Monday, June 30, 2014

A New Addition in an Already Crowded Space

Pretty sure, I have described my jam-packed den at some point in the past. Well it's not getting any emptier. You see, some silly old fart brought a new monitor home last week. Now he has two monitors as he somehow managed to shoehorn it in.

Why do you want two monitors, AC?

Well, when you do photography as a hobby, it's a joy to have a decent-sized monitor. When I got this computer almost 5 years ago, I got a 21" monitor (the one on the right), which seemed fine after working on a 17" laptop. And it has been fine, really. But I have a sneaky feeling that it is giving out a little, as I seem to detect a little unwanted line in it. Besides, I wanted a bigger, brighter monitor. I have been hankering for one for over a year now, and when Staples had a sale last week ... well ... I gave way to temptation.

The new one (on the left) is 27" and I bought it to replace the former one, but then I decided to experiment with a two monitor system. Some programs, like Lightroom and Photoshop, can use a second monitor. In the photo above, I am comparing my edited version of a photo with the original RAW file on the second monitor as I edit it on the new monitor. After a trial, I may decide that 27" is quite enough, thank you very much, and mothball the older monitor, but this is what it is for now.

By moving the tower to a little table that I also had to squeeze in, I was able to fit both monitors on my computer table, which also holds my printer and my scanner on the top shelf (in the photo).

Other items in this room include four bookcases (2 large, 2 normal) in my den, which was originally the small bedroom in our townie. I have three chairs, one being the computer chair that I am sitting on right now. I have a second, older computer, that I use for stacking, a wooden filing cabinet, and a little storage cabinet. There's a paper shredder, a recycling container, and a normal trash receptacle. There's a fridge with a little tv on top, and a Tasimo coffee maker. There are many pictures hanging on the wall and, oh, another little coffee-type table by my recliner.

I could go on to describe a few other items lurking in corners, but I am getting weary for some reason.

This probably isn't a good time to mention that I have also been contemplating a large format printer.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Last After School Day

Then kids finished school this week. Although they were there through Friday, out last before-and-after-school-day with them was Wednesday. We decided to do a little something with them, so we went to the library. Danica was flying so high that we let them run around in the park/cenotaph next to teh library in hopes of settling her down. It dideth worketh not. She was still climbing the wall at A&W, which is where we took them for supper. Honestly, she's always an exuberant girl, but she was off the charts on Wednesday.

I took some shots of their time around the cenotaph where there are two cannons like the one pictured below.

Naturally, they were both up and down both separately and together.

He was yelling POW! in this one.

Sue did her part by acting pretty.

So, that's it for after school care until September. Of course, we are scheduled for several weeks of babysitting during the summer. We'll have lots of down time too. Thank goodness.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Solstice Photos

The summer solstice occurred last Saturday, and I set a little project for myself — to take a picture of sunrise and one of sunset. Now, the way things are around here, I can't see the sun directly rising or setting (to my eternal disappointment), but I checked online to see the times for my area. It would rise at 5:12 and set at 20:54 (8:54). So, I set myself up at both of those times and took some pictures.

I seemed to be on a bit of a fool's errand because it's been almost nothing but cloud here, but even so, I was determined to take photos at those times regardless. Somewhat serendipitously, I experienced an marvellous sunrise and an acceptable sunset.

Of course, you realize that one sees the light from the sun both before it comes up and after it goes down. The sky was really lit in the morning photos.

In all photos except for the one below, I used HDR to blend two pics — one for the land and one for the sky. Aside from not being an HDR, the one below is also the only hand-held photo, and it is really a stitch of two photos — or more like 1.5 after cropping.

After the above shots, I moved to the other side of the road that is on the left and took a photo of the trail. It's an all purpose trail used by cyclists and pedestrians in fair weather and snowmobiles and pedestrians in winter.

All of the above photos are a fair representation of the way I remember seeing the sky that morning. In the following sunset shots, the sky was not as dark as it appears in the photos, but it is pretty well the way that it came out of my underexposed shots before blending two photos for sky and land (or water).

Notice some silhouettes of Canada Geese above. They are a main reason why I chose that spot to set up my tripod. Visible are several adults and a couple of goslings' heads.  Then I moved the tripod to a spot and an angle where I could catch a few clouds.

So, that was the project that I set for myself. And I don't think I even had a daytime time after that early morning.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Rock Stacking People

One of my Flickr friends recently posted a photo of rocks stacked on a beach in Nova Scotia and wrote this: "This is how you know Canadians are near. They are a rock stacking people and I had been following there tracks for days when I came upon a fresh stack, to bad I was not able to see them doing this ritual but I will keep looking and hopping they will find me friendly and share whit me there ways ;)"

I was really surprised because even though he resides in the deep south, he has travelled quite a lot in The Great White North, but hadn't yet figured out the stacked rocks and the Canadian propensity for stacking them.

In point of fact, we are so fond of stacking rocks that my wife made me a miniature a few years ago.

It doesn't stay in the flowerpot although it certainly doesn't go amiss there; I just put it there to take a photo. BTW the flag is present because Canada Day is coming up. We get all patriotic for Canada Day and put flags up all over the place, but, being Canadian, we also take them down on the next day or so. Anyway, the stack of rocks usually sits on the bookshelf behind me.

The stack is an Inukshuk, or at least our representation of one. Sue and I first became aware of them when we travelled across much of Canada in 2000. Along the Trans Canada highway, particularly in northern Ontario, we would see myriad stackings of rocks. We soon discovered that they were Inukshuks.

An Inukshuk, somewhat resembles a human figure (on a good day, depending on the artist) and was a type of marker used by the Inuit of northern Canada. Inukshuks may mark direction or other important things such as a burial site or point to good fishing etc. Somewhere along the line, Canadians everywhere embraced Inukshuks, and we are prone to build little replicas along highways, on beaches, or wherever the mood strikes.

After that trip I purchased a little Inukshuk for Sue to commemorate the journey. It is an authentic Inuit carving — out of soapstone, I think. It's small and fits into my hand nicely. It was expensive enough at that size.

This one, bought by my daughter as a souvenir from her own western trip is even smaller: about the size of my thumb.

Of course, they can also be quite grandiose. There is one by English Bay in Vancouver where my other daughter now lives. I have been out there twice and grabbed a few snaps.

Sue and the pigeons
Me with the girls, trying to point like an Inukshuk
A night shot
So, that is the story of Canadians being "a rock stacking people."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Showy Lady Slipper Orchids at Purdon Conservation Area

We heard about and visited Purdon Conservation area in our first year in this area. After eight years, it seemed like another visit was in order. Having received Twitter updates on the progress of these Lady Slipper Orchids, I knew that the time was right. It also helped that it wasn't a boiling hot day because it can get pretty muggy and buggy down in the marshy area.

Joe Purdon discovered a small cluster of this species back in the 1930s and decided to nurture the colony. This necessitates cutting enough trees to provide sufficient sunlight. Presently, there are around 16 000 plants on the site that is now administered by the MVCA (Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority — and as always, I remind visitors that this Mississippi of Eastern Ontario is unrelated to the mighty USA river of the same name).

To preserve the site, visitors are reminded to stick to the boardwalk. This is also rather good advice because it is a low-lying, swampy area. Sue is obeying the rules well in the following photo.

There are orchids aplenty beyond the boardwalk, but there are enough close by to satisfy the average photographer, and I am very average. I carried my lenses and tripod with me, but I don't know why I bother sometimes because I just used the attached lens and hand-held.

The above and below photo is the same, the difference being that the following one is cropped from the upper photo.

As we entered the site, another photographer told us where to find a tree frog (above) — on a sign and not in a tree. He was there when we started our walk and still there at the end. He is about the size of Sue's finger nail, which although longer than mine and probably yours is still just a finger nail. Oh, I may as well post that too although I hadn't intended to.

Below is a butterfly, which I must now google to see if I can identify. Sigh: so much work. Alrighty then: it seems to be a White Admiral (Limenitis arthemis arthemis). It was resting on a table, regularly opening and closing its wings. I didn't want to frighten it away by getting to close.

At the other entrance to the conservation area, some distance from the orchid section, one can take a short walk to the lookout and catch a glimpse of Purdon Lake. Visitors can also walk closer from down below, but we chose not to.

It was an altogether pleasant outing, about an hour away from home. Did I say that admission is free? Well it is, although there is a handy dandy donation box or two on the property.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Wheelers Again

About once a year, and sometimes twice, we visit the fine Wheelers Maple Syrup establishment, and I pretty well shoot the same photos every time and then post them to a blog. Well, why not, eh?

This is a family business, and they built the restaurant out of their own trees (not the sugar maples).
They did a fine job and serve great pancakes and sausages. I didn't take a picture of the food this time, but as usual, I snapped a few of the interior.

And I've also done the old telephone before too.

We went into the boiler room, and I snapped a few. Their process involves three boilers.

We didn't spend any time in either museum this time, but we did wander over the Uncle Henry's garage. White Rose was a Canadian petroleum company that disappeared sometime in the 1960s.

Since I have taken other photos of Uncle Henry's Model T from behind the barrier, I just shot a section of the car this time.

I am always taken with the old license plates hanging from the beams as well as the various cans and instruments along the wall.

That was the first part of our little time away last Thursday. I bet you can't guess about part two (to come), except maybe Mary G if she's reading this.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Object Lesson

This week, a noteworthy display appeared in front of the local high school. If this doesn't grab attention ...

BTW, it's not only students who need such a sobering reminder. There is a law against hands-on cellphone use in vehicles in this province, but I still see it occurring.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Weekend Park Pics

A heckuva lot went on with the kids last weekend, and I am certainly not gonna try to cover it all. Here are some pics of the shenanigans.

We spent quite a bit of time at the playground, which has lots of equipment. While the kids made some use of it, there were times when they simply chose to hang around. This is actually two photos composited into one.
In past year, Danica required much boosting for these antics, but she didn't need me
this year. Sniff. But JJ still needed grampa's hands every now and then ...
... but not on this tree (in the other park).
They had a lot of fun on the tire. Buppa was heavily called upon for this activity. This is a blending of two photos. One was better of him and the other of her.
At the entrance to the other park (Riverside), JJ strike a pose.

She decided to pose too.
This is soooo Danica. She saw this father and son landing a small fish, and she had to be right there, inserting herself without any hesitation..
Looking for fish?
Probably reaching for the grass. I just love this photo.
I love this one too: JJ fishing amongst the grasses. They had been so enthralled with seeing the boy fishing earlier that they wanted to try. Sue, ever the problem solver, attached trailing weeds to sticks and let them try their darnedest, sans hooks.
No kids, but I like this one. As we sat waiting, we glimpsed the squirrel feasting from the garbage bin. I included the bench for Bench Mondays on Flickr.
Th th th that's all folks.