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Mauricio Alas | Photography

Mauricio Alas | Photography Facebook Fan Page

Tomorrow will be my first real photo-shoot after my car-hit-my-bike-then-fell-on-my-bike accident and I am excited. It will be a portrait shot for a professional violinist who wants to update her portfolio

Now regarding my broken leg, I am certain to attest, last time I fractured my leg, it did not take two months for the darn thing to heal. By now, a decade ago, I would sure be getting ready to walk across town to hunt down my brunch on a crisp Fall morning. Instead, I am heading down to the pool downstairs for my daily physiotherapy.

Sigh… three more weeks to go for ultimum health. Patience…

In the mid-time I am updating my Facebook fan page which I neglected a bit due to not having new photos to put since I have been homebound. Even though I have kept myself busy in other way, it is good to get the proverbial lens refocusing back into what matters.

On a positive note, I think I need the break. Obvious pun, not intended. So I am proudly presenting my new page, so by all means feel free to take a look, check the photography and, if you don’t mind, don’t forget to ‘like’ it!.

Yelping Elite

One of the worst side effects of being stuck at home with a broken leg is that you are pretty much homebound. You can’t go anywhere, well you can although everything becomes a crazy obstacle course. Everything has to be planned well in advance. Stairs turn into major hazards. Streets are adventures to be crossed and subway stations, with their run-of-the-mill escalators or worse, lack of them become simply dangerous.

In fact, of the few times I have gone out, the highest ratio of close calls where I could have seriously fallen and re-broken my leg where at subway stations. There are tons of people everywhere, the floors can and tend to be slippery and just imagine trying to carry food, or any dead weight using crutches while not being able to bear any weight on your right leg. Not to mention I live half a kilometer from the nearest subway station. So that means that anywhere I go, I have to crutch my way at least 1km for a return trip. Now that is some serious non-fun.

A few months ago I had joined YELP for fun and I was doing well as a top Yelper but I only visited the site sporadically. Being mentioned in their newsletter was good and dandy but after my accident, I began writing again, you know, to help me keep busy and drive me less crazy. What is Yelp you ask? It’s a site where people review businesses, restaurants, fast food joints and help out others who might for example be wondering whether that Mexican place on St. Clair is any good (is not). So you write reviews for your fellow man in hope that when it is your turn to wonder if that new sushi place in the Annex is any good that some fellow Yelper might have you covered and wrote a review that might help you out. So I thought I might be able to add a few reviews here and there… You see, if there is one great thing about being an event organizer for 4000 people is that over time you do get to visit a lot of businesses and that is what YELP is all about.

So I began writing some reviews and all of the sudden I was nominated to become a Yelp Elite!  What does that mean? I think it is an icon they put next to your profile to show people how dedicated you are. Now the most awesome thing is you get invited to this Elite only parties where the food and drink are all paid for. NOW YOU ARE TALKIN’… However, with a broken leg is not like I am going anywhere yet. BUT the one good thing is I have had the chance to make some new friends, and help out the Toronto community! Now I am only up to 52 reviews but I am hoping, after having joined the 30-Day Review Challenge to hit my goal of 67 by the end of the month! …And keep my sanity.

In the end, it is a good website, so click over if you would want to check that new restaurant you have been hearing about! Below is a map of my latest reviews!

PS:. If you read this after 10/12/2011, chances are you will see a lot more locales!

PIXOTO AWARDS

PIXOTO AWARDS

Pixoto AwardsI must admit it,  ever since I broke my leg (more on that later) I have become a bit of a hermit. I generally only go out when truly needed and to host a few of my Speak Spanish To Me language events. Aside from that, I have sadly spent most of the time indoors, healing and trying to come up with ways to keep myself busy.

On a positive note a few friends have dropped by and joined me for overpriced coffee at the Starbucks adjacent to my building. Also, I have taken the time to do some reading on craft of photography, sharpen my HTML and CMS skills and looked into creating a new online community here in Toronto. A metamorphosis if you will of the already existing Toronto’s 25-40 Social. So I have tried to keep myself busy, plus looking for a part-time job once the cast comes off next week. Can’t wait!

Now, since I have not been able to do a lot of photography lately, I began to surf the web to check out new and interesting photography websites, which lead me to Pixoto. A interesting startup where photographers upload their work so it can compete on ‘Image Duels’ where two photos are clashed against each other and you as the judge decides who wins. It is interesting as generally the photo with the most gravitas tends to win.  But is it biased? Totally. It all depends on who the judge is. Do I like photos of puppies over kittens, well, guess who is likely to win the next pet photo match.

Is the website doing well? As of last time I checked, over 2556 photographers have uploaded photos. Are they all good? No. However from what I can see, the quality in the top percentile are merited and it serves as a good barometer of where the quality of your photography lies in the tapestry of public opinion. Some of the work of the top ten photographers is outright amazing and top notch!

So how did I do? Check the email they sent me at the end of my first week! I looked into it and I stand at 76th out of 2556 photographers!  Basically I am in the top 3% according to their votes! Not bad. Not bad at all! A little bump to the ego never hurt anyone…

My Pixoto profile is here and I will be linking this page to my ‘Photography Dossier’ under Projects and Initiatives, so even though I am mostly stuck in a cast jail for yet another week, it doesn’t mean I cannot go out there and learn a few bits more about photography and heck, get a bit recognition too. Now, if only they started giving out cash prices…   

Fine Print

A while ago, a few friends and I decided to get together to have a Posada which is a very popular Mexican tradition. Which also means that it is a very Christian tradition in some Latin countries meant to represent and/or recreate Maria and Joseph’s search for shelter in Bethlehem just before the arrival of Jesus into the world.

In the old country, their search is formalized by a “celebration consisting of a procession with candles, sometimes with individuals selected to play the parts of Mary and Joseph, or sometimes images of them are carried in their stead.” Think of it as a large scale diorama!

“…The procession will make its way to a particular home, where a special song is sung. In this song those outside the house sing the part of Joseph asking for shelter and the family inside responds singing the part of the innkeeper saying that there is no room. The song switches back and forth a few times until finally the innkeeper decides to let them in. The door is opened and everyone goes inside.”

It is quite the spectacle to behold…
And of course we did nothing of that sort. What we did was the getting together part. Yes, that part we got right.

Got a ton of food and with the help of three authentic-yet-legal-Mexicans friends we got to cooking authentic empanadas, tacos and quesadillas. Plus we drank a lot of wine, which I think goes with the spirit of the Holidays, right? In the end it was a very enjoyable feast along with the company of some very (legal) good friends.

Now, this capture was taken while one of my non-Mexican friends and possibly an illegal Bulgarian was reading a tiny Bible we found at our host’s house. He looked hilarious and a bit on the adorable side so I took my camera out and clicked away.

This photo was taken using a D700 and a 50mm lens.