Inspiration Street: days 681 — 690

Searching for the paths

An alley off Davie (I think) as I was heading home sick (I think). A lovely vibrant morning on HarwoodA somewhat less lovely morning on Harwood.

But then the weather cleared up, as it does, and Robson gets sparkly this time of year.

Thurlow also looks nice. As does Howe—not from a cruise ship, but from under the big sail thingies at Canada Place. I had to step into one of the alcoves near lights, and do my best to align my shot with the street… which wasn’t fun, believe me, because my acrophobia was kicking up something fierce. For some reason when I take photos from a bridge, it manifests itself as fear that I’ll drop my phone. I wonder if a strap would help with that?

Anyway. I really like this shot, because it’s a visual reminder that Vancouver goes way down as well as up. And now I’m trying to remember what’s down there. Parking, I think? And the SkyTrain. Oh yeah, and this is an actual street, that runs along the waterfront and comes up past Burrard. I drove down it once during the summer, back when 1st Avenue was under construction, and I had to park downtown but not at my place, or I’d be late for a friend’s birthday shenanigans.

Ah, memories.

And now, let’s talk about the East Side Culture Crawl. I only took a quick stroll through 100 Parker Street and one other studio this year, but as usual it was a really good time. And I realise I’m approaching the Crawl very differently than how I used to. Five years ago I blogged about being “hungry for inspiration”, how I didn’t know where I was going, artistic-expression-wise, and kind of hoping being a productive artist was contagious or something. Whatever these artists had, back then I didn’t think I had it in me.

In hindsight, It’s pretty clear what the problem was: I was going down the wrong path, trying to nurture the wrong thing. I mean, drawing? Really? I suck at that, and I’d need actual serious classes to make me not suck! But that was all I felt I had. The other problem was, though I did take photos and blog every now and then, it was pretty infrequent—except for the VQFF, of course.

But look at me now: taking pictures every single day, for the last 694 days, and blogging steadily. This year at the Crawl it dawned on me that I finally have everything I need. Sure, I still enjoyed looking at all these art pieces, but it felt different. Not as hungry for something that won’t work for me anyway. I’ve found my path and I’m walking it one step at a time, one day at a time. That’s all the inspiration I need.

Immortalised: days 671 — 680

Half and half

Sometimes the stars just align, you know? As I headed to work along Thurlow Street one morning, the air was crisp and the sun was bright. It had rained the night before, so things were extra shiny. Behold: a little stream of water in Jepson-Young Lane off Thurlow. Incidentally:

  1. this is another one of those shots that look nice but no more, but somehow get a lot of likes. At this point I figure I’ve been doing this long enough and I need to trust my Inner Photographer to know what he’s doing. A lot of the magic of photography does not work on a conscious level.
  2. On the other hand, I can consciously make the magic happen, and I’m learning more about that all the time. For example, it’s only last weekend I learned my phone’s camera has a Golden Ratio grid setting, and I’m also learning about what that means.
  3. The West End is full of lanes, which I think might have been full streets back in the day. They remained nameless until a month or two ago, when they all got named for local activists and notables. For example, Dr. Peter Jepson-Young, a.k.a. Dr. Peter. Fittingly, it’s right behind the Dr. Peter Centre.

History aside, you just can’t beat fall foliage in this weather. True, those leaves are kind of brown and crackly now, but brown leaves in the morning sun is still all kinds of neat.

Exhibit B: the following Sunday I tried to drop in the Competitive division, and didn’t make it. Having a couple hours to kill before trying again for Advanced, I decided to take a little stroll in Jericho Park. The last time I did that, a year and a half ago, the weather was grey and dull. This time? Duckies and crows and herons and geese and more crows and the mountains and it was amazing.

But hey, life isn’t all about natural beauty. Sometimes you have to enjoy the artificial beauty of drag queens. I hadn’t gone to a drag show in a while, and this was hella fun. Plus, as awesome as the queens on Drag Race are, we need to support our local talent! 

And then, the Monday after gay church, going to a real church. Or at least walking across the street from it. It’s funny, I’ve taken a couple photos of St. Andrew’s-Wesley from the side, but never in front. I guess because during the day the shot would be too full of people and cars. But it’s beautiful, isn’t it? The stained glass, the light around the doors, the trees beside the doors which, though off-centre, do frame them quite nicely with their branches.

Friday I saw some weird thing on the way to work. It’s still there, no matter what the sign says. And it’s time for some real talk, kids:

I don’t think it works. 

I really struggled with this one. I wanted to capture the ice cream thing and the words, but also balance it out with a bit of the neighbourhood. But after discussing it with my Taiji teacher (who’s also a graphic artist), the problem is that it’s exactly balanced, and that’s not good. There’s nothing here that really draws the eye, not even the ice cream thing. It’s two incomplete halves that don’t add up to a whole.

Meh, I can’t get too torn up about it. They can’t all be winners. I’ll take what I’ve learned here and move on to better photos.

Six Six Six: days 666 — 670

The Tournament of the Beast

Homoween, VGVA’s annual Halloween-themed tournament, was last weekend. And as chance would have it, it fell exactly on day 666 of my challenge! How on the nose is that? Of course, this being gay volleyball, the costumes leaned less spooky and more silly or sexy. And practical, because you were supposed to be able to play in them. 

Following that fun and exhausting day, we present a whole week of sad wet leaves—still clinging to their tree or on the ground. In its way, though, the last one is breathtakingly beautiful. There’s a whole spectrum of colours here, from deep red to green, and every leaf is unique in how it’s positioned, how its bits are rotting, how it’s holding rainwater… it’s weird and gorgeous and a bit disturbing, and it’s totally going in my Year 2 retrospective, which is now less than 60 days away. Time flies!

More classically beautiful: a few maple leaves gracefully resting on a patch of… clover, I think?… by a tree on Nelson Street. I shouldn’t be shocked at seeing green, this is Vancouver after all. But I was shocked at seeing bright new green. It’s a great reminder that, even in this season, life keeps sprouting and growing.