Canada Day Weekend at the Cottage

I finally got up to the cottage on the weekend for the Canada Day Long Weekend.  I unfortunately had to work Monday, so it wasn’t much of a long weekend for me but I still decided to take full advantage.  The weather wasn’t the best, overcast, slight rain, high winds, but that presented me with a couple opportunities and obstacles to overcome when taking photos.  Firstly, I was using my Macro lens the most to try and get photos of some neat critters and pretty flowers.  Winds presented the first issue where nothing stayed still long enough to try and get a crisp sharp photo, and I forgot to bring my Flash to assist me here.  So patience paid off huge, just crouching and waiting for the wind to calm down enough to snap a quick sharp photo.  But the trade off was that lots of flying insects got wet in the rain, and had to sit very still and wait for their wings to dry off, which gave me some excellent chances to snap some nice photos.  So here you go.






Sifton Bog

Yesterday I visited the Sifton Bog in London Ontario.  Its a lovely little protected place in the west end of the city basically.  The Sifton Bog is one of the most southerly acidic bogs in Canada.  It contains a number of rare species including four types of carnivorous plants.  Among the latter are the Sundews (Droseraand Drosera rotundifoliaand the purple pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea.  The central bog vegetation is dominated by Sphagnum and Chamaedaphne calyculata (leatherleaf).

You can also find lots of deer, frogs and snakes here, but not many birds due to the lack of fish in the water. If you’re ever in the area, I think its a must see.  Cheers



Rainbows and Fireworks

I just got back from a nice trip down to Niagara Falls Ontario for the night and what an awesome night it was. Lots of sun, tons of heat, and storm warnings all over the place.  Ive seen the falls lots in my life, but everytime I go back, I’m always in awe.  Its just such an awesome bit of landscape, seriously intense.  It was also a great day to take some photos of the falls because the water was a nice aqua, the sky blue and a perfect huge rainbow was hovering over the falls like a halo.
Later that night we headed back down to the falls for the fireworks show.  And when they say they start the show right at 10pm, they mean it!  We were half way there when it started, and decided to run down the hill to see it. But then I saw these lamp posts and the way they were lighting the trees around them with the fireworks in the background, I said “ill catch up”.  All those photos were taken hand held, so the ISO was pushed and my hands had to be steady, but I think they all turned out.  Enjoy


On the weekend I made a visit to the Reptile Expo, and saw some amazing creatures.  Most notably was a little amphibian called an Axolotl.  Its only found in ONE LAKE ON THE ENTIRE PLANET! So cool!  Anyhow, I brought my Macro lens and had some fun.  I had a few difficult obstacles to over come, 1) the lighting.  In some cases the reptiles were in well lit terrariums or tanks, but in other cases they were poorly lit (should have brought my flash) which brings me to the second obstacle, 2) the creatures being behind glass, well most of them.  So can’t use a flash and also have to try to find a good angle to shoot from to avoid glare or find a clean spot on the glass. obstacle 3) moving subjects.  Some were fairly still, but the rest were slithering about.  So high ISO’s were used to obtain a decent shutter speed, and a wide aperture was also used to help that.  Also, trying to get that focus right was also key.  Use the spot focus feature and aim right for the eye!  Happy shooting


Waterfalls and Sunsets with an ND Filter

I decided to go on a canoe trip this week and head up to Algonquin Park, one of my favourite places to go. Its a little early in the season, but I love the cool sunny days, freezing nights, no bugs and no people.  Algonquin was actually closed down due to flooding and ice conditions, so I had to find somewhere else to go.  I decided to check out the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park.  I had never been there before, and apparently it only opened up back in 2011. There are no hiking trails, its only water access at this time.

Anyhow, I brought along my triped, camera and an ND (Neutral Density) filter.  An ND filter is basically like sunglasses for your lens.  There are different degrees of how dark you can get them.  I have a very dark one, its basically “Black Glass”.  It allows me to have very long exposures in the middle of a sunny day.  Its excellent for a lot of reasons. If youre on vacation and want to get a photo of a statue or bridge but there are lots of cars or people walking around it, use the ND filter and have a very long exposure and all the people or cars will be blurred right out of the photo! I used it to have long exposures of all these lovely waterfalls I found.  Since my ND is so dark, you can’t frame up a shot with the filter on, so you have to frame your shot, get your focus down, then switch to Manual focus and carefully screw on the filter.  If you leave auto focus on, your camera will have a hard time focusing because it wont be able to see anything. Then adjust your settings as you like to get the exposure that you most like.  Anyhow, here are some of the photos that I came up with.  Enjoy

Spring is here, I’m coming out of hibernation

Hey, so the weather is starting to get nicer, the land a little greener and myself very excited.

I was supposed to be in Algonquin Park all week but due to flooding and ice conditions, they aren’t issuing any back country camping permits.  But I will hopefully be going next week for 4 days and will FINALLY have some more photos up.

I was out yesterday on the Don Trail and found a little bit of green, albeit some wet green, but that only means good things are here.  Hope everyone had a good winter and has the best spring summer and fall.  Cheers

Don Trail

Don Trail

Shooting RAW with a 50mm

One of my favourite lenses is my 50mm 1.4.  It gets wicked sharp photos and allows me to shoot anywhere from night time handheld to quick shooting street photography.  Mind you I have a Canon 7D, so there is a crop factor, which only means I have to take a few steps back sometimes to properly frame.  I am interested in getting a 28mm 1.8 to counteract the crop.  But anyhow, on a recent trip to Ottawa, I went skating on the canal with my lovely Lisa and some friends, and I only brought my 50mm lens.  Now in Ottawa, its cold and snowy, which brings me to shooting in RAW.  I did not want to be fiddling around with camera settings while on skates and missing out on candid moments, so I have a basic quick set up and then shoot in RAW, which allows me to make adjustments later in post.  Mostly the white balance.  As I’ll show you in the photos.  Most of the time Auto white balance does a fine job, but when you have lots of snow on the ground, the white balance leans towards a cooler shot, as in more blue.  Anyhow, here are the photos, and the adjustments.  Some of you may like the colder photos, some of you may like the warmer ones.