Monday, December 05, 2022

Grinding my Gears

Awhile ago, a friend indicated  that either a local photo contest or some local agency was looking for some town photos — but not photoshopped! I don't know what that means, and I doubt whether the organizer knew what it means. I must confess that the lack of knowledge and clarity about photography and photoshop causes me to grind my gears.

What was not photoshopped supposed to have meant?

Did it mean SOOC (straight out of the camera) with no editing at all? Or maybe it meant no adding or subtracting of objects? It's not clear.

What people fail to understand, is that every image is processed. Most people don't edit their photos in post, but that doesn't mean that they're not developed. What it does mean is that they have chosen to let the software in the camera process their images. The camera will make decisions about light balance, colour, saturation, and sharpness. It isn't reality; it is the camera's subjective interpretation of the subject.

If you shoot with a phone, you are often getting a highly processed version of reality. For example, compare my photo of a cadet at the Remembrance Vigil with the version from Sue's phone.

I worked hard both in camera and in edit to get this photo. It is a fair approximation of the dark ambience.

This is how Sue's phone interpreted the scene. It lightened the photo well beyond the conditions as they were, for it was really a pretty dark scene.

It is an splendid result for sure, but it isn't what we saw. In this case, SOOC really augmented reality. I am impressed with the phone's software capabilities. It is truly remarkable. But it exemplifies how much processing a phone can and will do, all on its own. In point of fact, it is a lot more impressive than my version, but it doesn't reflect the reality of the situation. My photo, which was photoshopped (by that I mean edited) is truer to reality.

Phones are most definitively impressive. I recently showed this photo.

It took me quite a lot of work to get that photo. I had to take three images on a tripod to capture the full range of light. Then, I had to blend them together in Photoshop, after which there were a few additional adjustments to be made.

Meanwhile, Sue was able to handhold her phone for a length of time that would have cause my camera to produce a blurry photo, but hers is sharp. The phone took a single photo, saw that there was a huge tonal range and processed the scene accordingly. It is really pretty amazing.

Both version rely on software and computing power. Mine took a lot more steps, but the phone's software is so powerful, that it did it all effortlessly and arguably produced a cleaner image even though it was handheld.

As I have already written, it is very impressive. But nobody had better @ me about photoshop, and mustn't presume that a supposedly unedited SOOC photo is necessarily true to reality.

Addendum; Just to clarify, I have Photoshop, but I don't always use it much. Of course, I do edit photos, but mostly in Photoshop's companion program, Lightroom. In general conversation, as in much of this post, I'll use the word photoshop, just to mean editing.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

The Mysteries of Auotcorrect

We have all seen posts about  hilarious autocorrects, and I have even posted one or two entries in the past. 

They can be funny. One friend was trying to type boredom in a text to his wife. She was totally confused to read bone donkey. We laughed, but try as he might, he could not replicate it. 

I am such a bad typist that I get a lot of weird replacements, but I don’t keep track of them. I did get radiation this morning when I was trying for tradition, but that wasn’t a big deal.

Lately, however, I have been noticing words that I might reasonably expect to be corrected, but they haven’t been. 

For example: why aren’t apostrophe’s inserted for both cant and dont? And why isn’t a single i capitalized? Also, when would I ever want to type youre and not you’re?

I have typed both canada and christmas, not wanting to bother with the shift key and expecting both to be automatically corrected, but they haven’t been. 

Too often when I capitalize a a word, I often mistakenly include the second letter. I have recently ended up having to manually change JOhn, WHich (at the beginning of a sentence), and SUnday. Why?

I have deliberately tried to use the abbreviation re.  but I haven’t wanted  the next word to be capitalized. If I try to override the capital, autocorrect objects strenuously. I end up tricking it by not using a period before typing the next word. Once I have done that, I can go back and insert the period. Of course, this is a good reason to not even bother with the period after the re.

Then, just before writing this entry, I was commenting on a post. I wanted to name the artist, Emily carr and typed it wrong (as above), but autocorrect  knew enough to correct carr to Carr. But it will not correct wont or canada or christmas? Go figure.

I have to admit that it does give me a list of alternatives at the bottom of the screen, but when I am typing along, I don’t notice it, and I cannot think of times when either Christmas or Canada would not be properly capitalized.

i simply cant fathom or explain the mysterious ways of af croefect, er autocorrect.  

Saturday, December 03, 2022

The Agony of Meetings

In my first few years of teaching, my department head would hold what seemed to me to be interminable meetings. They were mostly pointless, and after a day of teaching, I would find myself heading home late with a pounding headache.

In due course, I became a department head, but remembering those meetings early in my career, I can confess that I may have strayed too far in the other direction by holding vey brief meetings. Partly, it was also because we were in a bused rural school and many teachers carpooled, and I didn't like to keep other teachers waiting.

And then there were the department heads meetings. Thank the almighty that they were held during lunch hour under time constraints. The free lunch was also a bit of a sop.

But they were still an ordeal, held because it was expected by the principals' bosses. The material could have easily been covered by a one page memo, for they were never about gathering input from the staff but just about disseminating whatever the principals wanted to say or do.

And, of course, as I have shared many times, I am an introvert. I don't mean to bang on about it, but when FB showed me this link, 12 Things That Annoy Introverts, of course I had to click. Of the twelve points in the post, it was the one about meetings that jumped out at me and caused me to recall some of my experiences. In point of fact, I seldom experienced a good or worthwhile meeting. Unless maybe I ran it.

Meetings annoy introverts, especially when the meetings would be better off as an email or a group message. When meetings seem to have no purpose, they are even more annoying. If you’re working with introverts on your team at work, do your best to utilize digital communication before setting up endless meetings.
The problem is often compounded if the meeting is a last-minute or unexpected meeting. Introverts often look at their schedules for the day to determine when they’ll have time to get their work done alone. If their four-hour block of time is suddenly broken up by a one-hour meeting, they’re prone to getting annoyed.

Well, that is one take and true enough, but I can't really be sure that my dislike of meetings has much to do with introversion but rather with some bad experiences of tedious, low-quality events. I did not so much dislike the concept of meetings as I didn't appreciate the useless, time-wasting aspect of so many that I was forced to endure. By all means, call a meeting if there is a need, and if one has to be held just for form's sake because it is expected, then make it as efficient and worthwhile as possible.

Friday, December 02, 2022

One of Us is Sleeping

I generally go to bed ~10:30-11:00. I am up pretty early, so that time works for me.

Last night my hockey team was playing out west, so the game started 2 hours later than usual. I did not intend to watch it all, but it was a pretty good game, so I did. It was midnight or very close to it when I turned in.

I got up to pay my respects to the porcelain bowl around 3:30-4:00.

As I snuggled back in, I thought that I should have closed the bedroom door.

Sure enough, I was found by the cat, and she climbed aboard.

There was a time when she would leave shortly if I didn’t acknowledge her, but those days have passed.

Now, she gets on board and stays. Sometimes, I begin to drift off regardless, but then she moves and jars me back to unfortunate reality  

So yeah, I was up before 5:00 after less than 5 hours of sleep. It was a night in which my body was ready to get another hour or so, but it was not to be.

Now, guess who is up and guess who is off sleeping somewhere. 

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Take Two

Yesterday's image.

Once I realized that I could turn on the box's lights, I figured that I probably should go ahead and do that little thing. I added wine glasses as well. This was Sue's idea. I do riff on some of her ideas because she is more creative than I. She also knows what objects are in this house whereas I have no clue, so if I see an appealing idea, I am tempted to 'go me and do likewise.'

Due to the extreme contrast in lighting lighting, this was a very difficult shot. I had to do an HDR, which means that I took three photos ranging from dark, to keep the bright lights under control, to bright, to lift the dimly lit wine glasses.

I am thinking of sticking a Merry Christmas on it and using it for a Christmas card. So you may see it again in due course.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A New Decoration

I don't have much today, which is probably a big relief to you. However, I do have this photo.

It's a new decoration to us but is really a hand-me-up from Shaunna. One has to change some Christmas decorations every now and then if every year is not going to look the same. She's changed hers a bit, so that has enabled us do the same. In turn, we can now pass some decorations along to others. I am not sure when we actually last purchased new ornaments. A few years ago we scored from a friend of Sha's who was clearing out her office. Now we have some of Sha's ornaments.

I should have put some other decorations with it for the photo, but I didn't. I may still do that, but I am still not totally adept with our little studio setup down in the basement because I haven't used it much. It is more or less Sue's baby.

Addendum: Now Sue tells me that you can plug this thing in and it lights up.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Trimming the Tree

We call it a party, but it is just a little family get-together in which we trim (aka decorate) the tree. There are just the five of us now. It was never much more, but in the old days, it used to be seven — Sue and me, my parents, our kids, and one friend, Val.

My parents and Val are gone, but there are still three generations. Sue and I are now the grandparents, and Shauna is the parent, and the kids are the kids.

By our best recollections, Sue began this tradition about 40 years ago. For us, it became the beginning of the Christmas season, and later, the seven of us would gather again at actual Christmas. I think it began when my parents moved to our city in the early 80s. Even after Shauna moved here to Ottawa in the late 90s, she would sometimes return from across the miles for the tree party. Then, in 2005, we moved to be near her, just as my parents had once moved to be near us, and now we go to her house for things Christmas.

Without going into the whys and wherefores, pictures there are tough due to the low light. I am forced to set the camera to auto, fire away, and hope for the best. Here they are.

First thing: decorate the tree.

For many years, my mother smocked two ornaments, one for each of our two children. She has now been gone for 19 years, but a few of her ornaments come out. I don't know how many we have but this year, these four were hung on the tree.

Job well done. I think I only hung two ornaments, but in my defense, it's a narrow space, and I do take pictures.

Sue decided to celebrate by dancing with the kids. I don't think they knew what to make of it.

We always seem to get one picture of JJ on the ladder. Here he is having a bite to eat after the trimming and before heading to his hockey game.

Peace reigned once JJ and Sha were off an Danica was upstairs. 

The tv on the left displayed a very Christmassy scene and played seasonal music throughout the afternoon.. There are now many such offerings on YouTube, and Sue often has one playing at this time of year. I can't find that exact one right now, but I am embedding one below.

Monday, November 28, 2022


You see these tropes of cats and Christmas trees, but there is much truth to them although maybe not this one. 

In 1972, we had two cats and a Christmas tree. Sue was in the hospital for a number of days having our first child, and I swear that every time I came home, I had to redo the tree 

Here are some other images that I have grabbed from the web and stored on my desktop until it suited me to post them.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Grade 7 Projects Revisited

I am about to prove that I have no mind for details and that I have no interest whatsoever in how things work.

Recently, when I posted the pics of JJ's and my grade 7 projects, some of you were asking about Jonathan's contraption. This is because you are curious and like to know how things work. I metaphorically shrugged my shoulders at your questions with a disdainful, Who Cares, nonchalant attitude and carried on in my lost way.

Sue, however, is quite opposite me in wanting to know details — sometimes painfully so. If you start to recount something to her, she will be thinking of and asking for details before you can can finish your message.

All of this is a leadup to describing how Sue grabbed JJ's project, pulled it apart for lame-brained me and showed me that there are three sections and three candles.

So . . . I redid the photo . . . and here you are. 

That ↑ image is a composite of two photos: one for the general lighting and a second for just the candles. This is because the candles were blown out (ie too bright to show detail) in the first photo but when I exposed for the candles in the second, very little else was visible because I had to underexpose by a lot.

The next↓ image is one photo, basically exposed for the candles but with a secondary light source to light the rest of it. I also cropped it differently although the setup, including the position of the camera, was exactly the same. 

I didn't realize at first why I liked the first photo better than the second, and then I saw that the second lacks those interesting shadow of the first image. Specifically, my copper object at the back is completely lit from the ancillary light that I was using from the front, thus eliminating the shadows. This method would be good for showing the detail a specific object, but it makes the lighting less interesting.

So there you are. You now know how JJ's contraption really works and also how clueless I am.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

My One and Only Black Friday Special

I know that you might have purchased a bargain new house or car, but this ↓ is the sum total of our Black Friday spending and deals, for we have but modest desires.

This ↑ is the coffee that we drink in the morning and have for a few years now. I am not exactly sure of the price when we began. Maybe it was $7.99 or $8.99 at the grocery store, but the cost kept rising, and believe it or not, the grocery store cost has escalated to $13.99.

As expensive as it still is, on a normal day, I can purchase the same coffee for $2 less on Amazon. Couching up $11.99 instead of $13.99 is still a lot, but I guess it's our little,  guilty, decadent pleasure, so that is what we do. 

On a hunch, or rather a hope, I checked with Amazon on Black Friday morn. Lo and behold, it was down to $8.39 which is $5:60 off the store price.

I tried to purchase 4 bags, but they limited me to 3.

Where there's a will, there's a way, so being the devious miscreant that I am, I shamelessly pled with Shauna to purchase 3 more on her deprived-parents' behalf.

We will shortly have 6 bags, which will keep us going for at least a week. #kidding

Both Sue and I drink two mugs per day. Sue has big mugs, but I am content with half mugs that are close in volume to cups. So this haul should last until the New Year.

I realize that Americans will likely be appalled at the Canadian prices that I have mentioned, but this is our reality. Just last week, Canada Post demanded $20 to ship one, tiny, old cassette tape abut 500 miles to be converted into digital. I had trouble not swearing when they revealed the cost. However, the person on the desk wasn't responsible, so I bit my profane tongue. But oh did it hurt! Both the pocketbook and the tongue.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Odd Friday Post

Lena's lights (the blue lights in the big tree) just came on last evening. Lena left this life almost three years ago, but her neighbour still lights the tree. I whipped out my phone and took a short video that included houses on either side. Those houses have been lit for a few days now, but I waited for Lena's lights before I took pictures or video. It done ad hoc, sans quick without planning. (Do you see how I worked both Latin and French into the sentence? This was also done ad hoc and sans planning.😸 )

The video needs musical accompaniment, but I don't feel like investing the effort. I just wanted to show you how the season is beginning to transpire hereabouts. Townies often time their lighting for the town's Christmas parade, which will take place tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile this morning, after le chat thoughtfully once again helped me to arise before 5, on a whim, I began to re-edit some photos that you would have seen before. This first one was a very mild alteration; it just involved a very slight brightening as well as adding just a we bit space to the left of the flower, which was too close to the edge.

Next, I decided to edit a photo of the canoe club that I took in the almost pre-dawn back in August. I was looking for a photo with a fence for my daily post for the Happy Fence Friday meme on Flickr, and there are fences (railings) on the upper level of the clubhouse, but I didn't like the orange lighting, so I turned it into a contrasty b&w photo.

Those two ↑ were somewhat serious edits before I parked my brain. Then I decided to play with the armchair amidst the sunflower photo that I once posted here. I edited the chair to be b&w amongst the sunflowers, but it was all very silly. If I weren't sleep-deprived, I likely wouldn't have done this, and if I were in my right mind, I certainly wouldn't share it. But I am sleep-deprived, and I am, quite obviously, not in my right mind.

Enjoy your Black Friday, folks. Me? I think I need more sleep.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Sign of the Times

Of course, you will all recall that we pose by the changing sign several times a year. With the Christmas season beginning. the message advises us to shop locally.

As she did last year, Sue gathered myriad gift bags (who knew we had so many?) and off we went.

After spreading the bags in front of the sign, we took pictures. I set up the tripod and got one of the two of us.

Then, I took a couple of just Sue. The second is my fave; the first captures a twirl.

As a reminder, this was last years effort on a brighter day. We really didn't have that many bags, but I photoshopped some replications.

And from 2020.

Meanwhile, I wish all of ye fine bloggers from the south Happy Thanksgiving celebrations.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Hockey Post 6: Two Tournament Games

On this past busy weekend I attended only half  of Jonathan's 5 hockey games, but I only had the camera out for 1.5 of the games. As I stated yesterday, that final game was so intense and entertaining that I was happy to watch from the stands and, therefore, see a lot more of it.

Of course, I am about to show you some photos, but do relax because there won't be another game for more than two weeks — not a home game anyway.

Game 1

This is the only game the boys didn't win, but it was a draw. They were up by two goals with two minutes left, but then they gave up two goals — the last with just 15 seconds left in the game. It was disturbing to the photographer as well, for I had set myself up at the bench to take a photo of the boys erupting into a cheer. Obviously, that cheer did not eventuate.

We are in blue, and Jonathan trying to get the puck to safety.

Our goalie had a lot of work. The last of the three photos resulted in a goal.

Game 2

We are wearing white, and this was the easiest game of the three that I saw, but I don't wish to slight the other team, for it was still competitive.

And that will be a wrap for a few weeks unless I get to an away game. Even then, I would most likely just sit in the stands like a regular bloke.

Monday, November 21, 2022

A Busy Weekend with a Reunion and a Victory

This weekend, child #2, PJ, visited from British Columbia for the first time in 5.5 years. There has been COVID and upheaval, and that is the way that it has gone.

Friday Evening

This was a sit-about-and-talk session while Jonathan was off playing his first game of the weekend tournament. From my seat, I was able to grab a few candid photos. In each case, I decided to convert to b&w, but my muse took me to a different styling in each case. In a sense, shooting candids is something like photographing hockey in that you try to capture a gesture or moment.

Danica tried to avoid the camera, but when I caught her fussing with her hair, I had the shot.

Sue doesn't fuss about photos being taken, I processed this with a high key style.

PJ had a contemplative moment, and I also like the geometry of the staircase behind.
Developing it king it into very high contrast was the choice that I made in edit.

In the next photo, they  are both wrapped in their peppermint afghans. Sue just finished PJ's in time for the visit. She has made five in total and is now moving onto another very difficult pattern.

Great mirth ensued.


We all went to the 10 o'clock game, after which PJ decided that we should then go for a snowy and cold walk amidst blistering winds. First, I had them stop for photos on the little bridge.

From the park they continued along the trail. I went back to the car and drove it to the access point where they would exit. I photographed them walking toward me in the first photo and then stopped them for a minute to take the second picture.

Then, Sue took this me and them. Shauna looks darn cold in all of these pictures. Indeed, it was very chilly.

When the game, the second of the day, was over, several photos were taken in the lobby whilst we waited for JJ to emerge from the changing room.

This was the only whole-group photo in this very busy weekend but short weekend.

PJ grabbed my camera for this photo.

We headed back to Sha's (where PJ stayed for the weekend) for lunch and games of Wizard. I have no photos of this. Danica was at work, but JJ was with us until he had to go to his second game of the day and third of the tournament..

Sue, Sha and PJ went to the game, but I picked up Danica from work and then went to the game in progress. I only got to see and shoot the last half, but I am not going to show my action hockey photos in this post.

JJ was scheduled to stay with Dad who would take him to the Sunday morning game. But he dropped by to show us his team award as King of the Game. PJ posed with him and his crown.


Jonathan was off winning another hockey game, and Sue and I visited with PJ and Shauna until PJ left for Toronto around noon. PJ will fly back to Vancouver on Tuesday.


All in all, it was a brief and whirlwind visit, especially with the tournament to work around. But it was a good visit and it seemed that 5.5 years had not elapsed. You will excuse me, however, for wishing that we won't have to wait so long for PJ's next visit.

But Also . . . 

Before I go, let me tell you a bit about the tournament. They played five games in three days. Under the circumstances, I only photographed one-and-a-half games. They won their Friday evening game, and got through Saturday with a win and a draw, before winning their semi final match on Sunday morning.

The championship game on Sunday evening was a real humdinger, which the boys won, 4-3. I was happy to enjoy it from the stands rather than take more photos. I have many hockey photos already, and after the hectic weekend, I decided that I just wanted to sit and enjoy the game.

The immediate victory celebration.

Jonathan gets his medal.

They are having their victory team photo taken here. Jonathan is the one boy in shadow: back row, left.

We waited in the lobby to cheer the emerging hero, and of course, we took a photo. On the right are his dad and two stepsisters. You know the rest.

Later, his dad sent this photo.

There was a lot in this post, which has not been the type of post that I prefer to write, but needs must as they say. I decided to include the victory photos, even though PJ had left, for it feels like the tournament was part of the PJ visit. I'll show some of my action photos soon, probably tomorrow.