Sunday, May 31, 2015

Swamp, Geese, Flowers and Wind

I remain a little bruised and weary over recent events, but I am returning to something resembling normal. While I am still not into following blogs, I may get there soon. Meanwhile, I post a bit of an update.

It has been a long while since a walked into our local woods, such as they are. Invariably, I seem to take photos of this spot, and they are often stitches for some reason. It's a swampy and woods area shot from a boardwalk. I always like peering in there although my peering doesn't result in fantastic photos. This is a stitch of three upright shots put together in the newest version of Lightroom. You no longer have to shell out to Photoshop to do a pano stitch. The same applies to HDRs.

On the same afternoon, Sue and I took a lunch to Riverside Park where we read a bit and played a bit of music. To a large extent, we were able to do this because it was the only day without fierce winds. It's been a windy week or two to say the least — even a windy whole spring come to think of it.

The geese eventually exited the water and munched on land, getting somewhat close to us. On our right were two families (not shown); on our left were all of the singletons — those who were not lucky enough to mate or who have not yet laid eggs. This arcing branch of the willow always makes such an inviting frame.

The next day, yesterday, I went for another little saunter. I tried a number of photos, but the only one that I kind of liked was this of pink wildflowers blowing in the wind, which came back with a bit of a vengence after our one day (actually a partial day) of reprieve. I guess I caught them at the right second with a fast enough shutter speed that they actually came out pretty sharp considering the elements. Life is full of surprises; I hadn't had much hope when I snapped the shutter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The After Effects

It has been a trying and hectic week with rather too much travelling in addition to the normal toll that sicknesses, deaths and funerals take on a soul. I am not quite with it yet, but I have appreciated your supportive comments.

This is a collage of a patch of trilliums that I shot ten days ago.
Their time is now all but over for another year.
The top pane is a photo stitch of three shots.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

In Memory ...

Learning that he was failing, we drove three hours on Thursday to visit Sue's brother, Larry in the hospital. Sadly, he was not conscious, and he passed away in the wee hours on Friday.

He was a remarkable man: a retired professor in the field of education. He was a voracious reader, a deep thinker, and a gentle and kindly person. He is already missed.

This is a collage that I assembled for him as a little gift for our last trip to see him a month and a half ago. It is evident in these snapshots that Larry was very fit but was felled too early by polycythemia, which could not be tamed.

On the day of his parting, to calm our grieving spirits, we took a restorative stroll in a nearby conservation area. The woods and the blooming lilacs helped to restore our troubled souls.

Sisters, Sue and Heather, shared many happy memories.
Both life and lilacs are ephemeral but gifts to be greatly appreciated.
Tomorrow, we will journey once again to say our final goodbyes. Alas.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Caught a Sunrise

You may recall that I got up early one morning to catch a sunrise over the river. Except that the sun didn't rise that day. Well, I tried again last week with more success.

I opened my little eyes around 4:30 and saw that it wasn't completely clouded over up there, so I got myself up and ready and went back down to the riverside.

These were a few of the shots. Nothing jaw-dropping, but I was happy enough to get them.

Actually, this next and final one is not of the river but of a pond next to the river. I decided to take it on my way back to the car. I like the reflections and kept the rest of the photo as silhouettes mainly.

Monday, May 18, 2015

At the Tulip Festival

On the weekend, we met some old friends and did a quick run to the tulip festival where, you guessed it, we saw a lot of tulips.

Sue and Marcia amidst blossoms.

Sue shopping and posing by a tulip sculpture.

Two versions of a jazz band, playing in a dark tent.

Finally: tulips.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Front and Back

Just two photos — diptychs — for the holiday weekend.

Above: it's blossom time. The lilacs are blooming nicely and many bushes and trees. This tree is on our neighbour's front yard, but since we're cheek by jowl in townhouses, it might as well be ours.

Below: we finally got what many others have — solar lights. These come in the shape of dragonflies and are hanging in our backyard.

Have a good long weekend, everybody.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Grandfather is Hanging Around in Australia

I have had this photo on Flickr for more than 8 years, but not too long ago someone requested permission to print it and hang it. (I'm certain that I've posted it here too.)

The guy on the extreme left of the second row is my grandfather, Arthur Joseph Quinlan. He was a bricklayer, and this was the work crew on the Sunlife building in Montreal, probably in the late 1910s.

Anyway, somebody in the ABBTF (Australian Brick & Block Laying Foundation) saw it on Flickr and asked for permission to print it and hang it. Of course, I granted them permission, if they would but share a photo of it when it was hanging.

Not long ago, they sent an email with these attachments.

I think it's a pretty cool thing.

In case they wanted it, I offered to remove the Montreal writing that my mother added. I did it, but they didn't get back to me. Here it is anyway.

And since we're here, looking at an old photo, this is his mother, Mary Ann Quinlan (nee Baker), in front of her house in England. That would be one of my grandfather's brothers, I presume.

This is his wife, my grandmother, Charlotte Ann Quinlan (nee Robinson). She is my only grandparent to be born in Canada and not England. She has Irish ancestry and probably English too, but I can't put my finger on the family records right now. She is also the only grandparent I can't remember because she died when I was very young.

Finally, a picture of me with my grandfather Quinlan. I look to be about 4 years old, so it would be about 1951, I think.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mothers Day

Although this photo has nothing to do it, Happy Mothers Day. We will be off to the park with daughter and grandkids in a bit.

As for the photo, I went out at the crack of dawn yesterday, hoping for a nice sunrise. Too bad the sun didn't rise. :) But I took a few photos anyway. This one was a 1 minute long exposure.

With the long winter, it has been awhile since I tried to take what I consider to be a real photo: going somewhere nice at a good time of day with the express purpose of taking a certain photo, usually with a tripod. Most of my shots for a long time have been sort of a 'run and gun' type of thing, which is good enough most of the time, but not usually the very best.

Friday, May 08, 2015

The Waiting Game

Yesterday, we picked daughter up bright and early to drive her to an appointment in the city. It turned out that the procedure on her eye took several hours.

The waiting was pleasant. The weather was wonderful, and for a long time we sat under the shade of a glorious willow at the end of the parking lot.

Before the long sit, we walked in the park next to the office, which included an area called Poet's Walk. I am still in thrall over the burst of greens after a long, monochromatic winter.

There were dogs running loose, two of which you can see in the distance beyond Sue. They were very unobtrusive dogs, so we didn't mind their presence at all.

Thinking, very erroneously, that the wait would not be long, we soon went to the willow tree in the parking lot, so we would be ready when Shauna was done. Luckily, we had two roll-up chairs in the trunk, and  I took several shots from them during the two-hour wait.

Above: a dangling branch.

Below: just point the camera up and shoot. I closed the aperture to get a bit of a burst effect on the sun peeking over the branches.

Lots of folk came and went while we sat. I thought his lady was interesting in her garb with the cell in one hand and the cig in the other. I decided to convert it to mono althoguh there was nothing wrong with the colour version.

Shauna eventually emerged with a somewhat blackened eye, and we found a Denny's where we had a wonderful, if late, breakfast. We don't have too many Denny's in Canada. A few decades ago, when we lived in Sarnia, we would cross the border to Port Huron and enjoy the Denny's there. My goto was the French Slam, so I ordered it again and enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a darn sight pricier than back then, but it was good.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Spring in our Neighbourhood Park

I am still enjoying being able to walk leisurely with my camera. Winter became a time of jumping out of the car to squeeze a quick pic before jumping back in to warm up frozen digits. Okay, I admit to exaggerating a bit ... but just a bit.  lol

Before I show some of yesterdays photos, I am going to show the Trout Lily one more time. I have set up a different sort of diptych. Not sure if it is good or bad for this medium, but here it is anyway.

This ↓ is the only photo from yesterday that I like at all. It's the neighbourhood park, more or less. Those big trees still have a bit of a feathery look. Not for much longer, though.

Three more pics that aren't terrible, I suppose, but they are not inspiring either.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Erythronium americanum: Trout Lily

Not a whole lot of things in bloom yet, so when I spotted these flowers along the Baird Traid, I had to take a shot.

I took them from a fairly long distance with my all-in-one lens to try to get a blurry background. This is not conducive to super sharp shots, but I think it still gets a pass.

The bw is simply a conversion of the first colour shot. While one doesn't normally shoot flowers in bw, I don't mind the way it turned out.

Monday, May 04, 2015


Spring has sprung. It has been a long winter, but it's all changing rapidly now.

Took a take-away sandwich to the park on Friday. Some of the trees were beginning to green-up across the river. I love this feathery looks that we get early in the season. ↓↓

Here is another glimpse across the river: humans and beast enjoying the warmth. ↓↓

After a time at the park, we dropped into a nursery that we were passing by. The whole roof (this is just a section) was covered with planters waiting for a good home. ↓↓

It's a little too early to adopt them yet, however. There may very well be frost this month. Probably not, but maybe.

The next day, Saturday, was also fantastic, so we headed off to see if we could find the Baird Trail off in the nether regions of the county. We did find it and had a picnic lunch where this ↓↓ was our view. After complaining ad infinitum of our brutally long and cold winter, would it be churlish of me to say that I was too hot in that sunny spot? lol

A three-shot vertorama (vertical panorama) from our picnic table.
We went for a short walk along the trail where Shauna (daughter) spotted a few Erythronium americanums or Trout Lilies. This was one of them. ↓↓

After Baird Trail and a fruitless attempt to see the quarry, we headed to Balderson to look around and get an ice cream cone. My bear claw was delish. But this ↓↓ picture is of an old-fashioned scale that I had never noticed before.