Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 243 - Ready or Not

Well, the school is clean, shiny and ready to go for the first day of school. Teachers and staff have been busy over the last week preparing for tomorrow. Our janitor was busy all summer and thanks to him everything looks shiny and new. Today teachers were putting the last touches on their classes and the photocopy machine and laminator were humming all day. Here's hoping everyone has a good night's rest before the big day. Here goes another year!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 242 - Hey Hay

While out at the farm this evening the tractor and baler were collecting the mowed grass to make big round bales. Of course...I didn't have my camera with me. I really wanted to capture a picture of the bale coming out of the baler. Luckily, I did have my handy iPhone with me so I snapped a few shots. Unfortunately, the 'action' shots turned out blurry. I settled on this one and played with it a bit in Lightroom.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 241 - Urban argiculture

Not far from our house is this huge and magnificent piece of land. We used to be able to walk there along with many other neighbours. However, the monastery sold it for farm land and people are no longer welcome to enter. I took this picture from outside the fence, just in front of the DO NOT ENTER sign. I like the contrast between the harvested land and the cityscape.

Day 240 - Private

This is one of the signs up at the farm where we walk the dogs. Prive means private by the way. Fortunately, we have special permission to venture into this private area. This sign caught my attention while we were out walking. I like the way they took the piece of scrap metal and painted their message on it. It's simple but effective. It seems to stand out against the soft background.

Day 239 - The dreaded cone

Getting around Quebec City continues to be a challenge. It's not out of the ordinary to hit two or three detours from home to school. Keep in mind that we only live 10 Km away. While the detours sometimes let us see parts of the city we wouldn't normally see, it does mean for a longer trip. During the summer this wasn't a big deal but now that we're under a time constraint, the site of these cones is somewhat more stressful.
Unfortunately, the streets will only get busier with students of all ages starting school in the upcoming weeks. I guess the good news is that at the end of the road the streets will be in better shape.
Oh, I did what's called colour-popping with this pic. I took out all the colour and then brushed back the colour in the cone. I got the trick from a magazine called "Top Photoshop Techniques". It was really quite easy and I can see lots more possibilities.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 238 - Garden of Plenty

We planted two cucumber plants this year and they have given us close to forty cucumbers. We've had plenty. Enough to share with neighbours and friends. The peas are finished but we're still getting some ground cherries, tomatoes and of course, cucumbers. I posed the cucumber with the fork and knife for deco but also to show how big it is. We've had a number of big cucumbers but this one is definitely the biggest and the straightest.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 237 - King Kong

Given the size of a Great Dane, implies their toys have to correspond in ruggedness, durability and of course, size! Our spoiled pooches have 2 toy boxes, one upstairs and one down full of bones, balls, tug-of-war ropes and eviserated stuffed toys. I took this picture of one of their big red rubber Kongs by turning the camera upside down so the flash was farther away from the toy. I changed the colour to sepia so the dog hair and dust stuck on it was less apparent:-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 236 - Moon Play

It's a full moon tonight so I took the camera to the farm and tried some moon shots. The idea was inspired by photos sent to me by Diane. Thanks Diane. I didn't have my tripod so when I took the pictures I had to focus on Peg or the moon. If one was focused the other was blurry. My theory is that I needed to use a larger depth of field. Since I didn't have a tripod I couldn't have my shutter speed too low. Not sure if I'm correct but it sounds good in my head. Any other theories or actual reasons are welcome.
I have to admit that I played with the pics a bit in Photoshop. I took the focused moon from one shot and put it over the blurry moon in this shot. I also worked a bit on my signature. Thanks to Julie and Monica I was able to download some new fonts AND learned how to make my signature a Brush (define brush). I realized after posting that the signature is a bit small but I only saved the picture as jpeg so I couldn't go back and adjust. The good news is I did figure out how to make it bigger for next time. Thanks for all the help. I couldn't have done it without you all.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 235 - Blueberries

Another shot from the farm. Peg found these yummy berries while we were walking the dogs. Luckily for me, she let me take a few shots before picking them. Just for the record, they were delicious!

Day 234 - Colourful Computers

Started work at the board last week. There were various sessions for teachers new to our board. It's called "Teacher Induction". On Thursday afternoon Michelle and I gave a session on available technologies. I brought in our mini computers from school. We've been using these ones with the younger kids because they have touch screens. It's also helpful to have the colours so the kids can identify them easier. I thought the laptops lined up in the case might make an interesting shot so here it is.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 233 - Oops, Pesty Plant

Like dandelions, ragweed is a weed with a yellow flower. The city no long sprays for dandelions and personally I think they're happy weeds. This other yellow weed however has the potential to make many people unhappy. While the picture looks innocent enough, many people suffer from hay fever due to the presence of this weed. Luckily for me, I'm not one of those people so I was able to get close enough for the picture.

Correction: Seems I need to brush up on my weeds. Thanks to Susan I now know that this plant is NOT ragweed but goldenrod, which is also labeled as an allergy irritant. It does bloom at the same time as ragweed and some say that although it's blamed for allergies, its pollen is too heavy and sticky to be blown around in the wind. Some suspect that since it blooms at the same time as ragweed its the ragweed that is at fault. Hmmm, so much to learn.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 232 - Apple Sauce

Our neighbours have a Flowering Crab Apple tree in their front yard. With the approach of fall comes the daily splash of apples on the driveway and asphalted street. While I'm sure it's a pain for them, we appreciate the vivid colour and texture contrast it makes. Peg's mom used to have her family collect these apples to boil for jelly. The mash would then be ceremoniously hung in a pillowcase reserved just for jelly from a kitchen cabinet doorknob to drip. The collected drippings were boiled again with sugar, poured into sterilized jars and sealed with parafin. What's that saying..."When life gives you lemons, make lemonade". Well, maybe their version should be "When life gives you apples, make apple sauce or jelly!"

Day 231 - Sky Flower

Daisies are one of my favourite flowers. A few years ago we planted these in the front garden not realizing how tall they'd grow. By this time of year, they tower above 6 feet tall! The sun shines down through them making photographing them an interesting challenge given that I'm vertically challenged.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 230 - Flat!

When I went outside today I noticed our neighbour's truck had a flat tire. I took the picture and then put it in black and white. I used Lightroom to add colour. Not the most creative shot but a chance to do some experimenting. Hopefully, inspiration will hit again tomorrow and I won't need to worry about any more 'flat' pictures.

Day 229 - Spider Web take 2

Ventured around the yard again looking for spiders and their webs. The feat was much easier without my little friend Dexter. I found one under the deck and was able to take some pictures without it being eaten. I could have zoomed in closer but I wanted to make sure I captured the intricate work of the web as well. If you click on the photo you will be able see a larger version of the picture.

Day 228 - Fox in Trouble

While visiting Peg's mom at the senior's home we saw this little guy wandering the grounds. Unfortunately, he didn't look too good. He was pretty skinny and had sores on his skin. I'm not sure but I think he was suffering from mange. It was amazing to see him so close to civilization. He had left the safety of the woods to seek food. Sadly, he only seemed to find some apples that had fallen off the tree. We informed the people at the home and hopefully animal services will able to help this little guy. It was heartbreaking to see him in such a state.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 227 - Gentle Reflections

It was a hot and humid day for the christening with temperatures over 40 degrees with humidity. The wee ones were welcomed into the family of Christ surrounded by families and friends. This bench sits in the beautifully manicured gardens of St. Jude's Anglican Church in Oakville, Ontario. We used it and the surrounding flora to capture photos of the reunion of family and friends . We are truly blessed to live where we live and to have the opportunities that life and love provide us.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Da 226 - Flutterby

Went with Sarah and Seb and the kids to the Oakville Park for lunch today after christening dress rehearsal. We ate lunch, wandered the gardens, checked out the waterfront. While checking out the flowers we spotted a beautiful Monarch butterfly. Although he flew around a bit, he was quite cooperative and allowed me to snap a few shots before flying off.

Day 225 - Jersey Boys

This evening we went to a fabulous show, "Jersey Boys". Our friends Sarah and Seb bought us tickets that included supper. Peg's sister-in-law, Joyce, joined us. We had a delicious meal and then were treated to great music, singing and acting. As the Four Seasons would say, "Oh, what a night!" We arrived a bit early for the show so we decided to walk around for a bit. There was a nearby cemetery that looked more like a botanical garden.
Unfortunately, I was without my camera but had my handy iPhone once again. The picture above is a statue called "Tempo" and it's in front of the Toronto Centre of the Arts. The flower below was taken at the entrance of the cemetery.

Day 224 - On the road to Toronto

It was a long but smooth drive to Toronto. We managed to miss the Montreal traffic for the most part and arrived in Kingston around 3:30. We met our dear friend Kim who is visiting her son there. We haven't seen her since the fall so it was nice to catch up. She treated us to a lovely supper and then we got back in the car and finished the last leg to Toronto. I did all the driving so Peg used the iPhone to take a few pictures. There was a beautiful sunset but it was a bit much for the iPhone camera to handle. This is a shot of the 401 highway that goes through Ontario. It has 4 lanes on each side plus what they call collector lanes. It's a bit stressful to drive on at times but since it was later in the day it wasn't as bad. Made it safe and sound to Mississauga by about 9:30.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 223 - Last Lily

Well, I finally chose the last lily for our goddaughter's frames. We had 4 pictures printed and framed. I have to admit it's a rush to give my photos away and have them appreciated. I've had lots of positive feedback from friends and followers so I'll take a moment now to say, "Thanks."

So, we're off to Mississauga tomorrow to visit family and attend our goddaughter's christening on Sunday. I will definitely be taking pictures every day and will do my best to post them. However, due to possible technical difficulties I may need to post them when we get back home on Tuesday. Any positive technology vibes would be appreciated.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 222 - Papa's Puffin

This door knocker belonged to Peg's Dad. It was proudly mounted on their home beside the door. There were many jokes made about it over the years, none that I will repeat here. It does conjure up a smile from us all when the topic of Dad's knocker comes up! While Dad has passed away, his memory still brings us great happiness. We put the puffin up on the shed today. I think Dad's looking down with a wise crack at the ready.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 221 - Brushing up

Was playing with my macro lens again. Peg brought me a few kitchen items to photograph. This is the silicone BBQ basting brush. It is a bright red but I didn't like how the red turned out so I did some editing with Lightroom. I put it in black and white and then 'coloured' one bristle red. While a bit hesitant to edit photos in the beginning, Lightroom has got me experimenting with all kinds of processing possibilities.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 220 - Pea-Ka-Boo

YES! Our peas are ready! Well, not all of them but enough to munch on. We plant peas every year but somehow none of them ever end up in the house. Usually they're ready when we start school so they become our after school snack. The beautiful weather we've had this summer have brought them early. We've had a few small pickings and there's still more.
Peg gave me the idea of using them for my photo today. We kept one aside, I took out the macro and snapped a few shots. I like this one because it shows the smoothness of the peas. Once the 'shooting' was done we ate the subject. Now, that's what I call edible photography!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 219 - Modern Day Tin Man

While walking around Old Quebec we saw a number of street performers. I was able to capture this silver performer in a statue position. He had music and a little sign that says "Money makes me move". Unfortunately, we didn't get to see him perform for long but it was much easier taking his picture when he was still. We also saw his fellow 'goldman' but he was packing up as we came around the corner. Oh well, maybe next time. I like the contrast of silver against the green trees. Peg says she gets itchy just looking at him with all that face makeup on.

Day 218 - Water Lily at Last

Well, the hunt is finally over. I've been looking for pink water lilies EVERYWHERE. I've found lots of white ones and even pink ones that weren't open yet or hiding in the shade. I found this one today at Jardin Hamel, a garden place near home. I've done some playing with exposure etc. and I'm not sure it's exactly where I want it yet but here's where I'm at. Any ideas or opinions are more than welcome.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 217 - Time to Lawn the Mow

A dear friend of ours from Germany, often mixed up this phrase. It became a shared giggle as she would tell us she'd "lawned the mow today". With all the heat and humidity and torrential rains this week, we had to do the deed today despite the 36 degree temperatures. The saving grace was the cool down in the pool right after! Ahhhhhh!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 216 - Hole in the Fence

Another day of much needed rain. This time I headed out front with the umbrella. I took the above picture through the hole in the fence. The hole in the fence and the puddle behind it was the focal point in the first picture, while I focused on the solid part of the fence in the shot below. I find it interesting how keeping the same subject but changing the focal point can give such a different pictures.

Day 215 - Rough Seas

Well, we finally got the rain that's been promised. We could almost hear the flora sighing with relief. At times it came down slowly and softly, while at other times it fell fast and furiously. At one point during the deluge I stood in the side doorway and looked for shots. I decided on this picture of the neighbour's pool. While the air mattress seems to say rest and relax, the surface tension on the water was saying rough seas ahead.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 214 - Blood, Sweat and Flowers

We've been working on our front garden over the last couple of weeks. It was overgrown and needed a good cleaning out. They're announcing LOTS of rain over the next couple days so we put in 6 hours to finish it up. We dug up and split plants, giving some to friends. We pulled weeds and grass (It seems to grow really well in places you don't want it to.) and finally we spread out the new dirt. It doesn't look very colourful but hopefully next year it will be full of a variety of colours. We're both pretty tired and although there's been a lot of sweat and a tiny bit of blood, there's been no tears yet. The tears may come when we get up in the morning and feel the aches and pains of our work.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 213 - Crossing Paths

I was in the backyard this evening with my camera. As usual I was snapping a few pictures of the pups. While outside, Peg pointed out a jet and its trail. I managed a few pictures before the jet was out of site. A few minutes later a water bomber came from the south. In the picture above it looks like it's about to go through the jet's trail but since it was flying at a lower altitude, it actually went under. I put it in sepia during processing as I found it accentuates the details more than the original.