Mousefest 2008 was a very successful endeavor for The Magic in Pixels, judging by the attendance at the TMIP meets, but there is one moment that will stand above all others, as it came as a surprise for me as well. The Magic in Pixels Walk Around the World, Saturday night after the MegaMouseMeet was supposed to commence in Canada and end in Mexico and cover some photo tips and pointers along the way. It ended up being very different, thanks to a little magic by Susan Smith (AKA Kiki on the TMIP forum) and a gracious group of musicians called Off Kilter
who rock the stage in Canada day after day and have a cult-like following. I had always been a casual fan, but after this experience, I am a die hard for life.
A bit of background… Susan is the web-mistress for RandyHolbrook.com , which is the personal site of Off Kilter’s guitar player. She told me that Randy is a talented musician and all around good guy who just happened to need some new images for the gallery on his website. She suggested the Walk Around the World Meet stop and catch Off Kilter’s set which was scheduled to start a convenient five minutes after the start of the Meet. At this point, the news was broken to the group that we were going to be having a little contest to see who could come up with the best photo of Randy Holbrook and that person would win… something. Details weren’t so firm at this point. The kicker was that the entire group would get to go up on stage after the set and meet the band and get a group photo. Everyone was very excited at this point, including myself. Susan thought this would be a nice Magical Moment for the group and had secured Randy’s blessing in advance.
As the set was playing (ending with Whiskey in the Jar… my all time Off Kilter favorite), our group blasted away with big cameras, small cameras, and everything in between. Off Kilter began playing to the cameras a bit, making for some nice candid images. I started off with the Canon 24-105L IS/USM and switched to the Sigma 120-400 OS and really started cranking away, but there was one special image from Katie McNamara (AKA Mainstreet 1997) that was the immediate Grand Prize winner as judged by Randy and Susan. All participants who sent in entries were winners, as their image was posted with photo credits in the RandyHolbrook.com Photo Gallery but Katie racked in the prizes: placement on the website, an Off Kilter CD of her choosing, a T-shirt from Randy’s store, and a TMIP Hat and T-shirt . Not a bad little score for taking photos and having fun!
After the set was over, we all got to go on stage and meet the band at which time I met Randy for the first time and felt an immediate sense of just how genuine this man is. There was not an ounce of bravado, pretense, or arrogance to be found with Randy, or any of the other band members for that matter. After speaking with Randy for a few moments, it was time to assemble for the group photo and then it was off to tour the rest of World Showcase while the band members got some much needed respite between sets.
I would personally like to congratulate Katie for her award image, thank everyone who particiapated in the Meet, thank Susan for hooking this whole thing up, thank Randy for his graciousness and new found friendship, and thank the rest of the group as well (Mark Weldon-bass and vocals, Tony Escapa-keyboards, Scotty Zymowski-drums, and Jason Thomas-fiddle, who was filling in for the vacationing bagpiper, Jamie Holton) for their generosity in helping this thing happen. How ’bout we do it again in Mousefest 2009?