Sunday, September 27, 2009

Heart Mountain

My fourth (or fifth?) scramble up Heart Mountain. Everytime we decide on doing this peak again, I think that I'm sick to death of climbing it. But then each time it surprises me with something new that I hadn't noticed before. I spent a lot of this attempt paying attention to the textures in the rock, which are just amazing. And even though I was using my crappy point and shoot, these photos really do deserve to be viewed large - click on the thumbs to view larger versions.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Glass

I had a day off, drove down to The Camera Store for a brief look see at their film selection, but ended up at the Nikon gear showcase instead. Because the wife wasn't with me to give that disapproving look, I kind of lost my mind and after toying around with a few bodies and different lenses, I walked out with a Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 manual focus lens. For the photo nerds, this lens is a beauty - the manual focus is a pleasure to use. Unlike your typical AF lenses, it has a focus ring that turns nearly the full circumference of the barrel, so fine tuning focus is a breeze. And shot wide open, there is a beautiful soft glow to everything. I LOVE IT!

The lens was sub $500, which Anita was okay with. Unfortunately for her, I was testing it out mounted on a D700 at the store, and I've now decided I need one of those too. Cha-ching. Time to save up!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I really think being an astronaut would suck. Sure floating around in zero G's would be neat for a while, but once that novelty wears off, then it's just a pain in the ass. Imagine if you sneezed - goobers and spittle aerosolized throughout your pod or shuttle. It'd be like living in one of those Coke misters you see at your local exhibition, only with a refreshing nasal effluent instead of boing old water. And what about when you want to take a leak? It would float around everywhere. And I don't even want to imagine how messy a #2 would be if you had some stomach issues.

But clearly, the worst part of Astronautiness would probably be the food. What's that, Jim? You're not quite full from your steamed vegetables and NY striploin powder? Well how about some freeze dried ice cream for dessert? Appetizing, eh? eh?

While it is obviously a necessity to powder-ify all things food for our astronauts, I really don't understand why someone feels the need to do so for the rest of us on terra firma. But it was clearly a good idea, as it got me to shell out 4 bucks on this crap just so I could take a photo of it at home. Damn you free market economics and your ability to sell me things that I don't need but will buy anyways.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Self Deprecation

Message from the lead flight attendant for AC Flight 113 - Ottawa to Calgary: "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Calgary. We have arrived 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Something to keep in mind the next time your Air Canada Flight is 10 minutes late."

Who knew AC staff were allowed to be humorous...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Synopsis of Ottawa so far: Flight was delayed 1 hr. Umbrella-less in a torrential downpour after dinner. Crazy uncomfortable pillows. World's slowest elevator. No free Wifi. Crabby McCrabberson screwing up breakfast orders at Tim Hortons. Two full days of meetings that makes my brain feel like it's been thrown off Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump. And now, dreading one last full day of meetings so much, I'm contemplating slitting my wrists...

I wants home.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting my Friday afternoon hate on...

Anyone out there feel like we need to hear more about hockey drama like Balsillie vs. Bettman, NHLPA vs. that guy they fired, and now likely 4 months of where will Sundin sign? Please raise your hands. Now come over here so I can punch you in the jeans (yes, that's a Lonely Islands reference, go listen to that song now - it's hilarious). I'm so EFFING sick of hearing about this pseudo news that's splashed all over the headlines of CBC, and even our local 'ALL NEWS RADIO'. This is NOT news people, it is Melrose Place for hockey fanboys, and is sadly, a very pathetic reflection of what is culturally significant to Canada.

I love hockey, but now I'm thinking it's time to boycott and watch bowling instead. At least with that, they focus on the sport, not the bullshit.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy 10K to me!

I hit the 10,000 shutter actuations mark this weekend with my D300! Happy 10K to me! Now for really serious pros out there, 10K is probably what they put on in like 1-2 months. Keep in mind, I'm an enthusiast that doesn't shoot photos for a living, so 10K in just over 9 months of ownership is plenty... I'm definitely getting good use out of this body. Here's hoping I hit my next 10k in even less time.


Monday, September 7, 2009

I Don't Do Landscapes

Let's confirm two things. One - I am a tard. I packed all my camera gear, tripods, polarizers, lenses, speedlight, camera bags, cleaning cloths, lens pens, memory cards, etc, and headed out to Canmore for a weekend of hiking and photography. Then I turn on the D300, and am dismayed to find out it is nearly out of juice from the wedding shoot I did last weekend. And of course, the fully charged spare battery I have? That's right, at home, alongside the charger. Genius! There really is something to be said about a body that uses AA's instead of proprietary lithium ions.

Two - I don't do landscapes. I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to taking photos of nature. I don't know how to use an ND Grad, I don't quite get how to use my polarizer, I don't have a wide angle lens, and most importantly, I suck at composing interesting landscapes. So when I went out and tried to take a few landscape shots, my instinct was to immediately try to make something abstract and artsy instead.

Reflections of trees in a pond - turned upside down and cropped in Photoshop

You can see where the ground meets the water's edge in this one.

And now for the crappy boring actual landscape shots:

Look at that placement of the horizon... right smack in the middle of the frame. Ansel Adams, I am not.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. McKeown

First off, congratulations to Ryan and Amanda, or rather, Mr. and Mrs. Mckeown on their fabulous wedding day last Friday, and a big thank you to them both for giving me the opportunity to photograph their celebration.

I have a newfound respect for wedding photographers (even moreso than before). Event shooting is difficult because there are so many variables. Timing is absolutely key. So is planning ahead, scouting locations, understanding where the light will be during your shoot, and being able to work on the fly - there are no second chances or opportunities to reshoot what you missed. This was only my second wedding shoot as the lead (and in this case, sole) photographer, and it was STRESSFUL. I feel like I learnt a lot, and will definitely improve on my next one. Again, big thanks to Amanda and Ryan for having me as part of their day, and wishing you two all the best in a happy and lifelong marriage.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Asian Squat

I'm supposed to be processing Amanda and Ryan's wedding photos right now, but there are so many, and I'm just bagged, so I tell myself - tomorrow, I will get them done.

But before I head off to bed, I came across these two photos that Anita took of me at the wedding that I thought were hilarious. A few years back, we spent some time in mainland China, and I was struck by three really common behaviours of the local mainlanders. 1) Spitting - this happened anytime, anywhere, and sucks to be you if you didn't hear/ see it coming. 2) Jumping Queues - mainland Chinese appear to have no concept of lines or queues. You either elbow your way to the front, or get a black eye trying. Waiting patiently in line is for the elbow-less. And then there's my favourite, #3) Squatting. Oh no, they don't just squat for toilets, they do it for everything. Need a rest? Have a squat. Wanna converse with someone? Take a squat. Eating lunch but there's no tables and chairs in sight? Squat! There's even an instructional video on how to do The Asian Squat (both feet should be flat on the ground) on Youtube. Or you can read more about it here.

Anyways, the point of this story is that Anita gets annoyed when I squat because it looks so mainland-ish. And out of spite, and partially out of satire, I purposely do it when she's around.

For the Photo nerds out there, that's the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens I'm wielding there. It's slightly ridiculous looking mounted on the tiny D40x, but I didn't rent a second body, so this was my only option other than switching lenses on the fly on my D300.