H.O.P.E Volleyball Summerfest 2013 – Ottawa, Ontario

H.O.P.E Volleyball Summerfest – Ottawa, Ontario

I started off Saturday, July 13, 2013 at Mooney’s Bay (location) where the 31st edition of the H.O.P.E. Volleyball Summerfest gets underway early in the morning. First games on the beach were scheduled to begin at 8AM. Graeme was one of the participants playing in the corporate draw for the Plasco Energy team later in the morning so wouldn’t be taking too many pictures. Visit the H.O.P.E. Volleyball Summerfest website for further information about this event.

I parked by the University and walked over to the event location. A couple of the shuttle buses passed me when I wasn’t at a location where I could flag them down. It was a hot day and by the time that I got to Mooney’s Bay, I certainly wished that I had put my bike on the back of the van before leaving home. Certainly plenty of participants and spectators had arrived by the two-wheel option.

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Graeme’s team was just getting ready for their third game when I found them. They had won one game and lost one game before I arrived and were now getting warmed up for their third game. The sun was shining brightly and the temperature was just below +30C at the beach and keeping the feet moving on the hot sand was a priority as the day progressed.

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On the adjacent bit of real estate, the ladies of the Ottawa Sun team were attracting attention with their fine play while on the sidelines, Ottawa’s mayor was getting a bit more media exposure. Turns out that he and I were following similar routes this particular Saturday since a hour or so later both of us were not far apart in the Kingdom of Osgoode.

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The Plasco Energy team fell behind early in their game but then a  couple of their players had a nice run of successful serving and the team moved into a 12 t0 6 lead, a lead which they never relinquished. It was a fun game to watch. The Plasco Energy team went on to win another game later in the day but, in the end, their final 3 win 2 loss record was not enough to get them to the next level.

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With over 10,000 players representing 1032 teams playing simultaneously on 86 courts on hot sand under a clear sky and blazing sun, more than a few of the participants chose to wander into the water to cool off a bit.

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Various bands were playing on the stage for between-games entertainment. DJ Noah was also present from Live 88.5 kicking out some tunes.

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I wasn’t the only photographer lugging around a big camera.  I’m certain, though, that if I wasn’t heading out to another event, I would have tried standing in the water while taking pictures.  It was definitely a wonderfully warm day for such an event.  Sure beats rain!

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I was soon heading back to my car and, this time, the shuttle and I made a connection and I didn’t have to walk all of the way.

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After visiting the H.O.P.E. Volleyball Summerfest in the morning, I waas off to the Kingdom of Osgoode (location) in the afternoon to photograph their festivities including a hand-fasting wedding and jousting (not the same event :-)).

Medieval Times, Toronto, Ontario

Medieval Times, Toronto, Ontario

Our original plans for the evening had to be changed when we found out that the evening’s performance of Cirque du Soleil had been sold out. A bit of phoning around and we found that we could still get tickets for the evening meal at the Medieval Times, so off we went for a meal and a bit of jousting action at the Toronto castle location of the Medieval Times chain. Whenever I am purchasing tickets, I tend to like to speak to a human (I’m rather old-fashioned that way). The conversation usually starts with something like, “I would like your best price.” Of, course, I know that in the tourism industry, in particular, the ‘best price’ is a moving target what with a variety of coupon offers, association affiliations such as CAA/AAA pricing, ‘deal of the week’, seniors discounts and, of course, all of the various on-line discounters. However, more often than not, I find that the human I’m speaking to is much better at wading through the options than I am, and, in the end, once they know that I have no interest in paying the full sticker price, they usually can find some obscure discounted price that I would likely have overlooked if I had been relying solely on the on-line search approach. Such is not always the case, but on this occasion, the woman at the Medieval Times central ticket sales office was very patient and very helpful and, before long, we had a ticket confirmation number and were heading out to our dinner and a jousting tournament.

The Toronto location, referred to as a ‘castle’ in keeping with the medieval times theme, is located in a building on the Toronto exhibition grounds. Inside, there is a general hall or gathering area which is surrounded by a number of booths offering almost anything that you might imagine every good medieval lord or lady might desire; from swords to mugs to just about anything. Everyone gets to wear their own personal paper crown to get you in the mood.  Since they are color-coded, the crowns also serve as an easy way to later identify who sits in which section in the arena when it comes time to head into the arena area for meal and the tournament events.

There is one area in the hall set aside for a staff photographer to take photos, if you so desire. Looked like a pretty simple job, sort of like the Santa Claus picture process without Santa. Fun to observe though, as the photographer faced the last minute challenge of getting a large group into place just in time to get finished with photos before announcement time.

With the photography process completed, it was time for last minute instructions, a bit of friendly banter about behaving or ending up in the dungeon, and off we all headed into the arena area.

With the color-coded crowns still sitting atop our heads, the whole process of moving a large crowd of people to their proper places around the area worked out really well. As far as I know, the dungeon keeper was not required to detain anyone unduly :-).

Every good bit of entertainment requires a hero and a heroine or some such thing, so for this night’s entertainment, we began with a hero tied tight at the center of the ring and, as smoke enveloped him, he disappeared from the area, not to be heard from until much later in the show.

Tech: Light was rather dim so I upped the ISO to the 1250 – 2500 range and shot most images wide open or close to it. I was primarily using my vintage Nikon 105mm f2.5 manual focus lens. Although I have other auto focus lenses in this range, I find that this lens’ smaller size and weight works well for me in somewhat crowded environments and doesn’t draw as much attention. Because it was a fairly common lens in it’s time, it is another one of those high quality Nikon lenses from the manual focus days that is readily available at a reasonable price on auction sites such as EBay.

Our MC was now on horseback and proceeding to give advice to the audience as we were served our meal of soup and chicken and potatoes – copious quantities of everything.

Our seats at the end of the arena were not the best place from which to photograph some of the entertainment, so I often just put down the camera and sat back with my piece of chicken in hand and watched the show. The costumes of both the horses and the riders were certainly colorful and the overall choreography flowed along nicely with the pace of the meal.

I personally lost track who was doing what to whom, but, in the end, after a show of various displays of skill at horseback riding and swordsmanship and jousting, the hero returned to be victorious, the desert was served, and we all headed back out into the cool Toronto air and the world of modern lights and tall buildings.

 

If you like images of jousting and medieval events, take a peek at our postings for the Kingdom of Osgoode events  held in Osgoode, Ontario each summer.

Mediæval Fair at Osgoode, Ontario – 8-10 July 2011

This upcoming weekend of mediæval festivity should see Graeme or Ron (or both of us) in Osgoode with our ancient weapons of choice (our digital cameras :-)).

To get a feel for what one can expect at the Kingdom of Osgoode, take a look at the many images that we have posted in the following blog entries:

  Osgoode Medieval Fair 2009 (Ron’s accounting of events)

Osgoode Medieval Fair 2009 (Graeme’s accounting of events)

Osgoode Medieval Fair 2010 (Graeme’s accounting of events)
Mediæval Fair – Osgoode 2010 (Ron’s accounting of events)

Mediæval Fair – Osgoode 2011 (one of two blog entries)

The Kingdom of Osgoode official website is here:Kingdom of Osgoode

UPDATE: Another year has passed by and now we have posted our shots from Kingdom of Osgoode 2012.

Mediæval Fair at Osgoode, Ontario – 2010

2010 – Another year has passed by and once again Graeme and I find ourselves visiting Osgoode, Ontario to enjoy the jousting, the archery, the dancing and the costumed folks taking a step back in time to the mediæval days of the Kingdom of Osgoode. For more information about the performers visit their respective websites:
The Kingdom of Osgoode:
The Archery:
The King and his entourage:
The knights and their shining armor:
The Musicians:

 

As in the previous year, there were plenty of different clothing styles and colours to see if you keep your eyes open.

The knights in shining armor are not just there as decorations and participate in some pretty heavy duty and dangerous jousting competitions over the course of the Osgoode event.

For the spectators, there is plenty to see again this year. Music is supplied by the Celtic Sea and dance displays are scheduled throughout the day. Unlike 2009, this year, all of the events are in one locations so walking from one event to the other is much easier.



While the knights in shining armor were preparing for the next jousting contest, I continued to wander around the fair grounds photographing the many scenes.









Back at the jousting grounds, the saddles were still empty but spectators and photographers were beginning to claim their peace of real estate in preparation for the action that was soon to come.

Soon it was time to just sit back and enjoy the action as announcements were made, maidens were honored, some preliminary competitions showing speed, horsemanship and dexterity were out of the way, and then it was on to some heavy duty jousting action.






The jousting poles (lances) were ready. What were we waiting for?

Ah yes, before they lose their heads, each knight must select a young maiden to cheer them on and, of course, it is important to protect that head before trying not to lose it!




LET THE FUN BEGIN!!!

When contact is made, the modern day lance is designed to break in a safer manner. Still makes a great sound when lance hits armor and the splinters and parts fly into the air. Maximum points are scored when the opponent is unseated from his horse. This particular day, both riders scored points for serious contact on their opponent’s chest plate but both riders managed to stay aloft.

It was a hot day, and both knights wasted no time getting out of thier armor at the end of th ematch.

Jousting matches were enjoyed by the spectators who soon turned their attention to the other sport – shopping.

Every good Kingdom and just as in the past year, the Kingdom of Osgoode is no different. Always surrounded by beautiful women. Boy, what a royally tough job 🙂

Lots of good times. Hopefully, my travel plans for 2011 will allow me to visit the Kingdom of Osgoode again.

UPDATE: Another two year have passed by and now we have posted our shots from Kingdom of Osgoode 2012.