Sunday, April 14, 2024

Daffs and Things

I just have two unrelated photos and a video to share in today's post.

I am surprised to see a daffodil blooming in what will be a clump of tulips in a few weeks. I planted daffodils years ago. I don't think we've any any for the past few years, and yet, there it is.

To confound me even more, I saw another daffodil bud a little later in a different spot.  It is a little behind in its development but should flower soon. It's good because I like daffodils, even these old-fashioned, generic ones. We had a mass of them in our previous abode.

I took that ↑ photo with my telephote lens, because I didn't want to fuss about much in the rain. However, I was also able to use it for this next photo. Sue was out yesterday, and I had a free coffee offer about to expire, so I took the coffee and a donut to our usual hangout near the boat launch. I used the telephoto from the driver's seat to capture part the tree across the way.

Posting that Canadian English video  the other day has led to more suggestions from YT. This one is by a British lady, but includes our same Canadian guy and an American lady. The British host showed pictures of objects and asked both the Canadian and American what they called that object. Then she shared what Brits would call the same thing. It's about 20 minutes long if the topic interests you.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Was it Real?

It was a brief image that came to me as snuggled in my chair late one rainy morning. As brief as it was, it kept lingering in my then awake brain. It was odd for it to linger since when pictures cross my brain, they tend to just float away. And yet I can still see this one in my imagination, albeit fuzzily, several days later.

I was looking downhill along a somewhat shady, tree-lined street. I think there were some cars parked along the street although that part is a bit unclear, but there were older two-storey* homes on the sides.

I feel as though it might have been a view that I might have spied from my bicycle somewhere in Montreal back about 65 years ago.

The question is whether it was some sort of amalgam of things seen, kind of AI-like, or was it, perhaps, a real image that my brain captured and, somehow, retrieved all these years later.

I asked Adobe AI to render something with those keywords, but this ↓ was not what I saw. I think my street was narrower with trees actually arcing over the street . My houses were set back just a bit farther and were a different style and not so attached. Nevertheless, Photoshop put together something realistic and interesting in my first ever trial of asking it to render a complete photo from scratch. So far, I have only asked AI to add very small items to photos. It is all just for interest sake.

Now, what say you? Do you think my brain retrieved an actual image from decades past, or was it just sort of composite of things that I may have seen?  And was it Montreal, and was I on my bike? Or perhaps, it had nothing at all to do with real sightings.

I am curious, but we will never know for sure.

* I see that spellcheck doesn't like my spelling of 'storey'. It's the more British and Canadian way of distinguishing between a narrative story and a storey or floor in a building


Friday, April 12, 2024

Honking Horde

We walked around the pond, the bigger one and not the one that we visit frequently. It was a bit of a slog because, aside from the pond itself, the path is stark with no trees to speak of, and it was also somewhat mushy.

One quite wonderful thing did occur. There were geese at the far end, but then we heard much honking as another large skein approached. They teased us by going around twice before they actually landed, all accompanied by much noise.

I am not a video guy, but I held up the phone and took a few clips. I merged them into the one video, below (about 37 seconds).

I really enjoyed see so many geese, honking their little hearts out, before they finally landed on the pond and continued honking furiously for a long while afterward. I guess they were catching up with old friends.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Early Spring Flowers

I have already posted both snowdrops and crocuses, but more flowers are poking through. So far, most are little and close to the ground.

There are some in the park where someone has planted them around a boulder at some point. There are crocuses here, but they are just about done. I don't know what this flower is. 

double exposure

I had purchased a little portable and extendable seat after photographing the snowdrops a few weeks ago. Sue took a photo. Frankly, I barely recognize myself and think it would have taken me some staring to figure that it was me, if I didn't already know. This is not how I picture myself, but it is reality. Whatever the case, I am still young in my dreams.

Who is that old man?

The daffodils are beginning to bloom. This is from the same spot: a bud with other daffodil blooms as an overlay in this double exposure.

From the park, we continued along the trail. Eventually we discovered a patch of little white flowers. Some online searching leads me to believe that they are Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), but I am not certain. Whatever they are, it's my favourite photo of the day.

Later that day, I drove to another spot, where I have previously seen crocuses. I think these flowers are Siberian Squills or just Scillia. If they are, they are considered to be invasive. It was breezy. I did my best. (The middle photo is a double exposure.) 

By the way, I just lay on the ground for these.

I guess tulips will be the next flower to bloom, but they are still probably a week to two off. I am not sure if the forget-me-nots bloom before or after the tulips.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

A Day Late

I wasn't going to do the eclipse at all, and then when I did watch it, I wasn't going to post about it. But after reading all of your posts yesterday, I decided to join the fray. It's just that I am a day late, and now no one cares. In effect, this is my life story.

I had shot the 2021 eclipse, and well, if you've seen one I figure you've seen them all. Unless, it is total, but it wasn't here.

June 10 2021

Besides, I was disorganized this time around and didn't have glasses, and since cameras can also be damaged, I wasn't all that keen on exposing mine again.

But that morning, a neighbour brought two glasses over, so we did peek out the back a few times, and it was nice to see. Sue used the two glasses for her potd. The theme was sidelight.

I still didn't take any pictures of the event on this occasion, but we did try to take a selfie. It was hilarious. I was holding the phone and also trying to look up ↑ when Sue jabbed the the shutter.

Who are these foolish people?

After awhile, I convinced her to use her watch to take the photo once I was aligned.

Not looking silly this time.

Now, that's better.

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Hydro and Toques, Eh?

I know that I have addressed Canadian English a bit in the past, but when I clocked into YouTube, this video came up as a suggestion. It compares our English to American English and finds very little difference. However, there are slight variations.

In less than 8 minutes, this teacher describes a few of the differences. He will describe how we say our O's a bit differently before mentioning our predilection for saying Eh, and the two ways in which we use it. He will then mention how we spell a few words differently and that we have some unique words, like tuque/toque.

Indeed, I can't easily discern much difference between my accent and how many Americans speak. Of course, there are some distinct regional variations down there that do stand out whereas we tend to speak a with a pretty uniform accent up here.

One thing though, we do not say oot or aboot for out or about. Eh?

Monday, April 08, 2024

A Sue Shoot

My latest outing with Sue was not primarily for her potd but for a little fun with her sister. They would send each other a dancing sort of photo from across the miles. On a most lovely spring day, we headed to the pond.

We photographed her with the colourful umbrella . . . 

. . .  and without.

We took a more static photo ↓ by the bridge that was just off to the right of this ↑ setting.

Then a closeup.

I did try a few double exposures but with limited success. I guess this ↓ was the best one resulting from two quick clicks as Sue pirouetted. I think that a slower shutter speed would have worked better, but it's okay.

That ↑ was in-camera, but later I decided to try for a multiple exposure effect by merging three images in Photoshop. I used the soft light blending mode to add the two side images to the first one, and that resulted in a fairly nice blending. Then, I applied a wee touch of the motion blur filer.

I rather like the result.

Afterward, it being such a fine day, we went walkies. A mile is about as far as I will go because it takes me and my cane more than a half hour to hobble that far, but it was good to be out. I wore my in-between winter-spring jacket, the red-black one, and I was actually a little too warm on this lovely day.

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Thinking Back

When I read Vicky's blog, which among other things, mentioned that very few undergrads now choose English as the major, I saw that I had stumbled across a blog topic pour moi.

No, I didn't choose English as my major, but I come very close to wishing that I had.

I did choose geography because I liked it and did well with it.

While I took a few English courses, I didn't opt for many. That was partly because I didn't have timetable room and partly because I didn't do quite as well in English. I didn't do badly, but I could likely pull off an A in geography but only a B in English.

When I got to College of Ed, I circled English as my teachable minor, but because of my lack of courses, when the English instructor interviewed me, she steered me toward the elementary option.

I never taught elementary school, but I did teach some high school English. Eventually.

It turned out that I loved teaching English and always seemed to be competent at it. In point of fact, I probably received more positive feedback from students and even parents in those years than I did for geography. Teaching English just seemed to suit me even though I was not certified in the subject.

I only taught English for six years before I found myself, through my own and possibly misguided choices, teaching geography exclusively again. 

While I wouldn't actually say that I regret how my career went, I think that I would have liked it even more if I had both taken and taught more English courses.

But that is in retrospect. I didn't really know it back when I made the decisions that I did.

Saturday, April 06, 2024


Yesterday, I remembered a comment from Ed from a month or so ago. I didn't actually remember the exact comment, but I remembered the general idea. It had to do with checking a box to enable Blogger comments on the iPhone or iPad. Why it took a month for it to recirculate in my brain, I cannot say. What I can say is that my brain, or lack of same, operates in mysterious ways.

I did not go back to the comment (perhaps I should), but I did do a search. I found that if you turn on a certain switch that I should be able to comment.

So, I did and it worked.

This morning I got all comfy womfy in my chair, to read your blogs. Would you believe that I can't comment today?

So, I won't even bother to tell you exactly what I did because it ultimately didn't work for me.

I use Chrome as my browser, so I tried the Apple browser (forget its name right now), but it didn't work either.

To say the least, I am miffed.

Why are some things so hard?

Friday, April 05, 2024

Blowin a Hoolie

The winds came, then the rain, and finally the snow, but the winds never ceased.

It was picture time, but we had to be quick because the winds were significant with gusts up to 50k/30mi.

This poor man had to turn around at the park entrance because between the wind and the active dog, he could barley keep his balance. I'm glad that he left because I am not sure if we would have been able to help him up.

We didn't venture even that far in the gale. We stayed nearer the entrance. Sue took her potd photo, and I squeezed off a few quick snaps.

I scooted back to the car but decided to hop back out to take a very short video clip to try to capture the sound of the wind.

Sue photographed me taking the video.

This storm was on April 04. We had out last storm of last year one day later on April 05. There could have been some additional light snowfalls last April, but I can't recall. This ↓ was a photo from the day after that storm, April 06 23, last year. It's a photo that I like.

I wonder if we're done yet with winter, snow and hoolies.

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Windy Photoshoot

Sue had a prompt having to do with a movie scene. A local church had a kind of round tower. I guess the round part is actually a turret on top of a square tower.  She thought she might be able to work it into something to do with the theme. Spoiler Alert: she couldn't and went in another direction for her potd.

However, I used the opportunity to take some shots that I hadn't before. So here we go, all in monochrome.

We parked on a back street. We could see the tower from there, so the shooting began.

We crossed the street. I could see the tower over the garage. I have always liked this garage and have taken one or two photos in the past.

Continuing along the left side of the garage, I liked the porch at the back of the house to the right, above.

We crossed over to the property to get a closer look. The house was occupied by a lawyer, one with whom we had done business in the past. We thought he had moved across the street, and indeed the move is in the works.

It seemed like there were still files of some sort in the window.

I moseyed along, but Sue was taking more pictures when the lawyer came out wanting to know what we were up too. Sue engaged him nicely, but I didn't feel like coddling an old, rich man guarding his property. I understood, but I wasn't in the mood to make nice. Sue is always nice.

I walked along the side of the church.

When I got to the front, I took a few more photos.

I think this qualifies as a tower and turret, but I am willing to be corrected.

By the way this had been St Andrews Presbyterian Church for a hundred years or so. It is now an All Nations Church, whatever that might entail.

The church fronts on the main street. We had originally thought to continue walking up the street, but the wind was so ferocious that we turned tail after making a few purchases in the shop next to the church.

This took place on Tuesday. The wind was even worse yesterday, so after grocery shopping, I stomped my feet and refused to go walkies. By afternoon, rain was pelting against my den window. By evening, snow was covering the window. Early this morning, at 6am, we have a light covering of snow with, perhaps, more on the way..

I swear this happens every April, and sometimes even late in the month. This pleases no one.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Fun was Prohibited

On FB, I regularly see recent historical photos from Montreal. Since I was a kid in that city, mostly in the 50s, they interest me. Some photos I recognize, at least in part. The following photo rang a bell.

A stream of vehicles makes its way to Belmont Park in the 1950s.

Belmont Park was an amusement park fairly near where we lived, perhaps a 10 minute bus ride if I recall correctly.

My parents never took me there, but just before we departed Montreal for Toronto in 1962, I visited the fun park a few times with my friends. The rides I most remember were the Roller Coaster and the Wild Mouse.

Once we got to Toronto, I visited the Midway (rides) when it was open for two weeks when the CNE (Canadian National Exposition) was on in late August and early September.

I was raised Pentecostal, which, at that time at least, had a distinct Holiness flavour, basically defined by eschewing a whole lot of activities. Those things pretty well boiled down to avoiding what were fun things for others with dancing and movies holding prime places on the  list. And amusement parks too.

While I was not rebellious, when I tried these sorts of activities, my experience and common sense told me that they were all harmless fun.

Mother let me know that she disapproved of my errant ways that in her mind included not watching tv on Sunday afternoons between the morning and evening church services. Then there was the time that my father chastised me for throwing a football with a friend on a Sunday afternoon.

I didn't fight them about it, but I believed what I believed. By the time she passed on, mom and dad would happily watch tv on Sundays. In fact, we and the kids would often drop over on Sunday evenings to watch Road to Avonlea with them.

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Back Problems Then and Now

Shauna had quite a back attack over the weekend, and it lingers on. We trust that they are just muscle spasms that will pass. Having said that, I do know how painful spasms can be, for I have had my share. The good news is that they usually subside within a few days.

The kids drove into her workplace on Sunday to bring her laptop home, so she could get some necessary work done yesterday, as difficult as that might be.

The thought of working at home with a bad back takes me back thirty years, and it was at this exact time of year in '94.

Except at that time, I was suffering from bulging discs that sent significant pain shooting down my leg. While spasms usually resolve themselves in a few days, this disc episode endured for two months. I pretty well lived life on the floor for much of that time. I can remember getting up to eat at the table before rushing back to the floor as the pain built up. I slept on the floor at night because we had a waterbed back then, and that would have been all wrong for my condition at the time.

I remember working on the floor. It was exam time, so I set exams while lying facedown on the floor with the computer  in front of me. Once the exams were written, I marked them from my recumbent position. Then, when the new semester started, the teacher who was to take my place for the first few weeks visited me on the floor as I passed on to her various materials that she could use.

From the partial numbness in my leg and foot, I know that these three decades later the discs are still out of whack. Said numbness has persisted in my leg for thirty years. Sometime along the way, especially in the past decade, it spread to my foot.

However, even though the back is weak, at least I haven't had another major attack since early '94. Of course, I have had a few spasm episodes such as what Shauna is currently experiencing.

I have just learned that she needs to go into work today to get a payroll completed. It's an unusual one due to the Easter holiday and extra pay for those who worked the holiday. I have offered to drive her there, but in the past, I have experienced that I could be comfortable in the car although getting in and out can be problematic.

Monday, April 01, 2024

Where She Stood

Sue's potd on Friday was Where I Stand: the 'I' being Sue, of course.

She had seen on FB that the town has new light displays downtown, and she thought they would make for a unique photo. In her third year of following daily prompts, unique is not always easy to find. 

We hadn't seen the projections or where they were located, but we found our first splash of light on the sidewalk shortly after the 7:30 sunset. This was her first photo and the one that she eventually posted to the group.

Here is another using the same projection.

We ended up finding several other projections, Here are two of them.

Finally, we came to one with town hall in the background. It was her photoshoot, but when she can't take pictures of herself, she will use me as her tripod. So, she positioned me to see what composition she might like for herself.

We switched places, and I took a similar photo.

There are things that one doesn't notice at the time, but despite it remaining the same scene, her photo of me was the better composition. My pose had a gap between me and the lamppost, which was better than her being right next to it in my opinion. She also got the apex of the projection centered better, for I had been concentrating more on the town hall part.

This setting has potential, and I'd like to try this again sometime with my camera and using the tripod, for it was too cold for me to want to fiddle with tripods and settings on that evening. I think that I would have to eliminate that horrid streetlight in post. As long as I were to keep it over the sky and not the building that shouldn't be too hard to do, but perhaps we shall see.

We walked around and looked at the bridge lights once again, and of course I took a shot.

I was just passing-by this time, so I knew that it wouldn't be my best result, but sometimes you take the shot regardless.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Happy Easter

This house in Appleton looked perfectly lovely for Easter with its yellow door and accents.

The eggs attached to a bush on the right gave me an idea for a double exposure.

While the eggs were okay, I don't think the superimposed branches were a good look.

But there was a log cabin next door. Because it was darker and also more texturized, I think the egg overlay worked better there.

 It was in keeping with the season anyway.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Remembering the Forgetting

I confess. I am a daydreamer, but not usually as obviously as in this case.

We were watching The Voice, which I almost just called American Idol, although I haven't seen that program for years.

Suddenly, the emcee was asking the coach to choose the winner of a battle round.


I had to ask Sue if they had sung already because I missed it. Even though I was sitting right there the whole time.

Yes, they had sung. Not only that, but the various coaches had also offered their critiques before I awoke from my reverie.

I had missed it all, for my mind was elsewhere.

It wasn't so much daydreaming but thinking about the pros and cons of something that I might or might not do. At least I know what I had been thinking about. lol

This happened once before, quite a long time ago as a matter of fact.

Sue had sat me down to listen to a specific song. When we got to the end, Sue asked me what I thought about it. I had to tell her that I forgot to listen because my mind had been busy on one of its excursions.

The song was Emily Remembers, about a friend who had lost her memory, due to Alzheimer's. I'll post this poignant song below. How odd and yet fitting that I had forgotten to listen to a song about remembering.

The Last Stanza (lyrics here)

If she forgets that I’m her best friend
and how inseparable we were
If she forgets how much she needs me
I remember it for her
if she forgets how much she loves me
I remember it for her



Thursday, March 28, 2024

Cordwood House Double Exposure

I have another double exposure session to share with you, and there will likely be more a'comin down the pipe. How much more, I don't know, but the snow is gone, and the green is yet to come, so regular photography is not all that appealing right now. At least it isn't very appealing for plods such as I, who mainly just shoot when we are wandering about just seeing what might attract our attention.

As is so often the case, our recent adventure, yesterday, was inspired by Sue's needs. Her assignment was to photograph a house. Of course, she wanted a house with something of interest and remembered this house in the nearby hamlet of Appleton.

It is a cordwood construction with the ends of logs set into the thick walls. You can learn a little about this technique here.

In addition to the regular photo, above, I decided to photograph a nearby bush first to begin a double exposure. This version is in b&w.

The camera superimposed them (actually similar photos) like this ↓ .

It is possible to create a double exposure effect in Photoshop, which is what I did in the next photo, where I combined the first and second photos. I decided upon a somewhat more subtle overlay than what the camera had rendered.

What I am primarily interested in right now, aside from just having fun, is seeing what the camera will yield and not what I can fashion in edit. As I continue to experiment, I will be following the camera's output, probably exclusively.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Double Exposure Experiments

As I posted yesterday, Sue's Noise POTD, took us to the bridges, but while she was photographing noise, I decided to try experimenting with double exposures. I was just shooting in the dark, so to speak, since I have no idea what I am doing other than taking two consecutive photos. I did it all in camera: that is, I let the camera combine my two images in each case.

Since I was by the river, I would take a photo pointing at the waves, which seems to be what I was doing in this image ↓ that Sue took of me.

Those are my heated mitts dangling. They heat well, and the fact that they're attached
means that I don't have to fret about where they are. However, I hadn't really needed
them on this day. It wasn't hot, but neither was it that cold.

Then I would point the camera at something else in the vicinity. In this case I chose the opposite riverbank and those two larger trees. This ↓ is how the camera superimposed the two, with some of the whitewater overlaying the scene.

We walked over to the trail bridge, where I first pointed my camera at some icy branches hanging just below the bridge before shifting back to the road bridge that we had just left.

Also from the trail bridge, first the whitewater, and then the old machine shop.

Finally, how could I resist one double exposure using town hall as one part of it? I think this is the best result because it looks like a huge wave is sweeping over the building. I must admit that it was weak in colour, but I like it in mono, especially after I gritted it up a bit by ramping up the texture slider.

I have tried this technique a few times previously but not enough to get good at it. I don't think that I have the kind of vision to do well with this kind of photography because I really have no clue about how two images will blend together, but it it makes for fun little experiment.