All posts by Miguel

Tour de Bloc 10: Climber’s Rock

I typically have a little something to say about every climbing competition I shoot. This time around, though, I got to Climber’s Rock literally one minute before finals were to start. And, when I take photos, I never have to time to watch the climbers and enjoy the show. As you can see from the results, not all problems were topped, and that’s always a touch disappointing for the setters and the crowd, but the energy was high and there was a lot of excitement none-the-less! So without further ado, here are a few pictures from last weekend’s finals!

Women’s Finals:

  1. Marieta Akalski (2/2 & 4/5)
  2. Kerry Briggs (2/4 & 3/5)
  3. Bonnie de Bruijn (2/4 & 3/5)
  4. Holly Reid (1/3 & 4/6)
  5. Clarrie Lam (0/0 & 4/7)
  6. Kacy Wilson (0/0 & 1/1)

Men’s Finals:

  1. Dylan Barks (3/3 & 4/4)
  2. Jeremy Noring (2/3 & 3/8)
  3. Keith Mackay (1/1 & 3/4)
  4. Mathew Moreau (1/1 & 2/3)
  5. Carmen Ing (1/2 & 2/3)
  6. Florent Balsez (1/3 & 3/5)
  7. Dustin Kerr (1/3 & 3/5)
  8. Shaun Hunter (0/0 & 1/1)

Tour de Bloc 10: Altitude

This past weekend was the Altitude comp and although I wasn’t planning on going, I somehow ended up driving five hours to Gatineau! I always enjoy the comps at Altitude. I think it’s because the angles of the walls are very good for me, they use a lot of pinches holds, and there is a ton of room to warm up. The gym is really cool! On the other hand, I have always found it to be a difficult place to shoot photos. I think that between the color of the walls, and their strange angles and curvatures, it is pretty hard to get a good view of the climbers and the problems at the same time. This time around I decided to shoot from above, to change things up. It didn’t make it any easier to get the shots, but it was a lot of fun and a good challenge. I also wanted to take photos of the climber’s expression when climbing, instead of just showing the movements. I’m pretty pleased with the results (especially the one of Fred and Sebas on problem #5), i hope you enjoy them! Oh and congrats to Fred and Cloe to claiming the top spots at Altitude!

Women’s Finals:

  1. Cloe Legault (3/5 & 5/5)
  2. Katerine Martin (3/5 & 5/8)
  3. Ashley Veevers (2/2 & 5/7)
  4. Clarrie Lam (2/2 & 4/5)
  5. Emily Cornelisse (2/3 & 5/7)
  6. Holly Reid (2/5 & 4/5)
  7. Eve-Marie Landry (1/1 & 5/11)
  8. Elizabeth Maltais (1/1 & 4/5)

Men’s Finals:

  1. Fred Charron (2/3 & 3/7)
  2. Florent Balsez (2/7 & 3/11)
  3. Yves Gravelle (1/1 & 4/7)
  4. Sébastien Lazure (1/1 & 2/4)
  5. David Heerema (0/0 & 4/4)
  6. Shaun HUnter (0/0 & 2/7)
  7. Tony Berlier (0/0 & 1/1)
  8. Daniel Gingras (0/0 & 1/2)

Tour de Bloc 10: More photos from Allez Up

So, after trying to clean up my photography database a little bit (i.e. deleting a bunch of photos!), i found those four pictures from last tour de bloc’s comp at Allez Up. I thought I would share them. This set includes photos of the women’s winner, Elise Sethna, and some pics of Flo contorting his body like a mad men! By the way, if you haven’t seen my initial set of photos form the comp, check them out here: Tour de Bloc: Allez Up.

I wish I could go to the next Tour de Bloc event at Altitude, but someone else will have to share pictures aorund for those of us not going! Enjoy my last few pics from Allez Up’s awesome comp! Hard to believe, but my next comp will have to be in the new year, in 2013!!, at Climber’s Rock!

Tour de Bloc 10: Allez Up

Well, yesterday was the second eastern competition of the Tour de Bloc 10th season. It was a great show at the new Allez Up climbing gym. First of all, if you live in Montreal and you haven’t been to the new gym, you should definitely check it out. It is one of the nicest facilities I have seen in a long time, especially in Canada! Lots of space and light, great angles, and boulders that top out!

The comp itself ran really well. The problems were fun and varied and there was a great atmosphere. There were a lot of open competitors, though, so getting on the problems wasn’t as fast and easy as it might have been. The field was very competitive all around; in addition to the usual strong eastern crowd, there were a few surprise cameo appearances from Alberta and Nova Scotia, and there was an unprecedented showing of over 40 women open competitors. Finalists had to really work to earn their spot.

As usual, the team at Allez-Up put on a fantastic finals show, with dramatic lighting, good music and live video footage of the upstairs problems for the crowd downstairs! The problems were pretty tough for both the men and the women – a little bit too hard for the men actually (only 2 problems were topped, by winner Sebastien Lazure) – but the World Cup-inspired problems were as entertaining to watch as it was fun and challenging for the finalists to climb on. The race was a bit closer for the women. Elise and Melissa looked especially strong, sending all 4 problems (flashing 3/4), and Clarrie wasn’t far behind with her 3 top-outs. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Women’s Finals:

  1. Elise Sethna (4/5 & 4/5)
  2. Melissa Lacasse (4/5 & 4/6)
  3. Clarrie Lam (3/4 & 4/7)
  4. Marine Cusa (1/1 & 4/6)
  5. Kerry Briggs (1/2 & 4/5)
  6. Marieta Akalski (1/2 & 4/7)
  7. Bonnie de Bruijn (0/0 & 4/6)
  8. Cloe Legault (0/0 & 3/5)

Men’s Finals:

  1. Sébastien Lazure (2/6 & 3/4)
  2. Florent Balsez (0/0 & 4/9)
  3. John Bowles (0/0 & 4/10)
  4. Simon Villeneuve (0/0 & 4/10)
  5. David Heerema (0/0 & 3/5)
  6. Carl Desnoyers (0/0 & 3/6)
  7. Mark Button (0/0 & 2/2)
  8. Hans Christian Montenegro Bogoya (0/0 & 2/6)

Tour de Bloc 10: Joe Rockhead’s

It’s that time of year again…the time to start pulling on plastic! Once again, the Eastern portion of the tour de bloc season kicked off at Toronto’s Joe Rockhead’s and what a great show it was! The finals, set by a team led by Ayo, were intricate, beta-intensive, and mixed with different styles. And without any clear style advantage it was anybody’s comp to take. Congrats to Kerry for not only winning but being the only one to finish all four problems! Also, big congrats to Flo for winning the comp against a really strong field. Way to go buddy!

Here are the official final results:

Women’s Finals:

  1. Kerry Briggs (4/6 & 4/5)
  2. Iymma Lamarche (3/7 & 3/7)
  3. Emily Cornelisse (3/10 & 4/22)
  4. Bonnie de Bruijn (2/2 & 4/6)
  5. Marieta Akalski (2/3 & 3/5)
  6. Marine Cusa (2/8 & 3/12)
  7. Cloe Legault (1/1 & 2/3)
  8. Kacy Wilson (1/3 & 3/6)

Men’s Finals:

  1. Florent Balsez (2/2 & 3/3)
  2. Eric Sethna (2/4 & 4/9)
  3. Sébastien Lazure (2/8 & 4/19)
  4. Mathew Moreau (1/3 & 4/13)
  5. Fred Charron (1/4 & 1/3)
  6. Travis Van Ryn (1/6 & 3/11)
  7. Mark Button (1/6 & 2/13)
  8. Carl Desnoyers (0/0 & 1/3)

Hopefully this is a preview of the competitions to come this year. High energy and great problems for an amazing tenth season! Bring on the plastic!

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Eco-friendly House in Mulmur Ontario


While researching sustainable home design in Ontario (for a personal life-long project of mine), I stumbled upon this awesome house in Mulmur, Ontario. It was designed by a firm in Toronto called superkül and they won a prize for their wonderful piece of work. The house boast a bunch of super cool features such as

“…inert cement blocks that naturally prevent the fungi and molds, natural clay walls that require no painting, and employed a soy based sealer to finish the concrete floors and counters. In addition, there’s a green roof, heat mirror triple glazing, solar shading, passive ventilation and lighting, and a geothermal system…” —

Photo Credits: Shai Gil.
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5 sports photographers worth following

Ben Moon

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Vimeo: benmoonfoto
Personal Site:
Facebook: Ben Moon Photography

Jimmy Chin

Personal Site:
Facebook: Jimmy Chin Photography

Corey Rich

Twitter: @coreyrich
Personal Site:
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Facebook: Corey Rich Photography

Chris Orwig

Twitter: @chrisorwig
Personal Site:
Flickr: Chris Orwig

Nathan Weldon

Twitter: @nathanwelton
Personal Site: Nathan Welton Photo

Photo Collection: USA Plates

A few days into our road-trip, to help pass the time, we started taking note of the different state licence plates that we saw. With 4 months in the U.S., we figured we might as well try and “collect” all 50! We covered a lot of ground and had a pretty good list going after the first week of driving (from Ontario down to Tennessee, then west to Texas). And the list was even longer by the time we got to California (Yosemite was a gold mine for rarely seen plates). But then, while in Bryce Canyon, Utah, a German tourist asked to take a photo of our Ontario plate; she was taking photos of all the different plates she saw! What a great idea. “We should have done that too!” Mig said to me. And so the game changed…

I have to admit that I wasn’t too thrilled to start our collection all over again. We only had 2-3 weeks left on the road and we had recorded some pretty obscure state plates; what were the changes of seeing Hawaii again?! Thankfully, our next destination was Zion NP – another huge tourist destination – and we were able to photograph about 2/3 of the plates that we’d already seen (including Hawaii!), as well as a few we hadn’t seen yet! By the time we had been to Antelope Canyon, Moab, Arches NP and Boulder, CO, we had all but 4-5 states. But they were going to be tricky. Two of them were southern states that we had driven through and seen in our first week! The other 2 were small north-eastern states that we hadn’t seen, let along photograph, in the 4 months we’d been on the road. Could this be done?

Our hopes were high after we drove up behind a Mississippi plate on the highway in the middle of Kansas and, amazingly, we saw Louisiana the next day! No way! But still no sign of West Virginia or Delaware – and we were told West Virginians didn’t travel much… It was our 2nd-last day and all the plates around us on the road were familiar ones (we could identify the state of a given plate in a split second now). Until I spotted a pattern and colours I didn’t recognize from a distance. Sure enough, I drove up beside the car, and woke Mig up with a start as I screamed and pointed “West Virginia, West Virginia!” But that was only #49. It was our last day on the road and the chances of seeing Delaware were pretty darn small. We were leaving Ohio, going through Michigan and in a few hours we’d be crossing the border into Ontario. We had to come to terms with the fact that we’d return home with only 49 states. How disappointing to have come so close!

Well I suppose you guessed by now that we did, nevertheless, manage to sight a Delaware plate in those last few hours. It was a ridiculously exciting moment. We were stuck in traffic leaving Columbus, OH, and the plate had a cover on it which obscured the view a little bit. So we slammed on the brakes to switch lanes so we could trail the car, double, triple check that it was, in fact, Delaware, and then take the final photograph of our collection! I couldn’t believe it. We had seen and photographed all 50 states in a matter of weeks.

I am very pleased that Mig insisted on starting our list over again with photos because now we have a pretty gallery to show you! See below. Of course he immediately started talking about ideas for the next photo project! haha!


Arches National Park

Well, it’s a long overdue post, but we are finally sharing photos from the last destination of our road trip. Last, but certainly not least! After a lovely dinner in Moab we headed out to see the sun set over the stunning desert-scape of Arches National Park. What a beautiful way to end our photo tour of the south-west! We didn’t have time to do a walk, which was sad, but we were able to visit a few different viewpoints and get some nice photos. That said, even what one can see from the car window is amazing! Check out the album below!

Arches was one of the places that Mig really wanted to photograph, so it was exciting for him (and me too) to finally get there. Of course, there’s still much of the park we didn’t see… an excuse to go back, I guess!

After this final tourist stop, we prepared ourselves for some serious car time. A.J. didn’t sleep as much in the car as she did on the way down – she was, after all, 4 months older – but thankfully she was pretty good at entertaining herself while awake, if not with her toys then by staring out the window at the beautiful scenery.

The drive back was punctuated by 3 main events. First, we took a 2-day breather in Boulder, CO, because a good friend of mine let us stay at his place there. It was a much appreciated reprise from driving, hotels and eating out. We also got to hang with our good friend, Yusuf, in St. Louis, MO and checked out the new, rad, SO ILL climbing gym! Finally, our last night on the road was a repeat of our first night on the road – staying and visiting with Geva, Seb and their darling girl. Thanks to all our friends who put us up while on the road!!

We arrived “home” on May 30th – almost 4 months to the day from when we left. My parents were expecting us 2 days later so we were able to surprise them!

Thanks to all our readers (for those of you who actually read the posts as well as looking at the pics ;)). It was an *amazing* trip and it’s been a pleasure to share it with you! The blog will now return to “regular programming,” if you will, of local events and photo projects etc. Stay tuned…