It Was a Good Party
Out of a lot of choices for Canada Day celebrations, I chose the activities at the Alberta legislature since I could ride my bicycle and meet my friends there.
My friend Nolan liked splashing in the pools, as did his mom and I, and got some wicked splashes in though because of the camera couldn’t indulge more fully.We listened to some music at two different stages.One stage was beside the legislative building where we could sit in the shade of some trees, and get up and dance, a beautiful spot for a concert.
Nolan checking out the waterfall that goes under the bridge.
Booming Tree Taiko
In the shade listening to The Royal Foundry
We filled our water bottles at my favourite fountain that had three heights, one for filling bottles, one for kids and adults and one a few inches off the ground for dogs. What a great idea!Whenever I saw people with thirsty dogs, I told them about it.
I felt very grateful for our freedom to gather in this space designed to be public-friendly, for the presence of the police who keep us safe, and the openess of the government that allows for the public to swim in the pools, walk the grounds and celebrate out country’s birthday.
We were hot and tired so all went home after some good fun, then after my nap (yes, I had a nap) I went down to the river valley above the golf course to watch the fireworks. I don’t have a phone so couldn’t listen to the music that accompanied the lighting of the bridge but will say it was a great display of pulsating and running lights of all colours.I enjoyed the fireworks too, happy with my photos but slightly disappointed in my focus. I put the camera in Manual setting,same with the focus, and set the shutter on bulb for longer exposures, f18-22 for larger depth of field and ISO was 800 and 400 respectively. A bonus that I wasn’t expecting was the full moon! Live and learn!
Welcome to the New Premier of Alberta
I wanted to be there for this historical moment and obviously so did a few other people. The public was invited this afternoon to the swearing-in of the new Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley the leader of the New Democrat party. She also announced her new ministers. Amazingly, the ND party won a majority government after 42 years of governing by the Progressive Conservatives.I never dreamed that I would see this in my lifetime.It was exciting to be there, to hear the new ministers being announced and to hear the cheering from the crowd. Some are predicting doom and gloom and admittedly we have a couple of immature people in caucus but that isn’t the first time that has happened.Let us wait and see, especially in Education, Energy, Health and the Environment.
Some of the crowd of people that showed up to the event.
The Honorable Rachel Notley, Premier of Alberta
After the speeches, the applause, the fountain and the music started up
The Dome Exposed
The dome at the Alberta legislature grounds has been covered for over a year and recently I noticed that it is exposed again. Apparently the workers took out the stones to examine for cracks and damage, then put them in place again.I think it was sand-blasted as well. What I saw for the first time was the copper lining, it was previously black.There is a crane to the left, which leaves its shadow across the surface. I look forward to taking photos without the covering but wonder if I bothered to take photos with the covering on? Ha, think I should have.
Looking at last year’s Gardens
Admittedly it is a little dull right now with dirty snow and brown turf just before the onslaught of glorious Spring. I like colour in my life and I am sharing past images of gardens. Most are close-ups and I admire the skill it takes to first of all design a garden and secondly to take a good photo of one. Master gardener Donna from Garden Walk Garden Talk blog has inspired me with her knowledge and skill with designing as well as photography. It takes some thought and planning to take a good image of flowers and gardens.
Below are two photos from my friend Lindsay’s garden.
Here are some photos from the Alberta Legislature grounds.
Thank you Donna, for inspiring me, I want to make photographing gardens one of my projects for the upcoming year. It will be good for me to go for the walks , practice shooting and share the results. My other projects will include my passion for the birds and landscapes.That will keep me happy and busy.
Two shots of the fountain at the legislature grounds. One with slower shutter speed and the other with a little faster. The water was not at full height so it had an interesting effect that I like.
The golden hour refers to the time before, during and after the sunrise or sunset when you get spectacular or beautifully subtle colour in the sky and reflections off trees, buildings, people, etc.
I went out before sunset with my friend, Diane the other night which reminded me that sunset really is getting earlier every night. We left at 6:15 p.m. and found a hilltop perch so we could get high enough to see the skyline without trees and buildings getting in the way and blocking the sunset effects. I still am going to scout around for various viewpoints.
She is great to go out with because we goof around and take funny or embarrassing pictures of each other and laugh a lot, plus I am inspired by how she sees things from various points of view. Being inspired is so much better than being jealous or envious.
There were some challenges in getting the blue in the sky to show with all the orange. To solve this, I tried different exposures then settled on shooting in Tungsten White Balance. Also there were power lines in the view so I chose to evade them and in one case,did a major crop. I find that for night shooting I get the best results using Shutter Priority or in Canon terms, Tv, which stands for Time Value. I tend to go dark because I get better saturation of colour in the sky, closer to what I actually see.
After downloading, using Lightroom I heightened contrast to bring out the colour because I did not think the exposure gave the colour that I actually saw reflected off the trees. In other situations I did slight crops and straightening except for the high wires where I did a big crop. Had to use my healing brush for erasing dust spots which were prominent. Boo Hoo. Someone from the photo club has suggested HDR and higher exposure to show the details in the buildings with graduated filter for the sky. Lots more to explore and have fun with in the future.
Between playing a game of Scrabble and cooking supper, I thought of riding my bicycle to the legislature grounds to take pictures of the water fountain and play with different shutter speeds. It was getting dark out for mid afternoon and I thought that I would still go to the same destination but changed to the car for my mode of transportation-just in case.
It was cloudy and I was excited about the possibility of getting some lightning shots. No rain yet, I parked and walked a half block from my car and took pictures of the sky. Definitely some threatening clouds there. The wind was picking up, and I decided to head back to the car. I heard a sound like a crack. Did a branch break? I looked around. No, nothing apparent. A second later, another crack.
Hmmm. What was that? I perused the area then saw, on the sidewalk in front of me, a hunk of ice. I picked it up in my hand -wow, this was almost the size of a golf ball! Hail. Big hail. I started to quicken my pace and stopped at the parking attendant’s shack just as the hail started plummeting. He was just shutting the door and turned his back to me. Well, that’s a “no go.” I hunched my shoulders over my camera and thought it might be painful getting to the car so I ran as best I could. The hail was heavy but I don’t remember getting hit-I was more concerned about my camera. I got in the car quickly.
I didn’t drive away. It was raining too hard to see and the pellets of ice were making a racket as they bounced off my windshield and car hood . All sorts of leaves were blowing around and stuck to the hood and windows. This was scary! So Loud! Oh my God, is my windshield going to break? I calmed down and got the camera ready and took pictures out the window thinking how exciting and a little scary this all was. The pictures were almost impossible to take as streams of water ran down the windows. And if I opened the window I got soaked.
When the rain and hail slowed down I got the wipers and fan going because it was fogging up quicker than I could clear it. Took a couple of photos then it was okay to drive. I backed up and realized there was a huge puddle behind my car-always an ominous feeling because I didn’t know how deep it was going to get. I was able to turn before fully backing out and stopped long enough to get another shot of the flooded parking lot. I was feeling sympathy for the people who get caught in tornadoes and cyclones and the like, knowing this was so minor in comparison.
It was rush hour-oh, nice timing -and everything was slowed down because the streets had flooded and it was still pouring but not as heavily as before. The pedestrians were walking on the streets parallel to the traffic because they were trying to cross the road and couldn’t bridge the water flowing down the curbs. Every time I got to an intersection a car would send up a wake of water as it turned a corner or drove through. I had to wait a couple of lights and took pictures,wary of the distracted driving bylaw. I saw others with their point and shoots, a couple of us doing this when we were stuck at a light and going nowhere.
Finally got to Jasper Avenue. No, I was NOT going down the main street.I took a detour knowing the street took a dip a few blocks away and would be in worse shape than what I was seeing. I slowed down for the big puddles and got home just fine. That was my little bit of excitement for the day. I am still surprised that I never got hit by the hail. Haven’t checked my car yet.
Here are some pretty bad photos but hope they give a sense of the moment.
You know it’s Cold When…
I was thinking of ways that I could show the effects of the cold and I thought of a take-off on the red-neck jokes by Jeff Foxworthy. You know when it’s cold when…So I haven’t been too active but got a couple of photos. you know it’s cold when the smoke coming out of the stacks go horizontal rather than vertical. You know it’s cold outside when your nose hairs freeze. You it’s cold outsde when the parking lot is strewn with cords to plug in the block heaters in all the vehicles. You know it’s cold outside when AMA is so busy you have to wait up to 9 hours to get a boost or tow.Ironicly the cold weather may have had something to do with my neck getting totally out of whack. I had done some exercises that involved turning my head to each side and I over-stretched.( I know better) That, and the cold weather probably had something to do with it getting stiffer and stiffer..til I went to the hospital today to get some relief – I could barely move, chew or turn my head in any direction and was in a lot of pain.Got some meds to help me relax enough to massage myself blah blah blah…physio next week. Feel free to add some quotes about the cold.The photos aren’t that great, but you get the idea.Have a good day and and remember to practice an attitude of gratitude. Click on photo to enlarge.
Ice on Whyte Winter Festival
Winter’s Back with a bang, it feels like a Canadian winter again.It started snowing on Saturday and the temperature dropped to -26 celsius. It’s dropping down to -30 tonight. and staying til Wednsady . ironic, by the end of the week, hopefully when it goes up to -20 we will be saying we are having a heat wave. ha, all is relative!On the weekend I attended “Ice on Whyte” an exhibition of ice and snow sculptures with guest artists from China.Ice on Whyte is partnering with the Province of Alberta to present a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the twinning of the provinces of Alberta and Heilongjiang, China, so there are exhibits at the legislature grounds as well. There are tents with live music inside.So I enjoyed the artistry and I hope you enjoy the photos .Click on them to enlarge.
Birding on New Years Day
I promised myself that I would work on practising photography of birds, and that I had trouble getting a shot of pine grosbeaks the other day. So went out on the first day of the year looking for birds and had some luck. They are not perfect shots but maybe I can measure my progress this way. Found Pine Grosbeak, Bohemian Waxwings, and White-breasted Nuthatch.Oh yes, I can’t forget Mr. Curiousity! Click on the images for a larger view. 🙂
It’s a Leap Year!
I was outdoors trying to get a successful photo of some Pine Grosbeaks-the ones from the other day were dismal and I got some that were better that I will show you but I had this little inquisitive fellow following me for some time. Well he would come right up to me, then run away and usually be too close for a shot-he was quite the tease. When I saw this one shot I remembered it is indeed a leap year, so thought this fitting for the first day of 2012.
It is Looking Like Christmas
I like getting out to my favourite seasonal celebrations with my friends or alone with my camera.This was taken at a fundraiser for a children’s hospital. I deliberately shot this at a larger aperture to get a narrow depth of field and throw the background out of focus.Actually the whole thing is out of focus but I like the effect. I used a zoom lens which meant that people did not notice that I was taking a photo and were always walking in front of me. When the crowds started to annoy me, (getting bumped was occuring more often) I decided to pack it in before totally losing my Christmas cheer, went home, turned on some quiet music and my tree lights and relaxed with an eggnog and coffee. Ah-h-h- so nice.
The view from the steps of the Legislature
Like I said in my previous post, the star on the tree is really bright and “blows up” I increased my shutter speed a bit to compensate for the brightness and get some detail while still seeing the rest of the lights.