Sunday, 8 August 2010

CGTA Gift (Trade) Show This Week...

Starting today (Sunday Aug 8), the CGTA Gift (Trade) Show is on this week at the International Centre in Mississauga. This was my first time attending the show - - it's a monster, including everything from toys, to clothing to artwork.

I found some of my photo art, as well as the art of our friend, Antoine Gaber on display at our distributor's booth and was happy to hear about a number of my images selling at a show last week in Las Vegas.

It really is a neat feeling, walking in to a show like this and seeing your work all mounted and on display. An even better feeling, is seeing someone picking up your work and checking it out! Of course, the ultimate feeling is seeing the cheque arrive in the mail.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Northern Lights - WHAT Lights?

Thank you John (IIPhotography), for letting me in on the Northern Lights get-together in Caledon last night. Although it was a 'bust' as far as a light show goes (I guess we have to pay McGuinty another new "it's-a-fee-not-a-tax" to see the lights in Ontario?), I enjoyed meeting the group and learned a few things at the same time.

As Mark (Marked Imagery) posted on Twitter, no lights were visible and rather than give in to discouragement, I began 'picking-off' stars, just for giggles. There was one particularly bright star to the south of us and so I began shooting it with various exposures - even changing the lens to verify what I was seeing. This star (or was it a planet?) had smaller 'lights' around it. At first I thought it was some form of reflection, or focal problem with my lens, similar to a shot John and I had checked out earlier in the evening. However, whatever this is, it really is out there. The proof is in a number of shots. The shot posted here was taken with a Sigma 70-300mm APO lens and cropped to about the center third of the original frame. The very same photo was taken with my Sigma 14-200mm, without a filter on the lens (except, no shooting star trail in the bottom-left third of the frame).

If anyone sees this and knows what star or planet it is, please let me know. Robbie and I pondered over it for quite a bit. Are those moons surrounding it?
I hope that if the group gets together again tonight (Wed), they have more success. Skies are supposed to clear again around midnight, which is a good time to shoot stars in Caledon.

Thanks again for including me, John.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Update...(not a catchy title, I know...)

Let's see... The last entry was about how I'd been shooting ladybugs. Unfortunately, due to such unseasonably cool weather in California this spring, the ladybugs didn't mature on schedule. As a result, my ladybug photo's were produced just a bit too late to be included in the big CGTA Gift Show (trade show) next week. Thankfully, a number of other items I've produced this year will be shown at that show. Ok, so that's ladybugs out of the way - for now... I still have a bag of 'sleeping ladies' in our fridge.

Yesterday, Elizabeth said, "The light is perfect. You should take your camera and head out for a while". I think that's 'wife talk' for 'GO!" *grin* ...So I did.

What was to be a long walk along the Don River was shortened by rain, but not before snapping a bunch of macro shots of a variety of pollenating bees. I'd never noticed just how dusty they can get while doing that job - especially the 'hairy' bumble bees! Visiting the nature page of my site will show you just what I mean.

In my next post, I'll tell you about our trip to see (among other things) the Peterborough Lift Locks. If you've never seen them - or, even worse, have no idea what I'm talking about, imagine two massive tubs, full of water - and large boats. Now, imagine these two massive tubs silently and effortlessly rising and falling 65 feet (20 metres) and then letting those same boats continue on their trip along the canal! Watch for my next post (video link will be included).

Monday, 19 July 2010

Ladybugs Arrive - but it's ok...

In order to shoot close-ups of ladybugs, one must first have - - ladybugs!

Since just before the snow left Toronto, I've been nagging the local (and not-so-local) nurseries, asking when they'd be getting ladybugs in stock. I'd get all kinds of answers. "Mid-June", "...any time now", "about 3 weeks"... These answers were consistent until just last week when, low-and-behold, I got a bag of ladybugs. Apparently, they're harvested in California and the weather there this past winter/spring was so cold the bugs didn't 'do their thing' on time.

Don't worry - they're not the Asian variety. They don't have a nasty bite (if any at all), they don't smell (mind you, I haven't squished any to check) and they're not supposed to multiply like rabbits! These critters are the ones everyone likes (and they're good for the garden)!

So I spent all day yesterday taking my time with a couple of well-frozen ladybugs, carefully posing them again and again. It was fun. Tedious, but fun.

That's a dollar store plastic 'don't pee your mattress' sheet hanging up there. Very low-tech by today's light-diffusion equipment standards, but the Scottish blood in me prefers to use this econo-model - and I love the low-glare results!

By the way - putting a ladybug in the freezer for even a few hours won't harm it... They have a natural 'anti-freeze' in their system. Within a minute of removing them from the freezer (after only a couple of hours in there), they'll be scurrying all over. If you need a more 'permanently seated' model, leave it/them in the freezer for a day/two. They won't move much after that - or so I've found.

To see my results, visit my web site and see the 'Photo Art' section. They're right at the top of the section.

As always, please drop me a note to let me know what you think - or would like me to try next.


Wednesday, 9 June 2010

New Shots Posted...

The Sand & Shells photo's were posted last night. They can be found in the 'Photo Art' category. There are also some new photo's in the 'Nature' category.

Please send me a note telling me what you think. I welcome suggestions on how I might have shot them differently too.

Thanks for taking the time to view them!


Monday, 7 June 2010

Sand and Shells Project...almost done...

Well, Elizabeth and I started out a week or so ago by lugging sand back home from Toronto's Cherry Beach. After a few test shots, we decided this stuff wasn't for us. So... Off to the Garden Centre - and this time lugging 2, 20kg bags of "Play Sand" home - alone! *Grunt!* I have to admit it's a lot better looking than what we started with.

Shown here are the 'setup' and finished shots of one of the shells we're shooting this week (thanks to Elizabeth's sister and brother-in-law for loaning this fragile beauty). Some shots are assortments, as well as some driftwood and other odds & sods. This is all being done on our plastic-covered antique dining table - which sits above Elizabeth's prized Oriental rug! Hey, don't look at me - this was all HER idea!!

The finished shots will be posted to my web site ( over the next day or so. Please check them out and let me know what you think?

Enjoy the sun!


Tuesday, 4 May 2010

See the Smoke?

You may have seen or heard about the condo rooftop fire the other day that took place along Toronto's waterfront. We were amazed to see just how far (and thick) the smoke was travelling! It finally dispersed around Sheppard Avenue and Leslie Street (just north of the 401). Toronto fire sure took care of it in short order (about 15 minutes). We figured this was going to be an all-nighter for sure!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Well, we're back from our holiday in Florida (we miss the warmth and brilliant sunlight already!).

Elizabeth and I decided to visity Disney World one more time and had a blast. We took loads of photo's and some video footage, so watch for new photo's and video footage coming soon!

We watched the highly touted Fantasmic show and although it is certainly good, wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't like waiting in line, then waiting for about an hour on a hard bench for the show to start (and we had the 'dinner package', which meant we didn't have to wait as long as the 'common folk').

True enough, you get to see just about every Disney character out there (not to mention some really snazzy special effects, using water, light and pyrotechnics), but after watching a few minutes of Disney footage projected through a wall of spraying water, you're ready form something else. Don't get me wrong, there are loads of animated/live characters and other special effects. We just felt they relied far too heavily on the 'water screen' thingy...

Elizabeth and I think that after two trips there, we've just about shot everything there is to see. Of course, we're wrong - they're constantly changing things in the parks - and we've only ever been there in spring.

A little less glamourous was our trip to Toronto's Centre Island this past week. It was nowhere near as warm as Florida, but a nice long walk together exploring the Island, was another wonderful day together. Chatting and exploring together... It doesn't get better...

Anyway, that's were we've been for our mid-April 2010 and we hope things are going well in your corner of the universe.


Monday, 29 March 2010

Web Site Updated...

I have so much material on the Nature section of the site, that I had to change the way the material is presented. It used to be that you'd click 'arrows' to navigate back and forth through the many pages. It just got to be TOO many pages in some sections - you'd click forever. So, although some web design/marketing sites disagree with putting a scroll-bar on a page, you'll find one on 'the City', 'Nature' and 'Photo Art' sections.

Now that this 'renovation' is complete (for now), I'll try getting some fresh material posted for the various sections.

Please check out the site ( and let me know what you think?

Thanks, JR

Friday, 26 March 2010

The photo hike last weekend along the Cherry Beach and Polson Pier areas was a bit of a bust due to lousy weather. I did get to meet some of the folks whose photo's I've been admiring though. Thanks Mark for the intro's!

A return to the area 3 days ago saw a much warmer and brighter day. That also brought the dog-walkers out... Meaning, the swans wouldn't come anywhere near the shore! I did get some shots anyway. Feel free to check out my Nature Page #16 (click the Nature button on the left side of the Main Page and then click the 'back arrow' once).

I'll be re-designing the site soon, allowing for more direct access to those pages of interest. Stop by often to check out the new material - and the changes!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Early Morning Shoot...

An old friend has invited me to join him, along with a group of his other friends on a photo-hike tomorrow. It'll be an early start, which is great! We may catch some early morning fog along the lake, sunrise reflecting on the water (if the clouds stay away until afternoon, as forecast). It should be a fun morning - and I'd better be on my game. I've seen the work of some of these folks!

After the club meeting last night, I took a drive to the Distillery District, where I got a few shots of the CN Tower light show. I may post them over the next few days. Check my site - they'll appear in the City section.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Toronto Beach Photo Club Meeting Tonight!

The topics tonight are 'Lighting' and 'Insect photography'. I know most people don't want to see 'bugs' up close - and for the most part, I'm with you... However, the art of photographing these critters can be fascinating! As a result, tonight should be a very interesting night.

I usually head out early and take my camera bag with me so I can shoot for an hour/so before the club meets. Let's hope I see some bugs along the way. ...You think it's too early for that? Then why are earthworms laying in our parking lot??

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Darned 'other' Ramages!

I know there are more than one 'Ramage' out there, but who'd think another Ramage would've also called their blog, "Ramage's Ramblings"?

As a result of this newly-found information (and respect for them taking the title first), I've renamed mine simply to, "Stuph". Let's see how many others call their blog by that name!

Snow? What Snow?

The snow has left and we're experiencing some of the finest weather we've seen in Toronto for a very long time. True, this past winter was nothing - it almost skipped us completely! But, with an expected high temperature of 17c today - and more of that on the way, a photographer can't help but get itchy to head out with the camera and just go crazy.

Today I uploaded the 2nd of two videos on my YouTube channel ( and hope you'll take the time to view them. This whole YouTube thing is very new to me, though I've edited both audio and video many times before (esp., audio, being a former broadcaster).

Again, please drop by my channel and let me know what your thoughts are about the video(s) - and I hope your March Break is/was a great one!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Not Such a Great Day Out...

Terribly Windy and wet here today, so I've decided to update web pages instead of venturing out for any cityscape/nature shots. Yesterday, I assembled a quick (test) video and placed in on YouTube. Please give it a click and let me know what you think... You can find it (and any others I post) at:

Thursday, 11 March 2010

...and so I grow...

Until just recently, I was one of those who'd, "never have a blog, let alone an account on Facebook or Twitter". Well, as of today, I've become active in all three ways. It seems this world demands it!

So, here you'll be able to read about upcoming events and projects, thoughts, find links to samples of my work (and the web page itself) and maybe even thoughts from readers (you).

Please do visit the actual web site ( and let me know what you think of it. What photo's would you like to see more of? ...Less of?

If you're looking for more of a 'Wedding Photographer', or 'Portrait Photographer', please visit my other site, . Drop me a line!