A One-of-a-Kind Event Two Years in a Row

Posted by on October 4, 2010 at 8:45 am.

Vancouver, BC (October 4, 2010): For 12 hours on a cold and rainy September Sunday, 60 resilient photographers braved the elements to capture their interpretations of 12 randomly drawn themes with only 12 exposures of 35mm film. Now it’s time to reveal the results of the 2nd annual 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon with a peek at Marathoner #2’s take on “My Entry Number*.” To see the rest of Robert Fougere’s photo set and that of our other marathoners, check out the exhibit where we will relive the excitement of that day’s events as we celebrate the art of film photography.


Despite the wet forecast on September 12th, all of our marathoners clearly took “The High Road*” and decided to take on Mother Nature’s challenge. They may have been “Torn Apart*” by the hourly themes but bouts of creativity proved that such moments were simply “Expendables*” when trying to capture the “Ultimate*” shot based on their own “Secret World*” of imagination. At the half way mark, Viktor Bounce led a re-energizing exercise to remind all the photographers that “Persistence*” pays off and not to let the “Dog Eat Dog*” world out there get them down. With this “Vague*” message, marathoners soldiered on in the hopes that they wouldn’t have to “Resort*” to clichés. It definitely wasn’t as “Easy as Pie*” and for anyone to miss the one-day exhibit would be very “Unfunny*.”

Over 700 untouched photos will be on display and prizes awarded to the best prints as adjudicated by an esteemed panel of judges that include ET Canada’s Erin Cebula, Vancouver Photo Workshops director Marc Koegel, the dynamic duo of Adam & Kev from Adam & Kev Photography, and 12×12 committee member John Biehler. Come join us on Saturday October 16th, 2010 as 60 marathoners regroup with nervous anticipation to find out how their images developed.

For more info, check out our FAQ page.

* The 12 themes – in sequence – drawn during the 2010 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon

Keeping Film (and 12×12) Alive

Posted by on September 23, 2010 at 9:29 am.

There was never a question that film would be the medium used for the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon. It seemed a sound idea at the time but we quickly discovered that film (and in particular, 12 exposure film) for all its amazing qualities, is a dying technology. A call to Kodak Canada all but confirmed it, especially when the person on the other end of the line started referring to a “Death List” for the different types of film the company produces. So what we thought would be one of the simplest tasks – procuring film and development – started looking like one of the trickiest. As those of you who have followed this story from the beginning know, actually getting a hold of 60 rolls of 12 exposure film for the event turned into a nail biter and we were only able to get the last 20 rolls for 2009 the day before the marathon. Our rescuer? London Drugs. Not only that, they also came forward to cover the cost of all our development, scanning, printing, and even provided enlargements for our theme winners!

For 2010, London Drugs stepped up well in advance of the event and offered not only to take on development and printing as the year before, but also to provide all the film for the event. This kind of support is invaluable for an event like ours. So why would a big company like that want to support such a project? Well, it may surprise you to learn that its President and CEO Wynne Powell is an avid photographer and that many of the photos you see blown up in huge prints around the stores are actually taken by him. London Drugs still does full in-house film development and printing, not only of 35mm film but also 110, APS and more. They even print from 120 film, the development of which has to be sent out due to its delicate nature and complicated preparation process. Judging by the overall trend towards digital as the only photographic medium, it seems like London Drugs’ promise of sticking with film for the long haul might very well mean it could become one of the rare places where you can get your rolls developed in the future.

All the rolls for the 2010 12×12 have been shot, developed, scanned, printed and are as you read this, being adjudicated by our panel of judges which includes ET Canada’s Erin Cebula, VPW Director Marc Koegel, the dynamic duo of Adam & Kev from Adam & Kev Photography, and 12×12 Committee member John Biehler. Come October 16th, you will see the 700+ prints on the walls of Vancouver Photo Workshops – for one night only. It will be a gala event you will not want to miss.

The View from Behind the Camera

Posted by on September 22, 2010 at 4:40 pm.

In the aftermath of the 2010 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon, several of the participants posted articles and photos from the event on their websites and on Flickr. You can see a full and growing list of posts and photos on our dedicated Marathoner’s Perspective page, but here is a small taste.

Photo by Cherry Vega

By the way… the piece of equipment I am so glad I dragged with me on Sunday? My reflector. I only used it for one shot… the very first but without it that shot would have been impossible to expose correctly. It’s always been my favourite investment, over any other lighting equipment it has saved my bacon numerous times.

Cherry Vega

Photo by Carol Browne

If there’s one thing I can do well, it’s vague photos with the toy camera.

Carol Browne

Photo by Marlis Funk

It started at 7:30am with a roll of film – it’s been a few years now since I last shot a roll! – and ended at 8:30pm with a Guinness. In between I interpreted 12 themes (1 theme was released every hour on the hour) and only 1 shot for each theme. I think I’ve got a few good ones, and a few that got caught in the rush of the day.

Marlis Funk

Photo by John Roberts

My body aches, I am tired as hell, my jacket is still drying, I think I chipped a nail, and I can’t find my Lens Cap for my Contax G1… Did I have fun?!? HECK YES!

John Roberts

Now that we’ve enticed you, check out the rest of the posts from the participants. And if you have an article or photos from the event you have posted that you want us to feature, drop us a line or leave a comment below and we’ll add it to the list.

12 Hours in 44 Seconds

Posted by on September 14, 2010 at 11:47 am.

We mounted two timelapse cameras on opposite ends of the room during the marathon. The result is a video that really shows the buzz of activity that was at Blenz in Yaletown that day. Wonder what it looks like when 60+ people run in and out of a coffee shop in Vancouver for a whole day? Well, here is your answer. Thanks to John Biehler for putting the timelapse together!

Photos, Rain & Coffee – A True Vancouver Day

Posted by on September 12, 2010 at 11:44 pm.

We will post a full recap of the 2010 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon once we’ve caught our collective breaths and gotten some rest. For now just enjoy these slected photos from the ever-expanding Flickr tag set.

Right before kickoff. Photo by John Biehler

Right before kickoff. Photo by John Biehler

Neither Ben's nor Anny's themes were drawn!

12x12 registration at 7am on a Sunday. Photo by Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Madness at 12x12

Madness at 12x12. Photo by John Biehler

More to come!

12×12 Pivot Collection & Tweet Map Go Live!

Posted by on September 11, 2010 at 10:26 pm.

The 12×12 PhotoPivot Collection

Going through about 1,400 photos from the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon can be a true challenge. Or at least it used to be until now. With the help of Chris Arnold from PhotoPivot.com we have developed a Live Labs Pivot collection of all the photos from our events. The pivot collection lets you easily sort through the photos, zoom in and out, see only photos from one theme or only one participant. It’s really quite intuitive and requires very little explanation. Simply open it in your browser and play around with it and you’ll see how easy it is.

The application gives you a whole new perspective on all the photos entered in the contest and you’re likely to discover new favourites you didn’t know were there. If you do find a photo you like, you can double-click on that photo and you’re taken straight to the Flickr page for that shot where you can leave a comment or add it to a gallery.

The PhotoPivot collection requires that you have Silverlight installed. Silverlight is a runtime environment similar to Flash and is a quick download and automatic install on PCs and Macs alike.

The 12×12 Tweet Map

As mentioned in a previous post, to help people keep track of what’s going on during 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon we have created a Tweet Map specifically for the event. The map will display all geo located tweets tagged with #12x12yvr and you can also set it to display only the tweets from one participant. In addition the page shows a live feed of all Flickr photos tagged with 12x12yvr, so update often to see the latest postings.

A Gorilla-pod of a Giveaway!

Posted by on August 31, 2010 at 9:53 am.

A camera is only as good as its support. Well, that won’t be a problem for the two main prize winners in this year’s 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon. Our most recent sponsor Joby (creators of the amazing Gorillapods) is handing over two of their covetted Gorillapod Focus with the new and very cool Ballhead Xes attached for our two main prize winners so they can safely place their cameras pretty much anywhere. But that’s not all! In addition, they are giving us a set of Gorillapod Originals to give away! So even if you’re not part of this year’s 12×12 you can still walk away with a Gorillapod of your very own. Oh yeah!

How to Enter

To qualify for the Gorillapod Original giveaway, all you have to do is follow @jobyinc and @12x12yvr on Twitter and Tweet the message below or another message that contains the @jobyinc and @12x12yvr handles and mentions Gorillapod.

No photog should be without a Gorillapod. Follow @JobyInc + @12x12yvr & RT this for ur chance to win one! http://ow.ly/2xuj4

Not-so-Small Print: Tweeting the message above and entering the contest does not guarantee a prize. Winners will be selected during the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon on September 12, 2010 by a random draw from the pool of tweets posted. You must have an active Twitter account to be eligible. Winners must be able to come to the event location (Blenz Coffee in Yaletown: 338 Helmcken St, Vancouver) on September 12, 2010 between 8am and 8pm to pick up the prize. Prizes not picked up on event day will go back in the pool for a secondary draw.

Morten was lucky enough to get his hands and cameras on every Gorillapod available last year during his 6 week roundtrip around the USA and tested them extensively. You can read his review of the full line over at Design is Philosophy. Below is an ammended version focussing on the Focus, Ballhead X and Original for your reading pleasure.

Gorillapod Focus + Ballhead X = All the support you’ll ever need (within reason)

While the Focus distracted security, the SLR-Zoom made its move...

At the top of the foodchain in the Gorillapod family you find the Gorillapod Focus, a massive steel contraption that looks more like something dropped from an alien spaceship than a camera support. In addition to being a sturdy addition to your camera kit, it offers some excellent entertainment, especially while passing through airport security. I had it stuffed in my backpack when I went to the Smithsonian museum in Washington D.C. and they forced me to take it out of my bag and demonstrate it to the guard before he would let me in. Once he saw what my three-legged friend was all about his first question was: “Where can I get one?”

The Focus is a solid piece of engineering, significantly larger in every way than the other plastic-based pods, and also weighs more than the other pods because all the joints are metal. In return, you get support for cameras up to 5kg which means it can handle pro-level DSLRs with massive lenses and even standard video fluid head and a prosumer video camera without any problems. That, in turn means you can now hang your expensive photo or video gear from a fence, put it up on tree branches, strap it to your car, or hang it from lamp posts without worrying that it’ll fall down. Any photographer will tell you that is pretty damn awesome.

A new and very welcome addition to the Focus is the new Ballhead X – a monster version of the original ballhead that ships with the SLR-Zoom. The Ballhead X features separate tightening bolts for the X and Y axis providing complete control of both where the camera is pointing and how tilted it is. The base plate also complies with the Arca-Swiss system so if you have other Arca-Swiss clamps you won’t have to change the mount around. This new ballhead is a welcome addition to the Focus. I pilfered the ballhead off the SLR-Zoom and matched it with my Focus but I found it to be a bit wonky both because one knob controlled both the X and Y axis and also because it was clearly never meant to handle something as heavy as my camera. The Ballhead X on the other hand is rated for up to 5 kg just like the Focus so it looks like what I asked for in my original review was made to order.

Gorillapod Original: A Great Companion for Your Point-and-Shoot

The Gorillapod Original is tiny – about the length of my open hand – and extremely flexible so it’s easy for storage. This makes sense seeing as it’s designed to hold small point-and-shoot cameras. It has an articulating joint above the legs which enables you to tilt the camera  in relation to the base of the pod when you start mounting it in weird spots that are not level. The Gorillapod takes up to 325g which means it can handle most point-and-shoot cameras as long as they don’t have massive protruding lenses. Right now ours is holding a Nikon Coolpix P6000 without any problems and that’s a fairly large point-and-shoot so smaller cameras should be no problem at all.

Because it is so tiny and versitile I’d say it is probably the best companion to a point-and-shoot I can think of. With the Gorillapod in hand you can easily improve on the dreaded MySpace pose and also place or hang your camera in places you never could before, making for some great angles and shots.

Oh and I almost forgot, the Gorillapod Original comes in 7 colours (grey, yellow, red, green, blue, pink and orange) just for the hell of it. Mine is grey which I have to admit I’m perfectly fine with. We’ll tell you what colours we’ll be giving away once we get the pods in house.

Exposure at PhotoHaus Gallery

Posted by on August 26, 2010 at 9:52 pm.

If you attended Raw Talent: The 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon Exhibit, you know that the awesome folks at the Vancouver Photo Workshops sponsored us with their amazing space to showcase all of the photographs taken during the inaugural 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon. You may have met Marc Koegel as you were wandering through the grand halls of the VPW but in case you didn’t, here he is. We are so very proud to introduce you all to the director of the Vancouver Photo Workshops, who has been inspired to create a program that all of you will want to read about after you watch the video!

You know the Not-Enough-Experience Conundrum? When you apply for a job you know you can do better than anyone else but don’t have a chance of getting because you don’t have years of experience under your belt? It is such a universal stumbling block that it affects pretty much any career field you can think of, including that of photography. Everyone needs a start somewhere and Marc Koegel has come up with a program that offers up-and-coming photographers an invaluable stepping stone into their careers.

As the director of and an instructor at the Vancouver Photo Workshops, Marc is surrounded by amazing talent every day and it often reminds him of his own start in the business. His first works were displayed on the walls of Exposure Gallery and he had such great success that its curator Ian McGuffie went on to showcase his photography in more than 20 other shows in the years to follow. A great friendship was made and a career jump started.

With Exposure Gallery’s doors now closed, the cogs in Marc’s artistic brain began to turn. Since moving the Vancouver Photo Workshops to its West 7th location, he’s enjoyed putting together several impromptu shows, including the largest one the venue has ever hosted, Raw Talent on January 16th, 2010. With nearly 700 photographs dotting the over 7,000 sq ft of space that is the VPW and over 300 art lovers visiting on opening night alone, the venue’s true potential became abundantly clear and PhotoHaus Gallery was born.

The only Vancouver gallery that will now exclusively showcase the medium of photography, PhotoHaus Gallery will not only exhibit single professional photographers but will also begin holding regular group shows for new artists beginning in September. So if you are ready for your first exhibit, you can pay a nominal fee to submit your photo(s) for consideration. That’s all that needs to be done. There is no membership fee, no prior experience is required, nor a CV. Your work will speak for you and if selected by the panel of judges, will hang proudly amongst the artwork of your peers to be exposed to the general public. And you will indeed be proud, with guest judges such as Texas’ Arthur Meyerson and New York’s Joe McNally in the mix!

Each exhibit will encompass a different idea so photographers from all walks of life will be challenged with such themes as the Holga Show, the Cheap Camera Show, the Digital Artistry Show, and of course, our favourite: Film.

PhotoHaus Gallery will also offer printing and frame rental services, which gives new artists a more affordable alternative when preparing for their exhibit. This, in addition to the premium custom lighting setup will ensure that your first showcase is as professional as any art gallery out there.

Want to know what lies in store for you? Come check out the 2nd annual 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon photo exhibit on Saturday October 16th, 2010. It’s free and will be held at PhotoHaus Gallery, which also serves as the Vancouver Photo Workshops at 14 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver. Whether you are a true beginner, aspiring amateur or seasoned professional, the VPW’s intimate and focused seminars, workshops, and courses will help you achieve your vision. For details and start dates, click here.

Latte Art with a bit ‘o’ Hop and a Lotta Heart

Posted by on August 17, 2010 at 3:22 pm.

Matthew Johnson & Julia Kuo, Blenz Yaletown

When we first set out to find our home base for the 12×12 last winter, we knew it had to be a central coffee shop that not only offered the refreshments necessary for a day-long event, but also had comfortable surroundings for our photographers to kick back and relax.

During one of the early committee meetings, we were down in Yaletown and decided to take a walk around the neighbourhood to see if there were any locations that would be up to the challenge of hosting our large group of artists. There were a couple that shook their heads at the prospect and we started to get a little worried when Blenz suddenly came into view. They had a spacious outdoor heated patio with lots of seating, and the interior was warm and cozy with wonderful ambiance. With fingers crossed, we approached and asked to speak to its manager who turned out to be Matthew Johnson, just about the nicest fella, as was Blenz President George Moen, who phoned Morten personally to offer his support. They not only welcomed us into their space, but did so without batting an eyelash and for that we are so very thankful.

And we couldn’t have picked a more ideal coffee chain. With a mutual love for the arts, they were the perfect venue to collaborate with. Not only did we hold our inaugural marathon at Blenz Yaletown but our winners were also featured in the franchise-wide Blenz Digital Media Network for all its customers to enjoy. As a tribute to their generosity and for welcoming us back this year, here’s a bit of coffee art by Master Barista and Trainer Julia Kuo with shots of pouring and stencil latte art.

Thanks to George, all of our marathoners will receive a gift certificate on the day of the event so they can all enjoy a cuppa joe on him. Julia, you’re going to be one busy barista on September 12th!

Don’t forget to view the gallery at the bottom of this post for some of Julia’s fun works of coffee art.

Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark-II, KinoFlo Kamio ring light, EF 24-105 F/4L IS USM, Sennheiser 112/G2 wireless kit + Audio-Technica shotgun.

Some helpful tips from Julia if you’re making your own cup of latte art:

  • It’s not necessary to press the espresso super tight, but you do need a certain amount of pressure to eliminate any voids in the coffee bed. Press too loosely and the water will go through the espresso cake really fast, leaving you with a very watery crema that lacks the rich caramel colour that is needed to reveal the latte art. On the other hand, pressing too tightly will impede the water from going through and you’ll end up with a bitter and burnt shot
  • When preparing the milk, gently let the steam wand touch the surface of the milk (called “kissing the milk”) and turn on the pressure to blow air into the milk. By this time you should hear the familiar “hisssssssss.” Since these are lattes and not cappuccinos, don’t steam that much foam; 2-4 secs will do. Foam can only be created before 100°F. Higher than 100°F and you’d basically just be heating up milk
  • After the foam is created, lower the steam wand further into milk and make the milk spin in a circle. This not only mixes the foam with the milk but also makes the bubbles smaller (called “micro-foam”)
  • When pouring the latte, try to grab the jug tightly but loosen your wrist. Without rushing it, gently wiggle in the milk. Remember that by the time you reveal your foam on the espresso crema, your jug mouth should be really close to the surface of coffee

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Sold Out!

Posted by on August 14, 2010 at 11:00 am.

At 1:19am on Saturday August 14, 29 hours after the tickets for the 2nd annual 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon were released online, the last ticket was sold. The 59 other tickets were snapped up within 24 hours of the release. In fact, half the tickets were sold within 10 minutes of the release! For a while, we thought people were mistaking our event for a Justin Bieber concert. But looking at the list of participants and the chatter on Twitter, it’s clear we now have a full roster of eager photographers from all walks of life ready and willing to take on the challenge that is the 12×12. Congratulations to one and all for getting a ticket!

Waiting List in Effect

Last year we had far more people wanting to attend than we had tickets. In our rush planning we had not anticipated this and had not made contingencies. In the end, 5 ticket holders were unable to attend but we were only able to pass on one of the tickets on event day. To avoid this problem and ensure that we actually have 60 participants this year, we have started up an official waiting list through Eventbrite. That means even if you were not able to get a ticket in time you can join the waiting list, and if someone backs out, something comes up or just doesn’t show the day of, we’ll pass their ticket on to you. To join the waiting list, go to our Tickets page or go straight to Eventbrite.

To further ensure that we have a full 60 participants, we have introduced a new rule:

Ticketholders who do not register at the event location on September 12 by 8:30 am (registration begins at 7am), and who do not notify us in advance or on the day of by phone or email that they will be arriving late, will automatically forfeit their ticket and it will be passed on to the next person on the waiting list.

We will attempt to contact the ticket holder by phone (thus the request for your cell phone number during ticket purchase) before passing the ticket on.

Participants: Give us your Twitter and Flickr handles! (if you haven’t already done so)

This year we’re doing some cool interactive things online in preparation for and during the event itself (tba). To start off we are making an official 12x12yvr Twitter List so if you’re a participant and you have a Twitter handle (name), send it to us and we’ll add you to the list. Likewise, send us your Flickr handle. And finally, if you’re on Facebook, like our event and we’ll share more links and info with you.