Friday, October 16, 2015

Autumn Road Trip

The forecast looked dreary - the next 4-5 days would bring clouds laden with rain and gusty winds. And autumn colours don't wait for the perfect weather forecast. Not only would the light be dreary, the wind would hasten the undressing of the trees.

I've learned through the years that in photography 'carpe diem' is a motto to live by. So, equipment in car and off on a road trip to see what effect autumn had had on areas I'd made mental notes to re-visit when I saw them in summer. I wasn't disappointed - here's a small sample of the hundred and some-odd scenes I captured.

(For some music to put you in that autumn mood, click on the link below).

Friday, October 9, 2015

What I Did On My Summer Vacation or Post #700

Has it really been several months since I was last here ? There have been fleeting moments when it crossed my mind that I hadn't posted anything on my blog but then the busyness of the day prevailed and the thought was swept away. A quote in a photography newsletter lead me to a blog which reminded me of my neglected blog ... and here I am. (And this so happens to be my 700th post).

No I won't bore you with details of the past few months, but I have been fortunate enough to do some work for several clients (one of which featured a number of my photos here). One of the major occurrences during this time was the addition of a new member to our family. Some of you may remember the loss of our beloved Sasha late last year. Through what can only be described as divine intervention, Keera entered our lives in August (after being abandoned on a busy city street, brought into the veterinarian used by the dog rescue run by 2 of our daughters - Finding Them Homes, and a fruitless month-long search for her owner). Through her microchip we discovered that she turns 5 years old this month - we're looking forward to many happy years with her.

So let me introduce Keera to you - as you can see, she is already fitting in very well. (Oh, and I will do my best not to leave such a time gap before I pay a visit to you, and return here).

Friday, July 24, 2015

I Lift Up Mine Eyes ...

It had been another one of those changing weather kind of days - alternating sun, gray skies, a threat of rain followed by more blue sky. Then after dinner the wind kicked up and storm clouds gathered. In no time rain was pelting against the north-facing windows. But as suddenly as the storm had come upon us, the wind blew it southward.

The sudden quiet made me glance out the window and I caught the remains of a double rainbow. I figured since I was outside with camera in hand I might as well also capture some of the summer blooms, freshened by the rain. I was absorbed in catching the raindrops hanging from petals and bees scurrying to gather nectar in the golden hour.

I finally lifted my eyes when I came around the west side of the house and was greeted by a sky in turmoil. Another storm further away had roiled the sky in the west while at the same time the sky in the northwest was trying hard to revert to blue. It made for an awesome sight ...

[Have a listen to an oldie goldie below while you relax here for a few minutes]

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lost and Found

I know from a comment I received last week from a visitor here that I'm not the only photographer who has occasionally (often ?) gone out on a photo shoot, and downloaded the results into a folder with the intent of coming back to review them when time permitted, only to let them languish - sometimes for years (?)

I've been slowly working to get photos from past years catalogued in Lightroom (I suspect this will be a lifetime project). Until I do it's a hit and miss approach when looking for something specific in my old folders. The upside, however, is that I do stumble across photos that I'd almost forgotten existed.

And so I came across a series I shot while in Denver to attend a niece's wedding almost 5 years ago. I dusted a couple of photos off and thought I'd share them with you. The first was shot from a hotel balcony with a 70-200mm lens perched on the railing, and the second with my then newly-acquired 10-22mm.

Perhaps you have some buried in a folder that should see the light of day.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Beauty That Surrounds Us (Reprise)

I'm working on an assignment for a client who is in the business of enticing people to take a pause from the hustle and bustle of life by enjoying a week of cottage living in beautiful surroundings. He rejuvenates tired cottages that once served that purpose.

I went out earlier this week to capture some of that beauty in an area about an hour's drive from our place, where the cottages are located. I could easily post a dozen photos but I think you'll 'get the picture'.

[Coincidentally I posted under this same title almost 3 years ago to the day - it just seemed fitting again]

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Terror in the backyard

The calendar is marking time for me these days rather than the clock. I realized it's almost been a month since I last posted. My camera has not sat gathering dust, however - I've done a little commercial work and family shots at birthdays and soccer games: those important moments in life. My work as treasurer for the dog rescue run by two of my daughters, with the help of many volunteers, has also taken much of my time (more info here.)

And then there are those surprises that almost catch you off-guard. I discovered that a new resident had made our pond home. I thought I had caught a glimpse of him some time earlier, but when I almost decapitated him with the lawn mower (rest assured, he survived the experience with nary a scratch) I was finally able to identify him - a snapping turtle !

I quickly ran to get a shovel and pail - I remembered being warned as a youngster never to try to handle one of these ornery creatures - they have rightly earned their reputation. This one was about 8" (20cm) across and was capable of inflicting a nasty bite. In deference to his ability and potential to snap, I used a zoom lens to capture his main weapon - a sharp beak.

I released him after a short while back onto the lawn and watched as he quickly (well, for a turtle) made his way to the water. A while later as I walked past the pond I noticed some old leaves stuck near the edge. Normally I would have removed them by hand but I picked up a stick that happened to lay nearby and reached to flick them out. As I poked the leaves, a head lunged out with lightning speed from beneath them and a beak snapped hold of the stick momentarily. I quickly realized that my fingers could have been the recipient of that attack. Lesson learned - no more fingers in the pond !

Despite his nastiness, even creatures like these play an important role in God's creation, helping keep things in balance. Otherwise I'm sure that our pond would be overrun by a plague of frogs.

[I apologize if I haven't returned a visit to your blog - I shall make every attempt to do that before my next post. Please know that I read and savour every comment]

the business end

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


While reading the news online this evening I saw an article about the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, in Holten, the Netherlands, paying tribute to the Canadians who paid with their lives to liberate that country 70 years ago. That reminded me of an event far back in my own history, when I was too young to realize its significance. That was the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands.

I received the commemorative cup illustrated below as an innocent youngster in kindergarten. My recollection of that event is that the cup was filled with candy. Little did I know then that within 2 years I would emigrate to the country that was primarily responsible for the liberation of the Netherlands.

My mother safeguarded this cup for many years until it could be entrusted to me. Since then it has stood tucked inside a cabinet from where I would occasionally take it and ponder it in silence. It reminds me of the connection I have with these two countries - one of my birth and the second which adopted me.

Amazing the significance something of such little monetary value can hold.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Veterinarian's Friend

There's lots to be said for country living - fresh air, wide open spaces, little congestion (we occasionally experience rush minutes vs. rush hours in the nearby village), and we're surrounded by plenty of nature. The density of humans can likely be counted on 2 hands per square mile whereas the density of other living creatures would be many times that of humans.

And so we do encounter wildlife on a regular basis. Today we encountered what might be known as the bane of dog owners, or the friend of veterinarians, depending on what side of the credit card you're on. I'm talking here about your docile porcupine.

In our family we all have had experience with our dogs meeting up with one of these prickly creatures and some experiences have resulted in quite costly vet bills. You would think that after such an experience our dogs would learn to avoid porcupines ... think again - some of them have had 4 encounters and they've always ended up on the wrong side of them.

After my wife spotted this one ambling along in front of the house, I dashed after it camera in hand (to say 'ran after it' would be a stretch since they move along at a steady rate that shows complete confidence in their 'armour'). As I got closer to it you can see that its hackles were raised - not that I needed a warning. I eventually lost it in the woods.

I'm happy to report that no dogs, or porcupines, were injured in the making of these photos.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


We recently went on a little excursion to one of the barrier islands off SW Florida's coast with visitors from 'up north'. The morning started off with somewhat unseasonably low temperatures and we tried to huddle down as the small boat whisked us across calm waters.

After taking 'the tram' (a pickup truck pulling a wagon) to a beach on the far side of the island we set up base camp for the day's stay. I'm not sure when this fellow arrived - in fact, he may have already been there when we set up - but he wasn't shy at all. I was able to walk to within a few feet of him as he posed to have his portrait taken. You might wonder how I know this was a male - any self-respecting female would have straightened her feathers before allowing a photo.

While waiting for the forecasted weather to arrive, we decided to explore a bit of the island. After following trails for some time we returned to 'camp' along the shoreline. By now the fog had crept in and covered the strait rather than giving way to the promised sunshine but we hardly noticed as we discovered some of the life forms along the shoreline and marveled at the power of the Creator.

everything fits neatly inside the protective shell including the eyes

this one looked ready for action as I stared him in the eyes

and these sea urchins looked like they would give an inattentive beachcomber a nasty surprise

Monday, January 19, 2015

A fair feather friend

First I want to thank all you lovely people who came by and left words of comfort and support on my previous post - they were much appreciated. I hope you'll excuse me for not having come by lately but my motivation was lacking. I'd always considered myself a fairly strong individual but Sasha's passing struck me (and my wife) particularly hard. I'm sure (or at least I've been assured) that time softens the sharp edges but for now some of the lustre has gone from the thought of going out on a photo shoot, alone. However, I still try to follow the ABCs of photography when we go out.

And so, recently we spent an afternoon on Boca Grande. The promised forecast of some sun and 'warmish' temperatures didn't materialize but I did meet an interesting fellow on the beach who had positioned himself closely behind a couple of fishermen. Unfortunately I had only taken a wide angle lens (17-40mm) vs the whole arsenal and so I had to rely on the stealth approach. You might imagine how hard that would be on a wide open beach. He seemed intent on watching the fishermen (in vain it turns out) for a scrap of fish to be thrown his way so I made it to within about 10' (3m for you metric types) of him before he decided I had encroached sufficiently on his margin of comfort. I had been taking some shots during my approach in case my next step would cause him to take flight.

At the 10' mark, however, he took a step away every time I took a step closer until he ended up standing in shallow water. And that's where he drew a 'line in the sand' apparently for when I tried to narrow the gap between us one more time he decided to leave for safer ground. I did manage to get a few shots of his getaway (which I cropped due to my focal length limitations). Check him out below.

where the 'stand-off' took place