I had two ten-year-old boys with me; they said “Fight dancing!” Really it was Capoeira, somewhere between a martial art and dance form, invented by African slaves in Brazil. There are a couple of stories but let’s start with the picture.

Capoeira

Chili and Blues · This happened at the Gastown Blues and Chili Fest. Gastown is a tourist district here, blues and chili need no introduction. They blocked off a street and had electric blues on a stage at one end, and (while we were there) Capoeira at the other. In between were stands selling chili, and you could get beer or wine.

It was a warm afternoon and a cheery, if crowded event, with only moderate spillover of the sad folk from the Downtown Eastside. I’d brought my ten-year-old son and his friend and my three-year-old daughter, and I’d never actually walked the kids past vacant-eyed ravaged-faced junkies before. What they call a teachable moment, and I said a few words about being On Drugs.

When the Mud Bay Blues Band started in on that ’lectric boogie, my little girl went crazy, scampering to the front and leaping around; I think she’ll grow up to be a rocker. The boy said he thought it was too loud. Hmm.

Gastown Beer and Chili Fest

The event was supposed to be noon-to-seven, but they ran out of chili at four. I think I got one of the last bowls, from Wild Rice, and if the others were anywhere near as good, that place was chili heaven.

Try Wide and Prime · Having lured you in with talk of food and family and music and dance, I’m going to veer into photo-geekery. This is just by way of saying thank-you to the world in general for the existence of wide-angle prime lenses, and to Pentax in particular for the SMC DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited, which is distinguished by being small, light, and unfragile. That Capoeira picture, and a large majority of those Japanese shots, benefit from its virtues.

I’ve written about this lens before, and about the advantages of prime lenses. This really isn’t an ad for a particular Pentax lens, it’s a call-out to anyone with a replaceable-lens camera to try the following: get a small prime wide-angle lens, leave the others behind, and go for a walk. You might come across a fight dance.



Contributions

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From: Bob Aman (Sep 26 2009, at 12:56)

I took Capoeira classes in college. It was an absolutely incredible workout. And fight dancing is pretty accurate: The slaves that invented it were forbidden from training in martial arts, so they disguised their training as a dance.

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From: Walter Underwood (Sep 29 2009, at 22:47)

Not a big surprise. The 35/2 has been the standard of street photography lenses forever. Your 21mm is roughly a 32/3.2 in 35mm-equivalent. I used the Canon FD 35/2 for the vast majority of my photography for years. Lovely lens.

Unfortunately, Canon doesn't make a lens like that for their 1.6X cameras. The 17-55/2.8 is a great lens, but pretty big and heavy, sigh. I tried the Canon 20/2.8, but the fringing is worse than the zoom.

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