Scotiabank Dance Centre Taps Into Vancouver’s Talent

Posted by on October 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm.

“The Dance Centre not only assisted in the creation of my artistic form, but also created a platform for which my work was able to be shown and highlighted in the community. I know that without their assistance, the achievements and development of my work would not have the same potential.” Shay Kuebler | Choreographer and Performer

We could not have said it better ourselves. Shay’s words pretty much sum up how we feel about our venue sponsor for Raw Talent 2013. Without the generosity of the Scotiabank Dance Centre, our exhibit would not have a home, our photographers would not have an outlet to showcase their talents, and our audiences would not have the opportunity to engage in what has become a wildly anticipated annual event for the entire city’s creative community. We can’t help but have a soft spot for this organization when its mission is to support local artists like Shay, who go on to create works like this!

Faris Family Studio at The Dance CentreSome may find it unusual for a photography exhibit to be housed in a dance theatre like Scotiabank Dance Centre’s “black box” or Faris Family Studio, pictured to the left with its retractable hydraulic seating. But when you think about it, are dance and photography so dissimilar? Both incredible visual art forms that offer a way of communicating beyond speech, one is never far from the other. Beautiful as they are on their own, they are inspiring when performed in partnership. The much-loved Ballerina Project is a prime example, as are the following captured moments of motion featuring dancers who will be performing in upcoming Dance Centre shows:

Liquid Loft | Photo by Chris Haring

Liquid Loft | Photo by Chris Haring
Running Sushi: October 31 – November 2, 2013 |

Ziyian Kwan | Photo by Chris Randle

Ziyian Kwan | Photo by Chris Randle
the neck to fall: November 21 & 22, 2013

Battery Opera | Photo by Yvonne Chew

Battery Opera | Photo by Yvonne Chew
Everything: November 21 & 22, 2013

The Dance Centre 2013-2014 Season

The 605 Collective | Photo by David Cooper

The 605 Collective | Photo by David Cooper
Inheritor Album: January 30 – February 1, 2014 |

It never made sense to me that a major city like Vancouver with its many talents should not have a thriving arts and culture scene to rival those of Toronto or New York. What we see instead is the closure of historical institutions like the Playhouse, and the bleeding of local artists to more vibrant locales with greater prospects. It is consequently all the more important to support non-profit organizations like The Dance Centre, which also serves as a registered charity. The architectural beauty that it operates within is a non-subsidized building that must generate enough revenue from studio rentals in order to continue the development of dance in BC.

The Scotiabank Dance Centre Building with Heritage FacadeFactoid: The site at 677 Davie Street once served as the foundation for a bank in the 1920s. The two-story neoclassical composition of granite and brick became the home of The Bank of Nova Scotia and served well as a popular period film set in its final years. When the plot was donated to build The Dance Centre, the challenge fell into the hands of lead architects Arthur Erickson and Noel Best. Recognizing the multi-faceted needs of the numerous groups that would utilize the space, dancers were consulted in every step of the way. Quite literally as well, at the floor design stage, when rigorous testing with pointe shoes, slippers, bare feet, tap, and flamenco shoes commenced. When The Dance Centre opened its doors in 2001, it had been transformed from a 6,000sqft space to a 32,000sqft state-of-the-art facility with specialized floors and custom designs to serve all disciplines. Not one to forget its roots, the history of the site is remembered through the façade of the old heritage building which greets you when you round the corner from Davie to Granville.

The Centre supports dance professionals in a myriad of ways. Member benefits include everything from job search help, to grant writing, to marketing, and even fundraising. It not only presents information sessions, but workshops, networking opportunities that are invaluable for an emerging artist, and also awards to help jump start a dancer’s career. Full Artist and Company members also benefit from substantial discounts and rush rates on studio rentals and even free use of the boardroom for the all too important meetings. Video services and an edit suite are accessible for cutting demos, as well as an extensive library of tapes and DVDs for those seeking further study in their discipline.

You don’t need to be in the arts to know that it can be a very expensive vocation. Programs like The Dance Centre’s Artists-in-Residence, which Shay belongs to as part of The 605 Collective, offer assistance by fully subsidizing studio space so that those in his company can develop new works without the burden of the usual overhead. As a result, they are enabled to create, teach, and most enjoyably, perform.

Dancers in Birmingham Studio

Dancers in The Bruce R Birmingham Studio | Photo by Daniel Collins

The mark of growth can also be found in the ability of an artist to bridge disciplines, something that The Dance Centre doesn’t overlook. An interdisciplinary research program called DanceLab also funds fully subsidized studio space to encourage choreographers and artists from different disciplines to work together in an effort to explore the potential of cross-art form collaboration to innovate new works. Recognizing that the general audience is always the ultimate test of any experiment, the results are then shared with the public at a free studio presentation.

It is this kind of forward-thinking and inclusive approach led by Canada’s flagship dance facility that enables projects like the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon to shine. Thank you, Scotiabank Dance Centre, for inviting our audience to join yours in the collective enjoyment of the arts.

Dance. Photography. Music. Painting. They are all branches from the same tree. All of us that work under the canopy of arts and culture are connected, and should always support one another if we want to grow.

On Saturday October 12, the doors of the Scotiabank Dance Centre will open at 6pm for the whole city to take in a FREE one-of-a-kind photo exhibit of 60 film photographers. It only happens once a year, and it only happens for one night. You will not want to miss Raw Talent 2013: The 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon Exhibit.

Raw Talent Photo Boards by John Biehler

Photo by: John Biehler

Opus Sees the Big Picture

Posted by on October 1, 2013 at 12:27 pm.

When you are introduced to 12×12 for the first time, you are likely to only see photography. But as the many photo marathoners who have participated over the years will tell you, it is so much more than that. As you slowly zoom out, what begins to enter the frame is creativity, spontaneity, perseverance, friendship, teamwork, and community all revolving around a common interest in the art of photography. This is what Opus Art Supplies had the vision to see all those years ago when a crazy Viking sailed in with tales of artistic conquests. Morten Rand-Hendriksen has now led five successful thematic explorations, with many talented adventurers awarded for their valiant efforts with riches that only Opus can bestow.

OPUS Art Supplies LogoFive years is a very long time. That is how long we’ve been running the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon and exactly how long Opus has been a major supporter. We’ve developed such a great bond with this local company that to be quite honest, we don’t know if we would want to continue this tradition without our long-time partner. You’d be hard-pressed to find another company that lends as much support to the same customer base that it generates its business from. That’s because Opus too, sees the big picture. Community matters, especially in the arts.

Crissy Arseneau Helping out at the 2013 12x12 Vancouver Photo Marathon

Our long-time friend Crissy Arseneau from Opus helping out at the 2013 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon: (L) Revealing Theme 3: Far Away So Close and (R) Posing as a Model for Jackie Dives’ Interpretation of It

Growing with Opus has been fun, even educational. Always in tune with industry developments, their product line is always evolving to meet the latest demands. That is why our prizing also changes year to year. When something new is available, our winners always benefit from being one of the first to enjoy it. The highlight of 2013 is the introduction of Facemounting. Similar to an Aluminum Composite Mounted print (as in the last two Raw Talent exhibits), Facemounting prints are also raised from the wall to create a floating appearance. The difference is that Facemounted images are printed on gloss photo paper and mounted directly to plexi. This adds an unparalleled vibrancy to images. Colours pop, making two-dimensional images spring to life. Black and white photos, especially those with a variety of grey and white tones, are lent a level of depth that can make a flat image feel almost three dimensional.

To showcase the potential of Facemounting, we checked out an exhibit by an Opus customer that took advantage of it the moment it became available. Here is a feature on Yuichi Takasaka, who is currently enjoying an exhibit at Art Beatus that features an incredible body of work on the Aurora Borealis.

Yuichi’s passion for photography began when he came to Vancouver on a working holiday at age 20, but his move to Yellowknife in the early 90s marked the moment when that passion took on inspiration. Having had his first glimpse of the Aurora Borealis during a visit to Jasper in Alberta, he knew he was in the ideal place to continue his studies with the natural phenomenon. “You can get well over 200 nights of northern lights there every year,” he says. With these strange “Lights” as his muse, Yuichi honed his skills at capturing them by night while working for a Japanese tour company promoting them by day. What resulted were award-winning images so stunning that they have been featured in exhibitions worldwide, as well as in a variety of publications and websites, including that of NASA.

Northern Lights by Yuichi Takasaka

One of the stunning photos by Yuichi Takasaka, currently on exhibit until October 18th at Art Beatus

For 7 years Yuichi lived in Yellowknife experimenting with different photographic techniques and now based in Lumby, BC, he still goes back annually to lead photography tours to shoot new variations of the Lights. It is a very rare thing indeed for most of us to witness the Northern Lights, but you can experience all its vivid details and transformative colours at Fires in the North, exhibited now until October 18th at Art Beatus. Check it out and get a preview of the prizes that await our 12×12 winners at Raw Talent 2013 on October 12th at the Scotiabank Dance Centre.

Thanks to Opus, winners of each theme will have their work printed at 10″x15″ on Arches Velin Paper and framed with custom-cut snow white mats in 13″x19″ Opus BOD Wide Frames in white. The top 4 winning images (Best Series, Best Photo, and runner-ups for both) will be printed at 24″x36″ and mounted for display using the latest addition to the Opus Fine Art Digital Printing Service, Facemounting. All the boards on which each of our 60 marathoners will have their images mounted are also provided by Opus this year, which is a tremendous help. Without their loyal support, there would be no exhibit to showcase. This is a company that cares about the causes it backs. Some of you had the joy of meeting Crissy (pictured above) at the marathon. Without her cheering us on every year, 12×12 would still be just a crazy Viking’s tall tale.

Raw Talent Exhibit by John Biehler

Photo by: John Biehler

As much as we’d like to wish it, ours isn’t the only project that enjoys being in the Opus spotlight. There are many non-profit organizations that also benefit. So many in fact, that this post would be a book before we covered them all, which is kind of amazing! When asked why Opus continues to support 12×12, this is what they had to say:

“Opus is committed to supporting the visual arts in BC. It’s one of the ways we contribute to the communities that, in turn, support our business. When we introduced Fine Art Digital Printing as a service at Opus, that support grew to include the photographic community.

The 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon embodies the kind of event that we aim to sponsor – a non-profit organization working to enhance the visual arts and that does so by engaging the community. It’s exciting to play a part in an event like 12×12, to see the photographers embracing and creatively pushing through the limits set on marathon day, and to then share with them in the art that results at the exhibit. The participants and the people that support their work by attending the Raw Talent Exhibition are our customers – they are the creative individuals that both shop at and work at our stores, the reason why we choose to provide the kind of products and services we do, and why we work everyday to evolve our business to continue to meet their needs.

So, while 12×12 has been incredibly gracious in thanking Opus for our support, we also offer our thanks to you. To Angela, Morten, and the volunteers that work to put 12×12 on, the businesses that offer sponsorship, the photographers that participate in 12×12, and all those who attend the exhibition, we thank you for providing the visual arts community with this outstanding event.”

We think we’ve got a keeper here. Yes, five years is a long time. Perhaps it’s time to pop the big question ;o)

Opus Big Picture Logo

Submission Dates:
October 01 – 10, 2013

Now put yourself in the Opus Big Picture! Our wonderful sponsor has just launched its first ever photo event that is very much in tune with 12×12. You are invited to interpret the theme “Red, Yellow, Blue,” but in the medium of digital photography. You are more than welcome to shoot in film, of course. You simply have to convert it to a digital format for entry.

Images are to be taken and submitted online during the first 10 days of October: Tuesday, October 1 to Thursday, October 10, 2013. Three images will be selected to be reproduced by the Opus Fine Art Digital Printing Service and exhibited in all Opus stores. Winners will receive a copy of their digital print too! Look for complete details and submission criteria at any Opus location, in their October Visual Arts Newsletter, or online. Do us proud, guys!

Building a Foundation with Kerrisdale Cameras

Posted by on August 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm.

As an organizer of the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon, people are sometimes surprised when they find out that I have virtually no background in photography. I’d never even changed a lens until Morten came around some 12 years ago toting his beloved EOS-1 and going on (and on) about some kooky idea of running with cameras. I also would have never realized that Kerrisdale Cameras existed a mere block away from home!

We vividly remember the first time we walked into the unassuming shop. Initially surprised by its modest surroundings, we quickly found out why there was no need for flash or frills. Rick was on hand to offer us not only advice and suggestions, but also a few useful photo tips. We had not gone in with the intention of buying anything and never felt pressured to go home with anything off the shelves. Some managers may think of that as a lost opportunity, but for all the years that followed, the Burnaby location of Kerrisdale became our shop of choice whenever we ‘needed’ a new toy and Rick became our go-to-guy for everything photo related. We’ve always wanted to team up with Kerrisdale Cameras and are very excited and proud to announce them as the official 2013 sponsor of 12×12’s film development, printing, and scanning.

Its unpretentious approach is what won us over and this is one of the qualities that has made Kerrisdale the province’s largest photo specialty chain. Now celebrating 52 years as a family owned and operated business, it is obvious that a solid foundation is at the root of this company’s history of success. As we oft like to do, we’re going to take you back in time. As we dial 1961 into the DeLorean, we strongly recommend that you bring a friend along to catch you when you faint at the sight of new houses going for $13,000.

While John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States, sweeping the nation off its feet half a century ago were go-go booted dancers prancing to the Pony and giving Surrender to Elvis’ gyrating hips, boat-sized guzzlers road-tripping at 7 cents a litre, Holly Golightly having her first Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Michael J. Fox taking his first breath 5 months after Wayne Gretzky. The average income may have been $5,000, but boy was it spent well, especially if you were snap happy because also saying hello to the world that year was the first Kerrisdale store in Vancouver.

Bob Hudson with a Canon F1 circa 1972

Bob Hudson with a Canon F1 circa 1972

Co-founded by Bob Hudson and his mother Mary, the original location on West 41st and Yew St has stood the test of time and continues to serve recreational and professional photographers seeking fair prices and sound advice. Having already had a good 10 years of experience selling cameras while studying commerce at UBC, Bob not only knew exactly what to ask to fit customers to the right equipment, but he also remembered all the answers the next time that same customer came back for an upgrade! Always progressive, the young entrepreneur was Googling well before it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

But staying ahead of the curve doesn’t mean forgetting the past. Just as a solid foundation grounds a business, a firm grasp of the principles of photography makes a photographer into an artist. For all its modern conveniences, the digital medium still doesn’t hold a candle to the nuances and richness that film photography affords. Why else would art schools continue to teach core photography programs using only film? While other specialty stores clear their shelves of range finders and manual drives, Kerrisdale continues to accept trade-ins and continues to process film. Morten and I never leave the store without gazing at the huge selection of classic cameras and are always floored by how much they now go for. They don’t make them like they used to, so consider taking home one of these gems.

Shelves upon shelves of 35mm cameras, lenses, and accessories for sale at Kerrisdale Cameras

Dilemma: Picking one out of so many 35mm cameras and lenses. Solution: Get one for each day of the week!

Linda Hudson, owner of Kerrisdale Cameras

Daughter Linda Hudson Carries on the Legacy Her Late Father Built

Kerrisdale’s web list of used film equipment is updated twice a week:

Used Film Cameras | Used Lenses & Lens Accessories

Boy, would we have had a blast shooting the breeze with Bob, who like his mother never stopped working at the main store. Having passed away in 2011, he is remembered fondly by the community and rests easy knowing that his daughter Linda now carries on the legacy he and his mother have built.

If you have any questions about the camera you’ll be running around with on August 31st, Kerrisdale is staffed with many photographers that still shoot in film, including Stuart at the Vancouver location who is so dedicated to the medium it is permanently inked on his arm. If anyone knows film, it would be him. With a collection of nearly 300 film cameras, Stuart still shoots entirely in the classic medium.

Film Tattoo on Stuart KennedyAnd here are the other sales associates that know their way around a film camera. Recognize any of ‘em? ;o)Kerrisdale Camera Associates That Still Shoot Film: Mike Wilson, Robert Anderson, Jolene Reiniger, John Roberts, Chris McDonaldKerrisdale Camera Associates That Still Shoot Film: Meghan Oram, Alex Hakonson, Bill Green, Jason Hamper, Lynann Colligan

It’s clear that another foundation for Kerrisdale’s success is its staff, almost 50% of which have been with the company for over 10 years! If you’ve been itching to buy a camera, ask any of them about this current promotion (which includes film cameras) ending August 31.Kerrisdale Cameras Promotion

2012 Sponsor Photo Challenge!

Posted by on August 17, 2012 at 11:28 am.

Sponsors always wonder what it’s like to do the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon so we figured, why not give them a little taste? We can’t be the only ones having all the fun! ;o)

And so the Sponsor Photo Challenge was born. With theme assignment in hand, our awesome sponsors set about the task of capturing their unique interpretation with a single shot. Here are the very cool results (in no particular order) for the theme:


Foundation by Opus Art Supplies

I hate when I’m misinterpreted. You now that annoying situation of Chinese whispers where one simple word gets blown out of context and suddenly all meaning is lost? To avoid such frustrating circumstances, I like to take things literally in all aspects of my life from conversations to image making. If you give me a theme of “foundation” then that’s exactly what I’m going to give back.

Foundation describes the ground or base upon which a structure rests. On a recent walk home to East Van from Downtown I spotted the iconic looking Science World in the background of a mess of construction work. The foundations of a new structure stood trapped behind the wire fencing, which I thought was also important to include in the image as it captures the many levels through which access is granted. From laying down the groundwork of a fence for safety, to the actual construction or deconstruction of a structure, to the finished piece: I saw it all in this frame. Interpret at your own discretion.

by Christine Redmond, Opus Art Supplies

Opus LogoOpus Art Supplies
100 – 207 West Hastings Street, Vancouver | Tel: 604.678.5889
Also on Granville Island, in North Vancouver, Langley, Victoria, and Kelowna

From day one, Opus Art Supplies has backed us up and helped us feature our winners in spectacular ways. For 2012, the always amazing team at Opus is sponsoring 12×12 with:

  • Four 24″x36″ fine art digital prints on paper and mounted on Opus Aluminum Mounting Panels for our top 4 winners (if you were at Raw Talent last year, you know how incredible these are)
  • Twelve  8″x12″ canvas prints stretched on 3/4″ stretcher bars and finished in custom cut white Opus BOD frames for our 12 individual theme winners
  • Lanyards and reusable roll-up shopping bags for the participant packages

Foundation by Photo Life Magazine

This theme inspired me to contemplate the foundational elements of my culture. The making of the “ceinture fléchée” is a part of French-Canadian history, and it’s also a part of my family’s particular cultural heritage. This traditional sash is created through a method of finger weaving developed by my ancestors a few centuries ago. At that time, the arrow sashes were worn by the general French-Canadian population, including the “coureur des bois” and the bourgeois class. This handmade traditional piece of clothing connects me to my history and origins and reminds me that creativity is a foundational element of French-Canadian culture. But, more importantly, it represents the countless hours I’ve seen my mother put into this wonderful handicraft as I sat at her side as a child, untangling the wool as the patterns were created.

My mother, my culture, my foundation.

by Valérie Racine, Editorial Director of Photo Life Magazine

Photo Life Magazine LogoPhoto Life Magazine
Tel: 1.800.905.7468
Subscriptions: 1.800.461.7468

One of our newest sponsors, Photo Life Magazine is sponsoring the 2012 12×12 with:

  • 60 magazines with special subscription rates via promo codes for the 2012 participants
  • Promotion of 12×12 through the magazine, blog, and social media
  • 120×240 banner ad on for one full month (value: $700)

Foundation by Beau Photo

My real life surroundings with the re-bar looking like a digital skeleton coming up from the ground…

People say that downtown Vancouver is more and more becoming an urban jungle, and this photo shows that very clearly. Tree roots are being replaced with concrete foundations which demonstrates, like in all urban environments, that man has firmly taken over control of the growth and shape of the landscape from nature. The ever changing setting grows vertically as it should, but with concrete towers instead of trees. What used to be a forest that sustained a variety of fauna is now a forest of glass high-rises, accommodating people in compartmentalized living. As an urban Vancouver dweller, this is the foundation of my landscape.

by Nicole Langdon-Davies, Film & Analog Department of Beau Photo

Beau Photo LogoBeau Photo Supplies
1520 W. 6th Ave, Vancouver
Tel: 604.734.7771 

Beau Photo has been a supporter of 12×12 since 2009 and for the 2012 cycle, is generously sponsoring us with:

  • Film and cassettes for all of this year’s marathoners. Thanks to Beau Photo, Ilford has also come on board and offered us the necessary HP5+ Black & White film, which Beau Photo has custom-rolled for us
  • Two $50 Rental Certificates
  • The loan of lighting equipment for a special perk that we are currently working on for our 2012 marathoners!

Foundation by Coffeebar

Billions of cups of coffee are consumed around the world every day, making coffee beans one of the most traded commodities; and every day, millions of farmers work extremely hard as they depend on coffee for their source of income. Yet when the beans travel a long way from home to be brewed into that cup of fragrant liquid gold we are familiar with, we often neglect its journey and origin as we emphasize on speed and quantity while we wait in line for that morning kick-start on our way to work.

The cultivation of coffee beans is a long and labor-intensive process, comparable to that of rice. The coffee plant can take up to seven years to grow and requires strict conditions and constant attention. They are therefore susceptible to pests and weather changes. The result of a good harvest, however, is nothing short of gratifying; like wines of different regions, coffee beans produced from different farms can take on the flavours of the soil and have their own unique taste. A distinct taste pertaining to a distinct origin, what better way to build a solid foundation for coffee? As our culture begins to appreciate the fine tasting and proper brewing of coffee, it is crucial for us to understand the foundations of coffee beans. It really helps us bring a little bit more romance into the cup, and a little bit more appreciation to our morning coffee.

Coffee can be a grab-and-go, but with all the hard labor involved in bringing those amazing flavours into the cup, it should be a treat. I make coffee for people most days, but when I’m not and the weather allows, I sit at a coffeeshop and look at the rain. Falling. And I remember other rains from different skies. Mountain fog descending and lifting like a dream, drinking single-origin coffee from the origin itself – in a small town, in the northern sierra of Mexico, through cobblestone streets and the rich palette of color surrounding everything; and the farmer – whose name escapes me now, but who still tells his story and the story of this town through his coffee. This beautiful, colorful, hidden treasure of a town, whose name will never escape me: Cuetzalan.

by Christine Delano, Manager of Coffeebar

Coffeebar LogoCoffeebar
10 Water Street, Vancouver (Gastown)
Tel: 604.566.9693

Coming on board this year, Coffeebar is officially the:

  • Venue for the 2012 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon on Saturday August 18th

Also part of our wonderful family of sponsors:

CustomColor LogoCustomColor Professional Imaging Lab
1123 Venables Street, Vancouver
Tel: 604.681.4680

Have you ever noticed how your lab always sends your black & white film out for development? Well, CustomColor Professional Imaging Lab is one of the few places in Vancouver where these orders go. It’s also the place professional photographers frequent to get the results they want. For 2012, our marathoners are getting nothing but the best. CustomColor is sponsoring the 12×12 with:

  • The processing of all the film rolls from the marathon
  • 4″x6″ prints of all the photos processed for the Raw Talent 2012 exhibit
  • Digital scanning for all the exhibit photos to upload to our Flickr account

City of Vancouver LogoCity of Vancouver
City of Vancouver Art & Cultural Activities
City of Vancouver Events Calendar

As our newest sponsor, the City of Vancouver is sponsoring this year’s 12×12 with:

  • A dramatically subsidized rental fee for the use of the magnificent heritage Salt Building in The Village on  False Creek for Raw Talent 2012. Without the extremely generous support from the City of Vancouver, the exhibit venue would have cost us $10,000, something we would have never been able to afford without them.

Tel: 1.888.33.LYNDA

A supporter since 2011, is supporting this year’s marathon with:

  • A cheque in the amount of $500
  • A 1-year premium subscription membership
  • 1-month free subscriptions for all 60 of our marathoners
  • DVD titles from their collection of courses

Six Cent Press Logo

Six Cent Press
1880 Powell Street, Vancouver
Tel: 604.216.0405

A 12×12 supporter since 2010, Six Cent Press has sponsored us with:

  • 100 twin sets of their custom 1.25″ buttons with packaging, a very special commemorative and collectible memento of 12×12

It goes without saying that we owe much of our success to all of our generous and supportive sponsors. Hence the selection of “Foundation” as the theme for the Sponsor Challenge. Without this solid foundation, there would be no 12×12. We share a special connection with everyone we work with to bring you this annual event. We hope you are as proud of it as we are ♥

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!

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.

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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Warm up for 12×12 by entering the London Drugs “Fresh Air” Photo Contest!

Posted by on July 13, 2010 at 10:00 am.

Surprised by last year’s vague and unusual 12×12 themes? Wondering how you can warm up in preparation for the September 12 event? Well wonder no more:

12×12 sponsor London Drugs and the Lung Association are currently running their 26th Annual “Fresh Air” Photo Contest. The concept is simple and one you can really cut your teeth on: Take a photo of the theme “Fresh Air” and you could win some snazzy camera gear.

From the site:

The contest challenges photographers from across Western Canada (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) to send in their best fresh air photo to win fabulous prizes.

First, second and third prizes will be awarded. Entries will be judged on originality and overall photographic quality in conveying the theme “Fresh Air”, with one overall Grand Prize for the photo judged best overall.

So crack out your cameras and start shooting. The submission deadline is August 15, 2010. For full contest details visit

The tale of 20 rolls

Posted by on December 12, 2009 at 11:43 am.

Who would have thought getting 60 rolls of 12 exposure film could be this hard?

The absolute basic requirement for pulling the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon off was to get enough identical 12 exposure film in time. Easy, right? You’d think so wouldn’t you. But try going to a photo supply store and ask them for any volume larger and 5 and you’ll see it’s quite a challenge.

When we started sourcing the film for the event we quickly realized unless we wanted to hit up every single photo store in Vancouver we needed a supplier with direct connections. And since the only 12 exposure 400 ISO film available is Kodak UltraMax the natural solution was to go directly to Kodak. Unfortunately Kodak does not sell directly to customers so that was a bit of a dead end. I say “bit of” because although they wouldn’t sell the film to me they did direct me to a distributor that could.

The search continued.

After some back and forth we were excited to learn that the distributor had 140 rolls of the film in question, 40 in Vancouver, the rest in Calgary. And not only that: They were willing to sell it to us at cost (plus shipping). This was Friday December 4, 8 days before the event and we were guaranteed delivery of all the film “well before” the event itself. Problem solved, right?


The 40 rolls from Vancouver arrived as promised on Wednesday, but the 20 remaining rolls from Calgary never made an appearance. When we finally got a hold of the distributor on Friday it turned out that something had gone terribly wrong in the order processing and the order was never filed let alone shipped. In short our 20 rolls of film were still sitting on a shelf in Calgary.

This was Friday December 11 at 11am – a veritable disaster.

Knowing that stores rarely carry more than one or two rolls of the film we were facing the daunting task of driving around to between 10 and 15 locations to piece it all together. Calls were made: “They have two at Kerrisdale!” etc. The nightmare mounted. I was booked for an interview with On The Coast on CBC Radio One at 4:30pm. Angela was set to meet with London Drugs to pick up bags and lanyards at 5. The logistics just didn’t fit.

Or did they? London Drugs does have a huge photo lab presence after all. We rushed to the Granville and Georgia location (number 2 store) to see if they had any stock. They only had two rolls but one of their staffers, Leanne, was not willing to let us leave the store without  at least part of a solution. So she started calling every store in the whole GVRD getting the stock for each of the stores. “They have 8 in Surrey and another 8 in Langley”. That made 16. We could probably get the rest by randomly hitting up stores.

Two hours later Angela and I found ourselves in cars running in oposite directions: Angela on her way to Surrey for 8 rolls, me to the Kerrisdale store where Kimiko from the London Drugs promotions department had secured 10 more rolls. On our way to get the cars we had managed to dig up two more films so with these potential 18 we would be set. And we were. At 5 pm all 60 rolls were in hand.

What can I say … with friends like London Drugs nothing is impossible.

A sneak peek at the Futurelooks door prizes

Posted by on December 10, 2009 at 9:18 pm. brought us a huge box full of digital goodies to give away as door prizes for the participants during the event on Saturday. Check out the image above for a sneak peek at the stuff you could walk away with.

We extend a big thanks to Stephen Fung (follow him on Twitter @StephenFung) for his sponsorship and hope he has time to show off his photographic talents in our next photo marathon.