(mostly) daily photoblog

Archive for December, 2011

WordPress Photo Challenge: Winter

I have to admit that this photo was taken over a year ago.  The Lower Mainland of British Columbia has not seen winter (the WordPress Photo Challenge this week) yet – I think we had a snowfall back in November, but the snow lasted all of twelve hours.

I chose to go back to a photo that I never did process, but that was more due to the fact that I wasn’t very familiar with what Photoshop could do, nor with what I could do with it.

I hope you like it.

Photo Friday: Best of 2011

It’s hard to pick a photo out of the past year that meets the challenge of “Best of 2011“.  I scoured my old files and all of the photos that I’ve posted for the past year and I think I’ve got a few possibles.

If there’s one of these you like better than the rest, please let me know.  I’ve had a heck of a time deciding between them.

I do find it interesting that I’ve chosen three photos that are all portrait orientation.  Hmm…I should take that into consideration as I enter the second year of posting every day.

My lake home…I wish…or not.

Actually, I’m not sure I wish I had one of these “cabins”.  I have a tough enough time keeping up my yard and house that I live in, let alone trying to keep up a home away from home.  The way my mind works, if I own a house at the lake, I’m going to live in that house.  If I own a house in the suburbs (I do), then I’m going to live in that house.  I’ve never really understood the “need” to have two houses.

Either way, these lake houses made a nice photo, so I’m just going to enjoy view.

New recipes…Yay!

My wife and kids gave me the book on top of the stack for Christmas.  I’m excited about trying some of the recipes.  They look really good.  All I need is a food processor and a new life in the kitchen will start.

Is there anyone else who’s excited about new recipes?  Or Jamie Oliver?  Or Jamie Oliver’s recipes?

Canadian swimmers…in formation.

This is, in fact, how all Canadians swim.  You should see us at the swimming pool.  It’s hilariously cute.  It is a Canadian telepathic thing.  Weird, I know, but fun.

Strangers on a walk

Nothing like a walk at the lake on a sunny, cold winter morning.

Happy Boxing Day, everyone.


The non-Christmas Christmas post.

With the house in disarray, Lego and clothes all over the place and the family all happily lazy, I figured I’d post something peaceful.  This photo sums up the way I feel right now – placid.

Thanks, Christmas, for the peace that is existing in my house and heart right now.

Merry Christmas!

It would have been easy to snap a photo of a neatly wrapped package sitting under the tree, but I decided to test my ability to hold my camera steady.  I failed, quite spectacularly too, on most of my shots, but this one turned out.

Well, it turned out in a sort of abstract art kind of way, but that’s the way I remember most Christmases.  Abstractly.

Oh.  Merry Christmas.  I hope Santa was good to you.

Merry Christmas Eve (from the dock)

Winter sunsets are so convenient.  With the shorter days of winter, it’s much easier to get out and snap photos of sunsets than it is in the middle of summer.  As long as I’m willing to put up with colder days, I also get earlier sunsets.  I think that’s a good trade-off.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Between

I went out to the lake yesterday without knowing that WordPress’ Photo challenge would be “Between“.  Looks like I lucked out.

The geese who should have gone south for winter

We’ve not had much of a winter here in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia so our feathered friends have not gone south.  To be truthful, it’s not very cold here most winters, but there seem to be many more geese around this winter than previous ones.  Case in point…the photo above.

Snowflakes + Star Wars = AWESOME!

I love Christmas Holidays.  It gives me time to “craft”.  And…

Ha!  Hahahahahaaaa….no seriously.  I don’t “craft”.  I take photos.  That’s my hobby.  But when some evil genius designs Star Wars snowflake templates, I jump into action.  For my son…yeah…not for me…my son.

Here’s the details.  Anthony Herrera, a graphic designer, has designed a bunch of snowflake templates that appeal to the Star Wars geek in me.  If you want to download the designs and spend hours meticulously cutting them out with a scalpel and a self-healing cutting mat, here’s the link:  Star Wars Snowflakes.

BTW, if I’ve not said it already, Anthony Herrera is AWESOME!

Winter sunsets are nice

I stopped in the grocery store parking lot to take this shot.  There are days, like today, when I’m glad I pack my camera with me pretty well everywhere I go.

BTW, it’s really hard to get the clouds to look as awesome in a photo as they do in real life.  I hope you can get the same feeling of awesome-ness from this photo as I felt while photographing them.

Hello, baby. You’re looking good.

I missed you, with all of your analog functions and manual focus.  With your amazingly basic light meter and super hot manual wind and rewind.  Mmm…where have you been all my life?

Oh yeah, in my camera bag.  I’m sorry I’ve been ignoring you.  I’m on holidays right now…so…I promise we’ll go hit the town soon.  Sound good?

Strength and Fragility

The emblem of my country is the maple leaf.  It’s not very impressive if you compare it to the eagle of the USA or the lion of England.  If you know maple trees, though, you’ll know this is a paradoxical symbol that is a poetic way to look at Canada.

The leaf is fragile.  It is easily detached from the tree.  In Autumn, it dies.  In Spring, it grows all over again.  It is beautiful.

The maple tree, however, is not fragile.  It is a hard wood.  It burns slowly and hotly.  It grows all over the world and lives a very long time.

If you extend these meanings to Canada, I guess you could say that we Canadians are fragile and beautiful but what holds us together makes us strong and enduring.  Not too bad, as far as national symbols go.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Self Portrait

I am not one who likes to put himself in front of the camera.

In front of a crowd?  Yes.

In front of a classroom?  Yes.

In front of my peers?  Sure.

In front of my elders?  You bet.

In front of small children?  Why not.

In front of the camera?  I’d prefer not.

So this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge was more of a personal challenge for me than a photographic one.  In response, here is a collage of things that make up me.  Consider it a self-portrait, of sorts, please.  If you need an explanation of any of it, please ask.

Photo Friday: Meditative

This statue is part of the West Facade of Sagrada Familia.  It is a statue of Peter after his third denial of knowing Christ.  I’m not sure there’s a more meditative moment than when you realize that you’ve just betrayed your best friend and mentor.  I’m sure that it’s a meditative moment filled with regret and sadness, but meditative nonetheless.

Can you feel it?

There it is.  Just in the offing.  Holidaaaaaaaaaays…

Sorry.  Tomorrow is Friday.  THE Friday.  The Friday before Christmas Holidays.  I’m a little happy about that.

Oh, and the beach photo?  I don’t know.  It just seemed appropriate.  We’re not going away to some place sunny.  It’s just that I’ve got that “happy-sunset-on-a-beach” feeling with the holidays coming up.

I invoke the power of Hercules to get me through the next two days!

From the Firenze files.  This is the statue of “Hercules beating the Centaur Nessus”, which is in the Loggia della Signoria in Florence.  I thought of this statue tonight because I feel as though my strength is waning.  As though Friday cannot come soon enough.  As though Hercules needs to loan some of his strength to me and then I’ll make it through this week.

Hercules!  Help!

Monitor Igloo!

This photograph is the cause of probably one of my happiest school-based moments in the past few weeks.

I went to discuss something with my colleague who is in charge of our IT department.  He wasn’t in the room – sick day or something – so I went through to the back room where old, dead monitors and computer towers go to die.  The room had served as a graveyard of sorts for all of the defunct computers and accessories from the entire school.  They were being collected to be properly recycled.  Due to the more immediate technological problems in our school system, many of our dead monitors had not been picked up, so my colleague decided to build an igloo out of them.

I laughed.  I guffawed.  I chuckled.  The only thing I wish was that it was hollow and that I could have climbed inside.  Instead, I went out to my car, grabbed my camera and snapped some shots.

The power of a sunset

Took this a couple of nights ago.  We’ve been having some uncharacteristic sunny weather.  December is usually a cooler, wetter version of November in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.  Not snow.  Rain.

This year?  It’s been sunny and cool.  The sunsets have been phenomenal, even though they’ve been at 3:45 p.m.  I guess that means it must be close to Christmas.

Photo Friday: Depth Perception

The problem in photography, the main one I encountered when I started out, was the depth of field issue.  Depth of field refers to the part of the photo that is sharply in focus and how much of the photo is within that field.  Aperture plays an incredibly important role in this, in that if the number is lower (f2.8 vs. f22) less of the photo will be in sharp focus.  If you play with aperture, you’ll get those lovely shots wherein the subject is in focus while the background (and foreground, depending on the photo) will be out of focus. It creates some lovely effects, creating depth within a two dimensional medium.  If you push your aperture as high up as it will go, you’ll get superior depth of focus, in that everything will be in sharp detail, but it will flatten out the image.  It’s interesting how a photo can look like it has less depth by being entirely in focus, while a photo with a small space in focus will look like it has more depth.

Anyway, here’s a photo of Giotto’s Campanile in Florence that demonstrates what happens to a photo at f3.5 at 18mm.  Some is in focus, some is not.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Celebration

I went through photos of fireworks and birthday cakes, sparklers and candles.  Then I found this photo.  I posted a very similar version of this a few years ago when my family traveled to Disneyland for the first time.  My wife and I had both been before, but we took our kids for the first time.  The experience was amazing.  My son and daughter were the proverbial “kids in a candy store”.  They didn’t know where to look first.  They wanted to ride everything, see everything, experience everything.

By the end of the first day in Disneyland, the kids were exhausted but excited.  They wanted to sleep but did not want to leave.  As the fireworks were about to start to end the day, we came across this ride:  The Astro Orbitor.  My son and daughter stood, transfixed by the streaks of light.  The only words were, “Awesome,” and, “Amazing.”  It was a celebration of everything we’d done that day.  One long party ending with a light show.

Good luck putting candles out there

These are what look like candelabra and are situated all around the Duomo in Florence.  If you look at the photo from two days ago, you’ll find there’s an overhead shot of them.  If they are for candles, I’d hate to be the guy who had to put new candles out there, let alone have to light them.

If you have the chance to visit the Duomo, climb the 463 stairs to see this view.  It is spectacular.


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