(mostly) daily photoblog

Archive for July, 2011

Water Lily…all alone.

Don’t worry.  Its friends are just off to the right and left.  It’s not really alone.

It is pretty, though.  It is amazing that this little flower, this beautiful flower, is growing from these leaves that are clogging up the pond in which they grow.  It is hard to see the water in some places for all the lily pads lying on top.  Yet this little beauty makes the whole mess tolerable.  Maybe even enjoyable.


WordPress Photo Challenge: Broken

This is a detail from the Alexandra Bridge in the Fraser Canyon of British Columbia.  It is a disused automobile bridge, but is now only a pedestrian bridge on a lovely walking trail.  It has been abused, by both the graffiti artists and time.  The broken down look of this bridge’s pilings and foundations only add to its character.  In the missing surfaces and rusty guardrails, there is a sense that this bridge has seen and experienced (as much as an inanimate object can see and experience) a great deal of time and wear.  And in that wear is a beauty.  I can only hope that when I’m broken down my experiences will make me beautiful.

I understand Monet’s infatuation. Also, PHOTO FRIDAY

It’s a little overwhelming, I know, but I love all the green and white.  The water lily is pretty invasive.  Once it starts, it doesn’t stop.  Kind of like the feeling that I got staring at this pond and all of its lilies.  I kept finding new ways to take shots of it.  Hmm…I wonder if I have time to swing by again tomorrow?

Also, this enormous collection of water lilies is based on Photo Friday’s challenge this week.  Funnily enough, it’s ENORMOUS.

Sneaky Bee

Inside this rose is a little bee.  You can see him in the middle where it’s black instead of yellow.  He was in and out of this flower, back and forth, making sweet love to it (birds and bees and all that) but I couldn’t get a clear shot of him.  Maybe he’s a bit shy of having relationships in front of a camera and I was beeing a little intrusive.  Sorry, bee.  I’ll try to be more discreet in the future.


Black Beauty…or BEAST!

It’s a full frontal view of my K1000 – otherwise known as the Beast.  It’s about twenty pounds and made of steel.  Not really, but it is heavy and most of the parts are steel.  It’s still got some old beauty and a retro feel to it that makes me love it.  There’s no molded hand hold, no battery/auto rewind pack, no zoom lens.  Just a prime lens (with a great aperture of f1.7) and a light meter that tells me if I have too much or too little.  Beautiful.


Asahi means awesome in Japanese…just kidding…I think it’s a name.

This is a close-up of my Pentax K1000.  I’ve still not taken it out to shoot photos since I shot this photo a couple of weeks ago.  Sad.  But I’m on holidays and yesterday I sat on my butt watching Justice League Unlimited on DVD for four hours, followed by two hours of Batman:  Arkham Asylum.  I feel rested and, if I’m being truthful, totally lazy.  AWESOME!

That’s pretty.

I don’t know what kind it is.  I don’t even care.  Sometimes beauty for beauty’s sake is all that’s needed.  I think this flower is pretty.

That’s good enough for me.


A short lesson in depth of field

This was shot at an aperture of f3.5.  It was shot on a kit lens, the Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL II to be exact.  It’s what comes with a Pentax K200D, and the lens that I bought for my K20D.  This lens is a good lens for the money (about $100), but the lowest aperture is not particularly low.  I have a Pentax A 50mm lens that has it’s biggest aperture at f1.7.  That’s a low aperture.

But Marc, that’s a lower number but you wrote that the aperture was bigger.  What gives?  Well, the lower the number, the larger the aperture (opening).  So what?  The photo’s background, above, is somewhat out of focus, leaving the viewer with the sense of depth that would not occur had the entire photo been in focus.  The lower the aperture, the less of the photo that is in focus, the more a sense of depth is felt by the viewer.  Make sense?

If you want to have a little fun, mess with your aperture on your camera.  Your photos will turn out differently than if you leave all of the work to your camera, and you might end up with a result that you like better than the automatic settings.


WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Colorful

Easily the most colorful event I’ve attended within my own country (Canada is colorful, but not like a Guatemalan market) was the Indian wedding earlier this month.  It was amazing.  The bride, above, was a vision of beauty, but I loved seeing her brothers (?  Cousins?) escort her through the temple.  The red bandanas marked them as part of the bride’s side of the wedding.  At my wedding, everyone just sat on one side of the church or the other to denote who they were with.


The late night post: Photo Friday’s all vertical today.

I went to Europe a couple of years ago and got to fulfill one of my architectural fantasy wishes:  Sagrada Familia.  I am amazed by this place.  From the outside, the Nativity Facade, depicting the birth of Christ, looks like a giant, monstrous thing that may eat you if you stand too close to it.  From the inside, the pillars that Gaudi (the architect, who died in 1926 before seeing his work finished) designed resemble giant trees.  It’s not done, the construction I mean.  In fact, the builders figure it should be done by 2026 – it was started back in 1882.  If you have a chance to go see it, do.

The shot above is from one of the northeast spires.  It is a dizzying height, but well worth the self-guided tour through the byzantine hallways and walkways and spiral staircases.


Beauty comes in many colors, shapes and sizes.

I don’t know when or how this was instilled in me, but I think every person is beautiful.  There are many ugly characteristics, character traits, that people have by which I am disgusted.  I’m terrified of jealousy and envy and hate.  A lack of tolerance and acceptance is sad.

But beauty?  Is there a way to judge what is beautiful?  Is there a standard by which all people can be judged?  I don’t think so.  What do you think?


I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write. I don’t…well, you get the idea.

I’ve learned that the part of blogging I like the most is the motivation to take more and better photographs.  It inspires me to move and look for great photographic vistas, to become better at shooting subjects and processing the photos afterwards.

What I’m not that excited about is the process of writing about my photos.  I find that I delve far too often into cliché and that I’m sometimes at a loss for what the photo might mean, or what it brings up in my head.  Sometimes, like my shots from Disneyland, the words just flow out of me like they were pre-ordained.

Take this photo.  It’s the third I’ve posted of the Alexandra Bridge, the second bridge over this span (built in 1926).  It’s a beautiful, old, suspension bridge.  Cars and trucks used to used this bridge to travel the Fraser Canyon.  Until they built the current bridge, a two lane, modern steel arch construction, everyone had to use this.  Now, I’m tempted to start using clichés:  All of this talk of the past is really just “water under the bridge.”  Or, everyone had to “cross that bridge when they came to it.”  Sad, really.

Personally, I think that a photo should speak for itself.  Now that I’ve written over two hundred words, I’ll leave you alone to ponder what this photo says to you.



“The only bad thing about burning your bridges behind you…

…is that the world is round”

I know.  This bridge is metal and concrete and brick, so it would be hard to burn, but the principle stands.  I’ve burned a few bridges in my life, and blown a few up as well, but is usually comes back around.  I have, however, built a few bridges as well.  I especially like building bridges with people who I’m warned against.  I’m a high school teacher, so I’ve run into my share of problematic students and I’m happy to say that usually the students who question and aggravate their teachers are the ones with whom I get along just fine.  In fact, I find those who go along with everything they’re told and accept everything are the ones with whom I have the least in common.

Hmm…what does that say about me?




Love is so cute…

I visited the Alexandra Bridge on Sunday.  It’s about a half-hour drive north of Hope and ten minutes from Hell’s Gate.  And, yes, you read that correctly.  British Columbia has some funny name places.

While photographing this suspension bridge, this couple came up and paused, nicely, and waited for me to take a photo.  I informed them that they were never going to walk across this bridge if they were going to wait until I was done shooting this bridge.  I also, in passing, that they could walk on as long as they were okay with being on my photoblog.

They were so cute.  They were holding hands and being all googly over each other and making me a little jealous.  My wife and I have been married for seventeen years.  We have a ten year old daughter, who was accompanied on this trip by a friend from school, and a seven year old son.  Marriage and kids are great.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.  But this couple, walking by themselves, holding hands and canoodling whenever they wanted, made me remember a time when I could grab my wife’s hand and not be joined on the other side by a sticky, melted ice cream covered hand.



Retro-chic; or, here’s what cameras used to look like.

On the left is the place where the photographer set the film speed (apparently, the last time I used this camera I was shooting a roll of ISO 200 film) and then, according to the light being allowed through the aperture, I set the shutter speed to 1/30 of a second.  The smaller, round, silver thingy is the shutter release.  It triggers the shutter and the shutter makes a satisfying “ka-chunk” when it is released.  The thing on the right is the “film-wind lever” and it moves the film forward, and the numbers inside that show how many exposures I’ve taken.

This is the way people used to take photos.  This is the way some people still take photos, although I would guess that many people will not recognize this in any way.  Oh well, it’s retro.


Do you remember when the way to be kind was to rewind?

Video cassettes, tape cassettes, camera film – all had to be rewound.  Ahh…the good old days before DVD’s, Blu-Ray’s, and MP3’s, when kindness was based on one’s ability to turn something  backward.  I’m not sure this is the best way to gauge kindness.  It seems to me that kindness should be based on compassion for others, helping those who need help, providing charity for those in need, giving of one’s time to worthy causes, not one’s pushing of buttons or turning of rewind knobs (as pictured above).

The photo, by the way, was taken of the serial number and rewind knob of my Pentax K1000 camera.  It was taken with extension tubes attached to my Tokina 70-210 lens, mounted on my Pentax K20D, which was, in turn, mounted on my tripod.  Fun stuff, no?

Haystack on the seashore: Photo Friday

Photo Friday’s challenge today is “Seashore“.

The family B went to the Oregon Coast last summer and we made the obligatory stop in Cannon Beach.  If you’ve ever gone to Cannon Beach, or seen the movie “Goonies“, you’ll recognize Haystack Rock.  It’s an incredible geological phenomenon.  It’s more incredible to stand in its shadow.  If you’ve never been to Cannon Beach, or anywhere on the Oregon Coast, go.  Go now!



My Beast

I was inspired recently, after reading Chloe Sutcliffe’s blog, to take some photos of my old SLR camera.  I shot with this Pentax K1000 for a couple of years before I bought a DSLR.  I love this camera, but have largely neglected it since getting a Pentax K20D.

So, here’s a few endearing facts about this camera.  I bought it from the school at which I used to work as they were phasing out their traditional photography program in favor of a digital program.  Bad for tradition, good for me.  The camera, as I’ve been researching, comes out nearly as old as me, which makes me ever so in love with it.  It thrills me to know that it’s over thirty years old.

The best part is that it is entirely manual; this thrills me because if the photo that is taken is good, it is because of me.  It the photo is bad, it is because of me.  It made me a better photographer.  In fact, if I take good photos at all, now, it is because this camera made me learn how to take, compose, conceive of better photos to take.

It’s a Lego Disaster Zone

“I don’t know who made this mess, but I’m not cleaning it up.”

My son and I took on the task of rebuilding all of his Lego minifigures today.  I started in the afternoon.  After dinner, we took on the task of finishing the building project.  We’ve not quite completed the job, but the count is at 145 at this point.  We don’t have many left to put together, but I think the number will be well over 150.  On one hand, that seems like a ridiculous number.  On the other, they take up almost no space and, on average, are made up of four pieces plus an accessory.  That doesn’t sound near as crazy.

Either way, I’m jealous of the collection of Lego my son gets to play with on a daily basis.

All tied up in knots…

Head-covering is mandatory at the Gurdwara Sahib Kalgidhar Darbar, as is the separation of males and females.  Whether you’re a traditional practicing Sikh or a visitor to the temple, you must cover your head and remove your shoes before you have a seat on the plush carpeted floor.  There were a good number of incredible turbans all around me, but I didn’t feel out of place as there were even more men wearing bandanas like this one above.

I felt a certain amount of pride at my bandana.  A young man, traditionally and ceremonially dressed, greeted me at the door and asked which family I was with.  When I tried to explain that I was there for the groom, I was outfitted with a rose to wear on my shirt and a bandana that identified me with the family.  It was beautiful and so welcoming.  I felt like part of the team.



Speaking of being little…

It appears that, when it comes to parenting and steering and guiding children, it doesn’t matter into which culture you’re born.  I’ve personally done the “iron-hand-hold-walk-this-way” method of steering my children when they were in places of worship or formality.  It’s like a universal parent language.  Firm, but not constricting.  Commanding, not a suggestion.  Quiet, yet loudly speaking about what is right and wrong.  Physical touch can communicate so much.


Do you remember how long your attention span was when you were little and cute?

In the midst of all the formality and ritual and ceremony, this little girl took time out to fiddle with her mom’s phone.  No one was paying attention to her and she seemed kind of bored with all the adult stuff going on around her.

After the wedding, my wife, who was sitting quite a distance away from me (ladies on one side of the temple, men on the other), pointed out that a good many of the ladies around her were busy on their phones and, “wasn’t that just a bit disrespectful?”

So, if my social understanding is correct, if I had been on my phone during the wedding I would have been thought rude.  But if I was a five year old girl, everyone would think I was cute and they’d be totally understanding.  Hmmm…unfair?



Is traditional a synonym for “old-fashioned”?

I only ask because today I attended the most amazing, beautiful and traditional Indian wedding.  This is a photo of the bride.  She looked incredible.  The details in her dress and the mendhi on her hands was so beautiful.  What I really enjoyed were all the traditional elements of the the Sikh wedding ceremony.

Before the ceremony, I had the opportunity to talk with a couple of former students of mine.  Jessie and Parveen were wonderful.  They acted as my cultural tour guides.  I was surprised to learn that when their parents were married they were not as traditionally dressed.  Jessie mentioned this:  “It seems like the longer our families are in Canada, the more ‘old-fashioned’ the wedding ceremonies get.”  Well, if traditional is old-fashioned, then old-fashioned is beautiful.

It was a great day of greeting former students, now friends, as adults.  If Jessie and Parveen ever read this, please accept my gratitude for your guidance and patience.  You’ve both grown into beautiful and successful women and I’m proud to have taught you.  To Virinder and Ravi, the wedding couple, you were both amazing and gorgeous.  Thank you for the honor of attending your wedding.  I wish you a great life together.


91: Gloomy

I took the literal definition of “Gloomy” on this one:  partially or totally dark.  In this case, this statue at the Bremerton Harbor of a shipyard worker had enough darkness to it to warrant an entry in this week’s Photo Friday challenge.

This was shot a few years ago with my Pentax K1000, a manual camera that’s nearly as old as me and shoots film.  I’ve been going through old photos I took and finding that my desire to pick up some film and go shooting is increasing.  Well, I’m done school and marking exams, so maybe that’s what the weekend is for.



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