Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sittin' on the dock of the bay...


I went for a swim in the lake a couple of evenings ago and it occurred to me that swimming in the lake is substantively different from swimming in a pool. My dock is in a shallow bay, so your experience, where you swim, might be a little different than mine. So here are some (a)musing points

  • In a swimming pool, your eyes get red because people pee in the pool. Fish and other animals pee in the lake, but that doesn't give you red eyes. And it doesn't smell like chlorine.
  • Why is it that that spot on your lower back just above your waist is so much more sensitive to cold water than, say, your private bits? I've stood there, waist deep, saying, "ok, on the count of three... one, two, two-and-a-half...". In a pool, the water's all the same temperature. In the lake, it's 10° colder when you get down two feet!
  • When was the last time you were swimming in a pool and a raft of 15 ducks swam by? 9 kiddies and 6 adults. And since I was immersed in the water with only my head sticking up, they weren't intimidated and ignored me as they swam around me. Wish I could have seen them better, but I wasn't wearing my glasses.
  • Loons are BIG. At least twice the size of the ducks. One swam by about 8 or 10 feet from me then dove under, looking for fish (and not my nether bits, I hope!)
  • I love "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, wasting time..." (Tell me this isn't better than the Otis Redding original...)

I made a metallic print of this image a couple of years ago and enjoy looking at it almost every day.

Another shot of my dock, also quite old. This was one side of my business card for a few generations! That's my friend Sean who was up here when we attended a photo course at Fleming College with Rob Stimpson some years ago. 

Speaking of Business Cards

I just ordered a new set, ran right out of my last ones. I get them made locally and I have a wholesale account where I can deliver a set of 500 full-coloured, double sided, Aqueous finished cards for about $25 (shipping and taxes extra but if we combine orders...). Think about it. Your own pictures...

Front and back (or back and front, you choose!) of my new cards. If you're reasonably adept with Photoshop, I can tell you how to prepare the final art for printing. If not, I can do it for you but understand that I need to be compensated for the time I spend on it. Contact me.

OK, truth time. I got my cards today. Hate them. The milky way image looks great on a lighted screen but hopelessly dark in print. The other side looks "OK" but it's not great either. It's not a quality problem with the supplier: they did their job. It was me. I had decided that I wanted a matte finish to the cards, not glossy. Nope. Also I didn't pay enough attention to the mid-tones, they're too dark. Also tiny detail doesn't work on a 2" x 3½" card. I should know better. Back to the drawing board. I'll report back when I get some new cards I like. But that shouldn't stop you! Just use a nice, bright, simple image.

The star shot I used on the card was taken at my friend Janie's place. I had planned to head up to Algonquin Park to shoot stars that night but dinner ended late and I was tired. It was July 1 and there were fireworks going on, so I just got the camera (and the bug jacket!!) out and did some shots down by the lake. I went back in and asked the ladies to turn the lights off for a bit because they were painting quite a bit of light on the dock and boat and I didn't want it in the shot. 

I had to do a bit of work on the original to finish it for the card. I did a bit more work to make it a printable large size image. Here's the original, SOOC (straight out of the camera):

Aside from the obvious toning in the sky, and removing a couple of the hot lights, especially at right, I wanted to enhance the reflections in the lake and the distortion on the left side, caused by the wide angle lens bothered me, so I did some selective warping and rotation to straighten it up. I wanted a warmer saturation on the house lights too. Actually I masked in a flipped version of the sky into the water, then applied a ripple filter to soften it. A considerable amount of attention to detail. By the way, the finished photoshop file is over 1.5Gb in size! Here's the result:

Oh yeah. And I turned that meteor trail into a better shooting star and got rid of the second one which I found distracting. Metallic or acrylic print? I don't think it would work on conventional media. 

The same night, on the way home, I stopped at the beach opposite 12-Mile Lake Church and did these shots:

I used a humongous flashlight to point to the Milky Way. If an alien being on Deneb looks up in about 2600 years, they should see the light from this flashlight. Thanks, Fred! 

Setting the flashlight to its widest setting and lowest power, and brushing the trees for a quick half-second pass during my 15-second exposure, I light painted the trees. You need a smaller flashlight for this! 

...more musings


Photographers constantly bemoan the fact that people don't want to pay for their work. "We'll give you recognition..."; "our thousands of viewers will see your work..."; "you'll get photo credit...". And the photographers are right: when was the last time you told a plumber that you would tell everyone how great a job they did (instead of paying them) or tried to use your photo credit to buy a coffee at Tim Horton's?

I'm constantly inundated with invitations to submit images for competitions. What better praise could one get than to say you were recognized in an International Salon or exhibited in a museum. I had four images selected for a juried show last year at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery in the Minden Cultural Centre and yes, I'm very pleased at the recognition and the positive reviews, but it cost me over $100 per image to print and frame them. I still have three of them here, one did in fact sell through the museum.

Newspapers and other media (including Network Television) encourage their readers/viewers to submit pictures and they never get paid. Facebook and YouTube are inundated with pictures and videos that people post for free. And photographers regularly complain when someone copies their work, which is inevitable. If you don't want people to steal your work, don't post it.

But the juried Salons abound. Just today I had another invitation to submit. But in order to do so, you have to pay them! In this case, $25 US per image submitted. I get that they have expenses to defray but why is it that the artist is the one who doesn't get paid? The company who runs the Salon makes money. Their employees are paid. Physical prints are displayed in a gallery and the gallery owner makes money. The director and staff make a salary. So does the mailboy and the secretary and even the kid who gets them coffee (which they pay for...). Not the artist.

That's not to say that there aren't legitimate competitions. The International Salon run by the Toronto Camera Club is in its 123rd year! Yes, you have to pay a fee to submit images but this prestigious event is different from the seemingly hundreds of imitators out there because (a) it's a legitimate and well-credentialed show, (b) a quality printed book of winning images is published and (c) it's run by a group not out to profit by the show. But when commercial outfits, including some well-known magazines, run such events for money, I have to question it.
For the record, I submitted a dozen entries to the 122nd International Salon and received seven acceptances (but no ribbons!). Dr. Ron had 12 acceptances and 4 awards! Impressive. This year I have accepted an invitation to judge the Photojournalism category for the Salon (I did two years ago as well) but new FIAP rules state that as a judge, I cannot submit images (even in other categories). :(
Anyway, I don't castigate amateur photographers for offering images for free or for photo credit – technically I fall in the same category, with my blog and social media postings and since I don't make a living from my art technically I'm not a working professional – but I draw the line when someone makes a profit from that work.


I finally split my catalog.

I have over 80,000 images in my Lightroom catalog. Since the catalog is just a database, that shouldn't matter, and probably doesn't. But my dilemma is that the size of the photo archive itself is so big that I had to buy a new 4Tb external drive to contain it. Last year, I bought two 3Tb drives. They're full to overflowing.

So I decided to take a step back and split the catalog. One of the beauties of Lightroom is that if you keyword your images, you can search for and easily find virtually any image in an instant. For instance, there are 676 pictures of me in that 80,000 image database, but I've marked only 87 of them as not-so-objectionable (everyone knows there are NO good pictures of yourself!). I'm never going to want to see the other 589 pictures. 

Here's what I decided: I want to be able to access all the images that I've marked as "keepers" over the years (there are about 11,000 of them) and I want to see all of this year's pictures (2016) as well (about 8000 so far). The combined count is a little over 16,000 images which takes up a little over 1Tb of disk space. They're sitting on a 3Tb drive now and I'll probably go out and buy an extra 2Tb drive to use as a duplicate. That should leave me enough room for a while. My 4Tb drive and another (very full) 3Tb drive will serve as an archive for the full 80,000 images.

It was no trivial task. I probably could have taken a small shortcut but what I did was

  • select the marked "keepers" in the existng catalog, spending some time deciding what to keep
  • exported them as a catalog to the external drive
  • same process, 2016 images
  • combine the two catalogs
  • set backup and other preferences for the new catalog and move it to the internal drive in the computer, leaving the images in their permanent home on the external
  • make sure the links are intact between the catalog in its new location and the images on the external drive
  • create a backup of the catalog on the external drive (so it's in two places)
  • started the process of building smart previews and 1:1 previews (not done yet).
The final step will be to echo the external drive to a fresh one and copy a "keepers only" archive to go on another external drive that I store off-site. For now, I have all the images in 3 places. Now I need to update to the latest Lightroom CC version (I haven't yet) and I'm good to go. 

Some pictures

But you didn't come here to read my rants and raves. You came to look at some pictures! Here are some new ones for your enjoyment.

Serious off-road wheels. Parked outside Kawartha Dairy last week, there were six or eight of these vehicles there. Still shaking the bugs out of Topaz Impressions 2... 

Speaking of Kawartha Dairy, here's a little time-lapse video I shot that day, set to appropriate music! Enjoy:
I've been enjoying my painting classes with Harvey Walker. I seem to be learning but progress is slow. I've been trying some different things to develop my skills and I have to admit I enjoy charcoal sketching:

I sketched this in graphite and charcoal while sitting at the Minden Wildwater Preserve. By the way, a sketchpad is a great chick magnet. Almost as good as a puppy.Girls kept coming over to see what I was drawing! 

Sitting just outside my front door. The beauty of sketching or painting as opposed to photography is that you can change or leave out things as you wish. On the other side of that fence is the road and the Red Umbrella Inn, which I chose not to include. Also the near tree would be much bigger if it were in the correct perspective.  The colour you see is just a reflection.

Here's my latest oil painting:

Fishing 12-Mile Lake. I shot a photo just North of Harvey's studio on the way home one day. The composition's not quite right: we decided that the boat needed to be bigger in relation to the people, so I extended the bow which put it too central in the picture. The boat, and the people, of course, were the hardest for me to render: the reflections the easiest.  

Here's Harvey's studio. I had just completed the underpainting and putting colour on the boat and people.  

Also just beyond Harvey's studio was this patch of wildflowers. I couldn't resist using Topaz Impression to give it a painted effect. 

This is half-a-dozen images focus stacked. Focus stacking gives you beautiful, soft backgrounds and tack sharp subjects. 

As long as I'm shooting focus-stacked flowers, here's an image of an orange lily right at my house:

Fourteen or Sixteen stacked images (I forget which). I actually processed three or four different shots and chose this one as my favourite. I toned back the colours and the exposure to give this a more subtle feel.  

12-Mile Lake Sunset. I was with Ann Alimi, along with her husband Fabrice and her daughter Elaine Ho (plus Tango, the wonder-dog!) at the Red Umbrella Inn following the dog workshop Ann taught. The sunset didn't look like much, but I convinced her to stay for about half an hour after sunset because I knew that's when the colours would appear. Sometimes I'm right! This really lends itself to the painted look and my favourite starting preset is "Impasto" in Impression2. I think I'll print this on canvas.

We did do a dog workshop but I haven't processed the images yet! Next time, stay tuned.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My Bucket List


Not much to do with photography per se, but I was prompted to think about how my days have become a bit aimless and how I need some motivation. One thing led to another, then I thought about my "Bucket List". What do I want to accomplish while I still can?

I'm not talking about things beyond my control, so winning the SuperMax lottery is not on the list. I can't physically do the stuff I used to do years ago, and besides I've already skied the Alps and the Rockies, won a racquetball tournament, flown an airplane (but never jumped out of one — nor do I ever want to!), ridden a motorcycle over 200 kph, won a combat pistol competition, hunted and fished and camped and canoed and sailed and swam in both the Atlantic and Pacific, driven a car in a rally (and almost won!), bench pressed over 300 lbs, drove a race car on a track, and so on. I've done a lot of stuff.

There's stuff I haven't done but it's not practical to think I could ever do it. Fly to space, beat a chess master, jammed with a jazz group (well technically I did, but that's another story...). I want to travel to some interesting places (Iceland on top of the list) but I didn't include travel destinations. So here goes:
• Create a painting or drawing good enough to exhibit
• Write a publishable book
• Sell a photo print to a stranger for $500 or more
• Write a song and get someone to play and record it
By publishing this list, I'm hoping to be motivated to work at it. Something every day. That's the #1 piece of advice I've gotten from published authors, by the way. You have to work at it every day. Make it a routine (#2 was "characters, characters, characters").
Note, I didn't say "get a book published". That may not be in my control. Also with my damaged vocal cord, I can't sing my own song and I'm not a good enough musician to play anything really well.
So now the big question: what does YOUR bucket list look like? Your turn!

New banner photo

Replaced today. Here's the one that was there before, to record it for posterity!

Print Sale!

It's cool when a print sells. Vindication. Proof that other people like your work, not just you or people you know. Most of my sales have been either to people I know or to people connected with the subject I sold one of those this month too, a candid portrait I had done). For instance Wintergreen bought some prints of an image I took of their upstairs facility.

Today a buyer in Australia bought this framed print through RedBubble:

I haven't been paying much attention (OK, "none"!) to RedBubble or Fine Art America (click to see what works I have there now). I really need to update my listings there because they are indeed online marketing arms. I'll spend more time on them in the next little while.

Incidentally, if I would make a sale in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Antarctica, I'd be in all the continents! Come on, readers, you can do it!

Some of the nicest products these people make are tote bags and throw pillows. They're quite economical and outstanding quality: I've bought both as gifts for my family and friends (hint: if you live outside the US and you're buying a pillow, buy just the cover and not the insert, to save on shipping cost. Then go to a dollar store or Michael's for a pillow insert). My mom has a bag with one of my fox pictures on it and gets compliments on it every day! Here's a link to this particular one.
PS: if you're local, I have a substantial collection of unframed exhibition quality prints (and a few framed pieces) here, taking up space. I'd like to sell these, so I'm practically giving them away. They're all in 'crystal clear' bags, printed on 18x24 sheets of fine art paper, image sizes are typically 13x18. Contact me and come see them!

Quinte Air Show 2016
CFB Trenton, June 25

I had so much fun shooting the airshow at CFB Borden that I decided to go to Trenton for a repeat performance. The shows were similar but the Trenton venue was MUCH larger. They had some different planes and routines too.

I failed to find Capt. Match Hatta (Snowbird 3) amongst the 50,000 people who were there. But I did meet the CO of the Snowbirds and he got us (me and Amin) into the VIP area. Great view but not as good as these guys had:

Best seats in the house, and they weren't even watching! 

A little technical thing for my photographer readers. I shot with my 70-200 lens with 1.7x converter (most of the time) and I put my polarizing filter on. Made a difference. I did learn that 1/1000 second is NOT fast enough for this kind of stuff. I even experimented with 1/8000 second! Check it out:

In order to get this shot I had to pan with one of the planes (I forget which) and trigger a burst which included this image.When I did the same thing at 1/1000, the plane I was not tracking was motion blurred. This is sick. These planes are flying at a relative speed over 1000 kph and missed each other by a couple of feet!

One of my favourite pictures: a vintage P-51 Mustang. 

USAF F-22 Raptor during a high speed pass. This plane is 18% grey! Really hard to get a good exposure. Noisy with the afterburners going! The pilot turned it vertical right after this shot and took her straight up to 40,000 feet!

The Raptor on takeoff. You know how red-winged blackbirds like to harass bigger birds? I think this one bit off a bit more than he could chew! Bet he got incinerated in the jet exhaust. 

They called this the "Heritage Flight". The Raptor and the Mustang flying in close formation. By the way, the Mustang pilot was a USAF Major General . Also BTW, I heard that it cost $125,000 per hour to put the Raptor in the air. I'll bet it costs the "other" Raptors a similar amount after they re-sign Demarr Derozan! 

Here's the Snowbirds crew. The pilots are in red (they're all there, two are hiding in the 'close formation'!). They give a lot of well-deserved recognition to their maintenance crew, here in blue.  Processed in Topaz Impression 2, as discussed below.

For me at least, this is the most photogenic of the Snowbirds manoeuvres. It's called "The Battle of Britain". I don't know how they avoid running into one another: imagine the hours and hours of practice. 

I wanted to stop with the last shot, but I couldn't resist posting this one. 

The Quinte airshow was quite a production. There were a reported 50,000 people there, traffic lineups were horrendous; with temperatures hovering around 30°C and the miles of walking, we were wiped out by the end of the day. Coupled with a 2½ hour drive home. I look forward to being able to do it again next year!

Gales of November

If you're still on the fence about attending the Gales of November workshop up in Wawa on the weekend of October 27, time to get moving! There's still space, but it's getting close to time to get off the pot! Best deal of the year on a deluxe workshop weekend!

Visit for more information.

Topaz Impression 2

Topaz Labs has released version 2 of their marvelous "Impression" plug-in. That's good news and bad news. First of all, the effects and the fact that you can access thousands of community-developed presets are awesome. There are over 140 built-in presets!

Here's a shot at Fisherman's Point on Smoke Lake in Algonquin Park I shot last week and processed using Impression 2. 

The bad news is that it doesn't play well with lesser systems. In fact you need OpenGL 3.3 in your video card (or Mac OS 10.9+) to run it at all. And unless you have a high end system, you need to set the preference to "low resolution" or your hair will grow grey waiting for it to redraw. I expect they're working on that.

FWIW, I'm working on upgrading my computer: this has been the straw that broke the camel's back. My desktop is about 5 years old, which makes it 120 in dog years. It's been having a hard time running the latest versions of LR and PS as well.

If you can run it, you should get it. Amazing effects. If you already have Impression 1, the upgrade is free (don't delete version 1 when you install: just to be sure). If you don't have it, use this link before July 7th to get a 40% discount and enter the code "2IMPRESS" at checkout.

For the Birds

Yeah, I know. Lots of bird pictures. Just a few here, OK?

Vesper Sparrow with lunch for the kiddies, shot at the Cameron Ranch on Carden Plain.  

This is the same bird, hiding in a Hawthorn shrub. I suspect this is where the nest was. I don't think judges will like this shot in the Nature competition, but it tells a better story, don't you think? 

Maybe this is what he was hiding from! Male Northern Harrier in flight, possibly hunting although I think he's carrying something in his talons (he was quite far away when I shot this so it's cropped bigtime). 

Sometimes when you use spot metering and you've turned exposure compensation up, you get high key shots like this one of a Barn Swallow, shot at the Blind in Carden Plain.  

Algonquin Park

I mentioned in an earlier blog that my sleep patterns were weird: and that I decided if I wake up at 4:30am, I'd take advantage of it and do Carden Plain or Algonquin. So I went up to the Park one morning. Turned into a long day, though! In addition to the Fisherman's Point shot above, I did a slow cruise from one end of Highway 60 to the other, without seeing any of the moose or fox kits that others had. I explored several of the side roads that I hadn't driven before and filed away a few spots to revisit. Then I stopped for a bite at the Mad Musher in Whitney and headed home the long way via Bancroft.

I came across this Snapping Turtle laying her eggs by the roadside. Thanks to Steve for pointing her out! 

High Falls in Bancroft. I came home by the Eastern route after lunch at the Mad Musher in Whitney. I'd been here before but wanted to do a shot with the 10-stop ND filter at the Falls. The water was so fast-moving that ½-second was almost too long an exposure! 

Closer to home was this lily (I think it's a lily. Help me out here!) and I focus-stacked several images taken with my macro lens to get this picture. 

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Bird in a Herd

Did you know herons nest in bunches?

This is called a "rookery" or perhaps more descriptively, a "heronry". When you see them airborne, they are either sleek and jet-like or when their landing gear is down, prehistoric and awkward. The iconic heron stands by the water in a Zen-like state until suddenly it strikes. This stillness is echoed as they stand guarding their nests.

Did you know that a group of herons is called a "Siege of Herons"? I bet you didn't!

They inspire me to write in rhyme. Like Dr. Seuss...

Are these some herons in a tree?
Yes they are as you can see.
Babies two and mom makes three,
The scene is very clear to me.
Daddy's coming, we really wish,
We hope that he will bring a fish.
Bring us lunch, please do, please do:
Daddy heron where are you?

Now look! Now look! Look now, you three.
Daddy's coming home, I see.
Has he got a big fat fish?
On a plate or in a dish?
Oh no, Oh no that cannot be.
Daddy's got no food for me.
Is it hiding in his foot?
Where's he carrying the loot?
In his neck or in his mouth?
No I think it's further south
I know, I know wait patiently!
It's in his tummy, don't you see?

But I can be serious too. In the style of a Japanese Haiku...

Aloft on giant wings 
Feathers cloak ungainly bones

From another world


In the clinical note on my latest visit with the oncologist, he said, " a pleasant, 69-year old gentleman...". Guess he doesn't really know me — one out of three ain't bad! Looks like you're stuck with me for a while longer, surgery was successful as anticipated, I still have my cancer but it's being managed.

I've developed these really weird sleep habits, I think since my surgery. I used to go to bed late, sleep from, say, 1 am to 6 am, like a log to which the undisturbed sheets and bedding attest. 5 or 6 hours, that was all I needed.

Now: I have dinner, then afterward, no matter what I'm doing, watching TV or at the computer... no matter if it's interesting or not, I fall asleep without warning. I'll close my eyes during a commercial and BANG, it's 1:30 am and I've been asleep for 3 hours. Now I force myself to go to bed (after putting away the milk I took out or sticking the dirty dishes in the sink to soak) and of course it's hard to get to sleep.

Next thing I know, it's 4:00am and I'M UP. I go to the bathroom and read for a while and try to go back to sleep. If I succeed, it's 8:30 or 9am when I wake up. Usually I can't.

My friends tell me, "welcome to the club". No sympathy. I get no sympathy. I'm reminded of a line Bob Newhart said on the Big Bang Theory one time: "I get up, go to the bathroom, then wander around the house for a couple of hours".

So I decided not to feel concerned about it. If I'm up at 4, so be it. I'll catch up tomorrow. Carden Plain is 45 minutes away. Algonquin Park is an hour. Why not greet the sun as it rises and take advantage of that golden hour? Or the birds as they greet the new day? Or if it's ugly out, catch up with all the goings-on on the computer and try to do some of the stuff I never seem to get to anyway.

We'll see how that goes. But right now, I need to take a nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...

Carden Plain birds

So I changed into my camo's, left the house around 5:30, drove to Carden Plain, and started up Wylie Road around 6:15. Quiet. I wonder why? Still, I heard birds and stopped to look and listen. The woo-woo-woo of a Wilson's Snipe. There he was, standing guard on a fencepost. He was on the east side so the sun backlit him, a challenging shot. Suddenly he puffed himself up, just like we do when we get out of bed and stretch! A Wilson's Snipe Puffball!

This shot is not cropped at all. Here it is in its 36 Megapixel glory! I was surprised he let me get this close but I was wearing full camouflage, so maybe that helped.  

Across the road and down a ways was a Savannah Sparrow. He just stood there, not singing, but hey...

This one IS cropped. I couldn't get that close. 

It's 7am and a black SUV pulls up. Dan Busby, of all people! We chatted for a bit, I mentioned that someone said they had seen an upland Sandpiper a couple of days ago. But he said he was on a mission, to get a Sedge Wren. I asked if he minded if I tagged along, which he didn't.

I learned a lot. We stood there, listening. Dan said, "there's a sedge wren in those cattails and another across the road. I hear [list of birds I can't remember]". I swear, I heard nothing. It was quiet. Eventually I heard them and I was amazed how Dan could identify what was around us. He knew the habits of the birds, where they might be found, what they would do. And sure enough...

I think I like the second image best. More dynamic.

Borden Airshow June 11th

To preface this, the Snowbirds used my photo of a Harvard trainer taken a couple of years ago, in their 2016 brochure. I was honoured that they chose it, they put my signature on the tail of the plane (in the brochure!) and I had some correspondence with Capt. "Match" Hatta who designed the brochure. Match flies Snowbird 3 and has outstanding credentials with over 2000 hours in the CF-18 Hornet. He arranged for me to get a special pass to access the VIP section at the Base Borden airshow.

Here's the picture they used 

Actually the access pass I got let me into the "Special Guest" area which was less than ideal because there were some vehicles parked in front of it, obstructing the view. Ron and the rest of the RHCC group had a better view from the bleachers! However I talked my way into the actual VIP area which was dead "centre stage" so I think I had the best vantage point possible. I also got to hobnob with some interesting people, including the RSM of the MP's at Base Borden and his wife! He thought my camera/lens was quite heavy: not as much as a loaded C7, sir!

The flying didn't start until 1:00 so we looked around at the static displays. There was a lot of military hardware around, and every second person was in CADPAT BDU's. I decided that now was the time to resurrect my HDR techniques, to emphasize the textures of military hardware.

In the doorway of a Griffon helicopter. These were actually members of the Air Force 443 squadron (Hornets). I offered to swap my leather hat for one of their caps. No dice!

T-33 trainer in HDR.

CF-116 or what the Americans called an F-5 Freedom Fighter.

Here's another shot of the Freedom Fighter. It was impossible to get spectators to stay away long enough to shoot a picture...
aren't you impressed with my Photoshop skills? 

This is the Tudor trainer that the Snowbirds fly. They allowed spectators to sit in the aircraft but the lineup was really long. 

The airshow started on time and the skies cleared up but a few of the 'acts' were cancelled because of the high winds. That included the paratrooper drop and some of the lighter aerobatic civilian aircraft. I won't bore you with tons of in-flight pictures but here are a couple:

An aerobatic squad of Harvards. These aircraft are meticulously maintained but they're about 60 years old!

This is a DeHavilland DH-100 "Vampire" fighter. This plane was test flown in September, 1943 and was adopted by the Canadian Forces in 1948, the first jet fighter post-war. Google it: the history is fascinating!

Today, Canada flies the CF-18 Hornet. Amazingly, they've been in service since 1980 — that's 35 years! There's discussion about replacing the fleet with the F35. 

Heading virtually straight up! What causes the contrails? The air passing the wingtips (and next to the fuselage) has expanded so much that its temperature has dropped below the dew point (the point at which the air can no longer hold the water as a vapour) and it condenses out. But you knew that... (the Ideal Gas Law. Look it up!)

The Snowbirds closed the show. The precision and skill of this team is awesome. They are considered by many to be the best aerobatics team in the world.

Here are a few of my photos from their routine:

Here's where being dead centre had its advantages! One bird is slightly out of position... unless he's preparing for the next manoeuvre  when the remaining four planes split.

I think this was technically one of the most difficult manoeuvres. It's called the "Echelon in Review" and I wondered how they could do it since none of them could see the other planes. Turns out they could, Match told me, by looking up through their canopies

I took this a couple of seconds later. Virtually perfect symmetry.

Speaking of symmetry, here's the Snowbirds' iconic diamond formation. The sky was perfect for photography!

Video Links
This is a 360° video link that Match sent me. If you're using Chrome, Firefox or the YouTube mobile app, you can pan around and see it from all angles! Ain't technology wonderful?

Here's a normal video that was taken at the St. Louis airshow a few weeks ago. Pretty well the same routine that the Snowbirds flew at Base Borden...


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