Sunday, August 15, 2010

Toronto Trip - Day 1

We left home at around 5:45am this morning and arrived sometime around 11:00am.

We decided to first visit Casa Loma. It was awesome. The place is much bigger than I expected and we ended up spending a lot more time than than I thought we would. I can't believe how many different movies have been filmed inside there!  If you ever decide to visit there, take my advice and go in the spring or fall. It was soooo hot inside, despite the large floor and ceiling fans they had running in an effort to keep the place cool(er). Keep in mind that the place was built before air conditioning and I can't see them installing any a/c any time soon.

After we were done there,it was around 2:30pm, so we decided to find a place to eat and head to the hotel in Scarborough to check in. The traffic was pretty bad downtown and we ended up in front of the Royal Ontario Museum, one of the places we planned to visit. We decided to find a place to park, grab a bite to eat and then go to the museum instead. Lucky for us, they had the Terracotta Warriors exhibit, which cost an extra $7 per person to see. My wife really wanted to see it, so we did. Unfortunately, our time was somewhat limited because the museum closes at 5:30pm on Sundays. We had about 2-1/2 hours to see what we wanted to see.

We first checked out the Terracotta Warriors. Unfortunately, photography in that exhibit was not allowed. :( I could have had some really cool shots. It was a great exhibit to see though and we picked up a couple of our own smaller Terracotta Warriors from the exhibit gift shop.

We then checked out an Egypt exhibit, some dinosaur bones and the bat cave before hitting the gift store at closing. I have to say that we found the layout of the ROM to be a little confusing. Everything is very spreadout. But they did have air conditioning! :)

We checked in at the Holiday Inn Express in Scarborough. We were here for 5 minutes and we were already impressed. The staff are all super friendly, the place is very clean, and has nice decor throughout. They have free breakfast and free 24hr coffee. :) I'll let you know how good the breakfast is tomorrow. Oh ya... and free internet! (not wifi though)

It looks like we'll be heading to the zoo all day tomorrow, if the weather is good in the morning as the Weather Network says it will be.

I have way more photos taken and will post more once I have time to sort through them.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Perseides Meteor Shower

Perseides Meteor Shower is tonight!

From everything I've read, there's supposed to be between 80 and 100 per hour. I always miss out on this every year, but tonight's weather forecast for Ottawa is clear skies.  I'll be taking my camera out on a tripod to a nearby hill where I'm hoping there will be very little light pollution. I just spent the last hour or so searching for info on the best settings and configuring my camera so it's ready to go.

It's probably a little late to share this info for this year, but here we go:

Digital Camera Settings for Astrophotography

This message forum has a couple of links to downloadable PDF references for astrophotography. The thread subject says Canon T1i and astrophotography, but it’s not specific to the Canon. I just skimmed through the PDFs and they look like pretty good references:

Canon T1i and astrophotography

I'm pretty excited about this since it’s my first time trying it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A few more photos

I was browsing through my photos on Flickr and thought I'd share a few other favourites that didn't get posted to Project 52, not because they're not good, but because I chose another photo that week. :)

These are a couple that I shot at the Mer Bleu Bog last fall. The first one almost doesn't look real.

I got this one printed on canvas at work for my home. I still have to mount it on a frame.

Monday, August 9, 2010

iStockphoto, take two?

About a year ago, I thought about trying to sell some of my photos on iStockphoto. I didn't expect to get rich from it, but I thought it might be cool if I could make a few bucks to save and put toward more camera stuff. Part of the enrollment process was submitting three photos for consideration. The powers that be take a look at them and decide if they're good enough.

I was rejected. Twice. I gave up.

I am by no means a professional, but I like to think that I can snap a sale-worthy photo once in a while. Anyone has the ability to get lucky once in a while, no?

A couple of weeks ago a friend suggested in a comment on one of my photos that I should sell some of my photos on iStockphoto. That got me thinking about it again. Have I improved enough to be accepted? Should I give it another try just for the hell of it? Do I feel lucky... err... punk?

I could probably go through them and pick three out the most commented and most favourited photos and submit them, but I’d like to hear from anyone who reads my blog.

So here's the deal. When you have some time to spare, take a look through all of my Project 52 photos. Each of the photos has a number in the title indicating which week it was for. Pick what you think are the three best photos and then post a comment on here with the numbers. I may submit the most popular three to iStockphoto and see how it goes.

Tilt-Shift Photography

Ever since seeing some cool examples of tilt-shift photography, it's something I've wanted to try. Thanks to the Photojojo newsletter article, I have now bookmarked a site with a few different examples on how to make your own tilt-shift lens. All I need now is to pick up a cheap, used lens to try it out.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Week 52 - 52 on 52 for 52

It was just over a year ago that I bought my first DSLR camera -- a Canon T1i/500D. I spent a couple of months familiarizing myself with most of its features, and finishing reading a couple of books that I bought a year earlier: Understanding Exposure, Learning to See Creatively, and Understanding Shutter Speed, all three written by Bryan Peterson. (excellent books, by the way)

After that, I felt that I needed a goal. As you can read in my first project-related post, I've always liked the concept of Project 365 but I didn't think I'd have the time and commitment to shoot and post a new photo every day for a year.

Enter Project 52.

52 weeks, and 4523 photographs later, my first Project 52 comes to an end. Although I still have a lot to learn, I'd like to think that my photography skills have improved since. Overall, that is, there are still some shots that I've posted that don't really do much for me.

On to this week's photo.

I have to thank my wife for the inspiration. I was wandering around my house, searching for something interesting and thought aloud, "I need something 52 to take a picture of..."

My daughter left the room and returned to place a small scrap of paper on the table in front of me. '52' was written on it. "Thanks, but I don't think that's gonna cut it..." :)

My wife said, "What about a deck of cards?"


I fired off about fifteen shots from different angles and narrowed my choices down to two. I tweaked the contrast and color and then cropped it a little. That's it, that's all.

Will I begin another Project 52? I don't know yet. One of my friends thinks I should go for 365.

I think what I'll do is shoot and post when I feel like it. Rather than wait for Sunday to make my weekly post, I'll just post whenever I feel that I've taken a good shot worthy of attention.

Let's see how that goes. :)

If you're reading this on my Posterous site, you can click on the Project 52 tab along the top to see all of the shots I've taken for the project.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Screw Yer Buddy

If you try to access my pool rules site,, and get a Connection Timed Out error, it's due to the DOS attack issues that Posterous was having. They’re working on fixing it.