My obsession with all things photographic

Archive for March, 2007

F***ing Paparazzi

Gord Waldner of the Star Phoenix gets star struck as Canadian Idol Judge Sass Jordan arrives at the 2007 Juno awards March 30th. Shortly after, Jordan commandeered Waldner’s camera and turned the tables on the photographer to the stars. (Vance Lester/Star Phoenix)
Turning the tables on the Star Phoenix photographers,Canadian Idol judge Sass Jordan grabs staff photographer Gord Waldner’s camera and demonstrates the proper way to take celebrity photographs. (Vance Lester/Star Phoenix)

So yesterday at the airport, I was shooting the Canadian stars as they came in. Same as the previous day. I see Ben Kowalewicz of Billy Talent. I ask him if I can grab a shot of him, he says sure, I take the shot and then as I am walking away he calls me f***ing paparazzi. Jerk. I have a big problem with this. First off, I identified myself as a shooter for the Star Phoenix, then asked if I could get a shot. He agreed. Whatever. In the end, i got two shots in the paper. Neither ones were what I would have picked. Ahh well, two shots is two shots. One color, one B&W.


First Day on the Job

Sheila Gawley of Saskatoon gets an autograph of Corner Gas star Brett Butt as he arrives at the Saskatoon airport in anticipation of the 2007 Juno music awards. (Vance Lester/Star Phoenix)

Chris Murphy, leadman for Sloan, prepares for the Juno Hockey Practice game on Thursday March 29. (Vance Lester/Star Phoenix)

So day one of my internship was yesterday. They had me working the airport for 7 hours getting Canadian Celebrities as they get off the planes. Overall, not very thrilling, but I did get to see and meet lots of Canadian talent. Gabrielle Miller, Tara Spencer-Nairn, Brent Butt, Sloan, Tomi Swick, Trooper, Sook-Yin Lee, Jim Cuddy and the list goes on. Today is more of the same.

Oh and to top it off, my images in the online gallery were all credited to another photographer!!! Bah! It should be my name under those images!!!!


back In Saskatoon

Winnipeg on a nice spring day.

Yes it is true, I am home in Saskatoon. I am officially Vance Lester of No Fixed Address at the moment. Still waiting on some stuff before I settle down for good. Yesterday when I left Toronto it was 17’C and sunny. I get to Saskatoon and it is 3’C and snowing. Why did I come back? Also a huge thanks to Chris for getting me to the airport. It was much appreciated.

Now that I am back, it is right into the swing of things. This morning I switched my license back to a Sask one, got my phone number changed. It is now 306-262-1175 for all that care. I also have voice mail now! Tonight I am going to look at a couple cars as I hope to have one by the weekend.

A big congrats to Nikki Flash on her new job. Both her and Cyn are now members of the employed crew.


Here is the B-section. I am in the A section and was early for my test so I snapped this while they were about to have class.

Brent Foster of The National Post came by the school to teach a special multimedia class on Friday. He is currently (in my mind) the top multimedia video and picture guy currently working at a Canadian Daily. His lecture has us shoot and edit a short video starring Nick. Lots of the lecture was on the basics of Final Cut Pro. All in all it was quite informative. Thanks Brent.

All star Nick in the roll of a lifetime. He had to play a pro skater. Good job Nick.

So School is done. I had my final on Thursday. I am fairly certain that I slaughtered it. Then the end of school parties started. Three of them. Thursday at Nikki’s, Friday at The Coleman House and last night at a public relations party. I knew very few people there but it was quite fun none the less. I socialized, I conversed and waxed ecstatic. I had a riveting conversation with one of Michael Ignatieff’s lead campaigners about communism and socialism. That was until she passed out from the drinks. Those PR people are crazy.

I think this past year has helped my shyness. I now don’t mind walking up to people and randomly talking to them. I am going to miss this place. Well the people anyways. Belleville maybe not so much.

I got an e-mail that has the potential to change my life rather dramatically. I am not going to say anything more at this time yet. I will wait to see how it pans out.

In other photo news, MPS is closing its doors for good. Got an e-mail from Liam about it. Too bad, they were the last good camera shop in town. Hey Liam, it’s not too late for Loyalist.


More Words

Ok, Here is the words about the past week. I am back safe and sound. It was a dang long trip in the bus, however it was about the best time I have ever had. I could not have asked for a better group of people to travel with. The entire trip was mind blowing. The locals have so little yet they are more than willing to give what they do have.

Chris and I (Chris was the videographer from YFC – the group putting on the trip) were given a truck to use for the week by a local, Sidney. He was a cool guy with a crazy accent. It reminded me of the coach from the movie Water Boy. I was able to wander to the different sites and get lots of pictures and talk to lots of locals. It was cool to see a lifestyle that is so different from Saskatchewan and Ontario.

I was also made a leader for small groups. Basically at the end of the day, I took my 4 girls and one guy and do a debriefing on the days activities. It was really cool and reminded me of being a junior councilor at camp.

There really isn’t enough words to describe the trip. It was so intense. The kids were amazing. I learned a lot about myself and being outgoing. Time to grab the bull by the horns.

I also realized that I made the right decision. Leaving computers and doing photography was the right thing to do. I was seriously concerned about that in the past month with the end of school coming up, but this proved to me that I can do it. I rule!

Once I find a better gallery program, I’ll upload some more pictures. Simpleviewer on a MAC is not working as demonstrated by my galleries that DON’T work like they should.


The End…For now.

Chris Burke of Youth For Christ shows a Bogalusa Louisiana youth how to operate a digital camera. With a team of 45, Chris was in the town to help rebuild houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. With an average income of only $13,000 residents are finding it hard to scrounge up the means to rebuild and are turning from a red-tape laden FEMA to non-profit Christian groups for assistance.

Instead of heading to fun-filled destinations for spring break, a team of over 35 youth from around the Quinte area of Ontario gave up a week to help rebuild houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in the town of Bogalusa Louisiana. In partnership with Trinity of Hope, The Quinte Youth For Christ team were able to help get six houses closer to a livable state. With the low income of the locals, many are finding nothing but frustration at the rate at which FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are rebuilding and providing assistance.

Alvin Carter, a Bogalusa local artist, paints murals that many deem inappropriate for public display. Not because they show nudity or violence, but because they bring the problems of society to light and put it in front of people for public scrutiny. Mostly political in nature, they show the problems of a consumer based society.

Team Leaders and trip organizers Colin Leaver and Chris Burke walk the outdoor halls of the church that served as base-camp for the Quinte Youth For Christ Project Serve trip. As a group of 45, the team was in Bogalusa Louisiana to rebuild houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina. In the span of 5 days, the team was able to paint two houses, roof two houses, demolish 2 buildings and mud two houses, all while most other Quinte Students were having Spring break.


The teens hang out on the balcony after a day of hard work.
Team leader Geo reads a passage from the bible to the kids.
A cooler is taken to the awaiting truck to be loaded for the days work.
Two teens read passages while having “Small group” meeting time. Used as a reflection point, it is essential in keeping moral up in the face of so much destruction.
Another Day another adventure. Went to New Orleans yesterday. The destruction was crazy. There is so much that they have not rebuilt. All the houses are still marked with spray paint, stating how many dead, alive and when the house was searched. It was depressing but upon talking to some of the locals, hope in humanity was restored. They are all doing so much to help each other out. FEMA is a much hated organization around here. Due to red tape, thousands of FEMA trailers are sitting on properties, ready to be moved into but not able to because of no inspectors to give it the green light.

I have to keep these short as my days are extremely full. I get up at 6 and go hard until midnight. I am shooting 300 pictures a day and have minimal editing time…
See you all soon.


Day One
So here I am, 21 hours of driving later, in Bogalusa Louisiana. I survived the trip down. 46 people in total. By the end the bus was not a pretty smelling flower of a vehicle… But it was a good trip. I think the project is going to be a blast. The group is great, everyone is a blast. I got to eat my White Castle. As I am leeching this internet connection from a law office I should keep it short. First impressions of the place, lots of destruction, but also a great sense of community. The locals are great, but hard to understand at times…
Later all.

Day 2…
I shot 300 pictures today. Editing is going to be a nightmare. I also got some audio for a slideshow. It is amazing what these people don’t have and need. It is also crazy the governmental red tape that is killing the place. Anheiser Bush stopped beer production to can water for those displaced, they put a best before date of one year. Because of that date was a year ago, there is a warehouse of this water that CAN NOT be given out even though it is perfectly good. Ahh bureaucracy. More later…


Minor update

Ok, i just got back from covering a funeral of an officer shot in the line of duty. I had a bunch of pictures to post. I drove down to Montreal with Lars and Matt. Unfortunately I will not have time to upload them right now. I have to finish packing for my trip to Louisiana, which I leave for in 6 hours. I will not have net access while in the states, so I will post a big update when I get back. Have a fun time this next nne days everyone. I’ll see you all soon.

The casket of Det.-Sgt. Daniel Tessier is taken into the church on March 9 2007. Tessier, a 17 year veteran of the Laval Police force was shot one week after switching to the drug investigation unit. In attendance were over 500 officers from across the province.


Epic days, but not in a good way

I had one of those epic couple of days. But not the good ones. I went to photograph Peter Mansbrige in Toronto. Easy enough right? Wrong. Lets recount some key points. I try to leave Belleville, but there was a train derailment that canceled all westbound trains on Thursday. I find out at 12:30. I have to be at the shoot at 5:45, So I head to the bus, hop on and continue. An hour into the trip, we hit the worst blizzard Toronto has seen in a while. A 2.5 hour trip takes 6. So needless to say when 4 pm rolled around and we still had not reached Vaughn I had to call and rebook. Peter’s assistant said that I gave it a valiant effort and said that I should just head back and come when the weather was nicer, I told her that I was on a bus and making it to T.O. no matter what. So she was able to reschedule the shoot for the next day (Friday)

That put my mind at ease in that regards. I would still get my shot! Now to matters at hand. Where to stay for the night… I called Cynthia and she let me crash at her place. But I still wasn’t even at the airport drop off yet.7pm rolls around and I finally get to the airport. Mass chaos. Every flight has been canceled. There is a 3 hour wait for a cab who are all charging a flat rate of $100 per person, not per car load to get to downtown. You have 3 people? $300. Needless to say, I wait for the shuttle. All the while it is blowing like mad and all I have is a spring jacket. I get downtown and navigate the subway and bus system and make it to Cyn’s house.Eat, sleep, wake up and head downtown.

Downtown is chaos. They have most of Front St. blocked off because large sheets of ice are falling off the sky scrapers. I get some shots, question a cop and find out that numerous people have been sent to hospital from ice falling on their heads and at least 3 cars are trashed.

The trip back after shooting Peter and doing some shopping also was a nightmare, the train was canceled and the put us on a train, over an hour late, so here it is, 2 am and I just got home.

All in all, the weather chaos made the front page of 4 papers. The National Post, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun.

And to end, a couple random facts.
-I got a tour of CBC which is WAY cool. (They have a giant set of double doors that say “National” where they film the National.
-I walked around for the better part of two days with wet feet.
-I broke my 50 1.8

Watch out of falling ice.
How often do you get to see the Union Station empty?
In the end, Peter Mansbridge was nice, very professional. As soon as I held the camera, it was like his cue to strike a news pose. Made shooting easy.