A Trip to Montréal

Back in April, I investigated summer judo training for Lauren. I inquired with Marie-Hélène Chisholm, The High-Performance Manager for Judo Canada, as to whether there would be any appropriate camps in Canada this summer. She invited Lauren to The National Summer Training Camp in Montréal in July, a camp for the top juniors and seniors in Canada, including their Olympic team. Since our family hadn’t had a trip that didn’t involve spending most of our time sitting in a sporting venue waiting for our girls, and other Club Olympians, to compete, we decided to make the trip a family vacation. Grant Johnson came along to train as well.

While Grant flew to Montréal, we drove. On the way there we drove down through Chicago to the Blue Water Bridge north of Detroit. Other than an hour wait to cross the bridge, the drive went smoothly. That first day we made it to Kingston, Ontario, which left us a short drive the next day to Montréal. Along the route, people were very friendly, and while we stopped for gas, Sophia commented, “The workers here don’t seem to hate their lives.”

The training camp took place in the Olympic Stadium built for the 1976 Olympics.

Olympic Stadium

It took us a while to find the right entrance, the one labeled “Le Centre Sportif.”


Once inside we could see the Olympic pool and diving area. The judo training is in the area labeled: “Institut National Du Sport Du Québec.”


Here’s Grant and Lauren with USA Olympian Nick Delpopolo:

This time they’re with Canadian Olympic Medalist Antoine Valois-Fortier:

Speaking of Antoine, here he is again:


This demonstrates the relative standing of judo in the USA and the rest of the world. In the USA we couldn’t even see Kayla Harrison’s gold medal match at the London Olympics on television.

There are a number of attractions in the Olympic Park. One of them is the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium:

We stayed at the Hôtel ‎Universel Montréal, a short walk from the Olympic stadium. The rooms were clean and comfortable, and the service was exemplary.

While Lauren and Grant were training, the rest of us did a little sight-seeing, in-between runs to the laundromat to wash sweaty Judo gis. One day Janice, Sophia and I took the Métro downtown. Our first stop was the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal.



Sophia could only take a few minutes of that, and so we stopped at Les Glaceurs – Centre-Ville for a cupcake and coffees.


After the break, we walked around Old Montréal and down to the Old Port. As we rested in the shade, a police officer approached us. She asked if we had any plans. When we said that we didn’t, she recommended Voiles En Voiles, a climbing park fashioned after a pirate ship, but she told us that it would be better at night, as it would be cooler and the lights would be more fun. We didn’t get back down until Friday night.






While Grant, Lauren and Sophia had fun at Voiles En Voiles, Janice and I drove to the Parc de la Cité-du-Havre, which has a great view of the city.



Here’s one taken with a film camera, a Fuji GW670III:


Sophia wanted to do some clothes shopping, and so one day we took the Métro to The Underground City, 32 kilometres’ worth of tunnels under twelve square kilometres of the most densely populated part of Montréal:


On a different day Janice, Sophia and I drove to a lookout on Mont Royal. You can see the Olympic Stadium in the background:


At the lookout, there were a bunch of raccoons.


Looking more closely, there were at least ten right around the lookout.


Lastly, there was this guy. Is anyone else reminded of Eric Cartman?


After visiting the lookout, we headed to L’ Oratoire Saint Joseph Du Mont-Royal, the largest church in Canada.





Sophia did a good job staying still during the one second exposure:



One evening we headed to the Jean-Talon Market:

We ate our best meal of the trip at El Rey Del Taco on the edge of the market:

On Friday, Grant and Lauren only had a morning training session, and thus they needed some more physical activity for the afternoon. As a result, we went to iSaute Montreal E, a trampoline park.





We put in over 2100 miles (3379 km) driving this trip, but it was well worth it. The Judo camp was outstanding. Thank you to Marie-Hélène Chisholm and Judo Canada for having us! Montréal is beautiful, and the people are very friendly. We look forward to going back.

All photographs and text are copyrighted 2016 by Peter De Smidt. All rights reserved.

PhotoBackpacker P3 with an 8×10 Camera

I recently bought a PhotoBackpacker P3 backpack to hold my 4×5 field camera kit.  The other day a gentleman asked me  if it would work for a Toyo 810 field camera. It certainly would, depending on how much extra space was needed for other things.

Here’s the P3:


On the inside, the black area is female velcro.  The ruler is 25″ long.
BP RulerThe two rectangles are double male velcro strips.  You get a bunch, and they can go anywhere. They hold the interior cases down and to each other.
BP OpenThe closest camera in size to a Toyo 810M that I have on hand is an Eastman Commercial 8×10 from about 1928:
cameraHere it is set in the bottom of the pack:
BP 8x10The next picture shows the camera with a multi-lens case.  The cases can be put anywhere and in any orientation. The middle lens is in a Copal #3 shutter.  You can also get individual lens cases for most sized lenses, including ones on 6″ boards.
BP 8x10 Lenses

Lens Case

This is the case for my Toyo 45AX:Camera Case Top

camera Case OpenThe side:

Camera Case Side

The bottom:
Camera Case Bottom

As I said before, the cases can be securely Velcro’d to the back of the backpack, as well as to each other.


I estimate that 5 8×10 film holders will fit in the second compartment.

BP Film Holder

The P3 has a great suspension, lots of storage space, and it’s light weight.

Foggy Night, Memorial Park

A while ago I was staying in Cedar Grove.  I work up at 2am and looked out the window at the park.  It was a foggy night, and the yellow sodium vapor lights  gave the scene a very eerie vibe.  I went out and took some pictures, and here are the results:






Summer Judo Combatants

A number of Club Olympians took part in national and international tournaments this summer.  They did a great job.  The Kohlmann’s weren’t able to make the picture, as they’ve moved to Germany.

Lynn and Randall both did an outstanding job coaching, and the Judo Families really worked together so that as many judokas could attend the tournaments as possible.

Tohkon Classic XVII – 2012

Sophia Arrives at the Venue

Last Saturday, Club Olympians took part in the Tohkon Classic judo tournament in Chicago. The Tohkon Classic rocks and visiting Chicago is always a good time. Unlike most tournaments, the adults went before the juniors.

Lauren , 13, decided to compete both at her normal level and at the adult advanced level.  In the latter group she faced a 27 year old that out-weighed her by 12 pounds.

Lauren (Blue Belt) Fights as an Adult

While Lauren lost, it was a hard fought match, and it was very good experience.

Lauren (Blue Belt) Going for A throw

Grant Johnson had a very good tournament with some very hard-fought matches.

Grant Goes for a Throw
Grant Wins!

While the adults were finishing up, the juniors warmed-up.

Warming Up?
Matthew and Sophia

This was Sophia’s 10th tournament.  Last year at the Tohkon Classic she scored some points but lost all of her matches.

Sophia Waiting for her Opponent
Sophia Goes for the Head Toss
Sophia Doing a Hip Toss
Sophia Pins Her Opponent

This year she won two out of her three matches and came in 2nd.

Cody (Blue Belt) with an Ippon
Cody Wins!
Matthew (White Belt) Throwing His Opponent

Luckily, I was able to get a number of decent photos of Mitchell V. at work.

Mitchell With a Head Toss
And Again!
Deja Vue
Mitchell Pins his Opponent
Mitchell Throws his Opponent

End of the Throw
Mitchell (White Belt) Fighting Hard
Kyle (White Belt) Going for a Throw


Some Studio Portraits

A few days ago, I set up my dining room “studio”. For lighting,  I used one flash in a big softbox as the key light, along with another flash on the background. The camera was a Nikon D200 with an 85mm Nikkor AIS, i.e. manual focus, lens.  Here are some of the results:


This was the first picture I took of Sophia.  She wasn’t thrilled as Janice had just done a little hair combing.  Sophia is not a fan of having her hair combed, as you can tell.

Sophia's Judo Face
Sophia Smiling





Stevens Point Judo Tournament

Club Olympia Judokas took part in a tournament put on by the Stevens Point Judo Club.

Sophia had a very good tournament, beating all of her opponents.

Sophia Pins Her Opponent

She took first place in her division for the first time.

Sophia and her First Place Medal

Lauren also had a very good tournament.

Lauren Throwing Her Opponent

Hunter had some great throws.

Hunter Throws His Opponent

Grant and John both fought hard.

Grant and John

Wahadachi Shiai 2012

Judokas from Club Olympia Judo took part at Wahadachi Shiai 2012.

Sophia, white belt, tried very hard to get her first win.  She scored two yukos.

And here she had her opponent pinned for about 15 seconds.  10 more and she would’ve won! But do you notice how her head is up?  That allowed her opponent to get her leg around Sophia’s head.  This lead to a reversal pin, which resulted in an ippon.  Sophia has really made great progress since her last tournament!

Lauren had a very good day, coming in first in her division with 5 wins and one loss.  This is from her first match.

Lauren won with a pin, which she doesn’t do very often.

Ellie Keenan, white belt, attempts a throw.

Mandy Race, blue belt, throws her opponent.

Cody and Kyle going at it.

Kyle Handy, blue belt, gets his grip.

Kyle wins!

Ellie with a nice throw.

Lauren goes for a throw.

Hannah, white gi, won the balance contest and threw her opponent.

Lauren had to beat Mandy twice to win her division.  The matches were very close!

Mitchell V., white belt, looks to throw.