Wednesday, April 29, 2009

321:365 Glow

Anna: Philippe got some photos of my new toy (product review here) for me.


Using it in the dark doesn't actually work that well, but it looks really neat in a photo! *L*


And it was really comfortable to work with, too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

320:365 Hail

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: Today sure has been an interesting weather day!

This morning was bright, glorious sunshine, though with chilly below freezing temperatures. As I did some running around, the sun disappeared and, while temperatures crept above 0C, it started to snow. Errands done, we headed for park day, with a route that took us through downtown. That's when the hail started. Little balls of hail being blown in drifts across the street.

By the time we got to the park, the hail was long gone and the sun was struggling to emerge. As long as the wind was down, sitting on the park bench outside wasn't too bad. Dark clouds threatened, however. My younger daughter and I went walking to the shelter, taking our time to get a few photos and avoid disturbing the geese too much. When we got to the shelter, it was starting to snow again, with a bitter wind.

We gave up at that point and decided to head home early. A frigid walk to that car and the snow had stopped. A few minutes later, we were home and the sun was shining again. I get inside and start uploading photos from the camera's memory card when I look out the window.

It's hailing again. Hard! I grabbed the other camera and took some shots. This photo is of the hail that accumulated on our patio swing in just a couple of minutes.

The hail kept up for a while longer, then gave way to snow, but it's warmed up to 2C now, so it's melting as soon as it touches the black covering on our balcony.

My elder daughter went out for a bit, in her poncho, long skirt and bare feet. She gathers up snow from the balcony rail and tossed snowballs into the trees below. When she came in, she assured me that she did NOT throw snowballs at the poor little robin in the tree, going "tweet, tweet, I'm freezing my a$$ off!"

I love my daughter's sense of humour.

Right now, it's quite bright out, and the snow is coming down even harder, though nearly verticle with the wind.

And to think it's the end of April.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

319:365 Peacock Ore

Peacock Ore
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: After having our tea (see earlier post), my daughter and I went to the Royal Alberta Museum. They have a fabulous minerals display.

This piece of peacock ore is my photographic challenge. The museum doesn't allow tripods or monopods, which makes things difficult enough, but what I really am wanting to do is take a clear photo that captures the colours and sparkle of this incredible sample. I had the Canon S3 today, as if fits in my purse. I used the program setting and increased the exposure to +1. ISO was on auto, and it was set to vivid colour. I also had it on macro.

I think this is one of the better shots I've managed so far.

318:365 Tea For Two

Tea For Two
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: My elder daughter and I had an afternoon out with just the two of us. After overindulging at a yarn shop (I'll be posting photos of our aquaistions on my craft blog), we walked around the corner to a lovely tea shop called Steeps. I love this place! It's tiny and cozy, with tiny tables and mismatched furniture. Every table has a different little teapot holding a decoration. After choosing our teas and a dessert to share (caramel apple cheesecake!), we sat at some big, cushy armchairs in a corner and waited for our individual teapots to be brought over. There's a station on the side where we can choose our own cups, all of them different.

Then we sat, relaxed, sipped our hot tea, admired the wild paintings on the wall from a local artist, chatted and enjoyed overhearing some unusual conversation from the table nearby. University students, I think, working on a crossword puzzle together. "What is a reproductive organ that starts with a G and has 5 letters?" They settled on "gland." We resisted the urge to call out "gonad" across the room. ;-)

We need to do this more often.

Go for tea, I mean, not answer people's crossword puzzles. ;-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

317:365 *sigh*

Anna: You know, one of these days, spring will actually get here. Two days ago, we were enjoying 21C temperatures. Now look at what we've got!

(click on image for full size)

Snowy spring day

This photo was taken at F5.6 for 3 seconds. I like how blue it turned out, with the lights glowing warmly.

Snowy spring day

I couldn't resist taking a flash photo to show just how heavy the snow fall was.

It could be worse. Last year, we had a snow storm around this time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

316:365 Exploration

Anna: I'm working on some curtains for the living room right now. I tried spreading the fabric out on the carpet for measuring and cutting.

Which is when I was reminded again that Harley likes fabric. More specifically, she likes being under fabric.

The climbing on it and snuffling, I can understand, but this is the first cat we've had that actually likes to noof her way under the fabric and slither around.

Using on the floor didn't work out, so now I'm fiddling with the fabric on the dining table. The Harley-bug seems quite disappointed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

315:365 At the park

Anna: My younger daughter and I headed for park day today, and I had a chance to wander around with the camera. I got lots of photos of geese. *L* You can see a bunch of them here, including these two.


The geese are quite aggressive right now, and this one was keeping a close eye on me! The path runs right along the edge of the water and, instead of swimming away, this gander and his mate swam closer to the edge. I got quite a few photos while the goose cautiously grazed along the water's edge, and this gander eyeballed me, hissing every time I moved.

Baby finger

Who can resist baby pictures? My friend got to spend some quality time with her new niece. I love that tiny, tiny pinky finger, hooked onto my friend's thumb. So sweet.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

314:365 At the zoo - Updated

Philippe - I've got a wack of shots from the zoo, but these are my two favourite shots.

This guy is just cool.

I like his eyes :)

Anna: Visit here for the photo set.

Takin - dad

It was a lovely day today, and we took full advantage of the mild weather, visiting the Valley Zoo. I have such mixed feelings about this place. On the one hand, the facilities for many of the animals are woefully inadequate. The sea lion's pool was less than half the size of the pool in the apartment building we just moved out of - and in far worse condition. Many of the enclosures were quite small for the types of animals in them. It's really quite sad.

On the other hand, the staff there are clearly passionate about the animals they care for, and they gladly share their knowledge. Take this takin in the photo above. We happened to come up while they were being fed. The guy that was feeding them started telling us all sorts of fascinating things about them. These endangered animals are from the same region as the red panda, and have the same protected classification. Anyone caught poaching these animals will be executed by the Chinese government. There are very few of them in North America, and even fewer breeding pairs. This handsome fellow is part of the breeding program. Nearby were the mom with her 4 month old baby, and a yearling (visit the link at the top to see photos of them, too).

Along with these breeding programs, this zoo also rescues raptors. If possible, these are returned to the wild once healed. Those that can't survive in the wild anymore are cared for for the rest of their lives.

I think what this place needs is a significant cash infusion and a larger annual budget to meet it's potential.

313:365 Stuck

Anna: This is a photo for yesterday, actually. Posting after midnight kinda messes things up. *L* Philippe was on his way to bed when he called me over to see this.

This is the first time since we've moved that one of the cats actually went for the balcony rail, though they've been eye-balling it for a while.

Once there, however, Tiger couldn't get down on her own.

Silly kitty.

312:365 Photo experimentation

Anna: I've been a bit frustrated in regards to taking photos lately. Since the move, I haven't been able to find the charger for the D70 battery. I distinctly remember making sure it didn't get packed in any boxes, but to instead go into something else that we'd be going into right away. I *thought* I'd asked Philippe to pack it in his camera bag, but it's not there. So for the past while, I've had a dead battery and on way to charge it.

Thankfully, Philippe had a spare battery for his D80, which will work on the D70 (but not the other way around), and he let me have it. It felt good to be taking photos again!

High Level Bridge traffic

This photo was taken with my 18-55mm lens, aperture setting, F20 for 30 seconds. I wanted to catch the two lanes of traffic converging onto the bridge.

High Level Bridge traffic

I moved the tripod about 20 feet farther along the bridge and as close to the edge as I could get. Unfortunately, that put me across from a light that messed things up. It took me a while to figure out what was causing the problem. I then switched to the manual setting and took this photo at 30 seconds and F29.

I'm not sure which one I am happier with.

311:365 - Night excursion

Philippe: tonight was about finding a balance between aperture and shutter for best streaking of light. :)

P. - There is a small park right next to one of the bridges downtown, allowing for a bit of photo :)

P. - What you can't see are the 20lbs bunnies just to the right. They were grazing.

P. - K.. first set of shots, I'm on Aperture priority at f8/f10. Unfortunately, that gives me a five second shutter speed and you can barely see the train on the tracks; it's that small white streak.

P. - This is a manual shot, f10/1.8" shutter. lots of detail in the bus, but it was a slow start from the turn.

P. - Also manual, though f10/1", but with faster traffic.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

310:365 Snowy Valley

Snowy Valley
Originally uploaded by amkb


Spring has sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where
The birdies iz?

I know where "the birdies iz." They're shivering their little tushes off in their nests, wondering WTF happened to the gorgeous, warm weather we had a couple of days ago.


Gotta admit, the valley looks prettier with a bit of snow. Still waiting for it to turn GREEN, though.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

309:365 Happy Easter!

Anna and Philippe: Sending our wishes to everyone for a happy, blessed Easter!

Making the Easter basket is one of our favourite traditions. Philippe got photos of this year's basket.

Easter basket - covered

The completed basket is always covered with a special cloth. This year, we used an antique linen cloth, worked with linen thread in cutwork and drawn thread embroidery. It's one of the finest pieces of embroidery I own. From the age I was told when I bought it, it's now almost 90 years old.

Easter basket

The traditional contents include bread, ham, kielbasa, salt, cheese (a wheel of brie this year), butter, horseradish (usually a root, but I could only find the jarred kind this time), and lots of eggs.

There's even some chocolate in there. :-D

Friday, April 10, 2009

308:365 - Old tracks and bridges

Philippe: So we went back to the high level bridge and to the tracks just beyond it (they run just above vehicle traffic, though they're no longer used.

I just have a thing for switches :)

The depth of field was fun on this one; with the 90mm at F3.6 ish, it's a thin line of focus :P

I love this bolt.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

307:365 Promises

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: Rows of peat pellets slowly expanding, soon to be seeded with a variety of herbs. A promise of future bounty. In a few weeks, I should have the beginnings of an herb garden on our balcony, as well as some carrots, spinach and lettuces.

The balcony in our old apartment faced North/North-west. We didn't get enough sunlight to grow much and, with plans to move ever in the back of my mind, I never tried.

Now we are facing South, with hours and hours of sunlight. I'm starting small this year, but if things work well, I'm hoping to get a decent vegetable garden out there. Maybe even some fruits. Not too much, as we want room for a BBQ and seating. I'll be using the rail and maybe the side wall a lot. Our co-op does have a few garden plots available. Perhaps I'll apply for one next year. For now, the balcony will do. :-)

306:365 Mah butt iz warm.

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: I can't help it. Whenever I look at our cats, my mind slips into LOLcatz speech!

Our wireless modem sits on the carpet, surrounded by a mass of of wires and cables. Soon after we got her, Harley discovered it makes a warm and pleasant place to sit. Usually, she'll just have her hind end on it, while her front end sprawls onto the carpet.

Now, Tiger's starting to do it, too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

305:365 - New View

Philippe: Now that the house is no longer there, the view is a little bigger ;)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

304:365 Destruction

Anna: Being at the end of a row of townhouses, there was only one house beside us. A unique building with at least 4 levels, two of which were built down the side of the valley, below our street level. We all thought it would be an attractive building, if it weren't in such terrible condition. The location is certainly prime, with unobstructed views of the valley.

Today, it got torn down.

These are just a few of the photos we took from off our balcony. Most of what I took were videos using the S3. I've never taken so many video clips with that camera since we've owned it - and wow, does it suck through batteries! I ended up filling the memory card and, not having a spare, switched to my D70. Unfortunately, I've yet to find the battery charger since the move, and it was already overdue for a charge. It wasn't long before I couldn't use it anymore.

Philippe, meanwhile, had taken a few shots with his D80 before heading inside. So I borrowed that and got a few more shots until the S3 was finally uploaded to the computer and the memory freed up.

So the next few pictures are from both of us. I didn't even try to upload any of the video.

Click on the photos to go to my flickr account, or visit this set and see the details behind them.









303:365 Waiting.

Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: Slowly but surely, how new house is becoming a home. Do you see our piano? Well, if things work out, within the next two months our piano will FINALLY be shipped from Manitoba, and this is where it will go.

The new-to-us aquarium, meanwhile, will also be waiting. Before we fill it and get some fish, we want to get a heavy duty rug to protect the carpet from the weight of both the piano and the tank.

All in good time.