Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!!

As this year is winding down, I thought I would pay homage to the trades people who work behind the scenes, and keep things operating as they should. They are the unknown and unsung, and are unfortunately taken too much for granted. For a Black & White version of this image, go to my other blog site, Black & White Dabblings. Here's wishing you and yours a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Early Winter.....

This is just a very simple little shot of some early winter snow fall on some colourful rosehips.....at least that's what I think they are. It was a rather dull day when I shot these, and I thought that they could still make for a nice image if I played around with it enough. So, I got to playing in Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X4 and came up with this. Hope you like it.....

P.S.  This one is for Pat and Tony in Huntsville.....

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Meet Rolly.....

About 3 years or so ago, I volunteered a little of my time to help out with a local drama group, the Rose City Players. One of the assignments that they had me do was to do some head shots of the main actors in the play "Driving Miss Daisy" that they were rehearsing for. So I hauled out my old studio lights and camera equipment that had been collecting dust and cobwebs, and fired them up again. It was like starting all over again, since I had not used those lights for about 6 years or so. Later on, I used this shot of "Rolly" for one of the competition nights at the Windsor Camera Club that I had joined, and the print chairman had scooped it to be entered into the Greater Detroit Camera Club Council, which the WCC is a member of. At the time, I did not give it too much thought. However, a few weeks later I was given a nice green ribbon that said the print had taken Third Place in their competition over in Detroit. Hey, that was nice! I had not expected anything at the time. I had joined the Windsor Camera Club as just a means to have a good night out with the guys, and if the prints that I entered scored well, then that was a bonus. Anyway, this portrait was originally done in colour, but to me it looked better in Black & White. Sometimes, colour gets in the way, or is too distracting. These days it seems, a lot of folks are trying to be "different" by shooting all of these young aspiring models to look so intense and mysterious. It is not cool to smile anymore. Personally, one of the main reasons that I like to do portraits, is to make ordinary people look wonderful, and look like someone you would very much enjoy meeting. Portraiture is not about the photographer or his wonderful equipment. Portraiture is about the subject, and the message that is being received by the viewer, whether you know him or her or not. Having said all of that, does anyone care anymore....most folks today are into doing "selfies" on their cell phones, and I have to say that in most of those that I have seen, at least they are smiling....You really would enjoy a coffee with Rolly. He is a fun guy!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Wild Berries

A few days ago, when the sun came out briefly, we were out at Holiday Beach camp ground and I came across a whole thicket full of these red berries. It was hard to isolate just one little bunch from the thousands there, and finally I got to this one. It was quite a way back in the thicket, and since it was impossible to walk back there, I had to use my 75~300 mm lens fully extended which taking in the multiplication factor of 1.5 was effectively at 450mm. However, that was still not enough magnification, so I had to activate the in camera 2X teleconverter, to get an effective 900 mm of zoom. Since I did not have my tripod at the time, I had to brace myself as best as I could, hold my breath, and hope for the best. This is the result, and while I don't think I will enlarge this to 12 x 18 inches, it is not bad for blog purposes. Hope you enjoy it....the birds probably have by now.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Meet Bob...

Just a while back I was out taking a few shots of the roses in our back yard, and I did not see or hear Bob appear out of nowhere....he does that from time to time. He calls me Pete for some reason I have never been able to figure out, and ever since I moved next door to him about 5 years ago, I have been designated as his "Mr. Fix It" guy. He throws absolutely nothing away, and when it is totally worn out, I get to restore it and give it the extended warranty that never came with the item....LOL! He just needs to make contact with someone. In his younger days, he worked on the railroad, and has all kinds of railroad toys laying around his house. As soon as I saw him peering over the fence at me, I immediately grabbed a couple of shots of him and his train engine. He never smiles much it seems, and I have never asked him why. It's none of my business anyway. He is a staunch supporter of the Royal Canadian Legion a few blocks away, and we often have a little chuckle at his expense counting the number of attempts he makes at backing his little car into his driveway at night....Hope you enjoy my little grab shot of him.....

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Devil's Trumpets...

Since tonight is Halloween, I thought I'd offer a different treatment to the Datura plant than I have in past postings. These lovely but very deadly blossoms are from my wife's flower bed. This plant is also known as Jimson Weed, Devil's Trumpet and Hell's Bells.
The flowers are 3~4 inches (sorry, I don't do metric) in length, and 2 to 3 inches across. They have a very faint and delicate aroma. The hallucinogenic properties of this plant used to be used by earlier societies when they wished to get in touch with all things "spiritual" during their various ceremonies. Early native cultures would say that one cup of tea from this plant and you went to sleep, 2 cups, you had a very bad dream, 3 cups and you did not ever wake up. Apparently the hallucinogenic aspects of this plant are such that it has been likened to LSD on steroids, and most who try to smoke the stuff never survive. It seems to me that it would be wise to leave this plant alone except to admire it's beauty and lovely scent.....Happy Halloween everyone.....stay safe!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Rose for Rebekah....

Just a quick little still life tonight. This rose was sitting in a glass vase on our kitchen table, and I decided to try and preserve it for longer than it will actually last. It is a very delicate yellow, with a slightly pinkish center. It was actually a very nice little gift from our neighbors Terri and Henry, and it is lovely indeed. Technically, the set up could not be more simple. It was shot using the existing light from a window, and a white cloth reflector held slightly to the left of it, and there you go. Hope you like it.........

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Rare Sight.....

At the Wheels on Wyandotte event a couple of weeks ago, I could not help but take a shot of this scene. In the foreground, is a fellow who had hand built his own motorcycle trike complete with a V8 automobile engine to "move" it along. He had a For Sale sign on it, and was obviously hoping for some interest in it. However, the thing that added to the overall mood of the picture was the "CLOSED" Tim Horton's store in the background. That is something that is rare indeed, given that Tim's is one of the top franchises in all of CANADA. The whole scene spoke to me of a certain degree of desperation that has been Windsor in the past few years since the collapse of the auto industry. Windsor has been making strides to rebound economically, but is still far from out of the woods yet. The general outlook for the City depends a lot on if you are a half empty or half full sort of person I guess......

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Real Goodie.....

Car shows afford a brief glimpse into the past. Old vehicles usually have many memories attached, and this photo of a 1951 Ford Flathead 8 got a big grin to happen on my old face. It was the first vehicle that I owned when I first landed in Ontario as a very green kid. My old '51 was dark green, and a 2 door coupe model, and I finally sold it for $50.00, the same price I had paid for it a few years earlier. It's funny how that years later you realize that you just don't know what you've got 'till it's gone......

Art on Wyandotte.....

Last weekend, the City of Windsor closed off about a 4 block section of Wyandotte St. E. for a day while the local car enthusiasts gathered again to show and admire their vintage cars, trucks and motorcycles. It is an annual event, and is always well attended. It also happens to be about 3 blocks from my home, so it is fairly easy for me to grab a camera and check it out. While I enjoy photographing the old cars, and parts of them such as hood ornaments, etc., I really enjoy photographing some of the people there. This young lady was sitting in front of an Art Shop, and was doing a sepia toned water colour portrait. I talked with her for a while, and she graciously gave me permission to photograph her while she was working, and also to place the results on this blog. She owns Janice Kersey Fine Art, and if you would like to see more of her very excellent work, just GOOGLE www.jkersey.weebly.com. Very nice indeed.......

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Finished Art....

As I stated below, here is the piece she was working on completed. It appears to be a little deer in distress, and is just one of the many works of art in progress and completed in my granddaughter's sketch book. Her ability to convey mood and emotion were quite apparent in her many pieces, and I quite enjoyed the opportunity for a brief glimpse into her world of art. Keep up the good work kiddo!

Artist at Work.....

She came to visit for a week, and this is pretty much the view from which I was allowed to photograph her. Being that both her parents are quite accomplished artists, it is not surprising that she comes by this quite naturally. Here we see a work in progress, and the next view will be a shot that I took of the finished work. It was done with coloured pencils, and the quality was something that I could only fantasize about. Keep up the good work little lady, you're well on your way to your life as an artist.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Baby Grasshopper.....

This little grasshopper seems to be enjoying lunching on one of my wife's Dahlias, and I thought it might make for an interesting picture. After taking the picture with a #2 close up filter on my 75 ~ 300 mm zoom lens, I found that what I really enjoyed was how the green colour of the grasshopper played off of the pink of the petals, and the golden center of the flower in the lower left. It is not tack sharp, as I was hand holding the camera, and holding my breath. There also seems to be a bit of purple fringing around the edges of the pink petals, and the dark background. I suspect that this was due to the softening effect of using a close up filter and shooting with a wide open aperture. However I am fairly satisfied with the results, and hope you enjoy it also.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Happy Canada Day...

Today, while enjoying my morning cup of tea on the back deck, I saw this rose blossom with the line of buds behind it, and decided to take a couple of quick snaps. We live in a wonderful country comparatively speaking, if one chooses to stay mainly focused on things positive. So from my back yard to my country CANADA, and especially all of you who choose to check out my little blog from time to time....I offer you roses. HAPPY CANADA DAY!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Sad Ending....

When you don't pay much attention to certain things, they tend to surprise us unexpectedly with the amount of deterioration. This old violin was my musical "muse" for years, and I was surprised to find that the bow strings had become detached at one end, and the bridge had collapsed. The rosin in its little box had become little amber nuggets also. However, after thinking on it for a while, I realized that all I had to do was accept what was, and use it in another unaccustomed way. So, the roses from a Mother's Day bouquet were saved from the garbage, and allowed to dry, or "age gracefully." They were added to the scene to help provide a certain mood that is open for interpretation. Hope you enjoy it also.....

Photography...About a Hundred Years Ago.

When you start to rummage about in old boxes that haven't been opened for years, you sometimes come across the neatest things. Today, I found these old old tin types, remember those, photographs made on pieces of tin, as in metal folks. And yup, they are still holding up rather well I think. They were made about a hundred years or so ago by some photographer in some small town who took pictures with an old folding camera similar to this one, and then spent hours upon hours in the darkroom sloshing about in various chemicals until the desired results were realized. In a lot of these old darkrooms, these old folks used a kerocene safelight with red and amber glass filters in front of a flame from a wick which was soaked in kerocene. The one in the upper right corner was made by Kodak around 1902, and could be used on location in a tent if need be. When I see what these old photographers had to work with, and the absolutely astoundingly beautiful photos they made, it makes me want to slap the next so called "photographer" right up side of their heads when they whine about "noise" in their high ISO images. They should really be worried about where their digital images will be in another 100 years from now, and if there will be anything to display them with or on....That is why I have returned to the darkroom and black and white photography recently, which is why I haven't been posting much on here lately. Tonight, I just thought you might like to see a little of the past. Oh, by the way....this image above was lit by a little flashlight that I found at the dollar store....no flash at all. Just set the shutter to "bulb" and the aperture to f11 and have fun experimenting. This shot took about 28 seconds of waving the little light around, literally painting with light...Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dad's Rose...

Contrary to rumors, or wishful thinking, I am still alive and above the green stuff. It has been so long since I last posted that I wasn't sure I would remember how to do it anymore. It has been a busy Spring season, and it was so cool, that for a while, I wasn't sure that any flowers would survive the frosty nights. I'm sure the local farmers and orchard owners were keeping an eye on the night time temperatures as well. However, finally, the garden responded to my wife's diligent efforts, and is filled with rose blossoms now. Last evening, I took the camera to the back yard to grab a couple of shots, and I was not very satisfied with the results. They seemed to be quite unremarkable to me, and so I thought I would experiment with a long dormant Corel software, called Corel Painter Essentials 3. It is a very nice program, but to say that I need more practice, a lot more, would be an understatement. This is my feeble offering for this time. It helped the image to be able to add a bit of texture to it I think. Here's hoping you like it somewhat, and hopefully I will find more time to post on here again soon......tonight, it's back to the darkroom and I am hoping to have something for my black and white site soon....

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Survivor....?

To have come across this butterfly this early in the year was a real surprise. A few moments before, I had a couple of deer in view, and did not expect to see any butterflies just yet. So when this one flew by and landed a few feet away, I decided to grab a quick shot with the 75 ~ 300 mm lens that I had on the camera at the time. I was shooting wide open, and hand holding as well, so its right wing is slightly blurry. However, it was not until I downloaded the image that I realized that a part of its wing was missing. Not being a lepidopterist, I am not sure if it had an unfortunate encounter with a bird, or had emerged from its pupa stage with this malformation. Just like most of us, it will have to do its life being a little less than perfect. At any rate, I see it somewhat as a survivor, and enjoyed the encounter.

P.S. It has just been suggested to me that my "butterfly" could actually be a moth, and they were probably correct on that. So if there is anyone out there who could identify this butterfly or moth, I would appreciate it.....

Friday, April 5, 2013

Female Cardinal.....

Today, we decided to go for a little ramble at the Ojibway Conservation Area here in Windsor, in hopes to get a little fresh air, and maybe a shot or two of some little creatures. I did manage to squeeze the shutter on a couple of deer, but they were too far away, and there were too many brambles to make for much of a picture. I stopped at the little chalet to see if there were any birds around the feeders, and managed to get this shot of a female cardinal. You have to be fast as they do not stay still for very long. I felt lucky to get this little one, and thought I'd share it with you....hope you enjoy it also.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bread Morning...

Two things that I really enjoy smelling is yeast on my hands after making bread with my wife, and photographic chemicals on my fingers after a darkroom session. That is probably pretty weird to some folks, but I just go with it....it is what it is. When we built the kitchen a couple of years ago, we designed this one counter top below the window beside the electric range, that was a few inches lower than the rest of the kitchen counter top. This was to enable us to knead and punch down bread while keeping our elbows straight, making it a much less tiring procedure. Today the bread in the bowl looked so good in the window's light, I could not resist taking a quick shot of it. It wasn't intended to be an advertisement for Robin Hood flour, but that happens to be what we use. I think a lot of folks today use an automatic bread maker, but I get to talk to mine... This batch makes about 4 loaves, and it disappears much too quickly. It is something we enjoy doing, and I thought I would share the picture with you as I can't wait for it to come out of the oven and slather butter over it before it gets too cold...it goes well with a nice "mug up" (cup of tea) as we say back home....

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pufted Tufted Titmouse

This is another version of the little Tufted Titmouse that I had posted previously. He is all puffed up to protect himself from the cold biting wind, and looks just lovely to me with the rim lighting coming in from the upper left. I will be entering this little fellow in the Windsor Camera Club Competition night, and as before, will likely be critiqued for having the secondary branch running through the picture, as being a distraction. However, I played with this shot in the various editing software from Adobe and Corel, and when I removed the secondary branch or twig, he looked too stark and for my taste unnatural. I deliberately left the twig in this photo because to me, it helps lead the eye up to the bird, and at the same time, helps divide the empty spaces into some nice graphic design elements. For my taste, he looks more like he is in his natural environment, which is amongst a thicket. I have never been one who puts much stock in high scores in competition. For me, it is just fun to participate, and have a good night out with the guys and gals. Hope you enjoy it somewhat also.....

P.S. The word "Pufted" in the title is not an actual word, but one I coined myself to rhyme with Tufted, and give the idea that he was all puffed up....I'm not THAT anal about grammar.....

For those who care.......Photo taken with a SONY a65 and Minolta 75 ~ 300 zoomed all the way out to 300mm (450mm effective) and with 2X zoom button deployed making for 900mm.....hand held with in camera body Steady Shot turned ON.....

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mystery Mask....for Mike.

It sat up on top of a cabinet full of other "treasures" at the Market, and being very colourful, caught my eye. The lady in charge of the booth stated that she had no idea what part of the world it originated from, or if it had any particular significance, ceremonial or religious. It was certainly a good conversation piece, and it was priced very reasonably indeed. My guess is that it was viewed by many with much superstition, and as a result, was continuing to collect dust up there. I positioned it so that one of the ceiling lights provided the main lighting, and the black pipes on the ceiling, the negative background which made the colours pop. Windsor has such a huge cultural mix from every corner of the world, and that makes going to the various booths at The Market a real adventure every time.....

Accordion Man....

All bundled up in his winter coat, he sits in the entrance to the Windsor Market with this red and gold box on his knee, and a little frog on top. You hear this old accordion playing, but there is no instrument to be seen. He smiles continuously, and nods his head to thank those who drop a few coins in the box on the floor in front of him. You see these people in the most unlikely places sometimes, and it has to be a tough way to make a living, or even a past time for that matter. On my way out of the market, I could not help but stop and chat with him for a while. He grew up in Quebec city, and his family hails from the Iles de la Madeleine, or The Magdalen Islands, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Great stuff, we grew up in the same area practically. I finally coaxed him to show me what he was playing inside the box. I wanted to see if it was something like the ones that I played, and indeed it was. However, it was very well used, as the grille on the treble button side was replaced with an old piece of cardboard. It had indeed seen more than its fair share of house parties and barn dances all over the country. He had a real love for his old French Canadian tunes, and his eyes just danced when I asked him to play a couple that I knew he would know. He gave me his business card, which states he is available for office parties, weddings, or any occasion what so ever. It was a real chunk of fun talking to him and I appreciated very much his permission to use his pictures on my little blog. Keep the tunes coming fella....this sad world needs more guys like you.....Windsor, Accordion Idol Capitol of Canada...ya think?....LOL!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Laughing Eyes

After watching my grandson play floor hockey this morning, his other grandfather invited me to accompany him on a trip over to the Windsor Market for some Kielbasa sausage. Having never gone there before, I stopped by the house for my camera....just in case... As it turns out, I am very glad that I did, as I would have missed a great occasion to photograph some really great objects and people as well. This lady shown here operates a space in the market, and has some real "treasures" on display for those who appreciates such things. After talking with her for a few minutes, she agreed to be photographed with one of her rare treasures, and that I could place her photo here on my blog. She is holding the September 1901 issue of The Ladies' Home Journal, and her laughing eyes made this encounter a very pleasant experience. Thanks Tammy.....Thanks Frank.....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Silent Eyes.....

Have you ever gotten the feeling that you were being watched? This little doe is just one of the many who observe our activities when we venture into their space. They never fail to surprise and pleasure us when they appear.....

Ice Crystals

The sun finally broke through yesterday, for the first time in too many long dreary days, and I finally got out to do a little shooting again. My original intent was to shoot some black & white film, but did not find anything that fired up the juices. So, I stopped at the Ojibway Park again on my way back home, hoping to find some birds or maybe a deer. At first there were none of either. So while waiting for the birds to appear, I took this shot looking down into this little trickle of water that flowed under an old wooden bridge. The crystalline formation made in the ice during the recent fluctuations in temperature appealed to me somewhat.  The spiked twig in the upper right corner is from a Hawthorne bush I believe. However, I could be wrong on that, but it looks like something that a deer had found not too palatable. The simplistic abstractness of it all appealed to me, and I hope, some of you as well.....

Friday, January 25, 2013

Nipissing Village, Ontario

Tonight, I decided to do a few negative scans of some old 6 x 7 cm medium format images. This old log building with the red Geranium in the window was taken a few miles southwest of  North Bay, Ont. in a place called Nipissing Village. It was used at that time as a museum for the area. I used to have this image hanging on the wall of my little studio in North Bay, many years ago. Then, when I folded that endeavor, it hung on a wall in my home for a few years also. So tonight, I thought I'd share it with those who might be interested. Hopefully someone will find pleasure in it as well.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tufted Titmouse.....

The sun finally made an appearance on Friday afternoon, and I had been impatiently waiting for an opportunity to try out my new SONY a65 dSLT camera. For the most part, due to the need to do upgrades to our home, I have become a voyeur of other photographer's works of art. A year ago, I joined the Windsor Camera Club, and it is for the most part a nature oriented club. Having spent most of my photographic endeavors photographing people, I was somewhat out of my element. However, I have decided to expend a little more effort into the photography of birds, since I have done very little of that recently. This little fellow is a Tufted Titmouse and he was kind enough to stop for a second or two, and then was off again. It became very apparent that if you intend to photograph birds, you have to be fast....very fast! I put my camera on 10 frames per second and used the zoom button at +2 magnification while using my 75 ~ 300 lens fully extended. I only have my old Minolta AF lenses, and I was afraid that they would not be of good enough quality for this new camera, but for the most part I am pleased. Hope you enjoy it as well......

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Of Tugboats and People....

One of the things I enjoyed doing the most when just a kid, was riding my bike up to the Humber Arm on the Bay of Islands, and sitting for an hour or more sometimes, to watch the tug boat haul the very large "booms" of logs down to the Bowater's Pulp and Paper mill in Corner Brook, where they were transformed into newsprint, and shipped all over the world. Then I also liked to watch the tugs at the mill docks nudge and haul the large boats into place where they would tie up, and proceed to take on the large rolls of newsprint. I was so proud, because I knew my Dad was working at the mill, and helping all of this to happen.....Today, I watched again as this small but very powerful tugboat pushed this laker up the Detroit River against the flowing ice and current. Tugboats have always reminded me of the little people who work behind the scenes, and help make important things happen. They are often overlooked in the overall scheme of things, but without them....well, things very often do not function nearly as well. Here's a salute to all of the sturdy little tugboats and hardy little people who operate them, and almost everything else also.

Happy New Year!

Well, another year has ended and a new one begun. This scene is a glimpse of the riverfront here in Windsor, Ontario this afternoon. I went down there to go for a stroll and as expected, there weren't too many folks around. It was nice to be alone and clear out the head from all of the effects of the Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations. My old faithful Minolta Maxxum 7D finally gave up the ghost, and will be another article in my fond collection of great cameras. I was pretty much forced to replace it since the shutter mechanism was failing all too often, and giving me black frames at the most inconvenient times. But things do not last forever, just like us. Hopefully I will eventually  become just as fond of my new SONY a65 dSLT, and this picture today is one of the first ones that I got to shoot with it. Hope you enjoy it also, and have a really Happy New Year 2013.....