Fuji

To the next adventure

A few days ago was a terrific evening sky. No storm, just puffy clouds and a wonderful sunset. Being in the suburbs, seeing the sun to the horizon wasn’t going to happen, but the sky was still great.

A few planes flew over and I had my new 50-140mm f2.8 lens on the Fuji X-T1 at the ready to catch this silhouette of a jet taking travellers to some adventure.

The Brooding Soldier

The Brooding Soldier is a memorial to Canadian soldiers in Langemark, who fought in the second battle of Ypres. This was the first time the Germans used gas. Of the nearly 6000 Canadians in the battle, 2000 were casualties. They did hold the line.

This is one of those monuments I’ve wanted to see in person for a long time. Our trip to Belgium included this, and it was fantastic to see. The location is in a small village on the edge of farmland. Not only is the memorial here, but a small garden area as well. We went first thing in the morning, and it was very peaceful. Looking around, the entire area was at one time a battlefield, which is a recurring theme in this area.

 

Train Double Play

Train watching in Ottawa is, to be kind, limited. This city is definitely not blue collar or industrial in any way. As such, there is very little in the way of rail traffic other than passenger trains. For the railfan, it is a wasteland. Basically, the only freight is local 589 that services a couple of industries, and this is on a weekly basis. Oh, and not on a particular schedule, so to see something is pure luck.

So double-bonus for me! My new job has a view to the railway up to Almonte. The once-a-week delivery to the Nylon plant up there. The window behind my cubicle looks that way, and if I’m at my desk, I hear the horn of the train approaching the level crossing. If I see/hear it, I know six hours later (at the end of the work day) it returns, and I can potentially catch it.

Such was last week. I heard the horn, and looked to see two locomotives pulling five tank cars up the line. I looked at the time, and knew when they would be coming back. The time is random, but the day is not, so I had my X-Pro1 with me to hopefully catch the return. Luckily, I did.

I knew where I wanted to be, so I hung out there a bit early to make sure I’d catch it. When it did come, I got some shots. When I came home and looked, I saw that in my excitement to see the train (remember, nothing much happens here) some shots were not very crisp. The one below looked better with a black and white treatment.

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The other shot, though not much better, worked in colour.

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As a bonus, this Sunday while I was sweeping up the walkway, I heard a train coming. I’m just across the street from the tracks served mostly by Via Rail. The train sounded different and when I looked, it was the local delivering lumber to the nearby lumber yard. I immediately grabbed my camera and made for the tracks. There is a bike/walk path along the tracks on either side. It was a quick job, and I caught it on its return to Walkley yard.
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XT015335What the photos don’t show is motion.  The locomotive is pushing the box car. As I saw it coming down the tracks, I could see the flashing red light of the End of Train device coming towards me.

I’ll leave out the train-geek reasons for this. But suffice to say, for a very barren train location of Ottawa, I had a pretty good week.

Under the Bridge

Today was interesting weather-wise. I woke up to the sound of a steady rain. It sounded great, and by the time I left for work, it had receded.

There was the constant threat of rain again all day, so at lunch, I took my umbrella and X100 for a walk. Basically, I was hoping for some heavy downpours to capture. The X100 is not weather resistant, but with it being six years old, I’m a little more cavalier with it than say my X-T1 or X-Pro1.

However, it was not to be. The most rain was little sprinkles; barely enough to warrant opening the umbrella, let alone trying to keep the camera dry.

I eventually came to the highway 417 overpass. Here I grabbed this neat shot. The water is the Rideau canal.

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I usually shoot in manual mode. That is, I define the shutter and aperture the camera uses, rather than letting some scientist in a lab determine the right exposure. The only downside (if you’d call it that) is I can’t quickly change exposure for a given situation. In this case, under the bridge called for a slower shutter speed and larger aperture. A few seconds after I took this shot, a young woman walked by. I thought a quick street photo might be interesting. Well, I didn’t have time to set the exposure, and the shot below resulted. I quite like it. It has a rough film appeal.

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It won’t win any awards, and I could have fixed it up in Lightroom to take away the blown out bits (which I did), but I like the original version better. It has a classic look to it.

Spring has Sprung

Ah yes, spring is back. And so back it just stopped by for 15 minutes and we skipped over to summer weather. From the forecast, its a short respite, but the warm temperatures are welcome after a very cold winter. And how can we tell besides the warm weather?

For one, the daffodils are out. This shot was taken along the Rideau canal. The entire banks are covered in daffodils.

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And the canal, which in the winter months was the place to skate, has been filled again. Fish are in the water, and before the boaters come in, I spotted this guy paddling down the canal towards downtown. A great way to spend a warm afternoon.

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50 Years

My parents celebrated their 50th anniversary on April 10th. How cool is that?

They asked me to make a portrait for the occasion. Of course I said yes. A simple setup. A Nikon SB900 camera left with a shoot-trough umbrella using the Fuji X-T1 and 16-55 f2.8.

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The Speed of Light

When we went downtown to see the lights on Parliament Hill, I put the X-T1 on the dashboard and set the exposure for a full 15 seconds, stopped down the aperture and kept the ISO low, and shot away as we travelled down the highway.

Of course, I wasn’t driving.

Fuji 10-24 f4 IOS at 10mm, iso 200, f16, 15 seconds

Fuji 10-24 f4 IOS at 10mm, iso 200, f16, 15 seconds

New Year, Scottish Style

Happy New Year!

I’m a bit slow on this salutation, as I’ve taken upon myself early in the year to relax, and slow down. Last year was busy, hectic and exhausting. So I’m starting with a relaxed attitude. I can safely say I’ve done nearly nothing so far this year.

For New Years eve this year we did somewhat the opposite of the above. We hit three locations over the course of the evening, starting with a nice steak dinner at The Keg (where service is just great), then onto something we tripped across a year ago. It was the Scottish Society of Ottawa’s Hogmanay celebration – Scottish New Year. This year is was moved to a new location at the new Lansdowne park in the pavilion.  Nearly two years ago, we were in Scotland for four days, and have never forgotten it. I am pining to get back as soon as possible (which isn’t soon enough). The land, the culture, the sounds and the whiskey are great. So any chance of reliving that here and we are in.

We stayed for a couple of hours to have a wee taste of the scotch (well, I did). Not the food, since we had recently eaten, but the music and sights of Scotland – kilts, pipes and drums and some great accents. And we learned a bit more about my Scottish background.

These are a few shots of the Glengarry pipes and drums. What a terrific sound of the band, including what I’d call a drum solo. I brought my X-Pro1 and 35mm f1.4 lens. As usual, I could have/should have brought a wider angle, but this was fine.

Scottish flag decorations

Scottish flag decorations

Glengarry Pipes and Drums providing some entertainment.

Glengarry Pipes and Drums providing some entertainment.

Kilts

Kilts!

Pipers of the Glengarry pipes and drums

Pipers of the Glengarry pipes and drums

Drummers in a line.

Drums solo with glowing sticks.

We welcomed in the new year on Scotland time (7pm). It was a fun time, but too short, as we had to make our way to friends for the Canadian countdown. Maybe next year we will stick around for the fireworks. If really fortunate, we can celebrate Hogmanay in Edinburgh. Time will tell.

 

Christmas and such

Ahh the holidays. Christmas. Noel. That time of year when everyone is frantic to get gifts, buy gifts, spend money! Boxing Day!! All the calamity that goes with it.

This year we took some time to remove ourselves from that and went downtown to Parliament Hill. There is always a great display of lights around it and the city in general. As a bonus, it was warm (well, for Ottawa) and no wind.

As usual, a nice display, although I’d like to know who’s idea it was to stick a projection trailer behind the eternal flame. See, there is an eternal flame on Parliament Hill. It would make an awesome photo to have it in the foreground, and the lit up parliament buildings in the background. But someone thought it better to stick a big, white trailer in between the two. Yes, the result (as you see below) is nice. But I think the alternative I mentioned would be better.

Oh well. It was a nice, quiet evening just the same. Shot with a Fuji X-T1 and 10-24 f4 OIS lens.

Parliament Hill

Crossing

I take a camera with me every day. These days, the original Fuji X100 is the convenient choice. Light, small, and with its case, safe in my bag with books and other sundry.

Most days, I take pictures and its blah. Nothing. Boring. Or there is nothing that strikes me as interesting.

Some days, the image just appears in front of you. This was the case with this. The angle on the Laurier bridge with people crossing, and the low clouds called to me. And as I was framing it up, I ran the risk of losing the people on the bridge. Because shortly after, its like everyone left. See, I always take a few shots of any given thing in case the first one wasn’t right, or I missed something. In this case. I got it at the right time.

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