Sunday, July 05, 2015

Mostly from the Cottage

For Canada Day (Happy Belated 148th birthday), I had the rather bizarre notion to present this photo on Facebook.

Permit me to explain.

At one point it was called Dominion Day as Canada was often referred to as the Dominion of Canada even though we were always just plain Canada.

So my punny (as opposed to puny, although that might also apply) mind thought of minions. So I found an image, pasted a maple leaf on it (as in our flag), and called it Da Minion of Canada.

Sorry, I just can't help myself.

The next day, we drove to the cottage to deliver and leave stuff that we'll need later in the summer but might not have enough room in the vehicle for everything then. We only stayed for one night, and I wasn't even motivated enough to get out the camera ... until Sue noticed a rather spectacular full moon rising.

So, I did go out and try to capture it. Shooting the moon is not always easy; either to moon is too bright or the rest of the photo is too dark — unless you have a long enough lens to shoot just the moon and nothing else.

After some experimentation I put two shots together in a composite. The foreground image was shot at 13 seconds. I could have shot longer, and did as a matter of fact, but I actually was picking up lens flare by doing that. Anyway, 13 seconds gave a hint of foreground which I felt was all that I needed for this photo.

The moon photo was shot at 1/125 seconds. I then pasted it onto the foreground photo, and I did make it bigger that it was in the original photo ... because I wanted to for effect, and it really did seem huge to my eyes that night.

The next morning I stepped outside of the cottage just long enough to take this photo of the light on the grass near the garage.

Then I took this closeup of an old wagon wheel. I like the textures and shapes.

Finally this of a crowbar hanging by the gate interested me although the photo didn't turn out all that well. Still, the textures and shapes are somewhat interesting — to me, at least.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Daytrip: Kilborn's, Newboro and the Locks

We've lived in this area for a decade but had not yet managed a trip to Kilborn's in Newboro. However, when looking for a specific item last week and having heard much about the place,we made the trek.

Newboro is a tiny hamlet, part of the Rideau Lakes municipality. When we pulled to the store, it too seemed to be tiny, and I wondered what could be so grand about it. But there were also about ten cars parked in front, so it did seem to hold some promise.

When I parked the car in front of the left side of the photo ↓ by the main door, I thought that was all that there was to Kilborn's. However, once inside, I was impressed enough to go back to the care for my camera, and I took this photo. ↓

It was then that I realized that almost the whole block had been swallowed up by the store, which appears to be an amalgamation of 4 or 5 buildings. In fact, the whole thing is wide enough to require two shots (then merged into one) in order to get it all in the frame — and that was with a wide angle lens!

Because of the various building merges there are a number of different levels as you move from one part of the business to another. This was a main staircase. ↓

As you might expect, women's fashions rule the day, but there are other sections such as a small furniture section, a christmas room, a food area, and a men's section etc. There is even a log hut in the furniture area, but it is roped off in such a way that I couldn't get a decent photo. This is about the sum total of the men's shop. ↓

There is a western area, but it was mostly for women as well as far as I could see. ↓

There were all sorts of interesting corners.

Mission accomplished: Sue was able to find the Tilley hat that was the main reason for the trip.

Kitty Corner (or katty korner, catty corner, or whatever)  to the store was this rather grand house with an impressive roof. ↓

We found that we were near several of the Rideau Locks, so we drove to Chaffey's Lock ↓  ...

... and then to Davis Lock, just because we could.

We were also close to Westport, but we chose to head home where we grabbed a very nice supper from Cravings, which we took to Riverside Park to enjoy. I had the fish and chips and liked the crispy, well cooked batter (no mushy goo). Sue enjoyed the schnitzel.

If you live in this region and haven't made this particular pilgrimage before, you might enjoy it. There is a restaurant beside Kilborn's called the Stage Coach Inn, about which I have heard some good things although we didn't try it. Perhaps on another day. Or you could take a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the locks, or even eat out in Westport.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Attack of the Yellow Slime Mold

We experienced a most bizarre attack last week. We woke up one morning to find a yellow, spongly patch in the part of the backyard that we have mulched over.

It had appeared sometime overnight.

Later over the next few days, we had 6 more attacks: some in back and some out front.
From Wikipedia: "Slime mold or slime mould is a broad term describing some organisms that use spores to reproduce. Slime molds were formerly classified as fungi but are no longer considered part of this kingdom.[1] Although not related to one another, they are still sometimes grouped for convenience within the paraphyletic group referred to as kingdom Protista.
"Found in a wide variety of colors, more than 900 species of slime mold occur all over the world. Their common name refers to part of some of these organisms' life cycles where they can appear as gelatinous "slime". This is mostly seen with the myxogastria, which are the only macroscopic slime molds.[citation needed] Most slime molds are smaller than a few centimeters, but some species may reach sizes of up to several square meters and masses of up to 30 grams "
Whatever the science, I think it's kind of creepy.

It seems to be in the mulch that we applied this year. Yuck!

Here's a video of the stuff: not mine, I assure you.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Hols: Day 2 Report

On Day 2 of their summer holidays, we took the kids for the afternoon. Once again, pool time was the main activity, but first we visited one of the many local chip trucks for a healthy lunch.

There is a waiting bench that the kids have been playing on for years now. I'm not sure why Danica was holding her nose.

Then, it was off to the neighbour's' pool. I had my shutter set to a higher 
speed than on the previous day, so the action shots were sharper.

Danica watches in amazement as JJ and his twin both jump in.

The Joyful Gulp

The Monster from the Deep
For whatever reason, they find it a great thrill to climb aboard my back and almost drown me.

We, or rather I, had great fun that day. The sun was out and I wasn't miserably cold, so I played better with the kids. We had a blast. It's a long video — more than 4 minutes — so don't feel obliged.

After the swim, Danica cajoled me into taking this video with my iPad, which did a reasonable job, especially since I am not too fussy about video quality. She explained how her security system worked. She is really quite taken with this gizmo.

So ... our two day beginning-of-summer stint is done. We will have several weeks with them in August, but it will be hit or miss with them until then. I am sure there will be some hits though.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

First Day of Summer Hols

Well then, since we've done the last day of school, we might as well do the first day of summer holidays. Eh?

Sue and I were on tap for the first two days before having a month off from our duties. While I am looking forward to the break, I am also kind of missing them already. Sniff.

There was tablet time (some of it joyfully shared) and makeup time. ↓

The weather in the morning was quite nice. Sue and I sat on the deck while the kids played. JJ worked with the balloon while Danica perfected her handstand. She is getting pretty good at it. ↓

After lunch, we went to DQ (Dairy Queen) for a treat. ↓

Then, we spent some time in the neighbours' pool. By then it was overcast and cool. I went in for awhile but did not enjoy myself as much as usual. The kids had a good time, however. The jumping shots were a little fuzzy. I needed a faster shutter speed. ↓

Sue prefers to sit on the deck; she shot most of the following clips. ↓


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Another Frickin Freakin Fracken Passage

Naw, it's not really frickin freaken fracken, but it is another passage, which means I ain't gettin any younger, Maggie.

Wednesday was the end of the school year: his second (SK), her fourth (grade 2). The spinning seems to whirl faster and faster. Meanwhile, I go slower and slower. Hmph.

Well anyoleway, here are the commemorative pictures of their last morning of the school year with us.

It began with the kids writing thank you notes to their teachers: four for her (English and French teachers and assistants) ...

... and two for him. He has a painful moment trying to find the right words. I know how he feels.

She needed to use Google Translate to figure out what to write to her French teacher, and she did not require any assistance for finding the app or for typing in the long English sentence that she wanted to translate.

Once he was done with the notes, he settled on the front porch and did whatever on his tablet.

Amma shoes them out the door for the last time for more than two months.

Don't look so glum, chum.

We did have enough time for a few shenanigans.

A pretty cute pose.

Here we go round the mulberry bush
Buppa's garden.
I finally got them to head across to the bus stop.

Waiting in line.

They are each holding onto to gift card for the bus driver. Neither wants to be left out.

The presentation: the driver gave me a thank you wave (not captured).
Sooner than not, or so it seemed, they were home and primed for two months of no more teachers ...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Last Sunset of Spring

Last year, I got myself up bright and early to catch the sunrise on the summer solstice. I was rewarded with a terrific sunrise.

While this might look highly photoshopped, it wasn't.
This photo is pretty true to the way that I perceived it.
Unfortunately, when I checked the forecast for Sunday, all I saw was rain and cloud. I did set the alarm for 4AM just in case, but the sky was completely overcast, so I rolled over.

The nearest thing that I could think to do was to try to photograph the last sunset before the solstice. Somewhat lame, I know, but you do what you can.

So, Sue and I headed off to the Beckwith Trail in plenty of time for sunset, but it was not meant to be, or at least not the way that I would have preferred. Their was a bank of low clouds in front of the setting sun that would not yield. Darn them. lol

Regardless, I set the camera up to face the sunset as best I could. I used the widest focal point on my wide angle lens to capture a little of the trail on the right and the bard towards the left. You can see the cloud bank over the actual sunset, but there was a nice glow over the barn.

As the actual sunset zone got even worse, I shifted my camera more across the field toward the barn because the sky was more interesting that way. It's odd how that happens sometimes — that the effects are often best somewhat away from the sunset point.

All but the second photo (the first of this year) were HDR images, HDR being the blending of 2 or more photos. Because cameras tend to average light and, therefore, get no part of the image absolutely correct, what I normally do is to take one photo for the sky and one for the land or foreground. Having said that, I think the non-HDR shot turned out just as well as the others.

Anyway, this is HDR as it was intended: a method to blend photos in order to extend the dynamic range that the camera may not capture in one shot. It became fashionable for awhile to highly process HDR images for effects, but I want to keep most of my images realistic. I just want to capture the scene as close as possible to the way it was.

For each image I tried to find foreground interest, so I really worked those fence posts.

Do you have a preference? I keep changing my mind. Of this years three images, right now my favourite is the final one, but it was the middle one until I re-edited the final image to bring more light to the foreground and more orange to the sky.