Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yard Sale of Memories

When you see an item like this in a yard sale, you think, hmm.... $15 bucks, how's my butt feel in it, is it worth the price!

When I see this chair on my mother-in-law's driveway sadly wearing its price tag, I see where it sat in their original home. In the corner, tea cup on its right, word-find book on one arm, and the TV remote on the other, in close reach to my father-in-law.

This chair was loved by the family dog too. When not curled up in it, she would dart from it
to my father-in-law's lap as if she was protecting him, bark at you nervously and dart back.

The chair made its way 100km north to their new home. Carefully packed and transported, I'm sure the movers just saw it as another chair, to me, it was THE chair.

It ended its day at the yard sale, tested many times, but never purchased. We finally put it with the rest of the unwanted items with the last-gasp-for-life-sign on it, FREE!

The next day it was gone, the driveway empty. I wonder if the people who took it will put any thought into the memories it holds. Although it ended up without an offer, someone saw that it still has some more years. Who knows, with an updated upholstery, it may find its way through to another sale. Funny if I bought it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Stills: Powerlines and Landscapes

The need for power lines cutting through our landscapes is obvious by the fact that we are on-line creating these blogs. This weeks Sunday Stills Challenge found me driving just south of where I live to a series of power lines that feed most or all of the Greater Toronto (Canada) Area. My take on this was that I was to combine power lines and landscapes as one. These power lines become the landscape.

f/9.0 | 1/320s | ISO 400 | Focal Length 300mm
WB Sunny | Manual Exposure

Technical Jargon: I had to adjust the exposure a bit when I brought this onto the computer. I forgot to change the WB set from sunny, and there was a storm on the horizon so it was underexposed. I slid the Highlight from 255 up to 240 and brought the midtones up to 110 to bring up the neutrals.

When I got out of the car to take this, I first pulled back to 70mm to see what I got, but when I pulled in to the 300mm, I thought the web of power towers felt overwhelming.

Don't hold back, let me know what you think!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Stills: Yellow

Yellow. That's what this week's Sunday Stills Challenge is about.
I thought I would try posting something a bit different this week, a city shot.
On Fridays I take my camera to work in downtown Toronto, and came across this row of bikes that comes across as mostly yellow.

f/5.0 | 1/800s | ISO 800

I didn't want to just fill the lens with the yellowest one, but tried to use it as a starting point to draw you back.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Full Zoooooom

I was fortunate enough to go north this weekend to my parents cottage. My dad places this suet outside the kitchen window. With my new lens, I am now able to pull this baby right in.

This shot of the Old City Hall in Toronto was taken from across the street. I'm pretty impressed with how I can bring in my subjects.

I'm sure as I find more interesting items to shoot and express my vision, my thoughts will grow with my pictures.

Sunday Stills: Eyes

This (last) weeks Sunday Stills Challenge was eyes. I know it's cliché, but in these eyes you see into a soul that loves Frisbees, water, Frisbees, food, Frisbees and Frisbees.

All he is thinking is, throw the 'darn' Frisbee will you.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Whoa, what a start to the summer. Went out last night and picked up one of these babies. For those in the know, you know what it is. For those not so... it's an AF-S NIKKOR 70-300MM f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR II.

In Canada, this weekend kicks-off our summer with the Victoria Day long-weekend. To some, wrongly called May 2-4. Partly because it used to be on May 24th, but also because you go to friends places with a 2-4 of beer.

With this lens I hope to pick-up some nicely pulled-in shots when up at my parents' cottage this weekend. Although building a deck and cleaning-up may get in my way, I'll do my best to sneak away and play with this little gem.

You know I'll be posting a shot using it for sure.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Stills: B & W

Here is my Sunday Stills challenge. I went back to the barn series. I liked the roughness of the stone, with the elements of the fence and plant.

The only thing I did to the image when I converted to B&W was to decrease the mid-point to 90, and then move the shadow up 5. I felt that that deepened the image enough to add some more depth to it.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Still: Flowers and Plants

This week our Sunday Stills shoot is flowers and plants. I had the opportunity to go with my wife to an herb farm. Yep, all they grow are ground cover herbs. I have no idea what this was, but I think it made a pretty interesting shot.

I love the texture of the plant, and the simplicity of the colours.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Stills: Barns

As you can tell in the title, barns is this weeks Sunday Stills Challenge. Timing was good as I had to go to my parent's Sat. to help my dad. With a nice 2hrs. drive north through the back roads, I figured I could find the elusive barn...

then I came across this 'anti-barn'. Not sure the story behind why the siding is off, but I think it made for and interesting shot.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Still: Religion

I wasn't too sure if I could come up with this weeks Sunday Stills Challenge of religion.
Oddly enough, I didn't have much of an inspiration, then, on Sunday I was out with my wife to a talk on ground cover at a local herb farm, and this Saint was calling to me from under this tree.

So maybe after all, I found it.
It's simple, but it's something.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Still: Animals of Husbandry

Okay, not that I'm that uneducated, but I actually had to look up what this week's Sunday Challenge meant. After that, I thought how can I come up with an inspiring art piece picture that will lend a different take and get and understanding into what I think.

What a lot of my fellow bloggers seem to have: acreage, I have footage; multiple animals, I have a dog; feed, I have kibble; straw, my dog gets on the couch.

How can a, just outside of the city guy compete...........

After discussing with my wife the chores we had Sat., and the awful weather, here is my version of Animals of Husbandry. So far the hardest part has been trying to milk them.

So, your vote, Moo or Baaaaad (say it like a sheep)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Some Days

I've never taken a 'design' course. I haven't graduated from an Art College and don't have a bunch of fancy degrees behind my name like Professional Graphic Designer. I don't pull the wool over my clients' eyes so that I can charge big freak'n prices for some glorious image that when they end up getting it printed, hours need to be spent going through it and making it work properly for printing.

I keep wondering why it is that I seem to be the one who knows, most of the time, how to put files together properly for printing. I don't know how these people or companies seem to get farther ahead in life then me.

Is it that they are more confident in what they do? Better people skills? Sales skills? Or is it just that they actually believe they know it, or that the next person can deal with it. When it does get printed and look 'off', they question what happened. When they get pointed out how something should be supplied or laid-out, they just send it in the same way they always have, and you end up doing it all over again.

You wouldn't believe how many files I get from 'professionals' to print that have trim marks made up wrong, or not at all. Images with lazy-ass cover up picture frames rather then masking it properly. Spot colours with multiple tags for the same colour. Oh, and the old, I took 3 months to design it, what do you mean it will take 4 days to get printed!

Some days I wish my wife and I could just stay at home. She could do her passion of gardening, and I could take pictures, create and hang out with my dog. I wish I could take him around to hang out with others, but there it is again, I haven't been able to train him to greet any. He goes NUTS!

How is it that others find out what it is they are supposed to be doing and stay motivated? Guess I'll keep searching.

One thing I do know, my wife and I need more land and less house.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Still: Landscape

After visiting so many of my fellow Sunday Challengers previous posts, I realized that I could never compete with the shear beauty of the lands they live in and around. My concept was to show the landscape from a different perspective.

So, while out walking Coal, I decided to get close to the earth. Laying on my stomach, more like a belly, I found this interesting angle of the land.

click on the image to get sucked into the land

So, Yeah or Nay, there you have it! A small but somewhat powerful view of the landscape.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Still: Lines

This week's Sunday Stills Challenge.... lines. On Wednesday I took the day off work and went skiing with my son. He loves Freestyle skiing that takes place in these ski parks. I think I took about 300 pictures of him using the continuous shooting mode. I had the idea of getting close to the rail and tried to get a cool shot of him doing a rail slide. This is the shot that has the most lines from the rail he is on to the elements in the background.

This is my only entry because I think that I have as close to a 'line' as you can get with the rail.

Please don't be shy. Let me know if the picture rocks or sucks.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Special Moments

My wife and I went on a date Thursday night to the Canada Blooms show. It isn't necessarily that I had an interest to see the actual show, but my wife totally loves plants, gardening and landscaping. I love nature and plants and all the scents that it had to offer, but the real joy I had was seeing my wife excited about the different displays and the wonderful creations that the presenters came up with. We got to discuss what we thought was interesting, what might help her in her landscaping design course and what we could incorporate into a plan for our on yard.

She worked from home on the Friday after, and we weren't able to share our morning commute. I missed her that morning.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Still: Water

I had a few ideas for this weeks Sunday Still Challenge, but as spring nears, and the snow melts I was hard pressed to find THE water shot. My first idea was to create the ultimate glass of water with a still life shot. Condensating glass of clear water, ice and a lime and lemon for colour. Another idea was to find a water fountain or natural water area and show how beautiful it can be.

As I was walking Coal yesterday, I stumbled across a use of water that is becoming way to common and totally pisses me off. I hope my picture sends a bit of a message that although we will not be able to eliminate waste, we have to have the conscience to deal with it properly.

I know we should show how serene and lovely water is, but this is something that I'm very sick about.

Alright I vented, here's Coal showing that he doesn't care what temperature or how clean the water is, as long he can lay in it. He is a Black Lab all the way.

You have to keep your eye's on him. If there's water, he's in it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Remembering Nature

We all have certain things that reminds us of people and places in our lives. One of the things that reminds me of my dad and the cottage is the common loon. Some evenings growing up on Nottawasaga Bay, we would sit by the lake and he would call out his best imitation of it's Tremolo. If you have a minute, check that link for the vary unique and haunting sound.

Although that sound always places me at the cottage with the family, I have grown found of the call of the Red-winged Blackbird.

I actually took this picture. If you click on it, it will view a lot nicer.
Saving up for a Telephoto lens.

I'm fortunate enough, until they plow it over, to be able to walk my dog Coal in by farmer's field that has a bit of a marsh around it which the Red-wings love to sit on the grasses. Yesterday I left work early to get home and walk Coal. It was -2C out and beautifully sunny. As this wonderful sound broke through the marsh grass, I felt at piece and for a moment forgot about some of the concerns that keep me up at night. When we take a moment to listen to nature, it is amazing how such a simple natural sound can slow us down and make us feel like we belong.

I know life continuously changes, but one of the things that I will always hold onto is the fact that for a little time in life, I enjoyed walks in the farmer's field with my dog.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Stills: Self Portrait

Here is this week's challenge. I felt very challenged doing this. Normally I don't mind having my picture taken, but actually shooting a self portrait is a totally different thing I've learned.
I took my camera downtown Toronto to try some adventurou
s shots, when the darn battery went dead. Then Saturday I didn't take it while walking the dog, then the rain came and messed me up.

Trying to learn different ways to express or shoot pics., I decided to go to the basement and utilize our son's blackboard wall.

Like it or hate it, I tried to be creative and sent the timer. I did try to make this blur. It worked.

Then I thought I shouldn't put a blurry shot up, so I tried to take an profile version.
I don't have a remote and I try to use Manual settings, so getting the right focus and lighting is tricky.

So these are my takes on the self portrait. I am not really pleased with them, but I was willing to challenge myself which is needed.

Oh, that is a banjo in the background. I thought I needed to add some content. And yes, I do play it, just not very well.

I shall now post, and check out the others.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Sunday I was walking my dog while wearing a light jacket, saw a robin and thought, nice, spring is around the corner. Next thing I know, the temperature drops and I'm buried in my Eddie Bower parka again.

My mornings start at 5:45 when the alarm sounds, I do my morning routine upstairs, then head down to get my wife's travel coffee started and have breakfast. If I forget to make it, I totally get razed.

I head over to the fridge to get the milk for my cereal and do a double take at the thermometer.
This is actually my thermometer. Holy smokes... MINUS 17 Celsius. That converts to 1.4 Fahrenheit. That's freak'n cold no matter what measurement you use.

When my wife comes down, we both roll our eyes and bitch about how bloody cold it is. We pack our lunches, I grab the coffee and we dart off to the GO Train to muck through our days at work.

Even thought it is freezing out, the sky is wonderfully blue, the sun is beaming and I think about how fun it would be to be walking my dog in the cold.

I have enjoyed this winter, but it really is time for spring. We get to Spring Forward our clocks this weekend for Daylight Savings and it is only 1 week till the official start. But this is Ontario, so that really means we have a couple of more weeks.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Stills: In Motion

Okay followers, here is my take on the Sunday Stills In Motion challenge.

We were walking our Black Lab, Coal, around the shoreline of Nottawasaga Bay at my parents' cottage. I like this shot because it sort of has 3 elements of In Motion. My wife's arm tossing, the Chuck-It in flight, and our dog taking off as usual before he knows where it is going.

My second image is one of my favourites. This is the same day, and my wife had hid on our dog, and he was bolting over to where he saw her. For some reason he reminds me of a Jack Rabbit.

These shots were taken before I thought of getting more into photographing.
I look forward to your comments, likes or dislikes and critiquing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Justice or

Okay, I might be going back along way with this one. I am pretty sure it was back in afternoon kindergarten.
I don't have a great memory for too many things that have happened in my life, but a couple have stuck.

I remember getting this amazing Batmobile for Christmas in the mid sixties. I was playing with it one day (before Christmas) when my parents asked me where I got it from. Seeing that I wasn't old enough to catch on to the tone in my mom's voice, I said it had my name on it under the tree. Well, that was the wrong answer, it was taken away until the actual day came and my parents were still nice enough to give it to me anyway.
So here comes the justice part.
We were told we could bring something to school to play with, I loved that Batmobile so it was the first thing I thought of. I remember that at nap time we put our things into a cupboard so they wouldn't get misplaced. Well misplaced it was. I haven't seen that thing since the nap lights went back on. I'm sure someone was playing with it for many days right in the yard and I couldn't figure it out.
That was one of my favourite shows growing up, and it took me a few years to realize that the theme song only had one word in it..... BATMAN, along with a bunch of nanna, nannas.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sunday Stills: Architecture

This week's challenge is architecture. I had been walking around Toronto looking for interesting shots before becoming a blogger. Fellow bloggers had sent me the Sunday Stills page and I found them very interesting. Seeing that my family got me a fantastic new Nikon for Christmas, I've been snapping all kinds of shots not only learning the camera, but what to take. I like the Sunday Stills because they get you thinking and creating. These may not be the most interesting pictures in the challenge, but I wanted to get started, so I pulled these out.

Here are a few from my archives.
Straight up Old City Hall in Toronto, ON.

2 of the most recognizable buildings. Rogers Centre (SkyDome) and the CN Tower.

Last shot.

I love the simplicity of this doorway.

See you at the next challenge.

Friday, February 20, 2009

First Blog

First blog. Ever!

I've never been a diary person, nor shared too many thoughts outward, but opinions, that's different.
But I do have a lot of opinions, so my wife says.
Anyway, I just started this, and wanted to get something posted to start.
I will tweak, tune and adjust this throughout my learning curve.

Enjoy, or not.