Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The Sounds of Spring

or late winter! Here in the Highlands... at least at my house: "Drip", "Drip", "Drip". I thought when we redid the roof, I'd be immune but my front door doesn't fit again and there's a perennial drip near it, and even one in the bathroom. Really should get the roof shoveled off, there's about 18" of snow up there. Oh, well. As long as it doesn't get worse!

It's a balmy -3°C today! Time to break out the shorts and sandals!
Update: it's a few days later and it actually got warm! +8°C yesterday, about the same now. The snow is melting on the roof, the front door works better and the dripping stopped. Yahoo! Now that it's gotten warmer, the next challenge will be the sump pump. If it doesn't kick in, I'm going to be in doo-doo... ah the joys of living in the country!
Actually this is getting tiresome. It went down to -25°C last night and it was -19 when I got up this morning (I write this over several days, you realize). I've had enough winter. To top it off, I went to start my expensively repaired ATV yesterday and... "click". That's it. Battery now? Anyway it's on the charger, let's see what she does this morning. But it's 19 below and I don't feel like going out right now.

I know, I know. "Do you want some cheese with that whine"?
OK, weird. The ATV didn't start again that morning. "Click". I arranged for the mechanic to pick it up today. Went out to give it one more try. Brrrrrmmmmm. Started right up. This is a mystery. Cleared my driveway and walkways, ran like a Swiss watch. Wish I trusted it!
On the good side of the ledger, my sister and brother-in-law are cruising in the Gulf of Mexico, my friends Styles and Niki just came back from their cruise, Dr. Ron is a brand new grandpa and will be celebrating his milestone birthday in a couple of days in sunny California with his new granddaughter, the Raptors won last night, nobody cares what the Leafs did, and I get to shoot some dogsled races this weekend with some friends in hopefully less frigid weather.  My cold is just about gone, listened to some great music last night (Tommy Emmanuel, where have you been all my life? Astonishing talent, check him out on YouTube), delivering a picture I sold today... Have to look on the bright side, right?

Reflecting on my Blog

I read a note on Facebook yesterday from a colleague and fellow blogger who said he had over 10,000 hits on his blog last week. Hmmm. What's he doing that I'm not? He has much less content than I do, photography and tips about on a par, but he gets an order of magnitude more hits than I do. So what can I do to increase my following?

It occurred to me that perhaps my blog posts are too long. Do people want to read a quick tip and carry on? What do you think, dear readers? Please leave a comment here, or perhaps on Facebook (link to my page). Now if you would each tell two friends about my blog, and they tell two friends and...

Lightroom Tip(s)

At the request of an admin on the Facebook "Lightroom Q&A" group, I posted a tip on improving LR's performance by managing your previews. Since I wanted to show several screen captures, I posted it on my Tech Blog. Here's the link.
It astonishes me that people do not understand the concept of making their images the same shape as the paper they're trying to print on. Every day there's at least one person who says, "how can I print a 4x6, a 5x7 and an 8x10 without cropping off some of the picture?" I'll try to get that written up (again!) as a tech tip. If you subscribe to this blog, I'll send you an email when it's up. Click this link, or the "Newsletter" button up at the top of this page.
Prints for Sale

I have the following three images left over from my recent museum exhibition, all perfectly framed and ready to go (forgive the poor iPhone shot).



I also have a fourth frame that simply needs a new mat, and dozens of other unmounted archival quality prints available. I want to make space and move these images out, so I'm open to offers.

Here are links to the images in order to see them better:
http://faczen.smugmug.com/FineArt/New-and-Featured-Images-1/i-BZ7TdFS/A (12½" sq. image)
http://faczen.smugmug.com/FineArt/New-and-Featured-Images-1/i-n4gmHfF/A (12½" sq. image)
http://faczen.smugmug.com/FineArt/New-and-Featured-Images-1/i-SfJVZ9M/A (12½" x 19" image)

They are stunningly and lovingly printed on Epson Cold Press Natural paper. Each one is hand signed but not numbered because they are Proof Editions. You owe it to yourself to start collecting these now before the prices go up!

You know what would fit nicely in that fourth frame? That astounding Snowy Owl shot that I showed you a few weeks ago. This one:
http://faczen.smugmug.com/FineArt/New-and-Featured-Images-1/i-vdzT4Bx/A (12½" x 19" image)

But you'll have to wait for it: the Proof Edition of this image won't be printed until April. Order it now if you want the unique proof copy...

TOPAZ B&W Effects on sale

Starting March 10th, Topaz is offering B&W Effects at 1/3 off until the end of the month.

It's a really great program. When I do my black and white flowers (actually ANY black and white conversion) I've found three ways to do it that give me control over how the colours and toning map into grey: Nik Silver Efex, the BW adjustment layer in Photoshop CC 2014 and arguably the best one of all, Topaz B&W Effects. It's on sale for $39.95, great price!




To get the discount, use this link, then at checkout, enter "MARBW" in the coupon code field. You can also get a 30 day free trial at that URL but be sure to put the purchase through before the end of the month to get the discount! By the way, you can get a 15% discount on ANY of the Topaz products by entering "FACZEN" in the checkout field. Use this link for their main product page.

A very cool place




I had breakfast and a tour at "Wintergreen Maple Products and Pancake Barn" on Sunday. What a cool place! First of all, breakfast was awesome: specialty is pancakes or French toast or... all with, you guessed it, maple syrup! (here's their FB page!)

Diane (she and Tom own the place) told me they have over 1000 maple trees on tap. Sap will start flowing in a week or so: once it starts they can't stop boiling or they'll be inundated when the vats fill up! I'll go try to shoot some pictures when that happens.




Their building is a huge barn, relocated from Minden (by the numbers!) and wonderfully decorated. They cater, have a store with lots of exotic stuff, very cool place.




If you're ever in the Highlands, drop in. You won't be sorry!

Dog Sled Races

The 2015 Dog Sled Derby took place last weekend. We had about 20 visitors from the Richmond Hill Camera Club, who stayed at Pinestone and enjoyed the weekend. I took hundreds of pictures, too many "keepers" to share here, so I put them in a SmugMug gallery. (LINK)

Here's a selection of a few I liked. It's hard to differentiate them after a while so I tried to select some 'different' ones for your viewing pleasure!



Here's your iconic dogsled shot. Grizzled musher, 8-dog team of purebred huskies, and even a red jacket! 



Here's the same guy, coming right at you! 



How's this for an unlikely team of sled dogs! Kid's race, I think. You have to know these guys were having a blast!  





People feel bad for sled dogs... DON'T! First of all, if you know dogs, you know they love the security of being in a "crate". Second, these dogs are born to run! It's like feeling sorry for an exhausted marathon runner: they do it because they love it! 


 


Everywhere you look there are GoPro and other cameras. The times, they are a-changin'! There was even someone flying a drone quadcopter chasing the dog teams around!






A little different perspective. 




Sled Dogs as Cezanne might have painted them! 

And finally, I'm always a sucker for a pretty girl, so here are a couple!



My friend Liz from Richmond Hill. Would you believe she's 75 years old? No? OK, what about 30?  


Cheryl, a friend from Oshawa Camera Club (I have cute friends!). Wading through a meter of snow to get that perfect shot!


This was a ski-joring competitor at the start line. Your kids won't get rosy cheeks like that sitting on the couch playing with their X-boxes! 

'till next week!


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