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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vancouver Stanley Cup Hockey Playoffs 2011 Riot

Everything was on fire. Mobs looting stores and setting them on fire. Few individuals tried to stop them, the rest cheered at the destruction.

The stores are smashed open, and are quickly looted.  There is large lineups trying to get in to loot the stores.  The pillagers flaunt their spoils.  Handful of people step in to stop the crowd.  The mob is displeased that the show is interrupted.  These select individuals take it upon themselves to discourage the rioters.  The rest cavort about in reckless abandon.

Police took back the streets step by step, behind shields and backed up by loud speakers.  The crowd has numbers, and brave few throws garbage as the officers.  The cops sit there and take it.  One member of the mob steps forward to show off to his audience.  The officer takes a single step forward, and The crowd turns in to a sea of cowards running past me in fear of retribution.  There is no strength in this gathering, no unity.  It is a amorphous conglomeration of chaos.


Cars are smashed, flipped, and set ablaze.  It took a few to start, but many join in, and those who don't are quick to cheer and give shouts of encouragement.  Riot tourists step in to pose for photos beside the burning wreckage.  This incites the rioters to further acts of destruction, they are eager to please the crowd.

Another fire, more glass breaks, a man stand upon a bench, plunder in hand.  The crowd cheers in encouragement, and more breaks in to loot.  They are united in purpose of destruction and lawlessness.  There is too few willing to step in to stop this madness.  At this point almost everyone has taken sides as active participants: those very few who will stand against it, and the vast majority who cheer and yell in the exultation of mayhem.  They are outnumbered at least one to a hundred.  Rest watch in silence.

*I don't know anything about hockey, and I'm not a fan in any way.  I would never have entered the streets but I was forced out by a fire set to my building.  All of this is within the block of where I live.


For this project I didn't have enough time to set up.  I took up the Canon 7D (for faster autofocus afforded by the smaller sensor) and the Sigma 30mm 1.4  I needed a fast lens with quick autofocus so I can capture the night action at fast shutter speeds.  It's a standard lens on a crop, so a good focal length for this kind of work: long enough so I don't have to step in, and wide enough to catch small crowds.

Seriously, for work like this, leave your big camera and huge lenses at home.  Be discreet, don't be seen, and don't make the rioters feel like celebrities.


  1. Awesome shots man. Congrats on not getting hurt.

  2. I am glad that you weren't hurt, and I hope your building etc wasn't too badly damaged!