Wednesday, November 30, 2016

More Verto Pano Fun

Last week I posted a merge of 4 photos — 2 across and 2 up. I mentioned how I used Lightroom to merge them and what a good job it did.

Creating panoramas isn't new to me, but I haven't done much with vertoramas, so on another ramble, I decided to play some more.

This photo is just a 3-shot vertorama focusing on the drainage pond in our nearby park.

Emboldened I next tried a combination vertorama/panorama. In the title, I opted to call it a vertopano, but I don't know what other photographers call it. Whatever the name, once gain, it is 4 shots, 2 across and 2 up.

The next and final merge is also a 4-shot, but I didn't go too high on the second layer: just a bit to complete the trees on the right. It's of the little bridge that you may or may not see in the distance in the above photo: actually both above photos.

They all show that winter has arrived but whether the snow will remain or not is still in question. Sometimes it stays until March once we get a covering like this in November, but last year, it was mild and snow-less on Christmas Day, and the kids went out to ride their scooters and without heavy coats.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunset Memories

On the weekend, some of the extended family were able to gather in Kingston from various directions to honour my brother-in-laws recent passing. It was neither a funeral nor a memorial exactly, just a coming together at this difficult time.

We were gathered in a house right on Lake Ontario, and I noticed the possibility of getting some shots of the setting sun.

I think this one is appropriate to the day. A life ends and a sun sets, but the sun will also rise in the morning, and for those who remain, life goes on with hope.

It was only after I posted this on FB that they told me that Bill's son and DiL had moved these rocks
to create a path. How appropriate.

My remaining brother-in-law, a fellow photographic devotee, shared the scene with me.

Oops ... I almost forgot this one.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Danica Learns Hockey Skills

Danica has had a yen to try her hand at hockey. The problem is that she has started late, so she is far behind other girls her age who began playing years ago.

So, what to do?

Well, her mom found a program called First Shift, which is designed to give kids a start in the game in a non-competitive atmosphere. As of yet anyway, they are not even playing but the many kids who enrolled divide into 4 groups and rotate to 4 drill areas through their hour on ice.

It is sponsored by Bauer and Canadian Tire, and for the cost of the program, the kids get 12 sessions and then get to keep the equipment. What a deal!

We were very impressed with how the program was carried out. The coaches all seemed to be dedicated and knowledgeable, and they kept the kids active and involved.

They got to skate with pucks and try a bit of passing and receiving.

The most interesting activity centre was the following where they had to hop over sticks, slide under a bar, and then push a coach on a chair.

My fave pic of the day is this one. It's her smile, and it's just her, the wonderful and happy kid that she is.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

First Snow and Last Fence

Somewhat fortuitously, our first snow earlier this week resulted in a photo with a fence in it. So, with one shot I am able to acknowledge the first snow of winter and Tex's last fence meme as she heads into blog retirement, or at least partially.

I took this on Sunday at the beginning of the storm which got severe enough to cancel school buses on Monday.

It is a 4-shot combination panorama (2 across) and vertorama (2 up) that Lightroom stitched together seamlessly. Impressive software.

I converted this to mono but it didn't look that much different in colour except for the house on the right.

BTW it is snowing again today. Oddly enough, just before this weather change last Sunday, we were exalting in the mild temperatures.

So, good job Tex and good luck in the future.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Annual Tree-Decorating Get-Together

We have been doing this for three and a half decades, give or take — getting family together to decorate the tree. I think we began this tradition when my parents moved to Sarnia in the early 80s.

It was never a big affair, but it was a tradition with seven of us: Sue, me, the kids, my parents and Val (a family friend). Although my mother and Allyson are almost hidden, we are all in this photo, except for moi who was taking the picture.

Dad was usually cajoled into hanging one ornament at the end. I pretty much do the same thing, letting the gals and the kids have most of the fun.

Here I am with Mom.

And so, the tradition continues. There were just five of us this year: Sue, me, Shauna, Danica and Jonathan. We now do this at the kids' house and not ours. It seems to make more sense, especially since we just put up a pre-lit tree now in our little place.

The tree was already up with the lights on when Sue and I arrived. JJ was happy to act out on the step ladder.

Then, Danica used to ladder to get a good view of ongoing progress.

The kids worked well and happily together.

Sue and Shauna did their part well.

And even, moi although this ornament had a very difficult string.

But mostly I took pictures and sat with the cat. It's good to know one's role.

And that's that until next year.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

JJ Plays Goal

It was the little gaffer's turn to play goalie yesterday. His team won 7-4 in a good contest in which our guys had a 5-0 lead before the other team got their mojo. The kids and fans had a fine time.

I took photos from various positions but all were through dirty plexiglass or through the netting (to stop pucks from injuring spectators) if I was up high. You can see the texture of the netting in some photos.

I took many shots, and not just of JJ, and I posted them on the team's FB page, but I'll just feature JJ here.

The Pregame Warmup

A good stop coming up

Getting down and dirty ... um ... icy

Stopped with the stick

Post game congratulations

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I often walk this same path; sometimes I take a camera and sometimes I don't. These two photos were taken just a few days apart from the same general area although the compositions are quite a bit different.

On the foggy day, I espied a gaggle on the water, so I snapped a picture from the bush before I went any closer. I figured they would scatter once I got closer, and I was right. Meanwhile, you can see how low the water is as the geese are almost entirely out of the water in the middle of the stream: not that it is ever deep around here, but this is really low these days.

That's all. I don't have much to offer these days.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Snoopy the Flying Ace

Last week, on Remembrance Day, when I posted about Roy Brown, I recalled Snoopy's encounters with the same Red Baron. Of course, I didn't want to post about a cartoon character on that solemn occasion. But today, I find no need to be solemn.

Back in my more youthful days when I would read Snoopy comics, I had no clue about either Carleton Place or Roy Brown.

Now that I do know more, I observe that Snoopy was dressed authentically for battle, flew the correct Sopwith Camel, and chased the Baron in his Fokker (if you'll pardon my German).

The hound had many adventures with the Baron and with varying degrees of success ... such as this comic strip.

This flying ace adventures also made it to television such as in this Halloween special, which I can only link and not embed. Strange that.

Our hero also showed up at Christmas

And don't forget the song, which I did forget until I was reminded. This version is by the Irish Rovers.

So, there ya go with a little trip down memory lane for vintage people such as I. I think I like being called vintage; there are worse names for this stage of life, I think you must admit.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Character Study

After careful analysis, I have decided that this person and I cannot be friends.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


You have probably learned that the renowned poet-singer-songwriter, Leonard Cohen, passed away last week. I have never been an avid follower of him or any musician really. but I have always been aware of Cohen, ever since I was introduced to him in a Can Lit class around 1968-69.

Although enticing students to poetry through music has become somewhat commonplace, our prof broke the mold for me back then when she played two of Cohen's songs. This student had never hear of poetry presented that way and certainly hadn't heard of Leonard Cohen either. But I did hear Suzanne that day, which really stood out for me, I'm sure partly because I was going out with my own Susanne at the time (and still am).

There was another song, but I don't remember it. I thought that it might be So Long, Marianne, and it may have been, but it didn't ring any bells for me when I clicked it on YouTube.

Of course, his most famous song is Hallelujah. While I can't say that I've heard every version (who has?), I can say that I think kd lang's version has to be the best, and I don't seem to be alone in that opinion.

Ten years ago, I found myself watching Leonard Cohen being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on television. kd lang sang for him at the ceremony, and it was astounding. If you watch the clip you will see Cohen and lang embracing after the performance. She also sang it at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, but this video is the one she sang for Cohen.

This page from the Toronto Star will link you to other performances of Hallelujah, including Bono's and Bon Jovi's, but lang's is simply the best in my very humble opinion. However, I also like the version  near the end of the list: the big, 1500 voice choir. What a thrill it would be to sing that song in that choir: a lifetime memory for those people, I'm sure!

I will, however, link two more videos below for those who are still here. The first is Cohen's own performance of Hallelujah and the second is very old footage of  him singing Suzanne.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembering Roy Brown

On this Remembrance Day, I am taking the opportunity to revisit the story of Carleton Place's great war hero, Roy Brown, the pilot credited with shooting down the dreaded Red Baron in WWI.

The Bridge Street mural, below, depicts the battle in which Brown allegedly shot down the Manfred von Richthofen, who actually was a German noble or baron. He also piloted a red plane; hence the nickname, Red Baron.

The image shows Roy on the tail of von Richthofen who himself was tailing Brown's friend and flying companion, Lieutenant Wop May. May had been in another altercation before being pursued by the Baron.

Although it is possible that Australian artillery actually shot down the Baron during the heated action, Brown was officially credited, at least by Canada. For this and other feats in battle has was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

The mural was officially unveiled in November 2012, and I understand that it takes its inspiration from the following painting of the battle by Ivan Berryman.

The town also pays homage to the pilot with an exhibit in the Moore House.

There is a corner with cutout, uniform, and information displays. To the left, the Baron has not been forgotten.

Although he didn't always live in this town, Roy was born in Carleton Place in 1893 in the house shown below. There is a small, commemorative plaque outside, but I was shooting with my wide angle lens on the day, so it was pointless to try to photograph it.

That lovely home (above) lies just around the corner from his grandparents' house (below), which is even a finer, old mansion.

In the left in the above photo, you begin to see the mill that his grandfather owned just across the street from the house, and there is more mill to see in the following photos.

Now, converted into apartments, it was then the Boulton Brown Mill. The grandparents chose to live right opposite the mill despite whatever sights and sounds that must have been emitted from a busy mill. Back then, without access to the kind of transportation that we enjoy today, it was actually considered to be advantageous to live close to your work.

When I searched to update my recollections about the mill, my own previous Flickr posting came up, with this photo that I took last winter.

Finally, a photo of the other side of the mill (all the buildings to the right) from the bridge over the river.

With all of these photos and bits of history, I may have digressed a little from what I intended to be a Remembrance Day memorial to the town's old was hero, but the information all seemed to be connected and, therefore, pertinent. And you know that I can scarcely resist including a photo or six in my posts.

Of course, there is much more information readily available online, including Wikipedia's page on Roy Brown.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Kids

There was a time when this blog became mostly about the kids, especially when they were young and we were babysitting regularly. But life moves on, and I don't post so much about them anymore. However, I guess it's okey dokey to update every now and then.

They spend three mornings before school and three afternoons after school with us. They are at the age where they tend to do their own thing, but we still have good times of interaction.

One morning recently, JJ took a break from his usual drawing and wanted to play games. He mostly dotes on Sue, and here they are playing a memory game where you turn up on image and try to remember its mate. If you fail, you turn both images back over.

When Sue had to attend to other things, he asked if I would play.

We had some fun.

Then, Danica had a sleepover with us and thought that I should teach her something. I had a kids book on Charles Darwin, so we read that and discussed evolution for a bit. We watched a short video on the subject, and then, somehow, we got onto famous paintings. She also likes to get her back scritched.

Something tickled our funny bones.

Just before an already somewhat late bedtime, she did a bit of sketching.

We do have some good times.