Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!!!

As we see another year drawing to a close, I would like to offer a little Happy New Year bouquet from our house to everyone who has taken the time to visit, read and comment on my little blog site. Much has happened this past year.....some of it good, and some not so good. Such is life. May the gods that has meaning for each of us, see fit to smile on us in the coming year......Cheers everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas to All.....

All across this country, young tech savvy kids are using their laptops and various other devices to track the progress of Santa and Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer as they make their way across the continent. Of course this is all courtesy of NORAD which for the most part is not given a second thought at any other time of the year. This little guy is totally absorbed with following the grand old fellow's progress, and will likely be up at the crack of dawn, to see what was left under the tree. It was just a few days ago that he participated in spreading Christmas cheer to some less fortunate children and families, by helping deliver boxes of groceries, turkeys and toys to them. He seemed to really enjoy the experience, and said afterward that he felt good to hear the little children squeal with delight when they saw the bags of toys that he passed to them. Needless to say, there are a couple of grandpas who were very proud of him, and his willingness to share the Christmas spirit.......Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Smile Quotient.....

Today after cleaning out the eaves troughs, and gathering up the leaves, I noticed the roses still blooming around our home. It brought a smile to my face, as I remembered a time as a young lad, that my Mother had several rose beds in our front yard. There were red, pink, yellow and white roses of various hues of those colours, and they were so lovely that even the taxi drivers would stop in front of our home and look in. One day, a taxi driver stopped about 2 or 3 times, and my Mother asked him if he had a problem. He told her that it was his wife's birthday, and he would like some roses to give her. So she snipped him a few, and his smile said it all. He slowly drove away, and I never forgot that little exchange of kindness that she had shown toward a stranger. I have often wondered if moving from Northern Ontario to Windsor, was a wise move for us or not. While listening to the weather network on TV, I hear reports of snow in almost every region of the country right now. So it seems that we traded in shoveling snow for enjoying roses in November....now, that is something to smile about I think. Hope you like it also......

Saturday, November 1, 2014

My Other Thing.....

For those of you who have wondered why I haven't posted many images lately, the image of this mess on the left, is what happened when I decided to spend a little more time on my other passion, my diatonic accordion. When you have two very different interests, that both tug at you with equal force, it is often difficult to balance things, and also do all of the other "normal" things that life demands. About 43 years ago, I bought this old "box" to revive a childhood pleasure while growing up in Newfoundland, which was playing the old folk songs on a Hohner diatonic accordion. So I purchased this one brand new from the distributor in Toronto. My wife was somewhat puzzled about this, as I had never mentioned to her while we were dating that this was something that I used to do.....I didn't want to take that chance eh? Anyway, this old box has had many many sessions playing what is often referred to as "Newfoundland Kitchen Music" and has provided many hours of pleasure....or torture....depending on your point of view I guess. Refurbishing an instrument like this is a very time consuming and tedious endeavor, and once you start, your cannot stop, because if you left it in one place too long, it would likely wind up in the garbage can. But I suppose there are those who would suggest, that is where it belongs anyway. Pitiful people they are! The gold colored tape had to be very carefully stripped off, and then any air leaks carefully sealed before the new tape is reapplied. I replaced the gold tape with black tape, which I like the look of very much.
So, this is the finished product, and as you can see I got all artsy with the image that I conjured up on my computer, and transferred to the grill cloth on the treble key side. This was a project that gave me a lot of satisfaction, as I had never tried to refurbish a fairly battered up old squeeze box before. Now the bellows is super tight, and I am hoping that it will be able to endure many more years of sessions that last hours long at a time. As it turns out, I have one more accordion to do, but maybe I will turn my attention to photography for a while, and leave it for some cold winter nights when I don't feel like spending hours on the computer editing photos, and printing. Maybe I will put a North Atlantic Puffin on the grill cloth of the next one I do.......Good night folks!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Essex Railway Station

This elegant old building that is starting to show its age, is the old Essex Railway Station, in Essex County just outside of Windsor. These days, it plays host to various occasions such as local weddings and the various business meetings when called upon. As such, it is still a center for civic activities of the area, and it is nice to see that it still serves as a useful venue. One day, I would like to have an opportunity to do a few shots inside of the building, as I am sure there would certainly be many areas that would make great images possible. It is definitely on my list.....

Glimpse of the Past.....

It probably was quite elegant in days gone by, but now it appears to be suffering the ravages of time. The old Railway Hotel in the town of Essex, Ontario is offering but a glimpse of its heyday and I'm sure, if the walls could talk, holds many rich stories of travelers through this area. After taking a few shots of the old stone railway station in Essex, Ont. today, I decided to grab a couple of shots of this old place before leaving, and decided that it actually made for an interesting scene also. Around this part of the country, roses are still blooming, and that mixed with the gold of the changing leaves make for some very colourful images, albeit somewhat different from what I had become used to photographing this time of the year in Northern Ontario. Hope you like it also.....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Alone in the City....

This street scene was shot a few years ago with my trusty old film camera on Black & White film. It was one of those negatives that for one reason or another, never got printed. Tonight while I was digging through a bunch of old files I happened upon this one, and decided to post it here. The lady could possible be coming from a shopping trip, or possibly a Doctor's appointment. Her gait was somewhat labored, and my guess was that her feet were killing her. She appears to be all alone in the world, and somewhat vulnerable. At any rate, I liked the perspective of the scene, and she helps to lend scale to it all. For me, this sort of shot is a nice departure from the usual flowers, birds and scenics that I have been photographing recently....hope you like it also.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

By Erie's Shores.....

Today, we took a little drive out in Essex County, and eventually found ourselves on the shores of Lake Erie in Kingsville, Ontario. The beach seemed to go on forever, and when we finally got to the water's edge, I could not help but take a few black and white shots of the water and rocks. It seems that every time you open a magazine or other photography "how to" book these days, you come across the inevitable photo of water flowing, either in a stream or at the ocean side. For some reason, which bewilders me no end, it seems that the only proper "artistic" rendering of water in motion depicts water which looks all smooth and
frothy. It makes me imagine that somewhere upstream out of camera sight, there is a large truck dumping a whole load of Alka Seltzer into the stream.....totally unnatural to me. Remember in years gone by when all of the lights on the Christmas trees had Angel Hair over them? That is somewhat how it translates to my mind.....or what's left of it....At any rate, when I encounter waves crashing on the rocks beside a lake or ocean, or water flowing downstream, my preference is to have it look like "water". To some folks, this approach may not be too artsy, but I happen to be more of a realist...I think....

Friday, September 12, 2014

Red is the Rose....

This image was made late this afternoon in my back yard using my 50mm macro lens, which on the SONY a65 camera, works out to be 75mm. It was extremely overcast and quite dark where this rose was situated amongst the other bushes. What to do? This was a good opportunity to try out the remote wireless feature of my new Sony HLV-F58AM flash. After placing it on a tripod about 5 feet away and to the right and also using the built in bounce card, I focused and let the on camera flash trigger the remote one on the tripod. The result is a rather nice little rim lighting effect as the remote is set at a 2:1 ratio with the on camera flash. When I downloaded the file later, I decided that maybe a nice filter could be applied in Photoshop to give it a bit of texture.....hope you like it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blemished but Beautiful....

Last Thursday, I indulged myself, and ordered a SONY HLV-F58AM flash from B&H Photo in New York. It was from the Used Department, or as Virgin Mobile would say, "Previously Loved" department, and rated as condition 9. Well folks, it was absolutely spotless, and came in the pouch, with the wireless stand and Owners Manual in the original box. It cost roughly 2/3rds the price of a new one, but I examined it all over, and it looked brand new, no kidding. So that was my unbiased plug for B&H in New York. USA
Having said all of that, I decided to try it out on my SONY a65 camera this afternoon whilst my good wife was doing a stir fry for supper, and take a shot or two of this rose that she had placed in a glass vase on the coffee table. She had been working in the garden on the weekend, and accidentally broke a branch off of a rose bush. There were only buds on it at the time, so she placed the branch in the vase on the table. If you look closely, you will notice that this is not a "perfect" rose, as it has several blemishes from some insect that got inside of the bud itself, and ate some of the petals, as well as a few leaves. I am one of those guys who for whatever reason, feel that even the "imperfect" amongst us deserves a time in the sun, so how to do that with this imperfect rose. I had recently bought a book on Canadian Impressionist painters, and it just came to my mind to use some of the pictures in it as backgrounds for these shots. So I opened it to a couple of pictures, and placed it about 15 inches behind, as a background.These images are to me an example of how to minimize an imperfection by surrounding it with something quite lovely. It works in art, and also in life as well......

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Summer Folding

My neighbor Terri was doing some gardening around her driveway a couple of days ago while I was wandering around with my camera taking a few shots in our front yard. She mentioned that I had not posted on my blog for a while, and she was right. My last posting was for Father's Day, and for whatever reason, I have done very little photography since that time. It seems that sometimes, there are other concerns and priorities that take over, or at other times, there is just a lack of motivation. Like anything else, sometimes you need to just stand back a while, and let the creative batteries recharge. After agreeing with my neighbor, I immediately bent over and took a shot of this unopened or almost folded Dinner Plate Hibiscus which was growing beside her front entrance walkway. It for some reason made me think of Summer winding down, having had its day in the sun, which lately has taken on that golden hue of late summer and early fall.....thanks Terri, I think I am back finally. Hope you like it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Dad's Rose....Happy Father's Day!

A few years ago, I stumbled across a South Carolina  photographer Ed Deasy's blog site. He had been posting photos taken with a LED flashlight, with the lens taped over and allowing just a narrow slit for the light to get out. He was painting with light at night time, and the results were quite different. Tonight, I was sitting talking with my wife about my photography, and that I felt that for some reason, a lot of my photography was "over lit" and I was becoming bored with it all. So at 11:30 pm, I got up and put my SONY a65 on my tripod, and found my little LED flashlight and ventured out into the back yard to see what would transpire. The exposure is strictly by guess work, and the shutter is on BULB and held open until it "felt" right. This photo is one of the images that I managed to capture. It was shot at f11 and my guess is somewhere around 20 ~ 35 seconds, with varying lengths of time in different areas of the image. This one might eventually get printed and hang on a wall in some corner....hope you enjoy it also.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Out of Order.....


Sunday's at noon on CBC TV there is a program called "Land and Sea", and today's program happened to be about the lighthouses of Atlantic Canada. Since the advent of GPS and other modern navigation devices, the old lighthouses are becoming rather derelict all across the country. This one at the mouth of the Thames River on Lake St.Clair is no exception. When I saw this one today, I decided that it might look nice with some "altered reality" effects....so after playing with it in Photoshop and Corel's Paint Shop Pro Photo, this is what I came up with. I just enjoyed how the blue of the sky played off of the yellowish brick, separated by the red of the top. Hope you like it also...

At The Ready....

This lighthouse is at the mouth of the Thames River on Lake St.Clair. It also happens to be where a Search and Rescue Station is located, and if you should be so unfortunate as to require these sorts of services while out on the lake, the twin Evinrude 150 horsepower engines would fire up and speed help to you. There is some serious "Giddy Up Go" on the back of this pontoon boat....

Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Life...

This image was shot off of our front veranda, and is a simple shot of new life pushing through around the base of the Corkscrew Hazel that is also budding out. It has been such a long difficult Winter, and any sign of Spring is a lift to the spirit....Hope you like it.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Purple Finch Singing....

We all handle loss in our own way, and this little purple finch outside the window was such a solace.....sweet rest Mom...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Arum Lily Blossom...

Today I was testing the wireless off camera functions of my Metz 52AF-1 flash. Usually I am not given to using this sort of method for getting the effects I would like in a photo. However, it does not hurt to be familiar with how it all works, for the odd times you might decide that it would come in handy. The Metz flash is triggered by the pop up flash on my SONY a65 camera, and the ratio is set to 2:1 for the Metz slave flash. This gives various effects depending on the placement off camera. Here it is used as a source of back lighting, and the on camera flash triggering it is used as a fill flash. As a first try, it is not bad, but could use a little more refinement as the left side highlights were somewhat blown out. But I quibble and nit pick....Anyway, this plant had just come into bloom on our coffee table, and it is a member of the Arum Lily family, also known as the "Peace Lily". Hope you like it. As Spring progresses, it will be nice to be able to go outside to photograph various flowers and plants that soon will be pushing through. It has been a long winter all over....

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Canvas-back Duck....

Today I finally got out of the house for a couple of hours and found myself down at the Riverside Marina to check out what was happening there. There were ducks and swans of all kinds sounding off and swimming around. This duck caught my eye and I got a few shots of it. I had no idea what it was, until a kind lady with binoculars informed me that it was a canvas-back duck. I took her word for it, and upon arriving home, looked it up in Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds. It appears to be the female Canvas-back duck....at least I think it is. Hope you enjoy it also.....

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Nuclear Winter's Night

As far as photographers go, I guess I could be classified as a more traditional old style guy. It comes with age....Anyway, there is an awful lot of tools available today for photographers who are not necessarily satisfied with "straight up" photography. For the most part, I am reality based, but sometimes I wondered what I would come up with if I let my mind wander a bit. This posting is the result of my "mental ramblings" during one of my bouts of insomnia, when the old head will not lie down, so the body gets up, and its mind over matter. The image is a further progression of my December 6th, 2013 posting below. With the help of PhotoImpact, Corel and Photoshop softwares, I transformed it into this scene. While the original shot of the berries was quite empty, by adding these extra elements, for me, it is even more empty and desolate. Let's hope that events on this old planet never transpire that this sort of scenario becomes a reality....Let's try to get along folks........

Rusty Old Ford...

They're everywhere. If you have done much exploring of the countryside, they will turn up abandoned back in the bush with trees growing up through them. Or they will be lovingly displayed at the various antique auto shows during the summer months. This one was proudly displayed, rust and all, at one such show in Amhurstburg last summer. It sat there amongst all of the other gleaming and finely restored old cars and trucks. It somehow appealed to me as there was something honest about it....here I am, rust, warts and all....take it or leave it. It spoke to me...

Old Style Portrait....

I just finished removing the previous posting "A Nuclear Winter's Night" from a couple of days ago, as upon retrospect, I felt it was a tad depressing. That does not mesh too well with my usual optimistic nature. So instead, I will replace it with this portrait of a lovely young lady that was originally shot in black & white on my Mamiya RB67. If my memory serves me correctly, the top she is wearing is one of her own creations....however, I could be wrong on that. At any rate, it is a bit of an "old time" style portrait, as she is not smiling at all. For me, that is perfectly fine. I would much rather a genuine sober expression any day over a phony smiling one. Hope you enjoy it also.......

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sitting Pretty....

Tonight I got to playing around with some of my old files I had taken a couple of years ago, and decided to try a little different treatment of them. This one was a portrait of this pretty little lass, and I thought it might look nice if it were something resembling a painting. For some reason, with all of the amazing advances in digital photography, and the ability to produce searingly sharp images with it, I find myself wanting to alter the realism of the images. Of course this would not be possible without the various types of photo editing software that is available. Like everything else, it is all very subjective, and some rather like this sort of treatment, while others hate it. My opinion is that it is a rather nice option to have, but it could be very easily over used to the point of making it trite....hope some of  you enjoy it also.