Thursday, May 31, 2018

That Number

Things went a little crazy on Flickr when someone noticed this photo and Flickr put it into a category called Explore. Which many did.

You'll remember the photo ... maybe.

So, look at the numbers (below the photo) after it caught people's attention.

What caught my eye was the number of faves -- 666. What's not to love about reaching that devilishly fine number?

Actually, I'm glad that I grabbed a screenshot because it didn't stay at 666 for very long.

The views and faves are slowing down though. As I type this I am stalled at 674 faves and 79,585 views. And of course, as soon as I type that and recheck the number, there are a more than a 100  more views and a few more faves.

Which is all by the by as it's really the 666 that this was all about.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Lilacs Plus

After I had shot the trilliums (previous post) I drove around the circuit again because I had perhaps missed a few photo ops on my first pass.

Sure enough, there was a nice lilac bush along the roadside just past an interesting fence.

Farther along Quarry Road I found a bush of white blossoms.

As I was about to pull off, I saw a cloud of blossoms falling, so I got back out with my camera at the ready, but it didn't happen again — a few but not a cloud.

Around the corner, back on Dromond Rd where I had photographed the trilliums, I stopped to take this shot of forget-me-nots (along with other plants) along a split rail fence.

Perhaps I will find some more spring blooms, but were'getting toward the end with a little delay in blooms before most summer flowers emerge.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Spent Trilliums

The trillium is our designated provincial flower. I know of a patch, nit far from here, that I have returned to several times, but not for the past two years. And as you will see from the following photos, I almost missed again this year.

They have short lives and looked less than full early last week when I drove by, so I decided to wait for awhile, but were all but done by the time that I got around to them by the end of the week.

They do look old and spent, but so do I, so I retain some respect for them.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Front Garden

We have a few weeks in the later portion of May when we essentially do our gardening for the year. We're not finished yet, but it's taking shape.

The view from upstairs: what I see from my den window. You see a lot of mulch and the forget-me-nots in full vigour.

From ground level looking from the front. With the rock only a few inches down, about the only plant that will grow with any success by the driveway are daylilies.  I have added some soil to the bed, which helps a little. We have a few pots with annuals here and there. You can see that we have kept a path between the driveway border and the centre garden to the left.

The very front of the centre garden is full of spring flowers right now. The tulips are almost done; in fact I have already deadheaded a few. The low flowers near the very front are ground phlox. They only do so-so here and will be augmented by annuals once the tulips and foreget-me-nots are done.

Looking at that garden from the back, we can see the changing nature of the garden. As the tree has grown, the left side, as we face the garden from the back, has become shady. This has caused the echinacea to migrate from left to right to chase the sun. I find this quite remarkable. Therefore, we have begun to plant shade plants on the left. You can see a hosta, and there is a heuchera  that is not visible in this photo.

I have to lay some more soil and mulch in that back section above and maybe move at least one echinacea. (Edit: which is now done.)

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Just another quick hit. The lilac bush is blooming in the backyard, and if I don't photograph it now ... well ...

Friday, May 25, 2018

St James Park

When I spied this park near our exercise class on Tuesday, I was sans camera ans noted to self that I must return avec camera.

It's a little park on the north side of the river, looking across toward townhall.

But it wasn't this building that drew me on this day but the blossoms. Each shot begged to be taken with benches.

I think the next shot is my fave, but I like the first (of the three above) too.

I have a nice winter photo looking across to townhall, and I should go back from time to time to get some different views in different light.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Neighbourhood Beauty

I just have one thing to share today — a photo of the flowering tree in the place next to ours. Well, it's not really a photo but 3 photos — a triptych. Despite it not being in a great setting, it seems pretty enough to share.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Dad's Forget-Me-Nots

I probably don't tell this story every year, but I am pretty sure that I have told it in many years. So, what's one more year, eh?

Every year we get a nice crop of myosotis both in the front and back yard. They are a reminder of Dad and how he transplanted them from his garden to ours back in 1983. For 22 years in that house they reseeded themselves and brought us joy. Dad died in 1999, but his forget-me-nots came back year after year.

When we moved 7 hours away from that house across province to the Ottawa area, we brought some plants with us. Actually, I think they were most likely seeds and not plants, but I'm a little fuzzy on that point.

Thirteen year after the move and 25 years after the initial planting we still get a nice spring showing. Some years I take pictures, probably most years.

I took this one out front the other morning, hand-held with my macro lens. I thought that liked it at the time, and I actually did, but I don't anymore. It's not well enough focused, and the surrounding green is a little too garish for my taste.

They say that you should always walk away from a photo once you are done with editing. I guess I should have done it in this case, but I will present it anyway. Let's be honest after all; I have more failures that successes.

The dad-blasted (sorry Dad) wind picked up again, but I headed to the more protected backyard to try a few more shots. For one thing, I had promised to show my tripod setup for these low flowers.

I can spread the legs and move the centre post so that I can get very low shots. Here's what it looked like in this case.

I got a little confused and tried to take several different shots, each with a different focal point, and then stitch them together in post. I didn't do as well as I would have liked. I needed more shots to get the overall focus better. As you can see there was also some wind and/or camera movement, but it's a somewhat interesting result anyway. Maybe I will try again.

Then, I took it off the tripod, set the camera on auto focus and fired down into a cluster. Once again, it's not perfect, but I like it best of the three. There's something to be said, at least sometimes, for not being locked down on a tripod.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Finally! More Tulip Photos

When I posted  Spring Flowers Outdoors, I ad only one tulip to share: the first of the garden. But 9 days later they were all in full bloom and even beginning to wane. Sadly.

I wanted to get more shots, but I kept being thwarted by wind. Almost every time I looked out the window, it seemed to be blowing rather strongly although I did manage to get this photo a few days later.

That was taken with my macro lens and on a tripod. In post I worked to get a bright, airy feeling.

But then, due to the wretched wind,  I went a whole week without taken another photo. Finally, the wind yesterday morning was much lighter: present but not howling at least.

So, I made the most of the opportunity and took some more photos. Although I also experimented with the macro lens, these were all taken handheld with a moderate telephoto lens (70-300mm). Both the telephoto plus the handholding gave my cranky body a bit of a break. Rather than crawling through to garden, I was able to more or less keep to the sides.

All of these photos are shot with at least some degree of backlight. When I looked with the sun behind me and facing the flowers, it just didn't look good, and I didn't take any shots. They are also all taken with a wide aperture (f2.8) to keep the background soft and blurry.

These are all cropped in post, sometimes heavily and edited with the light and sunny look in mind.

I decided to add one more, this one from the macro lens but still sans tripod. Both the blur and bokeh are somewhat better with this lens for what it's worth.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pains and Grumps for Gramps

I'm pretty well an even keel sort of guy. I don't usually get too high or too low. I don't do grumpy very often, and often when I do, I realize that I am just plain tuckered out, and a little rest will help a lot.

But I got kind of grumpy for awhile the other morning. The accumulation of little ailments was getting on my nerves.

I had gone out to coffee with a friend, but the place was very noisy, which makes it kind of difficult for a guy with hearing aids. Sometimes, you just pick up too much background noise and too little of what you really want to hear. Hearing aids are better than they used to be for this, but they weren't cutting it on that morning.

Later I found myself kind of hobbling across a parking lot to the grocery store. My right foot with missing cartilage plus bone chips can be aggravating, but sometimes it's worse than others. I had been to exercise class on the previous day, and some of the push off movements seemed to aggravate the condition. I really want to do this class, and the thought that I might have to quit quite provoked me.

Then there is the shoulder, the right one, which is getting more problematic. I tried to make a big turn with the steering wheel, and Ouch! I can barely sleep on my right side anymore, and I am a side sleeper — when I sleep, that is. And then I tried to back out of a parking space, but my neck mightily resisted the necessary swivelling which used to be so easy.

There are too many other things that I've had to give up, like cycling (more or less anyway). And there was fiddling, which I enjoyed but fingers and shoulders ended that activity prematurely. Back longer ago, tennis was brought to a halt by back problems. Even further in the past when I was still youngish, jogging was  kiboshed due to plantar fasciitis. Lately, even walking with that sore foot is not exactly a picnic, and walking is supposed to be a basic thing that most people can do.

Now, I know that this all sounds like a pity party, but I'm just listing things (and I didn't even get to my knees), some of which also got me down a bit that morning.

But being grumpy is no fun for anybody, so I managed to talk myself out of it in fairly short order.

After all, at 71 as far as I know, other than hearing loss and osteoarthritis, I am relatively healthy. Yeah, the osteo limits me, but I think I can push on for the most part. I can still amble around the neighbourhood even if I am not exactly zippy. I also think I can continue exercise class although I may have to modify some of the movements, like some of the sidestepping  because I find it takes a lot to push off with that bad ankle.

This seniors exercise class that we attend is actually quite good. It's surprising how much of a workout you can get just more or less staying on the spot and keeping your arms and legs moving. In fact, I work up quite a sweat.

I have found a somewhat similar workout on YT. It's not as long or as vigourous as what we do in class but it's not a bad start, and it lasts for about 15 minutes which is a good basic length of time for a bit of a cardio workout. It is supposedly equivalent to walking a mile and at a decent pace too.

Here it is, just for the record.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Town Pics

Some recent photos just around town.

Trees line the riverbank at Riverside Park.

I always appreciate this house and property when I chance to drive by and took a nice snowy, Christmas photo a few years ago. In addition to the house itself, I like the fence, blossoming tree, and spring flowers at this time of year.

Near the property (above) I went onto the old railway bridge and took a shot looking downstream toward little Gillies bridge. We have three automobile bridges in town, but this is a small and very lightly used one. The water runs fast here but slows down significantly on the other side of that bridge.

Near Gillies Bridge (in fact you can see the building in the distant left, above)  there is an old and presently unoccupied building. I am not sure of its name or history, and despite its location, it was not a mill (like the building seen on the right, above).

While driving to the coffee shop to meet a friend, I passed by a house with a flowerbed out front and thought it might make a decent picture with the fence in the background, so I pulled over and took a quick shot.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday Fences

On Flickr, some people do a Fence Friday thing and tag it with HFF for Happy Fence Friday. While I don't necessarily make a habit of it, I want to play sometimes, so last evening I went out looking for a fence to shoot.

I had passed this property earlier in the day and thought it would make a good subject, particularly with that blossoming tree. And it does, even though there was no direct light on the place when I got there. I thought using the fence as a strong line would be a good composition, and I like it well enough.

I tried it in horizontal mode too, but I think I prefer the vertical, above.

The next part was unplanned, but we then drove about a bit. We don't have to drive far to be in the country here, and I found a few fence photo ops with some backlight. Not particularly compelling shots, but something for the HFF arsenal.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Danica's Photos and Video

On Mothers Day at the park, Danica grabbed my camera and started shooting every which way. I saved some of the shots.

The best were of Jonathan.

This is my fave, which I thought should be converted to b&w. It's at an angle that would be difficult if not impossible for most adults to take.

Danica's Video: We have a family supper on Mondays. While the adults were chatting post meal, Danica made this video with her iPhone in just a few minutes. I have no idea how one does that. It's a little lost on a computer screen but looks fab on the phone. (Never mind. I see that it enlarges to full screen very well.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


It was Mothers Day, and I had prepared quite a bit, but come the morning I thought I should post something on FB too. I thought of a strip of photos showing my mother, the mother of my children, and the mother of my grandchildren. After a search through my photos, this is what I came up with.

Left to Right: (1) my mother and me, (2) the mother of my children + Shauna,
(3) the mother of my grandchildren + Danica, (4) the mother of my grandchildren + Jonathan

We did all get together in the afternoon with a plan to grab some fries from a chip truck for a late lunch at the park. We set up the chairs, and Danica and I headed out to get fries. There are only two chip trucks open at this time of year. Except for some odd reason neither were open on this gorgeous Mothers Day afternoon. So we scrambled off to the coffee shop for bagels and coffee.

Despite the scramble we eventually had a good sit and natter at the park, and later we did find that the new ice cream vendor at the park was open.

When photos were called for, I looked for a spot with some shade cover because I have more pictures spoiled by bright sunlight, especially dappled sunlight, than I care to count.

We began with Sha and the kids.

Then we added grandma.

Sue always wears sunglasses, except maybe on moonless nights, but every now and then I remember to ask her to remove them. I wish I would always remember.