Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 120 - Birthday Bulbs

Went for lunch with my godkids and their mom. I arrived before them so I decided to take out the camera and capture some of their blooming tulips. Although it was a beautiful sunny day, photos were tricky because of the glare. The tulips above are from Quebec's 400th birthday. They were bred especially for the occasion. If you walk around Quebec City you'll see them in many gardens.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 119 - Building a safer world together

Today I spent the day at a robotic competition with a group of students. Above are two of my students taking the necessary measurements to program their robot. Not only did everyone have a great time but it was great to see the teamwork amongst the groups and the enthusiasm despite the challenges and failed attempts. The challenge for the elementary teams was to find the simulated landmines and show detection by having the light on their robot illuminate. We started with a short presentation about landmines. I was stunned to learn that a landmine can cost as little as $3.00 to build yet so much time, money and precious lives to get rid of them. The engineer also told us about the robots that are being developed to rid the world of landmines and the many challenges to create such machines. Although the challenge was only a simulation, I think it was very important to make the students aware and put their task into perspective. Together, all the teams managed to detect 80 landmines. Hopefully, some of the students present today will go on to study robotics further so that they may have a hand in making the world a safer place.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 118 - Whisk me off to bed

Another busy week at school and home. I was feeling pretty tired tonight while thinking of picture ideas. I thought of taking a picture of the bed because that's really where I wanted to be. However, the bed alone seemed rather blah. So, I decided to go the artistic route and started taking pictures of ordinary things at different angles. I grabbed the whisk to see what I could do and as always Peg came up with a witty phrase, "Whisk me off to bed." Hence, the photo above. Since the bed frame is brass, I decided to convert the pic to black and white to unify the colour. I'll end on that note and whisk myself to bed. Goodnight.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 117 - Raindrops

The good news is that the snow we were supposed to get turned out to be mostly rain instead. However, they're still saying we may get some overnight. Being the eternal optimist I choose to believe that the grass will still be green and not white when I wake up tomorrow morning. Due to the weather, full moon, grad pictures, announcements, trampoline in the gym and a bake sale the kids were rather excited today. Needless to say I didn't get the opportunity to take any pictures during the day. When we got home it was raining lightly so I headed out into the calm and snapped a few pictures. I ended up using all my 3 lenses (zoom, macro and 18-55mm) to see what I could get. I finally chose the one above. The lupin leaves were captured with the all-purpose 18-55mm lens. The other equipment I used was a plastic bag to kneel on, an umbrella and a handy assistant (Peg) to hold the umbrella and give me suggestions for angles. All in all, a much needed calming activity after a rather hectic day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 116 - Burning Bush

There are these really neat bushes at the farm where we walk the dogs. The branches are a deep red colour all year long. They were striking this evening with the late day sun shining on them. It's hard to believe this spring scene will be shivering in the snow we are to get tonight and tomorrow!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 115- Paw Prints

Peg was up and wandering around the backyard with the dogs early this morning. There was still dew on the grass so the puppies got their paws wet. When they walked on the stepping stones outside they left their not so tiny paw prints. She seized the opportunity and snapped a picture for me. I was quite relieved as it was a pretty busy day and the only pictures I took were jewelry ones. I also like how the two stones look a bit like the bottom pads of the dogs' paws. It's also fun to see others find pictures in ordinary things.

Day 114 - Swinging Seeds

Was over at Mike's place playing with my goddaughter. We were having a great time swinging, digging and listening to the birds sing. As usual I had my camera with me. I saw this tree and took a few shots. I like how the front is focused while the background is not. I also like the blend of colours. Now, I just have to figure out what kind of tree it is.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 113 - Handmade Jewels

A colleague from work makes jewelry as a hobby. She sells some of it and was interested in getting some pictures. She asked if I would photograph her shiny jewels so I borrowed a few items and am experimenting this weekend. Of course I didn't get to it until dark this evening so the lighting wasn't ideal. I managed to get a few but will definitely try again tomorrow during the day when the lighting isn't so harsh. I did manage to find some good angles and useful props. The picture above is one of her custom made rings. The beads are quite shiny so I hope to play with reflections. As always, a learning experience.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 112 - Making Links

One of the favourite pieces of playground equipment at our school is the 'Spider Web'. The kids love climbing, hanging, sitting and playing tag on it. I was playing with aperture and my zoom lens this afternoon. I thought the web would make a good subject. The biggest challenge was finding a part of the web that didn't have kids on it. Lucky for me I managed to snap the picture before ALL the kids were outside.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 111 - Macro Play

Decided to get out my macro lens and tripod and takes some pictures. I was working inside so I cheated and took out the handy spray bottle. I had plenty of light as I was shooting in the living room in the afternoon. I took lots of photos and was having difficulty with focus. I'm not sure if I wasn't patient enough but I couldn't seem to get a whole leaf in focus, only parts of it. I'm guessing it was the angle of the leaves and the fact that they weren't flat but I'm not sure. I'm open to any advice or pointers. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 110 - Tree Rot

While out at the park I noticed some black stuff on the trees. I thought it kind of looked like charcoal. I didn't know what it was but Peg and Sarah informed me that it was tree rot. Apparently when a tree is infested there is no way to save it and it spreads quite rapidly. Unfortunately, as we walked around we noticed that all the trees in that part of the park had been hit with it. I'm not sure what the city will do but I would guess they'd have to cut down the trees. It is sad because they have to be replaced with trees that grow quickly but are still hardy.

Day 109 - Transportation Day

Going to Montreal is always an adventure and when I have to go a little further to Laval it almost becomes a transportation day. In one day, I took the train, Metro, taxi and of course travelled a bit by foot. I took this pic while waiting on the platform for my train. Of course, being from out of town I made sure to double check that I was on the right line going in the right direction. Seeing that I don't have to change trains and I go to the end of the line makes it a lot easier for this out of towner. The trip back from Laval was a little more challenging as the train was crowded and for some reason they weren't announcing the name of the stations. Fortunately, I got off on time and didn't have to make any extra trips.
As you may guess from the orange dots, I was on the orange line. Sorry, can't remember the name.

Day 108 - Train Ride

My tech consultant job required me to travel to Montreal to help give a workshop on Monday. Although it's close enough to drive I really do prefer taking the train. It's relaxing, I don't need to worry about traffic and I can work or watch a movie while traveling. In my mind, it's really the way to get from one place to another. I was packing lite so I didn't bring along my camera. Once again, I relied on my handy iPhone. I snapped a few pictures while moving but found they were too blurry. Got this one just as we were leaving from St. Lambert.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 107 - Ribbons

Ribbons are both pretty and practical. They can be used to tie things up or stretch them out to be broken at the end of the race. Connie, my bestest Befri, is running a half marathon tomorrow in Regina, Saskatchewan. I wanted to take a picture in honour of her courage to start and keep going. Since I have no race ribbons available I went with gift ribbons. Which, I feel, is just as appropriate because her friendship is indeed a gift. Go Connie go!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 106 - Serenity

Went for a walk in the local cemetery looking for inspiration. No matter where the graveyard I always find them calming and reverent. It's a privilege to wander around and capture glimpses of people's lives. As I read the tombstones I find myself wondering what type of life they led in the time line of history. I'm in awe of those who lived such long lives and feel sadness for those who were not given the chance to experience so many of life's adventures. I guess a walk such as this helps us regain perspective and reminds us all "carpe diem' .

Day 105 - Why are they blue?

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we have a patch of wild violets growing beside our pool. Amazingly enough, the dogs have not yet dug them up. They are a deep purple but as you can see above, when I took the pictures they appeared blue. I tried with and without a flash and had the same colour results. Yet as you can see in my previous blog, when I took the pictures with my iPhone they actually came out purple. Any ideas why???? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 104 - I'm losing my marbles

Okay, maybe I'm not really losing my marbles but there are times when it feels like it. All joking aside, if you work in an elementary school you know it's officially spring when marble mania hits. Kids of all ages are bringing in their bags, boxes and special containers of marbles. The marbles, like the kids, come in all shapes and sizes and have their uniqueness. It's nice to see that despite technology, this good old pastime lives on.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 103 - Early or Late?

I saw a robin in our flowering crab tree and thought I'd grab my camera and try to get a few shots. Although I went out quietly, Dexter decided to follow me out not so discretely. By not so discretely I mean running and barking of course. Once Dexter said hello to all the outdoor creatures he settled down to sniffing and a familiar friend reappeared. Not the robin as I was expecting but a Bohemian Waxwing. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, the Waxwings usually show up early in the spring before the snow is melted. I'm not sure if this fellow was late or if it's just that our spring is early this year but he hung around and ate some berries. He seemed comfortable with the camera. In fact, I think I even caught him posing now and then.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 102 - Blue Bells I think

While at the godchildren's place for lunch I was asked to photograph some of their mom's favourite spring flowers. We think they're some type of Blue Bells but we're not sure. If you know otherwise please let us know. I took a few minutes and snapped some shots. I managed to get a few shots but would have liked to capture them with a macro lens. I guess I'll have to go back for a visit sometime soon. :-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 101 - Windy Day

One thing I miss during the winter is drying clothes on the line. They always smell so fresh and clean when they come off the line. We've been able to do this now for awhile and today was no exception. It was a rather windy day here so we put some clothes on the line and went for a walk with the dogs. By the time we got back they were already dry. Before taking them off I took the opportunity to get some laundry 'action' shots. I actually used the sports mode on my camera. It was loads of fun (pun intended).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 100 - Hurry Hard!

Today was our school board's annual Curling Funspiel. We had a great time curling and visiting with colleagues we don't get to see that often. Our team may not have won but we were definitely one of the teams who had the most fun. We had lots of laughs and even made a few nice shots.
I brought the camera along to take pictures but the schedule was tight so I didn't get much time to shoot. I did manage to get a few shots in. The one above is one of my attempts at a bug's eye view.

Day 99 - Bubber Roots to the Rescue

Don't worry, I realize I reversed the B and R in the title. In our house we've always worn bubber roots. Today was a rainy day but the dogs still needed their walk so we put on our gear and headed to the farm. The boots came in handy amongst the many puddles and abundant mud. Thanks to them, at the end of our soggy walk our feet were nice and dry. Now, only if we could find a way to keep the mud off the big dog paws.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 98 - Ball Flower

Peg has been teaching softball basics in Gym. One of her lead up games involves putting this whiffle ball on a tee. The kids hit it and practice running bases and the fielders work on fielding the ball. At one point she placed the ball on the tee and from the angle she was at it looked like a flower. After school she told me about it and suggested I take a picture. Of course I teased her a bit because she couldn't find the angle right away. Well, after some adjusting we both seemed to see it and now you get to see it too. I was hoping to play with it in Photoshop to make it look more like a flower but I just got the program and haven't had time to figure it out. Besides, there's nothing like the original, right?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 97 - Checkmate

Chess has been quite popular in my class lately. It's a great game that requires logic, patience and foresight. Some of the students are pretty good and could probably beat me on any given day. I tend to just play a game and have difficulty 'seeing' multiple moves ahead. This is definitely a case of the student surpassing the teacher and I'm completely okay with that.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 96 - Happy Boots

While out for a photo session with my class I noticed 'M' up on the climber. Actually, it was her boots that I noticed first. I asked her if she could sit on the climber and stick out her feet. Not quite understanding what I was up to she complied. My goal was to get her 'happy' boots floating carelessly in the air. Thanks for modeling, 'M'.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Day 95 - Waiting for Rain

The snow on our garden has evaporated considerably over the gloriously hot Easter weekend and the crocuses are beginning to peek out. Captured this lonely yellow one. It's not open yet. Maybe it just needs a little spring rain, which they just happen to be forecasting for the next 4 or 5 days.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 94 - Feathered Silhouette

Captured this photo in St. Augustin-Desmaures while visiting with friends. The robin was perched on the roof later in the afternoon. I would have liked to get closer but don't have that telephoto lens (yet). Took the picture anyway and decided to make it into a silhouette.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 93 - Thank Heaven for Circus School

Since a very early age, we could see that my goddaughter was destined for Circus School. She loves being thrown, flipped, spun, get the idea. Thank goodness Peg's a gym teacher, she has a lot of tricks up her sleeve. For her 3rd birthday we enrolled 'S' in Circus School. Today was her second class and as the photo shows, she LOVES it! I just hope she doesn't decide to run away and join the circus when she gets older as her godmother may be the one assigned to chase after her.

Day 92 - Spring Snow

Although the snow is melting quickly, there are still piles of it here and there. Unlike the fluffy stuff we see in the winter, Spring snow is often called corn snow because of its consistency. The one above was taken with a macro and shows its rough granular texture. The picture below shows it at a distance.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 91 - Rites of Spring

One of the many pleasures of childhood and Spring is dropping rocks into the sewers and hearing the infamous 'plop plop'. We went for lunch with our godchildren and their mom today. Since it was such a beautiful day we decided to go for a walk to the park. On the way to the park Peg and 'E' found a great pile of rocks that just happened to be by a sewer cover. After watching and hearing the splashes we went to the park for awhile. We of course stopped and stockpiled some rocks for our next stop. I have to admit the adults even picked up a few rocks and tried it. I guess no matter how old we get there are always things that bring us back to our childhood.