Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ode to my beloved

I knew the dreaded day might come,
Hoped I'd be spared, somehow,
To disappointment I succumb
And to chagrin I bow.

Technology is wonderful
When all works as it ought
But when it fails and comes up null
I'm really happy. NOT !

It started off so peacefully
Towards the end of day
A sunset, glowing beautifully
't would make my post Sunday.

Some shots were made, they were sublime,
The clouds began to shine
When suddenly, 't was like a crime
An ERRor 99 !

I stared at it for just a sec
This couldn't be for real,
Was this the end ? I had to check
If this was a big deal.

I turned it off, I turned it on,
The error wouldn't leave
That it was by now still not gone
I just could not believe.

Tonight my Canon's in the mail
I hope all will be well
I'll update you on this sad tale
When there is more to tell.

I will be relying on my archives for the next little while (at least I HOPE it's only a little while !). 

(The last of my Quebec City posts - I think. Both shots made with a 18-55mm lens at f8.0 and f5.6, shutter speed of 1 sec, ISO200)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Storm brewing

We've had a couple of hot, humid days (31C/88F) which exceeded the forecasted highs of 27C/80F and 23C/73F. The sky had become progressively cloudy during the day but nothing that looked threatening. However, during the news after dinner, the weatherman said our area was under a thunderstorm warning. While some thunderheads were visible to the north and south of us, we were still blessed under a patch of blue.

That didn't last long, however, as storm clouds gathered in the west. I grabbed the camera and tripod and shot some of the cloud formations. At one point, large drops of rain started to fall, and you`ll see a few drops on my lens on the last shot. Then, suddenly, the sun burst out of a hole in the clouds, bathed the front yard in brilliant sunshine, and produced a rainbow that lasted less than 30 seconds. As quick as the sun appeared it was covered with dark clouds again, allowing me just enough time to get a few shots.

Shortly thereafter the clouds burst open - but I had already sought shelter indoors. We received a deluge for a good 15 minutes - sans lightning and thunder - and then it was all over.

(first shot made with 70-200mm lens, last 3 shots made with a 10-22mm lens - all at f11 and ISO200, with shutter speeds of 1/500, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/20 sec respectively)

click on photos to enlarge

Sunday, June 26, 2011

15 minutes of ethereal glory

I find it fascinating to watch the metamorphosis that takes place at the setting of the sun. The changes in the lighting, the clouds, the colours, and the reflections occur literally by the minute. The ones posted below were made over a period of 15 minutes. Our Creator saw fit to paint a glorious end to the day. No two are alike, and if you miss today's, He provides another tomorrow for our enjoyment, until the arrival of THE glorious day.

(all shots made with a 18-55mm lens at f5.6 or f8.0, shutter speeds from 1/500 to 1/800 sec, ISO200)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Most photographed hotel in the world

Well, that's what Guinness says, and I further cemented that record during our recent trip to Quebec City. If you didn't already know, this is the Château Frontenac, which opened in 1893 as one of the luxury hotels built for Canadian Pacific Railways. (No, we didn't stay here - we were in the Château Laurier). It dominates the skyline of Quebec City viewed from the St. Lawrence River, perched high on a cliff overlooking it. Another reason to add Quebec City to your bucket list.

(all shots made with a 10-22mm lens at f8.0 - night shot at f5.6, with shutter speeds ranging from 1/640 sec to 2.5 sec, ISO200)

Friday, June 24, 2011

QC tour - part II

The Cathedral-minor basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec (Our Lady of Quebec City) is the primate church of Canada and seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Quebec, the oldest see in the New World north of Mexico. It is also the parish church of the oldest parish in North America, and the first church in North America to be elevated to the rank of minor basilica by Pope Pius IX in 1874. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage of the Historic District of Old Québec. Since its original construction in 1647, it was rebuilt twice - once after the siege of 1759-60, and again after a major fire in 1922. (Wikipedia)

We had the opportunity to tour it on our recent visit to Quebec City.

(all shots made with a 10-22mm lens at f7.1 or f8.0, shutter speeds ranging from 1/500 to 1.0 sec, ISO200)

Another world

In a bit of a departure from my 'usual' subjects, I plan on providing a small selection of shots made in a very unique city in Canada, one with much historical significance. It was the site of many clashes for supremacy between the French and British Empires. That place is Quebec City, which celebrated the 400th year of its founding in 2008. Many buildings from the early days have been preserved in the 'old city'. The architecture is unlike any found elsewhere in Canada. We visited here for a weekend recently, but a much longer stay is required to truly see what it offers.

(10-22mm  f8.0  1/25 sec  ISO200)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Introducing Mr. Highly Versicolour

Well, actually his formal name is hyla versicolor, or more commonly gray tree frog, but his formal name derives from the fact that he can change colours from gray to green to almost white to blend in better with his background. These little guys only measure 5cm/2in. but you wouldn't know it by the loudness of their croak - I guess the females of the species are a little hard of hearing, or perhaps that's selective hearing.

I found this one last evening just outside the front door, trying to impress the ladies.

(70-200mm  f13  1.6 sec  ISO200)

click on photos to enlarge
Today I spotted this one on the bridge over our pond.

(60mm  f13  1/20 sec  ISO200)

We had a staring contest - I think I won when he jumped onto my shirt.

(60mm  f13  1/20 sec  ISO200)

It was difficult to get a shot of his little feet because he kept them tucked in when he was just sitting.

(60mm  f9.0  1/50 sec  ISO200)

For their size they can leap quite a distance. I gave this one a little 'encouragement' and he leaped about 4' right into a nearby tree (they are called tree frogs after all).

(60mm  f14  1/30 sec  ISO200)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Our talented but lonely pond denizen

Thought I heard some lyrics coming from the pond early this evening, so I got a little closer, and sure enough, I heard them quite clearly ...

"Long distance call I got today
She sounded lonely so I'm on my way
Hitchin' a ride, hitchin' a ride
Gotta get me home, keep her satisfied

Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride
Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride ..."

(70-200mm  f8.0  1/15 sec  ISO200)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Never enough ?

I won't talk your ear off with the story behind this photo. Suffice to say that when I look at it, some of the frustration of dealing with my ISP melts into the background and becomes insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I hope you're not tired of sunsets.

A new week is starting and I'm girding myself to resume battle with my ISP. I have been misled, given empty promises, waylaid with weasel words, and treated like a bad fungal outbreak. Till now, I haven't identified the ISP but now I will - Perhaps they're your ISP and you've received good service from them. You are fortunate. If you are contemplating using them as your ISP, I strongly suggest you look at other alternatives - I am. I will attempt to visit you again, although it may take most of the week.

Thank you for continuing to visit here, and leaving your comments.

(10-22mm  f8.0  1/40 sec  ISO200)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


We had one of those weather days where it wasn't sure whether to rain, shine, be cold, be warm, and almost everything in between (except SNOW !). Our temperatures jumped around from 13C/55F to 24C/75F and back and forth between these points. The sun shone brilliantly, if briefly, through the odd patch of blue. We had dark, threatening skies which morphed into dull grey skies which then unloaded on us. Let me show you instead of blathering on.

(I won't regale you with more tales of my internet woes. Suffice to say that upload 'speeds' are 6x faster than download speeds, and for the technically inclined, a simple ping consumes 129 ms ! I believe that my dial-up service of 5 years ago ran faster.)

(10-22mm  f11  1/400 sec  ISO200)

 (10-22mm  f11  1/640 sec  ISO200)

 (10-22mm  f8.0  1/25 sec  ISO200)

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I went for a very late evening stroll along the waterfront while we were visiting our daughters this weekend - I had intended to come here on other occasions to capture some night scenes. All was calm and quiet, and only a few other people walked by. I could have stayed longer - the lights and scenes were mesmerizing, but it was getting rather early. I felt comfortable with the shots I'd been able to make, and left something for another night.

Of course I had to download them when I got back, despite the hour. But I didn't get the chance to go through them carefully until this evening. Imagine my surprise when I came across this one and discovered a fellow Pink Floyd fan !

(18-55mm  f7.1  25 sec  ISO200)

click on photo to enlarge

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lady Luck

We are fortunate to live on a 77 acre parcel of land. It's not suitable for farming given the shallow, rocky soil and most of it is covered with cedars. Over the years we've carved out a 'domesticated' area which includes the lawns around the house, the flower beds, a couple of small ponds and a veggie garden. Outside this area lies 'the wilderness'. There's a fairly well-defined line between the domesticated and wilderness areas, and we are in constant battle to prevent the encroachment of the latter upon the former. I suspect that if we left nature to decide the outcome, within 2 years the wilderness would prevail everywhere.

One of the benefits of living in the country and having a wilderness area, is that I have an easy place to dispose of the numerous undesirable plants (aka weeds) that want to take up residence in the flower beds. I simply walk to the edge of the domesticated area and pitch a handful of weeds as far as I can - tough to do in the city, unless you consider your neighbour's property a wilderness area (and I'm sure you've seen a few of those).

About a week ago, I was doing just that - I weeded and pitched the weeds into the wilderness. As I turned to weed some more, I happened to notice a few yellow flowers some ways into the wilderness. At first I thought they were dandelions - then it dawned on me that there were no other dandelions around - their moment to shine had come and gone. Curious, I decided to walk over for a closer look - I recognized a flower I had never seen in the wild before - a small yellow Lady's Slipper ! Now I've pitched countless weeds into that general area over the years but I had never seen these before. At a later time, I trudged through several acres looking for more of them but I found none.

(all shots made with a 60mm lens at either f11 or f14, ISO200, and shutter speeds of 1/80 or 1/125 sec)

click on photos for a larger image

This is what I saw in the wilderness when I first spotted this seemingly nondescript plant.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Smoke on the water ....

Depending on your monitor, you might see some deep purple here. The scene is not Montreux, but our back yard late on a nice spring evening. I was reminded of a chorus of a well-known rock number when I made some photos of this sunset. You might know it too - if not, you can have a listen here.

(60mm  f5.6  1/40 sec  ISO400)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The hike ... continued

You might want to freshen up your mosquito repellent - seems they really appreciate visitors to their neck of the woods.

After walking down the trail to get nearer the river, we'll scramble over a few moss-covered rocks to get down by the water.

(18-55mm  f11  1/5 sec  ISO200)

Now we can see the waterfalls from below.

(18-55mm  f11  1/125 sec  ISO200)

Scrambling back up over the rocks we rejoin Sasha by the trail, and start following it again as it meanders along the river. A few people had come along but now we have the place to ourselves again. The river seems to disappear around a corner up ahead. After avoiding some very muddy areas we come to solid rock. Bushes block our view but we can hear rushing water. We work our way around the bushes and then come upon this sight.

(18-55mm  f14  1/40 sec  ISO200)

This explains why the river 'disappeared' from our earlier vantage point. After tumbling over these falls, the river enters a narrow 'canyon' with steep walls that make access difficult. So we'll content ourselves by lingering awhile and looking at some of the wild flowering bushes that are in their spring glory. No need to hurry back to civilization.

(both of the following shots: 70-200mm  f5.6  1/60 sec  ISO200)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pest control on patrol

I was reminded of the importance of the abc* rule again just the other day. I was minding the barbecue but I had my camera outside with me, getting a few shots in the flower beds with my telephoto lens. As luck would have it, the propane ran out about 1/2 way through. However, we learned the first rule of barbecuing many years ago - 'hst' (have second tank); we get a new full tank within days of one running out - avoids a great deal of disappointment.

I connected the full tank, and as I rounded the corner of the house to bring the empty tank to the front, I spied something slithering through the grass towards a stone border. In a flash, I put the tank down and ran to grab the camera. Now I trust you're not squeamish - after all, these are only photos ! (Oh yes, my understanding wife finished barbecuing).

*abc = always bring camera; you're not a photographer without one

(all shots made with a 70-200mm lens at f5.6, ISO200 and shutter speeds of 1/250, 1/100, and 1/80 sec) 

she looked like she'd enjoyed a meal recently

note the tongue