Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Come join the hike

Watch your step and I'll continue the tour I started Saturday. After following the path from the road for a short distance, we come upon a cliff and we see the first waterfalls through the trees. We don't get too near the edge - the rocks are slippery and it's a 6m/20' drop to the rocks below.

(18-55mm  f8.0  1/320 sec  ISO200)

After watching the water cascade over the falls for a while, we'll pick our way to the left down a wet path to the river side, stepping over fallen logs as we go. At the far end, another surprise awaits us, but we'll save it for another day.

(10-22mm  f11.0  1/20 sec  ISO200)

On the other side of the river, a small tributary has found a channel through the rocks and is hurrying to be part of the mainstream.

(70-200mm  f11.0  1/20 sec  ISO200)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday reward

We've had a dearth of sunsets here lately, and as I've noticed from some blogs I was able to visit, we're not alone in this. Seems the April showers baton was handed off to May, and although May did produce the promised flowers, you had to act quickly to grab the opportunity to shoot them. I lingered awhile this past week when I visited the village of Merrickville since it was one of those infrequent days without rain, and I was rewarded with this sunset.

(18-55mm  f9.0  1/50 sec  ISO200)

click on photo for a larger view

If you're also a fan of sunsets, be sure to visit Scott's Sunset Sunday post.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I always appreciate a good tip, especially one that pans out. Well, I received one a couple of days ago from my daughter-in-law, Nadine, who said she'd found a very scenic hike through quiet woods, along a serene - in places - river, and overlooking a beautiful waterfalls (actually she only told me about the waterfalls, but that was enough ...).

The first (dry) opportunity to check it out came this afternoon, and I was not disappointed. Sasha and I spent the better part of 2 hours there, taking it in and making some shots. I'll share them over the next few days and you can let me know if this was a good tip.

(10-22mm  f11  1/30 sec  ISO200)

No, these aren't the falls - they're rapids just above the falls.

(70-200mm  f18  1/25 sec  ISO100)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A bee's world

When I was out among the lilac bushes a few days ago, the air was filled with a constant buzzing. Not only are we blessed with many beautiful lilacs, but we also have a healthy crop of dandelions. I don't think bees have a preference - I had to be a little careful before sticking my camera into a lilac bush and I also had to tread carefully. I didn't want to be mistaken for and treated as an invader. We all got along famously. I did use my long lens for this shot, however - I'm not THAT brave (or foolhardy).

Today was another of those "ya win some, ya lose some" days. In the win column, I discovered why my photos display at a smaller size when you click on them than what I uploaded - I've used all my free blogger storage (1 Gb) and blogger automatically reduces the size of further uploaded photos. I've deleted some old photos so tonight's post will be a test to see if the original size is maintained. Thanks to those who tried to help me with this one.

In the lose column I'm again having internet connection issues - I couldn't even display my own blog tonight, let alone visit anyone. While I write this (late, because I spent over an hour with the ISP - again !), I have no idea how long it will take, or even if I can post this - if you're reading this, at least it uploaded. Since I've had so many issues (yes, I log all my calls to them) I'm finally getting a 3rd level engineer assigned to do a complete assessment. So - I hope they can find the root cause and fix it. soon. I will again try to come visit you when my connection allows. Thank you for your visits and comments.

(70-200mm  f5.6  1/320 sec  ISO100)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Evening postcard

I slipped over to Merrickville this evening to wander around the Rideau Canal and catch the spring colours. I thought I'd send you a postcard.

(18-55mm  f8.0  1/125 sec  ISO200)

Monday, May 23, 2011

A dog's life

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." (Milan Kundera)

"My dog is usually pleased with what I do, because she is not infected with the concept of what I "should" be doing." (Lonzo Idolswine)

You're all familiar with Pavlov's conditioning experiments with dogs. It seems I've been unconsciously conditioning Sasha as well - as soon as I zip up the camera bag, she jumps to her feet, even from a deep sleep, and she's ready to go out with me. She never complains about where we go, or how long I take, or what postures I adopt to make a shot - as long as she gets to go. Here she is enjoying herself on a recent shoot in our front yard.

(10-22mm  f11  1/10 sec  ISO100)

(70-200mm  f11  1/20 sec  ISO100)

Sunday, May 22, 2011


A few evenings ago the cloud formations promised an opportunity to capture a sunset. We hadn't seen many sunsets lately due to the copious rainfall. The sky far to the north of us contained ominous-looking clouds, but they seemed to be moving to the east, and above us we had mainly blue sky streaked with a few high clouds. I made a number of shots and finally went indoors thinking that towns to the north of us were in for a good thunderstorm - lightning lit the sky and distant thunder could be heard. The lightning persisted, however, and the thunder became louder and more frequent. Within the hour we were hit with a torrential downpour which superseded any we'd had in the past weeks. I'm beginning to understand where the expression 'out of the blue' came from.

(10-22mm  f8.0  1/80 sec  ISO200)

Scent from heaven

You may be familiar with the (true) legend of Johnny Appleseed. I think that he had a counterpart in this area who did the same for lilacs that Johnny did for apple trees. We live in a rural area where there is a lot of uncultivated land, and at this time of year it's quite easy to spot all the lilac bushes - either with one's eyes or one's nose. We're very blessed to have an abundance ourselves - they've just started opening and this evening I cut a large bunch. It really doesn't matter where in the house we put the vase because the fragrance now permeates every corner.

(60mm  f9.0  1/13 sec  ISO100)

click on photos for a larger image
(60mm  f5.6  1/100 sec  ISO100)

(10-22mm  f11  1/40 sec  ISO100)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Under the apple tree ...

I vaguely recall one of the first songs I learned in elementary school, which started with the following profound lyrics:

"Spring, spring, spring, spring
  Under the apple tree,
  Swing, swing, oh swing, swing
  Under the apple tree ... "

My recollection of the rest of the lyrics has suffered from the ravages of time, but I can readily recall the tune, and it was playing in my head as I wandered among the apple blossoms this afternoon. It's too bad the apple blossom season is so short - they smell so good, and bees have to work overtime to visit all the blooms before they're gone. No time for them to sit under the apple tree.

(all shots made with a 60mm macro lens at f5.6 or f6.3, ISO100, and a shutter speed of 1/80 or 1/125 sec)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The added benefit of rain

We actually had a break from the rain today - the first since last Saturday I think - and I used the opportunity to bring our refuse to the dump this morning (yes, friends, when you live on the edge of paradise they don't come and pick that up for you, hence I use my 'dump truck' to bring it there). On the return leg, my roving eye (remember, the other one stays firmly focused on the road) caught this reflection in the ditch. Technically speaking, I violated the ABC rule, however, since I was only 1 minute from home, I'm claiming a mulligan. I was back in a few minutes with the camera.

After lunch, we took advantage of the sun to cut the grass - it had almost grown to a height where Sasha might have got lost on the front lawn. And a good thing we did, too, because the skies opened up again at 4:00 p.m. I think there will be a bumper crop of mosquitoes, and reflections.

btw - can one of you blogger experts out there explain to me why, when I upload a photo that's 1200 x 900 it ends up at around 800 x 600 ? Is there anything I can do to keep it at the original upload size ?

(18-55mm  f10  1/40 sec  ISO100)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Justifiable 'rub-out'

Our house was a little fuller this past weekend. Our 3 daughters made the 450km/280mi trek to deliver on a Mother's Day promise to help us paint a large part of the interior of our house. It's amazing how quickly 2 coats of paint can be applied when 5 people are armed with brush and roller !

The house was also made fuller when one of our daughters brought her 2 dogs, and one of the dogs unwittingly brought along a 'friend'. The story didn't have a completely happy ending, however - after shooting the friend, the task of disposing of the body fell to me. I hope you'll agree from the evidence that it was completely justifiable. My daughters and wife were grossed out.

Now before you go and look at the photos, I need to write you all a heartfelt THANK YOU ! Whilst I was trying to get my internet and blogger issues sorted out, a few more people snuck in here to become followers - and I didn't have the opportunity to mark the occasion of no. 200 joining ! I want to thank each and everyone who has taken the time to come and look here - I consider you all friends (and fellow photography addicts). I want to thank everyone who leaves a comment - I look forward to reading them daily. I only have one regret - there are not enough hours in the day or week (and especially not the way my internet has been 'working') to visit each of my follower's sites.

(both shots made with a 60mm lens at f9.0, 1/10 sec, ISO800)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cyber wasteland

Let me start by saying that many many people have far worse problems, so I'm keeping my little issue in perspective. It's taken about 20 minutes to get to this point in publishing a post this evening. I think it's my internet provider (again !) but with the blogger issues over the past few days, I'm not certain.

[I'm also on hold with the ISP (only 13 minutes, so far ...) and I'm simply glowing with warmth as the muzak is repeatedly interrupted with an announcement that my call is very important to them !]

I've tried visiting a few other blogs today but have to give up after taking 10-15 minutes to load a page - and that with only partial photos showing. So ...

Being somewhat of an optimist, I'm forging ahead with trying to post a Sunset Sunday shot. If that succeeds, and the ISP is able to determine and resolve the internet issues, I may come over to visit you. If not, I wish you all a great week, and I will persevere with the ISP. While this isn't a major crisis, it sure is getting frustrating.

(18-55mm  f6.3  1/1000 sec  ISO400)

Friday, May 13, 2011

A marigold by any other name ...

Over the past number of years our lower pond has been gradually transformed into a partial marsh. It now contains some bulrushes (cattails), arrowheads, pickerel weed, wild irises, marsh grasses, and water lilies. But the star of the marsh, especially at this time of year, is the marsh marigold - the only name I've ever known this plant by. I liberated a few plants from the wild several years ago and they're thriving and helping the transformation.

I did a little research and was surprised by 2 things: 1) all parts of the plant and flower are poisonous, and 2) it has many names, likely due to its wide distribution around the world. Here are a few: Kings Cups, Water Blobs, May Blobs, Mollyblobs, Horseblobs, Bull’s Eyes, Leopard’s Foot, Marybuds, Water Dragon, Cow Lily, Soldier Buttons, Water Goggles, Gools, Drunkards, Mayflower, Pollyblobs, Water Bubbles, Gollins, Water Crowfoot, and the Publican. And there are likely more, but you get the idea.

I'm sure you're all aware of Blogger issues over the past day or so. I understand comments will be restored. I visited a number of your blogs but was unable to leave any comments - I will try again.Thank you for your comments - I was able to view them before they disappeared.

(60mm  f18  1/40 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f11  1/125 sec  ISO200)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Show time

It's that time of year we, and all nature, have been waiting for - those few moments, relatively speaking, when nature puts on a splendid show. We are most fortunate that we have a number of different (non-domesticated) trees and shrubs scattered around our property. This evening I walked in the glow of the late-day sun and made some shots. Here are (what I believe to be) wild cherry blossoms. Too bad cameras can't capture their fragrance also.

(10-22mm  f5.0  1/500 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f5.6  1/125 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f5.6  1/200 sec  ISO200)

Monday, May 9, 2011

The trillium

It's that time of year when Ontario's designated provincial flower (trillium grandiflorum) covers the forest floor with a carpet of white 3-petaled flowers. It seems to have an affinity for maple and beech forests. I crawled around in last fall's leaves this evening to make some photos of this magnificent species. I also found another species known as Trillium erectum which seems to be far less common, at least in these parts. Its burgundy flowers contrast nicely with the white variety.

Natural propagation of trilliums is accomplished by ants which take the seeds back to their nests - they feed the fleshy part attached to the seed to their larvae. White-tailed deer also have a fondness for trilliums and thereby help disperse their seeds.

(10-22mm  f4.5  1/50 sec  ISO400)

click on photos to enlarge
(60mm  f8.0  1/30 sec  ISO400)

(10-22mm  f9.0  1/6 sec  ISO400)

 (10-22mm  f9.0  1/20 sec  ISO400)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A small piece of history

A place on the Rideau Canal was my destination this past weekend. I've been here before but there's a real quiet at this time of year before the canal opens and the boating season gets underway. The canal was built in the early 1830's and a lot of the lock mechanisms are original.

"The timber swing bridge crossing Upper Nicholsons lock is one of four such heritage bridges remaining along the canal. In the 1850s a petition was signed by the local residents requesting a drawbridge at the site. If a bridge was built over the lock, the petitioners promised to build one over the river. The government refused but in 1863 the municipalities of Wolford and Merrickville offered to build the bridge at their own expense. The government readily gave them permission. The Andrews brothers built a swing bridge over the upper lock the following year. They also built a fixed bridge across the river to complete the crossing. Since then the bridge has been replaced numerous times, the most recent being in 1971." (from Parks Canada website)

Note: we will be out of town for a wedding and hope to be back late Sunday. I suspect my access to the internet may be sporadic so I may not be able to post, respond, or visit until we return. Have a great week all, and thank you for your visits and comments !

(10-22mm  f11  1/50 sec  ISO100)

Monday, May 2, 2011

The payoff

The promises attached to April showers are starting to materialize around the house. I went out this afternoon to capture some of its ethereal beauty, however, more drizzle, along with a breeze that makes macro shots impossible, cut that short. A window of opportunity opened up right after dinner and I only had to travel 10 feet out the front door. Now don't get the impression that we have beds full of these hyacinths - I wish. In fact, we only have a few, and these hardy souls have struggled to get established. I think I'll get some more in the fall though.

(60mm  f4.5  1/8 sec  ISO200)

(60mm  f10  1/3 sec  ISO200)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"... all creation praises Thee"

“God, all nature sings Thy glory, 
  and Thy works proclaim Thy might;
  Ordered vastness in the heavens, 
  ordered course of day and night;
  Beauty in the changing seasons, 
  beauty in the storming sea;
  All the changing moods of nature 
  praise the changeless Trinity."

(18-55mm  f20  1/25 sec  ISO200)

[shot last fall]

See Scott's blog for more Sunset Sunday shots.