Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Red Rose of December...

'Tis a dull dreary rainy day here in Windsor, and John, this one is in response to your request. I finished sending off the parcel and then took time out to slip over to our neighbors, Terri's and Henry's front yard. This rose bush has been blooming forever it seems, and I keep wondering when it will stop and decide that it is winter after all. So, while my wife puts the finishing touches of paint on the baseboards of the kitchen, I put my #2 closeup filter on my 75 ~ 300 mm lens, and took this shot. Yup! Roses are still blooming here in Windsor in the middle of December. We are just a week away from Winter Solstice, and I never dreamed I could ever do this. Strange Wah? While everyone else is photographing Poinsettias , I am still photographing roses.....no ice on the river yet.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Backlit Leaves

About an hour ago, I returned from a walk along the river and about the park there. I could not believe the warm temperature today. We had to remove our outer jackets, and sweaters, as we were getting too uncomfortable. As we passed along a path I noticed these leaves that were backlit by the sun, and took a couple of shots. Backlighting is sometimes referred to as "sweet light" and it is used to separate people or objects from blending into a dark background. Of course a shallow depth of focus helps accomplish this as well. In a few weeks time, the trees will be bare once more, and then they will become a more graphic element in photos. It's all good......

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat...!

You just never know who is going to show up on Halloween night. It has been a busy time lately, and I had not put much time or effort into doing something for my blog for Halloween. Then this character shows up at the door! I had no idea just who it was at first. He had two beer cans on his hard hat which had flashing LED lights on the front, and carried a stop sign. He stood over 6 feet tall, and had this red rubber nose. At least it didn't glow, and that would have been all the wrong festive occasion..LOL! Upon looking closer, I finally recognized my friend Frank! What a guy! He is always good for a gut splitting laugh, and I ran for the camera. I finally had something funny for my blog tonight....Thanks Frank! Happy Halloween everyone....be safe.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Hardy Rose...

This very lovely sprig of roses showed up on our window ledge a couple of days ago, and my wife told me that our neighbour Terri had brought it over for us. Thank you Ma'am! Of course I had to get out the camera and see what I could do with it. I decided to shoot it off center and use the picture for my desktop image, as most of the icons are aligned on the left side, with a few on the right. It worked out well for that purpose, and since the world has gone to bed, and I am enjoying the quiet time, I decided to use it for this blog. I played with it in Photoshop, PhotoImpact, and Corel before I was finally satisfied with the results. To have roses still blooming in October is a real treat, and they seem to be much more hardy than the delicate blossoms would appear.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tilden Lake Evening

This is another shot from my last trip North. I have spent all of about 10 minutes maximum this fall taking Autumn scenes, and they were all done here while we stopped for lunch beside Tilden Lake, just North of North Bay. It has been a busy time, and time has become a rapidly moving thing. There never seems to be enough of it to get everything done. My wife says that I spend too much of it blogging etc.. Anyway, this is my little offering today. The quietness of this scene beside the lake feels right for a Sunday evening post. Hope you like it also.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

First Oil Painting....

A couple of days ago while I was mucking around in some old boxes of negatives, I came across this one. It is a shot of this young lady's first attempt at oil painting. It would appear that I got a little carried away with the back lighting, but when you are shooting film, you don't know what the results are until you get it back from the lab. However, I had to make the artist just as important as the artwork she had created. Since the art is framed with a white border, that presents an extremely strong graphical element within the negative. This would tend to pull the eye away from the lovely young artist. So what to do? Well, frame the artist with light seemed to be the only logical thing to do, so as to draw the eye back to her. In any photo, the eye goes to the light areas, and in this case it helped divert attention back from the white rectangle surrounding the art, to the artist who painted it. I could probably have toned it down a little and still achieved the desired result...Oh well....It is what it is...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

All is Quiet on Tilden Lake

About a week ago, we took a trip North to visit family and do a little visiting with old friends. We decided that it was time for a quick meal and stopped at the little park in Tilden Lake on Hwy. 11N. about 20 minutes north of North Bay, Ont.. It was while I was eating my sandwich that I realized that....no, I do not miss the blackflies, or the bitter cold of Northern Ontario winters, and a few other things that I'll not mention. However, I do miss these little quiet places that are to be found in the North. The little bench in the lower right of the picture was so very inviting, but unfortunately it was still soaking wet from a recent rain. Otherwise, I probably would have stayed a little longer to reflect and enjoy the quiet. This one is for Mike, John, Ed and the rest of my old photo buddies as well. Pretty soon there will be ice fishermen out there, and snowmobiles roaring all over. I prefer to remember this place as it is here. Hope you enjoy it also, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Monarch is Born...

Today I got to digging around in an old box of negatives, and came across this one. It was shot with my old Minolta XK body with a 50mm macro lens using KODAK Portra 400 VC film. It looked like it was somewhat worthwhile, so I scanned it tonight, and came up with this version. I was also giving some new COREL free trial software a workout, to see if it would offer anything new that would be worth the extra dollars for the upgrade. The jury is still out on that one. Anyway, this Monarch butterfly had just emerged from its pupa stage, and would be flying off as soon as its wings were dry from the sunlight on them. I always thought butterflys were mother natures flying flowers, and it always amazed me at the lengthy journey they make down to South America after been born here in the north. This one greeted the world in North Bay a few years ago, and I watched it over a period of about 3 hours until it got to this point. It was indeed fascinating to watch. Hope you enjoy it also.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fresh Apple Pies.....

Now that the new kitchen is about 95 % finished, my good wife decided it was time for fresh apple pies. We had gone last weekend and picked a couple of bags at Thiessen's Pick Your Own, and now they are being put to good use. Of course, this is the rewards of a lot of hard work, and she has stated that it is an extremely functional kitchen. "Thank you Ma'am". It was something that we had partly designed together, and I partly "made up" as the project progressed. Sooooo glad it's almost over finally, and we can get back to regular living again. BTW, the pies do not look like this anymore.....
"Lard Thunderin' B'y"!..... "Some good eh"?

Hot Rod!

Old vintage cars and Hot Rods were all over Wyandotte St yesterday. It was nice to have a pleasant look back at how it used to be. Polished paint and chrome everywhere. It was hard to take a picture, and not find that you were also doing a self portrait in the process, especially if you were shooting close up. It was a busy day, and I only had about an hour to spare for this event. As a result, I did not shoot nearly as much as I would have liked to. However, there will be other shows for sure, and I hope to go and do a little more shooting.

'84 El Camino

Yesterday there was an old car show just 4 blocks from my home, and I decided to go see what was happening. Well, they sure don't make 'em like that anymore! I have felt for a long time now, that in recent years, the cars all look the same. They all look like giant lozenges, all rounded and wind tunnel designed. It was really great to see these old cars again. There was '60's music blaring from speakers mounted about 10 feet up in the air, and it took you back to yesteryear. This gentleman was obviously very proud to be one of the participants in this show, and agreed to stand by his "baby". It takes an awful lot of work and dedication to restore an old car. It goes without saying that it costs a lot of money also. So, my hat's off to this fellow, and all of the others who put on a really great display of polished paint and chrome from a bygone era.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Something's a Little Weird...

This afternoon, my wife was working in the garden as usual, pruning and weeding, and I heard her call to me to come and see something weird. Well, "what could possibly be weird in a garden" I was mumbling to myself as I went to where she was. She had almost pruned this branch off, but noticed this rosebud that looked a little strange. Upon closer examination, it seems that there is another branch growing out of the center of this rosebud, and another rosebud growing on top but unopened yet. Alright then, which gods have we vexed lately? This was totally unusual, and if there is some name for this anomoly in the plant kingdom, I would appreciate it if someone could clue me in. Until then, it has been suggested that since this rosebush grows about 10 feet away from this room, and the window is opened a lot, maybe I should change my musical repetoire a little when playing my accordion, if the plants are going to react in this way... Heck, maybe I should take up another instrument altogether. Nah! My wife would kill me for sure........

P.S. Our neighbor Terri, came across with her camera and took a couple of great shots of this rosebud. She submitted it to the local TV station, and it was used on the 6:00 pm news a couple of hours later. Good for you girl!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Petunias

This little sprig of Petunias was hanging over the side of some old derelict farm equipment at the Thiessen Pick Your Own Apples Orchard today. The rusted old metal provided a nice background for the colourful blossoms, and I had to stop a minute to grab a couple of shots. I am going to use this little image to welcome aboard my blog paulatorres-96: k_klassen: and Ken Harris. Thanks for your interest folks, and I hope my ramblings on here are, for the most part, to your liking.
It has been very rainy here for the past 3 days or so, and the orchard was full of muddy paths everywhere. Cars had to be left out on the road, but I took a chance and was able to park close to where we would pick apples, and pay for them afterward. Hopefully our new kitchen will soon have the wonderful aroma of apple pies emanating from within. Then there are the preserves, like apple butter, and apple jelly. Ooooh Yeah! You gotta love this time of the year when all of the fruit and produce is fresh and available everywhere.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Long Time Passing...

Tonight I scanned a Kodak BW 400CN negative that I shot recently. This film had not been refrigerated at all, and the date on the PRO Pack carton was for 07/2007. That is quite amazing for any film to be sitting around in a camera bag for some 4 years, and then be exposed and processed, and the negs were absolutely just fine. Luckily for me, and anyone else who would still be interested in shooting film, Kodak BW 400CN is still available. It is amazing stuff! It is processed in the regular C41 chemicals used to process coloured negative film, and any 1 hour lab can just put it through with the rest of the rolls being processed.
This old garage is located on the Ojibway Parkway between LaSalle and Windsor, and is almost nonvisable from the road due to being overgrown by very tall grasses in the area. My 16 mm fisheye lens was used on this particular shot, and the grass in the foreground appear to be curved and wrapping around the old building. Small businesses such as this one did not fare too well, possible due to the collapse of the auto industry in this area, and also probably due to the influx of much larger operations attached to the huge box stores which have sprung up everywhere in recent years. So it just sits and crumbles, and is slowly disappearing, just like film photography......

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Concert Band Members

These band members are focused on the music, while I am skulking around the perimeter focusing on them. It had not entered my mind yet as to how I was going to "portray" them, but this felt right to me tonight.....

Surround Sound...

This fellow is a tuba player in the Greater Windsor Concert Band. I am not sure what the actual type of tuba this is, but the gentleman seems to be wearing it, as opposed to holding it. At any rate, the music was great and much appreciated by everyone who attended this outdoor concert. The conductor stated that in the 15 years that the band has been doing outdoor performances, they have been rained out only once. That is pretty amazing really, but this concert was almost number 2, as the band had to stand around for a while and discuss whether or not to go ahead, as it was raining very slightly just before the start time. However, it finally stopped, and the band bravely went ahead and set up. This image has been edited to make it look somewhat like a coloured chalk drawing. Hope you like it...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eyes in the Back of His Head....

Tonight, along with our neighbors Terri and Henry, we attended an excellent concert in Rheaume Park, just about 5 minutes drive from home. The concert was performed by the Greater Windsor Concert Band, and they played tunes from Broadway Shows. Before the music began, I approached the conductor, and inquired if it would be possible to take a few shots during the concert. He advised me that it was no problem, so after about 20 minutes of enjoying the music, I decided to take a stroll around the perimeter, making sure to keep a reasonable distance away. My 75 ~ 300 mm lens was on the camera, and that ensured that I did not have to get very close. While walking around the back of the band, I had a very uneasy feeling that one of the band members was watching me. But I was behind everyone. Then all of a sudden, my eye caught this trombone player wearing his sun glasses on the back of his cleanly shaven head. It looked for all the world like a forehead to me, but it had no nose....I almost laughed out loud, so I grabbed 2 or 3 shots of him. It kind of catered to my twisted sense of humor, and hopefully it will give some of you a chuckle as well.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Works of Art...

The old locomotive and the nearby structure of golden gears and wheels are both, in their own way, works of art. Neither of them does any disservice to the other. The golden years of rail travel and transport would have been impossible without gears and wheels. Nothing sounded so lonesome as the whistle of the old steam locomotives as they passed in the night. In my mind, each piece is wonderfully unique, and yet go together beautifully. They are however, almost hidden from view by the surrounding trees, and I almost didn't see them at all.

Frank

This piece of sculpture situated underneath the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, has always interested me. Today, I was shooting from another angle, and I decided that it needed something to show its scale. So, I used Frank as a measuring stick to compare the size of the sculpture to. He has always been an avid biker, and his photography has improved dramatically since he acquired his Fuji FinePix HS10 last year. It seems to be part of his attire now....I hope he doesn't mind being used in this kindly fashion eh?

Glass Waterfront Tower

It isn't often that I do much in the way of architectural type photography. For the most part, I have been a people photographer, and now that time and circumstances have foisted retirement upon me, I find that I have been doing flowers and other types of subjects that I was only mildly interested in before. This morning, my friend Frank, and I went for a spin on the bikes along the Windsor waterfront, and this building seemed somewhat attractive to me, sitting above the rocks and nicely manicured gardens. It seems that I forgot to ask Frank what building it was, so I am unable at this point to be more specific.

P.S. I have just been informed by Frank that this "glass tower" is none other than the Art Gallery of Windsor! Thank you Frank.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dad's Roses

Yesterday, I ventured out on another quick photo excursion all the way to the back yard again. Our back yard is full of roses right now, and this particular shot was from the bush that I had planted in memory of my Dad. He has been on my mind a bit lately, and so I thought that I would do another shot or two to see what I could come up with. When I downloaded this file, I was happy with the results, but felt that something else could be done with it, to help transform it into something loosely resembling art. I played with it in Corel, using some filters that I did not know that I had in that program, and this was the final result. It needed to look old, but not as in "sepia" or the usual aging filters in the various available software. Hope you like it also.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Angel's Trumpet Flower

This morning, before I had a chance to have my early morning beverage, my wife comes running in from outside, telling me to get my camera and take a couple of snaps of her newest plant. She had received the seeds last year from her cousin in Belleville, Ont., and apparently had to go through great lengths just to get them to germinate. They had to be frozen for several days, then put in warm water for 24 hours, after which she had to cut the ends off of the seeds. She was ready to throw them in the garbage after about 6 weeks in the soil, when finally they started to peek out and look like they would do something. They are known as Datura plants, and this variety was known as "Angel's Trumpet" or Datura Metel plant. Apparently, all parts of it are poisonous! That will likely mean that when the kids show up, we will have to make sure that they do not handle them, or pick them, and then put their fingers in their mouths or rub their eyes. The blossoms are about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. They are purple on the outside, and white on the inside. One of the plants have about 25 to 30 blossoms that will likely open in the next day or so. That should be good for a few more pictures. However, the heat here in Windsor has been absolutely oppressive in the last couple of days, and tomorrow it is supposed to be +48C with the humidex factored in. That kind of heat will cause almost anything to wilt, so I expect that if I want to catch many more shots of these, it might be best to do it very early in the morning before the flowers and the old guy both wilt....

P.S. For further info on this plant, check out http://www.b-and-t-world-seeds.com/Datura.htm

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Canada Day!!!

This flower pot with a Canadian Flag amongst the flowers is a little creation of my wife's. It sits on our front veranda, and sends a message of "Proud to be Canadian" and "Happy Canada Day" to all! We are so fortunate to live in this country, and while it is not perfect, it seems that the rest of the world is breaking down the "doors" to live here. Here's to this country, and its wonderful people....Cheers!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just a Few More Days...

In just a few more days, we will be celebrating Canada Day, and Dominion Day in Newfoundland. This posting tonight is my little tip of the hat to all of the Canadian Do It Yourselfers out there. The last 3 drawers for the bottom cupboards are in the photo on the left, and the drawer fronts are in the making, in the one on the right. This project has had more than its fair share of skinned knuckles, cut fingers, copious quantities of coffee and coke, and a few beers as well along the way. The end is near, and while it has had its trials and frustrations, I have enjoyed the journey. There were many lessons along the way, and may I say that much was learned. Now...to build and assemble the Lazy Susan doors.....

P.S. I bought fresh batteries today for my Maxxum 9 film camera at Henry's. Whooo hooo! Can't wait to shoot and shoot and drain them dry eh....I have a fridge full of black and white film that is still good.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Music and a Coffee to Start the Day....

Today, just as I was about to make another attack on the kitchen cupboard doors, I decided that I'd take a shot of my "work in progress"... As usual, my old Panasonic portable radio sits amongst the mess on a bench near by and is tuned to CBC Classical Music Station. This same radio used to accompany me on literally hundreds of evenings in the darkroom while I printed for hours and hours into the wee hours of the morning. Now, it performs the same task for me, covered as it is in layers of sawdust and cobwebs. When I took these shots, I had a good chuckle at myself, as it made me remember the many times that I used to watch the pristine environment of the New Yankee Workshop and Norm Abram perform his many wonders. Well, my shop is anything but pristine while I am at work. But then, I'm no Norm Abram, and do not have any TV crew following my every move. Yup! Just three more drawers and fronts to go, and after I lay the new flooring down, my wife will have a new kitchen. It has been a real learning experience, and if I had known before I started what I know now.........

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

After the Rain.....

This little image is the result of downloading some freeware photo editing software that I stumbled upon yesterday, while looking for something else. It had rained for a while yesterday, and afterward, I decided to photograph the roses growing by our backyard fence. While digital is wonderful, lately I have returned to shooting film a little. It is such a pleasure to use my film cameras again, where a 100mm lens is 100mm, and not 150mm. When I look at the detail and tones of a medium format black & white print, it makes me long to hold up a 16 x 20 black and white portrait in the darkroom again. You feel like you actually made something yourself, from start to finish. Then when you mount and frame it under glass, it gives a feeling of total satisfaction. Hopefully before too many more months pass, I will be able to process my black and white negatives again, and print them in a new darkroom..... From what I have been reading lately, there are quite a few photographers who are making a return to the darkroom again.....Anyway, hope you enjoy this little image.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blue Hydrant.....

The mixture of more pastel hues playing off of the more vibrant and contrasty green and white of this scene caught my eye. It was taken in between cars and people passing by on the street, yet it makes for a rather quiet little scene. Hope you enjoy it also.

Mystery Plant.....

This plant caught my eye as it was back lit by the sun, which made it appear to jump out at you. Just what this plant is, is a mystery to me. I tried to do a little research on Google, but could not come up with anything. So, if anyone has the name for this plant, feel free to clue me in. I could have excluded the light pole behind it, but felt it would be a good item to give it scale and dimension. For those who would find it interesting, both this shot and the Passion Flower below, were shot with the same lens....my Minolta 75 ~ 300 mm AF zoom, on my Maxxum 7D camera, which is a nice range of photos from one lens. Hope you enjoy.

P.S. Mystery solved! My wife did some research today and came up with the name for this plant. It is a Colocasia Odora plant, aka. Upright Elephant Ears plant. It is a tropical plant that obviously does quite well in this area also.

Passion Flower.....

After finishing the pantry yesterday, I figured it was time to play for a day. We took a jaunt down to Amherstburg again, and enjoyed the sights and sounds along the river at the Royal Naval Yard Park. There is a section of it there dedicated to Hosta plants, and I had no idea there were so many varieties of these plants. Just as we were leaving, my wife came across this lovely blossom. Neither of us knew just what it was, but I enjoyed taking a few shots of it. Since our neighbor Terri is an authority on all green things that grow, I decided to ask her over to see if she could identify it for us. She names plants like "that white thing that grows beside the garbage pail" etc.. so I figured that she knew about as much as we did. Sure enough, as soon as she saw it, she said it was a "Passion Flower". So I did a Google search, and sure enough, I came across this very blossom, and it said that it was a "Passion Flower to Kindle Sleep"..... O.K. then! Sounds great to me! That mystery was solved, and there is another very large broad leafed plant that I have no idea what it is, so I will rely on someone else, anyone else, to tell me what it is. I'll post it next. Hope you enjoy a little passion today.....

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Rose in the Rain

This rose was shot on Kodak 400 CN Black & White film. It also had been in my old camera about 4 years, and I was amazed at how much image I was able to record after all that time. The roll had only been about half used, and I decided to finish it off with a few rose shots from my back yard before taking it to be processed. While it is a black and white film, it can be processed in the regular C 41 chemicals used to process regular colour negatives. My old friend Dent Peever processed hundreds of rolls of this film for me at his shop in North Bay, when I used to shoot weddings and portraits. To me, this was the acid test for this film. That it could still record an image after sitting in a camera all of these years was amazing to me. I still have quite a few rolls of this film in a refrigerator, and will not hesitate to use it in the future. The rose was one that I planted beside my fence in the back yard in memory of my Mother. She used to have a front yard full of rose beds in Corner Brook. It fell to me to wrap them in burlap (old potato bags) every fall before the snow started to fly, for protection from the elements. It brings back many pleasant memories of my boyhood, and I hope you enjoy this little blossom as well.....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Grain and More Grain....

Today, I decided that it was about time that I made some sort of effort to post something on this badly neglected blog of mine. I dug out my old Minolta XE7 film camera, and loaded a roll of Portra 400NC that had been sitting in the old camera bag for about 4 or 5 years. I thought that it should be very interesting to see if any sort of image at all would record on this emulsion after not being refrigerated for so long. So, I loaded up, and put on my old macro lens, and set about shooting the 36 frames, all the while thinking to myself that I had probably gone over the edge this time. But, in this digital age, who knows for sure eh? Tonight I took the roll up to Wallmart and the young fellow gave me some funny looks when I told him that the film was about 5 years old, and not to expect a whole lot. If any kind of image recorded at all, that would be a bonus for sure. Well, I did get some very faint images, and were they GRAINY or what! So when I loaded the CD into the computer and went through the photos, if they could be called that, I decided on this one to work on a little. What to do with grain, lots of grain....I figured that there was no way to make a sharp image out of this mess, so I decided to texture the living Hell out of it. This is what I finally ended up with. Go ahead and laugh if you must, but I had more fun today than I have had for a long time, and it took some verrrrry old 400 ISO film, and the digital era to combine to make it fun. Hope you enjoy it a little also.......

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter.....

It is such a dreary day today, so I just got to playing around with a couple of photos that I did recently. The hockey game was on when I made this photo, and even though the Stanley Cup playoffs are on, I get bored easily anymore. My mind seems to drift off to more pleasant things than a pack of multimillionaires blasting a puck around a rink, and pounding the living Hell out of each other. I have enjoyed hockey games pretty much all of my life, but I find that the game is so very structured now, and the plays are all so predictable, that you ask yourself, why am I still watching this. I guess I must be getting old and cranky eh? Anyway, while watching the game out of one eye, the other eye was looking through the viewfinder of my camera. It was taken under the lamp beside my Lazyboy, and I was using +7 diopters of closeup filters on the front of my 75 ~ 300 mm lens. Could this be considered multitasking? Maybe that would be pushing the definition a bit. Anyway, this will have to do for my little Easter offering to you. Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Has Sprung...

This past weekend, the temperature here in Windsor soared up to +27C, and I could not help but feel elated. It meant that the worst of winter was behind us, and we could finally get out and move around without being all bundled up in heavy clothing. April month, also means another Wedding Anniversary was to be celebrated, and a few days after that, the birthday of our little granddaughter. The blossoms in this photo was from a little bouquet that I bought for my wife, and they are still going strong more than a week after the event. For the most part, I like to photograph flowers with my 100mm soft focus portrait lens. This lens, on my Maxxum 7D becomes a 150mm lens, and I added a couple of diopters with a close up filter to be able to work in close to the individual blossoms, while at the same time, include a bit of the surrounding flowers nicely out of focus. I was tempted to go out and buy an auto focus Macro lens, but I'm not sure I would like the results from it any better than I do with this set up that I use here. I have converted an unused upstairs bedroom into a studio of sorts, where I have the advantage of being able to use the lovely natural light you get from a North window. This photo was taken with the softness ring set to +1, and there was very little photo editing done in terms of exposure adjustments etc.. So, here's to Springtime, warmer weather and flowers! Hope you like it also.....

Friday, March 25, 2011

House Explosion on Esdras Place!

Today's posting is a very tragic one indeed. There is a real pall over the neighborhood since yesterday. The next street over from where I live was the unfortunate scene of a house explosion. An elderly gentleman who seemed to be home alone perished as the house was very rapidly engulfed in flames, preventing him from making it out. A next door neighbor tried to haul him out of a basement window, but was unable to do so, and was overwhelmed by heavy black smoke and flames. The Windsor Fire Dept was on the scene in about 5 minutes, but the house was pretty much gone by that time. The neighbor who tried to pull him from the basement was standing across the road, crying his heart out. It was indeed a heart wrenching sight to behold. There was construction in progress on Esdras Place at the time, and of course it will take several days before the various investigations are completed. Even though we did not know this gentleman since we are relatively newcomers to the area, our sincere condolences go to his family, friends and neighbors. Our thoughts are with you........

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Green Door...

Remember the old hit song "Green Door"? That was quite a while ago, and when I came across this door on a music shop in Amherstburg this past weekend, that song immediately came to mind. Since it is green, I decided to use it for my St. Patrick's Day posting. The heavy steel hinge and the black wrought iron handle along with the protruding nail heads gives it a very old medieval look. The red colour of the spindles in the little window would symbolize the obvious result of the "troubles" in Ireland. A lot of blood was shed on all sides. The late, great, Dermot O'Riley of the Celtic Folk group "Ryan's Fancy" told me one time as we enjoyed a beer at Fiddler's Green Pub in North Bay, that he enjoyed living in Newfoundland so very much. He said that it was "Ireland without the bombs". Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Patio Umbrellas

Folded for the winter months, these patio umbrellas at a restaurant beside the Naval Yard Park caught my eye just as I was leaving to return home today. To me, they look like people wearing capes, leaning forward, on their way to somewhere or something.... but I get a little weird sometimes eh. If you were to dwell on it long enough, you could conjure up all kinds of nonsense I guess....a little rum would help also! LOL! Soon they will be shading patio tables and fluttering in the warm Spring breezes off of the river hopefully.......

Red Cap......

The ice on the river is flowing along as the Detroit River empties out into Lake Erie. While I was composing this shot today, a fellow wearing a red cap walked into the picture and stopped at the undulating black iron railing. If you look really closely, you will find him in the upper left quadrant just about where the lines of thirds intersect. His cap provided a little splash of colour on an overcast and drab looking day. I couldn't help but chuckle a little at this. Hope you like it also.

Spring Ahead...

Ooops! Someone didn't change the clock an hour forward last night, or today either. The old town clock in Amherstburg beside the Naval Yard Park has not been tended to, but it is not surprising, as the whole town seemed deserted today. If you were to load up one of the nearby cannons and fire it down the street, you wouldn't have hit a soul. Quiet little county towns like Amherstburg are so enjoyable on a Sunday afternoon, and was the perfect remedy for cabin fever. We have had a fair bit of snow for this area this winter, but it is almost all gone now.

Friday, February 11, 2011

On Thin Ice Maybe.....?


After coffee this morning, Frank and I took a drive down to the Riverside Marina to check out what was going on down there. Well there were ice fishermen doing their thing, and I could not believe what I was seeing. As I watched one fellow making a hole with the auger, I counted the number of rotations that it would take to break through the ice. It took 12 rotations, and he pulled it up with a gush of water swirling about his feet. So I figured that there was about 3 inches of ice at the most. But maybe I am wrong about that. At any rate, just to show that there was indeed not much ice, only a few feet away was the open waters of the Detroit River as it emptied out of Lake St. Clair. The swans and Canada Geese and a few Mallards were swimming about as usual. I remember venturing out on Lake Nipissing in North Bay, when there was about 2 feet of ice, and wondering if it was safe enough that I would not have to worry about it. It kind of made me chuckle a little bit, because these guys were probably wondering who the idiot was with the camera, that he would want to take pictures on such a cold day, and I was wondering the same thing about their activities. You really have to love what you are doing to venture out onto ice this thin. However, in one way or another, we all live a little on the edge. To each his own I guess......

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Flash of Brilliance..

This colourful fellow was indeed a flash of brillance against a very dull background, as he darts about. These birds do not sit still very long at all, and you have to be very quick on the shutter. This one is for Frank, who took me on a little tramp around the trails at Ojibway Conservation area today.

In Winter's Grip...

This is another little scene from our excursion into the Ojibway Conservation area here in Windsor today. While looking through the viewfinder, I decided that I liked the muted tones very much. It makes for a nice, quiet little scene, and you can hear the woodpecker somewhere off in the distance.....

Little Splash of Colour......

A couple of days ago, Mike posted a lovely photo of a flower box in a window, surrounded by snow. It was beautiful. So Mike, this one is for you. My friend Frank, and I went for a tramp in the woods today at the Ojibway Conservation area here in Windsor. It was very overcast and snowing a little, and I did not think that I would find anything too interesting. However, as we walked amongst the tall trees, this little splash of colour caught my eye, and I went over and took a quick shot with my 75 ~ 300 mm zoom lens. Each little flower is about the size of a pencil eraser. When everything is drab and cold, little scenes that add warmth such as this can only be captured in winter. So I hope you enjoy it also.....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ornament in the Park......

This photo was taken many years ago in the park beside Ontario Northland on Lakeshore Drive in North Bay, Ontario. While watching a program on T.V. a couple of nights ago on the news, there was a story about an aeronautical engineer who was being given an award for service to the industry, and the country. He was elderly, and happened to have been the chief engineer on the Avro Arrow project. Remember the Arrow? I get quite furious just thinking about the loss of Canadian jobs and pride the day they took the cutting torches to those aircraft that had been built. It made me think back to the day that I stood in the park and took this photo. As I glanced around, I realized that I was the only person there with a camera. The press should be showing up any minute now, right? But they never did, at least not that I could remember. So here these guys were, hanging on to a line, helping to guide the BOMARC ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) down onto its mounting bolts. When this thing was operational in its silo on Hwy. 11N, I used to live literally a stones throw away from the silo. I used to joke that we were totally at ground zero should some idiot press THE BUTTON! At the very least, there must have been arial photos somewhere in the files of the KGB of the silo, that also possibly included our home. However, I was more worried about the black flies and mosquitoes. Anyway, it struck me as kind of odd, that we had spent all of that money, because old Dief was persuaded by the U.S. President, that there would be no further need for fighter aircraft in the future, and that we were wasting our money to complete the Arrow. And here I was, standing there, snapping photos of them erecting the same BOMARC ICBM as an ornament to adorn the park on Lakeshore Drive. The Arrow was soooooo politically incorrect eh! And recently in the news, what did our PM just commit billions of our tax payers dollars to? Fighter Aircraft....built in the USA of course....

P.S. There was an Arrow prototype that could fly up to the edge of the earths atmosphere and open a cargo bay, and launch a satellite into space....no need for launch pads, or sunny weather. This was a Canadian idea and possibility back in the 50's folks....think about it!

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Old Workhorse.....

Last week, I dug out my old film camera, to check it out, and see if it was still working, or if I should take a sledge hammer to it. It is working just fine, and it felt so good in my hands again that I had to take this picture of it. The ergonomics of this camera are just fantastic, and it is so tough, that my old friend Dent Peever, (may he rest in peace) used to say that you could drive tent pegs with the thing. He wasn't too far off the mark, as one time while shooting a bride and groom in the lobby of the Pinewood Park Hotel in North Bay, it fell unto the floor from a chair that I had placed it on. There was a loud gasp from the onlookers, and I picked it up, checked it over, and continued the shoot with that camera. The loud bang that was heard when it made contact with the stone floor of the lobby had everyone expecting the worst. But it kept on clicking, and the only marks on the thing are from the wear left by my hands over the years. It makes me wonder if anyone is making a digital camera these days, that would take that kind of punishment. Anyway, all of the other shooters in the area were die hard Canon or Nikon users. However, I was much too stubborn for that. Besides, if Minolta cameras were good enough for the likes of Jack Shepherd, and Freeman Patterson, I wasn't going to feel shy about showing up with 2 or 3 of them hanging off of my neck. So, I guess I am paying homage to an old friend, and a real workhorse of a camera. It is retired now, but maybe not for long. They still make Black & White film, and I could build another darkroom eh?.....

Three Little Ones

Here is another variation or effect of the same little cluster of flowers below. Usually I like very realistic renditions of flowers and people, but today I am in a different mood, and thought something a little different might be nice. Hope you like it also....

Tiny Pink Blossoms

Today is bright and sunny here in Windsor, and I decided to take a break from building the kitchen.....still. It is starting to look like a kitchen now, with the new counter top, sink, and cupboards all up with the trim on them. Next comes building the doors and drawers... the fun stuff! Sitting in the front window is a plant that the grandchildren gave to my wife about a year ago. The blossoms are about 1/4 to 3/8ths of an inch wide, and are a very lovely pink colour. About this time of the year, I start to get a little antsy to see something besides white everywhere. Hence the flowers today. I used my Minolta 75 ~ 300 mm AF zoom lens for this shot, with 3 magnifying filters attached, for a total of 7 diopters. I have a macro lens, but it is for my old manual film cameras, and would need an adapter to work on the digital. Nothing is cheap or available for long these days, as more and more new technology hits the market. So one uses what one has, and is content with the results, whatever it happens to be. This is my offering on this cold January day. Hope it helps warm your spirits also.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When We Were Young....

They are both adults now, with children of their own. This photo was taken about 33 years ago, and is another scan from an old slide. It was taken at Sandy Lake, NFLD. and again, it's nice to remember "the good old days." It was probably taken with my old Minolta SRT101, and a 50mm f1.4 lens on it. It was the only lens I had for years, and it makes me believe we have much too much extra gear these days. Hope you enjoy this little portrait as well....

Winters Past...

A couple of days ago, I came across a few boxes of old slides that had been stashed away out in the garage. Since I was making a lot of sawdust from power tools out there, I rescued them before they were totally ruined. Anyway, this slide caught my eye, and it was shot somewhere in the North about 37 years ago. It brought back many pleasant memories. Since I haven't done any shooting recently, I thought I would scan this one, and post it here. After scanning 3 or 4 of these old slides from many years ago, I had to ask myself if it was really worthwhile to invest in newer digital cameras, or go back to shooting film....while it is still available from Fuji. I am kind of doubting that the files from modern digital cameras will be as archival as film. Also, the scans revealed a totally smooth tonal transition of skin tones especially, that I haven't been able to find the past several years, while shooting digitally. Maybe it is time to dust off the old cameras, and put them to use again....now that I have my cupboards finally built. The kitchen is not finished yet, but the end is in sight, hopefully before the nice warm weather reappears.