I absolutley detest saying "no" to people.
Especially if they are potential clients. But, I've found myself in just that position a few too many times over the past month.
So here it is:
RyKie Images & Events will now offer videography services. Yes, you read that right - I'm adding video. Since the May long weekend is traditionally the kick-off to summer activities, I'm going to begin taking videography work beginning on that weekend (mostly because I've already booked an important event over May Long!).
I'll be releasing a new Welcome Guide soon that includes details about our video work, and there will be a special incentive on the RyKie Images & Events Facebook page while I launch this new feature.
So why delve into the world of moving pictures? I simply noticed a need that wasn't being easily met. I want my clients to have the best experience, and feel that their important event has been captured fully. When your business is people, you need to give them what they want. Essentially, you asked for it, so I'm offering it!
It's going to be an exciting adventure!
Over Easter, my parents gifted me this incredible No. 2 Folding Autographic Brownie camera. These were made by Eastman Kodak between 1915 and 1926, and this would have been used by my great-grandfather to capture images of life in rural Saskatchewan. I noticed that the last patent date on the body read 1921, making this girl nearly a century old!
Through all that time, it's in quite decent shape. The bellows didn't show any signs of light leaks, the glass was still good, and the blades were fairly free of rust. The shutter still moved freely, and it was easy to set the aperture.
An all-metal case meant these cameras for ready for rugged terrain, but once you open it up, you get a sense for how delicate the camera really is. A silver pull tab leads the lens and bellows along a set of rails, unfolding the bellows as it travels. Controls are basic, but these early point-and-shoots demanded some knowledge on behalf of the user. You needed to know what shutter speed and aperture would be needed to capture your subject, and the shutter release came in handy for those long exposure images. Distance from your subject was also crucial as this was how the camera zoomed!
If you look below the lens in this image, you'll see the aperture settings: U.S. 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64. You can move the pointer higher and lower than those marks. Instead of f-stops as we're accustomed to seeing, aperture was measured in Uniform System. So the U.S. 4 to 64 range roughly translates to f/7.7 to f/32.
Shutter speeds were set using the dial above the lens (made by Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. - sound familiar, contact lens wearers?), and gave options of 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100 of a second. You could also set a Bulb mode or T-mode; the latter allowing the shutter to stay open until the release was pressed again.
So where does the 'autographic' part fit in? There's a flap on the back of this camera with a holster for a small stylus. After taking an image, you could lift the flap, write some information on the image you just shot, expose that portion for a few seconds, then close the latch. I could still see remnants of scribbles and dates on the backing plate after lifting the flap.
Composing a shot meant looking down the viewfinder (which on this model is very cloudy!), setting your aperture, shutter and - oh yeah - your zoom! You had three options here, eight feet, 25 feet and 100 feet (as you can see by the little gold bit above the light stand in this image). The latch at the front also served as a stand if the camera was placed on a flat surface.
You can also mount this camera on a tripod or light stand (as used here) using one of two mounts for portrait or landscape mode. To shoot londscape, you have to also turn the viewfinder 90 degrees. There are two shutter options, either the release (which has seen better days!) or by pressing a lever beside the lens.
In the early 1920s, the No. 2 Autographic was advertized for sale at a whopping $10 (roughly equivalent to $120 in today's currency). Now, you can buy one off eBay for anywhere between $20 and $45.
What? Why so cheap?! I was shocked, too. You'd think these beauties would be worth thousands of dollars by now! However, I feel this particular model is beyond that. It's priceless, given the family connection. I come from a long line of photographers, and it was a sheer joy to inherit such a remarkable specimen. The No. 2 Autographic Brownie was a trendsetting innovation in it's day. Who knows - maybe I'll run some film through the old girl and see what emerges!
It's your home when you're not at home.
That's the mantra Ali Kachour would like people to think of when they dine at SAS Brochette Grill (located at 101 1st Ave.). He first visited Brooks in 2016, and was impressed by how peaceful and friendly the Centennial City appeared.
"To have a business, you have to live in peace," said Kachour. "I wanted to come to Brooks. When I first drove on Second Street, it already had lots of memories."
He noted that the first impression reminded him of his hometown in Lebanon – the businesses along the street, even the placement of the city's cemetery was similar to his town. This remembrance and Kachour's intuition about the city drew him in, and 20 days after the initial visit, he was unlocking the door at his new restaurant.
When you enter SAS Brochette Grill, you'll likely be greeted by Kachour, who has an infectious smile and a firm handshake. He wants to make sure each and every person in the dining party feels welcome. Right away, the friendly atmosphere takes hold.
Then there's the food.....oh, the food! Steve in the kitchen is an absolute wizard. The dishes that come out are simply amazing – and healthy. It's the kind of comfort food you don't feel bad about because it's not going to do any harm.
Kachour noted a few changes will take place for the summer, including some Italian and Greek dishes, plus using the outdoor patio. Right now, they still feature the lunch buffet that made the location famous under the previous owners. Kachour said that most of the food items are grilled instead of fried, preferring fresh, good food. Another part of the SAS experience is the shisha bar – a first for Brooks, and something Kachour also plans to expand in the future. Currently, they offer 10 herbal nicotine-free flavours.
"In the summertime, we're going to have fruit shisha with actual apple and actual grape," he said.
Creating a fantastic dining experience is nothing new to Kachour, he has experience with four restaurants, the latest being Calgary's Ali Baba Prime Spot – a popular 150-seat restaurant and shisha lounge.
Right now, the prime objective to is build their contingent of happy customers.
"For us, so far, we're not thinking about profit," Kachour said. "It's more about enjoying the kind people - those who want us to succeed and are giving their support."
The end of April is going to be a milestone for SAS Brochette Grill, as they are finally getting around to their grand opening. The restaurant has been serving customers since November 23, 2016, but have been too busy to get around to the official duty. There will be an evening event for dignitaries, and a public grand opening on April 27 with everything on the menu at half the price.
"We'll be more than happy to serve everyone who walks in here," says Kachour with a quick smile.
I had the great honour recently of filming some commercial spots for Naomi Zacharias over at Creepy Monkey Graphics. She wanted to add some tips on her website about how to apply and care for decals on cars and trucks.
We shot three different videos and had a blast! If you haven't been to Creepy Monkey Graphics, stop by for a visit. But make sure you pass the high standards of Oz - Naomi's beloved English Mastiff. He may look big, but he's a teddy bear.
Speaking of Oz, did you know that he has his own line of greeting cards? Ask Naomi how you can Say It With Oz the next time you have a celebration! Also, Naomi has the solution to road rage with her new Resist the Rage bumper stickers. These were inspired by some....hmmm.... how do we put this? Less-than-patient drivers she encountered. How do you win the fight against a driver being a jerk? Diffuse it with comedy - and these stickers are the perfect solution!
For a small shop, Creepy Monkey Graphics can get a lot done. Commercial printing, apparel, custom decals - no job is too big or too small.
(I've heard Naomi is fond of folks who bring over coffee from Tim Horton's, so come prepared!)
It was a blast to work with her again, and I always look forward to the next collaboration!
He was the sound behind The Sound.
Bob Wootton was rhythm guitarist for the Tennessee Three - the band behind the famous Johnny Cash - since 1968. He passed away today (April 9) at age 75.
Wootton perfected Cash's trademark "boom-chicka-boom" sound, and kept the music alive after the Man in Black's death. The band had an affinity for Canada as well, tracing back decades. Of particular coincidence, they played for the grand opening of the Northern Lights Palace in Melfort, Sask. Wootton and the Tennessee Three were able to return 25 years later for the venue's anniversary celebrations.
I had the chance to meet and interview Wootton and his family a few times during their visits to Canada. He was quick to tell amazing stories of the band's life, and Wootton's relationship with Cash. The men were like brothers, in fact, sometimes getting confused for each other by people.
During the Tennessee Three's show in Brooks, Alta., Wootton had some medical issues. Thus, his first sights of the City of 100 Hellos was from a hospital bed. Once Wootton was settled, a shift nurse shyly approached him, requesting his autograph. Wootton happily oblige, and the happy nurse exclaimed, "Thank you, Mr. Presley!" The obvious case of mistaken identity made Wootton chuckle, and stood out enough to relay the story to a young newspaper editor (that was me!).
Fame didn't seem to inflate the collective ego of the Wootton family, and the band was a family affair.
Bob told me in Melfort that having his wife and daughters join him on the road was such a treat, given all the years he had to spend in a tour bus without them.
In a sad twist of irony, the Wootton family announced in 2014 that Bob had been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. This meant he could no longer perform. The man who knew every guitar lick in the Cash repertoire, was recruited into the Tennessee Three from the audience at a show to replace Luther Perkins (who died in a housefire), and perfected one of music's most recognizable styles could no longer make his fingers dance across the fretboard.
Thank you for all the musical memories, Bob.
“The focal point was Brooks - that’s where the railway was,” explained long-time Scandia resident Kermith Anderson regarding the first settlers of the County of Newell. Coming full circle, the hamlet of Scandia once again had the opportunity to honour one of its neighbours through the Newell Regional Expo Society. This time, the 100-year-old community paid tribute to the largest centre in the county, the City of Brooks. The community hall in Scandia was filled on April 8 with members of every community in the region attending. (Click here for image gallery)
Over the past seven years, communities within the Newell County boundaries have shared these special dinners; an opportunity for neighbours to place the spotlight on various centres.
Joan Christiansen, the Gem area representative for the Newell Regional Expo Society board described Celebrating Expo Communities best.
“This allows the large and small communities to gather to celebrate their history, successes and future plans,” she said.
The plan was simple enough. Roast beef dinner with all the fixings, tables full of friends and local dignitaries, and a formal presentation. It’s an evening that’s played out countless times for decades - full of good-natured humour.
“I was thinking about the value of Brooks, Alberta,” said Scandia’s Joe Chomistek during the post-dinner presentation. “The most important thing I could think about in 1965 was Brooks was where you went to get your driver’s license. If you were 16 years of age, that’s where you went.”
He went on to detail his first attempt at obtaining a driver’s license, in the amusing style only Chomistek can deliver.
Anderson and Sharon Fisk spoke about the history of Brooks and how those early visitors populated the area.
“This was the land of milk and honey, wasn’t that what the CPR said?” Fisk asked Anderson.
Scandia has a lot to celebrate also. This year marks the hamlet’s centennial, and local Ryan Slenders explained how celebrations will take place over the August long weekend.
Brooks Mayor Barry Morishita was on hand with words of gratitude before detailing the various exciting events planned for this year. He then accepted a trophy from Expo board member Terry Riles, who explained that the recipient community is enabled to host the prize at their municipal office for the year.
One final revelation was the recipient to the 2018 Celebrating Expo Communities; whom Brooks will be honouring next year.
“The Gem community is thrilled to be recognized for the next Expo celebration,” Christiansen said. “We feel honoured to have our rural hamlet showcased by the City of Brooks
This is my friend and co-worker, Argaw.
He's an amazing person, and has a lot of compassion for the clients he sees every day. His family is proud to be from Brooks. He's also in the running to be recognized nationally through the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards!
The awards recognize immigrants to Canada that are inspiring and motivational - two words that describe Argaw perfectly. Right now, he's one of 75 individuals chosen from a pool of 630 across Canada, shortlisted for the prestigious award. This stage is also where the general public plays a role. Over at rbctop25.com, people can vote for who becomes part of the Top 25. Pictures (like the one above I took!) with biographies and a vote button can be found. Once a selection has been made, you simply scroll to the bottom and include your email address to verify the vote.
Voting closes May 22, when final selections will be annouced. The finalists will be recognized at a special ceremony, featured in Canadian Immigrant magazine, and RBC will donate $500 to a charity of their choice.
Starting a business is difficult, let alone starting one in the crazy economic times we're in. Last winter, Calicem Fitness was born with a strong desire to change the lives of people in the Newell Region.
"Take care of yourself, because you can't pour from an empty cup," is the motto of Calicem Fitness, and for owner Eusebia Kiedrowski: a Mom, wife, cancer kicker, and horse lover. She's an active fitness coach and helathy lifestyle advocate with a positive and motivating online presence.
She's also my lovely wife!
(I still can't believe I got so lucky!!!)
Recently, Eusebia wanted to update her profile images with something "not from a smartphone." Since we share an office, and part of that space includes a small studio, it was fairly easy to accomodate her request.
While she got ready, and I set up the lights and did some tests, I found myself reflecting on how far Eusebia's business has come. How exciting it's been to watch her grow this amazing group of people. How many lives she has changed because of her motivation. I've always been attracted to her energy - and this force comes through in her work with Calicem Fitness. Of course, this positivity came shining through in the images we created.
A special treat was to have Eusebia assist in image editing. Think I gave her a bit of insight as to why her husband spends hours at a computer each night. He's not just shopping for more gear online (although, that does tend to happen on rare occasions!).
I always love watching client reactions to their images, and it's especially thrillling when your wife proclaims which shots are her favorites.
Full disclosure, I've joined Eusebia in some of her workouts in our family room. It's not only a tagline when she says that this thing will change your life, because I've noticed changes in myself as well. Suddenly, my clothes became loose. I had higher energy levels, and the metal in my ankle didn't ache quite so much.
Yay! I'm proud to announce that RyKie Images & Events has an expanded web presence. I've added brooksalbertaphotographer into the mix.
Basically, this new site will help people just doing a Google search. I've noticed that simply searching for keywords 'Brooks Alberta photographer' brings up some defunct services, or businesses not even in our area. Besides, I'm already using the hashtag on Twitter for my content.
I'd love to hear your feedback on the new site - do you like it? Are there any changes you'd suggest? All your input is important, and Ihope you enjoy this latest creation!