The Women of Summer 2014

Lucy-Scarlett-Johansson

by RYAN BOLTON

Ah, good ol’ summer movies. Doesn’t get much better than a solid summer action movie, does it? Wrong. Add in a solid dollop of red-hot actresses and then you have a top notch, take-my-$13-and-give-me-a-seat-as-close-to-the-screen-as-possible summer flick. And this summer’s offering is no exception. The major studios are pumping out films for every movie fan. You’ve got some action (Scarlett Johansson tearing it up in Lucy), you’ve got some A-star comedy (Cameron Diaz is back in Sex Tape), there’s a sprinkle of 3D sci-fi epic with Mila Kunis (yes!) in Jupiter Ascending and some horror for the screamers with Olivia Munn starring in Deliver Us from Evil. Oh, and how could we forget the crime-fighting nostalgia of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox? Now we’re excited.

So sit back and brace yourself, we’ve got you covered for the standout actresses of summer.

Scarlett Johansson

Lucy

Scarlett Johansson is a real-life superhero to us. This time, she’s a super powered drug mule that turns on her captors with her mind-bending abilities. And I mean mind-bending literally, as she has the power to use more than the typical 10% of her brain. So, both a brainy and brawny film with Johansson as the lead. Nice. To add to the matter, it’s directed by Luc Besson, the guy at the helm of The Fifth Element, so he knows a thing or two about strong female characters. Not to mention visually-intense movies.

Natalie Portman

Jane Got A Gun

Everyone’s favourite Natalie Portman is mixing things up. Again. Eschewing the Oscar-friendly roles like the venerable Black Swan, or the odd and likable Sam in Garden State, Portman is taking her shot at action-meets-western-meets-drama. And it’s got us quite excited. Playing the title character of Jane, Portman seeks revenge after her husband turns on his own gang and receives eight bullets for his efforts. Furthering the directness of the movie’s title, Jane prefers guns to see the aforementioned revenge through. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what role Portman decides upon as she always gives it her all—let’s not forget the head-shaving in V for Vendetta—and we’ll be watching, gladly.

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel star in Sex Tape.

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel star in Sex Tape.

Cameron Diaz

Sex Tape

Cameron’s back! And thank god. Our favourite bad teacher is in quite the pickle with this upcoming raunchy summer comedy. Reunited with co-star Jason Segel, Diaz and Segel look to boost their bedroom time by, you know, making a little sex flick. Problem is, it gets uploaded to the “cloud” and it’s out for every one of their friends to see. You know with Segel and Diaz steering the ship, there’s going to some lolz and R-rated hooliganism. We can’t wait.

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Pretty Pictures of Pretty Petals

Cool Flower Toronto

Alliteration is best. So are flowers for shooting subjects. Here are a collection of photos that I’ve shot this spring of, well, flowers. Real men photograph plants. Enjoy!

Pink Lilac

Toronto's Flowers

Spring Tulip

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Shedding a Bit More Light on the Craft

Iphone Apps for Photography

Useful mobile apps for photography aficionados

One of the more memorable marketing slogans to come from the late Steve Jobs’ venerated company is “There’s an app for that.” Indeed, in this day and age when faster online connectivity and the proliferation of mobile gadgets have seemingly dictated new lifestyle norms, apps are gradually becoming the de facto tools emblematic of modern living convenience.

For budding photographers, apps have certainly been instrumental in easing the learning curve of their preferred craft. Sure, they’d still eventually have to learn every nitty-gritty aspect of the art form, such as proper framing composition and exact adjustments of shutter speeds and ISOs appropriate for any given condition, but the apps below should at least get them started on the basic concepts without making them feel too noob-ish.

Get the right app

First up is PhotoCaddy, which contains a wide range of tips specific to particular aspects of photography. As its name implies, it aims to provide users with helpful shot setting suggestions. Best of all, it allows you to get tips—as well as share some of yours—with other photography enthusiasts around the world.

Next, we have the Pocket Light Meter app. As devotees of the visual arts know, lighting is arguably the most important component not just in photography but in other forms of visual media as well. Movies like The Dark Knight are purposefully low-lit and desaturated to convey their intended themes; and IGT’s pioneering work on live online casino gaming—featured on gaming site Castle Jackpot—are designed to emulate the feel-at-home atmosphere of actual table games in brick-and-mortar casinos. Clearly, light is the most essential tool that visual artists have to harness to get the best results possible; and for novice shutterbugs, the aforementioned app can go a long way towards helping them master that. To use it, simply point your device at your subject, and then again at a strong light source. The app will then calculate whether you need filters, and if so, how they should be adjusted.

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Never Stop Punching those Keys

Typewriter Keyboard

From the moment I first understood what a writer was, I wanted to be one.

It just made sense. Stories had their way of gripping my young mind in ways hitherto.

And I went to lengths to be one.

When I was younger, I still remember my parent’s first computer. The tapping of the keyboard keys struck a cord. I still get that feeling now, giddy. But once I learned how to type, I would—I’m not kidding—write out children’s books. Word for word. Just because I enjoyed it. I eventually started to type out books with a little more girth. Oftentimes, when my eyes crossed or I tired, I would have my babysitter continue to type out my carefully selected books. (They weren’t Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald or anything grandiose, sadly). I’m not sure why she acquiesced. Probably because I was finally quiet.

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Kate + Hank

Katie and Hank 1

My two favourites. In High Park.

Creeping on Kate

Creeping on Kate

Hank in High Park

Hank in High Park

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Fuck Yeah, It’s Spring

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Spring is here. I’m calling it. Hell, the Cherry Blossoms are calling it.

We went for a walk around Toronto yesterday to check out how spring is taking over. Here are a few snaps from what we saw.

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Spring in bloom. Photo by Ryan Bolton.

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Spring in bloom. Photo by Ryan Bolton.

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Spring in bloom. Photo by Ryan Bolton.

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Katie + Hank + Cherry Blossoms. Photo by Ryan Bolton.

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Sun kissed. Photo by Ryan Bolton.

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Skateboarding is Creativity

Andrew Reynolds Street Skating

Skateboarding isn’t a crime. It’s a creative outlet.

Creativity, like passion, is one of those things that you can’t teach. You can teach formulas for copywriting. You can teach proper brushstrokes in art class. You can teach someone how to kickflip. But the true essence—the creativity—behind these teachable skills isn’t taught.

It’s either there or it isn’t. And skateboarding opened my eyes to creativity, passion, determination and a myriad of other skills growing up.

I’m from a small town with a population of 7,000. Homogeneity is the right word. Bucolic, safe and uninspired are all suitable words as well. And as a teenager, I needed a creative outlet. That came in the form of skateboarding.

That wood board and four wheels opened up a new world. It taught me a new way of looking at the landscape: a grass gap at the local McDonald’s, the stair-set at the local newspaper office, a curb behind the grocery store were now a blank canvas. The town became a giant skatepark. And the possibilities for tricks were inexhaustive. The creative opportunities were boundless.

That feeling of accomplishing something you made up in your head is inexplicable. It’s euphoric.

My friends and I had an outlet that was beneficial not only for our general health, but for our creative health as well. Skateboarding is a mode for self-expression. If you’ve ever met a skateboarder without discipline, you haven’t met a real skateboarder. The number of times a skateboarder will fling themselves down a handrail to land that one trick is always worth it. That feeling of accomplishing something you made up in your head is inexplicable. It’s euphoric. It’s a natural high.

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