Tuesday, May 22, 2018

It's taken till now to get a shot of

The tulips are in full bloom and I am loving it! But there's this one. It's, it's, I can barely say it. White.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Looking back a bit

There is no method to my madness when it comes to publishing photos. Sometimes they are hot off the camera sensor. Some might be a few days or weeks old on publish if I've got a set in mind, like the Allium Episode. (I got all confused looking for it, thinking the title was 'the day of the allium'.) Some might languish in the edited folder and never make it to the blog, and I discover it a while later. Sometimes I'll be going back through Lightroom looking for something, find something else, and wonder why I never edited it. Although I've since learned to look at the other photos around ones like that. I once spent some time editing a shot into something really quite nice, only to find the photo I'd taken a moment later was nicer, and already edited using less effort.

Which leads me to my thought of the day, relating to editing photos. I've mentioned that a light touch is necessary when editing flower blossom photos. Some very few of my shots need almost no editing at all, and that usually pleases me. I've been musing over the concept that a photo with less editing is a better photo, but I'm not sure I really believe it. I often see photos that appear to be over-edited, and look un-natural. (I've done this occasionally, for specific artistic reasons, or so I say to myself.)

There are those who would argue that a ray of light landing on a sensor already goes through significant computer processing before I even see the image on the camera screen, let alone the full sized computer screen. More editing in Lightroom is just more computer manipulation.

My thinking is that if I see the image in my head before I take the shot, and tweak the camera settings to better match that shot, then less editing would seem to indicate that I'm getting better at using my camera.

This is all quite aside from what makes a 'better' photo. Photographers and artists and viewers have been arguing about that since it was invented.

Your thoughts? Is less editing better?

Anyways, here's a photo from a week ago. I've no idea why I didn't include it when I did purple earlier this week.

This one didn't exist when I did yellow.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Somehow, a simple drop of water changes everything about a flower photo.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Two experimental trees, and Linda

There is a lovely tree near the Reader Rock Gardens. Some of my local readers know it. I've been wanting to get some photos of it for a while. Going into work on Friday I noticed it's blossoming. I've got a shot in mind. I'd love to shoot it in morning mist.

On Friday I wanted to sleep in, and that sort of happened. The light was nice so we zoomed out to try to capture some photos of the tree, then do breakfast, (OEB, if you're wondering) then do some shopping. It's the first time I've spent longer in the line to get in the store, than to pay for the stuff. That's what you get for being early on a long weekend.

While BBQ bison ribeye steak was in progress, I was looking at the wind lashing the neighbour's tree. The light was pretty good. After supper I set up the camera and tried to get the shot I had in mind. I rarely get up to f32 or anywhere close. I'm usually down at the other end. This big number means the aperture is closed off. I wanted the exposure time to be longer to get a sense of the wind blowing the tree around. If I had a filter I'd have put it on. This isn't quite what I had in mind, but almost. I'm going to wait a couple hours till closer to sunset, or maybe even after and try again. In the meantime you get a work in progress.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Un-retired, a 3 week perspective, and orange

Zoom! This has been interesting, if somewhat tiring. Last you heard I was happily retired, puttering with my camera and novel, and other stuff. What the heck, you ask?

It's been a story a long time in the making. The last time I worked full time hours was back at Penn West, late 2015 or so. Sometime shortly after the Great Purge at the beginning of September I started working part time hours there. My buddies went on to find other jobs. Several of them at Keyera, where I went to work for a while.

One of them landed at AltaGas, and promptly started to pitch me, and them. She thought they needed my skills, and she was right. That was about 2 years ago. There was a short term contract at Keyera, and I thought the race was on to see if AltaGas or Keyera would get an offer to me first. I knew people from both organizations and I was interested to see how it turned out.

Keyera's project has a lot of moving parts. I'm pretty sure if I'd been willing to sign up for a 3 year full time gig, I'd have become one of the people moving those parts around. A part time role never jelled, and thats the way it goes sometimes.

AltaGas started getting serious late last year, and it's been a bit of a slog. Sometimes it seems to take organizations a long time to do what seems to be a simple thing. Within the last month another buddy from Penn West started pitching me a role with yet another guy I knew from Penn West (we're everywhere now!). There's no harm in talking, because you never know if the wheels will get bolted onto the wagon, or stay bolted on. In the end the offers came at the same time, and after a stressful day thinking about it, I picked AltaGas and started May 1.

Turns out that part way up the chain of command above me is a guy I worked with at BP all these many years ago. Just down the hallway from him is a guy from Talisman that I knew somewhat, though I didn't actually work with him.

New projects are always a bit of a blur. There's the routine stuff, getting shown your office (cubicle), where the washroom is, the printers, office supplies and such. Being dragged around introduced to everyone you might work with. Finding the meeting rooms. Getting oriented to the project, and trying  not to be too horrified at what was done by people who are no longer there.

In my case, getting used to working a 40 hour week again. Its been a while, almost 3 years. There are two main paths to working part time. One is to work some set number of hours or days a week. At Keyera it was 3 days a week, and the last year or so Penn West it was 4 days a week. That was great. The other model is to work full time, for a short term contract. That's AltaGas. I'm there till Oct 31, and boy do I have lots to do!

It's funny how different organizations find certain things hard. At Penn West whiteboards were easy. Mention wanted one, and they'd ask how big, and shortly later a couple guys would show up to screw it into the walls. BP had magnetized whiteboards that were totally the bomb. I requested a whiteboard the first day at work, and it took AltaGas 3 weeks to deliver. On the other hand, I requested a third big monitor, and it showed up a few hours later. Gotta love that.

Once upon a time, back in the early 2000's, one of my work buddies told me that his goal was to schedule his working life the way most people scheduled their vacations. As in, about a month a year. He does lots of traveling doing things for Habitat for Humanity, and good for him. That gave me lots to think about, and started working towards working part time. My thinking was that between 55 and 65 I'd like to work about half the time, maybe working more in the earlier part of that, and less in the later part. That brings in income to defer living on investments, pays cash for new toys or trips, and gives time to enjoy the toys and trips. I think I'm about on track for that.

There are lots of people working late in life, not because they enjoy it, but because they need to. That's sad. It's true that some people have expensive unplanned adventures, but lots of people just have no clue how to manage money. Of course, there are some people working because they enjoy it. That's mostly me. It's an interesting project, and there's lots I can contribute to it, and that's fun.

I'm still swimming 3 days a week, and that feels pretty good. My run and bike have fallen off the edge of the world, though. Sigh. It's the long weekend and the weather is nice, I suppose I could run tomorrow, if I really wanted. I suppose I should. But will I? Probably not. I'm feeling a bit run down.

The photography has been going pretty well. In fact, photographs have been the main part of the blog for several weeks now. Those that like my words might have been having withdrawl symptoms or something, so I thought I'd get a little more wordy.

That's not to say you have to do without a photo. The tulips have been lovely this year! Here's some orange ones.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Red (NSFW)

Red is hard for cameras. Really hard. Our eyes see the full rich red of a rose or a tulip, with all the subtle gradations of colour and the texture of the plant. The camera sees red and it's little sensor brain is overwhelmed or something.

Then there's editing in Lightroom or other software. It's trivially easy to over do it and end up with an unnatural looking result. Several times tonight I had to reset and start over. Pretty well for anything this red, the auto button is useless.

Still, I love the challenge and the learnings. I'm still working through the aperture settings and getting a grip on the exact effect I'm looking for. I won't say it's more difficult on a full frame camera, it's just more exact, and the camera screen isn't maybe as precise as one might like. I'm trying to get into the habit of finding a shot I like, then playing with aperture more than I do now. That should give me more choice about the artistic nature of the shot. Now that I see that first shot on screen, I'm wishing the depth of field had been shifted towards the back ever so slightly.

These were all shot in the evening, when that side of the house in in shade. I liked the deep ruby glow amid the shade, and tried to capture that. Lightroom wanted to crank the brightness way up. Yes, the two middle ones are the same plant with different camera settings, not just the same shot tweaked differently in Lightroom.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


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