Thursday, November 6, 2008

From Montreal

Here are some pictures I took while in Montreal, Quebec last week for a convention. The first one was taken from my hotel window using an end table as a substitute tripod. The others were taken while wandering around the underground passages in downtown Montreal.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Victoria Sunset

I took my wife to Victoria, B.C. on Monday so she could fly to Kelowna on Tuesday to help out with the new grandson and his parents and brothers in Vernon.

Of course, I took a bunch of pictures but most of them were taken in bright daytime sunshine and I knew they wouldn't be the best. Good practice though. After we hooked up with my daughter-in-law's parents, who graciously put us up for the night, we went for a drive to a couple of spots along the water front. I'm not real sure just where this was but I like the sky and the sun framed by the tree branch and the silhouettes of the trees and plants.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Painted Sky

I ran out to the car last night to get something we left in it and the sky looked pretty amazing. I went back out with the camera and eventually took this from my back deck. It needed something a bit more than just the photo so I applied a dry brush filter in Photoshop to give it a painting effect. I kind of like how it turned out.

Hope Rest Stop

Lot's has transpired since the last post. Things went well with the new grandson, Lucas and just when it looked like we would bring the other two to our home on Vancouver Island, it sounded like they would be sending Lucas back to the hospital in Vernon, where he was born. So we headed to Vernon instead on Monday with Nathan and Ben. Tuesday, Lucas and his mom flew home while dad drove back.

We stayed until Thursday because my wife had a dentist appointment on Friday. However, she woke up ill and had a tough time traveling. She asked if we could stop at the roadside rest outside of hope for a 15 minute lay down in the back seat. While she slept I walked around a bit without my camera and saw some things I thought might make for a good picture. After 15 minutes I got my camera, told her to sleep for a few more minutes and I took some shots. Because of this we almost missed the 3:00 ferry but we ended up the second last on (after speeding all the way from Hope.

This is an old highway behind the rest stop that is blocked off. A bridge nearby has a 1963 date on it so I'm thinking this may have once been part of the Trans-Canada highway before the current divided highway went in. I converted it to black and white and cropped it to a square format and I kind of like it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Grandson

It has been a few hectic days. Wednesday, we were still camping. That night we got word that our daughter-in-law was having some labour pains and they were doing a test and then would try and stop the labour because she wasn't yet at term. Thursday morning the cell phone rang about 6:30 and we were told that our grandson had just been born, about 6 weeks premature. He was doing well but there was a need to send him somewhere better equipped and so he and Mom were flown to BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver that afternoon with Dad and his other two boys following by car.

We packed up the trailer and headed home. Friday, after my wife's dentist app't. we headed to Vancouver to see the little guy and offer our assistance to help take care of the other two grandchildren. My daughter had headed over right away and was a real angel by looking after them while my son Neil was dealing with his wife and new son being admitted.

So now it's late Saturday night, the two grandsons, Nathan and Ben are fast asleep as is Grandma, and I'm heading there soon. The last couple of days seem like a week or more but things are going well. Lucas Jeremy Paul is doing fine, just needed some help with his lungs that were fully developed but still not mature enough to manage fully. He is cute, although I haven't seen him with his eyes open. Mom (Jen) was discharged today and her and Neil are at the Easter Seal house nearer the hospital so they can transport breast milk during the night.

They let me take my camera in when I went to see Lucas and I took several shots of him in the incubator. This is one of them. Life is precious and wonderful and the hospital and workers are fabulous and it is wonderful that Lucas is doing so well.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I Have No Idea

Here is my picture for today. This thing sits in a field near where I'm camping. The field is near a river and there are some old steel pilings along the bank so I assume that there was once some kind of mill here and this is what's left of some piece of machinery.

Interesting, though. At least, I think so.

Friday, June 6, 2008


The skies cleared up today, the sun came out and I thought I would take the camera and tripod out to see what I could see. Actually, since it was midday, not a great time for pics in the open sun, I headed into the forest because I saw this old, abandoned car that I thought would make a good picture. I used a preset in raw that provides an interesting effect and here it is with a few tweaks. I considered converting to black and white but the colors provide more drama in this case. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rena Contemplating Flower

Here is my wife, Rena, looking at the little flower that I posted yesterday. She was thinking about it being alone and strong, not part of a group. I'm not sure what message she got out of it because she does like to be with groups. Sometimes though, we have to be strong enough to stand on our own. I think that then makes us even more valuable when we are part of a group.

Anyway, this may or may not be the picture for today. It's raining and we're going shopping. I have lots of 1600 ISO pictures from yesterday that are still good enough for posting until I can get back with my tripod to retake some of them. There are some fascinating pictures around here that I am looking forward to capturing and then developing them.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rena's Flower

My wife and I are camping at the Living Forest RV park in Nanaimo, B.C. for a couple of weeks plus. As I have done a bit lately I plan on posting pictures during my holidays. I'll try to post one a day although I don't plan to keep it to a picture taken on that day only.

Today, we went for a walk along the Nanaimo River. I took a number of pictures, mainly to see if I could find anything that would cause me to haul my tripod out in the evening or early morning. I did find lots and plan on rewalking the trail with the tripod. Of course, I didn't sufficiently check my settings and shot everything at ISO 1600. No wonder my shutter speeds were so fast. D'oh! Anyway, this flower turned out not too bad. I've called it Rena's flower because she was impressed by it. There weren't very many of these along the way and they were always alone, not in clusters like daisies. She related to that because of her independent spirit and so this is the first picture posted on our holidays. If I get a chance I'll ask her to write a little addendum to this post explaining what she was thinking.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

3 from Vernon

Here are three pictures I took around the area where my grandson was playing T-Ball. I took them on a sunny day at the end of April when I was in Vernon, B.C.

I found this shadow interesting and wondered how it would like in camera.

This is just a picture of a wall. I liked the different textures.

This final one is a portion of an old freezer that was sitting in a parking lot a half a block from the ball field. I was intrigued first by the very fact it was in a parking lot and secondly, by the patterns of the rust and the MagicMatic logo and symbol.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Watering Cans

Wow, it's been too long since I've blogged a picture. I've been busy adjusting to the new lifestyle of shiftwork and 4 on, 4 off, plus the new HD cable box has me watching way too much tv.

Anyway, this picture was a shot I took of a display inside the store at Davison Orchard in Vernon, B.C. It looked pretty good after initial development but I applied a lomo style cross-processing action and finally used a hue/saturation adjustment level to get the final look.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Another Shot of Nathan

Here's a more "normal" looking picture of my grandson, Nathan. I used that Dave Hill technique on this one, too. I kind of like it.

Lot's more pics were taken during this short little game of T-ball but I need to take the time to work them just a bit.

1/200 sec, f4, ISO 400, 200mm.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nathan and T-Ball

My wife and I are holidaying in Vernon again because that's where my son and his wife and the grandsons are. On the way through Kelowna on Wednesday, I stopped at Lens and Shutter and picked up the Canon 70-200L f/4 IS lens, the best (and most expensive) lens I've ever owned.

On Thursday I had a chance to try it out at my grandson's T-Ball game. I took a lot of shots and am in the process of developing them but I like this one where Nathan is hamming it up while standing on third base. Usually he can be quite shy and uncooperative when I'm trying to take his picture but this time he decided to act up for the camera. In this shot, I applied an effect that is getting quite popular (and common) that is based on some of the technique made famous by Dave Hill.

Details: f4, 1/160 sec, ISO 400, 70-200 lens at 200 mm.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Too Busy to Post

My apologies to those 4 of you who visit once in awhile for not posting anything here recently. I have had a job change in the mill where I work. An opportunity arose to post back into the Steam Plant using my 3rd Class Power Engineer ticket and I took it. Though it means going on shift it also means a considerable salary increase and more time off during the year due to the 4 on 4 off schedule. This, of course, means more time for photography (yippee).

Because they want to get me trained as quick as possible I have had only two days off since my last post on April 1. But, the extra overtime days should pay for the Epson 3800 I've decided to buy. I haven't ordered yet, but soon. That will be the next fun step in this hobby, printing. I can't wait.

I'll try to have a couple of more pics from my last shoot up soon. Maybe. If I can find some time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Kitsuksis Creek Dike

My wife and I went for a walk after supper yesterday and I took my camera along and grabbed a few shots. We walked along a walkway around Kitsuskis Creek which is about 3 block from where we live. This is one of the shots I took.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Another Cathedral Grove Pic

One more picture from our walk through Cathedral Grove a few weeks ago.

For this image, I used a cross processing action and then converted it to black and white. I did a little bit of work to tone down the blown out highlights a bit on the bridge railing and cross beams. I like the look.

I think it's time to find another place to walk and photograph.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Another Picture from Cathedral Grove

Here's another photo from our walk through Cathedral Grove a few weeks ago. Interestingly, the Grove is currently shut down to visitors so that they can do some removal of dangerous limbs and such.

This picture is of a wooden walkway that leads up to a kind of patio type place with some info about the grove. I used an action suggested by DIY Photography that mimics the Dave Hill look to a small extent. Check out Dave's site for some awesome looking portraits.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Weekend Picture - March 15

Though the idea of a picture of the day or a weekend picture is to get me to go out and shoot pictures, I haven't yet had the opportunity this weekend. I thought I would post another picture I like from last weekends photo shoot.

The beauty of Cathedral grove is in its majestic Douglas Firs. I saw these several (I think there are five in the picture) trees standing majestically. I did a conversion to black and white but I had to come back to the beauty of the green. Often, my wife and I comment that God's favorite color must be green, at least in our part of the world, because there is just so much of it in a rainforest.

ISO 100, f4 at 1/10 sec (handheld), 24 mm lens focal length.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weekend Pictures Finally

After talking for several weeks about getting out on the weekend and trying to do a photo a week type project, I finally did it yesterday. Rena (my wife) and I went for a drive and stopped at Cathedral Grove which is about twelve miles out of town. Though we live incredibly close to a major tourist attraction, it has been years since we stopped and walked through this treasure of huge and old Douglas Fir.

I was looking for a shot that was a bit different, not just pictures of big trees, and I actually captured a couple of shots that I am posting here. So, two pictures this week.

This first one is just some branches, full of moss, that kind of resemble a large, bony hand reaching out. The vivid greens are fairly reflective of what it really looks like in our temperate rain forest, at least to my memory, and I added a gaussian glow action to give it a bit more feeling.

The highway actually runs through the middle of the grove and on the other side of the highway we found a road that led us to the west end of Cameron Lake where I took this shot.

I especially like the glassy surface reflecting the clouds and the trees but also allowing some of the stuff underneath to show through. I double (maybe triple) processed this shot to brighten the trees up a bit and keep the rest of the shot looking natural. I also darkened up the reflection of the trees a bit so the junk underneath was a little less obvious. There was also a fisherman in his boat that you can just see on the left side motoring away from me.

All shots were handheld. I hauled the tripod around but didn't use it for the first shot and so I put it back in the car. I could have used it for the second, but it's still okay.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Weekend Failures

I have absolutely no excuse for not going out shooting this weekend except laziness and a lack of inspiration. I am only posting here because my son asked "Where's the weekend picture" in a comment on the previous post.

I did throw the camera and tripod in the car when we went shopping in Nanaimo on Friday night because we thought we'd stay overnight and I would have gone looking for some shots on Saturday, but we came home and I spent all day yesterday at the computer.

I have been wrestling with what printer to buy. There isn't really one out there within my perceived budget that is perfect but I am leaning toward the Epson 2400. It is older and requires switching between photo black and matte black cartridges depending on paper use but it has gotten fairly favorable reviews and currently has a $100 rebate offer. Of course, as soon as I buy it they'll announce the upgrade printer but that's okay, I kind of don't want to wait the 4-6 months between announcement and availability.

The picture above was a weekend picture, taken in January on the west coast of Vancouver Island, part of the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Revisiting Pictures

Here's a picture I took in June 2007 with my brand new Canon 30D. I was on a ferry from Comox (on Vancouver Island) to Powell River (on the Sunshine Coast) just trying out the new camera and I took this shot. I had processed a similar shot of this sailboat last year, but thought I would take another look at it, applying a few things I've learned since then.

The primary technique used involved opening the picture from Camera Raw (ACR) as a smart object, duplicating it and reopening the duplicate in ACR, pushing the exposure way up, bringing it back into Photoshop, masking that layer and then painting the brighter boat back in to make it pop out a bit. This was a technique learned from Scott Kelby's 7-Point System and it works great. Then I applied a gaussian glow action, and this is what came out. I love it.

Camera data - f8, 1/200 sec, -1 exposure compensation, ISO 100, lens focal length 85 mm.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Photoshop User TV

This week's episode of Photoshop User TV is up. If you've never watched it and you're interested in some quick tips on Photoshop, have a peek. It takes about half an hour. I usually download the episode and watch it when I can, like right now. See ya.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Photoshop Adjustments

After some good photo taking discipline while on holidays, I failed to even get out this weekend to do a photo of the week. But, here's a blog post for those few who do come to visit here.

I've had a conversation with a friend on Facebook concerning Photoshop. He uses it to color some of his sketches that he scans in to the computer and, like me, I think is in the process of learning more about the program as the days go by.

He wondered at how Photoshop is used in photography. Now, I know this is obvious to those who are photographers and who use Photoshop, but for others who may only be getting acquainted with the program or have just started to experiment with using it in other fields, it may not be as obvious. So, I thought I'd give a brief demonstration by just showing an unadjusted photo right out of the camera and the same photo after I have worked on it a bit in Photoshop.

The picture I will use was originally posted in my February 7 PAD post.

Here is how the picture looks right out of the camera. I shoot in RAW with little in camera processing so this is like a digital negative. As you can see, the contrast is poor and it is all rather bland.

This next one is how it looks after being processed in Camera Raw, adjusting it to get a better contrast and prepare it for final work in Photoshop.

This one uses a little bit different effect than in the original post referenced above. In addition to "developing" the raw file in Adobe Camera Raw, I also made some adjustments in Photoshop to increase contrast, clean up some sensor dust spots, darken the sky a bit and bring out some of the shadow detail in the bench. I also cleaned up some footprints in the bottom right hand corner of the picture. This version has an action applied that gives it a bit of a dark, gaussian glow to it. It has created some artifacts in the sky, but overall, I have just kind of fallen in love with the look of this image.

Hopefully, you can see that there is considerable difference from the straight out of the camera shot above.

You may think that this is a lot of work, but I consider it fun and the more I learn, the quicker it becomes. It is no different from the advanced hobbyist from the film days who had his own darkroom and produced his own prints. I never quite got there although I always wanted to. Digital gives me an opportunity to have similar fun without the chemistry and need for a darkroom. All I need now is a printer, the final step in this great hobby.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Frozen Grand Central

No picture today (yet, anyway) but you have to go see Frozen Grand Central. Take a couple of minutes and watch the video. It's kind of cool. (Via John Nack on Adobe.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another Picture from Vernon

Here is one more picture from the park in Vernon that I took the day we were supposed to leave but didn't because of the snow. I walked by this tree once and almost walked past it again but thought I'd better stop and take a few shots.

Same camera and lens as the past posts. Lens at 41 mm, f11 at 1/250 sec. Post processing in ACR and some curve adjustments to try and pop the tree out a bit.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

One For the Road

We arrived safely home today with no incidents, no problems on the ferry and no snow or avalanches, just sweet west coast rain. I even went out after we got home, in the rain, and washed all the highway sand and grit and dirt off the car.

But here is another picture taken Thursday morning when we decided not to travel due to snow. This is from the same park as Thursday's picture. The park and subdivision is up on a hill and it looks out over this area. These trees line a couple of fairways on a golf course and they kind of caught my eye. I used a blue channel bleach bypass action I have and then converted to black and white and added just a touch of blue tint to give the picture the cooler look it deserves considering the subject.

It was shot at 85mm, f10 at 1/50 sec with a +1 exposure compensation.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Travelling Home

No picture today although I have worked on a couple I took yesterday that I should get up in a day or two. The PAD (picture a day) project was a good experience for me and, though I don't have time to do it all the time, I think it has inspired me to try and do a picture a week on weekends. In between I should go to work on some of the pictures I've taken over the last 6 months and see how they look.

I have a bit more knowledge of digital and Photoshop and working the pictures to get the most out of them than I did a few months back. That's a good thing obviously but I need to revisit some of the earlier pics to at least get that contrast up on them.

Today was a travel day. The highway I wanted to take was still closed due to an avalanche and so we took a longer route via Kamloops and Cache Creek coming down the Trans-Canada highway (#1) through the Fraser canyon. There was some concern because the signs outside of Kamloops indicated that #1 was closed south of Lytton. Sheesh! We phoned our son who checked the net and found out that there had been several mini-avalanches but it was supposed to be clear by noon. The radio indicated the same and so we took a chance and continued on. Fortunately, by the time we got to the spot, the road was clear and we had no delay.

We are overnighting in Burnaby and stopped at IKEA where I picked up some DIY strobist-type stuff to try and make use of in portrait work. I'll try and have more to say about that in a couple of days.

To those few who bother with this blog, I am obviously no expert, but I am trying to learn. Most of my time recently has been spent trying to learn some Photoshop techniques. I still need to learn more but I also need to get into the lighting area to focus on portraits and stuff like that. Too bad I have to work, I could use the time learning. However, I have to pay for some of this stuff somehow. I have a bit of lens fever having actually seen the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS lens the other day in a camera store. I need it...I want it.....$$$$.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Vernon PAD - Tree in Snow

Thanks to about 5 inches of snow and an avalanche that shut down the highway we wanted to travel on back to Vancouver, we decided to stay an extra day in Vernon. So, I ventured out this morning and took a bunch of pictures in a little park right behind where we are staying. There are several nice shots I considered and will probably showcase here over the next few days, but I picked this one because it shows the snow and has a kind of irony to it with the unused park bench waiting for spring and for people to sit and enjoy the view from. Plus, I have a thing for trees, especially solitary ones.

Hopefully, we should get away tomorrow, although, if I got totally snowed in and had to miss some more work, I wouldn't really mind. Really, I wouldn't.

Canon 30D, 17-85 IS at 17 mm, f16, 1/40 sec (+1 exposure compensation).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Vernon PAD - Trees

Here is today's picture and possibly the last one from Vernon since we're heading to Vancouver tomorrow for a couple of days. There was a line of trees behind a small mall near where I am staying and so I stopped and took a few pictures and picked this one to share. I experimented a bit with throwing a funky frame around it and this is what I got.

Same camera and lens - lens was at 44 mm and it was shot at f9, 1/320 sec with a -2 compensation and ISO 100. I spent some time playing around and I think I used two different shots overlayed to get a dark sky and light trees.

I'm not sure if I'll have another shot of the day tomorrow since I am travelling but I have a couple of others from the last few days that I may post.

It's been a good challenge to force me to get out and get only a few pics instead of wandering around randomly shooting a whole pile of pictures and never doing much with any of them. It has been a good discipline and a good learning experience. I'll have to do it again but I don't think I could do a PAD for a whole month, say, like some bloggers I follow.

But, it is good to challenge yourself to projects and I'll have to do more of that. I really have to get going on the lighting thing and some of the stuff from Strobist, since I have a lot of the equipment I need already. Have to twist some arms for models, though.

To those few who visit, thanks and have a great day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Vernon PAD - Candles

I had an idea and went out this morning to Kal Beach in Vernon but the weather wasn't great so I came back and went looking for something inside to shoot for today's PAD. This candle set was interesting to me so I stacked them on the table, put a chair on the table to make the background and took the shot. I used the light from a window at camera left and used a silver reflector that I bought yesterday (a 5 in 1 set) to bring in some light from the right. Then I played with some actions I have and came up with this effect.

The lens was at 80 mm, and the setting was f8 at 1/4 second and ISO 100.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Vernon PAD - Highway Truck

Since it is still just after 10:30 in British Columbia, I've managed today's picture with time to spare. Took a trip with the family to Kelowna today and since I got to sit in the back of my son's car I thought I would just shoot some shots out the window. I grabbed this one out the back window as we passed the truck. I used an edgy effect in Adobe Camera Raw that was suggested by Matt Kloskowski, one of the Photoshop guys (it was actually a tip for Lightroom but Camera Raw can do it, too). Then I just did a couple of things in Photoshop to increase contrast a bit. It's certainly not a perfect shot because it was taken through the back window and the defrost wires in the window cause the lines seen in the picture, but I kind of like it.

Details: same camera and lens, lens at 56 mm, ISO 200, f8 at 1/30 sec.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Vernon PAD - Sawhorse in the Snow

I didn't go very far today and I spent more time fooling with the image in Photoshop (including a crash that shut the computer right down and losing all my unsaved work) than I actually took shooting the photo. This is just in the backyard of the place my son and his family rent in Vernon.

I used a filter to do a black and white conversion and then painted the little red patch back in.

Details: Same camera and lens as yesterday; focal length 72 mm; f8 at 1/100 sec and 100 ISO.

Now, time to focus on the Superbowl.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Daily Picture on Holidays

I'm on vacation for a week in Vernon, B.C. and I thought I would try and do a picture a day (PAD) while I'm here. Plus, maybe actually get this blog going.

I took this picture this morning just up the road from where my son and his wife and children live. It looks out over Kalamalka lake and I like the curve of the shore and the reflected curve in the development on the hillside.

Click on the picture for a little bit larger view.

It was shot in RAW and adjusted there and then I used a couple of actions in Photoshop to get this.

Shot with a Canon 30D, 17-85 lens at 59mm, ISO 100, f8, 1/100 shutter speed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year Picture

Happy New Year to those two or three of you who drop by from time to time.

My wife and I went for a walk in Sproat Lake Provincial Park which is very near to our home in Port Alberni, B.C.

It was good to get out and I took my camera and tripod along to see if I could capture anything that interested me. This was one of the first shots I took as we got near the water. I had been wanting to get a shot that had some reflections in it and this is a start for me. I did do some post processing work with a couple of actions, notably a gaussian glow effect that seems to work good for landscapes since I have yet to bite the bullet for the NIK filters. I also cleaned up all my sensor dust and finally duplicated the layer and used the overlay blend at 44% opacity to boost it a bit. I also cropped it a bit to tighten up the image and cloned out some distracting remnants in the left corners.

This is all great fun for me.

Resolutions for the New Year? Just to take more photos and increase my skill and understanding of all things photographic.

All the best in 2008.