Have you been considering driving for Uber in the City of Toronto, Canada?
First of all, if you’re considering signing up, here’s a quick way to get a $100 signup bonus, when signing up use my code: garyg1ue
I decided to signup as a driver for UberX to make some extra income while in between my old job, and the job I’m starting in a few weeks, I also work part-time as a freelance photographer specializing in Headshot photography. Below is going to be a short history of what I’ve learned in the past 3 weeks, since I first started, and this may also help you with a few shortcuts, on finding some info without having to plow through all the information on Uber’s help pages.
First thing is to make sure you get your vehicle inspected if you don’t already know it Canadian Tire offers a discount for Uber Drivers on vehicle inspections. Uber also has a list of discounts that are offered to new drivers in Toronto, for the complete list click here.
Also, you need a really good mount for your phone since my car has a cd player, I opted for this magnetic mount from Amazon.ca. There are many options depending on your car, but you want this to be centrally located, personally I feel like having your phone mounted to your windshield is too far away from your line of sight, and out of reach, so a good vent mount or CD mount is the best option. Make sure you get a USB lighter adapter to power up your mobile device, again there are many options for this. A shorter cable looks nicer, but to save a bit of money just use what came with your phone. Personally, I find the prices on Amazon, to be much better, and they have a greater selection than what you’re going to find in Bestbuy or Canadian Tire.
Okay next thing as part of Uber’s 5 star partner guide, I read that you should offer your clients a bottle of water, or something nice as a treat. Well, personally I found that water is too much to deal with. I decided to load up my rear seat cup holder with Hershey’s kisses, and one of those economy sized bottles of fresh mint gum. Let me tell you that this is a cheap option that has gone over really well with riders so far. I can also tell you that after dealing with a few people that have had a few too many to drink the night before, on Saturday and Sunday mornings, the gum has been a huge hit for them. Talking about that experience, I would have to say that in the 3 weeks doing this so far, that has been my rowdy experience to date. I picked up a few Friday night party goer’s on Saturday morning around 8:30 AM, and they were all still quite drunk, and on their way to continue the party, they wreaked of booze, pot, and whatever else, however, I had nothing bad to say about them, they were quite polite, and I got quite a chuckle listening to their conversation. All in I haven’t had any complaints about any of my riders in the 3 weeks I’ve been doing this.
I would say doing your first ride is the toughest. You’re not quite sure what to expect. Once you’ve done one you will get used to it. In fact, I would say if you’re a people person, you will get addicted to it. Let your rider dictate the conversation. If they want to chat they will. A lot of them just prefer to sit in the backseat and text or make phone calls. Be considerate, and either turn the fader on your stereo off in the backseat or lower it to a level that will allow them to have a conversation with someone on their phone. Don’t allow the navigation app to play through your stereo, it gets annoying, and you will see your passenger’s reacting. Let the Voice Navi play through your phone, at a low volume, or turn it off altogether.
Okay, what other tips can I give new drivers in my few weeks doing this? Let’s go through a few of them, and in a few weeks, I will write part 2 of this article.
1. For your Navigation, skip the Uber Navigation App. Go into the preferences, and choose WAZE. If you’re not familiar with WAZE download it and get used to using it before you start driving with riders in your car. Waze is “way” better. Why? Well, it automatically gives you the best route option to get from point A-B with the least amount of traffic. What’s the one shortcoming? It doesn’t give you the address of your destination when you arrive. Let’s say you’re supposed to go to 1635 Dundas street. When you get there WAZE will show you that you’ve arrived, but it won’t show you the address. So here’s what I do, when I’m about 2 minutes from my destination, I stop WAZE, by hitting the stop button, and hit the blue bar at the top of my phone, to switch back to UBER Nav, this shows my destination address, and lets the UBER app take back over, as I’m arriving it will also tell me whether to drop my passenger off on the left or right side of the street, I’ve learned to ask rider’s where they want to get off as I’m approaching, sometimes it is best to drop off where traffic will allow a safe exit rather than the exact address, and your rider will appreciate that you’re asking them.
2. Surge Pricing-So far I’ve not gotten a lot of Surge Pricing riders, mainly because I’ve not really been doing this full time and really I’ve been driving when I want too. I’ve been paying attention though to when Surge pricing does go into effect, and here’s what I’ve learned so far. Surge pricing usually happens during Rush Hours. For Toronto, being in a surge area such as Leslieville, North York, Danforth, and or Liberty Village area during Morning rush hour will usually get you a better fare. If you start at let’s say 7:30AM, and take a fare into let’s say the financial district, you’re most likely going to miss a surge fare which will probably get you into the downtown core, with a surge fare. I’ve noticed surge Pricing usually starting at around 8-8:30 AM is usually the best time in the morning, also on Saturday afternoons around lunch time, and Saturday nights around dinner time. Early Saturday and Sunday mornings bar crowd between 1:30AM-3:00AM are supposed to be very good, I haven’t tried this yet.
Below are some examples:
My experience with Surge pricing so far has not been that great, I expect when I turn on the App and it’s surging that I should get a ping pretty quickly to pickup a rider, however this is not always the case, and some times it is often better to start driving a bit, to get the ping, and than when the ping happens the Surge will update and you will end up being out of the Surge area. Also you must update the App quite often to see the Surge area, I find the Surge updates are not always accurate, so be careful. I hope to have more to report on this subject in another week or two. Stay tuned for more info and part 2 of this journey.
Deer Bay Hideaway is a classic, cozy, and beautiful three-bedroom rental cottage located on Lower Buckhorn Lake, Deer Bay in the Kawarthas. The cottage is conveniently located just 5 km outside of the village of Buckhorn, and Lock 31 on the Trent Severn Waterway. For boaters, there is a pay-per-use boat launch at Bay View Resort. From the cottage, you can navigate northwest by boat to Buckhorn or continue west through Lock 31 into Upper Buckhorn and travel to Pigeon Lake and Bobcaygeon or to Bridge North on Chemong Lake. Navigating eastward from the cottage will take you to Burleigh Falls and Lock 30 east into Stoney Lake. Great news for boaters, To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday the 2017 Seasonal Lockage Permit is free! The permit is valid for the entire navigation season, and provides passage for your recreational vessel through any number of Parks Canada’s lock systems, at all National Historic Canals across Canada: Locations in Ontario: Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site website: http://www.commandesparcs-parksorders.ca
If you’re interested in renting our cottage please get in touch with us directly and we can work out the details. Gary Goldberg E-Mail
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deer Bay Hideaway is quiet and peaceful if you’re looking for that perfect place to relax and de-stress than, our cottage is the place for you. It has that perfect nostalgic feel of what a cottage should be, warm and cozy, featuring a warm amber glow of knotty pine throughout. We have a beautiful picture window, with two comfortable rockers, that overlook the lake, perfect for watching a misty morning sunrise, while sipping a hot cup of joe. Don’t worry we have a nice pair of binoculars you can use to see all of the great wildlife on the bay including Loons, Herons, and Osprey. Night time at the cottage is just awesome, if you’re lucky enough to be visiting during a full moon you will be sure to see the Moon rise over Deer bay an incredible site. If the moon is in it’s dark phase, make sure to head outside and see the Milky Way.
The fully equipped roomy kitchen features a center island 4 burner electric cooktop, a built-in oven, and double kitchen sink for easy meal preparation and cleanup. The cozy dining room features a solid maple table with six chairs, enclosed on three sides with the soothing warmth of the honey coloured knotty pine walls, and illuminated with a centrally positioned, six globe wagon wheel light fixture. The focal point of the main living room that is centrally located between the kitchen and dining areas, features a floor to ceiling rustic brick fireplace where you can relax and watch TV, listen to music, or read as you settle into on one of the soft comfortable sofas.
EXTERIOR DESCRIPTION: While at this quaint, board & baton classic designed Deer Bay Hideaway; sit back and relax on our spacious, private, wrap around benched seating, 32.5′ long X 14′ foot wide wood deck overlooking the glistening blue water of Deer Bay! Watch the kids frolic and play on the safe level grounds surrounding the cottage that are grassed to the waters edge, and in the shallow wading depth water; and where you might even catch the Osprey or Blue Heron dive for a fish dinner. There is a patio set that seats 6 as well as a few Muskoka chairs where you can enjoy a meal with family and friends. There is a propane BBQ, with all the tools you need to be a world class grill master. A brand new dock is being installed in the spring of 2017 that measures 36’ in length, and has a 12’X12’ pier area that is sure to be great for fishing, swimming or just sitting around and relaxing. There is a paddle-boat available for your enjoyment, I promise it’s also quite a workout. After you’re done with your paddle boat ride come on back and relax in our cozy hammock, enjoy a glass of wine, and try to spot some of the many hummingbirds that are constantly fluttering around. Enjoy a campfire at the in-ground fire-pit at the waters edge, where you can toast marshmallows, sing songs & tell stories. Listen to the enchanting call of the loons! And if your timing is right, you may be able to watch the moon rise over Deer Bay, and be memorized by the moonlight shimmering and reflecting off the water. The property features several mature trees that offer a well balanced mix of shade and open sunny areas. The water is usually pretty warm, come middle of July, there is a muddy bottom on our lake, so we recommend water shoes. There are a few weeds, but the swimming is pretty good.
ACTIVITIES NEARBY: The village of Buckhorn is only a short drive away and offers restaurants, art galleries, antique shops, convenience stores, a library, community centre, as well as Lock 31 where you can boat watch. There is a large grocery store (Foodland) and hardware store (Home Hardware) less than 10 minutes from the cottage. The area is a dream for lovers of the outdoors with ample opportunity for boating, hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, and adventure. Did we mention that this area is also Biker’s Paradise, some of the best roads in Ontario for motorcycle riding are just a few minutes away. The 507 which starts at Flynns turn, is just 10 minutes down the road, and is rated as one of the top 10 Roads to ride in all of Ontario. With so many options for exploration and enjoyment, you can make the most of your holiday in the Kawarthas!
Art Galleries Nearby: Gallery on the Lake: 10km: www.galleryonthelake.com
Whetung Ojibwa Centre: 14km, www.whetung.com
Parks and Conservation Areas: Petroglyph Provincial Park: 44km: www.ontarioparks.com/park/petroglyphs
Warsaw Caves Conservation Area: 33km: www.warsawcaves.com
Wolf Island Provincial Park: 17km: www.ontarioparks.com/park/wolfisland
Golf Courses: Katchiwano 19km: http://katchiwanogolf.com/mobile/index.htm
Sheffield Greens 26km: http://sheffieldgreensgolf.ca
Six Foot Bay Resort: 16km: http://www.sixfootbay.ca
CODY INN (Chinese Food) (10 min. drive from the cottage)
1966 Lakehurst Road, Buckhorn, Ontario K0L 1J0
MAINSTREET LANDING (Pub Food) (10 min. drive from the cottage)
1939 Lakehurst Road, Buckhorn, Ontario K9L 1J0, Canada
PIZZA ALLORO (10 min. drive from the cottage)
5 Main Street, Buckhorn, ON,K0L 1J0
Don’t miss Country Bob’s Chiptruck, one of the best burgers you will get in this area! 10 minutes from the cottage, located at Buckhorn Garage. 3174 Buckhorn Rd, Lakefield, ON K0L 2H0
Fine Dining: Old Bridge Inn (15 min drive from cottage) 2057 Old Highway 28. Youngs Point, Ontario, Canada. K0L 3G0
TREETOPS DINING ROOM (20 min. drive from the cottage)
At Westwind Inn, 61 Gallery On The Lake Road, Buckhorn, K0L 1J0
12FT Aluminum Fishing Boat with 9.9 HP outboard motor $375 weekly rental.
If you’re into fishing, or just want to take a stroll around the lake, we have a small aluminum fishing boat that is available as an additional rental fee. The boat features a 9.9HP 2 stroke outboard motor that doesn’t require a boating license. We supply a 5 gallon gas can, you’re responsible for getting your own gas, full instructions for operating the boat will be left for anyone wishing to rent it for the week. The boat is operated at your own risk, we have few life jackets available at the cottage, but we recommend that you bring your own, if you want a proper fit.
I can’t tell you how often I’m looking at profiles on Linkedin of people searching for jobs and see that their photo is just awful! You may have spent money to hire a professional to help you write your resume, so why wouldn’t you spend just a few extra dollars to get your personal profile photo just right. “I’m completely serious, what’s the first thing you look at when you’re on any Social media channel?” It’s the person’s profile picture.
IMHO, I feel everyone I know, and those I don’t should have 2 types of headshots. One should be a fun casual headshot that could be used every day. Think about what you would post on F.B. or Instagram, or Twitter! The photo should be clean and you should be dressed in your version of “Casual”, this could be a T-Shirt, Polo shirt, blouse, whatever is your style of fun, and shows your character.
The other should be more business like. Now business like is a bit more formal, as you can see from the photo above and below, we have 2X distinctly different looks.
The Headshot you ultimately get should convey who you are, and let your personality shine. Below I share with you many of my clients that have chosen me to create their Linkedin Profile Headshot.
Okay so what’s a typical headshot session like when you hire me to “capture your personality!”
First thing to do is look at my website, and get an idea of the different types of shots that we do. My full portfolio website is at www.fastfocus.ca . Then give me a call or shoot me an e-mail. Tell me a little bit about what it is you’re looking for. We will then book you in to do a session. A typical session runs about 2 hours, 3Hrs if you want to get hair and makeup done. We can shoot on location of your choice within the GTA, or at my studio located conveniently in “The Beach” area of Toronto. I work with some great Hair and Makeup people and their rates generally start at around $150 for a session, and I highly recommend hair and makeup mainly for my female clientele, and actors and models, to get the look that they want, just right for the camera. Think of it as a mini makeover!
During your session we will work with you, to create a few distinct looks, with lighting up to 2 wardrobe changes. After your session is complete we upload all of the images to a private online photo gallery, so you can pick your favorite images. Each client is given 5 final images from his or her shoot that have been colour corrected, and lightly retouched, for their personal use, delivered via dropbox, for digital download. You will be given lo-res files, that are great for Linkedin, and social media online, and hi-res files that are ready for up to 8X12 colour prints. If you’d like a B&W version those are also available at no additional charge.
A typical session including the 5 finished images, is $300! A $50 nonrefundable retainer, is expected via Paypal or Credit Card, at the time of Booking your appointment. We will work with corporate offices on reduced rates for photographing their entire office at a discount, call for further info.
If you have any further questions, feel free to e-mail me directly fastfocusaticloud.com
I will be hosting a Classic Retro Pinup Workshop at our Studio in “The Beach” in Toronto on Feb. 27th, with Kassandra Love.
All info can be found on our Meetup Website. The cost is $100.
Back in August my wife and I decided to vacation in Halifax and PEI, on the East Coast of Canada. I currently own 2X camera systems, Nikon D-800 with all of the popular lenses you could want, and a Fuji X-T1 with a 35mm 1.4, and 18-55mm F2.8-4. I have to admit honestly that I’m friends with a few of the folks over at Fuji Canada. I wanted to travel light on this trip because I knew we’d be doing a lot of walking around. So I asked my friends over at Fuji if they would lend me the XF 50-140mm F2.8, and the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR, although these were 2X of the heaviest lenses in Fuji’s lineup, I decided to just take my X-T1, these 2X lenses and my standard array of ND, and Polarizing filters. This still saved my back from bringing my full D800 with my myriad of lenses in my standard backpack. I ended up taking a small gear bag, and a tripod.
There is something about the Fuji X-T1 that just encourages you to take photos, more so than any other camera I’ve ever used. I feel it has something to do with the flip up screen, and it’s ability to be used in most daylight conditions. It allows you to get angles you wouldn’t normally shoot at when at eye level. That doesn’t dismiss the fact that I took plenty of shots using the EVF, but I felt I took just as many using the flip up screen which allowed for some very unique images.
I’m a huge fan of Fuji’s “Classic Chrome” setting, and I typically shoot with high JPG and RAW setting, so that I can get the CC look and the RAW file that will allow me to adjust my settings later if I don’t like the CC look. The portfolio of images that were taken on this one week trip astounded me. It might be a combination of my first time being on the east coast, having perfect lighting conditions most of the trip, and the pure excitement of carrying this camera almost everywhere I went. I will allow the images to speak for themselves, and post below with EXIF data, and any additional comments that I feel necessary in explaining the shot. This story is not really meant to be a review, but as I write this blog post I’ve continued to use my X-T1, 90% of the time while my Nikon’s sit in the bag. I’ve since just bought the 50-140 lens, as I decided I couldn’t live without it. My Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS, for Nikon has since gone up for Sale, so if anyone is interested in purchasing it, get in touch.
Below images from Lunenburg, NS
1/180 f/9 ISO 200 XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/250 f/7.1 ISO 200 XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/2000 f/2.8 ISO 200 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/1900 f/4.5 ISO 200 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/2000 f/4.5 ISO 200 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/1000 f/2.8 ISO 200 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR FUJIFILM X-T1 Classic Chrome Setting
Below images from “Peggy’s Cove” NS
13 f/11 ISO 100 XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/1000 f/9 ISO 200 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/180 f/5.6 ISO 200 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/2000 f/8 ISO 200 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/2000 f/2.8 ISO 200 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR FUJIFILM X-T1
Below images of the “Confederation Bridge” NB
1/125 f/7.1 ISO 200 XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/180 f/7.1 ISO 200 XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR FUJIFILM X-T1
Below images of PEI different locations:
1/340 f/2.8 ISO 200 XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR FUJIFILM X-T1
1/100 f/7.1 ISO 200 XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR FUJIFILM X-T1
Every once in a while all of your planning and hard work, come together and the results are just stunning (IMHO). I had been looking at nudes done with Silver body paint, and put together an inspiration board on Pinterest, while getting my ideas together, thinking about how I could do this in our studio. The thought occurred that this would be a great little workshop for us to do in our Beaches Studio Workshops. I had worked with Fredau before and thought she’d be the perfect model, easy to work with great at posing, and just naturally comfortable in front of the camera. If you ever get the chance to work with her, you should. A few months earlier I’d met, a husband and wife team, Aaron and Melanie Knox, that does bodypaint, and I’d contact them to see if they’d be interested in working with us to create the perfect look. On Feb. 6th, 2015 we had a group of about 8 People come to our studio, and after about 90 minutes of preparation we were on our way to shooting.
If you’ve never photographed someone using body paint, it ain’t easy. As your model moves around the paint smudges and gets streaky, it needs constant attention. Thank goodness our M/U team stayed for the entire shoot, and I thank them. Shooting in a group situation has it’s strong and weak points. The strong being that everyone feeds off of the energy and you come up with ideas as a team. The weak being that you never have enough of your own time to shoot. Although you might not think so, everyone walks away with their own images, reflecting their personality and style.
Interestingly enough, this was the first time I got into the studio with my new Fuji X-T1 and got to test it out in direct comparison with my Nikon D-800. I have to say that I was mighty impressed, with both how it handled in the studio and the final results. Have a peak below and see what you think.
1/160 f/11 Manual ISO 100 02-06-15 4:02:47 PM NIKON D800 85.0 mm f/1.8
1/160 f/11 Manual ISO 100 02-06-15 4:02:49 PM NIKON D800 85.0 mm f/1.8
1/180 f/11 Manual ISO 200 02-07-15 1:13:24 PM X-T1 XF35mmF1.4 R
1/180 f/11 Manual ISO 200 02-07-15 1:13:43 PM X-T1 XF35mmF1.4 R
1/180 f/13 Manual ISO 200 02-07-15 3:21:25 PM X-T1 XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
1/180 f/13 Manual ISO 200 02-07-15 3:21:12 PM X-T1 XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
If you’re looking to book a session with me in “The Beach” area of Toronto, make sure to get in touch. Portraits, Headshots, Boudoir, Fine Art Nudes
There lies beneath this rubble, a tumbling city, that once stood “Regent Park”, a low income housing community in downtown Toronto. I know not of the politics, or decisions to renovate these old buildings, but all cities must grow. In the path of the destruction there lies an inherent beauty, and whilst we gaze upon this destruction, you will see in the photos below, a certain amount of poetry. I will leave you to discover this, while browsing the photos, and I welcome all feedback.
On a technical note of interest, this was my first opportunity to shoot with Fuji XF 50-140mm F2.8 lens. What can I say, it was the perfect choice for this assignment, and I was impressed with the quality of the optics beyond my expectations. There is an image below, that you will see, I have zoomed into a 100% crop, to show more of the scene. The image enlarged stands on it’s own merit even when blown up this much. I’ve also fallen deeply in love with the “Classic Chrome” film simulation mode, and all images below were processed using that setting. These images were shot in RAW mode and I then chose that specific film simulation in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5. If you’re not familiar with how to change the film simulation modes in LR 5, then have a look at my tutorial at the bottom of the post.
1/210 f/5.6 Normal ISO 200 02-04-15 1:03:19 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/105 f/7.1 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:04:56 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/110 f/7.1 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:05:42 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/170 f/5.6 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:06:16 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/90 f/5.6 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:10:19 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/75 f/5.6 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:11:26 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/50 f/5.6 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:13:45 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
100% crop of image above 1/50 f/5.6 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:13:45 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/50 f/5.6 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:14:00 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/55 f/5.6 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:15:26 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/60 f/5.6 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:15:33 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/70 f/5.6 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:19:09 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
1/100 f/5.6 Aperture priority ISO 200 02-04-15 1:19:54 PM X-T1 XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR
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