Sunday, May 31, 2020

The behemoth was late for the morning light

A buddy of mine posted some great shots of backlit flowers the other day that I really liked. I could tell instantly he'd used a different technique than I do. Turns out he uses a lens that is half way to being a telescope.

I'd never thought of using a big lens on the flowers, and burned to try. What with one thing or another I didn't get out at quite the right time for the best light, but it was pretty good, and certainly good enough to get a sense of how to get similar shots.

Camera techie digression. My biggest lens is a 150-600mm. He used an 850 mm. That isn't a common size for a lens, so I'm wondering if he's using a 600 on a crop sensor. I could put my lens on my crop, and end up with a 960 mm lens. (Don't ask unless you really want to know.)

Normally I'd use a lens like that for wildlife, or something that's a really long way off. Normally I'm all about the detail in the flowers, but this produces a more painterly technique that looks lovely. I'll have to do this more often. Good thing I don't have to carry that lens far to do that; it weighs a ton. That's why I call it The behemoth.

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Hope you enjoyed, I'll have to do this more often!

Of the Day
Michelle


Celina



Flower
Same flowers as in photo 1 above, similar light, completely different look to the shot.

Driftwood


Saturday, May 30, 2020

Languid

The photo of Curtis a little further down the page perfectly expresses how I feel this morning. There's a couple projects on the go. The lodge needs another coat of stain, so Friday was sanding and pressure washing. There's a doorway pergola thingie to be built. Friday was picking up supplies. Saturday, as you read this, I'll be busy.

The other project is going to be selecting image of the month. It's been a bumper crop for great flower shots. I think the tulips are still jealous about how well the white peony has done in the image of the month, and have been putting on a great show in the morning light. Then there's my favourite model, we had great light that evening, and captured some wonderful shots.

Another month almost done, transitioning from essentially winter, to essentially summer.  Going from the first daffys poking their heads out of the ground with ice still in the back patio, to drinking wine there in the evening.

During May I've been trying to pick up the pace a little here. I'd been getting back into running, and was pretty pleased, but then my legs started getting a bit cranky about it so I took a break. I'd meant to walk every day instead, but that's been, shall we say, extremely irregular. I've been starting a list of other things to get done, but I haven't made the progress I'd like.

It's been a weird year for personal projects. I wasn't too stressed about January, it was crappy out and we knew we were leaving mid Feb till mid March. I figured I'd get home and edit photos, and do other stuff in between. Well then the virus thing happened. I edited photos, but didn't get much else done. It seemed I was busy, but didn't get much done. I can't really figure that out.

April was mostly hanging out waiting for winter to be gone. Even the first part of May was like that; we were still getting big frost a couple days ago. It seemed really hard to get out and do things, and even the inside projects didn't get much progress.

But now there's a bit of a deadline, or so it seems. More details when it's all flanged up for good. There's still several moving parts.

 I've been looking through photos and have no idea what to show you. So here's some random shots from last year's trip to Yukon.

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Of the Day
Michelle


Curtis
This photo describes how I've felt for much of this year so far.


Flower


Driftwood


Friday, May 29, 2020

Flowery Friday

Still in Invercargill, New Zealand. These are from the grounds of what used to be the Anderson Park  Art Gallery. The old house has been closed because it was an earthquake risk and the gallery moved to a newer building in the Queen's park garden. The gardens are open and we had them to ourselves.

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8. A one-off of bees and flowers in Niagara Falls, New Zealand.


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Our AirBnB in Christchurch had a lovely garden, and our host was happy to take us on a tour. Other photos of this garden have been blogged along the way.

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Motueka Rose Garden

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Just off the beach at Cook's Bay.


And that's it for the New Zealand flower photos! Hope you liked them. Next week it will be flowers from our own garden.

Plus the Of the Day
Michelle

Curtis


Flower

Driftwood


Thursday, May 28, 2020

What am I missing?

Over the last little while I've heard people talking about how difficult their lives were during the lockdown phase. Things are opening up again, and people are taking advantage. Let's just say that I have a hard time understanding why getting a haircut is such a big deal.

But I was asked how my life changed during the recent 2 months, and they were dumbfounded when I said it hadn't changed much. Being retired and not reliant on outside stimuli is a big part of that. While I don't like shopping, the buying experience at the Calgary Farmer's Market is wonderful, and I like being there. It isn't the same now, and may never be the same again, and I understand that, but it's too bad. It was a great place to hang out and have a coffee and treat and people watch. People watching is great mental exercise for writers and photographers. Other groceries is just checking items off a list, and it's a bit more difficult now.

The pool, though. I really miss the pool. I'd been swimming regularly before the trip, and went out of my way to swim several times in New Zealand. The year before I'd gone 2 months without swimming and my arms had essentially forgotten how when I got back. It took most of 2019 to get it back again, and I was determined not to lose it.

Well shit. It's been 2.5 months or so since I swam with Katie in Auckland. By the time we got home the pools were closed, and it's looking like another month till they open, at least. Even then, I've heard rumours they may make us book a swim time. I can just imagine what a shambles my swim will be.

Yes, I know, I could drive out to Quarry Lake in Canmore, dodge the ice floes and wildlife, and struggle into my wetsuit for a swim. I could do this. But do I really want to spend about 3 hours in the car, plus the time to suit up, and get it off again, for what is likely to be a short cold swim? Let me put it this way. I haven't done it yet and I don't think I'm terribly likely to.

The library. Yes, I know I could browse the internet and order any book I want, and it will arrive a few days later. But then once I read it, it adds to the clutter in the basement. I'm running out of book shelves. Plus some of the books I want to read are really expensive picture books. I haven't done the e-reader loan thingie. At first I thought it was a great idea, then I read the procedure and thought WTF?! That seems way too complicated. Why would you need to meter the number of copies a digital thing gets loaned? Maybe it's all better now, I haven't looked.

In any case, the e-browsing experience isn't the same as going to the library. It's fun working your way down a row of books within a subject organized by Dewey Numbers, and seeing the different titles. Pick one off the shelf, wave your free card and the book at a scanner, and it's yours for several weeks. I like seeing books chosen by professional librarians showing up in the new books section. I'm not interested in many of them, but that's ok. One winner makes up for them all. It's all part of the book ecosystem. No, I have not the slightest worry about picking up the virus from a book.

It isn't just books. We like getting movies or TV shows as well. It's an easy way to find out if you'll like something or take a trip down memory lane. The only downside is that sometimes the discs look like they've been covered in peanut butter, chewed by a dog, then cleaned with sandpaper. It's amazing they can still play.

Being in the library (usually the Fish Creek branch) connects me with the literary history of the world. Libraries have been part of civilization since we invented it. They are one of the signs of a civilized society. Imagine that, a building full of books, and they let you read them. All kinds of books, on any topic under the sun. Usually for free or such a nominal fee that anyone can pay.

Libraries are important. I'm a bit nervous about what restrictions will be on them for opening. I'd hate to think there will be a security guard with a counter limiting access to some number of people. After all, it's not like groceries where you go in, shop, pay, leave. Some people the library is their lifeline. They go and are there most of the day. It's a safe warm place where they can sit and read. People use the computers to create and send resumes. People study to pass the course to get a certification to get a better job. They help their children find books to keep them entertained. And yet we need to consider the virus. I'm glad I'm not making the decisions about reopening.

Meeting a buddy for coffee/lunch/beer isn't going to be the same. There's a bunch of places that are nice to go and chat, busy but not crowded. I walked past one of my favourites yesterday (the Patisserie in Woodbine mall). Most of the tables are removed, and the rest spaced out. I'm having trouble thinking they'll be able to stay in business. Lots of times it used to be full or nearly so. Unless people are a whole lot more willing than I think to make a booking and maybe spread out their eating times, many restaurants are going to close.

In lighter news, here's what the garden looked like overall from Wednesday afternoon.

Inside the front patio, looking one way.


Looking the other.

The view from the front sidewalk.


These are the white peonies reaching for the sky.

From the side sidewalk.

The back yard. What's there are some of the bedding out plants Linda got. She wants to hold off another day putting them into the ground. We had a hard frost last night, and we could get frost tonight again. It's easier to put potted plants in the garage, rather than having to cover individual plants in the ground.


And no, I don't know why those photos behave differently when embiggened than the ones following. They were exported from Lightroom the same as all my others, and added to the blog the same as others. Just lately the adding photos process has become more difficult. My usual browser, Safari, does not let me add photos to the blog. Firefox does, but the writing experience sucks.

Of the Day
Michelle



Curtis
He wants out so badly, and doesn't understand what a dangerous place the world is.



Flower



Driftwood

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wednesday

Lately the morning light has been lovely on the flowers. Flowery Friday is all queued up ready to go, though I'm still working through New Zealand flowers.

But here's one from Tuesday morning I'm particularly pleased with.


Or this one, the orange of the tulips in the light just has me drooling.


There are lots of other ors. They will all show up sooner or later.

So, I hear some readers asking, what have I been working lately on that isn't flowers, or the cats, or Michelle, or the community association, or the recent macro flowers, or dead wood? Far be it for me to disappoint my small but loyal band of readers. These are from a fun night with buddies playing with light.




I'm sipping my coffee finishing this up. Outside it's almost the end of May, and what do I see? White roofs. It's a hard, hard frost last night. We tucked all the new flowers into the garage overnight, and double covered the dahlias. I hope they make it.

Starting to think about image of the month. This is going to be tough. Several of the Michelle photos were right at the top of my list, vying for number 1. Then the tulips started working it hard, putting on a great show, taking advantage of the light and rain. Decisions, decisions.

And there's still several more days in the month, who knows what can happen?

Of the Day
Michelle


Curtis and Celina
I'm not sure what had them fascinated. You never know with cats. Sometimes it's a bird and that's obvious. The Martians, less so.


Flower


Driftwood

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