Thursday, April 27, 2023

Violas and Oddities

I picked up a little pot of violas at the grocery store. I find them delightful, and they do speak of spring. Eventually, I grabbed a couple of macros.

I also came across another curious post in our Buy Nothing group. It leaves me with questions and causes me to shake my head, just a bit.

I also have questions about ↓ this.

While I do my best to use appropriate pronouns with much loved someone in my circle. I do find it odd that one person approached a stranger person and asked what pronouns to use. I mean I haven't yet come across a case when the appropriate pronoun to use when talking directly to someone isn't "you."

I do note, however that the gesture was appreciated, so that is good, but I still do find it a bit odd.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Go Figure

I think folk were aghast at the cost of the fries that I posted about last weekend. With tax, it was $13:50 for 2 smalls. Mind you the smalls were big, certainly equivalent to some larges elsewhere. I figure that making big sizes and charging more must be more lucrative than making small sizes and charging less.

When we were first married, we could go out to Swiss Chalet for a chicken dinner with fries for under $13 if I recall correctly, and I think that I jolly well do.

Also, in our very early days, when I was still in uni, on Fridays we could pick up fish and chips at a hole-in-the-wall near Sue's workplace. They cost 50 cents, so it was a mere buck for the two of us.

Last summer we, several times, ordered at a fish and chip truck. We paid the price because they were oh so good. But they were expensive. With tax the cost was $16 or $32 for two orders. This was at a truck; this was not table service!

Somehow, we were better able to afford fish and chips better back then, as poor students, than we are now. But I guess we are but poor seniors. 

Go figure.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Collages Then and Now

After I showed yesterday's collage ↑ of the park after the ice storm, I was thinking that is not how I have traditionally done collages.

My method has usually been to blend the various photos together, so that they almost became one continuous image. I did scads of such images for the kids when they were young. Below: Jonathan at five months and Danica at three months.

Since that first collage above was from two days after the ice storm, I thought that I should make one for the day after, but try to make it in my more traditional way. However, every project demands its own direction and presentation.

In this case, it didn't seem that feathering the edges to blend the different parts together was the right choice. So, while I did abut them to each other, I used hard edges. I think this worked too, but it's still not my favourite way to do a collage.

Back in the kids' early days, I made many collages, for children change so fast when they're babies. As the years went on, I would do one a year for their birthdays. They have their own lives now, and photos are scarcer, so I didn't make them at all this year. The final two were for their birthdays in 2022.

And as far as I know, that was the end of doing birthday collages for the kids. Great Grandkids, anyone? Kidding. By the time the greats come along I will have gone along.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Riverside Park After the Ice Storm

I know that it was awhile ago now, but two days after the ice storm, the damage that we saw at Riverside Park was discouraging. One of our favourite trees took quite a beating. I wonder if it will survive.

The town got busy sending trucks around to help citizens get rid of their damaged branches, so they hadn't gotten around to clearing the debris in the park, even last week.

On Saturday morning (I still can't usually type, morning) I decided to play around with the three images that I had captured back on the 8th. I had no particular result in mind, but this is what I ended up with.

Even though there are 5 images in the composite, they were from only 3 photos. The background was made by blurring one of the images (I forget which one) excessively on a separate layer.

This was all done by hand, as it were, in Photoshop, and not from a pre-configured template. I just messed around until I was more or less content with the result. But it is very time-consuming to do it this way.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Chips and Chinese

Sue's latest photo prompt has led me to another blog post: one that I almost wrote several days ago, but now I am reminded of the topic, and I also have more grist for the mill.

Yesterday's food prompt led us to the nearby town of Almonte where a chip truck has re-opened after the long winter. As far as I know, it is the only chip truck that has opened so far this spring. More will probably get set up shortly as May approaches.

Sue decided that she required fries for her daily photo post, so off we went.

I ordered the smallest container possible but two such orders cost $13.50, believe it or not.

We took them to a nearby park by the river, and Sue got her photos.

Left: your humble blogger orders the smallest fries possible.
Right: the top of the bag along with the whole scene.

Do they look good?

They weren't.

The first clue that they weren't exactly scrumptious was that AC didn't finish his order. You see, AC is not one to leave a single chip behind.

The next clue was that both of us felt bloated and gassy for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

This is the second time this week that ordered food hasn't sat well with us, for after that birthday dinner at the Chinese buffet, we both endured Mao's Revenge: particularly me with painful cramps two nights later.

It's a bit disappointing because, aside from coffee and donuts, we are not frequent diner-outers, and these occasions were both pricey in their own way. With tax and gratuity, the buffet came to $80 for two, and that was with the seniors' discount factored in. Then came the shocker of $13.50 for two orders of fries, which was the smallest size available.

Saturday, April 22, 2023


Just in passing because there is nothing else to post today, I share a FB post with y'all. It's a request from our local Buy Nothing site.

It flummoxes me that in an eleven word message the poster can't be arsed to actually spell out the main word. I presume the word is meant to be comforter. Eleven words! Can we get any lazier?

Friday, April 21, 2023

Birthday Morning

You may recall that our clan celebrated Danica's birthday on Tuesday evening, but her birthday was Wednesday. When I checked on FB, her mother had posted this ↓ collage. It's amazing what you can pull together in minutes with a phone and FB. Accomplishing something like this would would be time-consuming using my old-fashioned methods.

For this actual day Shauna had another surprise for Danica.

A company came in and installed it in the muddle of the night, so that it would there on the morning of her birthday.

I rushed over with my camera, and I don't know why. I don't mean about rushing over there but about bringing my camera and not just relying on the phone. When it's a rushed job like this before everybody headed off for the day, the phone arguably does the job easier and better with its rather advanced software.

Nevertheless, I took the above photo with my camera, and her dad took this. ↓

It wasn't long before, Danica posted her learner's permit. As soon as she turned 16, she was right in there taking the test. She said that dad let her drive in a new, quiet subdivision for about 20 minutes. It's a start.

But when we posted those photos ↑ in the family chat, poor JJ was a little hurt that he didn't get to participate. The shoot was pretty much unplanned and only took a few minutes, but it looked like a good time, and he felt excluded. 

He should have been included, so, we picked him up for lunch as compensation.

Those 16 years flew by, I tells ya, but I appreicate having been around for them. 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Sweet Sixteen

Danica's Sweet 16th happened yesterday. As usual, I made a card: first the outside and then the inside.

Wednesday is dad's day with the kids, so we all celebrated on Tuesday. Shauna used the van from work, to drive 6 of us to Mandarin restaurant in Ottawa: an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet that Danica quite adores. The sixth person was Dani's boyfriend.

At the restaurant entrance

Main gift: concert tickets

An extra: a little keeper gift from us

Other photos

Sue looking spiffy on the way out.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

The Channel and the Mill

Photographers in the know tell the rest of us plods to take a break after editing our photos because it is quite likely that we have overdone things and won't love our edits once we return for another look. The tendency is to over-process as our eyes become used to seeing the photo develop, so when we return for a second look we see them with fresh and more discerning eyes.

I had this experience in reverse because once I returned to my photos I liked them better than before. Of course, I was looking at them fullscreen that time, which would be sure to make a difference. 

Let me set up the shoot before I show you the photos.

You may recall that I did a few early morning shoots in the wonderful weather that we had last week. (By the way, I awoke to a light dusting of snow this morning and temperatures at the freezing point.) On those travels I had seen, in passing, that the early sun hitting the back of the mill might be a worthwhile subject. The problem was finding unobscured  sightlines — at least it was a problem for gimpy old me who requires a fairly easy access.

On the previous day I scouted for a vantage point and found a spot that I could get to just off the trail where I would be shooting across a channel* of the river. I returned the next morning, Sunday because I wanted to be sure to capture the photo before the trees leafed out to obscure the mill on the island* between that main river, which you have seen in other photos, and this secondary channel.

Here are the first two photos, edited to taste and each edited a little differently if you'll notice the colour of the water in each. I wanted to make the river look a little sunnier in the second image.

I switched the camera to landscape/horizontal mode to include more of the river with two dominant trees (left and right) to frame the scene. As I look at it, I think the photo would be improved by cropping away half of the sky. Photos of half sky and half land usually don't work all that well.

And that was it. For better or worse, I had taken the photos that I had in mind. However, when I got back to my car and looked over my shoulder, I  saw the mill through a bit of a gap just off the parking lot. All of the branches serve to add an almost unique painterly texture.

You never know what you're going to get when you conceive of a plan, but for me, the results were acceptable enough to have made it a worthwhile outing. 

* MacArthur Island is a product of human engineering. The channel that you see in these photos was dug to allow part of the Mississippi River to flow past the MacArthur Mill in order to turn the waterwheel. The mill is currently early in the process of being repurposed into condominiums

** This recently-posted photo shows the split between the river on the left and the constructed channel on the right flowing toward the mill.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Sue Stuff

One of Sue's recent bizarre prompts was to take something yellow from the house and to photograph it outside. There were other aspects to the prompt, so she chose to take a flowerpot down by the river behind town hall. I took some photos of the photographer at work.

This 🔽 was the picture that she posted. The sun looks like a light on a pole with townhall in the background.

Meanwhile, life has returned apace. Trees are budding, plants are growing, and birds are busy and chirping.

Sue asked me to set up my older camera with the long lens so that she could try photographing birds in the bath.

Mission accomplished.

Even at 400mm, these are very cropped images, but Sue caught the splashes well.

Monday, April 17, 2023


On Saturday morning, I decided to use my long lens for a second round of whitewater photos. One advantage was that I actually needed some light, so I didn't have to get out early at the darkly crack of dawn. I won't go on about the equipment difficulties that I was experiencing, but I managed to get some photos regardless.

My first stop was back at the little bridge to once again capture how the water was swirling around the little trees. I took a number of shots as the water interacted with the tree differently second by second. I chose this one with an exposure time of 0.4 seconds.

As you can see, I decided to stick with colour this time. No, the light was not really that  blue (above), but that's how it came out of the camera, and I like it. Other than displaying it in colour it is similar to the previous version, but I used a longer lens so I didn’t have to crop as extensively,

My only other stop was just behind town hall to capture the little waterfall by the dam. These two photos were both 0.5 seconds. I also shot both longer and shorter exposures, but I preferred these versions.

Maybe I will shoot from the other side of the river sometime soon . . . but only after I tighten the wobbly tripod that was giving me fits on this morning.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

The Hottest Day

We've had some gorgeous weather for a week, but Thursday was the ultimate. While one could complain that it got too hot at 30C/86F, one wouldn't because it was just one short, April day.

I began Thursday with an early morning photoshoot. The first photo is not the composition that I had most wanted, but I do like the blue and orange colours even if the composition isn't exactly compelling  

The second photo is a composition that I was hoping for with the sun rising in the gap between the buildings. While it isn't quite as good as I had hoped, it did work out well enough. I probably should have brightened the foreground somewhat, but it looks okay in full res on a big monitor. Having lower res photos looking a bit dark on Blogger is something that I put up with.

How synchronous, for as it happened, it was also that hot day that I had booked to have my snow tires removed. That little task was accomplished by 10:30, which gave us time to get to the Waterfront restaurant in time for a late breakfast. They just re-opened the patio last week, and we were keen to be some of the first customers before temperatures will revert to April normal, starting tomorrow.

It was my first day in shorts and tees, and I was quite comfortable,

But as you see ↑ the sun was strong, and the shade umbrellas weren't up yet, so  . . .

. . . I put my jacket on for sun protection. Then I got very hot, indeed.

My breakfast was mmm mmm good . . . and filling.

3 scrambled eggs mixed with peppers, onion, tomato, bacon, home fries and sausage covered with cheese and hollandaise sauce. Served with toast.

It was good to have that almost preternaturally hot day after that a devastating ice storm had caused to much damage just eight days earlier  

Saturday, April 15, 2023


I love crocuses, but I hadn't seen any for a few years. Then I found some by an abandoned property last year, and lo and behold, they popped up again this year.

So down lay this old man in the grass with my macro lens affixed, and he took a few photos.

That was the only photo of the yellow crocuses that turned out, but I like it. More of the blue/purple flowers came out well enough although I think the yellow was my fave.

I like the light in this photo of a single, little crocus, so perhaps it rivals the yellow crocuses. What do you think?