Monday, April 30, 2018

Macro Comparisons

Yeah yeah I know, more boring macro chatter. But a few have some interest.

I set up to take photos of drooping grape hyacinths. Spring flowers do not last long although the buds are still in pretty good shape even if the stem can no longer hold up the flowers.

First a side-by-side comparison from my full frame Canon 6D of a wide aperture (f2.8) on the left and a narrow aperture (f22) on the right. There's quite a difference in depth of field. They both have merit; in this case I think I like the blurry background of the wide aperture shot better. (Unfortunately, I didn't quite nail the focus on any of these shots, but I don't think it's a great concern in this comparison.)

Those were both taken with my full frame Canon 6D. Then I set up my crop sensor Canon 7D in the same spot or at least from the same distance. As is plain to see and as discussed recently, the 7D shot is much closer. For whatever reason the colour balance isn't identical, but that's not the main point  of the experiment, so it doesn't matter too much, but I will say that I prefer the left 6D colour better.

They (above) were both taken at a wide f2.8. The lack of crisp focus becomes more of a problem on the right which is a tighter focus. This is the photographer's fault, not the camera's deficiency.

One more camera comparison, both taken at a small aperture. With eyes failing me, they aren't identical but close enough. Left the full frame 6D at f22. Right the 7D at f25. I think the left photo is acceptable even if I somewhat prefer the f2.8 version, but the right one doesn't work at all well for me.

Note: I set up the initial composition with the 6D and kept the 7D at the same distance for the comparison. If I were just composing with the 7D and not comparing, I would likely make a different compositional choice.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Buppa Does it Too

I have some more material to share from PA Day with the kids — from Sue's phone.

Phones are so portable and there so convenient. And they're great for snapshots and quick videos. But when there are several videos, and I only want parts of each, I must work with them on my my computer, and the process can be a pain in the neck.

Yesterday, I airdropped from her cloud to mine, but they still weren't all there on my computer when I went to bed. This following morning, I could see them via the cloud tab my computer, but then I had to download them. And this put me into another seemingly interminable wait.

Three of four videos downloaded in fairly short order, but the fourth is taking it's sweet time, and the fourth clip is the one that I want most because it features yours truly finding some slight degree of success biking those dirt hills.

But since I must wait, let's begin with this photo that Sue took of Danica and her knee.

She tried to navigate from road to sidewalk, and if you don't angle it right, you can fall. Which is what she did.

Meanwhile, as time continues to drag, here's another of Jonathan chilling on one of the jumps. He looks grouchy, but I think he was just concentrating on what the older boys were doing in the distance.

F I N A L L Y !

If you stick with it until the end, you will see me make it on my second try. I was quite out of breath though and decided to forego the return trip (over other hills seen in yesterdays video but not this one).

And a bonus: JJ and me playing catch.

I admit defeat for now. It took a day for the catch video to appear on iCloud on my computer, and then I couldn't manage to download it. I did get one confirmation that it would take 12 hours. This was for a 48 second video. I know there are Apple fans out there, but this is ridiculous.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Professional Activity Day Activities

The teachers had a professional activity day, and we had the kids.

They came in raring to go on their bikes. Sue and I quickly got ready and off we went around the block: actually, around a few blocks.

After that whirlwind, JJ and I played catch for awhile, he using a glove that his aunt had used three decades ago, and he got on to it pretty well for his first try.

Each catch was a bit of an ouch for me since I have developed arthritis in my hands. But where don't I have arthritis?

Meanwhile, Danica did some artwork. I forget whether it was personal or intended for school.

And then we were off again, to the little hills made for dirt biking. I extracted these two photos from videos.

Finally for now, a video clip. I have some more clips to get from Sue's iPhone, if airdrop ever decides to kick in. That will include moi trying the hills, but just the kids this time.

Fir better or worse, after that very full morning, the kids went off to see visit friends for the afternoon.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Not Always So Very Funny

Loss of hearing is not really a funny thing, but it can lead to some funny moments. We have had some good laughs at things that I thought Sue might have said that were kind of astonishing, but I don't seem to recall any at the moment. I should probably write them down in future.

Both by paternal grandfather and father were hard of hearing as the expression goes. I wonder how far back in the family tree this issue goes?

For me, I began to notice a decline in hearing in my early forties, and by my late forties, I had my first hearing aid. I knew that things were deteriorating when I answered a student's question, and everyone laughed because I had obviously misheard the question and answered something that wasn't asked. And so I visited the audiologist.

Ever since then, I have worn hearing aids. If I am counting correctly, I am currently on my fifth pair. You can only realistically expect 3 years out of a pair although I have gotten more in some cases. I have another year or so before I must decide whether to order a new pair or hope for a longer life for my present devices. If I try to extend their life past 3 years, at some point there will be a breakdown in one (and then in the other), and I would have to go without their assistance while it is being repaired or until I order a new pair. And I don't want to go without.

On top of that, a repair is likely to cost ~$500, so I have to wonder if that's a sound investment for just another year or two.

Whatever the case, I seem doomed to average ~$1000/yr to deal with my disability. And that's with government assistance for ~1/3 of the total cost. This cost of ~$4500/pair (my cost being ~$3000) is for a basic level pair; they could get quite a bit more expensive.

I digressed and want to go back to the humour aspect of poor hearing. As I have already said, I make mistakes, but I haven't committed them to memory. I do remember cracking up at one of my father's hearing mistakes, when I was around the age of 10, and he wondered in surprise why my mother would want him to weed the carpet.

At this point, I must digress again, to point out the secondary aspect of hearing loss. It has to do with word discrimination. The hearing aids seem to give me an acceptable level of volume, but there is also some loss of acuity (if that's the right word for what I mean to say). In other words, I cannot always discriminate a word precisely even if it seems to be said loud enough. I think I often get around the problem without realizing it by figuring out the word from the context. I don't realize that's what I am doing, but I think I do this a lot.

But too often context fails me. I mean to say that I will follow the thread of dialogue because of the context but may miss the punchline because the context fails me. (By punchline, I don't necessarily mean the end of a joke although that could be the case, but the conclusion of an idea or narrative.)

It may seem that I am quite disabled, and I am, but I carry on fairly normally most of the time, and people, quite often, would not necessarily be aware of my struggles.

I say all of this because I have two photos to post that illustrate a case of mishearing.

We had taken Danica out of school and to a burger joint for a birthday lunch when towards the end we realized that we should take a photo.

A kind lady offered to take all 3 of us.

She then told Sue, "Move you face," because it was partly obscured.

This photo is the result.

You see, I heard it as "Make a face." It seemed natural to me because I have previously written and demonstrated here that we often make a weird face photo.

She must have thought that I was a rude and wretched man.

When I wrote that loss of hearing can result in humourous moments, I don't think this qualifies. At least not to me.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

More About Macros

I had an idea, not out of the blue, but spurred by a video on macros that I watched on YT. Namely, to put my macro lens on a crop sensor camera.

I normally shoot with my newer full frame camera, but I have an older crop sensor (which just means smaller sensor) camera that still yields decent photos.

Without digressing into the whys and wherefores, from the same distance a crop sensor (technically call an APS sensor) will result in 50% more magnification than a full frame sensor. (Note: a full frame sensor is the size of a 35mm negative in the film days of yore.)

So, I tried it out, and I could get closer with the crop sensor: not that I necessarily want to in most cases, but it's good to have the option.

Here is the result on 2 chrysanthemum photos.

In the first photo (above) I chose smaller blooms: the one on the right actually being about 3/4" with the left being about 1/4". On my screen as I type this the right is approx 4" and the left 1.25", depending on where exactly one measure, but you get the idea.

Below, the whole actual bloom in ~2" but I have cropped off some of it. In the photo, it's about 7.75". The centre is really about 3/4" but almost 4.75" in the photo (on my monitor although it will likely be different on yours.)

I have probably, quite pedantically, explained this before, but a macro lens results in the same proportions as the actual subject. So if the subject is 1" it will also be 1" on the sensor. Of course, the sensor is small, so as soon as you develop an actual photo, the subject becomes much larger than an inch. It could stretch all of the way across a very large image. For example, if I printed the above photo at 20" inches it would still cover the canvas. (The above numbers are what we experience if the camera is at its closest to the subject. As you pull back, of course, a 1" subject won't be 1" on the sensor.)

Here are two more photos of grape hyacinths. Keep in mind that the blooms actually measure ~1/8", but even in the more zoomed out photo, the one that I measured is ~3/4". In the second image the bloom in most focus is almost 2".

I know, if you are still with me with eyes slightly glazed over, this is only of passing interest (if that), but I thought I would put the information out there.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Discussing Macro Photos

I continue to experiment with flower macros.

One would tend to think that it would be an easy task. I mean, the flowers are static, and there's no wind to contend with for indoor photos. You can take your time setting up the photo, supposedly getting the composition right, but then when you see the image on the screen, you realize that your composition isn't so wonderful after all.

In these two photos of chrysanthemums, I had to crop quite a bit because I just didn't like what I was seeing on the edges; they added nothing to the photo and actually distracted the viewer. And I still don't like the first one because it's a cluster with nothing standing out very well. The second one I like better because the main subject is very clear and well separated from the background — but it still required cropping.

And here's another one that doesn't work. I thought that since blue and yellow are so complementary I would place some blue grape hyacinths against a yellow daffodil background. But I don't like it. Besides the colour and saturation, you will notice that nothing is particularly sharp.

Sharpness and depth of field (how much is in focus) can be difficult. In macro work, depth of field is very narrow, and then if you stop the lens down (smaller aperture) to get more of the subject in focus, you tend to lose sharpness.

Here's a grape hyacinth photo that I like, but even then you can see that the top part of the flower is not in focus. That isn't always a problem because it's not so bad to have a blurrier background, but it does show how limited we can be.

To work around this, one can practice focus stacking. That means that you take several photos of the same subject, but you focus on a different part of the subject. You then use Photoshop to blend the various images together. For example, both of the chrysanthemum photos up top were focus stacked: 4 shots for the first image and 3 for the second one.

I lucked out a bit with this next chrysanthemum shot at least compositionally (in my mind at least) because I like the arc of the flowers. But that was more luck than anything because I didn't necessarily see it when I was composing the photo because I was concentrating on getting the group of 3 in the centre.

Oddly  enough, I am finding that photo of flowers in bud or decay are sometimes more interesting than those in their full blooms.

Many of these are a fairly long exposure because they were taken indoors (even though near a window), and a tripod was certainly a necessity. I also use manual focus where I zoom in on a particular part of the flower in magnified mode. Still, I don't always nail the focus. I also use black foam core as the background because having my kitchen or whatever back there wouldn't be a great idea.

I probably should acquire a ring flash to mount on my lens to add a little bit of light and to reduce exposure times.

But I am enjoying the learning process.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

JJ's Double Sleepover, Part 2

Once again, as has been the case quite a lot lately, the main raison d'etre of this post is for family records with Sunday being the second day of Jonathan's sleepover.

The weather was wonderful, so we took him to the park to play with his new basketball, purchased on the previous day.

He shot a lot. I shot a few, and I was not very good.

Sue took some video and photos, and I really like this one. Both JJ and I are in action; there is anticipation about whether the ball will drop; and the two of us along with the ball form a triangle which is a strong photographic element.

And a video.

Once he was done with BBall, he performed some feats of strength on the playground apparatus.

And then, he thought he deserved a Day 2 Sleepover Treat. Yikes! Another one? He settled on a hat. Thankfully, both weekend treats turned out to be relatively inexpensive.

With the day being very nice, and it being Earth Day, and also our lawn litter pickup beginning its two-week run on the next day, we all pitched in to do some yard cleanup before it was time to take him home.

But on the way home, we stopped at yet another park (this one near his house) for him to shoot some more hoops.

TThen we dropped him off and Buppa and Amma went home very tired grandparents indeed.

Monday, April 23, 2018

JJ's Double Sleepover, Part 1

With Danica having a birthday party, we all decided that Jonathan could spend two nights with us. Since Danica had had three consecutive sleepovers, he figured we owed him, and it seemed like a good way to get everybody through the weekend.

So, after our birthday dinner with Mom and Danica followed by our trip to DQ, the boy came home with us. It had been awhile since his last sleepover, and he hadn't amde it through his last two sleepover with friends, so we were all a bit apprehensive.

He was up late and still had trouble getting to sleep, but he braved it out, and we were all ready for a good time on Saturday.

He likes to indulge himself in the morning, and especially at our house it would seem, so he spent a few hours doing this in bed.

He probably could have done it for many more hours, but it was time to make paper airplanes.

And then it was time to fly them, which didn't go too great in the wind, but we had fun. (Never take a vertical video, folks.)

Then, we took him and his new bike over to the dirt bike hills,

But that wasn't enough, so it was off for donuts next and then a trip to WM for his sleepover treat.

The treat turned out to be a basketball, and so he played a version of basketbin in the garage.

We were thoroughly exhausted by now, but his day kept going. Dad picked him up for his year end hockey party, and just look at this. In case you can't tell, the kids got to play video games in a special truck. JJ said he won on his NHL17 game.

But we still have a story at bedtime. On both nights, we found James Herriot stories that we hadn't yet read.

I think I'll have to do day two later.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Birthday

For the record, a few shots from Danica's birthday celebrations.

Part 1

We picked her up at school, took her to our place to open a few gifts before heading out for lunch.

Part 2

She had dinner and cake at her dad's: a taco shaped cake. (She chose to have tacos for both birthday dinners -- ours and the steps.)

Part 3

After dinner, mom met up with Danica and dad at WM, and a bike was purchased.

Part 4

We had a birthday dinner at Mom's place, opened a few more gifts and headed to DQ for a treat. This is what she wanted instead of cake. At DQ she set up her new combo tripod and selfie stick. This was quite a hit and very appropriate as she is forever making little videos and also taking selfies. It even has a bluetooth connection for her to fire her iThing remotely.

Part 5

On day three of the ongoing fete, she had friends over for a slime and pizza party, followed by a traditional cake and a sleepover with a favoured one, which was all mom was prepared to handle. (Making slime is a major area of interest these days. Go figure. I wasn't there but Mom posted photos on FB.)

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Happy 11th

Today, a sweet girl celebrates 11 years on this planet. I was in the waiting room when I heard Danica come roaring her way into this world, and she's been a life force ever since. She's smart, sunny, kind and beautiful. And she's my very own granddaughter.

It's a tradition that I create and print a birthday card; this is this years versions with the front (cover) to the left and the inside to the right.

In what has become another tradition, this is her birthday collage: all photos from the past year.

Today, we will take her out of school for lunch and let her take the afternoon off. Later, she'll have dinner with her dad and the step family. Tomorrow, we'll have a little party on our side of the family. Then on Saturday, there will be a pizza party with a number of her friends followed by a sleepover with some of them. Over the weekend, we will have JJ for a night or two while these festivities are proceeding. There is a very small chance (maybe large) that I just may possibly perhaps post some pics of her lunch out with us and our little family dinner in due course.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Witless Wednesday

It's 11AM, and I find myself in the tire shop getting those dang snow tires off and the all seasons on. It's late in the season but a little early this year because we are expecting snow tomorrow. But that's life.

I have brought my ipad along so that I can read and while away the time whilst I wait. I already know that the library app on my tablet doesn't give me a large font, but I have recently found a bold font at least, so I am willing to try again. But man a'livin, that's awfully small for these aging eyes. The following page grab is not much smaller than my ipad screen, so you can see what I'm up against.

This library reading app is obviously buggy. Whether I view small text, medium text or large text, the size remains constant. The only change is that the lines get farther apart. Big flippin deal.

But for a good book I just might be willing to persist. But then I come to this paragraph, which is hopefully enlarged enough for you to read. It's awful. The rest of the page is just as bad. I cannot continue. (You can click to enlarge the image if you need to, but just read a bit of this if you will.)

So, I look around for an alternative use of my time and spot a magazine, the current April 2018, special edition on Race of National Geographic. I am interested in what I am able to read before the car is ready and decide that I will go the the pharmacy to purchase copy on my way home. I know they have a magazine section and that they display NG .

But no, not this edition. There are 2 different NG mags on the rack, but not this one.

But I have a prescription to pick up, so it's not a wasted trip. I know that it's ready because they emailed me. The pickup line is interminable, so I walk over to the grocery section for coffee cream. They were all out of creamer yesterday, but I'll pick up a quart today. Still out. That's three strikes. So I'm out too.

Back at the house, I open the trunk to unload the tires.

I can hardly believe the hodgepodge mess. I mean, I stacked them so neatly when I dropped them off. It's simple, you stack 3 tires, flat on top of each other which allows you enough space to roll the 4th one neatly in beside them because there's not enough space to stack 4 in one pile. I said neatly. This is not neat.

One presumes that the same fellows who took out the summer tires, and therefore saw how a sane person might stack them, were the ones who put back the winter tires. And even if not, like man, you're doing this for a living, and surely to goodness this is not the first set that you've ever changed. Surely. To. Goodness.

On top of that, I had already paid $10 more than last years fee for this very same service and $20 than I used to pay about a decade ago. Sigh: price up, service down.

Back at home we have lunch, Sue and I. With our lunch we have tea, which is our usual thing. We do this even though tea affects me. You've heard of that grocery store, A&P? My bod reacts to tea ... well let's just say that it's T&P. Seriously, I seem to eliminate about the equivalent of that one mug about 4 times within about an hour and a half of consuming it. I am not exaggerating, or at least not so very dang much. I don't understand why this is so, but it's the way that my bod works. Or doesn't work. Yeah, that's it: doesn't work.

So, needless to say, when I feel the afternoon drowsies coming on, I try to go with the figurative flow and have a little siesta. But that's the problem. The literal flow keeps forcing me to visit the commode. In the end, I give up and get up and write up this post.

I am calling this post Witless Wednesday. For rather obvious reasons.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Solitary Canada Goose

Last week, in my Bleak Walk Around post, among other photos, there was a solitary Canada Goose in one of the pics (repeated below).

You  don't see that very often. If they're not in actual gaggles, they are usually at least in pairs.

But when I returned on the next day, he or she (gander or goose) was still there. Alone. Which made me feel a little sad. But I'm a bit of a sentimental slob.

They are very wary creatures, and even though I wasn't all that close, he still began to paddle off.

I went back a few days later, but it was a foul day: too foul for fowl. Nary a bird either. Has it found a flock or a partner, I wonder.

It was awful out. Very windy. Brutal. Then the weather got worse.
(as previously posted)