Monday, March 29, 2010

(Day 88) A new day

For the first time since I began this 365 project I'm having to take both a mental and physical break from shooting a daily photo so I can put my focus on being supportive during this time. I'm reaching into my archives to find a photo to post.

This one I took very early one morning from our front yard, as a new day dawned. I find it symbolic of today, the first day where we who remain behind move on without a loved one present, and the first that she who has left this earth has experienced without pain and suffering.

(18-55mm  f11  1/40 sec  ISO200)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

(Day 87) Let there be Light

Whatever your beliefs are, scientists still have not been able to explain the origin of the universe. Oh yes, theories abound, but proof lies beyond reach. It's my belief that God took care of that, just as He took care of creating light. And He's also promised that there's light beyond death.

Some people who have had a 'near death experience' claim to have caught a glimpse of that light before they were snatched from death's jaws. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. And whether my mother-in-law saw that tonight when she left this earthly existence I don't know either. What I do believe, however, is that she's in the presence of The Light and is relieved of all her earthly suffering. For that I give thanks.

(60mm  f2.8  3.2 sec  ISO100)

(Day86) Brass

Looking at brass tonight reminded me of death. Death is not something our culture likes to think about. Our culture is obsessed with youth and vigour and things new. Death, like brass, is hard and cold and unyielding. But beyond the hard reality of it also shines a wonderful glow - for those who grab hold of the Promise.

Our vigil continues. The time is near, although we do not know the hour nor the day. I appreciate the encouraging words I have received via your comments, and ask for your patience in visiting and commenting on your blogs - I will do so again in a few days.

(60mm  f5.6  3.2 sec  ISO400)

Friday, March 26, 2010

(Day 85) Just a closer walk with Thee

It's a time to be reflective. A close family member is approaching life's end - not unexpectedly from a medical perspective. We're a long way from home, in order to be nearby. I had the opportunity today to accompany one of my daughters and granddaughters for a walk through some forest trails. We shared laughter, and enjoyed the beautiful creation. I thought I'd share just a couple of shots today.

(18-55mm  f8  1/20 sec  ISO200)

(18-55mm  f8 1/125 sec  ISO200)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

(Day 84) Overflowing with spring ...

... runoff, that is. I was going to a little village near here with the intention of shooting one of the historical sites there. As I walked towards the site I heard a roaring sound that got louder and louder. I hadn't heard that sound before since this place is usually quite tranquil. I was surprised at what I saw - the normally shallow creek that meanders below a small power dam on the Rideau River had turned into a raging torrent. I had forgotten that spring runoff occurs much earlier in Ontario than in Alberta (June), and even earlier this year due to the mild weather and early spring.

If you've got a kayak, and a death wish, hurry on down.

(70-200mm  f16  1/250 sec  ISO400)

(70-200mm  f16  1/400 sec  ISO400)

(70-200mm  f16  1/500 sec  ISO400)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

(Day 83) Symmetry

Although we're always looking for a different angle in photography, symmetry can also be pleasing to the eye, and is actually a necessity quite often. Can you imagine if people had their nose placed on the right side of their face, or one ear on the back of their head and another on the left ? Just wouldn't look right, would it.

Symmetry can be found in man-made structures as well as in nature. I found symmetry in both today.

(18-55mm  f4.5  1/50 sec  ISO200)

Then there was this photo that looked to me like a sound wave or a seismic graph:

(18-55mm  f5.6  1/8 sec  ISO200)

But that's only because I rotated it 90 degrees. Here's what the original looked like:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

(Day 82) A 'light' play day

It was weather for neither man nor beast today - one of those typical wild, wet, windy March days. We had rain, driven by a cold east wind, and as it got colder, the rain turned to wet snow - really just too miserable to subject the camera to. So I had to interrupt my little mini-series on local scenes and snippets of history to just  play with light. And it was blue light I was playing with - reflecting the mood of the weather.

(60mm  f2.8  6 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f8  6 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f8  20 sec  ISO200)

Monday, March 22, 2010

(Day 81) All quiet on the waterfront

Small communities in Ontario, and perhaps across Canada, are having difficulty staying vibrant. Jobs and career opportunities are dwindling as manufacturers move to lower cost centres. Quite often young people don't return once they complete post-secondary education. Pictured below is the Rideau River waterfront of Smiths Falls, a town of 9,000 which recently lost a chocolate manufacturer that provided over 1,000 jobs at one time, and a health care facility which provided over 800 jobs. It's a pity, and a loss for the country, because a small town has a unique way of life and a sense of community that can't be replicated in a big city.

(70-200mm  f5  6 sec  ISO800)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

(Day 80) Just remember and say thank you

On the eastern outskirts of the village of Lyn, Ontario stands the Veterans Memorial, overlooking Lyn Cemetery. What is especially notable about the memorial, dedicated in 2006, is that it incorporates the original millstone from the Lyn Mill (see Day 79 post).

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

"For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

(18-55mm  f8  1/250 sec  ISO200)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

(Day 79) A bit of local history

Many communities in Ontario were centred around waterways. These provided means of transportation as well as the necessary power to operate machinery, especially in the days before electricity. Usually one of the first establishments was a mill. Pictured below is the waterway that powered the Lyn Mill, which was built around 1784 by United Empire Loyalists. It was fed by local lakes, and the water supply for the mill was controlled by a number of dams. The mill went out of business in 1934 after a 150-year existence.

(18-55mm  f22  1/8 sec  ISO100)

Friday, March 19, 2010

(Day 78) Spring sculptures

It's a magical time of the year - transformations are taking place as the sun warms up the earth. Brown is turning to green, plants are emerging from a deep sleep, snow and ice are disappearing ... Today's subject(s) fell victim to this transformation - they existed all winter but are no more.

(60mm  f16  1/60 sec  ISO100)

(60mm  f16  1/50 sec  ISO100)

(60mm  f4  1/800 sec  ISO100)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

(Day 77) The toil of their hands

I went for a stroll on our land today - again we were blessed by sunshine and warm temperatures. I wanted to re-visit and photograph a few places were there was evidence of those who came before us, who lived here and worked this land many years ago. As I stood near these places I wondered who the people were who had worked so hard to clear the land of rocks, and built split-rail cedar fences around hundreds of acres. This area is known for black flies and mosquitoes - how they must have been tormented as they laboured under a hot sun engulfed by swarms of pesky biting and stinging bugs. They moved on long ago (see Day 62) and only remnants of their passing through remain.

"There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow."  (Ecclesiastes 1:11)

(18-55mm  f8  1/100 sec  ISO400)

(18-55mm  f8  1/30 sec  ISO400)

(Day 76) Soft, furry, and early

No - not another puzzle. Today's subject took me back to the days of my youth (yep, again) - back to memories of springs gone by.

Since we lived in the country, there were swamps (as we called them back then - today's pc word is 'wetlands') and you could always find pussy willows growing in or near them. I recall that they were one of the very early signs of life in the spring, and I would always break off some twigs and take them home where my mother would put them in a vase. Once the buds were fully developed they would fall off and be replaced by leaves, and lo and behold, most of the twigs would have also developed roots. Being a 'budding' gardener (yeah, I know - bad pun), I would take them to some spot and plant them. I think I was the Johnny Appleseed of pussy willows.

Well, I happen to have 2 of them growing near the house (no, I didn't plant these but they weren't there either when we moved here) and as you can see, they're heralding the onset of spring. Happy days are here again ... !

(60mm  f4  15 sec  ISO400)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

(Day 75) Weeds and bokeh

When is a weed not a weed ? Dumb question to ask a gardener - "it's always a weed!". But, when you ask a photographer, well, you might get a different answer. With the right lighting and aperture, and when the bokeh works out, that weed might just be considered art, or at least a photo worth posting. As they say - "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

(60mm  f29  1/20 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f16  1/125 sec  ISO200)

Monday, March 15, 2010

(Day 74) No two alike

It's said that no two snowflakes are alike. I'm not sure how this can be claimed unless someone's checking and comparing all the snowflakes, but I think a similar claim can be made for skies (unless of course they're perfectly blue without a trace of a cloud). As I was outside in the early evening I was reminded of a photo of cloud formations I took two weeks ago, and I decided to try to take a photo of generally the same area, but with a completely different sky. Take a look at the Day 60 (Mar. 1) photo and compare to this one. Now, two sky comparisons don't prove my point, but I think He provides endless variation for His glory and our enjoyment, as He does throughout His creation.

(18-55mm  f8  1/400 sec  ISO200)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

(Day 73) Guess where I found this

It was a bit of a nasty day today (typical March, I suppose) with gusty blasts of wind sprinkled with some rain now and then. Not the kind of day that was conducive to outdoor photography, especially since I'm a bit under the weather too. So I had to content myself with some indoor shooting and came up with this. Have a guess at it - most imaginative gets bragging rights - and I'll post the answer tomorrow.

(60mm  f18  8 sec.  ISO200)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

(Day 72) Across the universe

Continuing on my musical theme (with apologies to the Beatles) ... here we are looking deep into the very heart of the universe, into a mysterious 'green hole' with even more power to draw everything into its vortex than the black holes discovered by astronomers.

Well, one can have flights of fancy, right ? Especially on a drab, rainy day.

(60mm  f11  0.8 sec  ISO200)

Friday, March 12, 2010

(Day 71) Sing me a song, you're the piano man ...

I seem to be on a musical theme the last couple of days ... the only thing missing from this photo is Billy Joel in glass slippers! Music is a great gift and I admire those who have the ability to play an instrument well. I'm sure if King David had had a piano back in his day, he would have used it as accompaniment for the psalms. Of course it would have restricted his mobility a bit, unlike the harp and lyre.

(60mm  f11  13 sec  ISO200)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

(Day 70) Remember when you were young ...

I'm not sure if you're a Pink Floyd fan, but if you are, you'd certainly remember these lyrics (Shine On You Crazy Diamond). I had it running through my brain today so it lead me to find a reminder of those days when we were young.

(70-200mm  f5.6  5 sec  ISO800)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

(Day 69) Signs of spring

A beautiful day today - sunny, high of 10C (50F). I'll let the photos speak for themselves today.

(70-200mm  f8  1/125 sec  ISO200)

(70-200mm  f8  1/1600 sec  ISO200)

(70-200mm  f8  1/320 sec  ISO200)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

(Day 68) Balance

It's something that's often talked about, especially in the context of work and life, where 'life' is understood to be almost the opposite of 'work'. It's like there should be symmetry in one's life when the two are balanced. I tried to find that balance in today's photo.

(70-200mm  f4  1/800 sec  ISO200)

Monday, March 8, 2010

(Day 67) What used to be here ?

One of my first tasks when we moved to our current home was to develop a vegetable garden; it's in the genes I think - I'm descended from gardeners. I figured it wouldn't be too difficult as I had the necessary tools and equipment, including a rototiller and large tractor. So I staked out an area, fired up the rototiller, and started tilling. It was quite difficult going and I initially thought it was due to the fact it was virgin soil and was likely compacted. Ha - no such luck! What soon became all too clear to me was that the land consisted of about 10cm (4") of dirt sitting on top of rock. I don't mean rocks, although it turned out there were lots of those too, but rock!

Well, I used the bucket on my tractor to scrape off what little soil there was into a pile, and then used a pick to remove as much of the rock as I could. I built a 3m by 3m (10' x 10') sieve and bucket by bucket sifted all the dirt through it to remove even more rocks. After bringing in a few truckloads of soil and adding compost, it started to resemble a garden. Today that formerly barren patch of ground produces more veggies than we can eat.

I had little interest in the remaining pile of rocks at the time. What turned out to be interesting later as I started to remove the rather large pile, was the number of fossils they contained. I'm no fossil expert, but it looks to me that perhaps this area used to be covered by a sea, and as it disappeared, small sea creatures were covered by silt, and as the silt eventually hardened into rock, these creatures were left behind as the fossils I uncovered.

If anyone can tell what they might be from these photos, please leave a comment.

(completely off-topic, but if you'd like to contribute a photo to help fight Alzheimers, read this: )

(60mm  f11  1/10 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f16  1/15 sec  ISO200)


(60mm  f16  1/15 sec  ISO200)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

(Day 66) The heavens declare thy glory!

I never tire of the glory of the skies at sunset - I hope you don't either. Each is unique. Who else could paint such a comparable scene each evening ?

(18-55mm  f8  1/250 sec  ISO200)

(70-200mm  f8  1/80 sec  ISO200)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

(Day 65) SUNflower

The smell and feel of spring is in the air (I know - a little premature, at least for here, but ...). The temperatures are inching higher daily and the sun worked hard today to clean up the most recent snowstorm. We're starting to see patches of grass again. The days will soon be here when we will enjoy blooms out in the garden. To appease my desire for those warmer temperatures and the sunshine that will bring those blooms, I post today's photo. Hope you enjoy it too!

(60mm  f3.2  1/5 sec  ISO800)

Friday, March 5, 2010

(Day 64) An ant's view of eternity

I tried to visualize myself as an ant with the goal of walking to the horizon along these tracks - that would seem to me to be incomprehensible - as an ant. I have a similar difficulty envisioning eternity. I think most people do.

(f70-200mm  f16  1/320 sec  ISO200)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

(Day 63) No longer needed ??

The land around here was 'settled' over 200 years ago. Back then, British Empire Loyalists who sided with their mother country when the US wanted independence, arrived here and hacked productive farms out of the bush, and established towns and villages. They also quickly erected places of worship for by and large they had a strong faith. They looked to God for sustenance in the difficult times.

How times have changed. While there are still 'poorer' people (a relative term), affluence abounds, and with it comes apathy especially in spiritual matters. People don't feel the need to turn to God it seems.

Today's photos show one of the early churches built in the area which once saw a community come to thank and praise their Sustainer - now it sits forlorn and neglected, a symbol of people's spiritual lives. Seems to me that the Old Testament is full of similar stories.

(70-200mm  f14  1/200 sec  ISO200)

(18-55mm  f14  1/100 sec  ISO200)

(18-55mm  f14  1/80 sec  ISO200)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

(Day 62) In the shadow of the dead

I visited a couple of small graveyards within a few minutes' drive of our place. They seem rather neglected. It would appear that there haven't been any new 'additions' there for quite some time either. I walked quietly among the gravestones - some were bowed over and appeared ready to lie down completely as if they were exhausted after all these years. The names and dates on others had been ravaged by the forces of rain and wind and cold and were no longer decipherable. Still others leaned at an awkward angle. They mark the last place on earth of people who walked the country lanes in this area some 100 - 200 years ago (not long ago by European standards). From the gravestones that were still legible, it was evident that some were taken at an early age, while others lived to their nineties. They have all run the race; may they rest in peace. I'm not sure if anyone still visits them, other than perhaps the occasional photographer ...

(18-55mm  f18  1/125 sec  ISO200)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

(Day 61) From the garden ...

Right - somebody's garden, but definitely not mine! It's always nice to have fresh flowers in the house, regardless the time of year, but even more so after what seems to be a long winter (actually we can't complain - it hasn't been very cold nor have we had much snow this winter; yet ...). March is the spring 'teaser' month - today was sunny and 7C (45F) and the forecast for the next 5 days promises more sun and mild. However, we could just as easily be buried under another 30cm (12") of snow and have freezing temperatures in a week's time, so we're not storing the snow shovels and mitts quite yet. In the meantime we'll enjoy the beauty of the flowers indoors. And we'll think about outdoor blooms maƱana! (I couldn't decide between these 2 photos for today so I posted them both - let me know which you like better).

(60mm  f8  1/10 sec  ISO800)

(60mm  f16  0.8 sec  ISO800)

Monday, March 1, 2010

(Day 60) 'Whisked' sky

We took the dog for a walk in the early evening (there's an oxymoron for you - our dog has 77 acres to roam around on, but what she likes best is to be attached to a leash and taken for a walk along the country road - go figure!). Following the ABC principle, I noticed the interesting cloud formation and took some photos. It appeared to me that the clouds had been 'whisked' by the tree on the right, which itself reminded me of a whisk broom.

(18-55mm  f22  1/15 sec  ISO200)