Archives for the month of: February, 2011

Tonight was the last night of my photography workshop at Vivid Print. It was a great class that made the multitude of buttons, dials and setting on my DSLR not quite so overwhelming. While I started off the course a bit discouraged, I’ve finished it feeling pretty good about my ability to get a decent shot – even if it takes me 20 tries…

Tonight we were supposed to bring our top five shots that we’ve taken since the class started and share them with the class. When I was picking last night, I was pleased that it was hard to pick only five. Of course, most of them were taken the day before at the Muttart Conservatory (my favourite photo taking spot, so far…)

So for you, oh handful of blog readers, I’m going to show off not my top five, but my top ten (my blog, my rules.)

(poor frosty)


A quick, post-Superbowl note to outline who, in my mind, were the big ad winners tonight.

(you didn’t think this was going to be anything sports-related, did you?)


1)   Chrysler – Imported from Detroit

Great writing, great visuals, great tagline. Bigger than the product itself, it touched an emotional nerve in the American psyche. While other “buy American” messages have made it seem like the dutiful choice, this piece elevated Detroit-made cars as the authentic choice. Brilliant.

2)   Volkswagon – The Force

It’s obvious that VW knows its market. This ad brilliantly connects with the kids of the late 70s/early 80s (who are now re-introducing their kids to the magic of Star Wars). It’s not about the specific vehicle, it’s about being the brand that “gets” its audience. Bonus points for an adorably emotive performance from behind the mask.

3)   Audi – Release the Hounds

This did a good job of getting its message across – don’t get trapped by old school definitions of luxury. It nicely positions Audi as the luxury brand for a new generation. But mostly, I consider it a winner because it was funny and made me laugh out loud. Twice.

Honourable mentions:

Living Social – Changed My Life (nice art direction, cute storyline)

VW – Black Beetle (lovely CGI work, nice nod to product features, great teaser)

Stella Artois – Crying Jean (mostly because I love Adrian Brody)

And the big loser of the night seems to be Groupon, for their series of ads that (despite having a charitable connection) end up making the company seem massively douchy. It’s never a good idea to make your customers (and I’m one of them) feel icky for supporting your brand. These failed for being too subtle in their tongue-in-cheek-ness.

There are many things in this world that I am not good at. I’m a terrible bowler. I have no idea about mechanics, I can’t cook without a recipe, I avoid confrontation, I take terrible notes and I couldn’t whistle my way out of a wet paper bag.

Most of those things, I don’t really care about.

But I wish I could design – graphic, fashion, interior, industrial, whatever. But alas, while I have the appreciation and the desire, I’m woefully lacking in the talent department. Can’t draw a circle to save my life.

What I do have is “a good eye” which means I can’t actually DO anything, but I’m pretty good at discerning what’s good and what’s crap. And I’ve spent most of my career surrounding myself with people who ARE talented and CAN design. If I can’t do it myself, at least I can be nearby when it happens.

But I haven’t let go of my dream of finding that creative outlet and that’s what has spurred my recent flirtations with photography. My hope is that my “good eye” will translate into a good eye for composition and perhaps my photos will end up matching what I see in my head.

Tonight I had my first of four photography classes at Vivid Print. We spent tonight learning the basics of shutter speed, aperture, white balance and ISO settings. Then we had a go at playing with the settings and seeing how they affected the images we got.

I must say, that it has left me quite discouraged. Once again, what I envision in my head is miles away from what I’m actually able to create.  However, thanks to my “good eye,” I can tell you, that my photos are indeed, crap:


It’s all a bit humbling. I suppose that’s why I’m taking these lessons, right? Learn how to draw that circle. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a tiny seed of talent inside me that just needs some time, practice and encouragement so I can get closer to creating something cool.