Thursday, September 30, 2021

Reconciliation in Orange

Today marks two concurrent and noteworthy days in Canada – National Truth and Reconciliation Day as well as Orange Shirt Day. Both recognize the tragedy of the residential school system perpetrated on the indigenous people of Canada.

Although I don't remember hearing of Orange Shirt Day until recently, it has been observed for a number of years.

It was created as an observance in 2013, and is designed to educate people and promote awareness in Canada about the Indian residential school system and the impact it has had on Indigenous communities for over a century—an impact recognized as a cultural genocide, and an impact that continues today.[2] It is held annually on September 30 in Canadian communities, where people are encouraged to wear an orange shirt.  (

It was the discovery of the 215 unmarked graves at a former residential school in Kamloops that I wrote about here in June that brought it so my attention. Sadly, there have been other discoveries since then. 

You may recall that I was gifted with an orange shirt obtained from an indigenous supplier on Father's Day, and we also hung it in the doorway on Canada Day in lieu of flying the Canadian flag.

The federal government has since declared September 30th to be National Truth and Reconciliation Day, and today 2021 is the first.
The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process. (
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission began its work in 2008 and made its recommendations in 2015. One of their recommendations was the creation of this day.
We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

I shall wear orange today as we, once again, travel to meet with Heather for a distant park visit at the midpoint between us. I also created this graphic to honour the occasion – of the day, I mean, not of our meting. lol

In a fit of hubris, I both signed it and also added a logo that I have sometimes used on cards. If you click, they should be large enough to see them, although I am sure you can resist that dubious pleasure. Of course, I would gladly and easily remove my watermarks if I needed to use this image elsewhere.


I almost forgot to add the following background information to Orange Shirt Day. It is from Phyllis (Jack) Webstad's experience.

I went to the Mission for one school year in 1973/1974. I had just turned 6 years old. I lived with my grandmother on the Dog Creek reserve. We never had very much money, but somehow my granny managed to buy me a new outfit to go to the Mission school. I remember going to Robinson’s store and picking out a shiny orange shirt. It had string laced up in front, and was so bright and exciting – just like I felt to be going to school!

When I got to the Mission, they stripped me, and took away my clothes, including the orange shirt! I never wore it again.

You can read a little more of her story here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Our Backroads

This is a bit of an afterthought post.

When I mention travelling the backroads, hoping to spot gaps in the roadside trees and bushes, this is largely what I have to contend with.

These were taken on the same morning as were the photos from the previous two posts. I took both photos from the same spot by just turning around. When more colour emerges, I might find some other good road photos, but I have taken so many over the years that they don't always inspire me any more.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Foggy Morning Part 2

Note: Blogger is doing things with my commenting on some blogs. Frumpy Professor and Christina (A Colourful Life) are the two that I had trouble with last night.


I continued on for quite a piece from the previous set of photos that I showed yesterday, and I didn't find a ton of inspiration. Although I later went through some thick fog on my way home, there was little to be seen in spots where I could feasibly pull over.

Much of this little jaunt was along roads lined with bushes and trees, but I did find the occasional break. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw light beyond a gate, so I parked the car as far to the side as I could. I did take a shot, but it is primarily just a photo of a gate. There is some fairly good light, but there is no compelling subject although that tree in the centre distance does provide a bit of a focal point.

I later saw another gap, so I stopped the car and used the near foliage as a bit of a frame. You can see that the colour change hath begun..

Finally, I saw a lonely tree way off in the distance along with some fog. I did not like how the colour turned out, so I converted the photo to b&w.

Oh . . . I almost forgot about this one. Sequentially, it should have been first in this post. I think the layers work to produce a reasonably good image.

Sometimes, it is fun to shoot, even on the run. Photos don't have to always be superb for one to have enjoyed the process.

Monday, September 27, 2021

A Two Minute Stop

With the colour change beginning, I got out early on Saturday morning to take a fairly short rural drive. I don't have to go far from town to find myself in the hinterland. In fact, the photos which I am about to post, were taken just a few minutes out of town and close enough that we almost consider it to be part of our municipality.

There is a little farm where I have taken the occasional picture in the past, and, attracted by low-lying fog, I was drawn to it once again.

I parked on the road for there was nowhere to pull off. I put on my flashers and grabbed the camera. Even though no cars went past on this early morning, when I make stops like this, I want to be quick, so I left the tripod in the car and began to shoot.

This was my first photo attempt, with the barn as the focal point and with that green swath providing a bit of a lead-in. I included the bush on the right to give some balance. I wish it were smaller, but you do the best you can with what is in front of you.

Less than a minute later, I photographed the farmhouse. It's my fave of the morning, not only from this stop but from others that I subsequently made. I confess to adding the smoke from the chimney in post although I think I could have done a better job. 

Next and only a few seconds later came this second photo of the barn. I don't think I moved my feet very much from the house photo. I think I was drawn to the light beginning to strike the tree on the left.

I had one more quick shot to make – trees through the fog. I like it too. It's my second favourite take of the morning.

These photos were all taken in a 2 minute span. It is not the recommended way to go about photography, but since I was parked on the road, I wanted to hurry. I probably could have taken more time because no cars passed by, and I had left enough room for any that might come by. Still, one wants to be both careful and considerate.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Democracy Has Been Served

Almost a week after our recent federal election, I keep reading the prevailing opinion that it was a waste because it produced a very similar result to the parliament that we already had. I see this on FB and TW but also in news outlets and the occasional blog, and I even hear it from the person on the street as they say. I understand that sentiment, but as usual in my unconventional and contrarian way of thinking, I have a different view. What else is new? lol

Background: this is probably not necessary, but first, let me explain that in our parliamentary system, we can have minority governments in which the party with the most seats does not have a clear majority of all the seats. In other words, when you combine the seats of the several other political parties, they add up to more seats than the governing party has. The system works for the most part as at least one of the other parties will be inclined to support the governing party. However, minority governments don't usually last for the full four year term either because they lose the support of the other parties or because they tire of the constant haranguing by the opposition and decide to seek a further mandate from the people. 

In this election, the vote indicated that almost no one had changed their minds over the two years since the previous election, and we returned a result very similar to the previous parliament. The same party, the Liberals, enjoy the most seats, but they are still in a minority position overall. Therefore, many consider this election to have been a futile waste. 

Before I spout my disagreement with the consensus, I do wish to categorically state that I don't think the election was ether necessary or desirable at this time, especially during the pandemic. To repeat: I don't think this was the time for it. (Having said that, I also realize that the sitting government faced a huge barrage of attacks and understand how they would desire validation at the polls.)

Whatever the case, I don't consider the result to be futile or the election to have been a waste, for democracy has been served. 

The country has given the Liberals a weak mandate (if mandate is the right word) by showing its general support. I think that has some value. The Liberals know that they must exercise caution and prudence in governing, and the oppositions parries must recognize the public's will, or at least they should recognize it.

I do think the result has value. To reiterate: democracy has been served, and that should always be seen as significant positive. We have learned than the citizenry, in general at least, is content to continue to have a minority government led by the same party. Only an election could show us that for certain. I mean to say that one never knows for sure what the public has to say until they get to say it. How were we to know that the election would turn out the way that it has? I am sure that all parties, the opposition parties included, hoped for better support. You simply can't know until you know.

There has been another aspect of the outcry, and it has to do with the cost, which was $600 million. That is, most assuredly, a formidable sum. On the other hand, it amounts to $15 per person, and that doesn't strike me as too high a price to pay in furtherance of democracy.

I also read that the funds could have been spent elsewhere, but it doesn't work like that. A government never says to itself, "We are not going to have an election this year, so let us put the equivalent funds into this other worthwhile endeavour." We all know that it just doesn't happen that way.

To summarize: I do not think that this was the best time to call an election, but I also think that the results are important and that the expense has been worth it.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Does Jonathan Resemble my Dad

I have posted before of the emerging resemblance of Jonathan to me. The similarity between us is almost uncanny at times, but there is something about him that also reminds me of my father.

Dad had light, curly hair as a baby. So did JJ. I, for sure, did not. Although shape of dad's upper lip was more pronounced, they definitely look related.

Dad had a bashful streak when he was young. When I showed the family this photo, they were taken with the similarity both in appearance and attitude. It's a pretty fine, old photo of my dad with a neighbour. I wonder who took it, but I am guessing that it was my grandad.

Like dad, above, Jonathan also had a bit of a shy streak although I think he was more sad than anything in this photo after Danica's school bus went off without him.

I have two more photos in which I could almost think that dad was Jonathan or vice versa. I think the fact that both photos are out of focus actually helps us to see the broad similarity. In both cases I think he looks more like my dad than I did at those ages. Particularly in the second, I could easily have been fooled other than the obvious historical difference.

It's a bit odd to see these comparisons as both I and Shauna look a little more like my mother than my dad.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Happy Days Are Here Again

This week, w had Sha and the kids over for our traditional early-week dinner as we have done for years. Shauna has the kids on Mondays and Tuesdays, so it is a good time to help a working mother as well as for us to enjoy the family.

That custom was pretty much obliterated by the pandemic, but we're all vaxxed now and also as careful as possible otherwise. The kids are back at school, but all of the students are masked, and I suspect the great majority of them are also vaxxed. Mind you, there has been an isolated case, or maybe two, at their school. Fortunately, there hasn't been a subsequent outbreak.

We recommenced meals sporadically in August for we had to work around holidays and such, but we have been getting together pretty much on schedule this month.

This week, we served tuna casserole, and I recalled to Danica the time when I first served it to her during a sleepover. She was young, and it was not the tuna casserole that she was expecting based on her mother's cooking, and she was most definitely not impressed. Last night, I told her about that and explained that is why I began to call it bupparoni instead – to avoid the comparison and expectation. 

If you don't already know, I am Buppa to the kids, and even to Sue and Shauna now. My straight macaroni dish, I call macabuppa because it is not quite like traditional mac either. I don't suppose that matters though as I don't think the kids get served that cheesy, high calorie version anyway.

Unlike the normal dish, my tuna casserole, is made without peas but with lots of cheese and some mayo along with celery, pepper and green onions. It is quite tasty although it still isn't Danica's or Jonathan's favourite. 

I don't think that most of my dishes are highly favoured by the kids, but it is good to get together and share a meal, especially when we also have a few laughs.

We did have some belly busting laughs on Tuesday. One occurred when JJ gave a funny and excellent imitation of me talking to the cat. It was hilarious, but of course you had to be there. Then Sue got all muddled by wondering if the person whom she had just called Helan was named Dorothy. I won't try to explain further, but it sent us into hysterics. If JJ's imitation hadn't been enough of a hoot, we really roared over Sue's little lapse.

The return of family times means good times for us, even though we otherwise still strive to live with the pandemic. I am reminded of the old song, Happy Days Are Here Again*. Even if that is stretching things a bit, I think I'll use as this blog's title now that I have made the association.

Speaking of living with the pandemic, as of Wednesday in this province, many venues require patrons to produce a vax passport in order to enter the premises. This include restaurants, bars, gyms, sports, meetings and events. Of course, we also continue to mask and maintain restrictions about size of gatherings and so on.

*A version of Happy Days Are Here Again, from 1930  for your delectation.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

it is all about the light

It is all about the light. I have said this before, but you can take photos of banal subjects, and if the light is good enough, you will likely get a decent result. I think some of recent blue hour photos of pretty ordinary buildings proved that.

Perhaps these next photos will also help to illustrate the point.

If this ↑↑ photo looks familiar to you, it is because I posted it not that long ago. It was taken during golden hour (that time before sunset when the sun is low and gentle). I find the tones quite good.

My problem is that I would have preferred the mill in the background to be larger. I had used a wide angle lens, which has the effect of seeming to pull the foreground closer and push the background farther away. Now, I wanted to try it with a longer lens.

I knew that being there midmorning was decidedly not the best time. The sun was higher and on the left of the photo (below) instead of lower and on the right (as above). However, disregarding the light, I wanted to get an idea whether the composition would work. If so, I might be able to return at another time.

I think it does work, or rather could work in better light, although I would like to see more of the river off to the right. Sigh: such are the limitations of the medium

It's not as good a photo as the golden hour one, and this was after putting more editing work into it this than the other. It's not terrible, and it also serves a purpose for local interest as it does show the building pretty well and also from an angle that I haven't seen other local photogs explore. Ideally however, I would like to see more river extending farther off to the right.

Given the time of year, I am not sure what I can do about this now because golden hour now occurs around suppertime when I am otherwise engaged, taking my sustenance. But I'll keep it in mind.

I did take another photo by finding a spot without the foreground grass. I blended three exposures into one pano photo to get more of the river in the frame. I do like that aspect.

Once again it serves a purpose, but I miss the foreground element. When I compare it to the preceding image, I feel that the lack of foreground diminishes the sense of depth. If the reflections were better, they might help with depth perception, so I think it is possible that this perspective could work in the right conditions. Getting around to it this late in the year could be problematic, however.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Jeepers Creepers

Sue had a park meetup with a friend. I had an hour to wander about and take some pictures. One of my notions was to drive directly, opposite across the river and take some snaps of the pair from the other bank.

I had to use my longest lens, fully extended, so I opted for a very fast shutter speed to try to minimize camera shake. That, along with stabilization activated on the lens, yielded a pretty good result, all things considered.

In the next photo, I didn't have the lens quite fully extended because  I was happy to capture some of the nearer foliage out of focus for effect. This blurry effect is known as bokeh but more often occurs in the background than the foreground.

The area that I was in is woodland but very scrubby. I ambled along the path (it's not long) and managed to photograph a few instances of leaves turning colour. Once again, I was at a distance and using my telephoto fully extended. Even then, I had to do a lot of cropping in post to get what I wanted. Note: that is out-of-focus bokeh in the background.

Despite cropping, there remained much distraction in the next photo, so I replaced the background entirely with black. While I am able to recognize maple and oak leaves, I remain ignorant of most leaves and wild flowers, but someone on Flickr has advised me that this is a Virginia Creeper, which surprises me quite a lot. Conditions were very contrasty, so a part of the leaf is pretty well blown out.

Who knows what kind of a colour display we'll have this year with so many trees having been ravaged by gypsy moths. Little bits like this might have to suffice. We shall see what we shall see.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Helpful Signage

 Life is difficult. Fortunately, there are signs to help us through our struggles.

I trust that you feel better informed and safer now.

Monday, September 20, 2021

On the Madawaska

We have been to Burnstown a few times but never to their beach. In fact, we didn't even know about it until recently. We wanted a little outing, and from what we learned this new-to-us spot seemed appealing. It was about a 45 minute drive to the lovely Madawaska River. We sat in the park, consumed coffee and sandwiches, and enjoyed the view.

And, just for a change, we took a selfie.

Then, we took a different selfie. I actually moved, so we could get our two heads at about the same size. Sue held my phone while I activated it from my watch. I had a countdown of three to hide the watch and recompose. I think that is what caused the general hilarity.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Enjoyment and Contemplation

Sue and I needed to withdraw for a few moments of quiet contemplation, so we headed to our quiet bench in the park around the corner, where there is a large enough gap in the foliage to see across the river.

Two nice boys came by and asked if it would bother us for them to play within our sightlines. Certainly not. One is shown in this picture.

Of course, we always take a selfie, but when the boy in the photo noticed that we were struggling to activate the phone from my watch and laughing about it, he offered to help.

Eventually, we figured it out. I had been pressing the wrong button. I blame it on Sue who was instructing me in this as she has in so many things.

We enjoyed the interaction with the boys as well as our selfies, but it was also a time for contemplation and acknowledgment of a friend's passing.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Blue Hour and Beer Stores

A few posts back, I wrote that I was somewhat less than enthusiastic about going out for more blue hour photos. I think I've posted some good ones in the past few weeks, but I also think that I have got the shots that most interest me. Sorta I bin dere dun dat feeling.

I mean, I have the hang of it now. How to compose and how to expose and so on, so it becomes a bit of a rinse and repeat scenario. Still, I may do more, as I also consider it a bit of a project for community interest, making photos at a time when most people are asleep or busy, of subjects that they don't see in those conditions. Townies on FB seem to like seeing them.

Beyond that, something is better than nothing. Winter is coming, and I will get out less and less, and I won't be getting out at all if and when I have my foot fusion surgery. And so I make hay whilst the figurative photographic sun shines.

There's not a long window of opportunity to get these shots. In this instance, I don't mean about winter coming, but about the fact that the right conditions come and go very quickly on these mornings. If I photograph too early, the sky isn't blue enough, but if I leave it too late, it gets washed out by the rising sun.

That's what happened in this first photo on a morning when I was feeling quite humdrum about it all. I got out too early, lost patience, and snapped the photo anyway. The colour wasn't yet there properly, so I edited it as a black and white. I do like how I salvaged it. It's a thing in at least some b&w photos that the sky can be made very dark, for effect, and that is how I chose to process it.

I will say more about The Beer Store, in a minute, but first I will show you my other photo from that morning. Just 12 minutes after the beer store shot, the sky was just about perfect for this next photo.

I made the choice to use the flower bed for foreground. Unfortunately, that left me with the  pole in the way. In post, I made some effort to photoshop it away, but I wasn't happy with my effort, and it doesn't really matter anyway in the long run. It's just my little picture and doesn't have to meet with anyone else's approval. I am happy to have captured the colour and the light well once more. That is sometimes good enough.

Now, back to The Beer Store.

It's government run – sort of. Actually the beer companies run it under government license as I understand it. At least that is the way that I am putting it for ease and simplicity. I understand that it stems from more puritanical times when a more conservative and religious Ontario didn't want booze shops on every corner. It is only recently that some grocery stores are permitted to sell limited amounts of the devil's drink.

We also do this with liquor. We have the LCBO stores (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). The local one is in another part of this mall. Maybe I should photograph that one day.

I know this system must seem weird to strangers, but we are used to, for it is the way that it has always been done.

Friday, September 17, 2021

A Lack of Memory

Sometimes, it doesn't pay to get up early in the morning. Of course, I can't help it because that's when I wake up -- early, I mean. Today, as I write this, which is yesterday as you read it, is a case in point.

I decided that I might as well get up and have coffee at 4:30 because sleep had been iffy for an hour already. I'd had 5 or even 6 hours by then, and that is about it for me. I was able to take my time before going out with the camera because the sun wouldn't be up until after 6:30, so there wouldn't be much to photograph before 6.

I headed out with the thought of returning to the site of my recent photo of the farm and barn at sunrise with some different compositions in mind. I soon realized that there wouldn't be a good sunrise. The sky was turning nice blue, however, and I thought of another barn on a different road. It's an event barn used for wedding receptions and so on. Well I guess that was the idea, but I think it mostly sits idle these days. Still it is fairly picturesque and is nicely lit.

That's the thing about blue hour photography in urban areas. You want the lights still on but the sky brightening from black to blue.

But the lights must have been on a timer, and they happened to go out as I was setting up the tripod.

Says I to self: Self You're here, so you might as well take the shots anyway.

If that's not enough, when I got home, I discovered that I hadn't put my memory card back in the camera after the previous shoot.

Speaking of memory cards, I think the one in my head needs to be reformatted because something or other in the file structure appears to have gotten corrupted.

So, I am presenting a few photos from last Sunday when I decided to check out the highway on the edge of town. If traffic were to be light on any morning, it would be Sunday. It was, and I got an empty highway photo with a gas station as the anchor point.

As blue hour gets later and later, the traffic will increase, even on Sundays. Actually, it is getting late for blue hour photos anyway because there are more people stirring and getting in the way. However, I may go back specifically for light trails. We shall see.

I turned around, looked east, and saw the beginning of sunrise.

I took one more photo of a motel sign with a no vacancy light, which I wouldn't have bothered with, except for the reflection.

The No Vacancy photo is actually two photos combined because the reflection was small and somewhat unclear in the main photo. So I took a second, closer photo and blended the two.

Now, back to the barn. I once took a pretty decent photo, so I will see if I can find it. It took some looking, but I found the photo that I took three years ago. I had just been passing by when I saw the clouds and had to stop. 

Today's/Yesterday's photos, had I had a memory card inserted, would have been from a different angle, more straight on. But the sky would have been cloudless and not as interesting,

And another thing . . .

When I got home, Sue noticed that my shirt was on inside out. Now, I could use the excuse that I got dressed in the dark, which would be true, but the greater truth is that I need more sleep. And a new internal memory card, as it were.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Coffee Time

I know folks need their coffee in the morning, but choose your route carefully, and be sure to look both ways. 😎