Friday, June 15, 2012

If you want to make God laugh...

... tell him your plans.

I was shooting the Vaughn Hospital Charity Motorcycle Ride on Sunday morning when my cellphone rang. Without adding too much detail, it was the doctor telling me that there was a family medical emergency and my shooting day ended there.

It also put the Kaibosh on my planned two days shooting moose in Algonquin Park this week. I was lucky enough to find someone to take my place and I heard from the others that were there that it was a fantastic time: I heard there was a small bull, a cow and two calves and assorted other wildlife shot. I hope to get another chance to go at another time.

As I write this, I'm sitting in Toronto, not sure when I'll be able to get home. I'll keep you up to date as time goes on.

That doesn't mean I don't have stuff for you to read and look at. Onwards and upwards...

My Workshops are up and running!
I've announced two dates for DSLR courses up in the Highlands: June 24 and July 7 weekends. Those will be group courses, I can do individual or semi-private courses at the students' convenience, you tell me.

An ad is running in the Haliburton Highlander as we speak, and the link to full details on the workshops is here:
Here's what the courses are about:
Shoot Better Pictures
This course is aimed at people who are relatively new to Digital SLR photography. Beginners, more or less. It is a general course, so that you can use more of the features of your camera but mostly to get you to understand that the camera doesn’t shoot the picture, you do.
Now I know that most of my readers are well beyond beginners, so this workshop is not for you. But if you know someone with a new DSLR and they want to get off Program mode, have them contact me. I'll do sessions in Toronto or elsewhere as well, but we'll have to work out a schedule.

If you want to TEACH a course like this, let me know. I have the curriculum almost finished and the "Train the Trainer" manual almost done. The intent is that I'll share the course curriculum with you for free and I hope you'll use the student workbook I'm writing, at really nominal cost for each student (I'm thinking $2.99!).

That's another hour out of my life I won't get back...
Warning to PC users (if you have a MAC, you can probably skip this section).
I was bitten by some Malware this morning. I'm not sure where I got it because I don't surf "those" sites. The only thing I can think of is that I went to to get a short name for a long URL and I remember something popping up which I ignored.

I've seen this one, or ones like it before, so I didn't bite this time. But they're insidious and creative, so I thought a word of warning is appropriate. About 10 minutes later I was writing an email and a big huge warning box popped up onscreen that said my computer was infected, click here to get rid of it. It's easy to think that's your virus protection software kicking in BUT IT'S NOT. It's a trojan (virus). In my case, I had to Ctrl-Alt-Del to get rid of it.

I finished the email, then shut everything down and ran Malwarebytes. Sure enough, it found two infected files.

So two messages here: (1) don't click on these infection warnings and (2) install and run Malwarebytes anti-malware software (there's a free version here). It catches stuff your regular virus software doesn't. Run it whenever you have an incident, or if your computer is misbehaving, or from time to time just for the Hell of it. You'll be surprised what it finds.

For what it's worth, I use Microsoft Security Essentials as my main virus protection. It's also free, doesn't clutter up the computer with extra stuff like other programs (I don't want to mention Norton or AVG, so I won't) and it comes from folks who have a vested interest in protecting Windows products. I've linked to it above.

Photos from the Charity Ride
As I said, I was interrupted while shooting the Charity Motorcycle Ride. I did get a few pictures, though.

My favourite lens is the 70-200. You can't take a bad picture, especially at f/2.8

The Honourable Julian Fantino, MP for Vaughn. Chief Fantino, as many people still call him, was the head of the OPP before running for Parliament. He made a presentation to StylesQ, the organizer of the ride.

...and here's StylesQ on his iron steed, just getting ready to depart on the ride. Although he was leading the ride, and he designed it, he got lost. I know Styles doesn't mind me saying that. He once got lost trying to find his own house. He has said to me, "what is this thing 'North' that you keep mentioning?".
I've put a few of my ride pictures up on my Smugmug site here, and Kathy Constantinou who was also there, and did manage to shoot the whole ride, put her ouststanding images up here. If anyone wants prints or screensaver/wallpaper images they can contact me or Kathy by email.

Canola field in the sun
I drove home on Wednesday to pick up some clothes (and my laptop!), then came right back to Toronto the next morning.

As you drive along at this time of year, you might spot a canola field. The bright yellow caught my eye and I had to stop to photograph it. I'm probably going to brighten this image up a bit in a few days but I'm not at the desktop computer right now (on the laptop) so I can't. What caught my eye when I stopped here was the incredibly bright yellow and it needs to be brighter than what I see onscreen right now.

What did I tell you about the 70-200 lens, especially at f/2.8? Right. This field was just west of Argyle, Ontario. There will be some more shots of it on my Smugmug gallery in a little while (when I get back to the computer!).

Poetry in motion
As I was driving to Toronto on Saturday (out of chronological order but so what?), I saw a bicycle race in the Mount Albert area. I drove ahead of the pack, then pulled over to park (actually they fooled me and turned onto a different road. I had to backtrack and do it again! They drove past the Nudist colony but I didn't stop in for pictures!). Anyway, I took a few shots:

This one was done at a deliberately slow shutter speed, panning with the bike. I can't get at the EXIF information right now, but I think it was 1/30 sec or slower).
Black Background Flowers (again)
Again, going backwards in time, here are a couple of pictures I did on black backgrounds up North. Two different varieties of Irises. Suitable for large format reproduction, if anyone is interested... email me.

Two guesses which lens I used to capture these images! These were actually shot inside my light tent, using the great big light in the sky as illumination. Actually, I may have used a bit of flash fill on the second shot, also bouncing it off the light tent.
Anyway, more to come. I hope to get back on track in a few days. TTFN.

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