Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Uh! Oh! ....Dan has Delhi Belly....

It was bound to happen...terrible food....water....a recipe for a problem.  and so Dan has a case of Delhi Belly.  One of the team Doctors sent over some help and I believe he feels a little better.  He comes home Friday and I can't wait to see him.

He has taken some nice photos even though  he wasn't feeling well....

Dan and I can actually be a commercial for Google Video Chat/Talk.  We have been using it almost daily. I wish him good-night at around 2:30PM my time (EST)...and good morning at about 11:30 PM my time.   I haven't even gone to sleep yet!  We chat while he is loading his pictures ..and we feel like we are together a bit.   Romantic in a kind of crazy way - but fun!

I neglected to tell you about the insects.  It seems particularly at Track and Field these bugs were all over the place - even on the running track!  These are NOT sissy bugs!  THEY ARE BIG!

At one point Dan thought he stepped on a candy bar...but no, it was a beetle of sorts.  When he picked up his camera bag,  hundreds of moths flew out.  He said there were a million moths at the track and at tennis it looked like it was snowing...
OK I will stop talking about the bugs.  I asked him to take pictures of them but he was just too focussed on the sports...oh well...

It looks like Canada will not end up in the Top 3.....

But we have done well!

Until next time


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Road Race...No Spectators Allowed....

The men’s and women’s cycling road race was unlike anything Dan has seen. The start/ finish line was about 500 metres from the hotel so he thought he would walk...well that wasn’t going to be allowed.... They wouldn’t let anyone by. In all of his career he has never seen a race like this and neither have the athletes. There was no one allowed by the track. Usually these are sports “for the people” who don’t have money so would have access to watch something like this. They wouldn’t let anyone around the track at all, so no spectators. One of the athletes mentioned that it was like running in a prison. The photographers were allowed access within a 100 ft area and didn’t have good views plus there were obstacles. The woman’s race was 8 laps and after 6 they finally let the photographers cross the track and gave them a little more freedom of movement.

Backgrounds are important in pictures like this - but the dilemma is how to get a photo position in these circumstances which would provide a sense of place etc.

For the men’s race, he knew where he wanted to be and was determined...India Gate - a monument to the WW1 would be good. A photo marshall finally escorted him and another photographer to this place. The other photographer was from Scotland, so they talked about our trip next year to Scotland...and told Dan we would all have dinner together. Traveling is so much about the people you meet along the way...

It is so hot the pavement is melting.... he drank 8 bottles of water and never had to hit a washroom.

He said he must have walked about 10 miles today with his equipment. He also took too much but wasn’t sure where he would end up so took everything to be safe.

Dan got to a point when he was walking back that he started shaking...a BBC cameraman noticed him walking strange and rescued him...he gave him some water and cookies.

So dusty – sand is grinding in his teeth...

Tonight he was invited to the Taj Mahal Hotel for dinner.

For more information and more of Dan's pictures click here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Canada is Aiming for a Top 3 Finish - 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi

I have been busy the last few days and haven't had much time to write so I have to catch up! 

A little about the photo positions.  The photographers just don't get to go anywhere they want , even if you are accredited for the event.  Each venue has a photo manager and each venue will have chosen photo positions a head of time.  Then it’s whoever arrives first.  Once in position, it is difficult to move, depending on the sport.  Track in field is the most challenging as you need a pass for infield access.  Sometimes there is a time limit on this pass as there are limits on the number of people on the infield.  Once there - you always need to be aware of what is going on around you so you don’t get killed by a Javelin or discus!

And Wrestling....

So far we have 19 Gold - 12 Silver - and 22 Bronze medals.

Keep your eye on the ball!

Synchronized Swimming - another medal!

For more information about Canada at the Commonwealth Games click here .
Contact Dan  at

Until next time


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Another Day in Delhi...

Dan took a TUK TUK from field Hockey to the press centre because it would be half an hour before the  media bus would be leaving and he didn't feel like waiting.

At first the TUK TUK driver stopped in the middle of nowhere, so Dan refused to get off ...he spoke to Dan in Hindi and Dan spoke to him in English so there was a bit of a language problem.  The signs don't really help either as the writing is composed of symbols and unfamiliar letters.  And so the driver went over to a soldier who gave him directions in Hindi and they proceeded to the entrance of the media centre. The cost of the TUK TUK ride - 20  Rupees (.50cents) but Dan wanted to give him 100 Rupees ( $2.50) and he wouldn't take it - no matter how much Dan insisted...oh well....There are solidiers everywhere it seems....a  total of 50,000 soldiers - 30,000 Delhi police and 20,000 special ops soldiers are stationed around Delhi for these games! 

After walking a further km with his heavy equipment to the media Centre,  he boarded a bus to go to weightlifting.  It was about noon and the event was scheduled for 2:00, so he spent time downloading some pictures.

From Weightlifting he was scheduled to go to swimming.  A car was supposed to pick him up but the car went to the wrong stadium to get him so by the time he picked him up , he missed the first 3 or 4 races. overall though, it was a disappointing day for the swimmers.

He was trying to describe the heat to me...Dan and I had just been to Greece in July (blog to be posted soon).   "Imagine when we were in hot it imagine a bonfire following us."

He is settling in at the hotel and feels like Norm on "Cheers".  When he walks in to the hotel bar, they have a beer ready for him...

And so...another day in Delhi...

Until tomorrow


Monday, October 4, 2010

Dealing with the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi...

There is more to taking pictures when working at an event like this than camera technique.  Dan  is there to capture pictures of as many Canadian athletes as possible, so he has to plan his days in order to achieve this.  Some of the events occur at the same time...which one does he attend? There is a sports coordinator who makes sense of the scheduling for all the different sports and provides Dan with a summary. 

He then reviews the schedule for the next day, determining the number of Canadian athletes competing in the events, taking into account the stats, if and when there are finals and in the case of some events – is this their one and only chance to compete as they may be eliminated, as in sports like boxing and  wrestling.  And other events like pole vault and the cycling road race only happen once, so in order to photograph them, you need to work them into your plans.  The logistics are not always easy, as venues may be distances apart while lugging cameras, computers etc.  in the heat.
An example of his day....
After swimming, Dan returned to the media centre then waited for a bus to go to lawn bowling, but the bus never showed up so they put him in a private car and he arrived at lawn bowling just before 3:00. 

After taking some shots of that event he had to hurry over to gymnastics  to get there before the start at 4:30.  The driver didn’t have a clue where to go and Dan was giving the driver directions according to his handy pocket map.  Cutting across lanes and almost running over a bicycle, they passed the gymnastics stadium three times before they figured out how to go in, and finally arrived there at 4:20.  One photographer  just arrived in time for the medal ceremony because his driver couldn’t find the stadium.
"The security is beyond belief ! They put stickers on your cameras that don’t peel off, kind of like peeling off wallpaper. The stickers say “ the anti sabotage check – Delhi police department".  All the guys were upset that their high end cameras had these stickers on them –  Security is so intense that every camera gadget is scrutinized at every point.  All you want to do is get in and get to your position. "
Imagine their expensive camera equipment bouncing through the xray machines ....everything is clunking around! The TV equipment is bouncing through too. One TV cameraman had his equipment settings changed so much he couldn’t figure out how to get the settings back!
The Gymnasium stadium is huge and holds about 10,000, but there were only about 300 people there hmmm.  Dan, eager to get to a photo position as quickly as possible, wanted to use the staircase, but they wouldn't  allow him and insisted  he take an elevator because of security reasons...a small elevator and a longer wait.... When the photographers wanted to get up close for the medal ceremony, security argued with them... but....finally  they let the photographers close enough to take the medal shots. 

The Canadian team won a Bronze medal.   Their individual performance counts as well,  and if the individual is in the top 8, they can compete in those individual events.

Look who is in the crowd...
Two Princes....

It is 44 degrees and he is melting.
Until next time...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Let the Games Begin! India Welcomes the World!

The Commonwealth Games opening Ceremonies included a giant helium balloon, hundreds of drummers and highlighted the rhythms and colours of India - They went off seamlessly.

Where was Dan?  When taking photographs of an event this big, the choice is between staying on the field level or going up higher.  Dan started off low but decided to go up above as he felt that he would get better pictures.  Once in position though, it was difficult to move.  The giant helium balloon provided a lot of obstacles for good photographs as it was held in place with many cables.

Until Tomorrow...

Swimming, Lawn Bowling and Gymnastics...following Dan "virtually" to these events...


Commonwealth Games 2010, Delhi - Not so bad after all!

The first Commonwealth Games in Hamilton 1930 included only 6 sports. They were Athletics, Aquatics (Swimming & Diving) Boxing, Lawn Bowls, Rowing, and Wrestling. The emergence of world bodies to regulate various sports has helped these sports to be more scientific and sophisticated by making strict rules and regulations. As a result, more and more sports are being included within the framework of Commonwealth Games, which has reached up 17 events to be held during 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Entertainment at the flag raising ceremonies

According to the rules of the Commonwealth Games Federation, there are three types of sports namely Core, Optional and Recognized. The hosting city of Commonwealth Games must include a minimum of 10 core sports on their Programme. They can then include up to an additional Seven from a list of optional sports, with a maximum of four team sports on their Programme.  Recognised sports are those sports, which require further growth within the Commonwealth before they can be classed as Optional.
Off to swim practice and Gymnastics in front of the Canadian Residences

As far as the 2010 Commonwealth Games are concerned 17 sports have been planned for it. They are Aquatics, Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Hockey, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Rugby 7s, Shooting, Squash, Table Tennis, Tennis Weightlifting and Wrestling. Canada chose not to send athletes to compete in Netball and tennis.

These 17 sports are to be played in eleven major stadiums located across the city of Delhi. 
Some of the Canadian support staff - Medical, Athletics, Transportation
(Reference - various Commonwealth Games sites)


Spoke to Dan and he had so many positive things to say about the village!  A little bit is unfinished but overall everyone is happy and certainly it isn't unliveable.  There are very nice features – Dining hall is amazing – different stations – African – Asian – Western (salad options – pasta and pizza ) and everyone is raving about the food!

Canoose the Goose - Canada's Mascot
Shera - the mascot for the Delhi Games

The village is like a sub division with a series of 7 or 8 story apartment buildings. There are training facilities in the village but the competition takes place at different venues around the city as mentioned previously.   Smaller refreshment areas around the village featuring cold drinks etc.  and there is even a casual dining option around a pool.

Bracelets are given to the Flagbearers 
Opening ceremonies - Ken Pereira (Captain of Field Hockey)
Closing ceremonies in Melbourne - Alexandra Orlando (rhythmic gymnastics)

It really isn't bad at all!  He is starting to get very busy....
Until next time

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Media Centre at the Commonwealth Games and more....

It was off to the Commonwealth Games media centre  in a TUK TUK.  It seems to be the most popular way to get around. You have to find one from about the 2 million.  I need to make a correction here.  Evne though they are most commonly known as TUK TUKS, the Indian people would like them referred to as Rickshaws...

After all the negative attention the Games have received, Dan was quite  impressed with the media centre...a state of the art facility.  He was admiring the place when a flock of pigeons swooped around him.  He suggested calling in the shooting team....just kidding....

The Equipment:

Dan takes two Nikon D3 camera  bodies, an 18-70 zoom lens, an 80-200 zoom lens,  300 mm and 400mm telephoto lenses, two MacBook Pros, one monopod and a bunch of other heavy stuff.  He wears shorts with a gazillion pockets to carry a lot of it.  And let’s not forget, a lot of granola bars! 

Signs indicating the dedicated travel lanes (they drive on the left here)

A group of Indian youngsters set to participate in the South African Flag Raising Ceremony. It's a tradition that every participating country have a ceremony when they arrive in the village -
Canada's is on Friday afternoon

This is the market near Connaught Place and my hotel. It's wild there. I'm about 6" taller than most people here so that makes me apparently interested in buying most everything - pipes, wallets, fake Ray Bans, belts, sandals, you name it. Actually a little intimidating."

The vibrant colours of India

Dan said he didn't have much to shoot today and is getting antsy. They have a press conference tomorrow to introduce the flag bearer and to make some Canadian athletes available to the media.

Until the next time...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dan's Arrival in India

Dan arrived and was welcomed in a traditional Indian way - A garland was placed around his neck and a Vermilion dot was put on his forehead.  On arrival in Delhi, Commonwealth Team Members are escorted through special lines and welcomed in a lounge. 

Dan was picked up by a driver and escorted by a guard(s) to the hotel where a lot of the media are staying.  He said security was very tight and everything was  checked before anyone was allowed to enter the hotel.  Even cars were screened.

This is the airport in Delhi.   They are 9.5 hours ahead of Toronto time.  I spoke to him on gmail chat and then he was off to bed - it was 1:00 in the morning there.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dan - At the Commonwealth Games in India

My husband, Dan, leaves Monday to photograph the Commonwealth Games in India. He is the official photographer for the Canada Team and will also be submitting photos daily  to the Canadian Press. I am going to follow Dan’s experiences while he is there – his experiences – the excitement, the energy of the athletes, the truth.

I know he will be busy running around to the different events, organizing and submitting his photos, but we will keep in contact as much as we can. I wish I was going with him...yummmm Indian Food, colourful exciting! There has been a lot of negative media surrounding the arrival of the athletes and the conditions, but Dan is really looking forward to the experience and taking pictures that will reflect the talent and dedication of our Canadian Athletes and hopefully a glimpse of life in Delhi.   He is not delayed as of yet!

His bags are packed and he is ready to go....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 16 - A date with David and our last night in Florence

Saturday, July 18, 2009

We set off for Florence at 7:00 am and stopped for pictures at Piazzelli Michelangelo, worth a stop for a view of Florence from across the river, then hoped that, by some chance, we could get into our room at the Holiday Inn on via Europa.  When we arrived at the hotel they had a room ready for us! We checked in and took the bus down to the Duomo.

The plan was to stay the last night in Florence so it would be easy to get to the airport the next day and we could have a nice dinner in Florence on our last night.

The Academia, where David resides,  has two entrances – one with reservations and one without. When taking an escorted tour (like Trafalgar or Insight), group passengers have priority and  get quick entrance, a good reason to take escorted tours. Since we  had made a reservation, we went in quite quickly as well, but I must tell you there was a very long line up for those who didn't. After going through security and renting the guided tour tapes, we proceeded into the gallery. We admired the paintings and  then visited  the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition, which was very interesting.

After exiting that exhibit, we entered the hallway leading to David.  I’m not sure I can describe the feeling I had when we spotted David – under the skylight – standing so tall and really so incredibly stunning. I actually felt quite emotional.  Learning about  Michelangelo creating him and the years it took, are all very fascinating, but it was so much more.  When you are standing in a place looking at something  that you have seen in  pictures  and have heard so much about - and you are actually really there - standing in front of it - whether it be a place or a building or suddenly becomes magical. Walking around David and seeing him from behind, a view you rarely see in pictures  – gave a whole different perspective. You can actually see the stone in his hand and the sling that he used when slaying Goliath. Guided groups came and left while we were there – but there were a couple of chairs so  we sat and soaked it all in, after all, we had the luxury of time...

We toured the rest of the gallery then headed to the streets for a Gelato.

We said goodbye to Florence and took the bus back to the hotel. By the way, you have to buy bus tickets at a tobacco store. We bought one ticket which gave us 4 bus rides – two for me and two for Dan.  When you get on the bus there is a machine to validate the ticket - an honour system.

On the way home, an auditor came on the bus and checked everyone’s tickets!

We refreshed ourselves then set out by foot to have dinner - our last night out in Italy.

It was a romantic candlelit dinner. There was a concert nearby and we laughed because the sounds of Jan Arden filled the air.  We talked about the trip ...yes it was the last night but  wasn’t really over......
What did this trip mean to us?  For about  48 weeks a year we work hard and follow the direction of what other people want from our lives.  This was our opportunity to recharge  and do whatever we wanted to do.    We stopped to smell the flowers - so many of them - because we could.  The nature and design of the trip was the highlight - we could sleep in or not - mostly not...  Sometimes we were up before the sun in order to catch the sunrise.  We also gave each other a chance to do our own thing - me with my cooking classes and Dan taking time to photograph whatever he desired.  The older we get, the more the reality  exists that we may never get to these places again and whatever experience we have, may need to last a lifetime.  So for the short time we were visitors in this beautiful country, we like to think that we were also participants - getting our chickens from the local farmer, having a morning coffee in the  village cafe with the locals and buying our bread from the baker - following the natural rhythm of the place.  And while doing this, we also met like-minded people from other countries and all walks of life. 
There is a very special feeling when you  share a place with someone you care about - It's about sitting on the side of a country road watching Dan wander through the sunflower fields working so hard to capture that feeling in images...and knowing that he got pleasure greeting me after my pasta lesson waving my graduation certificate and showing my handmade penne.
We saw so many interesting and stunning places...we are so fortunate. 
Thank you Dan,  for an incredible unforgettable experience...I love you...

What is next?  ...stay tuned for our trip to Greece....
Until we travel again...


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 15 - My Pasta lesson with Wilma in La Tavernelle...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pasta Fresca is the name of Wilma’s shop in Tavernelle di Pesa, a small town in the province of Florence, between Florence and Siena, in the heart of Tuscany.  She has been selling pasta here for approximately 16 years.
She has many different kinds of hand-made pasta: gnocchi, stuffed ravioli, tagliatelle, spaghetti, pici, cannelloni and so much more.

I arrived at 10:30 for my lesson and Wilma and Caterina (she helps Vilma and spoke English very well) both welcomed me – sent me to the sink to wash my hands, and handed me an apron. It was a very happy little shop with many customers stopping by to pick up their pasta which came in all shapes and sizes –the pasta not the customers!

Waiting for me were 4 eggs sitting in a mound of flour. 

We began by making a well in the center of the mound and cracking the eggs in the middle of it. We then started mixing the flour in with the eggs (slowly bringing more flour into the center) until we had a good pasta dough. We ran the pieces through a simple pasta machine and then cut by hand the  various shapes of pasta.

We had a couple of fillings to make stuffed ravioli and because I wanted to learn to make penne, Wilma cut some pasta in little squares and we rolled the pasta around a tinly little stick...hand rolled penne!  We even made spaghetti  alla chitarra.   A traditional instrument for cutting fresh pasta sheets, the chitarra (KEY-tarra) has ancient origins in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Master handcrafters from Pretoro hand-string two sets of zinc-coated steel wires on the varnished ashwood box. One side yields evenly cut fettuccine, and the opposite side, delicate angel hair. And the faithful mate to the chitarra is the rolling pin that helps flatten the dough and then press and cut it through the wires. We had a lot of fun!
Wilma said everything tastes better when it is made with love.  She said it in Italian and it sounded even better.
Dan showed up just in time for my graduation ceremony. He took a picture of me getting my diploma and Wilma presented me with my pasta beautifully wrapped to take home to La Foresta.

The whole experience was about 1.5 hours and was definitely worth the 30 Euros. There is one night a week during the summer when the streets are closed off and the restaurants serve dinner outside.  Wilma offers a dinner for 15 Euros.

I was very excited to try out my new pasta making skills at home. I guess I was maybe too excited, because after travelling almost all the way  back to La Foresta, I realized I had left my camera in La Tavernelle and we had to drive back there....ooops. sorry Dan....

We grabbed a sandwich on the way home, relaxed a little then set off along the back roads to San G. While I was at the pasta class, Dan had driven over there to find the perfect place to photograph the city at dusk. He had set the coordinates on “Higgins” which made it easy to identify the spot when we went back.
Unfortunately the wind was blowing pretty hard up there and  a storm was heading our way. He did get a few shots when the sun peeked through.

When we arrived back at La Foresta, everyone was gathered  around a big table in the courtyard and Lucia served her wine, panzanella, olive oil and tiramisu.
Most of the guests were leaving the next morning so we all said our good-byes and  toasted  to a great vacation in Italy...but we actually have one more night in Florence before we leave on Sunday and a date with David at the Galleria Academia at 11:45 tomorrow morning. I know he will be waiting for me (naked) in the hall...ok not just me – millions of people.  I better go to sleep now....

Buona notte...


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