Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Things You Find As You Clean Up...

It's amazing what you'll find as you clean up around the house - or even around your computer.

I was scanning my hard drive for pictures to keep, remove and just plain ol' walk through memories. This photo popped up and I thought it was interesting enough to share...

My wife and I lived in the Beaches Area of Toronto around 2004 and from time to time, I'd just grab my gear and go see what I could find.  This one day in May, I decided to shoot some of the old buildings at the Distillery.  When I got there, there were antique cars, people dressed like it was 1930 - and other obvious signs of a movie shoot.  It turned out they were shooting Russell Crowe's Cinderella Man.  I got so interested in watching how they did what they did, that I barely took any photo's.  No, I didn't knowingly see Russell, though I'm sure he's in the crowd you see milling in front of those gates.  You see, this photo was taken in between "action" and is of the scene where all the men are hoping their name is called for work that day and if you've seen the movie, you know Russell's character is there many times, hoping to get just one more day's pay.

Though I didn't get any pictures of other parts of Toronto that were involved in this movie, I can tell you that when you see scenes of storefronts, you are actually looking at Queen Street in Toronto, also in May of 2004.  They placed 'cotton batting' along the street (near River St) and constructed 'masks' over the current store fronts, making the whole area look like 1930 again.  Ironic, isn't it?  The area used to look like that - then it gets many 'facelifts' through time until 2004 and then some movie crew turns back time by 60-70 years - all for two weeks of filming.  It really is interesting to watch.  To see photo's of the Queen Street set, visit Jason Nolan's Flickr Photostream.  He shot his photo's before they 'winterized' Queen Street.

You'd be surprised just how many movies have been shot in the Distillery District.  One that comes to mind immediately is Blues Brothers 2000.  As the Bluesmobile rolls through a dark city street, you can see the distinctive green shutters over the Distillery windows and doors.  The now closed Canary Restaurant at Front and Cherry Streets was also very clearly shown in one such scene.

Anyway, enough already...  It was just fun for me to go sifting through files and see this particular shot...  Just thought I'd share it.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Bird Sees Stars (and birdies)

Canon 50D w/EF 24-70 2.8L USM
@ 70mm, 1/100, f10, 100 ISO
I likely won't ever get an opportunaty like this again!  ...The chance to take an unlimited number of pictures of a wild bird - at less than arm's length!

During one of my trips into the garage, I heard a 'thumping' overhead.  An oriole had become trapped in the rafters and was now trying to get out of the garage through what appeared to be the only exit on her level - a window.  ...A CLOSED window.  The little thing kept trying and trying, only to thump her noggin so hard she had become dazed.  She was so dazed in fact, she willingly stepped onto a broom that I'd reached up near her feet.  I let hert loose on the grass, where she just sat there, staring at me.  Realizing this was likely going to last for a few minutes, I ran for the camera!

This was GREAT!  An oriole - not able to move an inch and as a result of disorientation, was now willing to be my subject for quite a time.  Eventually, it flew into a not yet blossomed snowball bush and rested about a foot off the ground and then safely took off another few minutes later.

Both my wife and mother love orioles, so it looks like I'll be doing some printing soon.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Vacation in the Sunny (and stormy) South!

For the last week, Elizabeth and I have been vacationing at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  We are right on the beach.  It's exciting for me because I've never done this before (sit and watch the ocean from 'home').

For most of the week, the wind has been blowing along, or in from the water (all the big storms thankfully passed by us each time, but we have had some wind).  As a result, we've not been taking a whole lot of photo's.  I learned years ago while working in a camera store, just how quick and nasty ocean air can ruin a camera.  Even if you don't feel the pray, it is there!  I've had to clean my glasses at least twice a day, just so I wasn't looking through a 'fog'.  Imagine caking that on a camera - over a week!

Killer Bird Takes Woman from SC Shore
Anyway, the other day, the wind let up just enough that we did sit on our balcony and take shots of seagulls, pellicans and these little guys (see posted photo, right).  While sifting through the photo's, I laughed as this one looked a lot like the 'King Kong' of birds, preparing to pluck a bicyclist from the beach!  I may have to send it to the tabloids, but will wait until all the royal wedding hooplah dies down *wink*...

We also saw dolphins (it was high tide, so they were only about 500 feet away from our balcony).  That was a first for both Elizabeth and I.  Oh, sure we've seen them in marine shows, but never in their natural habitat - and SO CLOSE!

Tomorrow we go to Savannah to see where 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' took place.  The house has been found and 'marked' in our GPS, as have a few other Savannah sights.  We hope to get a bunch of nice shots of the gardens and architecture while there.

Ok, that's enough for today...I think I'll go get wet...

Until next time...

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Apple 'I-Stuph' Causes Me to Return to Old-Style Web Site...

After reading a few articles about how Apple is taking over the digital gadgets market lately - and how Apple and Adobe's Flash Media don't play nice with each other, I decided to turn back the time a bit with my web site.

Before making such a decision though, I loaded my site up on my Blackberry Bold 9700 (I know, it's not an Apple!). Once I got past my main page, all went blank! So there was enough proof for me right there that something had to be changed. Using Adobe's Lightroom3, I quickly re-built my site using their HTML template. I actually used the same program to build the Flash version only a short while ago - but.. If viewers without Apple toys can't see it, what's the point.

So, although the Flash version allowed smooth transitions between individual images, it's 'back in time' for me.

Please let me know what you think?


Friday, 4 February 2011

Snowmegeddon - Not So Bad After All...

Ok, so it wasn't 'nothing', but the snow storm this week certainly wasn't what the media had us all hyped up for! I was watching for some guy named, Noah, to be ushering furry little winter critters onto his 'snow arc' (a VERY big snowmobile) two-by-two - - no such sighting...

Friends in North Bay, Gravenhurst, etc (REAL 'snow country') got either very little, or nothing worth telling us about.

In any case, Toronto DID get some pretty good blowing and accumulation. The photo's attached here show the storm (not at its worst) and the morning after, as seen from North York. You can figure out which is which...

I hope you made it through ok!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Snowmegeddon - On it's Way??

I have to say, the water along the Beaches (yes, I still call the area "the Beaches", plural) looks like it's warning of the end of the world, but will it really be as bad as they've predicted?

We've heard the forecasters warn of monster storms before, only to receive a smattering of the stuff. But then we've also had them say we'd get a smattering - and then we shovel out for days after. So who knows what's really on its way tonight? All I can say is that I didn't want to stand along the shore for too long with my camera out, because that meant I also had to be out in that extremely raw wind. My fingers were stinging within minutes. However, it felt good to be in 'the hood' again, despite the wind.

This is where my wife, Elizabeth, and I began our life together. In fact it was right across the street from where the waves you see in the photo above are crashing over those ice-capped boulders. Many days we'd spend just counting the waves - and seagulls - and ducks - and geese - and dogs. She'd have a mug in her hand and I'd have a camera in mine. Why did we move, you ask? It's a long story and one for another day...

Let's get back to that weather they say should be here tonight. After doubting that anything much would come of today's meteorological prognostications, I now think there might be something to this. At 11:15pm, I checked the weather radar near London, Ontario and found that most of Southern Ontario is already pretty much swallowed up by this monster (they said it'd start about midnight). Sarnia, London (oh, THEY get snow all the time - so what?!), Kitchener and just shy of Toronto - all is getting hammered as I type this.

So, I guess we're going to turn white - again...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Been Too Long Since My Last Entry...

That sums it up pretty well... It's just been too long since my last entry! ...And, although it has been a while, I'm afraid this first entry of 2011 will be a fairly short one.

In photographic-related news, I have made the switch from ACDSee to Adobe's Lightroom 3 for all of my processing and cataloguing. Of course this means re-cataloguing all of my photo's (my wife's photo's too). On the up-side though, the quality of processing seems much better that ACDSee was giving me. In fairness, this version of Lightroom is using a 2010 version of camera Raw, where my ACDSee was using a 2003 conversion.

Once you've processed a file (taken the RAW image and added any white balance, curves, sharpness, etc.), a simple mouse-click will instantly pop you into Photoshop (if installed on your computer) where you can go nuts adding layers, text and all that jazz. ...Handy.

So, I've been spending loads of time learning this new software and hope to be out taking photo's again real soon!

What have YOU been up to? Let me know...