OOOHH, Pretty!…ok, now must SLEEP! LOL

Ok, weird title – I know!  Here’s the scoop…..I’ve recently started a working relationship with Events By Emma, a event planner here in Winnipeg.  She had asked me if I could do some photographs for her of a charity event she was working on, “The Manitoba Moose Yearling Foundation’s Fundraising Diner”.  The Yearling Foundation raises money for several different children charities.  No problem I said.  Well, there “kinda” was a problem.  I had to be in Vancouver as I was asked to one again judge The Professional Photographers of Canada – British Columbia (PPOC-BC) chapter’s Annual Image Salon  (fancy word for photographic competition).  It’s distinguishes the top images and image makers of British Columbia, and among other awards it selects the BC’s Photographer of the Year.  Being asked to judge is a great honour, and a great responsibility.  This is my third year in a row flying to Vancouver to judge their Salon.   When you are given the tittle of Master Photographer (MPA) you are expected to give back to the industry that recognized you with that honour. 

So, the Yearling Foundation Banquet was on Wednesday, March 23rd.  Because I was off speaking at the Saskatchewan’s Chapter of PPOC, I was a little late in booking my flight.  The Air Canada options available to me by booking so late were not exactly numerous, shall we say.  Bottom line, I would leave Vancouver at 10:30PM Tuesday the 22nd of March and fly to Calgary, arriving at 11:50 PM. My flight was delayed about an hour, but that’s not the real problem. A scheduled 6 1/2 hour lay over in the middle of the night at Calgary’s International Airport was the real issue.  6 1/2 hours…. not really worth it to find a hotel to sleep and shower…with travel time and having to arrive at the airport at least an hour minimum before your flight, I’d be lucky to get 3 hours sleep when it was all said and done. So I decide that since I have no option of getting on another flight back home sooner, I would “sleep” in the airport.  Yeah right!
First off I am happy to learn that my Wpg departing flight’s gate was maybe 100 yards from my arrival gate…cool!  I was tired and grumpy when I arrived in Calgary. I try to wash up in the washroom a little bit and by the time I walk out there is NOBODY around.  Not just my gate, but ANY gate in that wing.  No flights, so everybody checked out and went home to their nice comfy beds. So I look around and finally find a small table next to a outlet.  So I unpack my laptop, plugged it in, start into the airport WIFI so I had SOMETHING to do until my eyes got so sleepy that I could even fall asleep on a bench at the airport (well, at least noise would not be an issue). I also plug in my cell phone as it is running low on juice.  Finally I’m all set up, and start cruising the net, checking  e-mail, blah, blah, blah.  They are just about closed. Just as I was about 2 minutes from attempting to lay down and fall asleep a security guard comes out of nowhere. “What are YOU doing here?” he asks. “Waiting for a horribly scheduled connecting flight” was my response.  “Not here”, he said.” What do you mean, I’m in a secure section of the airport and my gate is right here.  I’m just a wee tad early that’s all.  Blame Air Canada for that!” Nope, you gotta go back to the main section of the airport..can’t stay here!” Now I’m tired and cranky and the thought of lugging my what seemed like 90lb backpack with my camera gear and laptop (that I just UNPACKED)  was not sitting well. Basically, I was not gonna win that argument!  He was making me go to the unsecured section of the airport, he didn’t really care what I did there, and then go through security once again (but I’m a secured passenger NOW ’cause I’m at my gate!).  Did I mention the short 100 yard walk?  Yeah well this one seemed like a 12 mile hike up a mountain as a shurpa hauling my camera gear.  When I finally get to where I need to be, I am not happy.  There are people sleeping all over the place.  By a Tim Horton’s I could have sworn I hear one guy say to another ” He’ll be back” and if I wanted to eat ANYTHING he would have been right.  That Tim’s reminded me of the signs you seen in the movies when people are driving through the desert ” Last service for 100 miles”. SO I FINALLY settle on an area that seems darker than the rest. My choice was also the one of many others as there were about 12 bodies with suitcases all around them.  People pulling up to comfy chairs face to face and lying on the seats…their legs hung over the back of one of the chairs, people sleeping on the floor (why when there were benches I wondered – DUH!) and there were a few other sleeping on the benches. Well, they were not “really” benches, but three individual seats in a row that were held together by steel bars. I decided any old port in the storm, and picked my favourite and tried to sleep. Before I fall asleep however, I STILL need to charge my cell phone.  No handy dandy close by plug this time around! No, on the other side of the tiled walkway by the closed stores I found the lonely outlet. Only about 30 feet away, but my phone had to sit up against a wall in the middle of a wall 30 feet away from where I am.  Call me crazy, but when sleeping in public places I tend to want to have my possessions on or near me, but it was my only choice and I wasn’t sleeping on a tiled floor!  When, I might as well should have as that so called “bench” must have been been designed during the cold war by an USSR Interrogation Officer!  No only could I NOT fall asleep, but my back started freaking out on me. Back spasms, totally stiff…there was no sleep at ALL that night – major pain.
Around 4:30 AM the waterfall beside the areas where I was not sleeping decided it was time to turn on..even though there was only a few employees starting to arrive, no public (other than us smucks who chose not to sleep on the benches that is).  Ok, that’s it!  I was told the security check-in would be open by 4:30AM, so I gather my stuff, and walking like a zombie while hunched over with 300lbs of backpack on my back which is about to divorce me…so off I go.  I haven’d slept for about 22 hours now, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before, so I’m just about walking into walls and talking to plants!  I breeze through security  – what no LINES at 4:45AM???  and after a Vietnamese death march I find myself in a very familiar area….BACK at the gate and comfy proper benches I was booted out of a few hours earlier! Bruce not happy.
Ok, just get me on the “******* ******* plane and get me HOME!”  Now I am on one of the first flights out of Calgary in the morning.  Very early.  Too early for the crew I guess cause for no reason what so ever there is no staff member at the gate till about 10 minutes before we are scheduled to leave, never mind board.We finally board 45 minutes AFTER we were scheduled to leave. Fine – whatever – sleep…get me sleep! It’s snowing, and kinda ugly out, so we need to de-ice. Where there goes another 1/2 hour. No problem the pilot says, he’ll make up time in the air as he tried to comfort about 30 people who needed to catch a connecting flight to Toronto and were not pleased. I ‘think I may have gotten 1/2 hour shut eye on the flight, but I was not going to open my eyes when I was not sleeping. I was trying to negotiate with myself to get some sleep.  Didn’t really work.  Now I’m starving now,but I didn’t even want to give the attendant the hint that I may be awake so she would bring food to me and I would have to open my eyes to deal with here and shake the cobwebs out of my brain and then I’d never be able to fall sleep on the flight. So I get to Winnipeg only 75 minutes late (pushing 11:30AM), drag myself to the washroom and slam my head in the sink under the tap – “gotta get to the point where I can see straight again”. I meet my ride and eventually stumble in the door. The stomach was starving, but the brain said no way…sleepy time!  I crash hard…..till about 3:30PM. 4 hours only, but enough to be able to function. Gobbled down some food, woke up  in the shower, re-packed my camera bag and I was off (well I dressed in there as well – formal function you know!).
I get a sweet parking space right across from the main doors of the MTS Centre.  I come in and meet the security guard (not one of THEM again!). He informs me I MUST go to the security entrance which just happens to be on  “exact” opposite side of the building that I am at right now.  ” But if you let me in that door I can get there in 30 seconds by walking inside, rather than 5 minutes around the build in the cold.  Can you maybe look away as I slip past you, I will not tell, HONEST!”  Well, you can guess his response to that…so I’m walkin’ outside in the cold…..I have to get buzzed into some nondescript fire door with a camera beaming down on me…. haul my camera bag down 2 flights of stairs (Could’a’ took an elevator if Mr. Guard would have been a buddy!). Sign in…only to be told that security cut my time in half to do the photographs of the decorations that I promise’d I’d do for Events By Emma.  No, the work load wasn’t cut in half…just the time I was allotted to do it in – THANKS! 

So finally I get in the arena bowl,and am very impressed. Emma and her team did a great job of turning a hockey arena into a location worthy of a classy black tie fund-raising affair.  I say hello to Emma, go over again what she asked me to do, and I’m off!   The funny thing about “work mode” is no matter how tired I am, if I have a cranky back, a cold, flu, headache, hangnail, ingrown nasal hair, diaper rash, the Black Plague, etc…. that all goes to the back burner when it’s time to photograph. Oh trust me, whatever ailment I happen to have will catch up to me again after I’m finished, but while I’m working it doesn’t exist. Funny, I get headaches when I don’t eat…except when I’m photographing.  Often I go the entire day without eating  and when it’s time for me to eat I hardly touch my food because I’m still wired from working. Same thing with sleep. After a long day I maybe exhausted…but I’m gonna be seeing the wee hours of the morning ’cause I just can’t sleep.  “EXCEPT” for THAT day! After I did all the photographs asked of me and more…..I did the long march back to my “great” parking space, drove home, walked in the door and proceeded to go into a 12 hour coma!
Here’s several images of the decorations that Events By Emma did for the Manitoba Moose Yearling Foundation’s fund-raising dinner.  Also a neat image of the Moose Logo projected onto the carpet…. and even one of my Councillor Thomas Steen just for the heck of it.  He has a pretty puzzled look on his face, not exactly sure why….didn’t care at that point.  That was the last shot of the event and was taken just because and I was already finished with everything I needed to do.  The brain was starting to turn off and let sleep take over……zzzzzzzz.

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