Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Photos of 2016

We had a big snowfall the other day and Innovation Place was plastered. The building was quiet on the last work day of 2016 with lots of people on holidays and I had fun taking a few photos on my lunch break. Half of these were taken with my iPhone 7, the other half with my Lumix ZS100 - can you tell which are which? The iPhone with its smaller sensor has more depth of focus, but they both do a fine job.

icy windows

icy windows

icy windows

icy windows

What do you think - black and white, or color?

icy windows

These trees are just outside my office window. I enjoy watching the trees and their feathered visitors - mostly magpies this time of year.

late light

I took lots of photos this year - roughly 21,000. That was a record for me. I now have about 130,000 photos in my digital library. Thank goodness I'm not trying to manage physical slides or negatives!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


steam lit by low sun

Usually at some point over Christmas I bundle up and escape outdoors to take some photographs. I wouldn't say winter is my favorite subject, but it has its attractions.

Although the bright sun was tempting earlier in the afternoon, I waited to go out until the sun got low and there was some color in the sky.

low sun on snow

There were large numbers of ducks on the river (Goldeneye?) but they swam away when I arrived. There were Canada Geese around till recently but they disappeared soon after the weather got really cold.

ducks (Goldeneye?)

The water level in the river dropped recently, leaving the ice shelved above the water. That meant you had to be a little careful where you walked, but it also created lines of stubby icicles.





If the ice is dirty, sometimes black and white will hide it.



bare trees at sunset

See all 25 photos as a slideshow or overview

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas

sun and snow

Another annual orgy of excess consumption has passed. I was going to say "thank god" but religion lost this event to big business a long time ago. Of course, it's not over - Boxing Day (or Week) is one of the biggest shopping times of the year.

sun and snow

Otherwise sane people tell me we need to shop and "consume" to support the "economy". I'm not sure why it's so desirable to prop up the ailing fossil fueled monster that is destroying the planet. Is this conveyer belt from third world factories to first world land fills really the best system we can come up with? If so, that's pretty sad.

sun and snow

The photos are from my home office window. I glanced outside and a slight breeze was blowing the snow and frost from the trees and making it sparkle against the bright sun. It was hard to capture the effect. We almost didn't have a white Christmas this year but the snow finally started falling Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Print of the Week

turtle & reflections

This was one from the Aqua Terra Zoo in Vienna. Two favorite things - turtles and reflections. I like that it's somewhat abstract, and yet still has a fair bit of detail in the turtle. And I like the shades of green from the pool reflecting the vegetation all around it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Road Rant

cold morning for the geese

There are a lot of reasons I don't like automobiles. One of them is that they have a bizarre tendency to turn people into jerks. Rudeness that people would never dream of face to face is somehow natural when they're in a faceless vehicle.

I'm lucky that my walk to work only crosses one vaguely main road. Most of the way is on the Meewasin trail, avoiding cars altogether. The other morning when I reached Spadina it was relatively busy. I waited patiently for a gap in traffic. But it was somewhere in the neighborhood of -35 with the wind chill so I wasn't keen on standing there too long. Eventually there was a decent gap in traffic and I started to cross the road. Just to be clear, not only was I at an intersection, but it was also a marked crosswalk. By no stretch of the imagination did I step out into the middle of traffic. (I'm not that stupid!) The roads were not icy. The nearest approaching car was about half a block away. He would have to slow down slightly to give me time to cross, but wouldn't even need to stop. But as soon as I stepped off the curb he started honking at me. I pointed at the crosswalk sign. He kept honking. I got annoyed so I stopped in the middle of the road forcing him to stop. I pointed again at the crosswalk sign. I didn't expect an apology, but I did expect that he'd shut up.

I continued across the road thinking that was the end of it, but as he drove by he rolled down his window and yelled at me not to cross when there were cars around. Seriously? Obviously he didn't like anything slowing down his driving. And I'm sure he didn't appreciate that I tried to imply that he was in the wrong (by pointing at the crosswalk sign).

You'd think people would have a little empathy or even respect for someone walking, especially at these temperatures. I should know better. In a place where there are more cars than people, more parking lots than parks, someone without a vehicle is obviously utterly down and out. Why would you have the least shred of respect for them. Especially when such a low life gets in your way.

I have to laugh when I compare it to crossing roads in Asia. If you waited for a gap in traffic there you'd never get across the street. Your only option is to appear confident and step out into the maelstrom. Any sign of weakness or hesitation and no one will slow down.  But nor do drivers throw a temper tantrum about pedestrians having the nerve to cross the road. 

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Print of the Week

Mandarin duck

This is from the little zoo in Monaco. Great detail in the duck in the large print. And of course I love the reflections of the background.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

River Walk

This time of year isn't very colorful. No flowers or green leaves, just bare tree branches against gray skies. But there are still things to take photos of.

early morning by the river

It was still quite dark when I started my walk but soon enough the sun came up.

sunrise over the river

Of course, I had to take some reflection photos


These photos were all taken with my new iPhone. After four years with my 5 I upgraded to a 7 plus. I've been making a point of taking photos with it but up till today I hadn't really got much that I was happy with. I'm used to having a zoom lens, and using it a lot, so the wide angle of camera phones is little hard to get used to. The iPhone 7 plus has dual cameras, but the so called "telephoto" lens is only 50mm equivalent, which in photography would be considered a "normal" lens, not telephoto. You can zoom digitally, but that's really just cropping.

As with most small cameras, you have to use wide angle to shoot up close. But it does a reasonable job.

autumn leaf

It was a little colder this morning and there was more ice along the river.


One thing I've never liked about phone photography, especially in the winter with gloves and cold hands, is that they are too slippery and hard to hold. And, unfortunately, the Lightroom app doesn't support using the volume buttons as the shutter release so you're stuck with tapping on the screen with cold fingers. The new iPhone 7 is supposed to be water resistant but I still don't think it would be a good idea to drop it in the river!

beavers at work

One of the nice features is that you can shoot raw with third party camera apps. I've been using the Lightroom app because I'm already in that ecosystem. But if you don't already have a Lightroom subscription then you're probably better off with something like ProCam. One of the nice things I discovered is that if you zoom/crop on the iPhone, it still keeps the entire photo and you can re-crop later. Similarly, any processing you do with Lightroom on the phone can be readjusted on the desktop Lightroom. Another thing I like is that you explicitly choose which lens to use, whereas you have to trust the Apple camera app to choose the right one for you.

snow on moss

See all 17 photos as a slideshow or overview