X-Pro1

Skate

Here in Ottawa, one thing in winter that everyone looks forward to it the opening of the Rideau canal for skating. Touted as the world’s longest skating rink (yeah, there are a few others, but not as practical), its eight kilometres (almost 5 miles) of skating on the canal. Its a prelude to Winterlude, the annual winter festival.

Cold temperatures arrived and were sustained, and finally, the canal was open. I endeavoured on Friday to skate the length of it. I did it, pitifully being out of shape and practice, in about 45 minutes. The ice was in fine shape, and kudos to those who make it usable (there is a team that floods and cleans off the snow).

During my efforts, I took a number of breaks. This one I took the time to take out my X-Pro1 and grab a shot of the Pretoria bridge. The lighting on it was fantastic.

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Sun Pillar

One of the things I really don’t like about winter is the dark. Its dark when I get up in the morning, and its dark, or getting there, at 4pm in the afternoon. I really look forward to December 21st. Because that’s the day with the least light, and from there on, it gets brighter. Slowly, but it gets brighter, roughly two minutes more a day. Its really nice when its cloudy for a number of days, and then its sunny and the sunset is that little bit later in the evening.

Today on the way home, the sunset was brilliant and orange. As I got off the bus to head to the train, I saw a sun pillar and had to grab a picture. Its one of those times I’m glad I tote a camera around with me. The reds and oranges were spectacular. I couldn’t quite position myself such that the pillar was right behind the building (looking like a beam coming out of the middle of it).

Sun pillar

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.

 

Gone fishin’

With the fall fast approaching and the temperatures cooling off, I take advantage of every chance to get outside.

Today, I took a walk along the Rideau Canal in hopes of getting some fall colours on…er…film. Digital film. Not too much just yet, but I happened by these two gents fishing in the canal. I don’t know if the fish are worthy of catching, or for that matter, eating if caught. But sometimes its just an excuse to hang out with a friend and wile away the day.

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Shot with the Fuji XPro-1 and the 35mm 1.4 lens.

All that Jazz

Last week was busy. Actually, busy is an understatement.

As I do each year for the past five years, I was a member of the volunteer stage crew for the Ottawa JazzFest. This year I was the stage coordinator for the lunch time show on the second stage, and was either helping with coordinating the same stage for the early show, or running lights. Either way, it was early starts and very late nights.

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Highlights included running lights for Elliot Brood, and watching Colin James and Aretha Franklin from the monitor board.

This year I was able to unload the trucks, hang lights, and finish with the loading of the trucks to take all the stage gear away until next year.

This year I made the effort to document some of the shows and setups. I brought my Fuji X-PRo1 and 35mm each day, and if I had the time (which wasn’t as often as I’d hoped) I shot a few frames. Here I put a few of my favourites. The full set is available on my Flickr page. It was an exhausting week, and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

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Stained Glass

Front entry to the Museum of Nature in Ottawa.

Front entry to the Museum of Nature in Ottawa.

I love stained glass windows. When I get the chance, I will photograph it. I love the colours and the images they portray. The great thing about them too, it that by shooting them from inside the building, you can easily adjust the exposure so that the wall the window is on is black, or nearly black, and the window art itself just floats there magically.

This window set is at the front of the Museum of Nature in Ottawa. As we were leaving I took an extra moment to compose this shot.

I used my Fuji X-Pro1 with the 18mm lens with very slight tweaks (a crop and a bit of extra contrast) made this photo possible.

I’m really loving the Fuji X cameras the more I’m using them. I can’t wait to get the X-T1. Its on order from Henry’s, and I’m just waiting impatiently for it to get here. But more on all that in another post.

Bunny Kisses

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My walk around, everyday camera is a Fuji XPro-1. I have a couple of prime lenses for it, and although it took some time to get used to the quirkiness of it (being used to using a dSLR), I have come to love the camera and its quality.

Recently, Fuji announced a new 56mm f1.2 lens (85mm equivalent on a 35mm camera). Ooooh! I thought, that’s one of my favourite focal lengths. Well, at a price tag of $1300 after the Canadian government has its “fair” share, its a bit steep. I then had a second look at the existing 60mm (90mm equivalent) lens at f2.4. It is currently on sale, and at half the price, seems like something interesting. But, I thought, its only 2.4. But then I thought about it. My main Nikon pro lenses are maxed out at f2.8 (save a couple of primes). So, it is actually faster. And again, half the price. 

I spent a week looking at reviews and mulling it over, only to have the price win out, and picked one up. I can say I’m totally impressed and happy with it. I mean, just look at the photo above. That’s at ISO 3200, no crop. Looks great. And I noticed the catch light in the rabbit’s eye. I zoomed in, and I can see not only the lamp in the reflection, but my laptop as well.

The detail is in the eyes.

The detail is in the eyes.

 Yeah it hunts a bit on focusing in low light. In normal light its fine. I can live with it.

Curves and lines in grand designs

museumThe Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec is a pretty neat building. Designed by Douglas Cardinal, and opened in 1989, it has an extensive collection of artefacts and information on Canada’s history. The outside is cool too. Walking around the building last week, the various curves and rim of snow on the edges of each level made for some interesting flows and lines.

 Check out the rest here (http://my1k.smugmug.com/Creative/i-JGC2hmP). Prints are available, by selecting the Add to Cart button.