Saturday, May 30, 2009

Flora and fauna

Anna: I've been taking photos, but haven't been too happy with the results until today. Aside from the ones below, I've got more posted on my flickr account.


There's an apple tree in full bloom under our balcony, at the foot of our fire escape. The loveliest scents get wafted up to our balcony with the breeze from this tree.


Not a very good photo - it was taken through 2 panes of glass. I didn't want to move one of them to take the shot, as the sound would've frightened them away.

This was taken out my younger daughter's bedroom window. Usually, she sees chickadees robins, and the odd magpie, but every now and then this pair of waxwings pay a visit. There's a maple outside my other daughter's window that hosts birds as well, much to the delight of our cats.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Rescuer

The Rescuer
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: While doing a bit of exploring today, I finally got a photo of this statue, called "The Rescuer." The detail is really fantastic.

No more snow!

Anna: After the last photo, it feels nice to post something more appropriate to the season! :-D

"wild" tulip

Directly under our balcony is a rather steep drop. The land belongs to the city, but at some point, someone planted some tulips, and they're finally starting to bloom. Getting the photos I took was a bit of a challenge, though. Did I mention this area is steep? My feet kept wanting to slide out from under me.

Wanting to explore

Our cats are indoor cats, though our older one used to be an outdoor cat. For the Harley-bug, she's not quite sure what this "outside" thing is. We let the cats onto the balcony every now and then, but keep them closely supervised so they don't make a run for it. That's my younger daughter you can see, keeping a close watch on her cat! :-)


My poor little herbs! With the colder weather we've been having, the planters have been inside more than they've been out! There were a couple of days when it was warm enough to take them outside, but on one of those days, I waited too long before taking them back in. I had been using WeatherEye to keep track of the dropping temperatures, but wherever the weather station is that our readings are from, it was warmer than where we are. For a while, I thought I'd lost almost all of my transplants, but they seem to have recovered, except for the basil. A couple of perked up, but that's it. I do have extras, though, so if they don't recover, I still have a few seedlings I can transplant.

Tonight is warm enough that I'll be leaving them outside again. Finally! I've also sown some lettuces and spinach today, though they should have been started at least a week ago.

I sure hope spring is finally here to stay. After all, it's less than a month before the first day of summer. :-/

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Snow. Again.

Anna: This is what we woke up to th is morning. We're expected to get another 10-20 cm today.

Right now, I'm just happy I've been able to bring my planters inside.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring walk

Philippe: So apart from the snow, this was a nice little walk :D

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dust check

Philippe: So Anna's been having dust issues on her camera; while we've been able to resolve those, I noticed spots in some of my shots and so went over all my lenses to clean and dust the optics. this, of course, had to be tested afterwards :D

Monday, May 11, 2009

327:365 Baby Basil

Baby Basil
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: Today was a beautiful day for transplanting seedlings. The planters I have didn't fit all of them, so I planted the strongest ones. I still have the rest, though, in case these one's get killed by some unseasonable cold.

This photo is of basil. We've also got some thyme, chives, Italian parsley, tarragon and rosemary. Pretty soon, I'll be direct seeding some lettuces, spinach and carrots.

It feels so good to finally be able to plant things!

326:365 Red Clouds

Red Clouds
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: The last few days have had some very dramatic cloud formations. These were glowing red from the setting sun. It's not the photo I wanted to get, though. I've had problems with specks showing up in my photos using my D70. I can see them when I look through the view finder (and yes, I tried cleaning the view finder). After repeated cleaning, I've come to the conclusion that the spots are inside the camera. We can't even see them, and all attempts to clean it have done nothing. It's looking like we'll have to have it professionally cleaned.

So for now, I'm using my Canon S3. I can borrow Philippe's D80 if I need anything more high end. Kind of frustrating, though.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

325:365 Budding flowers

Budding flowers
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: The trees in our area are valiently pushing forth leaf and flower buds. This is from a bush across the street from us, and part of our co-op complex.

Shot with my Canon S3 on the super-macro setting.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

324:365 A bit of this and that.

Anna: A few photos from today. Click on the images to access the larger sizes.

Big Sky

Coming home from errands today, we saw some gorgeous cloud formations. Of course, by the time I got the camera and went to the balcony, they'd changed completely. I still got a bunch of shots, uploaded them, and discovered I had lint or something on my lens. This is pretty much the only photo where you can't see it. Talk about frustrating!


My younger daughter started working on some crochet and the cats joined her on the couch. My older daughter's cat using the ball of yarn as a pillow just makes it that much cuter.

Looking Up

Meanwhile, my older daughter started scanning some of her most recent paintings. Being the annoying mother that I am, I decided this was a good time to get photos of the girls for a change. Normally, I don't post identifiable photos of my kids, but she gave me permission to use this impromptu shot. I love it. :-D

Monday, May 4, 2009

323:365 Park Day

Anna: Today was a beautiful day at the park. The pond is free of ice, and the birds were mostly calm, with many of the floating along and napping, or grooming. You can see the set for today here.


It isn't often the Goldeneyes will let me get as close as they did today. I was able to get quite a few candid shots like this.


I find it fascinating, how they throw their heads back like this to make a particular call. It's hard to describe the sound. Like a very soft, burring noise.


A pair of geese built their nest right along the path - a high traffic area. The first time I went past the nest, goose and gander were standing near it and the next was empty. The next time I walked by, the goose was busily turning and egg, settling herself down, packing the soft feathers around herself, getting up, adjusting the egg again, and doing it all over. The gander was watching me very closely while I stopped to take photos. I was using the 70-300 lens, so I didn't have to go so close that I'd disturb them.


While walking along the water's edge, on the look out for birds, turtles, muskrats or whatever else I might find, I came upon these empty eye sockets, staring back at me! The skull was quite tiny - about 3 inches long.

It looks like the Punisher skull.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

322:365 Exposed

Anna: I played around with some long exposure shots again tonight. Actually, I played around with both shutter and aperture, but of the ones I liked enough to post here, they all turned out to be 30 second exposures. I'd try longer, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. I think I should be able to do it with the remote, but haven't looked it up yet. All in good time.

All of these photos are straight out of the camera. I only re-sized them by 50% and converted them from RAW to jpg files. You can view the larger images here.

The first couple of shots were taken at a pedestrian overpass, directly above a major thoroughfare.


I took quite a few shots from this one spot, first changing just the shutter speed at F29, then going with a shutter speed of 30 seconds and changing the aperture. This one is at F/20 and is my favourite of the bunch.


Taken from the same area of the bridge, on the other side. This one is at F/22.

The next three are from the same spot, changing only the aperture. There are slight differences in the positioning, though, as I had to move the camera so I could see the screen while changing the settings.