Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 59 - Snow Day!

We got 'the call' at 6:20 this morning. The call I'm talking about is the, "School is closed today. It's a Snow Day." Although we do have to make up for this day later on this year, it's always nice to get a surprise day off. We had a lazy day. Even the pooches were pretty mellow. In the afternoon we decided to shovel off the deck. The dogs went outside but didn't seem to be happy about the big fluffy snowflakes landing and melting on their fur. I had the camera, trying to take pictures of snowflakes. You'd think it'd be easy with big fluffy snowflakes. Not so. Anyway, I decided to step inside and a few seconds later Dexter decided he wanted to be inside as well. Talk about sad puppy dog eyes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 58 - And the winner is . . .

The theme is to make a photograph of something that is glowing today. Use any meaning of the word you like. I thought with the Oscars on this evening I would take out my own and snap some shots. I felt a little like a paparazzi :-). One of my students gave me this statuette last year. She told me it was a teacher Oscar. It's not made of real gold but the sentiment behind it is priceless.

Once I took the picture I did some processing in Lightroom. I used the Dark Horse preset and did some playing with exposure. In Photoshop I copied it and put a smaller version up in the right corner but I didn't like it so I took it out. I have to remind myself that sometimes less is more.

Canon XSi
Lens: 100 mm
Focal Length: 100
F/stop: 2.8
Exposure: 1/500
ISO: 200

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 57 - Connections

Six years ago, Peg and I went to Scotland for 3 weeks. We saw beautiful landscape, met kind and interesting people, visited enchanting castles and made memories that will last a lifetime. Peg decided she absolutely wanted a genuine wool sweater as a souvenir from the trip. Getting that sweater was quite an adventure. I'll share that story with you another time. The Celtic ring above was my chosen souvenir. I often tease Peg that I have the better souvenir because I can wear my all year round AND it doesn't make my skin itch.
Today's assignment was to take a photo of something that shows connection. The knots are connected or interlacing. They symbolize the Celtic belief in long eternal love and life. This ring is one of my cherished possessions and definitely connects me to Scotland and the many memories that were made there.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 56 - Love Blooms

Thanks to Kristy's inspirational 'light' photo I decided to try my hand at capturing light. She wasn't kidding when she said it's a lot more difficult than it looks. I turned off all the lights and got out the flashlight. I had Peg making all kinds of objects. We chose the flower you see above. I decided I wanted some red so I took the cover off my iPhone and used it as a filter; kind of felt like McGyver with his gum wrappers and duct tape. I discovered it isn't so easy to draw when you can't see what you've done or where you've been. Definitely a case of trial and error. Anyway, we chose her flower and my heart, I opened them up in Photoshop, did some duplicating and merging and voila, you get blooming love.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 55 - 'Hi'-acinths

Peg needed some spring in the house so she picked up these Hyacinths at the local grocery store on Monday. They were closed tight but started opening yesterday. Seeing all the different flower pictures on fellow blog sites gave me the urge to take some of my own. I took this one this evening. I tried using the light from the room but it washed the colours out. I decided to go to my handy iPad and the Photo Softbox app. I set the colour to pink and found it intensified the colours. As a final touch I sprayed it with water. Who says spring doesn't start until March 21st?

Day 54 - Get a Grip

Cycle 3's are working on a striking unit in Gym. They're learning about and practicing the skill with various implements and grips. Peg wanted to show them right and wrong examples. I decided to join my kids for their class and take some pictures. Can you tell which are the right examples?

Day 53 - Individuality

In a world that often promotes sameness, it's always nice to capture uniqueness. One of my students brought this apple to school. Before eating it she brought it to show me. It was sort of an apple for the teacher. No, I didn't get to eat it but I did get to capture it. Thanks, Sara.

p.s. Behind once again. I do promise to do my best to keep up to date from now on. Thanks for your patient following.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 52 - Warm Comfort

One of my favourite meals is spaghetti. It's definitely a comfort food and was just what I needed on this chilly and hectic Monday. Peg makes it with whole wheat noodles. The sauce is homemade and is filled with veggies, soya burger and some turkey sausages. Of course we can't forget the touch of Parmesan cheese on top. It was delicious and just what I needed. I must say living with a superb cook has definite bonuses.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 51 - Scale

Today's assignment is: work with scale today and make a photograph that features a subject either larger or smaller than expected. Technically I didn't really use the camera to play with scale. Instead I put two Crocs together. The large one is one of my slippers and the other is a keychain. I used the red dress (can't remember exact name) preset in Lightroom. It brings out the red in the photo and makes everything else black and white.

Day 50 - Winter in Quebec

Today's assignment is to make a photograph of something that captures a small bit of the flavor of where you live or your culture. Quebec City is FULL of culture. I could have chosen from a number of things but decided to go with two less known/traditional pieces. I took this picture while walking the dogs at the farm today. Just outside the fence there is a snowmobile trail with road signs and all. Due to our rather long winters, snowmobiling is a very popular activity here. I chose this picture because the vehicle is an interesting variation from the traditional snowmobile.
You'll notice that I chose to frame this picture. The frame is a piece of a picture I took of a railing. In Quebec a number of older homes have this railing around balconies, stairs and decks. If you look carefully you'll see that the parts that are cut out look like skate blades. During World War 2, metal was in great demand. Rather than throw the remnants in the garbage, the metal bands were saved and used rather creatively. These are becoming rarer as more people are opting for newer, low maintenance materials. They are a neat reminder of the resourcefulness of our ancestors.

Day 49 - Yellow is 'knotty'

Today's assignment is to make a photograph that features the color yellow in some way or another. I tried t-shirts, wall decorations, bananas, shirts and earrings. I decided on this picture of yellow gold earrings. They're sitting on one of my yellow shirts. I like the earrings because they're kind of 'knotty'.

Day 48 - How are you feeling?

Today's assignment was about feelings. Happy, sad, frazzled, or joyous? Make an abstract or literal photo that expresses how you feel today. I caught 'R' having a little rest outside. He's much cutter than me but his he looks like I feel - tuckered out. February is always a busy month and this year is no exception. March break is in two weeks so we should all be able to recharge our batteries so we can get through to the end of the year. Take care of yourselves. Get fresh air, spend time with friends and don't forget to nap.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 47 - Kitchen Flower

Once again Peg came to the rescue with this idea. Today's assignment was about looking for form and colour. Peg likes the colours of kitchen tools and decided to put them together in a form of a flower. She finds it interesting how manufacturers try to make tools fun by making them colourful. Gone are the days when stainless and wooden-coloured tools monopolize the kitchen drawer. As long as they do a good job I guess that's what's important!

Day 46 - Something Old

Today's assignment was to make a photograph of something old. Be sure to show us the character that age can give a subject. I considered doing a self-portrait for this one but I guess in the big scheme of things I may not be considered old. Well not that old anyway. Instead I chose Peg's grandmother's cup and saucer. Helene Marguerite Dozois (Giddings) or Nana, as she was known to her grandchildren, was born in Granby, Quebec on June 2nd, 1897. This tea cup was one of her wedding presents in 1926. It is a gold-leaf monogrammed Limoges tea cup from France. It was given to Peg as her grandmother's nickname was Peggy. When Peg was born, she looked so much like her grandmother that she was named Paula Elisabeth Giddings. Her initials spell Peg. The cup is a special reminder of her connection to the past.

Day 45 - Look into the future but don't forget the past

This evening a friend and I took in an English movie at a theatre near the hotel. Quebec City is a great place to live but one downside is there are seldom English movies playing in town. We went to see "The King's Speech". We both really enjoyed the story. I'm not a huge history buff but I do enjoy stories from the past.

I found myself seeking balance when I got back to my hotel room. You see, the conference we're at is focusing on preparing students for the future. The students we are teaching are digital natives. They think, learn and work much differently than we did as students. One speaker told us we needed to do more to catch up to our students. I agree that we need to teach students differently than we were taught and that we must acknowledge and take advantage of their ability to use technology as a tool. Rather than trying to strip them of their tools we need to teach them to use them wisely and safely.
While we must nurture their upward growth I also believe it's important to encourage them to explore their roots and the traditions and history connected to them. I don't believe we have to close our eyes to the past in order to see the future.

Day 44 - Slow

Today was definitely a slow kind of day. Due to the heavy snow, it took me five hours to drive to Laval (near Montreal) instead of the regular three hours. The roads were tricky so there was no rushing allowed. I spent much of the time on the highway traveling between 60 and 80 km/hr. Once I checked into the hotel and got settled I figured I'd try hooking up to the internet and catching up on my commenting. I managed to get online but it was extremely slow. I called for assistance and guess what, they were experiencing heavier demands than usual so I stayed on hold for about 5 minutes until someone came on. He asked me a few questions and then asked if he could put me on hold. I agreed but after 10 minutes of waiting, decided that it just wasn't meant to be. I hung up, called down to the front desk and canceled the internet service.
Now, it would have been easy to get frustrated and angry but all this slowness actually allowed for some very positive experiences. Since I was driving slow on the highway I was able to see a group of people on a sleigh ride traveling across one of the overpasses. I enjoyed viewing the snow covered trees and I believe driving slower actually saved me money on gas. The slow internet gave me the chance to enjoy reading my book and having a nice chat with Peg. Finally, it gave me time to find a shot that reflected the speed of the day. So, the next time life slows you down, remember to take the time to enjoy all the wonders around you. It sure beats getting angry and frustrated.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 43 - Looking back, looking forward

Today's assignment was to tell the story of a subject today in a photograph by photographing one specific detail of it. One of my students was wearing this pair of goggles. When I saw a reflection in them earlier in the day I knew I needed to get a picture. I managed to 'catch' him walking up the hill in the afternoon and asked him to pose for me. I like the fact that through one pair of goggles you can see what the day was about; students outside sliding, walking and just having a great time together. You can see me taking the picture and Peg (Mrs. Philip) on the side supervising the hill.
We go to Mont Tourbillon every year with the school. It's become a tradition that both students and teachers look forward to every year. It's a great day of fresh air, smiles, laughing , exercise, friendship, sliding, snow, and fun. I enjoy capturing students, teachers and parents building memories together. We all know school is for learning but it's days like these that we remember for a lifetime.

Day 42 - Unfocussed Fun

Sometimes what’s out of focus can make the shot. Create a photograph today where some/all of your subject isn't in focus. I caught these gals near the end of their ride down the hill. Although unintentional, I do find the lack of focus adds to the picture. However, even through the blur and snow spray we can see they're having a ball. I thought of cropping it but I actually like the soft trees in the background.

Day 41 - Where's your head at?

Today's assignment is to change your point of view. Make a photograph from an unusual point of view today. I took this picture as the students were being pulled up the hill on their tubes. It was near the end of the day and the fresh air was starting to make the students tired. This young lady decided to put her head back and relax for the ride. I like the point of view of this picture because it appears that she's has so much fun she's lost her head, except for her hair of course. :-)

Day 40 - Follow the Line

I'll begin this post by letting you know the next few pictures are going to be cheats. It's been a VERY busy week and one of those days our school went sliding for the day. I took MANY pictures that day so I've decided to follow The Daily Shoot themes using photos from the outing for Days 40 - 43.
Today's assignment is to make a photograph that features a leading line through it today. Draw the viewers eye through the image. This is picture of the bottom of the hill. You can see the winding path curve and then disappear behind the tree. I used the snow scape preset in Lightroom.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 39 - Falling

While walking around the world my students were once again taking pictures for their Quebec Roots project. We're meeting with the 'Moniques' , author and photographer tomorrow and we were asked to take a few more pictures. I thought this one of 'L' was fun because of the expression on her face and how she seems to be suspended at an angle. In case you're wondering, she ended up flat in the snow a few seconds after this picture was taken.
I love taking pictures but watching the students explore the world through the camera lens is just as fun. It's a pleasure to see their excitement when they know they've captured a special moment. This project has given quite a few of them the photo bug. I hope it's a bug they keep for a lifetime.

Day 38 - Budding Beauty

One of the teachers at school keeps his amaryllis plants at school. They bloom profusely every year. We're not sure if it's his green thumb or secret plant food. We have two at home with beautiful leaves but we can't seem to get them to bloom. Maybe we should bring them to school. This amaryllis was displayed in the staffroom. I chose it because of the stripes on the petals.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 37 - Shocking

Today's assignment read as follows: Power plugs are ubiquitous. Can you make a creative photo of such a common thing? Try it today! Well, let's just say the assignment wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Peg and I had quite a few ideas between the two of us but making those ideas reality didn't go as planned. I was about to forget posting at all - it would be the first time since I started last January - when I decided to see what I could do with this one in Photoshop. It definitely isn't my favourite but it meets the criteria and saved me from a no post.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 36 - Colour

Today's assignment was to go abstract today and make a photograph that focuses on form and color rather than detail. I decided my colourful tuque would be a great subject.
We took the dogs to the farm today. It's the first time in over a week that I've been further than the mailbox at the end of the driveway. I managed one lap around the field, stopping intermittently to cough. After one lap, Peg sent me to the vehicle and continued walking with the dogs. Once I made it to the car I decided to throw my hat on the snow and take a few pics. The picture above is the end of the tie string. This hat isn't the warmest but it's perfect for mild days like today and you can't help but smile when you look at all the colours.

Canon XSi
Lens: 100 mm
Focal Length: 100
F/stop: 2.8
Exposure: 1/250
ISO: 100

Day 35 - Depth

Today's assignment was to create a photo today that gives a sense of depth or dimension. I procrastinated until the evening so I had to get out my iPad and use the handy Soft Box app. As I may have mentioned before, we have a collection of 'Willow Tree' angels. I played around with the positioning so I could show depth. The Angel of Patience (very useful with photography) is in the forefront while 'Heart and Soul' are in the back.

Canon XSi
Lens: 100 mm
Focal Length: 100
F/stop: 4.5
Exposure: 3 sec
ISO: 200

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 34 - Anticipation

While sitting at the dining room table this afternoon I noticed the icicles dripping just outside the door. I tried various settings and finally cheated and put my camera on the sport setting so I could capture the water dripping. I love the mixture of blue sky and white clouds and how they're reflected in the ice and droplets. I called this one anticipation because if you look at the picture you know that there will be more droplets falling.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 33 - She sees seashells at Shell's

No, I didn't go to the beach today - unfortunately. While wandering around the house once again our jar with sand, shells and a starfish caught my eye. I had to play with it a bit so not to show the light reflecting on the glass. I like this one because of the variety of colours and textures. Examining these and seeing all Gisele's tropical pics has given me the beach bug.

Canon XSi
Lens: 100 mm
Focal Length: 100
F/stop: 2.8
Exposure: 1/40
ISO: 200

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 32 - Ghost from the Past

Being housebound has left me with fewer options for pictures. I did take some of the dogs today but since I've posted a few of those I thought I needed something different. While checking out my fellow bloggers' creations, I came across Julie's "Ghostly Soldiers". I really liked the effect so I followed the link she provided and watched the video from Elements Village. I figured I'd try it out. I went through my photos and decided on this one. I took this picture while we were on a tour boat with our godson 'E'. The 'ghost' was one of our tour guides. I can't remember his name but I do know he wasn't Louis Jolliet, the boat's namesake.
Thanks for the idea and link, Julie.