Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sleeping like a Baby

sporadic musings...

Good News! I'm younger than I thought!

I hadn't taken exchange into account: 70 Canadian is less than 54 US! So I'm actually younger than I thought.

Consider this, though: my sister, who's two years younger than me, has lived in the US for more than half her life. I think she moved around '75 so 40 years in the US is like 52 Canadian so she's actually considerably older than me in Canadian years. I always knew it, Barbi!

I don't want to harp on the fact that I feel old: driven by both the number and how I feel and my habits. There's a litany of physical things... and the daily habits... wait! I typed them then realized that's "TMI" (too much information)! Let's just say that one day you wake up and discover that you ARE your father! They announced the iPhone7 today – who cares? Every day my current phone nags me about upgrading the O/S and every day I say, "leave me alone. Later". I can still make phone calls. I can listen to music and read my emails. Go away.

I have never played "World of Warcraft" and never have and never will look for a Pokemon, whatever that is. I tried FaceTime once, don't remember how, don't care. I am my Father!

By the way, where did the expression "sleep like a baby" come from? I sleep like a baby. I wake up at 2 and again at 4am. I get up because I have to go to the bathroom or something hurts. My father used to say, "everything hurts. Except the stuff that doesn't work any more". I know how he felt.

But I still know how to write, although I'm at a loss for some words I can't remember from time to time, and I know how to make pictures, and I know how to share my knowledge with others.

If I start rambling about my age after this, call me on it. Stop me. You're not interested, dwelling on it just makes me feel ancient. Life goes on.

Gales of November: we had a cancellation from the first weekend (October 20-23) so there are two spaces available AND a lodge room has opened up. Also there are still 4 spaces on the second weekend. Jump on it, folks! This is going to fill up. 
Visit www.photography.to/gales for details and if you want the first weekend, email me directly. The October 27-30 session can be booked online. 

I bought a boat!

If you read my last blog, you already knew that.

Photo credit: Jack March. It's a 16' Starcraft with an 85hp Evinrude outboard.

It's  quick, it's stable, it runs well... thanks to Bob Sully who brought the motor back to life after some preemptive tries. No thanks to me, I told him I'm his customer from Hell. Anything I touch with a motor in it... he had to visit at least twice before I could figure out how to start the damned thing! The electrical stuff isn't in that good a shape, I (ok "We") are going to have to work on that.

And today, I realized that I need to address something else. I muddled up throwing a tarp over it because it was going to rain last night and this morning. But I need to figure out a way to make a "tent" because now the tarp, sagging in the middle, is full of water! And one of the electrical things that doesn't work is the bilge pump... going to have to look at that!

Docking it is a challenge, since 12-Mile Lake is part of the reservoir system for the Trent-Severn waterway and the water levels are really low in fall. I'm docked for now at the Inn across the road because the water's only knee-deep at my dock. Also I've been warned to be careful, there are lots of rocks in the lake, it can be expensive hitting one with the prop!

Update: I've moved it to the Marina down the road. Makes more sense, although I have to drive to the boat instead of walking (well I could walk...). Very reasonable price and friendly folks.

As my friend Janie says, there's something about being out on the water. I'm only sorry I didn't do this sooner! I'm looking forward to Fall Colours!

Here's me in my Tilley hat. It's the only one that will stay on my head when I'm running in the wind... 

...and here's me fishing my Tilley hat out of the water. Guess I was wrong! 


Loons on 12-Mile Lake. Click to view larger!

Here are a couple of Loon pictures I took the other day on the water. I've shot better ones, but these were from my own boat!

Night Skies

Last week there was an alert about high solar flare activity and a prediction of active Aurora Borealis. It's been many years since I saw a visible display of sheets of aurora... and I'm still waiting! The camera can see better than my eyes.

This little video will show you what we actually saw. It's not particularly enhanced. http://photography.to/video/aurora20160902.mp4. By the way, I did this with a program called "LRTimeLapse", straightforward but lots of steps... and since I didn't know what I was doing, I had to start over a few times! I'll play, and figure out how to add music, etc later.

Anyway, I went out and a couple of camera club friends joined me. There was some activity which I was able to capture, but it took some post-processing to enhance the images. Nothing like some of the stuff I've seen from Alaska or Iceland, but still impressive and pretty.

A couple of nights later, I stopped on the way home to see if there was any sign of Northern Lights, but there weren't. I did manage to get a few shots of the milky way (last of the season: the galactic core doesn't rise above the horizon in winter) and a couple of other star shots for your enjoyment.

This is a merge of a few shots to get a little extra detail

I was struck by the warm glow of the lit-up cottage and by the splendour of the starry sky.  

Interesting free software

This is for PC people. You MAC guys have enough toys and good stuff to tantalize us with, so for once it's our turn. This one comes from Micro$oft themselves {gasp}!

This looks like an ordinary picture of a house under construction. If you look closely you can see some distortion, especially in the lower right corner.  But what makes it remarkable is that it's a composite of 25 separate pictures and it took me 2 minutes to assemble it. 

I wanted to document this new house being erected on our lake. Long story. But the short version is that I was there with one lens – my 105mm – and I could only get about 30' away from the  building. So here's the best I could do with a single shot:

What I did was to shoot 25 overlapping images, sweeping from side to side with 5 shots, then up a bit and 5 more, and so on. I tried to do a 'pano merge' in Lightroom but it didn't want to behave.

A few days later, I came across a picture of the Milky Way on Facebook produced by a 16 year old kid from Czechoslovakia. He said it was a merge of some 225 images, if I recall. Turns out he did it using a piece of software called "Microsoft Image Composition Editor" or "Microsoft ICE". MS calls it "an advanced panoramic image stitcher". It's for Windows, and it's brilliant. It even does RAW files, no need to convert to Jpeg first! It's fast, easy to use, it's not massive, and it's FREE. 

Rather than copy and paste what MS says about it, here's the link. I look forward to trying it for more exciting pano's. It says it will do Gigapixel images – the one I did is about 150 megapixels! In seconds. Brilliant. 

PS: I zoomed into the image and produced a 200% crop so you can see the potential.

This is detail from the same  composite image. Cropped really, really tight.

Nothing doing on Carden Plain

Looks like the migration is well under way. The only birds I saw when I was there a few days ago were some crows in the distance. A "Murder of Crows", probably 25 or 30 of them making a racket in some far off trees. And a couple of Eastern Kingbirds. Flowers are still there but showing signs of fading for the fall. I caught a few pictures with my 105mm macro lens.

Fall's not far away! 

Parting Shot

This was a 5-shot HDR which I then painted with Impression.  This one might get me back to my brushes and oil paints. I've been taking a sabbatical from painting for a while because I find it a lot easier to capture my vision with a Wacom stylus in my hand than with a paint brush. 

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