Alberta 1X1: The World’s Best Instagrammers Take Photos Of The Rockies #Alberta1x1

#Alberta1x1 Showcasing The Best Instagrammers In The World

I wear the same golf clothes as Tiger Woods, swing the same golf clubs, use the same golf balls. I do not play golf like Tiger Woods. The same is true for cameras. You can have the same tools as an expert, but if you don't have the talent it doesn't matter. Look at what the world's best Instagrammers did with the scenery in our backyard this week on Alberta 1x1.

Why I Take Pictures Of My Food

I’m one of those. Often when having a meal at a restaurant I haven’t eaten at before, I will take out my phone and take a picture of my food.

I don’t use Instagram, I don’t often serve the pictures to Twitter, nor do I feed them to Facebook. I take the pictures of my food for my blog.

I’m a reviewer. A word of mouth marketer. I’ve taken pictures of my food in Argentina, in Iceland, in Calgary.

My blog is monetized with ads, so it brings in some income. This means I need to pay taxes on that income when I declare it. This means I can also deduct expenses incurred to make that income. Do you see where this is going? I take pictures of my food, because I need the deductions against the income this blog makes.

But the restaurants shouldn’t be threatening concussions to people who serve up shots of the chef’s snapper online, they should be welcoming them. I get that the lighting isn’t always great. I get that an iPhone in my hands is not the same as a Nikon in the hands of a photographer from Saveur, but the picture I take still goes to my audience. Along with that picture goes my experience and thoughts. Shout me down while I take a pic of the poutine, and that’s the comment that’s going to go alongside it.

2010-07-19 porcao - 19When I went to Brazil with Team Diabetes, I was taking pictures of the restaurant because I was a tourist and it was my first time in a Brazillian steakhouse. The experience was fresh and new and exciting. Guess what the waiters did? They invited me in to the kitchen. They took my great experience and instead of diminishing it – they expanded it!

In New York, the New York Times is reporting that many restaurants are banning photography from their establishments. Chef David Bouley tells stories of people popping flashbulbs like they’re paparazzi and even climbing on chairs to get the right angle of the antipasto.

That’s ridiculous. So what does Bouley do when he sees someone setting up for a cover shoot? He invites them in to the kitchen.

“We’ll say, ‘That shot will look so much better on the marble table in our kitchen,’ ” Mr. Bouley told the Times. “It’s like, here’s the sauce, here’s the plate. Snap it. We make it like an adventure for them instead of telling them no.”

Bon Apetit has a great response to the NYT article where they give step-by-step tips to Foodstagrammers for getting the perfect shot.

Finally, and this is important folks, don’t act like a jerk. If you’re at a restaurant that clearly states its no-photo policy on the menu–like they do at Momofuku Ko or Blanca in New York–put down the camera. The minute a waiter or manager walks up and asks you to stop taking photos, you do that. Yes, you’re paying for a service. No, you don’t get to make the rules. Read More

The only change I would make is putting “polite and discreet” at the top of the list. We may like taking pictures of the food for friends, business, or otherwise, but you don’t need to make a big deal by announcing your foodstagramming to the entire restaurant.

It’s about respect really. I take my pictures discreetly when I’m out, and to be honest I feel like a bit of a hipster douche when I do it, so I make it quick. And that’s what it should be. I appreciate the foodstagramming is getting out of hand. I get that seeing a Facebook stream filled with fettucini is annoying.

Restauranteurs may not be fans of the trend, but they need to get used to it. Just as I will price compare items with my smartphone when I’m shopping, I will discreetly take pictures of my food.

So be my friend, I will be your friend, and I can get my tax deduction.

3 Places To Take Great Pictures Of The Calgary Skyline

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The classic Calgary skyline shot showing the Saddledome and the Core in the background is taken from a hill in the neighborhood of Ramsay just southeast of downtown. This is the place news (actually it’s usually sports reporters) will do their standup to get the skyline (and the Saddledome) in the background.

Vancouver has the Grouse Grind, Calgary has “the stairs.” There are many wooden stairways erected to climb the banks of the river valleys surrounding the city. They are about a dozen flights of thigh burning steps that hardcore exercisers will do up to half a dozen times.

The most popular set is on Memorial Drive, just on the opposite end of a pedestrian bridge crossing the Bow from downtown at the Calgary Curling Club. Climb the stairs at noon and you’ll be elbowing your way up with office workers blowing off some midday steam. Once you get to the top, pause and enjoy the view before rushing down to do it all again.

20110124 Calgary from crescent heights

Another angle of the skyline, from the north looking south, can be found from the heights of Nose Hill Park. Grab a spot in the lot just off John Laurie Blvd and then take a 20 minute walk up the path to the hill to wander the grassy fields on the top of this flat park. It’s a great place to go geocaching, ride a bike or run with your dog. While you’re there, enjoy the view.

Look Daddy! It's the CITY!

With the heart of Calgary settled in a valley formed by the Bow and Elbow rivers, there are many great places to get a variety of views of the city skyline.

How to do a Vancouver Wedding on a Budget: Picking Invitations

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Be sure to check out the complete Vancouver Wedding on a Budget series of posts.

When planning for invitations, there are a few hidden costs that you don’t think of right off the top when you’re doing things like choosing stationery, font, colours, theme and layout – mainly, postage.

It’s proper to send a self addressed stamped envelope for the RSVP with each invitation, so that immediately doubles your postage costs for each invite.

Jen and I are only going to be sending out 40-50 invites, so that’s only an additional $25 for return postage, but if you’re having a big wedding, it can quickly add up, especially when you factor in reply cards and extra envelopes.

But, as with anything, there are many ways to cut costs when it comes invites.

You can simply email your guests and sort their responses on your own for nothing. You can step your presentation a bit by creating an eVite which will let you add a little bit of wedding personality to your invitations, and it will manage your responses for you – again for free.

If you want to go traditional and have actual printed invitations mailed to guests, there are still ways to save.

Jen and I are wanting to try something a little more traditional, while still having a new media flare. So we’re choosing to mail invitations, but have the RSVPs handled online through a personal wedding website. (I’ll tackle the personal wedding website in a future installment)

I tossed the question out on Twitter one night, and got an instant response. “Use a Google Form for RSVPs, will populate a spreadsheet of guests,” wrote @dougsymington.

I tested it. It’s brilliant. I can ask guests to choose menu items, provide email addresses, give us information about special needs, and have it all instantly populated on a spreadsheet for easy viewing and management.

The Google Form is free, it’s embeddable in our wedding website, it’s totally customizable and it’s thorough in its managing of information.

When it comes to saving money on the invites, doing them yourself is the easiest way. I can take a photo with special meaning to Jen and I (definitely not the one below!) and have it printed on a postcard with iPhoto on my Mac.


With iPhoto, you can add all the fancy scripty font and then you just put the wedding website and RSVP address on the bottom.

Going the postcard will mean we dont have to buy envelopes to mail the invites, and we can keep the design to just one card (saving paper costs). By having the RSVPs online, we dont have to buy extra reply cards, envelopes and postage.

Total cost for invites, including postage, would be about $2 each!

What are your secrets for saving on wedding invitations? Let me know.

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