Monday, April 12, 2021


The weather has finally returned to more typical April fare, but we've had two rather lengthy warm spells, much more May-like than April-like. It was greatly appreciated while it lasted.

Under Sue's direction, we got ourselves out to do a bit of garden work on both days this past weekend — not for long on either morning. Basically, we raked up lingering leaves and debris. As light as the work was, I am afraid that I must report that I found it to be quite a slog. Where oh where did my energy go?

I am thinking of how about 25 years ago, it was like I woke up one morning and decided that I needed to plant a perennial garden. It was rather odd because I had never been interested in gardening and knew nothing about flowers. I did purchase a helpful book or three and took an unhelpful course at the community college. To be fair, said course may have been helpful if I had not already read up on the subject.

Back then, I removed sod and double dug, at least for the first part of the garden. By double digging I mean that after digging up the topsoil, I then removed a layer of the hard clay in the subsoil. I amended both layers with bags of good soil: triple mix, if memory serves.

The point that I am getting to in my roundabout way is that twenty-five years ago, I did all of this without much a problem.

This year, I found myself dragging around with effort. Just doing light raking for maybe an hour was a real drag. I felt very sluggish on both mornings.

My get-and-go has done got up and went. If I knew whence it went, I might go and retrieve it. Then again, perhaps not, because it it were anywhere beyond arm's reach, I probably wouldn't be able to summon up the energy to snatch my energy back.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Creepy Effect

I have another ghostly series for your viewing pleasure.

After using the bush for the first series back here, I used the shadows of the branches on the fence for a second series.

I followed the same approach, taking two photos, one of just the shadows and one including me. 

First the shadows.

Now, lil ole me.

The blend. This time I layered me behind the plain fence to try put me in the fence, so to speak. I wanted to have branches and fence at least partially over me.

Judging by the angle of my face, those are two different pic of me. I inadvertently trashed one. I also eschewed the demonic eye effect this time settling for just plain creepy.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Another Little Trail Walk

We have one more day to enjoy this fabulous weather before it reverts to more typical April fare, which will, apparently, involve rain. 

To make the most of the weather, we ventured on another little tromp along the trail. Once more we got held up by a gathering on the boardwalk, so we will avoid boardwalks until pandemic conditions subside. 

The province went into a deeper lockdown this week after a mild imposition the previous week, but cases are still soaring, mostly from the British variant if I understand correctly. The government is making emergency plans to deal with congestion in the hospitals. Hopefully, as inoculations ramp up, we will begin to see a lessening in the near future. I will be relieved to get my jab on Monday.

Back to our little walk.

We pulled off the trail and into the bush to distance ourselves from one little group. Happily, a duck came along to keep us company.

Later, we took a few selfies on our bench.

I took a few video clips along the way and thought a few of you might like to see and hear some of what we saw and heard. I have smooshed them into one 22 second clip. The first section captures the honking of a goose; the second shows nothing but brush but in an area where birdsong was prevalent. Finally, there is the view and sound of the water from the bench where we sometimes sit (as above).

Friday, April 09, 2021

Photographic Experimentation

For a few weeks I had been noticing how the neighbours light affected our bare lilac bush in the dark, just lighting it a little bit.

It gave me an idea for a photo experiment, but I had to wait for a night that wasn't too cold or windy. It was particularly important that it not be windy as I would likely be doing long exposures in the dark, and I didn't need branches moving, although now that I think on it, that might have added another dimension.

The howling winds were finally quiet one night on Easter weekend. Although it was still quite chilly, I wanted to do my experiment before the lilac bush leafed out, so out I went. Thinking about it now, the lower part of the bush that I used in the photo will likely not leaf out anyway.

While that photo ↑ is alright, it is not the vision but just the beginning of it.

My next step was to insert myself into the same scene without moving the camera which was on a tripod. I set the timer on a 10 second delay to give myself time to insert myself into the frame.

I was going a creepy look, and while I think I succeeded, that was still not the final image that I had in mind. As it turns out, I like it ↑ better than the final image ↓ which is coming up next, but let's keep the story going anyway, shall we?

The concept was to layer the above two photos into a new composite so that I could fade the one with me in an attempt to make it look a little ghostlike. I hadn't intended to add the red eyes, but I did so at the last minute. I guess it makes it look more demonic than ghostlike.

Of course, they are dark and creepy, especially the composite, but that was the intent, and as usual, they look somewhat better on the larger and uncompressed version on my computer. As you know, if you click on the image, you will see it somewhat larger although still not in full resolution. I do not upload high res images to my blogs.

It was a fun experiment, both in camera and in the digital darkroom (aka Photoshop). It was still quite nippy that night, so I didn't want to linger outside for too very long, but before returning to the house, I did do another little series. I will likely post that set soon, maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

The First Meetup

In the midst of another glorious and early warm spell that will continue through to Sunday, we seized the opportunity to convene our first park meetup of the year.

Of course I took a few photos and will insist on showing them in a bit, but I'd like to begin earlier in the day.

At this time last year, it seems to be that the pond was often full of waterfowl, but everytime we go by this year, it is almost completely empty. I decided to go out earlier than usual on my own while Sue was still doing things around the house. Except for a solitary goose, it was still empty. I did take a picture of His Solitarianiss (I made up the word) because I was there and so was s/he.

Cropped a lot even at full zoom

Later in the morning, Her Specialness and moi went for a little walk on the trail. It is terribly messy and brambly beside the trail and hardly a comely and photogenic woodland. There are shapes and reflections in the spring ponds that look interesting, but there is so much distracting mess that pictures don't turn out well. I took the time to eliminate some distractions in post in this one because I like it otherwise.

Onto the afternoon meetup which I mentioned at the outset.

On a glorious day, this is the scene that greeted us as we exited the car: looking upriver along our lovely Mississippi, which for new readers is NOT THAT Mississippi.

We set up our chairs and waited for our friends to arrive.

Once they arrived, we sat and chatted for almost two hours.

We have today through Sunday to continue to enjoy this unseasonal interlude before we revert to more typical April weather with cooler temperatures and plenty of rain in the forecast next week.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Spring, Easter and Selfie

This week I have been noticing that the morning sun was reaching the corner of my monitor. It has doing so for a few days, but yesterday I picked up the iphone and took a photo. In the photo, the light is just reaching the top right corner. Of course, this will change quickly now as at our latitude, we are getting about 3 minutes more sunlight per day.

You likely recall me saying that to me, this lighting of the monitor is the beginning of spring. Likewise, its leaving marks the end of autumn.

Just a little while later, when I hopped onto FB, a memory awaited me.

I had done the same thing on the same date, last year. The patch of light was a bit bigger last year, probably because the monitor was in a slightly different orientation because the sun would almost have be in the same spot, although it can vary by a day or so.

Of course, I hadn't remembered having taken that photo in 2020, for I forget about most things that I post almost immediately after posting. Someone may LIKE a FB post, and I will have to go back to recall what it was.

The weather has been grand for three days: sunny with the gale force winds abating to just plain winds. This was quite wonderful on Easter Sunday, for we were able to have a short visit with Sha and the kids on the back deck.

Sue had moved closer to JJ for the photo but moved back right after

We don't use our backyard much because we back onto a busy road. There is a fair bit of space between us and the road, but it is still noisy. More importantly however, the yard bakes in the afternoon summer sun. In point of fact, we were almost too hot on that April weekend.

Despite the heat, Lacey still wanted out.

We keep the poor thing inside, away from ticks and fleas and possible gaps in the fence. We wouldn't want to take the chance of a poor, declawed puss being out on her own.

Finally for now, I came across some information about using the portrait mode on an iphone. I had thought that this application would require an iphone12, but it works well on my 10.

This ↑ was a selfie in portrait mode, and that is what came directly from the phone without further editing. I did do one thing: cropped it to 8x10 format, which is a good ratio for portraits.

It is amazing what the phone can do. There's quite a lot of computing power in a phone, and Apple has done a good job in exploiting the capabilities.

If you need help with this, I am sure that you can find a quick tutorial if you are using a later edition of the iphone.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Blossoms and Other Things

Life is good, or mostly good, but I do have a mini gripe coming up . . . later though.

A big plus was the weather yesterday and even for the past few days. Yesterday was bright and not too windy, so we headed out for a morning stroll along the trail.

Wow! At a time when I have seen no obvious signs of spring springing, we did see that one tree had blossomed.

It was along the trail, and there were many branches, but most were not isolated from each other. High up, I could see some single branches. Fortunately, I had my long lens, so I pointed way up against the bright blue sky and squeezed the shutter. 

They were two different branches, and I am not sure which photo I like best, and it doesn't matter. The photos aren't stellar, but under the circumstances, I am pleased with the outcomes.

I also took another long telephoto, looking across the river. I like how it turned out. It is muted yet also vibrant along the bottom.

I also like this log and its reflection, along with many other reflections adding texture.

While we waited for traffic to decongest over the footbridge, I photographed one of the pigeons than hang out under the overpass. 

This leads to my gripe and it ain't about pigeons.

The people on the bridge, never moved on. There were three ladies with their three tots. The tots were having fun, and the ladies were enjoying their chat. They didn't move and weren't about to. I guess we could have donned our masks and braved going past, but they weren't masked, so protection would have been minimal. We would have had to pass by too close for comfort in these times.

So, we turned and walked the other way. I caught this photo of Sue through the branches of a bush. I seldom focus manually because auto focus almost always does it better than my old eyes. But to get the focus on Sue and not on the branches, I chose to focus manually this time, and it worked out.

It had been awhile, so we ambled back to the footbridge. Guess what? The group was still there, clogging up the works. This was at least 20 minutes later. We turned around again and headed home muttering something something about inconsiderate people.