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Interstellar Rodeo Festival: Building a Green Room.

From the wilderness to the urban jungle, this past week has been a different sort of an adventure: Adrienne Shum and I built and ran the Green Room at the Interstellar Rodeo festival here in Winnipeg.  This entailed transforming a concrete bunker tucked away backstage into a functional kitchen and cozy lounge for the festival artists.  Lighting, refrigerators, furniture, food…we had to bring all that in, alongside a team of hard working volunteers, to help us magically turn the piles of ingredients into the delicious food described on the menu we created.  Needless to say, we’d been working at this for months and it was wonderful to see the ideas percolating in our minds come to life!

This opportunity was different than my usual festival involvements, which tend to be more on the photography/media/social media side of things.  As such, photos were secondary, but I did capture some snapshots to trigger personal memories that threatened to be lost amidst the blur of busyness.  During the constant bustle of festival work the memory gets saturated, and photos such as these bring moments and details back to mind; also they are useful for reflecting and building upon our setup and workflow in subsequent years.

I receive lots of inquiries into the behind-the-scenes details of things like this, so I decided to share a photoessay here expounding on some of these points of interest.

Aside: I’ve taken a more experimental method of processing for these photos.  Since getting my most recent digital camera, I’ve come to the realization that the quality of digital has finally surpassed that which I can eek out of my medium format film camera, with the added benefit of a simplified workflow and convenience.  A lead bag of film still sits in the bottom of my fridge, but the rolls have all rolled past their expiry dates at this point.

Some days I still miss the aesthetic of my favourite films though – the colors, contrast, and grain.  With these characteristics in mind, I’ve been peripherally working to develop my own method of processing digital files to mimic my favourite films.  This series of images was shot entirely on my iPhone, and processed using my best effort to resemble the results I miss from Kodak Portra 160 after being push processed in the dark room.  This is the first time I’ve released something like this into the wild.  I hope you enjoy!

Loads of groceries

Cooking for hundreds of people over a weekend takes a lot of raw ingredients.

Cycling to The Forks with a full load

One of the best features of this festival is that it’s centrally located at the heart of Winnipeg: The Forks.  As such, it’s conveniently accessible by bike, foot, or bus.  In our classic style, we moved the piles of gear from our home to the backstage bunker by pedal power.

The empty bunker

The empty bunker.  I see potential in this bare space.

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Postcard from Kananaskis.

Hello from Kananaskis!

After experiencing the hoards of people that flock to the Canadian Rocky Mountains during July and August last year on my Pedal Powered to the West bike tour, I swore I would never go back in the summer.  Shoulder seasons are much more my thing.

But as life would have it, an off the cuff idea from a friend turned into a spontaneous whirlwind of a road trip across four provinces to the Rockies.  Having never spent much time in the mountains, it was exciting to show him the ropes and watch his eyes light up in the magical moments.

Here he stands after rising over his first mountain pass, taking in the rewards of a hard hike.

Postcard from Kananaskis

Looking down on Ribbon Lake from the summit of Buller Pass.

August 8, 2016 - 6:36 am

Daniel - You’re not in Kansas anymore…

August 8, 2016 - 4:38 pm

David - Ha! Never was, but I certainly wasn’t in Winnipeg anymore when I took this photo. 😀

Behind-the-scenes video footage from the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

Being a photographer for the Winnipeg Folk Festival I am lucky to be able to witness a lot of wonderful musical moments each year, and 2016 was no exception.  Though my visual mindset is usually focused on capturing these moments through still photography, since being added to the festival’s social media team I also periodically switch gears and capture raw, behind-the-scenes videos of these sorts of folk fest moments.

I have just finished uploading three such videos to my Youtube account of entire song performances.  Check them out below and, if you’re interested in this kind of stuff, subscribe to my Youtube channel to keep informed as I upload more of this sort of content.  There are a couple videos already up over there from last year as well, and as I find time to edit them together this public library will continue to grow.

The first of these two videos are of The East Pointers performing Secret Victory and The Stubborn Mule to an energetic crowd, and the third is of San Fermin jamming with The Staves and Mikaela Davis to come up with a unique take on their song, Sonsick.



July 30, 2016 - 10:33 pm

Matthew - Killer workshops. Heck of a fest.

Postcards from Winnipeg Folk Festival 2016

Another year, another Winnipeg Folk Festival.  Here is a smattering of moments from a long weekend full of experiences and memories – one digital postcard chosen to represent each day.

Winnipeg skyline at sunrise as cyclists gather to ride out to the Winnipeg Folk Festival site

Wednesday: Get out to the festival site!  At the break of dawn cyclists gather against the Winnipeg skyline to pedal out to Birds Hill Park.

Relaxing in a hammock while listening to main stage music

Thursday: Relax the evening away listening to the first musical performances of the festival.

Young Performers Program - group hug with mentors

Friday: Artists are thrown on stage together and workshop magic begins.  Over at Shady Grove each Friday of the festival groups of young performers take to the stage.  This is a group hug of The Crooked Brothers and the young performers they mentored after they laid down some top-notch performances.

Lemon Bucket Orkestra - dancing and laughing

Saturday: More music, more dancing, more smiling.  Pictured: Lemon Bucket Orkestra.

Sheena Rattai of Red Moon Road looks out on the crowd.

Sunday: Goodbyes.  Sheena Rattai of Red Moon Road looks out on a crowd of satisfied folks as they close out the final workshop of the festival: a stage full of Manitoba musicians proudly representing the great music this province has to offer.

July 17, 2016 - 9:35 am

Daniella - Mirrors my day by day feelings too.
The reflection in the sunglasses of that last photo is ace!!

July 18, 2016 - 12:44 pm

Scott - I thought you said you weren’t cycling out this year? …I miss this.

August 5, 2016 - 11:02 pm

Wayne - LEMON BUCKET ORCHESTRA!!! So fun!!!!!!

August 8, 2016 - 4:47 pm

David - @Scott: Yeah – no cycling out for me this year, but I did take the assignment of shooting the Ride to the Site at the muster point at The Forks (where the first photo is from). It was an early morning rise and weird to not ride out with everyone, but I had some other things in the city that needed doing before folk festing.

Life behind bars – Part 2: Four corners of the Haida Gwaii by bicycle.

(continued from Part 1: Solo in the Canadian Rockies)

The Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) is remote set of islands off the northwest coast of British Columbia.  As is a region that I’d been intending to visit for ages, the difficulty in getting there made it elusive despite many years of good intentions, but as they say: good things come to those who wait.  This whole bicycle tour arose around the idea of exploring the ancient forests of the islands by bicycle with a friend from Vancouver.  The before and after fell into place as a way to make the most of the energy spent getting to these places, thereby extending the tour into a loop that contained a little bit of everything.  And so it was here at Canada’s west coast that I went from being solo to meeting my smiling friend who flew up with her bicycle.

With its sparse population, the Haida Gwaii has few services, never mind roads.  Graham Island in the north, the largest and most populous of the archipelago, is the only island with a paved road.  With the exception of a few rogue logging roads and the ferry connected Sandspit Airport, it’s actually the only island in the region with roads, period.  For obvious reasons, this is where I aimed my bike tires.  With only 109km of paved road from Queen Charlotte City in the south to Masset in the north, the scale of things is a lot more accessible to travel by bicycle than in some other places.  However, that so-called accessibility is provided by a network of rough, challenging logging roads cutting through the wild and dense forest.  Over two weeks, we logged 579km of pedal powered exploration that took us to all four corners of this remote part of the world – not bad for an island with only 109km of paved roadway.

Train tunnel in the Skeena region

It takes two days by the northern rail line to reach Prince Rupert on Canada’s west coast.  This lone vein of transportation cuts through thick Canadian wilderness with manmade marvels built to cross roaring rivers and pass through solid rock.  There is something magical about the Skeena region towards the coast…moving mists amidst pristine wilderness – I’ve been through it twice, yet will definitely return.

Ferry crossing Hecate Strait - in the fog

From train to boat, one moves from the mist of the land to the mist of the sea at Canada’s west coast.  Shrouded in nothing but foggy grey, it feels like one is in a child’s storybook, moving through a mystical portal to another land.

Quintessential Haida Gwaii island silhouetted against fog

Fog clears and first glimpses of the long sought after Haida Gwaii come into view.

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July 12, 2016 - 10:15 am

Daniel C. Crump - Amazing!! This causes the smouldering ember of wanderlust inside me to glow a little brighter and burn a little hotter.