_Don

Macro droplets

When ideas strike, you take action.

While ironing shirts, I noticed some water leaked from the iron. The ironing board treatment made the water ball up. After finishing up the shirts, I made some new water droplets and broke out the macro lens and set to work.

The afternoon sun was coming through the window for some natural light.

Textures

On a recent outing to take my son to an appointment, I had some time to kill. Good old quarantine means I can’t wait in the waiting room. So I wandered around the location. I planned ahead, and brought my Fuji X100T with me. Such a great little camera.

I found an old structure and used the morning sun and the macro feature of the camera to shoot a few closeups of the weathered wood.

Morning silhouette

I needed to take my son to the hospital for an appointment (nothing serious to worry about).

Since I didn’t know how long the appointment would be, I took along my Fuji X100T, should, you know, something interesting happen. I’m still riffing off the chess shots I took over the weekend, so I’m on it now – the photo thing.

Along the way, looking around, the tree line looked neat with the sun, obscured by clouds, looked kind of neat. So this picture came about. I always shoot in manual mode – I set the aperture and shutter speed and ISO, so I set the shutter speed to max and the shutter equally maxed out to get this look.

While it was shot at around 9:30am, it looks like a night shot in October.

Lockdown chess

As the unspeakable (because it is spoken too much) virus keeps everyone at home, I’ve been able to approach the camera again.

See, for the last year or so, I’ve been heavily involved in local musical theatre as a lighting designer and lighting technician. So all energies and more importantly, time, has been channeled that way.

So now with the lock down/stay at home orders, theatre entertainment has been postponed. The uptick is I can now dust off the camera, and find…no…rediscover, that creative outlet.

I was stuck though, as to where to start. An inspiration. And that led me to watch Zack Arias’ video, “Inspiration is for Amateurs“, and subsequently, one of his “behind the scenes” shoot videos. The crux of the first video, is that waiting for inspiration is a waste of time. Go out and shoot. Do something. Anything. The more you do, the more ideas come up. After watching the second video – which is just his approach to shooting a personal project, I was inspired. To do something. Being a lighting designer in theatre, I dug out my strobe lights, chess pieces and board, and tried to do….something. I tried different angles, lighting angles and gel colours.

It didn’t really work out as I’d hoped. But, true to Mr. Arias, I did a bunch of stuff that didn’t work, and as I was kind of giving up, I saw something, and started new shots, and came out with…something! Not great, but my eye was starting to see things.

While other experiments failed, this came out of it. Strobe light camera right at low level creating interesting shadows.

Further, I left everything in the room and did something else. As I was walking by it, the afternoon light gave me the next idea. I grabbed a different camera and shot a few more frames.

Low angle focused front light.
Same angle, changed shutter speed and focus to get silhouettes.

So, while I spent a couple hours on the “prime” ideas, I got the best pictures after. In the end, either way, I’m happy with what I got.

The first photo was shot with a Fuji X-T1 with a 16-55 f2.8 lens, with a Fuji EF-42 flash on the camera in manual mode at low power bouncing off the ceiling. The second flash is a Nikon SB-900 in slave mode, triggered by the EF-42, also in manual mode to dial in specific power and zoom level.

The other two were taken with a Fuji X-100T, only with the light from the window.

The chase

A couple weeks ago we were going to Montreal to see a football game. I took the day off while my other half went to work for the morning. As I was at the house I heard the local train came through after dropping off lumber at the nearby distributors. It was pushing back an empty flatcar and some tankers. That meant that it was going up the line to Arnprior to switch the tankers.

I had plenty of time before we were going to leave, so I jumped in the car and went to a spot to catch it coming. It always seems to take longer to get somewhere when time is of the essence.

I got to my spot and waited. I was wondering if the train had already passed, but looking at the rails, some debris was on it. The train would have crushed that out, so it certainly hadn’t come yet.

While waiting I set up my exposure and took some random shots.

It took more time than expected, but the train came around the corner….

And as it came by I got the shot I was looking for. This train is pretty standard, as I have posted before. So its about getting a unique angle.

After it passed I ran to the car and caught it at another location to watch it go by again. I didn’t take a photo, I just wanted to watch it for a change.

Night Shots

On the weekend we went to a skate path. Basically, it’s a trail through the woods and fields in an area, made of ice. You skate on the paths rather than walk it. We were going at night, and as such, needed to bring along a flashlight to see the path. Actually, after a while, we got used to the lack of light and the snow made for enough illumination to see.

I decided to bring along a camera and a monopod. I thought there might be some opportunity for some neat night shots and maybe some long exposures. I chose to go with my Fuji X100T. Its a lightweight camera, and I hadn’t been on skates for a few years. I figure the weight wouldn’t be a problem and if I did crash (I didn’t) there are less components on that particular camera. That is, its a little more expendable.

I ended up with a few shots, and we used the flashlight to try some light painting as well. It was a relatively warm night and no wind. I used the large amount of snow to plant the monopod to do the long exposures. Again, with the X100T being small, there was no worry of it tipping over the monopod and falling into the snow.

Long exposure of about 2.5 seconds. The camera is resting on a picnic bench
What happens when the timer is on and you accidentally press the shutter button. I did a pan during the exposure time. Neat effect.
A two second exposure. The camera is on the monopod jammed into the snow while the machinery is painted with a flashlight.
The entrance to the skate path. Camera on a two second exposure while on the monopod jammed into the snow.

The Gathering

I have a bird feeder in the backyard. I like to see the birds come and hang out and get something to eat, especially in the winter. In the summer there are lots of songbirds, blue jays and cardinals. In the winter, the jays and cardinals stick around, and juncos show up too.

This year there are a lot more birds. It started with just a dozen or so, and I would need to fill the feeder every day or two. Now there have to be about 30 or more and the feeder empties daily.

They sit in the tree and take turns at the feeder or congregate on the ground for any fallen seed.

I got out my telephoto lens and got some pictures through the patio window. They don’t stick around if I’m outside. They stay around and wait for me to leave.

Waiting their turn.
The frenzy!
Just hanging out.

Getting back out there

I want to get back to holding a camera and making some images. January and it’s cold Canadian winter does not make it as easy to get out there. But I did anyway. I decided to break out the Fuji X-T1

There is a walking path nearby that the city deemed this year to keep clear, which made it easier to get out for a walk. The side streets are terribly dangerous to walk on, given recent thaws, rain and subsequent freezing, so the cleared walkway is welcome.

Afternoon walk.

A light snow was falling, giving the appearance of a fog. It made for a nice effect on the distant trees.

Not foggy; snowy.

It felt good to get out and make some images.

Bright start to 2019

I’ve been away for some time it seems. Other activities have taken me away from photography and this blog. I hope in 2019 to move back to this creative aspect a little more frequently.

2018 ended with a bang with freezing rain and snow mixed together. I was out for a part of the night as a stage hand for a local non-alcohol/family-friendly event. I was home by 10pm and avoided most of the bad weather. This first day of 2019 sees a bright sunny day, and the sun makes the ice-covered trees shine.

 

Happy New Year!

Midway hawkers

On Canada Day, we went to an event nearby. There was a midway, bands and of course, fireworks. We went in the evening for the fireworks and toured the midway. It was nice to see people out enjoying themselves on a clear, hot night. I reminded me of my younger days at the Cactus Festival back at home in Dundas.

I’m also reminded of the Rush song, Lakeside Park, in particular the opening lines:

Midway hawkers calling “try your luck with me”
Merry-go-round wheezing the same old melody
A thousand ten-cent wonders, who could ask for more?
A pocket full of silver, the key to heaven’s door.

That was written in 1975, and of course, nothing is 10 cents anymore. Still, the opening lines are pretty much still exact. I took a lot of shots of the midway.