shed some light on that subject for those willing to pay 92 Swiss francs. I’ll leave that gem for a photography instructor.
For those not familiar with what camera ISO means, it’s a measure of sensitivity for the image sensor inside your camera. On film cameras, that would mean how fast the film inside will react (expose) to being hit by light, and on digital cameras, that means how much light is required to make an impression on the image sensor inside. The higher the ISO number, the more sensitive your film or image sensor is. Long story short, the darker it is, the higher ISO you’ll need.
Sounds simple enough. In practice, when you pump up the ISO from 50-100 (usually used in daylight) to 400-800, what you’re doing is telling the image sensor to collect more data than usual. This means that, in addition to getting your relatively faint subject, your camera will also be collecting useless data, which is referred to as (film) grain or visual noise. This is the trade-off of increased sensitivity – you get a bit more of everything, even stuff you don’t want.
Personally I don’t mind some grain in a photo – it shows a bit of the determination required to get the photo in the given environment. Some of the advances in the newer digital SLRs are in regard to image sensor ISO capabilities, with the new Canons and Nikons going up to ISO25600 and beyond. I would imagine this level of ISO to be extremely grainy or noisy, and henceforth require some serious noise reduction. DPReview has a simple visual to help illustrate what is meant by noise.
This is pretty cool technology as it allows you to take photos in relatively low light. Before companies were competing on camera ISO – when ISO capabilities found themselves in stasis – you would have to lower your aperture to take low-light photos. It might not sound like a big deal, but when you depend on lens construction for lower light capabilities, you are bound by focal length and the sheer expense of low aperture glass. With aperture, the lower you go (measured in “F” stops), the more light can get into the camera and hit the sensor or film. For Canon, a 50MM F1.8 lens could cost around $70-$200; a 50MM F1.4 lens will likely cost between $300-$600; a 50MM F1.2 lens will cost even more, around $1500. As you can see, going down by small amounts of aperture costs a lot and is restricted to the lens that is on the front of your camera. Since ISO settings are a part of the camera and not the lens, those with dSLRs may switch lenses and retain the benefit of higher ISO capabilities.
In conclusion, ISO is important if you feel like shooting at night without a tripod. If you feel like lugging a tripod around with you at all times, then this will be less relevant to you. Of all the technologies that are being pushed on higher end consumer dSLRs, this is one the items that excites me the most as it makes less expensive equipment more effective and valuable.
Ok, back to sleep. Yes, I really did wake up at 4:30 AM and write for an hour straight on ISO.

bergamot studios launch

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It’s been over a year since we settled on a name for our photography business. Since then we have done a lot of shooting, setting up the business on the administrative side, collaborated on a logo and also made a website design. The website itself is powered by the content management system I work on in the day time.
Our focus is wedding and event photography. We also shoot bands, DJs, and do headshots and the like. We have had thoughts about opening up the design side as well, but for now it makes the most sense to have the business focus on photography. May I present to you:
Bergamot Studios: Photography With Flavour
Comments, grammar advice, enquiries and Earl Grey tea all welcome!

AFK – Pacific Front Sessions: January 2009

Pacific Front Sessions January 2009 starts off the new year with some cool, mellow tracks that reflect the mood of winter in Victoria. The first track by Soundstorm is remixed by Dynamic Illusion into a subdued atmospheric house piece. Local techno legend Rennie Foster’s track adds a little fun into the mix with a remix from The Youngsters, which is followed up by 16B’s tech-funk house piece “To Run To.” The Humbertron (aka Formulate) remix of Trifecta makes its way into the mix by picking up the pace and slamming the speakers with bass and ride cymbals. I’d really like to hear that one on a big system. Next up is the final and official version of my own Bergamot – it’s fairly different than the version that aired last summer on Pacific Front Sessions. Last night I walked into Noodlebox and the next track was playing – Dale Anderson and Stewart Keenan’s “End To End.” Really beautiful breaks remix by Aeron Aether – not to be messed with. This sets up Dousk’s superb Blender which gets mixed heavily with Mango’s “Forever July” which then plays by itself for around a minute before Paul Keeley’s “Run To You” finishes off the mix.

Tracklisting:

  1. Soundstorm – Iris (Dynamic Illusion remix) [Silk Digital Records]
  2. Rennie Foster – Devils Water (The Youngsters remix) [Rebirth]
  3. Omid 16B – To Run To (Original mix) [SexOnWax Recordings]
  4. Trifecta – Terraforce (Humbertron remix) [Pacific Front Recordings]
  5. AFK – Bergamot (Original mix) [Pacific Front Recordings]
  6. Dale Anderson and Stewart Keenan – End to End (Aeron Aether remix) [Navigation Limited]
  7. Dousk – Blender (Original mix) [Vapour Recordings]
  8. Mango – Forever July (Original mix) [Proton Music]
  9. Paul Keeley – Run To You (Original mix) [Baroque Records]
Download: AFK – Pacific Front Sessions: January 2009 (mp3)

Right click and Save As, or option-click the link on a Mac to automatically download