Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week 25 - Stair Reno


Stair Reno (25/52)
Originally uploaded by Twister65
Nothing fancy this week. Haven't had much time for that. But, it is a memorable shot for me. Or will be at some point in the future when I look back.

We started a main floor renovation a couple of weeks ago, and part of that involved removing carpet from the stairs, pulling staples, patching, sanding, staining and finishing them to match the laminate flooring that we'll be putting down in the dining room and living room in the spring.

We decided to put ceramic tiles on the risers, and this is the pattern and colour we chose.

I'm already sick of the smell of Varathane and I'm only half done, after putting on two coats on every second step.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I need a shave!

It's that time of year again!

June 18th and 19th will be my third year participating in the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Orleans, Ontario.

The Relay for Life is an overnight non-competitive relay that celebrates cancer survivors and pays tribute to loved ones. It's a night of fun, friendship and fundraising to beat cancer.

Thanks to your generosity last year I achieved my goal and, as a result, I shaved my head. It was a lot of fun and I would do it again... but where’s the fun in that?

Last year I set two goals. The first was to reach $1,000 and I would shave my head. The second was to also shave my face (moustache and goatee) if I reached $2,000. I didn't reach that second goal so I got to keep my facial hair.

I've had my facial hair for a long time and I’ve kinda grown attached to it. :) In fact, my kids (14 and 11 years old) have never seen me without my moustache. I have friends who have also not seen me without it.

So. here's the plan for this year:

I set my goal at $1,500.

$1,500 will let me shock my kids with a clean-shaven face.

I have approximately 4½ months to reach my goal. Want to help and support a great cause?

Visit here http://convio.cancer.ca/goto/scottpaterson

Or click the SUPPORT ME button on the left column of my Facebook profile.

Like they say, every dollar helps. That’s a fact.

Thank you for reading!

(P.S. if you have any better ideas that aren't painful, extremely embarrassing, or illegal, feel free to suggest them!) :)

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Smoke photography

I am inspired by Photocritic.org’s smoke photography collection.

One tiny problem. Ok, maybe two.

I don’t have a remote flash for my camera, nor do I have a stand for my SpeedLite 380ex flash. I don’t think the 380 would work with a remote anyway.

But, after studying the photos and the setup, I realize that I may not need either.

What if I set up the camera and “smoking device” in a similar manner and then switched the camera to bulb exposure mode. With my infrared shutter remote in hand, turned off the lights in the room, stood off to the side, triggered the shutter and then fired the flash test mode?

Would that work?

Hmm… another photography project on my To Do list.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

One year later

One year ago today I quit smoking. I am still nicotine-free.

I was going to write more about it but I’ve written enough before. If you want quit and would like to know what worked for me, click here for a previous post.

Oh ya… congrats to me! :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week 24 - Concentration


Concentration
Originally uploaded by Twister65

Tough choice this week. I had a few photos to choose from an decided on this one.

Another shot taken with my 50mm. I really like this lens and I so like B&W photos.

This is my daughter playing Lego Star Wars on my XBox earlier this week. She was so into the game, she hardly noticed me snapping away with my camera.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week 23 - Feeed meee!


Feeed meee! (23/52)
Originally uploaded by Twister65
I had plenty of photos to choose from for this week, but I figured that seeing pictures of our stairs being stripped of carpet, scraped and sanded wouldn't be too interesting. :)

So, here's our cat, Sam, once again gracing my blog. I bought a 50mm f1.8 lens off a seller on Ebay earlier in the week and it arrived on Friday. While testing it out, Sam decided she wanted to be fed and was quite vocal about it. I couldn't pass on the opportunity to snap a shot or two.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week 22 - Red Squirrel


Red Squirrel (22/52)
Originally uploaded by Twister65
A fairly easy choice for this week's choice for my Project 52, although one of my recent B&W shots was a possibility.

We had put our Christmas tree out in the back yard, leaning up against our shed. I remember making a comment at the time that I'd better not find any squirrels making a home in it.

I was off work on the Monday, alone at home, and puttering around with my camera when I heard what I thought were birds at the bird feeder. I peeked out the back door window and saw this red squirrel running around inside the tree branches, snacking on small pine cone buds. He definitely saw me, and was only about 4 feet away. There was no way I could open the door to take the shot, so I poked the lens through the blind and snapped a few.

The only thing I did to this photo was crop it and increase the saturation a little to bring out the squirrels colour a little more.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Beige? White? Hot pink?

At some point this afternoon, Facebook statuses started appearing with a single word. That word was a colour. Any colour.

I was puzzled. What’s with all the status colours?

I did a little searching and found the reason.

Women on Facebook were changing their status to the colour of bra they were wearing to raise awareness for Breast Cancer.

Cute. Fun. Many status comments were hilarious. Some guys had fun with it, posting the colour of their underwear. Or the fictitious bra they were wearing to hold their “moobs”.

Some other guys, like me, were puzzled. And some, when they found out what it was for, thought it was “useless”, or “retarded”. They said that it did nothing. It was no different than a chain letter.

I questioned this.

How could this be useless?

They asked what it was for. I knew, and I told them. By asking what it was for, they proved that it worked. It raised awareness.

The debate began.

I argued that it’s comparable to… wearing a pink ribbon. Or, wearing a poppy. Neither of those is a waste of time. They both serve a purpose. They raise awareness.

It was said that those two are different because they raise money for charities.

True, they do, but by us wearing them they also RAISE AWARENESS for those charities. What other purpose do they serve? A thank you? Sure. If you want to say that their sole purpose is to raise money, then wouldn’t it be a better idea to take the money spent on those little ribbons and use the money for the charity?

Perhaps. In fact, I could argue that a Facebook status is better than a ribbon, or a poppy because it costs nothing.

It is impossible for a charity to raise money without raising awareness first. If you know how, speak up. I’m sure they’d love to hear it.

By giving you something in return for your donation, and you wearing it, you are helping to raise awareness so more donations come in.

It’s silly to think that nobody has ever heard of breast cancer.   But awareness isn’t just about telling you something you’ve never heard of.  It’s about making you think about it, regardless of whether you’ve heard about it before.

I really makes me sad to think that some people think it was a dumb idea. A waste of time. That it served no purpose.

If one person made a donation as a result of those “useless” and “retarded” bra colour status, then wasn’t it worth the effort? Did it not raise awareness?

I proved that it worked. I made donation this evening to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Donation Confirmation

I now challenge you to do the same. Doing nothing is useless.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How the Ottawa Police made my day

About a year or two ago, the Esso station at the corner of Montreal Rd and Ogilvie Rd was torn down and rebuilt. In addition to the new pump islands and convenience store building, they got rid of the car wash and added a Tim Horton’s drive-thru that runs around back of the building.

It wasn’t long before someone realized that this was a problem, especially in the morning, when cars try to leave the property, turn left onto Ogilvie Rd toward Montreal Rd and block the traffic heading north on Ogilvie as they wait to merge into the southbound traffic lanes.

Signs went up indicating NO LEFT TURNS between 7am and 9am. It’s not allowed in the evening either, but I can’t remember the times for that… 4 and 6pm perhaps? Anyway, you can see the signs as you leave the drive-thru and the sign that sits on the median between the north and southbound lanes. If you can’t see them, you’re blind.

If you park at the Esso in the morning you’ll notice that at least 9/10 cars completely ignore the signs and turn left. I see it every morning. Even City of Ottawa trucks ignore the signs, and they’re the ones who put up signs! This has become a huge pet peeve of mine. Granted, they don’t always block traffic, but the signs is there for.

It takes about a minute to turn RIGHT from the Esso and make a quick U-turn at the first corner, and you’re where you want to be. I do that every morning. It’s no big deal.

This morning the Ottawa Police made my day.

As I pulled up to the traffic light after making my U-turn, I saw flashing lights on an unmarked cop car stopped behind a Honda sedan in the middle lane.

My first thought was, “Oh please tell me they got busted for making a left turn…”

I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the officer bent over talking to the driver, and pointing back at the sign on the median.

Finally, someone got nailed and hopefully they got fined as well. I’m tired of seeing lazy-ass drivers ignoring the signs.

To the officer who busted that lazy ass this morning: thank you. :)

To the Ottawa Police: if you want to make a killing on fines, park at the Petro Canada cross the street every morning from 7am to 9am.

(Note: Google Streetview only shows one small “No Left Turn” sign. More have been added since Google took the photos last Spring)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Resolve THIS!

I can’t remember the last time I made a New Years resolution. I tend not to follow through with them. (I think that’s the case for many people)

This time, I have decided I should make a few really easy ones, maybe a couple of slightly challenging ones, and one tough one.

The Easy:

  1. Finish reading Light -- Science & Magic. I started it in the summer and I’m so close to finishing it.
  2. Start and finish reading Theo Fleury’s Playing With Fire that I got for Christmas.

Slightly Challenging:

  1. Ride my bike at least once per week starting in the spring (once the snow is gone), and through the summer. I did it the year before last and it was awesome. Last summer I got a case of the lazys. :( This will help with The Tough One.
  2. Drink more water. Again, this will help with The Tough One. I really do not drink enough water, or any liquids for that matter.
  3. Shoot more photos! I don’t do it nearly enough lately. Maybe that’s in part due to the fact that it’s winter and takes more effort to get off my ass and outside. ;)

The Tough One:

  1. Lose weight. My goal is 200lbs. That works out to about 5½ lbs per month to hit that by next year. Possible? We’ll see. One month at a time is all it takes. My idea is to not necessarily focus so much on what I eat, but more on how much I eat. Naturally, I’ll eat healthier stuff, but I’m not going to eliminate some of the foods I like. I’ll just eat less of them. If I cut all of that out, I’ll be miserable and give up.

It feels great to not put down “Quit Smoking” as a resolution for the first time in forever, because I kicked that bitch out of my life almost a year ago. :)

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Week 21 - Laser Pointer Art


Laser Pointer Art (21/52)
Originally uploaded by Twister65
I almost forgot about a photo for this week. I'm sure I could have dug up another Christmas photo, but instead I decided on something completely different.

Ever since I first saw this done, it was on my to-do list. Luckily for me, our cat got a laser pointer for Christmas. This also gave me an opportunity to use my wired remote shutter that I bought off eBay, and try out the BULB exposure mode on my Canon.

I brought all of my equipment to the basement and set it up on the tripod. I remembered reading that the ISO should be set to 100 and the focus set to manual. I first set the focus with the lens's autofocus and then switched it to manual so it didn't change.

I changed the exposure to BULB and then using my remote, fired off a few 3-4sec shots of the wall while the lights were on just to make sure I got the area I wanted.

Show time. Lights off. Stub toe on couch while walking back to my camera.

I turned on the laser pointer and aimed it at the wall where I wanted to start, turned it off again, pressed the shutter release, and then turned the laser back on and went nuts.

I repeated the process a few times, writing different things and drawing different pictures. The results were pretty good.

I then switched from my 18-200mm lens to a 10-20mm lens. This was a better move, imho. It allowed me to get closer to the wall while providing me with a nice wide angle "canvas".

This is only one of four that I posted on Flickr. Enjoy!