Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Self Taught Astronomer

This postings is a kind of segue to my next blog site. I will not be posting anymore from North Bay, as we are relocating to Windsor, Ontario. I am retired now, and I hope after getting settled in, that I will be able to start a new blog site showing mainly Black & White Portraiture, and scenics. I am not going to delete this blog site for a while yet, but will link it to the new one, so that those interested in Black & White Portraiture, and scenics, etc., may view it as well.
This gentleman, was a self taught astronomer, who worked in an iron foundry in New Liskeard, Ontario. He built his telescope himself, using brass tubing, plastic medicine containers, and old discarded lipstick tubes. And the photos that he took with his attached Olympus 35 mm camera were utterly incredible. He knew which film to use, for what heavenly body he was photographing. They rivaled anything you would see in any astronomey publication, or National Geographic even. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph him before he passed away a few years ago. He was so very interesting to talk to, and stories were told of him taking his daughters, and neice and nephew, down to the nearby swamp, to collect some water. They would all go back to his home, and view the "swamp creatures" under his microscope. The man should have been a science teacher. But he worked in an iron foundry, and was content to have a job, and raise his family. It allowed him to do what he enjoyed doing, when he wasn't working.....star gazing, or looking at critters under his microscope. Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the life of a very intelligent man.
Camera: Minolta Maxxum 9
Lens: 35 ~ 105mm zoom
Lighting: On camera, Maxxum 5400 HS Flash with bounce card for fill, and Metz 60 CT into silver umbrella for main light.

45 Years......

A couple of years or so ago, I was asked to do a portrait of this gentleman, who was retiring after 45 years of hard work and dedication as a firefighter in the town of Callander, Ontario, which is just south of North Bay. At first I had intended to do the typical head and shoulders, business type portrait. But then, I thought that he deserved just a little more than that. So after a brief chat, it was decided that he would bring his fire fighting gear, and we would use that in the studio for the portrait session. A fog machine, and red and blue gels on the lights, and an old ladder, helped create the impression that he was at the scene of a fire, which he had attended hundreds of times before. I put together a composite for him, and he decided to go with an enlargement similar to this one here. The portrait was taken with a Fuji FinePix S20Pro digital camera, and the 35 ~ 210 mm zoom lens is perfect for studio portraiture. Hope you like it also.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Harbour View at Sydney Mines, N.S.

While waiting for the next crossing over to Newfoundland, we took a look around nearby Sydney Mines, N.S.. Lupines and daisies were everywhere, and I couldn't resist this scene. The building in the distance, according to a local resident, is the remanants of an old WW 2 bunker, that was used to guard the harbour to Sydney Mines, and North Sydney. I got a real history lesson from him, but he was just out checking me out, as I had Ontario license plates after all. He also told me that there used to be a hugh steel net across the harbour as well, that was stretched between two boats, to prevent enemy submarines from entering the harbour, or worse, firing a torpedo in there. It was a pleasant place to spend a couple of hours, and learn some of the local history.

WW 2 Bunker, Sydney Mines, N.S.

Close up of the scene above. At first I thought it was an old Frank Lloyd Wright building of some sort.......or maybe an old Air Traffic Control Tower.
Naaaaaaaaah, I don't think so!

Old Gun Platform

This photo shows the remains of an old gun platform that was used to guard the harbour. It has been left in sorry state by the elements, both natural and human......

Interior of Bunker

Graffiti art on interior walls of this old bunker says one thing for sure, teenagers were here!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Spider & Lily

This spider has impeccable taste as to where it
chooses "hang out". It is obviously hoping to enjoy dining on a couple of ants which are gradually making their way towards it. I have no idea what kind of spider it is, but enjoyed photographing this scene with my Fuji S9100 in macro mode, hand held.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

St. Joseph's Parish

We had to wait for about 12 hours to cross the Cabot Strait between North Sydney, NS, and Port Aux Basques, NFLD, so I had some time to do a little sight seeing around North Sydney. This elegant looking church caught my attention, and I have always enjoyed photographing churches and lighthouses, for obvious reasons. This is St. Joseph's Parish in North Sydney, I believe, and I did not go inside because it being a Saturday, I figured that it was probably all decked out for a wedding in the afternoon. Maybe another time, I'll go on a trip just to photograph stained glass, or something. 'Twould be fun.


When I first approached this church, I did not notice right away the flowers that someone had placed on the centre door. I did not go closer to see if they were real, or artificial. I didn't want to know. It reminded me of an occasion when I was photographing a wedding in my studio, and the bride's mother removed all of my decorative flowers.... because they were artificial! I thought they were quite tasteful. But that was another lifetime ago.....

Wild Roses & Old Boat

This is a close up shot of the same boat that I posted below as "Work All Done". My visit to NFLD was at the peak of wild flower season, and Wild Roses, Daisies, and Lupines were everywhere. I could not resist adding a little soft focus in Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo x2. I did not have my soft focus lens with me on this trip. I was travelling light, and relied only on my Fuji FinePix S9100 camera. That 28 ~ 300 lens sure covers a lot of subject material.

Cox's Cove, NFLD

This is one of the many breath taking views from Cox's Cove, Bay of Islands, NFLD. At least it was breath taking for me, as I am terrified of heights, and had to crank up every ounce of courage I could muster to take this shot, as I stood on the edge of the cliff. But it was worth it, and it made me feel terror and extacy all at the same time. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

How It Was....

The name of her says it all. She was built for working, but no doubt much pleasure was found aboard her when she returned at days end, almost swamped with a load of fish. Times were hard, but happy also. Now she sits beside the road on the North Shore Highway of the Bay of Islands, a proud reminder of a bygone era.

Lost In The Moment

A sunny day, and a gentle breeze off the ocean in her hair, a handful of beach stones and assorted shells as she strolls along the seashore, are all that is needed to create a moment or memory to last a lifetime. She was obviously lost in the moment......and so was I.
This scene was captured just outside Stephenville Crossing, NFLD

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Old Gas Pump

On my way back from Newfoundland about 3 weeks ago, I stopped in Deep River, Ontario to refuel for the last time before home. As I inserted the nozzel into my gas tank, I noticed this old blue gas pump sitting between the 2 operating pumps. It was obviously meant to be a conversational piece, and also to say that the owners had been around a long while. When I was 12 years old, I got my first job. It was at a BA service station on Country Road in Corner Brook, NFLD, and this old pump is identical to the one I used back then. Would you believe, I pumped gas for 23.5 CENTS/GALLON?!! The real big spenders used to fill up for about $7.00! Inside the round glass bulb at the top of the pump, was a yellow twirlly thing that went around as the gas flowed. I used to get so mesmerized watching that yellow thing twirl, that I would forget to watch the actual ammount being pumped, and give the customer more than he had asked for. Needless to say, I got sworn at quite often........But the boss liked it. Aaaah, yes b'y, those were the days!!

Bird of Paradise

This exotic looking plant caught my eye as I was walking through a garden centre in Essex County, just outside Windsor, Ontario. Its splayed out petals displaying orange and blue colours commands attention. This plant was approximately 30 feet, or if you must, 10 meters away from where I was standing, and I took one shot of it with my Fuji S9100 lens extended fully to 300 mm. It still seemed too small in the frame, so I bumped it up to Digital telephoto, and this shot was taken at 600 mm, hand held at f5.6 for about 1/60 seconds. My wife said that it was a Bird of Paradise plant, and when I returned to North Bay, I googled it, and sure enough, she was right again, as usual. Any flaws in the picture was minimized by adding a little soft focus after the fact in Corel. I like the colour and graphic elements. Hope you enjoy it also.