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What’s This Kickstarter Thing?

I’ve recently launched my first Kickstarter campaign to support the creation and publication of my very first photography book! YAY! I’m so excited that after 2 days I’m already at 10% of my fundraising goal, but there is much work left to be done to raise the balance of the funding and I’ve had a few people ask me, “What’s this Kickstarter thing?” So here’s a quick rundown.

What's this Kickstarter thing?

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the collective effort of people to pool their money to support the efforts of other people. Crowdfunding is used to support a wide variety of activities, including creative projects, citizen journalism, support of artists by fans, startup company funding, and more. My Olympic Spirit Project is an example of a creative project.

How does Kickstarter work?

Thousands of creative projects are added to Kickstarter everyday. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen.

Are you guaranteed to get funding?

No. With Kickstarter, projects will only get funded if the total funding goal is reached. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding target, all backers’ credit cards are charged when the project reaches its deadline. If the project falls short, no one is charged and the project does not get funded.

Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

 

With the all-or-nothing model, it’s important to get the momentum of the campaign rolling early so that the campaign has a chance of getting on the “Staff Picks” page of the Kickstarter website. This allows the project to get more views within the crowdfunding community, and in turn more pledges.

Remember that your credit card does not get charged unless the project succeeds. Therefore your pledge is more important at the start than it is near the end of the funding deadline so that the momentum builds for the project. 

 

The Olympic Spirit ProjectWhat is the Olympic Spirit Project?

The Sochi 2014 Olympics have been labeled as the most controversial and most expensive Games of our time, and I feel that the Olympic spirit has been lost for many. Some are even boycotting the Games completely.

After experiencing the Olympic energy in Vancouver in 2010 as media and again in London in 2012 as a spectator, I am inspired to recreate that feeling in Sochi this February to support our athletes (and their competitors) as they compete in the biggest competition of their lives. The athletes have worked so hard to get to this point and it’s unfair to them not to support their efforts in what for most is a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country.

So I came up with The Olympic Spirit Project.

The goal of this project is to get on the ground in Sochi Russia for 10 days during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games to photograph and document the Olympic spirit. I will attend both official Olympic and cultural events and photograph the different ways that cultures celebrate a win, or display their disappointment in a loss. The images I capture during my time in Sochi will be edited and compiled into the Olympic Spirit photo book, with a targeted publishing date of September 2014.

Because funding on Kickstarter is all or nothing, I need your help to get the momentum rolling on the funding campaign now. Every dollar counts! Two dollars, five dollars, twenty-five dollars, it all adds up! And please share the project with your friends and family to help spread the Olympic Spirit even further!

In exchange for your generous support, I’m offering some great rewards. From digital and hard cover copies of the finished book to the opportunity to join me at an official Olympic event during the project! And of course every backer will be acknowledged and thanked in the book itself on the Project Contributors page.

Please click the Kickstarter button below to pledge your support today!

Pledge your support on Kickstarter

 

I thank you for your generosity and support, and look forward to creating an amazing and inspiring book!

If you have any questions about either Kickstarter or the Olympic Spirit Project, please shoot me an email or leave a comment below.

Announcing the Olympic Spirit Project

As most of you know, I am working to get to Sochi in February to photograph the fan and cultural side of the 2014 Olympics. I launched a fundraising campaign a few weeks back, and have received a lot of feedback that this campaign did not really encompass my passions. I appreciate all of your honest feedback and have as a result created a new project that encompasses my passions for photography and the Olympics and is way more ME!

I’m very excited to share with you, “The Olympic Spirit Project.” – http://bit.ly/spirit2014

The Olympic Spirit Project on Kickstarter

Vancouver 2010 Men's Gold Medal Game

Vancouver 2010 Men's Gold Medal Hockey

 

What Is The Olympic Spirit Project?

I feel that with all the controversy surrounding the 2014 Olympic Games, the Olympic spirit has been somewhat lost. This is unfair to our Canadian athletes as well as their international competitors who have worked HARD to qualify for the biggest competition of their lives. They need our support! This project is geared at reviving the Olympic spirit and putting the attention back where it belongs: On the Athletes!

The goal of the Olympic Spirit Project is to capture images illustrating the Olympic Spirit through the eyes of different cultures from around the globe,  in Sochi during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. I will share some of the images and stories with you from Russia on my blog, and after the Games are over the images will be edited and compiled into a book, which will then be available for sale. The targeted publishing date is September 2014.

 

Vancouver 2010 - Men's Team Pursuit Speed Skating Gold Medal Team
Vancouver 2010 – Men’s Team Pursuit Speed Skating Gold Medal Team

 

Vancouver 2010 - Paralympic Alpine Skiing
Vancouver 2010 – Paralympic Alpine Skiing

 

Vancouver 2010 - Paralympic Medal Ceremony
Vancouver 2010 – Paralympic Medal Ceremony

 

What’s in it for you?

In return for your support, I am offering rewards from a hand written postcard from Russia to the opportunity to experience an official Olympic event with me at the Games. All backers will be acknowledged in the final printed book.

All Levels: Thank-You Postcard from Russia – All backers pledging $10 or more will receive a hand-written Postcard sent from Russia during the Olympic Games.

All Levels: Your Name Featured in the Book – All backers pledging to the project will acknowledged on the Project Contributors page in the final printed book.

$25 Level: 5-pack of postcards featuring images from the project, and a digital copy of the finished book.

$85 Level: A digital copy of the finished book, a signed 5×7 print featuring an image from the project, and a 5-pack of postcards featuring images from the project.

$150 Level: A digital copy of the finished book, 2 signed 8×10 prints featuring images from the project, and a 5-pack of postcards featuring images from the project.

$350 Level: A hard cover copy of the finished book, 10 prints of photos taken of your personal pocket-sized mascot (provided by you) at 10 Russian Olympic landmarks.

$1000 Level: 2 signed hard cover copies if the finished book, a signed 11×14 print featuring an image from the project, 10 prints of photos taken of your personal pocket-sized mascot (provided by you) at 10 Russian Olympic landmarks.

$1500 Level (9 available): 2 signed hard cover copies of the finished book, a (used) official 2014 Olympic event ticket, a signed 11×14 print of an images from the project, 10 prints of photos taken of your personal pocket-sized mascot (provided by you) at 10 Russian Olympic landmarks. (there are

$2000 Level (1 available): A ticket to join me at the 2014 Olympic Men’s and Ladies’ Team Pursuit Speed Skating event on February 21st, 2014 in Sochi Russia (flight, accommodations and related travel expenses not included). You will also receive 2 signed hard cover copies of the finished book, and a signed 11×14 print of an image from the project.

$2000 Level (1 available): A ticket to join me at the 2014 Olympic Women’s Hockey Play-off Semi-Final Game on February 17th, 2014 in Sochi Russia (flight, accommodations and related travel expenses not included). You will also receive 2 signed hard cover copies of the finished book, and a signed 11×14 print of an image from the project.

$2000 Level (1 available): A ticket to join me at the 2014 Olympic Men’s Hockey Play-off Quarter-Final Game on February 19th, 2014 in Sochi Russia (flight, accommodations and related travel expenses not included). You will also receive 2 hard cover copies of the finished book, and a signed 11×14 print of an image from the project.

$2500 Level (1 available): A ticket to join me at the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medal Men’s Hockey Game on February 22nd, 2014 in Sochi Russia (flight, accommodations and related travel expenses not included). You will also receive 2 hard cover copies of the finished book, and a signed 11×14 print of an image from the project.

All Levels: Karma points and huge gratitude from me! : )

How You Can Help

With your support this project will come to life. Click the Kickstarter button below for full project details and for an opportunity to contribute to rebuilding the Olympic Spirit for our athletes in Sochi this coming February.

Pledge your support on Kickstarter

THANK YOU for your support!

New Events to Debut at the Sochi 2014 Olympics Games

The biggest Winter Olympics in history is set to take place in the biggest country in the world starting on February 6th, 2014 in Sochi, Russia, and there are some new events making their Olympic debuts:

Ski Halfpipe – Men and Women

Halfpipe Skiing

Competitors get two separate runs in the preliminaries to qualify for two final runs for 12 skiers. Judges score on take off, height, landing and difficulty of trick. Skiers are ranked based on highest score taken out of the two final runs.

Women’s Ski Jumping

Ski Jumping

Each competitor gets two runs, and are scored based on distance and style. The athlete with the highest combined score from all four jumps is the winner.

Biathlon Mixed Relay

Biathlon

There are two males and two females per team. Female athletes start the relay, each with two six-kilometer kegs. The two male athletes then follow with two 7.5-kilometer kegs. Each competitor shoots twice (one prone, one standing) and there is a 150 km penalty loop is added on for each miss. The team with the lowest combined time wins.

Figure Skating Team Event

Figure Skating

Teams of six skaters from each country perform in four separate categories: men’s, women’s, pairs and dance. There will be two skaters each for pairs and dance, and one male and one female skater for individual runs. The team with the highest aggregated score wins. The event will be spread over three days.

Luge Team Relay

Luge Team Relay

The new race format comprises three teams: a doubles sled, a woman’s single sled and a men’s single sled. Each sled slides one after the other as teams compete for the fastest combined time. A touch pad at the finish line must be activated by a teammate to open the gate for the next sled in line.

Ski Slopestyle

Ski Slope Skiing

Skiers make their way down an obstacle course of rails, jumps and other features. They are judged on the quality, style and originality of their tricks in both men’s and women’s competitions.

Snowboard Parallel Special Slalom

Snowboarding

Athletes race head-to-head downhill between gates. The one who gets to the bottom first, without falling, wins. This event is seen as more technically challenging than the snowboard parallel giant slalom, which was introduced to the Olympics in 2002.

Snowboard Slopestyle

Snowboard Slope Style

Snowboard slopestyle works the same way as its ski counterpart: athletes jump, twist and grind down an obstacle course and are judged on the tricks they perform. Both men and women will compete.

 

Luge Relay Debuts at Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Take an in-depth look at the Luge Relay event as they build to its Olympic debut at the upcoming Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

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The Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay

With the announcement of Tokyo winning the bid for the 2020 Olympic host city this afternoon and the Sochi 2014 Torch relay only 29 days away, I’m getting very excited about my upcoming trip to experience my third Olympic Games!

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch   London 2012 Olympic Torch

In 2010, the Olympic Torch Relay came right by my building when I lived smack downtown at Howe and Nelson. This was the true beginning of that amazing energy we felt in our city for the duration of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. I cannot WAIT to feel that energy again when I arrive in Sochi! To view my photos from the final stretch of the Vancouver 2010 Relay, please visit the set on Flickr.

Sadly, I will miss the 2014  relay, as I won’t be in Russia just yet. But I do plan to find and hold one while I’m there to add to my Olympic torch photo collection. The question is, will I be wearing my Canadian or Dutch colors for this one?

 

Sochi 2014 Olympic TorchThe torch is one of the key symbols of the Games and often captures the imagination of the world. With its bright, eye-catching design, the Sochi 2014 torch, shown here, is intended to reflect Russian hospitality, and the joyful and inspirational atmosphere which is an integral part of the Olympic Torch Relays.

The Flame for the XXII Olympic Winter Games of 2014 will arrive in Moscow on October 6th, 2013, after being lit on the ancient ground of Olympia. From there, it will begin its 123 day journey across the territory of Russia. It will be seen by the residents of 83 regions of the Russian Federation and the coverage of the relay will be 90% of the country’s population.

The Olympic torch will be carried by a record number of torchbearers. 14 thousand people will have the opportunity to run with the lit torch across the cities of Russia, and more than 30 thousand volunteers will be active at the relay. It will travel more than 65,000 km in the 123 day journey.

For more information about the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay, please visit www.torchrelay.sochi2014.com.

Sochi Torch Relay Numbers
(image source: http://torchrelay.sochi2014.com/en/Relay/OurRelay)

 

 

Prepping for Sochi!

The countdown is at 206 days and I’m finding myself thinking more and more about Sochi!

I spent the weekend playing tourist in Whistler over the  past weekend, which included a little photoshoot at the 2010 Olympic sites. I figure I should collect some fun images for when I head to Russia next February to use on my social media profiles. So here are a couple of images, and I’ll be collecting more over the coming months, as the countdown continues…

Whistler Olympic Rings

 

Canada Flag

Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch

With just over a year until the 2014 Winter Games (389 days), the torch was unveiled last night, as we slept here in Vancouver.

The torch has a fun, modern and elegant design, and I, personally, am loving that they used the traditional Russian red! The Olympic torch’s Paralympic counterpart is blue. You can see an image of it here.

Some information about the torch, quoted from the Sochi 2014 Facebook page:

Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch

“The concept behind the torch for the 2014 Games is based on the contrasts of Russia. It combines motifs from Russian folklore with ideas of innovation and technological breakthroughs. Its pattern is something that all Russians have been familiar with since childhood, when they first hear the fairy-tales and legends about the Firebird, or the Phoenix which rose from the ashes.

The torch design was developed by a Russian creative team, led by Vladimir Pirozhkov and Andrei Vodyanik. The designers paid particular attention to the torch’s construction and its flame-lighting system. The construction of the torch ensures that the flame burns reliably in difficult conditions, such as strong winds, heavy frosts or any surprises that a Russian winter can throw up.

The torch weighs nearly 1.8 kg, is 0.95 m tall, 0.145 m wide (at its widest part), and 0.54 m deep. Its weight and center of gravity were carefully calculated so as to make the torch as comfortable as possible to carry whilst running. The torch and its component parts have been put through numerous tests, and have been tested in the harshest of conditions. 14,000 Olympic torches will be produced.”
(Torch image source: Sochi 2014 Facebook page)

I had the opportunity to get up close and personal to both the Vancouver and London Olympic torches, and now I’m looking forward to picking up the 2014 torch in Sochi! I’m very excited to make that a reality! Less than 389 days to go!

      

For more images of the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic torches, please visit the Sochi 2014 Flickr page.

A Side Trip to London and the 2012 Olympics

Earlier this summer I took a last minute, unexpected trip to the Netherlands for family reasons. It just so happened that it was timed perfectly with the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. So I thought to myself, “should I go to London?” The answer, of course, was, “hells yes, you should go to London!!” I was already most of the way there, and all that stood between me and experiencing that amazing Olympic energy again was a small puddle jump across the English Channel! I know I would have regretted it, had I not gone.

So upon a trusted recommendation, I navigated to the EasyJet website, one of Europe’s low cost airlines, and for about $200 CAD I booked my return ticket from Amsterdam to London Gatwick. From there I needed a train ticket to get into London proper. After a quick Google search I came upon the Gatwick Express site, and booked a ticket for about $45 CAD return, which went right to London’s Victoria station. Easy!

Finally, accommodations… I was very fortunate and thankful to the generosity of friends who were in London for the Games, and I was able to stay with them in the flat they had rented in Kensington. Awesome! I was set! On to London!!

As it was my first time in London, I spent a day exploring some of the well known landmarks and historical areas. I started in Hyde Park at Kensington Palace and slowly made my way, mostly on foot, to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. The best part though (and thanks to James and Greg for giving me the ticket!), was the athletics event at the Olympic stadium! This was my first summer Olympics, so I was very excited about attending an official Olympic event! It was truly amazing to watch the athletic ability of the competitors! Their speed and talent was incredible to watch! I’m so grateful for having these two amazing friends who helped make it all happen for me!

I’d also like to send out a HUGE thank you to the Olympic Party Boys, James Mazur and Greg Mazur, for their generosity and hospitality that made my London adventure such an unforgettable experience! You guys are incredible and I’m so very grateful for your friendship and epic awesomeness! Big love to you both! 

LondonOlympics2012-39LondonOlympics2012-36LondonOlympics2012-12LondonOlympics2012-25

LondonOlympics2012-40

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For more travel images, please visit my Flickr page.

 

A Taste of the Yukon

In the short time I spent on the whirlwind Whitehorse Olympic media day last February, there was much to see and do!    (This post is well overdue….)

The trip started right from the moment we checked in at YVR. The woman handing out the boarding passes was dressed in traditional dress from the gold rush days. She wore this while hosting the flight to Whitehorse with contests and games.

Upon arrival, our media group was ushered to waiting school buses to take us to the local Whitehorse tourism centre, where we were introduced to the Province’s premier, Dennis Fentie, and members of Yukon Tourism. We were also treated to a dance from the Snowshoe Shufflers! Yep, dancers with snowshoes strapped to their feet! They also had past Olympians and Special Olympians present from the local area. I was honoured to personally meet Christine Larsen and she allowed me not only to hold her medal from the Atlanta Games, but to hang it around my neck as well!

Me and Christine Larsen and her silver medal

Christine Larsen's silver medal

Travel Yukon hosted a quick lunch with tastes of various restaurants in the city with traditional loca foods, such as moose, bison, and venison meats! It was all absolutely delicious!

We were then separated into our respective groups, depending on the activity we had previously chosen. The one my partner and I chose to be a part of was the Wildlife Reserve and Hot Springs tour. In between the two, we even stopped at t a local coffee roasting company, Bean North, where they roast organic beans from around the world that are purchased via fair trade.

Bean North Cafe

Bean North Cafe Bean North Cafe

At the wildlife reserve we saw many animals, from reindeer, to mountain goats, mountain sheep, elk, and  deer, to my favourite: a lynx!

Lynx at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Yukon Wildlife Preserve Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Yukon Wildlife Preserve

The Takhini Hot Springs were heavenly! We didn’t have a whole lot of time to enjoy them, but in the -20 degree Celsius weather it was a welcome warm up! The great thing about these hot springs was that you did not get that rotten egg sulfur smell that you often do with hot springs. There was no odor at all! Just two big pools of different temperatures to enjoy at your leisure. We were told that if you’re enjoying the hot springs at night, you may be lucky enough to catch a great light show from the arora borealis. Now THAT, I would love to experience!

Takhini Hot Springs

Connected to the hot springs is accommodation in the form of small cabins in the woods. The cabins looked very cozy and a good place to warm up as a nice winter retreat. With snow shoeing and cross-country skiing as daytime activities, and the hot springs to warm up in at the end of the day, you will never get bored at the Takhini Resort!

Takhini Hot Springs Lodge

Takhini Hot Springs Cabins Takhini Hot Springs Cabins

Takhini Hot Springs Cabins: Group shot

Next, we were taken to the Whitehorse Museum where we had an opportunity try our hands at gold panning, taste some locally brewed beer and attempt the Sour Toe Cocktail. You’ll find more details about interesting cocktail, continent a mummified human toe in this previous post. You can watch a video of me drinking the cocktail on YouTube.

SourToe Cocktail

SourToe Cocktail Drinking my Sourtoe Cocktail in Whitehorse, Yukon

From the museum the media group was taken to our last stop of the trip, the banquet dinner for the Yukon Quest dog sledding race. (http://www.yukonquest.com/) We were invited to partake in the celebration and announcements of the winners of the 2010 Yukon Quest. We had the honour of meeting the winner and speaking with him about the challenges he experienced over the 1,600 km of rough, sometimes hazardous terrain between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska.

Yukon Quest Hans Gatt, winner of Yukon Quest, a 2 week Dog Sledding Race

We had one final surprise at the Whitehorse airport to round off our Yukon experience as we waited to check in and board our chartered flight back to YVR. Cancan dancers! Pretty sure this is not a regular occurrence for travelers to Whitehorse…

Cancan Dancers at the Whitehorse Airport

After a full day of travel and activities, we arrived back in Vancouver around midnight. It was a nice break, but I was happy to jump back into the Olympics craziness the following day.

I’d like to thank Travel Yukon and Canada’s Northern House for inviting me to come along on the Yukon media trip. It was truly amazing to see such a beautiful part of our country. I know I’ll be back again to see and experience all that Yukon has to offer! This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that will not be forgotten!

Daily Photo: A Lynx in Yukon

During the Olympics, I was invited on a media trip to Whitehorse, Yukon for a day. On the trip the group visited a nature reserve where I saw this beautiful lynx.

For more photos from the Yukon trip, please visit Flickr.

Lynx at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve