Friday, July 25, 2014

Busy Times

It's not supposed to be busy. It's mid-summer, I should be spending time sitting on the dock, going for a swim, mowing the lawn (yeah, well... this is the country, right? But when it gets too high and ugly...), sitting in the gazebo drinking a Marguerita, enjoying the festivals and activities up here in the Highlands.



I visited my friend Janie on Kushog lake last weekend. It wasn't the greatest weather but you don't need an excuse to go down to the boat! I think this captures her in a really great moment on the lake. 

I'm doing some of that stuff, but I find myself in front of the computer for too many hours every day. There's weekly trips to Toronto, weekend visitors, stacking firewood... but I owe it to my faithful readers to post to the blog, so here I am!

I don't want to bore you
with family pictures 


...but I have to post a few! I was in Toronto last week when my son and family came to visit. There are 3 pictures I'd like to share here, if you don't mind!



Amalia is the latest addition to the family. She has bright eyes, a captivating smile and her father's dimples. She's 5 months old and the most beautiful baby in the world! 



Her big sister Leah is going to be 5 years old in a month or so. She's happy, friendly, really smart and inquisitive, and of course loves chocolate chip cookies (who doesn't??). I have a bunch of shots of her but I think this one captures her best! It goes without saying that she's the brightest, most beautiful almost-five-year-old in the world...



No doubt, my mother's going to call me when she sees this picture and say, "how could you put such a horrible picture of me up on your blog?". I know you're not smiling, Mom, but that's only because you didn't want me to take your picture! The little 'gator in the foreground is worth  a comment: most of the residents at Thorne Mills have walkers and to distinguish them, they put ribbons or flowers or something on them. Mom's had this little guy who I call "Sebastian" (family joke) for quite some time. Anyway, the picture does capture who you are, Mom!

As most of you know, I'm not a great "people" photographer, but I'm trying. I took this casual portrait of Janie at the same time as the boat shot above, I kind of like the treatment and again I think it captures her essence well.



High key portrait, with some Topaz Simplify painting effects. I love Janie's hair even though she complains about it! BTW I did NOT use Topaz ReMask on this shot because it didn't need it, but I tried the new version and it's really slick. Her hair was a challenge, Topaz handled it easily! Go to my previous blog posting for a link to the plug-in and where to get it for half-price for the next few days. Oh, OK, here's the link, and use the code "julyremask" when ordering. 

Workshops

In the last few weeks I've done a couple of different workshops. The "Stars" one had two parts to it, one a technical classroom seminar and the second part will be a field trip at Oh-Dark-Thirty (which is when the stars are out, duh...). The problem is, you can't shoot when it's cloudy. We were actually intending to go out tonight but the weather forecast changed so I cancelled it. Hopefully next weekend will be better. There's an interesting website called cleardarksky.com which has links to some 1900 observatories and observing sites in North America, with a wealth of information. Unfortunately their forecast only goes out a day or two so it's hard to plan ahead.



This was one of my classroom sessions this month. I'm willing to do more of them if anyone is interested, drop me a note and we'll see if we can work out a good date.  




This is one of the spots I picked out for the field session. As you can see, I'm facing East. There's a nice view to the North and West as well, South is not so good.  This looks like a dandy sunrise location as well, I'll check that out in the upcoming days if I can get out of bed early enough!


While we were there, we saw some cool dragonflies. I REALLY have to get a macro lens. If you see dragonflies, BE NICE! Remember, they eat mosquitoes!



People who regularly shoot macros will poo-pooh this shot because the back wings and the head are not in focus. I can do better... but this was shot with my 70-200mm lens with the 1.7x teleconverter mounted (no question about sharpness!). Handheld, 1/640 second at f/8, ISO 400.  I'm not sure of the species: I Googled it but didn't find the exact same markings anywhere. 


Don't try this at home, kiddies!

This was shot in Toronto, it was a hazy sunset, otherwise I wouldn't have pointed the camera directly at the sun.


I don't know if you can see the foreground detail on this internet version. Again, the same lens/teleconverter combination. You can ALMOST see the corona, certainly there's some detail at the edges. 

Some street photos

I'll close with some street photos I took this week. I have a tough assignment from the Minden Times to shoot what's going on in Minden: not much! It's a pretty sleepy town...


Cliff's big ole dawg is a common sight on Minden's main street. Nap time! 


These two guys were hanging out in front of the Dominion Hotel on a hot summer afternoon. I was trying to get their pictures without them noticing... I guess I failed! 


This is actually cropped from the same photo. I like the character lines in his face. The reflection of the other gentleman in the window adds balance and this shot has gathered some pretty positive comments on a few street photography forums. 

See you next week!

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