Monday, December 30, 2019

Icy Time is Tablet and Cat Time

When the day is like this ↑ ↓. (Yes, we did have an ice storm overnight.)

You might as well do this.

Lacey was having quite a nap on my lap before Sue came in with the camera (on request). This is to show that I get some lap time too. But I have to be on this chair in my den and not on my other chair in the living room.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Caturday 12: Lacey is such a Sneak

How did she do ↓ this? Lacey was able to insert herself into this little tableau three times. So clever.

That poster ↑ was made for Shauna's birthday celebration last week. Also at that event, Lacey decided to grace Danica with some lap time. As I have previously mentioned, she is a very odd cat and will only visit people who are sitting in this particular chair. However, the one time I sat myself there, she ignored me — Me! her main provider.

I sometimes get some lap time up on my chair in the den. That is the only other place where she will deign to snuggle. As I said, Go Figure!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Christmas Morning

Another double-post day, but this should do it. I don't think anybody needs any actual commentary on Christmas Morning snaps. 😊

After the Prospect Carol Sing

We got home pretty early in the evening after the Prospect Carol Sing (recent post), after recomposing myself a bit at home, I headed out again. This time it was just to roam around our fair town to look for possible Christmas Lights subjects. The fact that it was warm out  — in Canadian winter terms at a few degrees above freezing — was an inducement to get out there and just do it beaue you can't count on mild weather to last for very long.

I wasn't necessarily looking for the grand and glorious displays. I know where a few are, but I was content to look for tasteful displays that pleased me.
Following are two such displays, especially the second

This is another house that I like a lot. The lighting is minimal but very tasteful and effective in my opinion. The lighting style also seems a bit old-fashioned, and I really like that. I also think the tree is effective.

I like how this house also lights the long fence and even the garage.

Perhaps this next and last one was a favourite photo of the night. It's a older home verging on the grand that I think has a classic look. If I think of it and actually get around to it, I'd like to go back with a longer lens and just focus on the porch and the lit tree in the window that opens on to it.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas Eve

I think I need to double-post today. I've already put up the Prospect Carol Sing post, which I had set to post earlier. But, of course, there was family time at Christmas, so I am going to post a few pics before they become too outdated. This is about Christmas Eve. It's my record; you may want to just move on.

We drove over to Sha's place around mid afternoon with a trunk full of stuff, which included games, food, overnight clothes, and whatnot. This was after already making a delivery of gifts on the previous day. We mostly sat and chatted while we wait for our pickup time of Chinese food. That  happened to be at 5:30, which we pre-ordered days before.

As we waited, Sue noticed an interesting sky from her position and suggested that I take a picture. I stepped just outside the back door for this quick shot. By then, the sky had lost some of its glory but is was still interesting with its bands of colour.

This is the second consecutive year that we have eschewed the traditional turkey. Now that the Christmas feast must be consumed on the eve rather than the day, it seems best to take the easy way out. Do I miss the traditional turkey? Yes and no. No because while I am eating the takeout meal I am not wishing that I were consuming turkey. But yes because a turkey feast with all of the trimmings on Christmas Day is our tradition, and it just seems right and proper.

After dinner, Sue pulls out the journal in which we must all write and entry. I blather on about something odd, for it has struck me just recently how incredible it is that anyone would purchase my photographs. It's not that people queue up for my latest prints, but I do sell on occasion, which no one, including me, would have believed remotely possible if you had sat beside me in art class back in school. I was abysmal, and I don't say that in false modesty.

After more chatting and some games, the kids were permitted to open two presents, including the traditional pyjamas that Sue started with our kids more than four decades past. I photographed them at the top of the stairs where there was some light as we kept the lights low down by the living room.

There was more chatting and gaming and a little snacking plus a video break for Shreks Christmas.  The lights were so low that I didn't attempt many photos. But I did take a few at very high ISOs and very slow shatter speeds, which is why they are a bit blurry. But I can't always be bothered to get out the flash, and I don't usually prefer the results from flash photography anyway.

Prospect Carol Sing

Aside from shooting some of JJ's hockey games, it seemed like I hadn't done any real photography in months.

But when I saw that the tiny hamlet of Prospect in Beckwith Township was planning to hold a Christmas Carol Sing by candlelight, I more or less asked Bob to take me there. I don't know if he was actually planning on going, but I knew that he had done this shoot before and would know the ins and outs of both getting there and shooting there.

We arrived early, as we always do with Bob, and I like to be prompt too, so it suits me. We scouted around for possible angles long before the lights were to come on in the church. Although the intention at this point was simply to scout for a location to return to once the candles were lit, I couldn't resist taking this shot with the glow of the setting sun in the distance.

I should stop to say at this point that this church is almost abandoned. I think (and I may be wrong) that it is only used once a year for the carol sing. They bring in a portable heater, and light candles, and it is quite charming.

As it turned out, I didn't get back to the same spot once the church was lit, partly because I couldn't find it in the dark, and partly because Bob was setting up nearby, and we didn't need to be in each other's way.

So, I switched over and grabbed the following photo, and I am happy enough with the result. (As a side note, you can see stars overhead, at least on larger versions on my computer and on Flickr. Read on for that link.)

Bob has a powerful flashlight which has a red filter that he can employ. I'm glad he had it because it was very dark otherwise, and it lit both the foreground and the church, particularly the roof.

Although I took a number of photos, most were poor, and some were unfocused in the dark. This ↑ was my final photo, taken after I asked Bob to light the scene one more time. I'm glad I did because the others were so bad that I trashed them.

When I posted this photo on Flickr, it got noticed by the right people who flagged it, and, the photo then garnered ~14K views. That doesn't happen often, but it is kind of gratifying when it does. (You may see that version by clicking here if you wish. It's the same image as posted here but at a better resolution.)

I do have an idea for next year should we return, which is to take a photo something like the first when there is still some light but then leave the tripod in place and take another when the church lights come up. I could then blend the two together.

However, we are at an age, and it was Bob who said something like, "If we are able to return next year ..." You just can't take it for granted any more, so you live in the present while keeping an eye on the future.

PS: Permit me to note one thing about the Flickr photo. I have a decent monitor, or thought I did, but it looks even better on my ipad — a little sharper and more vibrant, I would say.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas

It is Christmas Eve, which has somehow become the whole day before Christmas and not just the evening, so it is time for the standard wish to ye bloggers.

First off, Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice, or Seasons Greetings for those who celebrate the season in other ways.

But my tradition in Christmas, and so my standard greeting is Merry Christmas.

Now, for the cards, plural.

I actually sent a few snail mail cards this year because someone, whom I don't know but who contacted me, used my photo of the Almonte Townhall for her card. As you will see, she decorated it for the season. As a sort of payment for using my photo, she sent me a few copies, which I mailed out, but, of course, I scanned it too, in order to pass on to you.

I ran out of copies of that card, and I needed one more, so I did this. It's a scene from our park from 2017.

Finally, you saw this photo of me recently, but I've added the words. I think the red sweater suits the season very well.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Our Lights and Decorations

There can be absolutely no doubt if you watch this video that I am NOT a videographer, nor do I wish to become one at this point in time. But I did collate a few quick clips of Christmas lights and decorations about our place if you would like a quick snoop around.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Shauna has a Birthday

I don't understand how this happened, but I have a 47 year-old daughter. How can it be when I am not even that old — at least inside. (However, I confess to feeling even older than my 72 years every time I attempt to move my body.) Shauna has flourished this year in particular. It makes me so happy and even proud to see what she has accomplished. However, I shan't go on about that because it's her story and not mine. (Don't you just love shan't? It is from my grandparents, and don't know if I've heard it for more than 60 years now.)

I made four 8.5x14 posters just to spice up the occasion a little bit. Here are two of them.

We ordered pizza for supper. I think even pizza is a treat for her after a year of watching calories.

The lighting of the candles (on her favourite dessert, apple crisp) followed by the ceremonial processional while singing the birthday song and the blowing out.

Then came the gifts. Isn't the first photo a nice family snapshot?


This gift was opened with puzzlement, but the softness of the scarf was appreciated by Jonathan who burrowed right into it.

Meanwhile, Danica made her own impromptu scarf.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Caturday 11: Meowy Christmas Medley

A Christmas medley from Lacey with voiceover by Sue and collated by John. 


Friday, December 20, 2019

Dropping in for a Quick Visit

We hadn't been to visit Shauna at her work in Perth since just before the opening about three months ago. It was rather messy and chaotic at the time as they hurried and scurried to get the place ready for occupancy.

Three months later, it is spic and span, and bright and airy. What a wonderful living environment for those who can afford it, and what a wonderful working environment for the staff.

I didn't take pictures throughout the facility although I may at some point. After we enjoyed our tour of inspection, we sat in the lobby and chatted.

Sue and Sha sat across the table from me. I took two separate photos and merged them together.

I passed the camera over to Sha so she could see how splendidly the autofocus face and eye tracking works, and it does work well. She surprised me by snapping this photo. It is well cropped, but I like the light and shadow.

They have quite an impressive village and railway set up.

I took a couple of quick snaps of some of the closer scenes before retreating back to the table and my hot chocolate.

Tonight, we will gather to celebrate Shauna's 47th birthday. She's had a good year and is doing great at her work. I am so very pleased for her.