Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tours, France

Last year, I was given an amazing opportunity to study abroad. At first I was really hesitant because I've really never lived away from home before. The longest I went without my parents was a 4-day and 3-night high school graduation trip to Wasaga Beach with my friends, and let's get real, that was more of a 4-day long party than actually living away from home. So when I received my UofT Study Abroad acceptance letter, I happily screamed and jumped around with my friend Catherine (also my room mate of the trip) then secretly went into a bit of a panic mode. Who's going to make me food? How am I going to get around? What if I get lost? What if I forget something?

la Guingette (the Tavern), bar by the Loire river

Soon enough, all of my insecurities about the trip faded away and I was just a big ball of excitement. A few months of preparation passed and before I knew it, I was saying my goodbyes at Pearson Airport and boarding my plane to France. I experienced so much in that one short month of being away from home. It is a completely different feeling than just visiting a country. I slept, ate and lived the European lifestyle.

Cath├ędrale St-Gatien

Before I get ahead of myself, the main reason for the trip was to study a culture course at the local university. I chose the option of taking an English course, from fear of not being in a French class for almost 5 years. Although thinking back I would have definitely taken the French language course instead. Nonetheless, the course I took was still very interesting. I visited so many chateaus and learned about numerous kings and queens that you wouldn't even be able to keep track on your fingers and toes. It wasn't entirely a history lesson, we also learned about the modern French culture (for example: foods they ate, housing, careers, etc.).

Pont Wilson

Aside from the educational purpose of the trip, I visited London and made plenty of friends and drank a lot of wine and I did this and I did that and I could just go on with all the reason why I loved July 2011 so much. If you really want more detail, you can check the travel blog I tried to run while there: Suitcases and Travelbags.

And if this isn't all reminiscent enough already, check this out:

Watch it in HD here!

'A Day in Tours' speaks for itself and shows all the beautiful spots of the city. I pride myself in having been to almost every single location shown in the video. My absolute favourites were Place Plumereau (Place Plum for short) and Pont Wilson. There is a lot more to France than just Paris and the Eiffel tower. One 1 hour TGV ride trip from Paris and you can visit Tours, which is definitely one of France's hidden gems.

I have one tip.. If you are presented with the opportunity to study in another country, do it. You may be hesitant, nervous and afraid at first but that is all a part of the experience. Your eyes will be opened to a whole other culture that you will never be able to see in your city. So before I start to word vomit about my trip some more, I'll end off with my favourite quote:
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page." — St. Augustine

Friday, February 17, 2012

Gone Fishing!

... Well not really, but I’m definitely seeing things from a fish’s point of view!

Sometime last year, I came across an awesome iPhone accessory online. My only problem was I had to pay an unreasonable amount of money just for shipping. A friend of mine told me about the Olloclip which is actually much better than the initial accessory I found online. I checked all these stores hoping they would have it, but no luck. Finally, just last month I stopped by the Apple store and asked for the Olloclip. It wasn’t out on the floor so an associate had to grab me one from the back.

Let me tell you, it’s the best $79.09 I have ever spent. It comes with 3 lenses: fisheye, wide angle and macro. It’s really simple to use. It's an amazing alternative to buying a DSLR fisheye lens for $300-$500. The only downside is that the clip only goes on the iPhone without a case. Also, it might be a little difficult if the screen protector on the phone is too thick.

Anyways, the Olloclip works perfectly with my phone and I just can’t stop using it! My absolute favourite is the fisheye lens. If you guys want more details, make sure to check out their website: http://www.olloclip.com/.

Here are some shots I've already taken:

I thought it was only appropriate to use sushi as my first fisheye picture.

Marco shot of my spicy salmon, yum!

Wide angle.

My favourite fisheye shot yet.

Be prepared for more photos taken with the Olloclip, because I'm obsessed!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


A few weeks ago, my (CCT357: Digital Media - The Still Image) class had a guest speaker come in to talk about the world of advertising. Derek Blais (@derekblais) was very inspiring and motivated me to start working on my future. Although, I’m not quite sure what exactly I want to be when I grow up… I’m definitely going to start exploring options and work on perfecting my skills.

Derek showed this video in class and since then I cannot stop watching it. The different representations of each word are put together so beautifully. It definitely gets my creative gears going.

What do you guys think?