Bhangra with Little Humans in the Yukon Forest | Rivers to Ridges

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Dancing Bhangra with little humans in the forest! Thanks, the forest school in the Yukon, Rivers to Ridges, for inviting me! After dancing, I told them a story. Kids and I also discussed why inclusion, equality and respecting others are important.

Rivers to Ridges is a forest school in Whitehorse, Yukon. The school designs, supports and delivers outdoor and land-based programs for young people year-round.

Running Order for 2018 Bhangra Show For MC

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Bhangra – Dance of Punjab (For MC)


6:30 PM – 7:00: Before Concert Bhangra Music

by Yukon Arts Centre sound tech team

7:00 PM (Sharp) – Show Starts with Inauguration by MC Jacob Zimmer

Who: Invitation to The Commissioner of Yukon Hon. Madame Angélique Bernard to stage.
Activity:  The Commissioner Madame Bernard will make a one-minute speech show opening speech.

MC ONLY:- Bhangra – Dance of Punjab: Bhangra is the folk-dance of Punjab. Before Britishers made India their colony, Punjab was an independent Sikh country with its capital in Lahore under the king Majaraja Ranjit Singh. In 1849, Punjab became a part of India and it was the last territory to fall under the British rule. The dance is pure reflection of Sikh and Punjabi culture and traditions for centuries. Due to this culture’s strong connections with agriculture life, so this dance has roots in farms, crops, and villages. After harvesting their crops, after all their hard work, after they were done with everything, people in Punjab used to dance this (to show) a sense of accomplishment and happiness. So, for hundreds of years,  due to hard-working farming life of that time, this dance had been developed as a hard-core tough dance to showcase strength and immense joy. Due to this element, nowadays a lot of people dance bhangra for high-energy workouts and rigorous physical exercises. Originally it was a purely men’s dance, however with the time women also started embracing it and nowadays men and women both dance it. It is heavily present in the Sikh and Punjabi culture, weddings, parties, and all kinds of celebrations. With passing of time, bhangra has evolved from farming life and villages and reached everywhere to big cities and modern metro life. Nowadays, bhangra music and dance is also seen predominantly in Bollywood movies and other kinds of big musical fusions. Many people go to bhangra sessions just to stay healthy, fit and as the best alternative to gym. Despite the evolution with time, bhangra succeeded maintaining the core elements of the dance of joy, the dance of happiness, dance of good health, and the dance of productivity.

7:03 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer

Who: Invitation to Gurdeep Pandher to say a few words
Activity: Gurdeep will say a few words in just one-minute with Hello, Bonjour, Sat Shiri Akaal and Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh by acknowledging that we are on the traditional territory of Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and say very briefly about the bhangra dance form/brief history and will thank to sponsors, volunteers, students and Yukon Government.
Kama Sava

7:05 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (SONG: Vanjhali Vaja)

WHO: Gurdeep Pandher and Véronique Lachance
Activity: Group Bhangra Dance
¶¶ Song/Music: (01) Vanjhali Vaja [Van-jh-lee Vaja]
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: you guys will play this)

MC ONLY:- (The opening song is based on a branch of bhangra, which is known as Jhoomar (Informally known as slow bhangra). Bhangra dance from Punjab has many branches, which allow for the expression of every kind of feeling. So, Bhangra in the Jhoomar style is danced in order to express the intensity of emotions and often love feelings. In this song, there is a reunion of lovers which takes place in the beginning of the song. Later on, the dance evolves to reflect pure joy. Jhoomar, originally from Sandalbar, Punjab, comprises an important part of Punjab folk heritage. It is a graceful dance, based on a specific Jhoomar rhythm. Dancers circle around a drum player while singing a soft chorus. In this song, Gurdeep and students are going to dance jhoomar on a popular Punjabi song Vanjhali Vaja. This song was sung by famous Punjabi singer Amrinder Gill. Along with Gurdeep Pandher, student from his school of bhangra dance group Veronique will perform in the group dance.

7:10 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (Crooked Folk, Highland dance, Bhangra Dance, SONG: Atholl Highlanders)

Who: (Crooked Folks Group Jerome McIntyre, Keitha Clark, BJ MacLean and Simon Crelli) with Brianna Heal doing highland dance (Gurdeep Pandher and Kultej Singh Gill will do Bhangra)
Activity: Irish Music, Highland Dance and Bhangra will be fused together.
¶¶ Song/Music: Atholl Highlanders
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: This is live music)

MC ONLY:- The idea of creating fusion of Bhangra with Irish/Scottish music was born at a downtown Whitehorse kitchen. When some musicians were playing the Irish/Scottish music, Gurdeep spontaneously started dancing bhangra to those tunes. Some other friends joined him too. That whole setup/combination looked so great and well synchronized that all of them decided to carry that on. Now that newly born baby in that kitchen in the late fall of 2015 is two-year old and has grown up as Scottish/Irish – Punjabi Bhangra fusion. They also thought that this cool blending of two sides of the world would also connect east and west together. The traditional Irish and Scottish set Music will be played by the band Crooked Folk with members with members Keitha Clark/ Simon Crelli with fiddle, Jerome McIntyre with bodhran/cajon, and Bj MacLean with guitar.

7:15 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (Bhangra on the song Pagg by EMYS)

Who: Extremely Moving Youth Society
Activity – Bhangra by ONLY Extremely Moving Youth Society students
¶¶ Song/Music: (02) Pagg
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: you guys will play this)

MC ONLY:- Bhangra connection with Extremely Moving Youth Society originated during Clare Ness’s wedding in 2916, when the dance teacher Michelle FisherMayr invited Gurdeep Pandher to teach bhangra to her young students at Leaping Feats. After just one class, the connection became solid enough to continue this journey for longer terms. Then Gurdeep trained them to for the Go Nuts 2017 show, where they performed awesome bhangra at Yukon Arts Centre stage. Now bhangra at this bhangra show is second round of this great awesome Gurdeep-Extremely Moving Youth Society connection.

7:20 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer will announce Lianne Cranfield and Gurdeep Pandher Song. 

Who: Gurdeep Pandher and Lianne Cranfield will sing the song. Audrey Sawyer, Véronique Lachance, Panya Lipovsky, and Lorraine Donovan will do Bhangra dancing to the song.
Activity: Both will sing a live song “When Folks Dance Bhangra” and Gurdeep students will dance Bhangra to the Tunes.
¶¶ Song/Music: (03) When Folks Dance Bhangra (instrumental song)
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: This is half live and half recorded. You guys will play the instrumental song)

MC Note:- Usually Bhangra songs are in the Punajbi Language, but Gurdeep Pandher and Lianne Cranfield created a Bhangra song in English. The name of the song is “When Folks Dance Bhangra”. Today, they both are going to sing the song together and Gurdeep’s some of dance students will dance Bhangra to the song.

First Video: Watson Lake Students Dancing Bhangra on Pink Shirt Day

7:25 PM PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (SONG: Mela by bhangra dance students)

Who: (Audrey Sawyer, Véronique Lachance, Panya Lipovsky, Lorraine Donovan, and Gurdeep Pandher)
Activity: Group Bhangra Dance
¶¶ Song/Music: (04) Mela [Maila]
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: you guys will play this)

MC ONLY:- Mela is a beautiful cultural song which means “festival”. So today is a day of fesitval because we all gathered to celebrated the beatiful Bhangra dance.

Second Video: Bhangra Can-Can Video

7:35 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (Bhangra and Can-Can Dance Mix)

Who: Gurdeep Pandher, Kultej Gill and Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Can-Can Line.
Activity: Yukon’s Can-Can Dance and Bhangra Dance will be fused together.
¶¶ Song/Music: (05) A-CanCan Donne-Moi une Vie-with-BHANGRA
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: you guys will play this)

MC ONLY:- This happens only in the Yukon, Canada! Gurdeep Pandher and “Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Air North Can Can Line” created a breathtaking fusion of two famous dancing forms “Punjabi Bhangra” and “Can Can Dance”. The video also aims to bring the cultures of the world together.

Originated in France, the can-can (or cancan as in the original French) is a high-energy, physically demanding dance that became a popular music hall dance in the 1840s, continuing in popularity in French cabaret to this day. Originated in Punjab (or Panjab before the British-India era) as the folk-dance of Punjab, Bhangra also is a high-energy and physically demanding dance, which was originally developed by Sikh-Punjabi farmers. Bhangra nowadays is a popular dance form in the Punjabi and Bollywood music-movies scene, parties and Sikh cultural or wedding celebrations.

7:40 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (The Hibernation and Bhangra)

Who: Jordan Patrick, Sarah Waters, Jerome McIntyre, Anne-Marie Lemaire from The Hibernation Band. Gurdeep Pandher and Audrey Sawyer from Bhangra Team.
Activity: Bhangra Dancers will dance to Live The Hibernation Band music.
¶¶ Song/Music: ———————
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: this is live music)

MC ONLY:- The Hibernation is a local eclectic mix of bilingual multi-instrumentalists: leg-shaking modern folk, rock, and melodic acoustic ballads. They bring together the colourful sounds of guitar, accordion, traditional and modern percussion, flute, bagpipes, and harmonized vocals. It is first time, there will be Hibernation and Bhangra coming together.

7:45 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (SONG: Soorma, Bhangra Students and Extremely Moving Youth Society will dance together)

Who: (All EMYS  Students/ All Bhangra Students: (Audrey Sawyer, Véronique Lachance, Panya Lipovsky, Lorraine Donovan, and Gurdeep Pandher)
Activity: Group Bhangra Dance on song Soorma.
¶¶ Song/Music: (06) Soorma.
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: you guys will play this)

MC ONLY:- Next song is a golden song. Everyone loves the song due to its nice dancing uplifting beat. The dance of absolute joy and pure happiness. The name of the song is Soorma which means ‘a brave person’ in English. Along with its beautiful beat, this song also offers a great message to stay strong in diffculties. Also, the song explores other traditions of richness in Punjabi culture in a unique musical way. This song was made on two beautiful Punjabi musical instruments Sarangi and Dhol, which produce joyous beat, perfect for bhangra dancing. Famous Punjabi singer Diljit sang this song.

The bhangra dance is part of his Sikh and Punjabi culture, and he was born into it, so on and off, Gurdeep has been dancing bhangra for his whole life. Jacob Zimmer and Gurdeep will have some brief and funny discussion on stage before the beginning of the song. 

7:50 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (Bhangra by Yukon College Students)

Who: Gurdeep Pandher, Kultej Singh Gill, and Manpreet Singh
Activity – Students from Yukon College will dance Bhangra.
¶¶ Song/Music: (07)-Hu Haal Ve-Kamli-Combined
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: you guys will play this)

(Third Video: Dawson City Video)

7:55 PM – MC Jacob Zimmber will announce intermission which will start at 7:55 PM

INTERMISSION for 15 minutes (from 7:55 PM to 8:10 PM).

8:09 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer will come on the stage to invite everyone to rejoin.

8:10 PM – MC will ask Mayor Dan Curtis make his 2-minute speech.

(Fourth Video: Hockey Bhangra)

8:15 PM – Hockey Bhangra

Who: Whitehorse Minor Hockey Team (With Coach Mike Nemeth, Coach Kirk Price, Hockey Students and Good Deeds Yukon) and Gurdeep Pandher
Activity: Whitehorse Minor Hockey will dance Bhangra with Gurdeep Pandher
¶¶ Song/Music: 08-Ice-Hockey-Bhangra
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: you guys will play this)

MC ONLY:- Team work by Whitehorse Minor Hockey (PNW Group) and Gurdeep Pandher for Good Deeds Cup and bringing/celebrating diversity together via bhangra in Yukon has been created many good deeds! They danced together to collect cultures on the ice-rink. Their collaboration Hockey-Bhangra video has been watched 150,000 times via YouTube and Facebook combined. Today their are all going to dance Bhangra together tonight on the stage.

8:20 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (Crooked Folk, Highland dance, Bhangra Dance, SONG: Star of Munster (Jerome on Bodran) and Drowsy Maggie (Jerome on Dhol)

Who: (Crooked Folks Group Jerome McIntyre, Keitha Clark, BJ MacLean and Simon Crelli) with (Gurdeep Pandher, Shyloh van Delft, Audrey Sawyer, Véronique Lachance, Panya Lipovsky will do Bhangra)
Activity: Irish Music, Highland Dance and Bhangra will be fused together.
¶¶ Song/Music: Star of Munster and Drowsy Maggie
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: this is live music)

8:25 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (Bhangra and Can-Can Dance Mix)

Who: Gurdeep Pandher, Audrey Sawyer, Véronique Lachance, Panya Lipovsky, and Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Can-Can Line.
Activity: Yukon’s Can-Can Dance and Bhangra Dance will be fused together.
¶¶ Song/Music: 09-B-CanCan Can Can-with-BHANGRA
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: you guys will play this)

8:30 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (SONG: Smile, Yukon College Bhangra)

Who: Shyloh van Delft and Gurdeep Pandher.
Activity: Bhangra by Yukon College Student to dhol drum music.
¶¶ Song/Music: 10-Smile
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: you guys will play this)

MC ONLY:- In January 2017, Yukon College decided to host Gurdeep Pandher’s bhangra classes during lunch hours, which continued until now. Those classes allowed Yukon College students to have some wonderful understanding of the world of bhangra dancing. When Yukon College students learning bhangra dance, when why not they should not perform at the stage? So, all this started the exploration of idea of the College participants performing at the stage. And here you go.

(Fifth Video: Sometimes Days are Long, Sometimes Nights)

8:35 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (SONG: Pagg Dian Pooniyan)

Who: Gurdeep Pandher and Véronique Lachance
Activity: Group dance to the song “Pagg Dian Pooniyan”.
¶¶ Song/Music: 11-Pagg-Diyan-Pooniya
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: you guys will play this)

MC NOTE:- Pagg Dian Pooniyan is a beautiful Bhangra song. There is joy, cuteness, and love in the lyrics and they also talk about cultural traditions. Turban is a very important part in the Punjabi and Sikh culture, so the song talks about how his beloved would help him to put it on.

8:40 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (The Hibernation and Bhangra)

Who: Jordan Patrick, Sarah Waters, Jerome McIntyre, Anne-Marie Lemaire from The Hibernation Band. Gurdeep Pandher and Panya Lipovsky from Bhangra Team.
Activity: Bhangra Dancers will dance to Live The Hibernation Band music.
¶¶ Song/Music: ———————
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: this is live music)

8:45 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer (Punjabi-French Short Play “Titanic-2”)

Who: Gurdeep Pandher and Véronique Lachance
Activity: Entertaining Mini-Play in Punjabi, French and English
¶¶ Song/Music: (1) Punjabi-French-Play-1-French-Music, (2) Punjabi-French-Play-2-Bollywood-Music (3) Punjabi-French-Play-3-Titanic-Music
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: There is a folder named “Titanic-2-Short-Play” where you will see 3 files. You will play these 3 files according to the acts in the play)

(Sixth Video: EMR Bhangra Video)

8:50 PM – Punjabi Dhol Drum, Bagpipe, and Bhangra

Who: Jerome McIntyre (with Punjabi Dhol Drum) Jordan Patrick (with Bagpipes), and Gurdeep Pandher with Bhangra.
Activity – Bhangra and Punjabi Dhol Drum, Bagpipe, and Bhangra
¶¶ Song/Music: This is live music by musicians on the stage.
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: this is live music)

MC ONLY:- You will be surprised by learning the fact that bagpipes are a great part of Punjabi cultures. It started when the British empire made Punjab its colony. Before and during the First world war, the British Government hired a lot of people from Sikh community in their army. They created a special regiment called “Sikh Regiment” and took Dhol drum from Punjabi culture and combined it with Bagpipes. Both are very loud musical instruments. So, experiment worked. So, today we are going to bring Jerome McIntyre (with Punjabi Dhol Drum) Jordan Patrick (with Bagpipes), and Gurdeep Pandher with Bhangra to bring back old Punjabi culture on the stage.

9:00 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer will invite Yukon’s Deputy Premier Hon. Ranj Pillai to make a 2-minute speech.

Who: Deputy Premier Hon. Ranj Pillai
Activity – The Commissioner will make one-minute long speech.
¶¶ Song/Music: No Music Required.
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: No Music Required.)

9:05 PM – MC Jacob Zimmer will invite all the performers and The Commissioner, The Minister and The Mayor, and Elizabeth Hanson (Opposition Leader in the Assembly) to the stage. There will be brief all-performers and guests dance dance on the stage. Audience will be requested to dance along. Photographer Christian Kuntz will take group photos and Gurdeep Pandher will be the MC for last two-minutes!

Closing thank you to all!

Activity: Closing thanks by Gurdeep Pandher and the people will be requested to join the dance party in the Arts Centre lobby.
¶¶ Song/Music: Virsa
¶¶ (NOTE TO YAC SOUND TECH: You guys will play this song when all-performers are dancing)

9:10 PM –🕺💃 DANCE PARTY 💃🕺
(With DJ Daniel Ashley)

Click here to buy the tickets

MC: Jacob Zimmer (Artistic Director from Nakai Theatre)
DJ: Daniel Ashley AKA DJ DASH (Dash Music)
Stage Manager: Jeff Wolosewich (From The Dark Fruits)
Photography: Christian Kuntz Photography
Videography: Naomi Hajian
Videography (Second camera): Marten Berkman
YAC Sound-Tech: Mike Wilson –
YAC Sound/ event Coordinator: Josh Jansen –
Lights: Christopher Ross
Presenter/Producer: Gurdeep Pandher

Pink Shirt Day – Nice needs no filter

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Nice needs no filter

It really needs no filter

Nice means embrace all

Love All and respect all

All colours are beautiful

All choices are beautiful

It’s Ok to be different

It’s OK to feel different

Wear blues or wear pinks

Dance together and create links

Do not harrase anyone

Don’t bully anyone

Don’t get mad at anyone

We all are people

We all are the same

Love people

Do not judge people

Love all the people

Let’s stop bullying

Let’s stop bullying


Pink Shirt Day
The original event was organized by David Shepherd and Travis Price of Berwick, Nova Scotia, who in 2007 bought and distributed 50 pink shirts after male ninth grade student Charles Mcneil was bullied for wearing a pink shirt during the first day of school

In 2008, the then Premier of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell proclaimed February 27 to be the provincial anti-bullying day.[3] It was then celebrated on February 25 in 2009. In 2009, Boys and Girls Clubs worked on pink T-shirts that say “Bullying Stops Here.” and “Pink Shirt Day” for Anti-Bullying Day
We dollow the BC date and celebrate Pink Shirt Day Feb 28th each year

this year the theme is #niceneedsnofilter to raise support for prevention of cyberbullying

The Watson Lake Health Centre staff has supported Pink Shirt Day at Watson Lake Secondary the past few years to support students to stop bullying others as targeted bullying in schools remains an issue and students are often isolated and picked on for being different or expressing their uniqueness.

By hosting a fun activity we hope to raise awareness and support students to stop bullying behaviours that can have dangerous outcomes if allowed to continue

Hope this helps


Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis Becomes First Canadian Mayor To Learn Sikh Turban

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Whitehorse – The mayor of the city of the Whitehorse Dan Curtis created history this week by becoming the first Canadian Mayor to learn the art of wearing a Sikh turban. He wore the turban on his head and then danced Punjabi bhangra with Gurdeep Pandher.

It all started with Gurdeep Pandher’s discussion with mayor Dan Curtis about his Bhangra concert known as “Bhangra – Dance of the Punjab” in Whitehorse. Then Gurdeep offered him a unique idea and he happily loved the idea.

The mayor said, “I love it, a great big ‘YES please” let’s do this’.”

The idea was how mainstream Canadians connect with diversity, different faiths, and multiculturalism in our great country and still are one. How diversity is our strength! How we all connect across “walls” and convert them to “bridges”. And Gurdeep’s idea was how the Mayor would feel with a Sikh turban on his head. The mayor enthusiastically accepted the idea and then they did it at the city chambers.

Then the mayor declared the city of Whitehorse as the diversity friendly city.

The Adventures of The Audrey Eleanor- Part 18

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It’s time for a little magic. The end of what we thought wasn’t a bad summer is drawing to a close. The locals in Pender Harbour and Madeira Park complain about climate change and in their minds, lack of a summer at all. I admit that it wasn’t as hot as I would have liked it, but the days were mostly clear and sunny. Diving directly off of the dock into the ocean had happened once or twice. To the Captains delight, some of the bar maids came down at night to skinny dip.

I finally got a chance to experiment with my new dry suit. It is a strange sight to see, trying to keep upright and walk half sub-merged around the docks causes people to do a double take when you walk/ flop past their boat way out past the shore line. We have a floating hot tub that we keep tied dockside so if the water feels too cool for a dip we just heat her up a little. I have to say that there is nothing that compares to hot salt water for relaxing or making your skin feel like velvet. After sanding the gunnels on the boat all day it feels wonderful.

Labour day weekend has come and gone and so have the crowds. After the solitude of living and travelling in the north, the crowds are really unsettling. Desolation Sound is well known and well travelled with southern boaters. It’s a skip and a jump for boaters travelling from Vancouver. Depending on the speed of their boats they can get to Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island in a day. Pender Harbour is a natural stop over; known as the Venice of the North, it has beautiful, secure little coves, several waterfront restaurants and bars and the “Royal” Yacht clubs for both Vancouver and Seattle. While the club members hadn’t been the most friendly of folks, over the summer they provided all of us summer locals with great entertainment.

The Royal Yacht Club ships are magnificent to watch coming into harbour, you can almost walk across this bay on anchored yachts. Dodging them with the zodiac to get to the Garden Bay Pub takes skill. We have airplane wheels on our zodiac, this makes us run a little lower in the water and we create a bigger wake then we’d like. It’s slow going but allows for a bit of conversation with the little guys. The Yacht clubs are a “member’s only” situation for moorage or participation. Well when the big boys with the big flags arrive, it’s like watching elephants trying to step through a field of mice and not squash them or worse get their feet dirty.

Consideration for fellow boaters seems to depend on size and anything below the extensive gunnels of the ‘ Royal’ yachters is almost none existent as they motor toward the Seattle yacht club. In their wake the little sailboats truly look like pendulums in clocks as their owners attempt to maintain themselves topside with their barking miniature dogs and sloshing martinis.

Sound carries very well on water, verbal challenges charge across the harbour flying back and forth accompanied by the scrapping sound of metal on fibreglass. With the distraction by these colourful words one Skipper has forgotten that there were only two feet separating him from the boat on his portside, he now has managed to secure that neighbours anchor line as well. The angry voices now arrive in stereo. Ah-h-h life in the densely populated south!

The Captain is not a sports fisherman, he subsistence fishes. Isn’t it amazing how really basic forms of words have changed as the lack of understanding them grows? He fishes to feed us. The price of a small Dungeness crab at Madeira Park is $25. The price per pound for fish of any type is out of this world; this is all incentive to go fishing. I love rockfish and have even before they became a trendy type of food. Rockfish has become trendy because of the lack of salmon, cod or halibut. I once had to process 60 lbs of Hake fillets that I was lucky enough to come across; it’s a beautiful delicate fish.

We spend a lovely day drifting around the small islets in the mouth of Pender Harbour looking for rockfish. A time warp happens, six hours of floating on the ocean drifted by and we have nothing but a suntan to show for our time, it is perfect. But we really did want to catch some fish. We would obviously have to get out of town if we wanted to catch anything of a size for eating.

The timing is right, most people should be gone, we could head for Cortes Island, circumnavigate it and do some exploring in our old haunts around Read Island…it is time to go fishing. In peak summer months your anchorage has to be established by noon in order to find the room to set your hook. Shore tying then becomes necessary so that you do not to swing into your neighbour. It is very crowded, for the free spirit, the guidebooks have listed numerous small-protected coves as anchorages. They state that these beautiful little coves will provide privacy. This is so that you need not listen to your neighbours music or dog barking at EVERY seagull. (No, this is not so cute)

The guide books must have been published prior to fish and shellfish farming, just about ever bay listed has now been partitioned off with nets, floats, logs and very strong “don’t even think about getting close to us “ signs…all fish farms. It’s a segregated area, yachties to their space and the working fishers to theirs. Boat wakes wreck havoc on shellfish farms where mussels and oysters dangle in the salt brine on tenuous lines.

Stories of sport fishers spending a week to get a single salmon are pretty common. They have way more patience then we do. Why oh why do we allow commercial fishing in the mouths of spawning creeks and rivers people? If they can’t go home to make babies there will be NO fish. And where is the crab? The Captain truly is the crab slayer and all summer had only produced a few small rock crabs that still needed to grow up. They were sent home to the deep to develop some bulk. We want to head into less populated areas where there still might be some fish and crab left.

Audrey leaves the dock at Pender Harbour and we head up Malaspina Straight towards Powell River, Texada Island is on our Portside. It’s slightly breezy, but still hot enough to get sunburnt on the flying bridge. Just past Powell River and before Savoury Island I notice something strange in the water. The Captain slows us down for a better look.

Curioser and curioser, there is a seal in the water with a 15 lb salmon in it’s mouth. On each side of him are two seagulls both determined to steal his dinner. This seal is not concerned in the least; he is more interested in watching us motor past. The gulls are playing tug of war with the salmon and he just keeps on watching us. Slowly, and seemingly without breaking the water he sinks out of sight, with his fish. It’s a sign. We continue up past Lund and drop anchor in the Copeland Islands. Tomorrow we head for Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island.

The distances here are deceptive; everything is way closer than in the north. The next morning it only takes us an hour to arrive at Squirrel Cove. The floating bakery is closed for the season and there are two other boats already anchored here. With most anchorages in the south you need to have holding tanks for sewage, a very good idea as I can only imagine what kind of sludge there would be in these low flushing inlets with the populations that visit here.

There is an oyster farm in here as well, regardless of the holding tank rule we decide not to buy their oysters. The two little sailboats don’t look big enough to hold their crew, never mind a holding tank. Regardless, the water is crystal clear with starfish waving their arms at the oysters.

The moon is full and the stars are low enough to touch. Small lights twinkle off in the distance onboard the sailboats. We slip into our floating hot tub. The hot salt water closes over the aches of the day. A long line gets attached to the tub and we shove off into the soft darkness. Laying back watching the satellites and falling stars in the quiet black night drifting softly with the tide, if you reach up with your hand I’m sure you can tip the big dipper and get a drink, wouldn’t it be nice if it was tequila…. we are afloat under the stars. (The water in the tub is really, really warm!)

This is magic 1; the next storey is magic 2.

Depth-of-Field, Your Creative Tool

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Depth-of-Field – Your Creative Tool

The creative use of Depth-of-Field (DOF) has been a journey of discovery, wonder and artistic joy for me my entire photographic career.

Even now, after many years of working with film, then digital cameras, it never ceases to amaze me what a huge difference the choice of how to use this technique makes to a photograph.

Learning to use DOF creatively to generate artistic impressions of the scenes and subjects you deal with is one of the most exciting discoveries you will have in photography.

Extreme Depth-of-Field example
Extreme Depth-of-Field example

Depth-of-Field is described as the distance within which everything is in focus. Think of having everything from 2 metres away to 10 metres away in focus, and nothing else; those 8 metres are the depth-of-field.

DOF is dependent on the aperture, focal length of your lens, distance the camera is from the subject and distance between the subject and the background.

Aperture, the opening in the lens, is measured in f/stops; the smaller the aperture, the larger the f/stop is numbered. For example, f/22 is a very small opening while f/2.8 has the lens almost completely opened.

Lenses with shorter focal lengths allow for a greater DOF than do longer focal lengths; the reason landscape photographers use wide angle lenses and hyperfocal distance in their work. This way they get the detail in the foreground in focus as well as the trees and hills in the background.

Hyperfocal distance is the closest distance you can be focus and still keep objects at infinity in acceptable sharpness. It changes with different f/stops.

Set your digital camera on aperture priority or use it in manual mode to gain control of the f/stop.

Using small apertures cuts the amount of light travelling through the lens and creates a need for longer shutter speeds.

Use your tripod.

Shallow Depth-of-Field example
Shallow Depth-of-Field example

Let’s take a look at the opposite end of the DOF spectrum; having a very short distance in focus. Portraiture is one photographic style where this comes into play often.

The closer your subject is to you and the further away the background is from your subject, the easier it is to have your subject in sharp focus while allowing the background to go out of focus.

Shallow DOF can create an image where the beautiful face of your child is in sharp focus while the background is blurry. This effect makes the portrait stand out from everything else.

Wide angle lenses are not usually used for portraiture as you have to get in very close to your subject causing facial distortion, and even wide open they still have quite a wide DOF.

Focal lengths of 50 to 85 are the norm for portraiture, allowing some distance between you and your subject and providing the capacity for a minimal DOF so you can create that wonderful bokeh – the blurry out of focus area of your photo.

The quality of the bokeh differs with each lens, lighting situation and any sharp highlights that may be in the background.

The more blades a lens has to control aperture, the better the bokeh. Their shape and the opening they create also impact on how it is displayed.

Lenses with large apertures allow for the shortest DOF so can be very versatile in doing close-up work. The wider the f/stop, the easier to separate the background from the item you want enhanced.

Longer lenses offer an opportunity to create a portrait while you are still some distance away from your subject. They may, however, cause some distortion.

However, long lenses are useful in photographing sports.

We’ve all seen the images of a football player making the great catch and it seems he is the only thing in the photo as the crowd and all the other players have been lost in the blurry background.

This is created with a very long lens and large aperture.

Take this information to use your digital camera to its utmost by experimenting with the creative use of depth-of-field. You won’t be disappointed.

If you have comments or questions post them in the comment section below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy shooting and remember to leave the environment as you found it.

Norm Hamilton