X100

Under the Bridge

Its getting warmer! As March moves in, the temperatures rise, and its no so bad being outside again.

Today I made my way down by the Rideau Canal locks. It’s still a bit icy in some spots as I made my way down to the Ottawa river. So I doubled back and went under the Plaza bridge, which traverses the canal. This is a really neat place – not creepy like some bridges can be. One one side is the canal, the other a seemingly art deco set of stairs and lights, and as a bonus, the remnants of the original Sapper’s Bridge, built in the early 1800s.

I always like the look of the bridge from underneath. It has that hidden city look to it, and the straight lines and angles merge well with the curves of the bridge arch and openings.

I had my trusty X100 with me, and with all the monotone colours of cement and snow, put the camera in B&W mode and took a few shots.

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The wide view looking south towards the National Arts Centre. The canal is to the right.

 

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A closer view of the stairs. Curves and lines in grand designs.

 

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If you look at the other photos, there are little archways. This is shot from one of those, looking north. The building on the right is the Chateau Laurier. I love how this photo looks like it could have been taken in 1915 as much as 2015.

 

5 O’clock Shadow

I found this one waiting to be posted but never got up. Winter is dark, and it gets dark early.

However, there are moments of brilliance. Take this photo. At this moment in the day the sunset runs right down the road. I was amused by the size of the shadows cast at the people crossing the street.

Got this from my office window before heading home at night with my Fuji X100.

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Job Hazards

Winterlude in Ottawa starts this weekend. In Confederation park, things are starting to take shape as organizers put up tents, scaffolding and ice sculptures. The main competition will come later, but for now, some of the decorative ones are going up now.

Today I watch this guy working away, snow flying in his face as he worked away on the art.

Taken with the Fuji X100, back in colour mode again.

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Black and White Challenge

A friend on Facebook was doing the B&W challenge – five days, each with a different photo (in monochrome, of course). She asked if I’d do it. I said sure, it sounded like fun.

Now, I’m not much for B&W photos. I would rather do colour, and after all, it is a technicolour world. But hey, a challenge is a challenge, and it gets me thinking about shots, and makes me do it. In the winter, its really easy to let things slide because its cold and dark.

To further make it interesting, I decided to solely use the Fuji X100, throw it into B&W mode and only use the shots straight from the camera. I did cheat a little on cropping and straightening a couple shots, but otherwise, what you see here is what it came out as.

Here are my five shots and a little background to each:

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Day 1 – Sound Guy  I am running lights at the Ottawa Little Theatre for some of the nights on the run of Clybourne Park. An interesting little play taking place in two different eras in two acts. My role with the lights is pretty light for this show, so during my downtime I sneaked this picture of Ryan running sound cues. Really, the only light you see is from the various monitors on his side of the booth, and a little ambient from the stage, but very little.

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Day 2 – Rest  Shot from the hip (and one I cheated the level on), is on the Rideau canal at lunch. I let the camera hang at my side and just pressed the shutter to focus and click. Happily, it came out great.

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Day 3 – Icicles Taken on a wander around downtown at lunch. Not only to I love the icicles, but the shadows playing upon the house and roof. The shot has a very timeless look. It could have been taken 50 years ago.

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Day 4 – Lx Desk Back at the theatre again, and this time a shot of the lighting designer’s desk with the mixture of gobos and gel swatches. I walked by it a few times in the past week heading to the booth for the show, and decided this was a fine option for the day’s shot.

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Day 5 – Selfie After a day of shooting and getting nothing interesting or worth of day 5, I resorted to trying some artistic shots of my guitars. That didn’t work for various technical reasons. Then I thought, hey, why not a shot of me taking a picture. Its been done enough times – how to make it different? Flip the camera into macro mode and get real close to the mirror. Really, it also shows the star of it all (no not me) – the X100.

Since getting the X100 a few years ago on somewhat of a whim (I was in Edmonton and found out there were some in stock – a rarity at the time – and with no GST couldn’t say n0), I’ve taken a very long time to get into it. But I’ve stuck with it, loving it, hating it, and now loving it again. These days it comes with me every day. With it’s case, I can throw it in my bag and never worry about it being overly knocked about, and its small enough I can put it in my coat pocket. The “T” variant is tempting, but I’ll keep mucking with the original. It suits for my needs, and the feature set with the “T” is cool, nothing that I can’t do without for now.

As well, having been forced (shall we say) to shoot in black and white, I have a new appreciation for it. So much so, that for the remainder of the week, I’ve kept the X100 in that mode. I switched it out back to colour, but changed it back. Its kinda fun (but shhhh, don’t tell anybody I said that).

Icy Wonderland

This weekend saw a wintry blast of snow, followed by a few hours of freezing rain, followed by a flash freeze as the temperatures dropped to -15 Celsius overnight. Ottawa is in the grip of winter with the promise of an overnight temperature of -30 Celsius on Wednesday.

The snow is great, but the freezing rain followed by a deep freeze means tough going for cars and people as everything turns to ice, and salt not doing a good enough job of melting the ice away.

The upshot is the trees and everything else is coated with ice. On a sunny, but cold, day like today, I braved the -22 windchill to venture out and get a few photos with my X100, which held up well in the cold. I can’t say as much for my fingers and face.

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The good news is that with all this cold, the Rideau canal skateway will be on its way to opening soon. Now it just needs to warm up a wee bit, or at least drop the wind so lunchtime skating can begin.

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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Things have changed

Its been an interesting few days, as the eyes of the world focused in on Ottawa and the events that occurred. Living here, and working not a block and a half away from the entire thing, I was front and centre for it all. The building where I work was on lockdown, and I watched from my window as the police gathered, and dispersed to make sure the streets were safe.

Quite. A. Day.

One of the things that I love about the city, and country, is our freedom and openness. As I mentioned earlier in a post, I enjoy walking up to Parliament Hill, and being able to wander the grounds, and be near the building. It is, after all, where things happen. And I liked seeing what the protest of the day was. I have a few photos of various protests. The beauty of the country and city, is that there is freedom of speech, and the freedom to protest whatever you believe in. For example:

The protest against abortion (or something like that, it wasn’t fully clear), but the entire front of the lawn was decked out with pink and blue flags.

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And just last week, a small protest about the cancellation of the mail being delivered to homes by Canada Post employees. The protest was surprisingly small, and I only knew of it through some online media which I don’t even recall. There was more media there than actual protesters, but the guy talking was some pissed and shouting his cause.

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And finally, this guy, who is there every day. He has his signs, his chair, and rain or shine, he is there for what he believes in. Most people I’ve seen ignore him or at least read the signs. But he has his rights, and he’s exercising them.

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Now, I may not agree with their protests, but its their right, and freedom to say what they need to say. That’s the beauty of this awesome country.

But after Wednesday, that bit has been stripped away. Today I walked by the Parliament buildings and the gates were closed, two RCMP per potential opening, and no one on the front lawn, not even old man gay marriage.

The city will stay on alert for a time, just in case some other nut-job tries one on in the same fashion, but I suspect that this freedom that was there before may just not be the same again. Too bad.

Ironically, the same morning as the shooting events, I got off the bus a few stops early, and decided to walk by the Parliament buildings, just because I like to be near them. Its Canada; its history. On my way, I happened to see “old man gay marriage” walking towards his “job” of giving his opinion. Knowing I had the above photo, I thought this would make an interesting post. Little did I know, that an hour later, it would most likely be his last walk there for some time.

Things have changed.

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The Hill

My new job is right downtown Ottawa, and is only two blocks from where it all happens; Parliament Hill.

Every morning, after getting of the bus, I walk up the street to my building, and see the Peace Tower, and at lunch, and on any breaks, when I walk out and up the street, there it is. I’m still amazed to be working so close to such an iconic and historic building.

One other fun bits is seeing who is protesting each day. Thanks to the freedom of speech, there is always someone making their voice heard, right or wrong, big or small in size. Here is a photo I took the other day with my X100. I love just thinking about the history in the building and the people who have walked its halls.

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Revisiting the X100

I am…sort of, a Nikon photographer. Sort of, because I’m moving ever so slowly to the Fuji X system.

Having used Nikon gear for a long time, I was in search of an easy, cary-around camera. And Fuji came out with the X100. Cool. A camera that was small, light and a fixed lens, meaning I never have to think about which lens(es) to bring with me. It was a bomb, and getting one was nearly impossible. We went out west for a vacation to Edmonton, and in doing some research, McBain Cameras had them in stock. My girlfriend knew the area and knew where it was, and we ended up getting there a few minutes before closing. I bought the camera. Next day we went to the McBain outlet in the West Edmonton Mall to get a leather case (gotta have the cool case).

Now, being a Nikon guy, it took some getting used to, this new camera, interface and such. Remember also, this was 1.0 of this camera, and it was loaded with issues. Some I wasn’t even aware of, and chalked it up to my learning curve. Suffice to say, I didn’t like the camera, but I did. It was quirky, but gave some great looking photos. Every time I was about to throw it out the window of a moving car, it gave me a great looking shot. How could I ever throw away such a lovely camera! Rinse and repeat.

My one issue was actually the fixed lens. While I thought it would be the great levity from choice, it was quite the opposite. See, I usually like to be close to my subject, and the 35mm equivalent lens never quite cut it, for what I was shooting. I hated it. But the built in macro made for some lovely shots. I loved it!

I ended up buying the X-Pro1. Another love/hate/love relationship ensued which, after a trip to London with only that camera and two lenses, made it a full love relationship, put the X100 on the shelf.

Fast forward to this week. Fuji has come up with, essentially, the X100 3.0, called the X100T. Reading over the specs and videos, I have that “I want it” feeling again. So, I pulled out the original X100 (which I do carry daily to work…just in case) and today, set the different film modes and went for a walk.  Gotta say, still not sold on the focal length. Not close (telephoto) enough for me. And even with the cool film sims, fiddle with it in Lightroom. Habits die hard. I am a RAW shooter, so film sims, though neat (and never having actually shot the film types) are not for me. Also, I have to say, I’m still not a fan of black and white. I’ve tried, oh, I’ve tried, and I just can’t get into it.

Still, its a fun camera to have around. And while I love what Fuji has done to make the X100T, I won’t be running out to get it. I have the X100, the X-Pro1 and the X-T1. Don’t need another camera. Below are some of the shots from a walk today. Just a few. I’d say what the film simulations were that I used, but I ended up tweaking them enough in Lightroom, that they aren’t straight out of the camera to be fair.

I still have a love/hate relationship with the X100. Certainly enough to keep it around just the same. And there is that teleconverter to make it a 50mm equivalent…..

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Using the Black and White film simulator. Still don’t like monochrome. Nothing to do with Fuji.

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Shooting from the hip. I’m no street photographer. No guts.

Load in

One of my many “hobbies” includes working as stage crew for various theatres in the city. As well, every June, I also am on stage crew for the Ottawa JazzFest. For me, it is one of the highlights of June, and truly initiates summer.

This year is no different, and the other day I took the day to help with the load in of the main lighting and sound equipment. All this gear is rented from a company in Ajax. They bring it all up on a 40 foot truck. So the first order of business is unloading the truck and putting road cases in locations where they will be needed. For the most part, the cases include lights (and their cables, control consoles and such) and sound (speaker arrays, monitors, more consoles and a lot more cables).

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A fraction of load in for the jazz festival.

After unloading, I took time out in our rest period to take a few frames of the cases. By the end of the day, we had the lights up, speakers in place and cabling near done. And at the end of the festival, we do it all in reverse. Striking it takes a lot less time, and loading the truck is an art unto itself.

JazzFest runs from June 20 to July 1. If you are in the Ottawa area, its truly worth checking out.