Sunday, October 05, 2014

Cottage Photos

I might as well take a few minutes to drop in to Blogland. We have been back from the cottage for almost a week, but what with unpacking, getting ready for company and then hosting said company, my thoughts have not been on posting. This won't change much for a few weeks as we first ready ourselves for Thanksgiving and then for another little trip: this time to visit family.

In the meantime, here are a few photos from our week in the country. I have so many that it's hard to know what to include and what to leave, but here we go.

We took the backroads to the cottage, but that was more than two weeks ago, and the colours were not very advanced. They came on quickly however, and were becoming quite wonderful within a few days.  We're not there any more, but I expect that autumn colour is already past its peak, or nearly so.

The above shot was taken very near the property along Glen Alda Road.

Below: a photo from a few days earlier of rapids on Eel's Creek, near Apsley. I used both an ND filter plus a small aperture to slow the shutter down enough to achieve the silky water effect. The foliage on the other side was quite splendid.

Here are a few photos from around the cottage property, both taken in the morning. Above: we had several foggy mornings and I wandered happily snapping many pictures. This is one that I liked with the logs in the foreground and the path leading our eyes into the frame. Below: near the end of our stay, we had a very fine sunrise. This was a somewhat lazy shot, taken almost from the back door. It's not sharp, but I sometimes prefer less than tack sharp photos.

There is a photogenic old barn on the property, and the way Brian mows the walking paths creates nice lines and colours. On this morning, the sun was just peaking over the trees. I stopped the lens down to create a sunburst effect. It's nice to play with this kind of effect every now and then.

Above: the same structure at night. I wanted to experiment with star photos but I included the barn for foreground interest. The light that you see emanates from the streetlight, just inside the entrance to the property way across the fields from the barn. The reach of this one light surprises me.

Another building on the property is the former planer mill which Brian has converted into a screened in structure, which gets us out of the elements and away from the multitudes of insects. I have taken many daytime photos, but here a nighttime exposures with lots of starry sky. You may or may not be able to see the path of two planes just over the treetops in this downsized version; you can click for a slightly larger view but not that much larger.

We sat inside the mill last Sunday afternoon; this was part of the view.

Leaves were falling in the whispering breezes, so I stepped outside the door to take a short video. I handheld somewhat shakily but you can begin to hear the whispering of the wind in the trees along with crickets and some background human chatter.

Finally, although I could go on and on, here is a photo of Brian toasting a marshmallow around the campfire. I think it was well toasted. Would you believe flame broiled?

So ... I guess that's it for a few more weeks. I hope you are all enjoying autumn in good health. Happy upcoming Thanksgiving to any Canadians who happen to stop by.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

An Odd Morning with Definite Upside

Sue and I found ourselves at an assembly of sorts at the kids' school yesterday. It wasn't one of the popular assemblies, and only a few adults showed up. Usually, gatherings are crowded and wild at their school events, and we must arrive early to find a parking space. We did that yesterday but needn't have bothered.
Why was the gathering so poorly attended? Because it was a mass.

Why did we attend? Because Danica was doing a short reading and wanted an audience but the rents couldn't attend.

A mass at school? Yes. It's a Catholic school (don't ask), so religious trappings are part of the package.

Was there a priest? Yes. One of [East] Indian origin who intoned with a heavy accent that few could follow. Wonderful fellow, I'm sure, but it did seem somewhat surreal.

Being the sort of bloke who doesn't appreciate kids being indoctrinated, this was not an event that I appreciated, but the kids sort of made up for my vexation. After Danica was done with her readings, she crossed the gym and sat with us and on us and was ever so cute and overjoyed. Then JJ slipped away from his class and sat on the other lap. It was touching and pretty well made it all worthwhile.

Then they wanted to be taken out for lunch but preferred different destinations. She wanted a milkshake from DQ: he a donut from Tims. Said items were purchased and brought back to our place to be eaten alongside their packed lunches.

It was quite a rigamarole, but it was fun. I'll remember this little outing often in the next week or two as we head to the country -- tomorrow.

By the way, I will also remember how kids are gifted in different ways. Danica has been an early reader who has been chosen to read at assemblies since Kindergarten. JJ is not made the same way, but he sees things that few others would notice. Yesterday, I put on dressier shoes that he hasn't seen before. He noticed and asked what it was all about. Not too many kids would notice their grandfather's footware, but he notices many things that others don't.

Then, Sue and I went for a little stroll later in the day, and I took these photos at the beginning of the Beckwith Trail. Autumn colour is creeping into the landscape. See you in a few weeks.

Friday, September 12, 2014

This Week

There was a fair bit going on this week, and I am positive that you will be mesmerized by my comings and goings. lol

I had my annual hearing test. The good news is that my hearing is no worse. The bad news is that it is the same as it was before. I will continue to say, "Eh?" and, fortunately, we Canadians are good at that. I will continue to enjoy the sounds of crickets and motors caused by tinnitus, and I will continue to suffer of plugged sensations accompanied by periodic aches. It could be worse, Eh?

We began to get ready for autumn by moving our plant containers from the deck to the back of the yard. We are a little early because we will be going away for a week or two shortly and need to get this done. The plants may or may not survive untended back there for a few more weeks should they get a bit of rain, but we are done watering them.

At the same time, I cut down my one tomato plant which had fallen over twice from its container. This broke the stem, so I put it out of its misery. We got a few tomatoes (including some before this picture), but I think it wasn't the best year as the ripening was delayed by a cool and cloudy summer.

I had my last physio session after last autumn's accident. The insurance company allowed me $3500, and I have run out. After 10 months of off-and-on therapy with some offer-and-oner massages, I am not too much worse than when I began treatment.

We had our last before and after school sessions with the kids for about a month, give or take. We took them to the park and then supper at A&W. This break from them allows us time to get to some appointments, get ready to go to the cottage, be at the cottage, come home to company, and then go away again to visit family. JJ and Dani enjoyed hanging around for awhile. What with us going away, there probably won't be too many more park visits before winter sets it.


While at the park a gorgeous Irish Setter was chasing a ball with great abandon. When he spotted us, he hopped onto the bench beside me, got into my lap, and whined in a kind of joyful delirium. It was a hoot. He seemed full grown but still an adolescent in behaviour and a delightful animal.He did mess up my clean clothes, but I didn't mind.

I took the car in for servicing for the first time after almost a year of ownership. We don't put that many miles on, or didn't in this past year, so once per year was fine. At the same time, we had an extra key cut because the so-and-so's only gave us one proper key when we purchased it. The cost was a meagre $150, which doesn't seem to be nearly enough. Not.

But while the car was in, I was supposed to ask for touch up paint to keep my beloved one happy. It was the last thing she reminded me of when I left the house. Well ... I sat in the waiting area for more than two hours and left without remembering that little thing. What can I say? It's the way that I am and the way that I always have been.

Speaking of cars, I continue to have the greatest difficulty parking this one straight. There's something about the lines that throws me off. I do think I am improving, however.

I did go to the library for a short tutorial on using I had used the site a little some years ago, but may get back into researching a little more genealogy. I don't intend to freak out over it, but it's nice to know some of the data. Anyway, the site does seem to have improved over time, so I think I will enjoy nosing about.

Speaking of genealogy, I have some very old photos of some of my great great grandparents that I'm sure I have posted before. These are the oldest photos that I have.

Then, I was contacted by a bricklayers apprentice site in Australia. No, they were not recruiting me to lay bricks, but they were recruiting one of my photos after coming across an old post of mine, My Grandfather the Bricklayer, in which I originally posted this photo; they thought they would like to print and hang it in their office. So, I sent them a high res copy and asked them to take a photo of it in situ in their office when they got around to it.

This was taken in Montreal. My grandfather is the first guy on the left in the second row. There is more info in the original post if you are interested. After a sent the photo winging its way to the Land of Oz, I decided to eliminate "Montreal Canada" which my mother had scrawled on the photo. They can choose which version they prefer.

So that is the week that was. Fascinating, eh?

Friday, September 05, 2014

More Morning Pics

I got up a bit early again this morning although it should have been a bit earlier for best photos, but out I went anyway. I sauntered along the trail by the river that begins near the arena.

I saw a bit of light at the top of these stairs. I kept my tripod low enough to miss a few rooftops.
Eventually, I took a little side trail down to the river. I had a neutral density filter on, which allowed me to take a long enough exposure to get a silky water effect. These ↓ two photos were basically taken from the same spot: the first looking east and the second west. The feet of the tripod were in the shallow water.

The bedrock is very close to the surface.

Before I left, I took a vertical, handheld shot from pretty well the same position. To handhold I opened the aperture and used a faster shutter speed. It makes quite a difference to the water. In both the above and below photo, the changing of the trees is already in evidence. It's too early; I am not well pleased.

I did warm this photo up a little to increase the autumnal effect.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Birthday and First Day

It doesn't happen often, but yesterday was both my birthday and the first day of school. As is usually the case the first day was hot. Oddly enough, this occurred despite a cool summer. I always taught in a hot room, even in schools where there was air conditioning in sections. This was my lot. The weather always seemed to change by the second week, however.

Shauna brought the kids over and we took a few pics and saw them onto the bus. Then, she took the old folks out to breakfast. With the high heat, Sue and I lay low for the rest of the day, especially in late afternoon when it began to pour.

We have been watching the US Open, and our various Canadians have all been eliminated. They didn't quite meet expectations but fourth round for both Bouchard and Raonic isn't too shabby.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Before Sunrise

I woke up early yesterday, and a minor miracle occurred. I actually got dressed and grabbed my camera gear. It had been about two months since I had done that — got up early and headed out. But, the sky was clear (too clear for the best sunrise) and the weather was not too ominous (for a change), so out I went.

I just drove around the corner really, not much more than a mile, and stopped where I had taken my solstice photos that a few might recall. The corn had grown very tall, and I wanted to get a contrasting photo. Well, it turned out that it was too tall to see beyond to the glimmer of light, so I mostly took surrounding photos.

These were all taken just before sunrise when the light was just peeking over the horizon. It can really be best time to shoot. All but the first of the photos have a partial Orton Effect applied in post production: "Orton imagery, also called an Orton slide sandwich or the Orton Effect, is a photography technique which blends two completely different photos of the same scene, resulting in a distinctive mix of high and low detail areas within the same photo." (Wikipedia) Of course in the digital age, we tend to produce the effect in post and not by actually sandwiching two photos.

Since the corn was too tall to be really a viable subject, I included the fence in the first two to use a bit of a foreground element.

Then I turned about 90° to the right and shot down the lane with the corn field of my left.

There were two driveways to the property, so I moved to the other one and took a photo that included the sign: Beckwith Berries and Wild Blueberries. They put up a stand even nearer us in strawberry season, and we enjoy several quarts during the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

Finally, I moseyed across the road for this shot.

It was good to get out again for the specific purpose to taking photos as opposed to snapping pictures when primarily doing other things. I woke up early again this morning, but a look at the thick clouds induced me to roll over — rather a typical morning for this odd, rainy, cool summer.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Remembering Asha

We received an emotional call from a distraught little girl last night. Her cat, Asha, died at the vet's office. She was old and not well, and it was her time, but it is not easy for a child to lose a pet -- or even an adult for that matter. Both kids were highly upset when we got there. JJ calmed down soon, but poor Dania was in a state for hours. She would gain control and then subside into anguish once again. I think, however, she was ready to sleep when we left. I was lying with her, and she kissed me good night and rolled over.

These were pics that I snapped just last week.