Monday, November 20, 2017

Tree Decorating Party

Due to timetables, we did our annual tree decorating get-together yesterday at Sha's. It's at least a week earlier than usual, but that couldn't be helped unless we were to do it very late [for us].

Today, if plans continue to unfold as they should, we will be off to the cottage for a few days or a week. It's a bleak time of year to be in the country, but we did have our first good snowfall yesterday, and that will help if it stays.

Whatever the case, it's our first visit to the cottage in over a year. Last winter, we were prevented by illnesses and other events, and in the fall it was important to stay home and attend to the various needs of our poor old and dearly departed cat.

I've been trying to keep up with your posts fairly well lately, but with no internet at the cottage, I will be pretty much staying offline and ignoring both my blog and yours.

So I leave you with a few snaps from the tree decorating party on Saturday.

Have a good week.








Saturday, November 18, 2017

Let Me Sock It To Ya

"John, would you please pick up your socks?!"

These are not the words of my mother, lord rest her dubiously sainted soul, but my wife. My beloved wife.

It sounds as though she is chiding me for lack of ambition or gumption. And whilst I may be in need of such chiding, this is not the issue.

No, the issue is my socks. My literal socks. Not my metaphorical socks that speak of lack of character.

You see, my socks shed.

They shed when they are new, and they continue shed after interminable launderings. They just doggone shed and leave little reminders of their passing over the carpets. Which is somewhat strange since I usually wear slippers or what passes for slippers. But a second with the slippers off and they shed, and I suppose they still shed and somehow drop even with my slippers on.

But sometimes I do wander slipperless from room to room. It's not far in our little house, and I don't always put my slippers on despite the fact that I usually wear them to reduce pressure on my heel spurs. And so I leave little traces of my passings.

A semi sane person might ask why don't I simply change my sock brand. Well, sock it to me, but it's not so easy. It's not easy to be me or my socks or the carpet under my socks. And I have yet to find an alternate brand, for I must work within certain constraints such as needing them to be both long and arm.

Before I go on, it's time for you to see in all their glory the socks whereof I speak.



They are woolly and warm, which is nice, but the key for me is that they are long. They come up past my calfs and shins, almost to my knees.

For me, a most peculiar me, they are pretty well a mandatory part of my ensemble from later autumn to early spring.

It's because my shins get cold. More accurately, they feel cold. I can be warm, and even my feet might be fine, but my calfs feel cold. (Spellcheck doesn't like calfs, and I suppose it should be calves, but since I'm not a cow, I resist. I understand, however, that some readers, dear sweet gentle readers, might opine that my blog is a load of bull.)

I put this condition down to degeneration in my back, thus affecting the nerves which go down the legs, and I have some medical confirmation that this is, indeed, the case. I used to have a similar condition in my shoulders, and in fact I still do a little, but it was once worse. As a result of some physio on my upper back more than a decade ago, the shoulder problem was greatly reduced. The physio wasn't for this condition, but the side effect was the amelioration of shoulder coldness. So, we tried a similar procedure on my lower back. To no avail. Sadly.

And so it is that this sad specimen of a man is reduced to wearing long, woolly socks that cover his shins.

And so it is that these socks shed ... and shed ... and shed ... until they become holey and consigned to the heap. They do wear down easily, and I have just purchased four new pair to help get me through this winter by which end they will also be wearing thin.

How can they help but wear thin when they are forever displacing bits of themselves onto the floor?

And that's the story of my shins and socks and the wool-strewn pathways upon which I trod.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go pick up my socks. As it were.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

I Will Never Go Across the Pond but My Photo Will

This photo is going to England.



One of Sue's friend's daughter and her husband own a pub over there. Mom is going for a visit and is taking this piece of our town, so to speak, with her. I took the photo several years ago at our local park when the maple trees were a beautiful scarlet. I haven't caught them in that sort of splendour since.

Sue wanted me to make an identify card to hang next to the photo, assuming it actually gets hung, and she wanted me to include a website.

The problem is that I don't have a website. I have a Flickr account with thousands of photos, but they are random and of highly variable quality. Since, you can't expect people to wade through thousands of photos, I put some of the better ones in one album. I ended up deciding to limit the album to 79 photos. The parameter that I have given myself it that if I want to add a new photo, I must subtract another.

That album is here. It begins with autumn photos, moves on to general scenery photos (including winter scenes), and scrolls on to flowers, buildings, concerts and people. The best way to navigate the stream is to click on the first photo to select it and then click the double arrows at the bottom right to enlarge it. After that, you can just hit the cursor key to advance through the album. https://goo.gl/ci7S7P

Well, that explanation took a little longer than I thought before getting to a few of the photos that I will post here. They are photos that were already on Flickr that I liked but thought they could use some additional loving care in order to be in the 79 Photos album.

Here are my revisions, but I will spare you the before-and-after comparison.

This is my oldest shot made on an early, low megapixel  DSLR. I like it partly for that reason: that it was made with a low-level camera but is still a decent shot. It may very well be culled someday if I want to add more future concert photos, but it remains for now as I am somewhat attached to it.



That's the oldest photo as are most here, which is why I felt that they required some extra tweaking. The editing software improves as does our knowledge of how to develop photos.

This is the interior of a pioneer church that is still maintained. I had to work with the photo to get it the way that I liked.



Below: three autumn photos where I felt compelled in each case to replace a little bit of blank sky with some cloning in of foliage. Why skies must be blank as opposed to rich blue whenever I want to shoot is a mystery.





This next photo also suffered from a blank sky, but it was beyond a bit of cloning, so I actually composited a new sky from another photo.  I added a bit of sky reflection in the water as well. (This was the most recent photo of the bunch, taken just last year.)



Finally two winter photos that are also not recent. The church is from 2011 and the boathouse just a year later.




Some photographers don't enjoy the editing (digital darkroom) process, but I do. Along with taking the original photo, it's as close to being artistic as this poor fellow can get.

The site again: https://goo.gl/ci7S7P . Open the first picture, click the arrows at the bottom right, and use the cursor to scroll through. Just keep on cursing (so to speak — although I suppose it's really cursoring) as much or as little as you wish. Or not at all. I won't be offended. 😇


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The BW Conclusion

I did conclude my 7 day photo challenge on FB. Although I was a reluctant joiner to that meme, it did stretch me a bit, and I ended up posting more than 7 photos.

In a search for variety, I began to experiment with double exposures. You can mimic the effect in post, but these were done in camera. You just accept (or reject) what the camera gives you.

This double was of my keyboard plus coffee in one shot and my happy wall with the other. The two seemed to merge effectively enough.



Although the above suited the challenge, I liked the colour version better, and it was well received on Flickr with more than 20000 views. It was the second of this series that caught notice. Believe me, most of my photos do not get anywhere near that level of exposure.



Another double exposure: two shots with different zooms of a box of Jos Louis cake thingies. Only in Canada as far as I know.



Then I decided on a picture of the picture-taking.



My razors.



Having exceeded the 7-day requirement by 3 days, it was time to quit.

And the congregation said "Amen."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Caps, Hats and Tuques

Someone asked about the colour of my caps after I posted this photo.



The reveal.



The collection began 8 years ago when Allyson and Alycia gave me the top two caps for Fathers Day when we were visiting them in Vancouver. I wear the red one when I want a dash of panache, and I wear the grey one most frequently as I don't have to worry about matching colours with my apparel.

I bought the plaid one several years ago and while it doesn't go with everything, I really like to wear it. I find that it works well with my rather neutral khaki colour, lightweight jacket.

The plain one under the red hat is the winter one which I mentioned previously. It's the newest and most expensive of the lot, but as I have already said, I don't like the lines, particularly with the earflaps pulled down.

I wear caps or hats most of the time in all seasons. It's partly for style but also out of necessity as a bald guy can get very hot or cold up there depending on the season. I don't wear ballcaps except at baseball games, which I don't go to anymore, but I was once upon a time a softball coach. Otherwise they don't particularly suit me or appeal to me. That's my opinion as it pertains to me; I know it is not widely held by about 100 million or more men on this continent.



I will wear caps indoors in arenas, shops, malls and low level coffee shops etc, but I doff in proper restaurants and other places where a certain amount of respect seems to be appropriate. Many others wear caps in any sort of building, but being raised when I was, it still seems socially inappropriate to me in many venues.

The 3 main caps are spring and fall weight: too hot for summer and not warm enough for Canadian winters. I have fedora-style hats for those seasons, partly because I cannot find suitable lightweight caps. I have had one or two in the past that I quite liked, but they elude me these days.

This is my summer hat. The winter one is of similar style but obviously a heavier material, and it also has earflaps.



I have looked through old photos, but this is the only picture that I can find of the winter hat. It will have to do for now.



That winter one is a lot of hat, so there are tuques (or toques) as active wear alternatives.





Well yes, I do get carried away sometimes. I could have stopped with the first two photos, which were all that were needed to answer the question about colour. But I didn't.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Last Bits of Autumn Colour Perhaps

One recent morning, I wandered about with my camera. My main intent was to photograph the banners of which I posted two days ago. But with camera already in hand, I took a few other photos too.

This first one was behind townhall before I began shooting the banners. There were a few remaining maple leaves clinging to the branches of a small tree, so I focused on them and let the background go out of focus. The river and houses on the other side form the background. I like the result.



After taking the memorial banner photos, I drove to the little park near us.

I knew there were tamarack (or larch) trees in colour and wanted to see what sort of photo I could get. Although they are coniferous trees, tamaracks turn colour and drop their leaves (needles) like broad-leaved deciduous trees.



I went to the other side of the bridge (in the above photo) and shot back toward the bridge through the tamarack branches.

This first photo was shot at f10 (small aperture) focusing on the branch. You can see the bridge clearly although it is out of focus (this is a good thing).



At a wider aperture of f4 you can barely make out the bridge at all even though it is a similar shot to the one above (although cropped and processed differently).



It has turned very cold here with nighttime frosts. I don't expect to find much more colour for a long time.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Vigil

I have already posted one photo of The Vigil by the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets of Carelton Place at the Cenotaph through the night leading to Remembrance Day. I included it in another post of Remembrance because I wanted it to appear on Remembrance Day.

I now have a few others from that extremely cold and windy evening.

The cadets kept vigil in half hour shifts all through the bitter night, bless them. I stayed for maybe 20 minutes and became very chilled.

In some of the photos, you will see candles. There were 94 of them to remember and honour the 94 heroes who fell during conflicts. You can also see the cenotaph in three of the photos, with some detail in the first.

What a tribute!