Sunday, August 30, 2009

Week 3 - Silver Queen Mica Mine

After a few days camping with friends earlier this week, the photo of the week comes from Murphy's Point Provincial Park. This is an old building that served as an office and sleeping quarters for miners at the Silver Queen Mica Mine.

Silver Queen Mine Office and Sleeping Quarters

I loved the contrasting colour of the wood beneath the windows. If you'd like to see more photos of our camping trip (and surrounding areas of the Silver Queen Mica Mine) click away!
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Week 2 - Remic Rapids Rock Sculptures

I'm not going to have very much time to post a photo tomorrow for "Week 2" because we're going camping with friends for a few days, so here it is a day early!

Last weekend my family and I took a ride through downtown to Remic Rapids. I've often gone there at lunch during the work week to eat and relax. There's no shortage of geese and ducks to take photos of, if that's your thing, but you can also find some pretty cool rock sculpture.

This time, we were fortunate enough to see the man behind these creations: John Ceprano.

Remic Rapids Rock Sculptures (2/52)

This is John working on one of his creations. Click to see a larger version and look the other photos from that day.

There's a printed sign on each sculpture warning not to touch them because they are all balanced. Each winter, the weather "dismantles" them and John rebuilds them the following summer. Some of these rocks are huge. I can't imagine the strength and patience it takes to lift and balance someone these.

I hope you enjoy them all!

You can bet I'll be bringing my camera camping, and I hope to have a bunch of photos to share next week. Until then...
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week 1 - The Ice Cream Man!

This will be a bit of a repeat for anyone who follows me on Facebook, sorry. :)

Most of my childhood was spent growing up in Saint-Bruno, Quebec. I have many memories of hearing the Ice Cream Man's truck coming down the road. Any kid within earshot of the music would stop what they were doing and run into the house yelling "The ice cream man! The ice cream man! Can I get one?!" Sounds cliche, but that's the truth.

I haven't heard nor seen any ice cream truck in Ottawa since we moved here in 1982. Ice cream vendors on modified bicycles, sure. But even they're pretty scarce these days.

Last Wednesday, our daughter came running into the house yelling "The Ice Cream Man is pulling into our bay! A real ice cream truck!" Could it be?

We all went outside to take a look and sure enough, there he was.

The Ice Cream Man! (1/52)

The music was different and it sounded more digital, than the old bells and chimes, but it did look very much like what I remembered as a kid.

He parked in that location for about 20-25 minutes. The longer he was there, the more people came out to buy and soft ice cream cone, sundae or banana split. Not just the pre-made ice cream bars, or popsicles -- the soft ice cream, with the option of chocolate dipping and nuts!

I remember as a kid, how he would fill the cone and then flip it upside down and dip it into the container of chocolate sauce. How did it not fall out of the cone? I remember a friend re-enacting the procedure with his own ice cream cone, and seeing it fall to the hot pavement.

For some kids, this will be one of the highlights of their summer. The summer that the Ice Cream Man came to their neighbourhood.

FYI, my wife got me one -- chocolate-dipped and covered with nuts. Yum! :)

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Project 52

I talked about a Project 365 two postings ago. If you recall, I said that I didn't think I could commit to posting one photo per day.

While browsing a few photo blogs just now, I read one that decided to do a Project 52. One photo per week.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they stuck with it and stopped posting back in March. But it did make me think that this might be something that I could do, and stick with. Consider it training wheels for a project 365. :)

So it shall begin, this Sunday. Wish me luck.

On a completely unrelated topic, this is day 200 for me being nicotine-free!

Sunday boredom

I was bored on Sunday and itching to get out of the house and look for something -- anything -- to shoot. The skies were cloudy and the weather forecast was calling for rain. (big surprise)

As soon as my daughter saw me getting ready to leave, she asked where I was going and if she could come. I told her "I don't know where I'm going yet..." I then asked my son if he wanted to come along as well.

We decided to all take cameras. My daughter doesn't have one yet, so I lent her my old Panasonic DMC-LC33. My son had his Canon P&S.

After some searching for batteries for my son's camera, off we went.

Our first stop was at a lookout along the Rockliffe Parkway. My kids snapped a few shots of foliage that they thought was cool. I took a few shots of the Ottawa River and the Prime Minister's house off in the distance. All rather boring, especially with the gloomy skies overhead.

Our next stop was at the Rideau Falls. We shot a few photos of the falls itself, flowers, walked across the bridge, and took some more of monuments. It really wasn't that exciting. This place is incredible in the spring, after they break up the ice on the Rideau River and it all goes over the falls into the Ottawa River. I took a whole whack of photos years ago with my Canon S3.

We walked along Sussex to the first traffic lights, crossed the street and made our way back down to where we started. Snapped a few of buildings, a bridge off in the distance and then back to the World Pavilion park where we began. My son was anxious to go home, but my daughter and I took our time.

That's when I saw this huge pine tree, with branches that must have extended 15-20' all around. I mentioned to my daughter "That tree is screaming to be climbed". And, so she did. Finally, a decent photo opportunity for me.

The photos aren't spectacular, but I'm reasonably happy with them. I had to boost the colour a bit because there really wasn't that much in the original.

One of my favourites is this. Her smile says it all. :)

IMG_0844

I put up a few others on flickr. (along with a better photo of the tree)
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Shutterbugging

As many of my friends know, I bought a new camera last month while I was chewing up some vacation time from work -- a Canon T1i (aka Canon EOS 500D). I figured it was time to treat myself to a new toy since I quit smoking back in January. Although I still love, and use, my Canon S3, I'm really hoping this will help me get to the next step of being a better photographer.

Since that time, I've added to my "toy collection", picking up a Sigma 10-20mm lens to go with my Sigma 18-200mm lens, a wireless remote, Lowepro Sling camera bag, and thanks to a friend, a soon-to-arrive Speedlite 380ex flash.

The weather has been very flaky and unpredictable this summer, so there haven't been too many opportunities to go out and shoot nice pics outside. Maybe this month that'll change (I hope!)

Crappy weather meant having more time to do a lot of reading, and I finally got through 3 books that I bought last year.
  • Understanding Exposure, by Bryan Peterson
  • Learning to See Creatively, by Bryan Peterson
  • Understanding Shutter Speed, by Bryan Peterson
I even managed to read one of them twice. They are excellent books for beginners and intermediates, imho.

I'm currently reading Light: Science and Magic. An introduction to Photographic Lighting. I'm only half done and already I can say that I recommend it. But don't take my word for it, I'm only a noob photographer learning the ropes -- look around for yourself.

I've spent a LOT of time browsing Flickr as well. I have literally spent hours on there, looking at people's photographs and browsing the groups for tips, ideas, and inspiration. I never cease to be amazed at the talent.

I also started following a handful of photographers on Twitter, reading their blogs and looking at their photos. Awesome stuff. Some of them followed me in return and I hope I can one day impress them with a nice shot or two. :)

I've seen many "Project 365" sites around. While I love the concept, I don't think I quite have the committment to shoot and post a photo every day for a year. Perhaps that'll change at some point in the future, but for now, I think what I'll do is post the occasional photo here on the blog and perhaps write a little about it.

Sooooo... stay tuned!

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