Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cityscapes - January 12, 2011

At lunch today I walked down 9th Avenue looking for something to shoot. It was pretty cold outside I had a toque and gloves on but my exposed face became quite cold and numb. I walked east and after a while I thought I should turn north towards the river. With the cold that there might be steam rising up from it which would make for an interesting shot but I didn`t make it that far. I got to about Center street and 4th Ave before walking past the Bow and finding this view.

I`ve mentioned before that I have quite a few pictures of the Bow, many taken from my car as I drive to and from work. I hadn`t seen it from this vantage point before so I tried to make a shot. I like how the Bow comes across as such a massive structure compared to all the other elements in the picture.

After making the shot, I went into the nearest building and walked back to my office inside using the Plus15's

This next image I made later in the afternoon from the window an empty office on my floor at work. I noticed that the sun was starting to set and ventured down the hallway with camera in hand. It was still pretty cold outside and the steam coming up from all the buildings was catching the light as it came in at a low angle.

When I was lining this shot up the sunlight was hitting me and reflecting my image back on the window. I didn't want this in the picture so I looked around for a solution. There was an empty garbage in the office with a black garbage bag in it.

I took the bag and ripped a small hole in it so I could look through the viewfinder of the camera. I then put the bag over my head and took the shot from within the garbage bag. You can see the sun reflecting off garbage bag in the picture but I don't find that it's intrusive to the photo. I'm sure I looked pretty funny huddled next to the window inside of a garbage bag, luckily I had closed the door and no one saw me. It quickly became warm in the bag so I didn`t stay in there very long.

Thanks for looking

Monday, January 10, 2011

Street in Winter - January 10th, 2011

The winter light can be bright and blinding because the sun is so low on the horizon.

I was walking around at lunch, and liked how the light was hitting the street. I took a picture here but I don't really think that I captured the essence of what I felt here.

I think the emotional hit of seeing the sun was influencing my mental capacity because it's almost always dark when I'm outside and it had been grey and overcast for a long time. Seeing actual sunlight was a shock to the system.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

At the Zoo - January 9th, 2011

Conor and I went Bowling on Sunday afternoon.

We were sitting around the house for most of the day. The girls went out shopping so we went over to Deerfoot mall to bowl a few games.

At first we didn't have the gutter rails up, and for the first five frames Conor had only hit two pins and was getting a little frustrated. He went and got them to raise the rails and after that his bowling improved quite a bit.

In the third and final game, he was leading 135 to 95 as I entered the last frame of the game. I told him I was going to get three strikes in a row. I don't think he believed me when I said it. I threw the first ball and got a strike. As I walked back to pickup the second ball, I was waving two fingers at him saying "strike number two coming up". He laughed, I rolled the ball down the lane and got another strike. I whipped my head around and looked back at him with a smirk on my face. His eyes were wide. One more strike, and I'd win, the score was 135-125.

I threw the last ball. Hit the 2 pin. Conor won the game 135-127.

After bowling I was getting anxious to make some pictures and thought there would be some opportunities at the zoo. Conor agreed to go so we drove over and got there around 3:30pm. It was pretty much empty given the cold and wind and the lateness of the day.

We walked through the Africa Exhibit and saw the hippo's then into the gorilla house. From there I wanted to go to the butterfly house. There weren't any butterflies and not really any flowers to speak of. It use to be that the atrium had a lot of flowers and things to photograph but since they rebuilt it - it hasn't been the same. Maybe it needs more time to evolve.

We walked over towards the tiger cage and came across the camels who were outside eating. I tried to grab a few shots but it wasn't long before it was too cold and we decided to leave rather than go look at the tigers.

Here they are.

Thanks for looking

Friday, January 7, 2011

January Sunset - January 7, 2011

The sunsets are fleeting, an explosion of colour in a colourless world that burn and fade in just a few minutes.  They come early too, it's dark by five this time of year and the cold nights are long.

The picture feels familiar, I have a few - arch of burning cloud lit up from below, bank of clouds churning on the horizon but I'll keep shooting them when I can. It's good for the soul.

Shot this from the car window ( yes, I pulled over ) on Stoney trail near McKnight Blvd.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Self Portrait, Calgary skyline - January 5th, 2011

I look a little startled here. Out of the fifteen or twenty attempts to get the shot, I was only in focus in two of them, and pretty much had the same facial expression in both. All the other shots the camera focused on the downtown skyline and I was reduced to a blur. In those blurry shots I'm sure my facial expression was the kind that would melt hearts and inspire poetry.

Actually, I was inspired by a thread on flickr and really wanted to go out and make some shots with my flashes. Although I don't have the same kind of subject matter as many of those pictures I still had to get out and do it.

I had to drop off some stuff at my sisters house, so on the way back I stopped in a bike-path parking lot on 26th Ave S.E. that overlooks the Deerfoot valley and the downtown skyline. My goal was to get in, get a shot and get out. If I can get quick at this kind of shot people will stop groaning when I say I want to take a picture with my umbrella`s and flashes.

So, I got out of the car, setup one flash on a light stand and the other on a gorilla pod and mounted the camera to the tripod with a remote shutter release plugged into it.

At first there wasn't anyone in the parking lot with me, then a car drove in while I was still organizing my stuff. I hesitated about continuing but after a few seconds I thought what the heck and continued on. I made shots until the batteries in one of the flashes gave out on me.

By the time I was done there were three or four cars in the parking lot. Somehow I'd become self absorbed enough that I didn't notice. I felt a little self conscious but that passed as I busied myself with putting everything away.

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A walk around Downtown - January 4th 2011

The kids were at Chinook center waiting in line to do a Lego thing. I was supposed to go and meet them by 6:30pm so after work I spent a little bit of time walking around downtown with my camera looking for something to capture before running off the meet them.

Walking up 9th Ave I came across some stairs that led up to the Plus-15 across the street from the Fairmont Palliser Hotel. I tried to get an interesting shot of the hotel and the street with my tilt shift lens by cranking the tilt. Unfortunately I didn't have my tripod with me so I ended up taking a lot of pictures trying to get one that wasn't blurry at 1/8th of a second. That might seem like a pretty short amount of time if your in a hurry but when your trying to hold your camera steady - it's an eternity.

I find I hold my breath on long shots like this. So when I`m done releasing the shutter I usually have a few seconds of heavy breathing to catch up. I need to pay attention to this cause I`m sure that if I was to breath out slowly when shooting I`d probably be a lot steadier and get better shots. Or I could just make sure I lug the tripod around with me.

I like the cool blue evening light against the warm incandescent lights of the windows and the doorway.

Later, I found myself at the c-train station near the Bay. I tried some long handheld exposures around half a second trying to get some interesting motions with the camera set on the wall of the building. The shot below I converted to black and white. I like how the people in the foreground really help to balance out this photo compositionally.

You can see other pictures that I shot on this day here including a couple with the kids at the Lego store. They got to build Lego polar bears after waiting in line for about two hours.

Thanks for looking.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Lights - January 3rd, 2011

Was driving home from work up Center street and turned East on 12th Ave. Drove past Edmonton trail and found myself on 8th Ave. I went in a couple of blocks and stopped on a hillside above Bridgeland.

There is a pretty nice view from here. I took a few of shots of the downtown skyline. I was there just a little bit too late as the sky had started to become quite dark and Bridgland itself is really just a pit of darkness. On this photo, I got car headlights coming up the road on the right.

While I was taking these pictures, there was a car parked a little ways down the street, it got there just after I did. And they sat there the whole time I was shooting. I found it a little curious that they were just sitting there in the car but didn't think too much of it. As I left they pulled forward - I think I had been in their parking space. It looked like parking was a little tight on that street.

As I made my way down 8th ave and into Mayland heights I saw this house on a side street. It was all lit up with Chrismas lights. Being in a photo state of mind, I turned around and stopped again. Playing with the Tilt-Shift lens I was able to make a nice effect with the lights. Anyway, I like it.

Thanks for looking.

Heart Creek and Vermilion Lakes - January 2nd 2011

We all drove out to Heart Creek for a walk today. We got there by one o'clock and walked along the trail to the end. The creek is mostly frozen over with some patches of exposed water. I tried to get some photos but in reviewing them I'm not finding that many of them turned out as well as I would have hoped for. It was chilly and our faces got cold, no one remembered to bring tissues to wipe our runny noses. It makes me wonder why your nose runs when your out in the cold.

When we were nearing the end of the walk we saw the sun setting on Grotto Mountain across the valley.

Here a pic for you.

After the walk, we drove into Banff. I tried to get a few shots at the Vermilion lakes before we went to dinner. Here is a shot of Mt Rundle that I like. I froze my fingers again because I rushed out of the car without putting on my gloves and the wind was blowing here.

Again I took a lot of shots that just didn't work out very well. Guess it means I'll have to practice more. I think I'm up to that ;-). If I add more photo's from today's adventure they will be found here

Thanks for looking


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thistle in the snow - January 1, 2011

Happy New Year.

I went for a short drive east of the city and trampled through some snow drifts along a fence line. What was interesting was seeing tracks in the snow. I saw a lot of mouse and (I'm going to guess) coyote tracks that sometimes interacted.

I made a photo of this dried up thistle after kneeling in the deep snow to get up close.

Thanks for looking,


Moose - December 31, 2010

Spent new years eve-day mostly driving around. I had intended to go out to Bragg Creek so I could walk in the trees but got sidetracked. I had left the house before noon and thought that if I was going to go to Bragg Creek that I'd want a head lamp - because two times ago when I was there I had to walk out in the dark, and the last time I was there I turned back on the trail because I didn't want to get caught in the dark again. It's a bit spooky walking in the forest in the dark. I also thought that some gloves that flip open and expose your fingertips would be useful too given my recent events with frozen fingers. Bass Pro is relatively close so I went there.

Problem was, when I left the mall I went towards Airdrie instead of back to Stoney trail. I turned onto Big Hill Springs road and went west thinking that I could go to Cochrane and south  to Bragg Creek. When I got to the four way stop at Cochrane, I surprised myself again by turning right and heading West again on the 1A. While I was driving I got a couple of calls from work, and thought that I might have to stop by the office. This soured my mood a little bit, and the sky looked like it was going to be grey and overcast the closer I got to the mountains. I figured hiking around was probably off the cards for today. When I got to Morley I cut over to the Trans-Canada highway. My intent was to go to highway 40 then turn east at Barrier lake and drive along highway 68 past Sibbald pond and back to the Trans-Canada before coming home.  The whole day felt pretty in-decisive.

The 68 is a pretty wide gravel road with little to no traffic as cuts through the foothills. I was driving fairly slow, scanning the roadsides for any sign of wildlife. I thought I should stop and put my long lens on the camera just in case I came across something - then I'd be ready.  Given the terrain I was hoping that I'd see a moose ( true story ) then as a came around a corner, there was a big brown thing over there in the bushes. I stared hard at it trying to make out what it was. I stopped and got the camera out, put on the long lens and used it like a telescope.  It was a moose! How lucky for me.

Here he is.

Happy new year.