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.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fathers Day Part 2

Saturday was our official family day to celebrate the wonder that is me. hahaha

We followed the same routine as we did for Mothers Day: make sandwiches, take coffee and donuts to the park, set out the chairs, and wait for daughter and grandkids.

Here I am surrounded by my adoring family. Wait ...
Phew! Here they come. Grandpa is not forgotten after all.
Let me read the cards first, guys. It's the polite thing to do.
Okay. Rip away. The kids like to open others' presents.
There's a little time to play and ...

... to just hang around before we eat.

The kids did quite a bit of climbing after lunch, especially JJ who got even higher than we see in the next 4 pictures. ↓

Danica did her own things after awhile. ↓

Then, it was time for Buppa to go home for a nap and for the kids to head off to Lambsdown to see sheep shearing and to get their faces painted. Remember when it was the kids who needed the nap?

Images taken from daughter's FB page. ↓

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dionysos Restaurant and the Shady Nook Trail

It's Fathers (which I refuse to apostrophize) Day weekend. While Sunday is the official day, Today, Saturday, is our day to be with the kids, and Friday was the day for Sue and I to do our couples thing.

Our habit is to go out for breakfast, but having actually made the mistake of going out one Mothers (which I refuse to apostrophize) Day once, we now beat the rush.

So, on Friday morning, Sue took me to Dionysos, our goto place for brecky.

We always order the standard — eggs, bacon, toast and hash browns for breakfast.  It's the way that Dionysos does the potatoes that sets it apart. So tasty. If you're local, you must try them if you haven't already.

Mugging (so to speak) for the camera. I should have taken a picture of the food,
but I didn't think of it

A little later in the day, we drove to the ninth line in order to walk the Shady Nook portion of the Beckwith Trail. This seems to be the year of walking new trails. First we hit the Baird Trail near Middleville although it was still spring-wet, so we didn't see much of it and must return someday. Then (to the consternation of some) I posted of my experience of the Goodwood Marsh Trail.

So, here are a few pics of the Shady Nook section.

We began on the ninth line, actually parking nearer the McTavish branch where there is more space. Then we walked back to Shady Nook. A couple of cars can squeeze onto the shoulder as you approach the trail, but there's not a whole lot of room right by the entrance.

As you can see, this part of the trail is quite shady and ... er ... nooky (as opposed to nookie).

Just as there is an odd and funny sign on the McGregor section, here's one we encountered in this section.

Somewhere toward the middle of the hike, the trail changes from shady to more open, and we found ourselves surrounded by acres of swamp and bull rushes. When I say acres, I mean off to the sides; it didn't take that long to walk through this part.

As you begin to get toward the Tenth Line side, you can glimpse a farm or two off to the sides.

Through this gap, we could see the lights in the playing fields of the township arena. They are way off in the distance and only faintly visible in this photo.

We came into a section of quite tall trees.

And we were soon at the southern end, with Beckwith School (I think it was called that) across the road.

So, it was time to turn around and walk back. The trail is almost 1.5 km or 1 mile in length and was a pleasant enough stroll on this day.

Edit: here's a link to a pdf for the Beckwith Trails if you are local and wish more information.