Saturday, July 31, 2010

(Day 212) The universe - unfolding as it should

We liked this place so much that we made a second visit early this evening. There's a nice beach and a long pier - great places to go for a stroll and watch people. There were children playing in the warm water, other people simply sitting on benches, soaking up the warm rays of the sun, and still others enjoying some late day fishing. Here was the creation, basking in the laughter of children at play and being enjoyed by those for whom the Creator made it. And every day was intended to be like this, from the beginning!

(18-55mm  f11  1/100 sec  ISO200)

Friday, July 30, 2010

(Day 211) The fishing lesson

We made an early morning trip to a beach that was listed in the tourism brochures as 'one of the best shelling beaches'. I think that the authors in their enthusiasm forgot to add 'after a major storm' because there were only small shells - albeit in the millions. So, with thoughts of finding a treasure trove of large beautiful shells put firmly in the back of our minds, we went to watch people fishing off a nearby pier.

There didn't seem to be a lot of action here either but my eye caught some birds (I believe they're egrets) near the water at the side of the pier. They seemed to be staring intently at the water, when they weren't defending their little piece of the beach from each other. We carefully made our way down there to watch. I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

(All photos were shot with a 70-200mm lens at f11, ISO200, at various shutter speeds.)

Ruffled feathers tell competitors to 'back off!'

Keeping his eyes on the prize:


And THAT folks, is how it's done!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

(Day 210) 'Toilng' under the hot sun

You can tell we northerners aren't acclimatized yet to the heat (33C/92F) and humidity (90+%). The slightest exertion - like reaching for a cold drink - results in beads of perspiration. Even the mere act of thinking too much causes the face to flush. The only solution is to stop toiling, grab the tubes, and jump into the pool - which is at a refreshing 32C/90F ! Now, please don't misconstrue this as a complaint - far from it! If I had to really toil under the hot sun, I might grumble a bit, but since I don't, I'm soaking it up.

These are the tools of my trade these days:

(18-55mm  f5.6  1/640 sec  ISO400)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

(Day 209) Fire on the waterfront

We found a little park this evening where we could walk along the waterfront and watch lightning perform its magic across the bay from us. The sun was doing its best to make a final appearance through the receding storm clouds before leaving us for points west. It almost seemed to me that there was a great conflagration occurring in and behind the clouds.

(18-55mm  f8  1/15 sec  ISO400)

(Day 208) A bad hair day

Tues. July 27, 2010

There's a long story behind today's late post - suffice to say it starts with a very early morning plane trip. However, the 365 police might come down heavily on me if I fail to meet today's goal of making and posting (at least) one photo.

So the first goal of making photos today was easily passed. I met this little fellow on the screen of the pool enclosure. I'd never seen a caterpillar with such a unique hair-do - all I know is my mother would never have let me out of the house with hair like that ! And have you ever seen a caterpillar up on its hind legs ?  Look at the second photo and you can clearly see that he's got his hind legs firmly planted as he's railing against whatever upsets caterpillars.

I think that the third photo perhaps explains why he was so upset that he had to raise several legs up in the air in exasperation - obviously all the static in the air was causing his bad hair day.

(By the way, that third photo is the first time I've caught a good lightning strike - something which I find easier here in Florida where they are in abundance).

Since I've only had a few catnaps over the past 36 hours, you'll excuse me if I come visit your blog over the next few days, after some shut-eye.

(60mm  f7.1  1/40 sec  ISO400)

(60mm  f11  1/40 sec  ISO400)

(18-55mm  f11  1/13 sec  ISO400)

Monday, July 26, 2010

(Day 207) A renovation snippet

Mon. July 26, 2010

As I've previously mentioned, my son's 135-year old home is undergoing extensive renovations. Professionals are doing the bulk of the restoration work after we looked after the demolition and cleanup of the interior walls, floors and ceilings. The cellar has always been quite wet and to help with this problem, gravel was brought in - 17 tons, in fact. I brought the camera to document a day in the life of the renovation project. Oh, I also helped move gravel as it was being poured, via a conveyor belt, from a large truck. The task of distributing and leveling it throughout the cellar is being left up to someone with a much stronger back!

The photos were all made with an 18-55mm lens, an aperture of f8, and shutter speeds ranging from 2 seconds to 1/640 sec.

The start: my son raking furiously as gravel is poured in through the living room floor; he's working so fast, he's just a blur. Note the ray of hope though.

This is a view of the living room - part of the floor was removed to allow the gravel to be catapulted into the cellar (not all of it made it through the hole). Note that the exterior walls have new studs and have had insulating foam sprayed on them (there was no insulation previously). There is also a new sub-floor, new electrical wiring, plumbing and duct-work for heating and air conditioning.

This is the front window through which the gravel was catapulted - the conveyor belt was about 2' short of the window. Most of the gravel made it through, and we washed the lilies off afterward - they're expected to make a full recovery.

This is what 17 tons of gravel looks like, in cramped quarters. Someone with a strong back has been hired to spread it throughout the cellar this week. Then it will be covered with dimple wrap. Note all the new jack posts - these are now being used to slowly lift the floor to greatly reduce the sag and provide support. New duct-work and water lines can also be seen.

(Day 206) Night spot - revisited

Sun. July 25, 2010

I got to the spot I had visited a few days ago a little late tonight, and so I'm posting late. This fountain caught my attention last time so I came back to shoot it tonight. It's an ornate Italian marble fountain, named the Fulford Fountain, after a prominent founding family. Here are a couple of views.

(18-55mm  f5.6  1/2 sec  ISO400)

(18-55mm  f5.6  1/25 sec  ISO400)

And in honour of Sunset Sunday I'm posting this shot, taken in our backyard on June 15 this year.

(18-55mm  f5.6  1/160 sec  ISO100)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

(Day 205) Digging rock

No, not the musical variety, although I am a fan. Along the route to my son's place there's an old abandoned quarry. You can just see it briefly over the double-barbed wire fence in a spot where the edge is close to the road, before it's hidden from view again by tall weeds and scrub brush. I've caught that glimpse many times and have often wondered what was down there and whether it was accessible.

You know the drill by now - today was the day to go and see. I parked on the opposite side and walked along the road looking for access. Climbing the barbed wire-topped fence didn't look appealing and I wasn't sure there was a way down. However, I'm sure the fence was only meant to keep out the less persistent. Presently I came to a large gate. Thinking it must lead to a way down, I climbed it and carefully made my way through weeds that were as tall as me. To my right there appeared to be an old access road and I pushed through the weeds and made my way to the bottom.

I thought I'd post some photos in b&w and others in colour to give you an idea of what was there. I don't know the history of the quarry, but given the large number of old stone homes in the area, built by the more affluent, it's conceivable that the quarry supplied the material for them. Given what I've found on our property, rock could have been dug here just as well.

Note: all photos were shot with an 18-55mm lens with an aperture of f14 (for depth of field), at shutter speeds of 1/10 to 1/100 sec, ISO400.

Sample of rock quarried here:

timber from an old building ?

There was evidence that the quarry had seen use as a dump:

The walls were a bit imposing from the bottom. Not the sort that rock climbers would appreciate, I suspect. And I certainly wouldn't have entertained the thought of climbing down - glad I didn't fall over!

Friday, July 23, 2010

(Day 204) Beautiful, but beware

I confess - I couldn't wait to make a few photos of today's subject. Once its flowers open, it's even more striking, which detracts from its less than benign features.

Of course I'm talking about the Canadian thistle. How it got its geographic designation isn't known, but it's a misnomer apparently since it didn't originate here. It is widespread throughout many countries.

A closer examination through these two photos quickly reveals why simply touching one of these is quite painful. Ah, but once they flower, they're tempting to cut and put in a vase, very carefully.

(60mm  f22  15 sec  ISO400)

(60mm  f22  55 sec  ISO400)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

(Day 203) Peas - in (& out) of a pod

If you're not a veggie eater, you may want to skip this part ...

Did I mention before that I wrested a veggie garden from our rocky, rock-bottom piece of land ? I know I did, and it has already yielded an abundance of (tr)eats. Every year I empty the large compost containers near the garden to work into the soil, and the soil has now been built up to about 30cm/12" above the original ground level. The first seeds into the ground were peas - in early April - and a few weeks ago I had a huge harvest of peas. The freezer has enough to last us until next year. Today I picked the johnny-come-lately's - the last of them - and I thought I'd give them a tribute here.

(60mm  f4.5  1/2 sec  ISO200)

(Day 202) Night lights

Wed. July 21, 2010

Continuing my theme of making some night shots, I went into the nearest town late tonight. Near the beautifully restored courthouse, I found this fountain. I thought I had got there too late because as I was setting up, the fountain spluttered and then stopped. However, in less than a minute it started up again - and so it went for a while - off and on. At one point even some coloured lights came on. I think I may visit there again to capture some of the buildings at night.

(18-55mm  f5.6  8 sec  ISO200)

(18-55mm  f8  2 sec  ISO200)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

(Day 201) Night moves

Tues. July 20, 2010

I decided earlier today that I wanted to do some night shots, since it had been a while. I liberally covered myself in mosquito repellent (I'm not sure what my blood type is but it's grade A as far as mosquitoes are concerned) and took the tripod and remote shutter release out with me. The moon was not quite full but it cast a nice light on the clouds.

You can see the effect of a small aperture on the moon in the first shot. And no, the second shot is not of the northern lights - that's the effect of a long shutter speed on moving clouds.

(18-55mm  f14  20 sec  ISO400)

(18-55mm  f6.3  100 sec  ISO200)

Monday, July 19, 2010

(Day 200) Looking closely

I was sitting on the front porch early this evening. The air was very calm - it had been windy the past 2 days - and the fragrance of the flowers wafted up. That spurred me to go get a vase and cut some flowers from another part of the garden. As I brought them in to the kitchen, the sunlight streaming through the window caught the inside of one of the blooms. I knew then what my subject would be - capturing the light inside as it made the colours come alive. It's simply amazing how intricate these flowers were created and yet we're told that we're worth vastly more than one of these!

(60mm  f32  2 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f16  2 sec  ISO200)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

(Day 199) Snowflakes in July

Strange as it may seem to most people, snowflakes in July are not unheard of. We lived in Calgary, Alberta for 15 years and experienced snow in 11 of the 12 months of the year - fortunately not all in the same year. We missed seeing them in July only because we were vacationing in British Columbia - Calgary did have snowflakes during the week we were gone.

However, I'm talking about a different kind of 'snowflake'. It actually goes by the name of Queen Anne's Lace, or wild carrot - and we have an abundance of it. I walked around quite extensively this evening looking at many plants to find my subject and, just like snowflakes, there was a lot of variety among them. I'm glad we're not experiencing the real kind, however. yet.

(70-200mm  f5.6  1/500 sec  ISO200)

And I would be remiss if I didn't join Scott and others to post a photo for Sunset Sunday.

(18-55mm  f5.6  1/80 sec  ISO200)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

(Day 198) Backyard musings

Sat. July 17, 2010

Coming back from vacation usually means there's lots of work to do around the house. The lawn needed to be cut, and the weeds certainly weren't on vacation either. There was no time to pursue photos, at least not until after dinner. As we were lying on the lounge chairs and enjoying the warmth of the late day sun, I decided that, in keeping with the spirit of relaxation, my shots would have to be taken from where I was parked. Surprisingly there were lots of subjects at hand. I limited myself to posting just these.

(70-200mm  f5.6  1/125 sec  ISO200)

(70-200mm  f5.6  1/1000 sec  ISO200)

Although the weather forecast included the potential for thunderstorms, these skirted our area to the north and did nothing more than show up to have their photo made.

(70-200mm  f11  1/500 sec  ISO200)

(Day 197) The real thing

Friday July 16, 2010

You may (or not) remember me mentioning that one of my daughters, who is a community nurse, took up bird carving as a hobby over a year ago after a chance encounter with a former carving instructor. One of the carvings she completed last year was of a pair of white-breasted nuthatches. Today, on our last day at the cottage, she ran up to me excitedly to tell me she had just spotted the real thing in a large cedar tree back up the hill from the beach. I took off after her with my camera but the little fellow had disappeared. We searched for a while but found none.

I went back down the trail still looking up into the trees. Now I could hear chirping but it sounded like chickadees. I stopped and watched a while longer and thought I could see some movement of a bird coming headfirst down a tree. I'd never seen one before but my daughter had described this behaviour. The lighting was rather poor under the trees and the bird was flitting this way and that - I just kept firing away at it and finally managed to 'capture' it. Another memory made, and a fitting close to a wonderful family vacation.

(70-200mm  f5.6  1/320 sec  ISO400)

(Day 196) Fruitful trees

Thurs. July 15, 2010

Everyone knows that pine trees bear pine cones and oak trees bear acorns. I’d never really taken a closer look at cedar trees to see what fruit they might bear, even though they represent the vast majority of trees on our land. It wasn’t till I had to find an out of the way spot for our dog to relieve herself some distance from the cottage that I took the time to look at the surrounding cedars. I was surprised at the clusters of ‘fruits’ I found on them. Early this evening, while my granddaughter looked after Sasha and tiptoed carefully through the ‘minefield’, I made a few photos of the fruits, if that’s what they can be called.

(60mm  f5  1/50 sec  ISO400)

(Day 195) Bushwhacking to babbling brook beauty

Wed. July 14, 2010

I have to thank my son for the inspiration for today’s shots. He had asked me earlier if I had seen the small brook yet, because it was quite scenic; he had seen it on one of his walks in the area and I hadn’t been out that way yet. I hadn’t had an opportunity to get the camera out today - it was guys’ day out for a round of golf which was followed by hours of fun in the water afterward. So after dinner this evening, and the ‘obligatory’ walk into town for an ice cream treat with most of the family, I grabbed the tripod and camera and made my way over to it before dusk set in.

While it was certainly scenic from the dirt road, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to make my way through the undergrowth to follow the brook downstream a little. I had been sure to ‘bathe’ myself in mosquito repellent since the welts all over my body attested to the fact that they had already feasted on me earlier in the week. And while they swarmed all around me, the repellent held them at bay. I think the views from just a little off the beaten path were worth the bushwhacking required.

(18-55mm  f8  0.6 sec  ISO400)

(Day 194) Bringing up the young

Tue. July 13, 2010

Although we had some more thunderstorms this afternoon, the day started clear and quite warm. We made our way to the beach to take advantage of the warmth, and to watch our children and grandchildren enjoying themselves in and around the water. It seems we weren’t the only ones doing that - a mother duck had also decided to take her four ducklings for a swim across the bay, no doubt pointing out dangers along the way. They must have been accustomed to sharing their environment with people, because they paddled very close to the beach, seemingly oblivious to the youngsters frolicking nearby. I suspect though that mother was keeping a wary eye on all around, ready to sound the alarm and lead her brood out of danger if required - very much like her human counterpart.

(70-200mm  f8  1/320 sec  ISO320)

(Day 193) A midsummer evening’s dream

Mon. July 12, 2010

After seeing the beautiful sunset last night, I decided I had to return by myself tonight for a longer look, and to shoot from a different area. Some clouds had lingered from thunderstorms earlier in the afternoon and they contributed to another gorgeous sunset. I’ll have to share some of those shots on a future Sunset Sunday.

As the sun set and the light started fading away, I made my way slowly along this portion of the Trent-Severn Waterway back to our cottage. This waterway is always a bustling scene during daytime in the summer as vacationers enjoy this very scenic route. However, now that dusk was settling, all was calm and people relaxed on or near their boats. It provided a wonderful opportunity to capture the mood of a summer day coming to a perfect end.

(18-55mm  f5.6  1/13 sec  ISO800)

(Day 192) Lazy days of summer

Sun. July 11, 2010

Vacations can be wonderful times of rest and relaxation. And we were blessed to have some great weather to make our days near the water even more relaxing. This is typical of the view we had daily from the beach near our cottages.

(18-55mm  f8  1/50 sec  ISO100)

And although we were on vacation and I had no internet access, I didn’t forget about Sunset Sunday. We witnessed a glorious sunset today on a walk together, and this is one of a number of photos I was fortunate to make.

(18-55mm  f9  1/800 sec  ISO100)

(Day 191) Child’s Delight

Sat. July 10, 2010

How far back does your memory go ? Do you remember events from when you were 2, or 3 ? What events made an indelible impression on your childhood memory ? I think my memory goes back to age 3 or 4, and I can certainly remember events from age 5. As adults we sometimes forget that we’re also directly responsible for helping shape our children’s memories - and we certainly don’t know what events of today will create a lasting impression.

I do hope that our trips to the cottage with family and extended family is making a positive impression on our grandchildren, at least those beyond the infant stage. I doubt that Graydon (6 months) will remember these days, but I think Lilly (age 3) and Hailey (age 5 ½) will certainly have memories of these family vacations. Today’s shot is about making some of those memories.

(18-55mm  f8  1/200 sec  ISO200)

Friday, July 9, 2010

(Day 190) From the porch

The heat wave we've been having this week finally broke when we got rain tonight. As a result I was limited in what I could shoot outdoors. But I recalled an exercise in Freeman Patterson's book 'Photography and the Art of Seeing' in which you are to take 20 steps out of your front door, draw an imaginary 20' circle, and make 20 photos within that circle. So, since I couldn't go out in the rain, I looked around from my front porch to see what I could shoot. I managed 23 photos, but I'll just post the one below, and save the others for another day.

NOTE: we are leaving on a family vacation tomorrow. I'm pretty sure there will be running water and electricity, but I'm not sure whether there will be any sort of internet access. So if you don't see any posts after tonight, then you'll know there isn't and I'll be back in a week. I will have my camera, of course, and will make photos each day - I'll have to catch up on posting them when we return if there's no internet access. And I'll catch up with all of you then too. Have a great week!

(70-200mm  f5.6  1/25 sec  ISO200)


Thursday, July 8, 2010

(Day 189) A fortuitous foto

I guess you could use the word blistering to describe our weather this week - it's been around 36C/97F all week and more of this is expected for tomorrow (but we're not really complaining because we get almost those numbers, with a minus sign prefix, in wintertime).

I went out this evening to give our flowers a much-needed drink, and of course took out the camera since the sky was also looking interesting. And again I forgot to acclimatize the camera and lens. As I went to focus on an interesting thunderhead I noticed the problem. Despite wiping the lens a couple of times the fogginess persisted. Recalling a past experience I then focused on a vine climbing up a balcony support beside me and made the photo posted below. The outcome wasn't planned, but I'll take it.

(70-200mm  f5.6  1/40 sec  ISO200)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

(Day 188) Reaping what we did not sow

I've posted recently about some of the landscaping we've done here, and the flowers, shrubs, and trees we've planted. I've also posted several times about the wildflowers we're blessed with here.

We've had no hand in bringing forth the many colours that adorn the fields, and wildflowers have graced our table on more than one occasion. A number of weeks ago, we had a more distinctly yellow 'season' of wildflowers. We're now seeing a changeover to blue, primarily due to Viper's Bugloss, or Blueweed, although the black-eyed Susans are also quite abundant and keeping some yellow in the mix. We're certainly enjoying the show.

(70-200mm  f5.6  1/40 sec  ISO200)

(70-200mm  f8  1/15 sec  ISO200)

(70-200mm  f5.6  1/50 sec  ISO200)