Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Wet yellow

A new week begins. The last couple weeks have been treated almost like vacation, being newly (re-re-re) retired and all. But this week will be a bit more active. I've got a photoshoot later today, and a trip to Cypress Hills to pack for.

You might be amused when you learn the packing checklist includes wool socks, running tights, wool sweater, and a winter jacket. Yes, the days will be sort of warm, but we will be out at night. Often at night astro-photographers spend an anxious few minutes deciding where to point their camera, working the composition, getting the camera settings just right so it runs by itself. For some of us, that process is repeated twice because, like me, they bring two cameras. And then the photographer waits. Depending on the circumstances, I might do some writing, (blog or novel), text w buddies, play Sudoku, or nap/meditate. One guy I know plays Yahtzee.

When you're alone, it's a good time to relax and think thoughts. New Zealand was good for that. It was warm and there were no predators to worry about. Other than humans, of course. One of my buddies needed an armed guard while she was capturing some awesome night sky photos. Why? She was on safari in Africa. Even out in the boonies here in Canada, there are some pretty significant predators, other than humans. Wolves, cougars, and bears come most readily to mind.

Or the photographer might be working to capture various scenes, in which case the set up is repeated again and again. This can be lots of fun, especially with a buddy or a small group. More importantly, given our weather, you keep moving. This helps you stay warm when it's cold because you don't want to go into a warm place. Why? Because your camera lens will fog up and take it's own sweet time about unfogging. Once your camera is cold, best to keep it cold. Your spare batteries are in an inside pocket, of course.

The weekend shots were mostly in the garden. It took a surprising number of shots to get this the way I wanted.


Really, all the interest is in that one drop at the end.

Driftwood of the Day


Monday, May 20, 2019

Macro Monday 31, light on green blue

Light is important to photographers, which is much like saying air is important to humans. Without light there is no photography. So here's two nearly identical shots.



Nothing changed between the two shots except turning off the overhead light, and turning on the camera mounted flash. Same magnification, same settings on the camera, same editing in Lightroom. Quite a different looking shot. These are at nearly 5x with 68 mm of extension tubes.

I think the first one is more of a forest look, and the second one is more of an undersea look. What do you think?

I edited a couple more shots, but the more I look at them the less pleased I am. So you don't get to see them. Still, it was a fun time working on them. I'm getting better at setting things up and finding the focus. I'm trying to get away from simply shooting things to see what they look like, (and learn how to do it) though there is some interest in that.

The goal now is to find or create macro images that are interesting as images, and if they mess with your head on scale issues so much the better. This is harder than you'd think. Lots of things there is no detail at magnification.

In other news, it's a typical May long weekend in Calgary. It rained. It snowed. It was cloudy. It was cold. The sun flirted with us yesterday. Today the sun is rising on a beautiful clear hard frosty morning. Golly it's hard to type with a cat trying to sit on the keyboard.

No driftwood shot today, since they aren't macro. Never fear, there are many more driftwood shots in the queue.







Sunday, May 19, 2019

Saturday, May 18, 2019

What I saw on the hill

Back 3 months ago, almost exactly, we visited Shine Falls. I told the story on Facebook, but not here, for this photo.

OK, so a true story. There we were, driving to Shine Falls. (Beautiful, photos will make it into blog sometime. I'm pretty sure...) (They did, see the link above.) There's a winding gravel road well on the way to the middle of nowhere. I come around a corner, and see the tripod up on the peak. The first words out of my mouth were, "Some rat bastard photographer has taken the spot I want!" It took a while to find a place safe to pull over and take a photo. (That's a big problem here.) There was actually two tripods, but one is out of view. As far as I know there is no way to drive up there, but a fence runs most of the way. I suspect it's an automated weather station, but it would be a great place for a photo.


Some people like wandering beaches because you never know what you'll find. This, for example.


Or dead creatures of various kinds, I'll spare you the photos. After I took them, other than the one blogged sometime between now and then, I realized there wasn't much artistic merit to them. I saw one couple with a metal detector and a shovel working their way down the beach. I was thinking of asking if they ever found anything, but they did not look friendly.

It's been two weeks since my last day on the job. Two busy weeks. This weekend we're keeping a bit of a lower profile for two reasons. One is the all the rain. It's been a gentle steady rain and Linda is thrilled. It's perfect for soaking into the lawn and flower beds, and that's exactly what we need. Plus it fills up the water barrels. I'm just glad I mowed the lawn before the rain started. Two is the construction. There are 3 ways out of our neighbourhood. The main one for us is Anderson and 24th. The've closed off 24th, so you have to turn right. I can just imagine the traffic backing up. The other exit onto Anderson is under construction as well. The third exit is mostly ok, though they're building a bridge on top of it and a superhighway under the bridge.

Plus it's nice just to hang out and relax. I got a photography book out of the library to re-read and think about more. Plus some movies. Phantom of the Paradise, which was just as over the top and as much fun as I remember. V, they didn't lie about how bad it was. Loch Ness, which is not about the monster, just a bad murder mystery that had Linda laughing and swearing and talking back to the movie. And a Dr Who Christmas special with River Song, which is essentially the first Dr Who I've ever seen. (Yes, I know.)

Driftwood of the Day
Another face in the driftwood. I saw a polar bear, Linda saw a seal. You?


Friday, May 17, 2019

Sort of toward Mexico, I think

This is one of the discoveries after the fact. I'd got the full moon shot, (not quite what I'd hoped for, but pretty close), and was working on the ship, the moon, and the shimmer. For whatever reason I didn't like this one at the time, but do now. This is looking out to sea from Napier, in a sort of NE kind of direction. Go far enough on that great circle route and you find Mexico. I think.


This was a wonderful night! I really enjoyed being out on a warm evening beside the ocean, looking at the moon rise. Lots of other people were out strolling. The only thing missing was someone selling gelato. Maybe that should be my next career, moving to New Zealand to become an itinerant gelato vendor, taking photos, and selling the best as I  bike around. Hmmm. I wonder what the relevant authorities in NZ would think of that?

Driftwood of the Day
This is the one that people will not believe is how I found it. All the other ones it's easily possible to imagine the waves pounding a chunk of wood into the gravel in such a way the gravel is embedded. Or that the waves splash a piece of gravel on top of a chunk of driftwood, and it stays that way till wind, or water, or something pushes it off.

But this? No way. A human did this. But what's important for my 'as found' rule, it wasn't me. I didn't stack those up, this indeed is just the way I found it. I just wandered around trying to find the best angle to shoot from.


Thursday, May 16, 2019

The rest of the cityscapes

Here's more of the photos from my downtown day, wandering around. At some point, somewhere along the way, I want to do another +15 ramble. I haven't done one in quite some time. Like 6 years, I've just realized. I'm wincing at those photos; I can do much better now.

No, I don't know this guy. Why did I take the photo? At first I thought it was someone taking a break from an early Stampede start. Then I saw it. Look at his right knee. Carefully.


Flowers on Stephen Ave.

No camera trickery here. Yes, this building gives some odd perspectives.

I like seeing the building juxtapositions , and the negative space between them.

From the downtown metal horse. I'd never noticed this badge before.



Another old stomping ground.


Driftwood of the Day



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A busy day in retirement

It wasn't quite a set the alarm kind of a day, but I was up early anyways. Then off to get the car serviced, just routine. I'd brought a book but barely got settled in to read after strolling the new cars. They got me out of there more than an hour before their estimated time. Turns out one of the mechanics is a keener and wants to leave a bit early today.

Diversion one. I like strolling the new cars while waiting for the shorter services. They get more amazing every year. Used to be the salesman tossed you the keys and waved as you drove off the lot. Now you need an introduction to your new car. You and your phone. Our neighbours bought a new one, and rather than a thick owners manual, it comes with a disk. You can watch a movie about your new car. I can only imagine it's like every terrible how-to video on youtube, only worse, with all the embedded commercials. When we bought ours it took the salesman about 20 minutes to fire through all the features.

Diversion two. Much of it revolved around the horribly designed, so-called 'infotainment' feature. I hate it. I wish I could get a nice car that didn't have one of these. One minor example, the sound system volume control. Back in the day when it was a knob, a simple swipe turned the sound down or up. It took a fraction of a second. Now I have to stab my finger against the console, or thumb against the steering wheel again and again. It takes a while for it to notice, then to be convinced I'm actually serious, and then to respond.

Diversion three. I think they are making the cars bigger again, particularly in the leg room department. That seems to be where I get short changed. The one thing I sat in had a sunroof, but still lots of headroom otherwise. Of course the milage is worse, and the one I was sitting in costs 2x what our current car costs. I don't think any of them were battery powered, or even a hybrid. Honda used to sell these, but I don't know if they still do. I know perfectly where there is a sales person desperate to tell me all about it.

From there it was off to the pool for a lovely swim during what my lifeguard buddy calls, 'our meditative time.' Hardly anyone is in the pool, and they're all good swimmers. Not much for them to do. My shoulder is coming around, but it's still a bit cranky about swimming.

Then some shopping. A couple new camera toys. A tabletop tripod for macro and garden shooting. This will also be good for a second tripod for the second camera during field trips. Set it up away from things and let it run till the SD card or battery dies. Plus another battery for my main camera. I've got some trips coming up where I could be out for many hours, shooting.

Diversion four. I sort of thought about looking at the new mirrorless cameras, or maybe a new lens (they had a sale on) but decided not to. I don't need either of those things. Photography is really bad for GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and people buying stuff they don't need. Then it sits around gathering dust. I have lots of gear, and it all gets used.

MEC for some pants. I'd bought a pair of cargo pants for the vacation, mainly for the lighter fabric. Turns out I like the zipped pockets, extra pockets, lighter fabric, all that good stuff. They seem pretty durable. MEC had lots of choice, and I even got a bit of a sale.

Diversion five. The quality of jeans has gone completely down the toilet, through the sewer, through the treatment plant and out the other side. They don't even deserve the name jeans. Used to be new jeans were practically bullet proof. One had to break them in. They lasted for years, and often could still be handed down to someone else if you grew out of them. The fabric is much thinner now, so they aren't as durable. They don't have as many belt loops so each takes more stress, and they are sewn onto that cheaper fabric. I've had a bunch rip out. Last time it was really hard to get jeans that fit. So I'm done with jeans. I'll wear what I have around the house, mowing the lawn or whatever.

Then lunch with a close friend and our usual great chat. Then home to find an accountant error in my favour. I'd forgotten to tell her that I'd actually made some instalment payments she had told me to make, so according to her I owed a little bit of money.

Diversion six. I like ending the tax year owing a bit of money. That means I've had the use of all my money all year, till it's time to give the government it's cut. I could have it making money for me through investing in any number of products. Or I could buy something nice, knowing I'll have the money later to pay the tax. When you get a refund, that means you gave the government an interest free loan. It means you paid too much tax. Part of my problem is that when you work part time, you make less money, and it takes the government a little while to figure it out. They base next years tax instalment payments on last year's income, so if (as was the case) I knew I wouldn't be making as much money, I'd sort of be forced to overpay.

Diversion seven. I don't mind paying tax, particularly. Taxes are the price of a civilized society. In times past the king hired tax collectors who were paid based on how much they shook out of the involuntary payers. Not a system I want to see here. The problem is that everybody should pay at least a bit of tax along the way. A tax on income, or a VAT, whatever. Even if most or all of it gets refunded back to you. The tax system should be fair and transparent, and simple enough that the many tax dodges that get set up simply aren't worth it. And those people that are convicted of actual tax fraud should lose everything.

Today I get home to a refund cheque, which is nice, notwithstanding diversion six above. I don't need to spend it on anything in particular, so I will just go into the bank later today.

Home, blogging, thinking about what to do this afternoon, and a community association thing for this evening. Retirement life is good.

I was downtown earlier this week to meet up with another buddy, and along the way I did some cityscape photos. Here's the reflection ones.

I like looking at other buildings reflected in the wall of glass. The panes of glass are supposed to be flat, yet clearly that is not so, making a much more interesting image.


One view of the old stomping grounds.


Another view.


 One of the more famous buildings in Calgary, done to death in photos, unless you can find something interesting.


Driftwood of the Day
For some reason this photo makes me think of life, or project planning. There's a reasonably nice path into a situation where you can't see as well, and it gets all complicated.


Some other posts you might enjoy.

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