Ducks & Some Extras

On our walk around the old port yesterday, we went to the man-made pond that lies just next to the boardwalk.  Once there, i spotted a family of ducks.


Someone built them a little ramp so that they can get out of the water easily.


I don’t know where Dad was, but it seemed like Mom had all the little ones under control.




Someone taking a look at the MS Maasdam.


The ducks seemed to have commandeered this “dock”.  Obviously, it has been floating here for a while.  I am not sure if someone intentionally put them in the water for the ducks to nest or if they have just been forgotten.  Either way, the ducks sure seem to be happy.


A beautiful sand sculpture at the entrance of the old grain storage/elevator pier.



There were two of these towers at either end of the pier at one time.  What you see between the chairs, are windows.  Theses windows enable you view the grain storage area.

When the towers were in operation, there was a conveyor belt (underground) between the two elevators in order to “feed” the different types of grain to each elevator.


Thanks for looking.

MS Maasdam

We had to go and get a few things downtown today, so we decided to take a little stroll down to the old port as well.

Today, there was a cruise ship in port.  The cruise ship was the MS Maasdam.  The MS Maasdam is a Holland America ship and is named after the Maas river in the Netherlands.


The Maasdam was completed in January of 1993 at a cost of $180 million USD.  She can hold 1258 passengers and 580 crew.


During the winter season, the Maasdam is based in Ft. Lauderdale and serves the Caribbean.  During the summer, she sails from Boston, going to Europe, Atlantic Canada and New England.


There were many people on the boardwalk with their suitcases, waiting to get aboard the ship i presume.


As i was taking photos, i heard some people behind me exclaim, “Look, that’s a French ship!”.

Okay, quick lesson folks.  This is the French flag:


This is the Dutch flag:

download (1)

This is what was flying.

Yes, okay, they are somewhat similar with the same colors.  But, they are not the same.


For the first time, i had forgotten to charge my second battery.  That meant i went out with only one battery and it was not fresh.

In order to save battery power, i turned off the OIS for the lens – it really does drain the battery.  So, i used S mode in order to keep a good shutter speed (1/500) to minimize any camera shake.



It worked out fine.  I just had to remember to keep my eye on the exposure scale at the left side of my EVF.


All photos taken with the X-Pro1 and the XC 50-230mm.

Thanks for looking.

Montreal International Jazz Festival

Well, the summer in Montreal starts with festivals and it ends with festivals.  It’s hard to believe that we are at the end of July!  Time flies when you are having a great summer.

I have tried to get out to all the major summer festivals this year and so far, i have succeeded.  Though, at times, i really want to just relax at home – i don’t like crowds that much either.

Anyhow, i know i am doing this in reverse since i already posted about the Just for Laughs festival, but better late then never.


Here is the main outdoor stage.  I remember the days that the festival was sponsored by DuMaurier.  Seems like ages ago.

XPRO3008 XPRO3009

If there was any doubt where you were, all you had to do was look around and you would get the hint.



There was a family zone where the kids were able to go and make some crafts.  My daughter made a crown with the Jazz cats on it.



I found this very eye-catching.  When i shot this, i was trying to stay cool and out of the blazing hot sun.  We certainly can’t complain about the lack of sun & heat this summer.  Both have been plentiful.


These guys were just in front of the main stage.


It was a good thing that there was a kids concert inside of Complexe Desjardins, because the heat outside was getting to be a bit to much.

This musical dance troupe is called, “La Petite Ecole Du Jazz”.  They had their stage set up in the middle of Complexe Dejardins and must have performed their show 2-3 times in a day.



Taking these photos was a bit of a learning experience for me.  I had to keep my shutter speed at a relatively decent number in order to capture the movements of the troupe.



After messing about with the aperture for a while, i simply put the camera in S mode (1/125s) – i do this by simply turning the dial on top of the X-Pro1.

Once in S mode, i set my ISO to Auto, with 6400 being the ceiling.  From this point on, it was far easier to shoot and not worry about shutter speed.




It was a great show for the kids.  The nice thing about it, was the fact that the animators got the kids involved, instead of just letting them sit and watch – my daughter stood up and danced.



I am not to sure what the story line was.  I was kind of tuned out and just waiting for some photo ops.


With the Jazz Festival done and the Just For Laughs ending on Monday, there is not much summer left to go.  Let’s not contemplate that to much though.

There is still plenty to do in Montreal in the next month or so and there is plenty more warm weather to come.

Thanks for looking.

Church Of The Gesu, Montreal

On our way to the Just For Laughs festival, we walked by a church that i have always wanted to go inside.  Today, i took the opportunity to walk through the open doors which were inviting people inside.

The church is called “Church Of The Gesu” and is a Roman Catholic church.  It was loosely designed and built after the Church of the Gesu in Rome.

Interestingly enough, the church was supposed to have two bell towers on either side entrance.  However, funds to do so were re-directed to support the College Sainte Marie.


College Sainte Marie was just south of the school (there is a vacant lot behind the church and i assume that is where the school was), but was torn down in 1975.

The Gesu survived the wrecking ball and was restored in 1983.



Construction of the church began in 1864 and it’s doors opened to worshipers on July 10th, 1865.  It was designed by American-Irish Architect, Patrick Keeley.



With it’s vaulted ceilings, which are 75ft above ground level, the Church of the Gesu is the only fully baroque-style church in Montreal.




There are five arches that complete the vaulted ceilings of the church.  The ceiling is adorned with frescoes, which depict the life of Jesus, done by Daniel Muller, an American painter.




The basement of the Gesu is used as an auditorium and is considered one of the oldest cultural venues in Montreal.



As with the photos i took of the inside of St. Patricks, i used an aperture of f/4 (this enabled me to keep my shutter speed above 1/35) and my ISO was set on Auto, 6400 being my ceiling.  All photos were taken at an ISO of 6400.  A black & white film simulation with a red filter was also used.


Thanks for looking.

St. Patrick’s Basilica In Greyscale

After a bite to eat downtown, we decided to stop by at St. Patrick’s Basilica.  However, before going inside, we had to wait for a wedding to finish.

Before getting to the entrance of the church, i had a feeling that there was a wedding going on, because i saw the wedding tog.  He was a pretty cool guy though.  How do i know that? Because, he had a silver Fuji X100/s hanging around his neck.

20 minutes later, we were able to go inside and have a peaceful sit down.

I have taken many photos of the interior of this beautiful basilica, but none in greyscale.  So, today was the day.







All photos taken with the X-Pro1 and the XF 35mm.  My aperture was f/4 & had the ISO on Auto with 6400 as the ceiling.  Though, all photos were “taken” at ISO 6400.  I used the black & white film simulation with a red filter.




In NX2, i sharpened, increased the contrast and took back the brightness a tad.




Thanks for looking.

Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan, Ontario

Just today, i was kindly reminded that i had never posted the photos of Canada’s Wonderland.

I really thought i had, but a searched and searched, but nothing.  So, off i went into the photo archives to retrieve the photos from our trip to Canada’s Wonderland.

Let me tell you, La Ronde has nothing on Canada’s Wonderland.  This amusement park is huge!


All the photos in this post were taken with the X-E1 when i had it.  When we went to Wonderland, i had only had the X-E1 for a few weeks and i was still on a steep learning curve with the Fuji system.

Looking at the photos, i have noticed that there are strong shadows and for some reason, my aperture is all over the place.


Along with the X-E1, i had the 18-55mm zoom lens, which i do miss.  It was the perfect lens for taking photos at Wonderland.



These games looked fun, but we were not allowed to play since we were only 3 people.  We looked around for a fourth person, but we got to the park early and there were not many other people around.




Here is the entrance to the Kid’s Zone.  My daughter really enjoyed this part of the park (obviously because it was for kids) and it was nice to see her come out of her “shell” even more.




We were able to catch this show in the afternoon.  Despite the fact that it was August, it was still a rather hot day and i am not sure how the people survived in those costumes.







One of the many rides designed for kids in the Kids Zone.





Another character from “Peanuts“.



The Leviathan.  This is one monster of a roller-coaster.


Yes,  this is part of the The Leviathan.  As i said, it’s a monster of a ride.  I could not believe how big it was and how high it went.


A bunch of people scaring the crap out of themselves.  Notice the two empty seats…


All in all, it was an awesome day.  For an August day, it was above seasonal temps, which was just fine for walking around and enjoying what the amusement park had to offer.

Thanks for looking.

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Laval Nature Park, Laval, Que.

I must admit, we have been on a bit of a “nature” high for the last couple of months.  I don’t think it has ended just yet.

During the same weekend that we went to Cite du Havre Park, we also visited the Laval Nature Park.  Once again, i have added the location within this post.

A heads up: 

If you are NOT a Laval resident, get ready to pay $7 for parking.  I think this is very reasonable for all day parking and for what you get to experience.

This is the scene to your left as you walk into the main entrance.  We started walking in this direction, where we found a nice little pond.


Saw this turtle sun bathing.  Though, with the 40 degree Celsius heat, i think he was about to jump into the water.


A dragonfly that stayed still for a few seconds while i took it’s photo.


A turtle doing the wise thing: cooling down!  The water may be dirty, but it sure was inviting.


A couple of photos of the pond.



In the next two photos, you will see some scenes from our walk from the pond to the farm & greenhouse.



Inside the greenhouse, there is a variety of birds, fish and of course, plants & flowers.




I started to get hungry at this point.




Over at the farm, i don’t think the animals were all that happy.  I think some of them were not sure what to do, stay inside or go outside.  This cow decided to stay inside, where there was relief from the blazing hot sun.



Fur ball!


This guy is really cute.


This horse was not happy.  I went over to him after i took his photo and you can see it in his eyes.  I think he just wanted someone to hose him down with cold water.


This pig did not seem to be bothered by the heat.  He was happily plodding along and looking for something to eat in the grass.



Here is Terminator.  I did not dare get closer then this.  He gave me this look, as if he were saying, “Boy, get any closer to me & my box and you will get one of my horns where the sun don’t shine”.


This is the lake that is just a few minutes walk from the farm & greenhouse.  There is a cafeteria located next to the lake, complete with washrooms and lockers.


This guy was our escort out of the park.  He waddled in front of us until we turned up the path and out of the park.


If you have the time on a nice, sunny weekend, drive up to the nature park, take a picnic and enjoy a nice afternoon away from the hustle & bustle of the city.

All photos taken with the X10.

Thanks for looking.

©, All Rights Reserved

The Fuji X10, F/2 & A Church Interior

I stopped by one of the churches downtown before going home the other day.  It is such a peaceful place to sit and relax.

At the time, there was a small wedding going on, but no one seemed to mind that the general public was flowing in and out.

I decided to take a wide angle shot of the interior with my X10.  The angle is a bit “off” so to speak, but i already have many photos of the inside of this church already.


My focal point is in the middle of the photo.  The aperture is f/2, shutter speed is 1/30, lens was at 28mm (35mm equiv) and the ISO was set at 320.

I opened up the aperture as opposed to increasing the ISO, because i feel that ISO 800 on the X10 is really the limit before you start to see some bad noise.

I wanted to keep the photo as “clean” as possible, so i dialed in f/2 on the lens and played around with the ISO so that i could get a minimum of 1/30 for a shutter speed.

At f/2, i really was not expecting such a result.  I thought i would get the center of the photo nice and in focus, but not the surrounding edges.  Though, upon closer inspection of the photo, i noticed that everything is in focus and there is only some slight softness around the edges.  I am surprised, as well as pleased.

Aside from some distortion, which is a given & forgivable, i am very happy with the performance of the lens on the X10.

Thanks for looking.

Just For Laughs. Good Medicine For The Soul

Victor is back in town!!  That’s right, the Just For Laughs festival has taken over Montreal once again.

After the Jazz Festival wraps up, Victor comes rolling into town with his big, green Cadillac to bring some humor to us.


Stepping out of his green Cadillac, he stakes his claim in & around Place des Arts.


One of many of Victor’s laugh rockets seems to have “landed” on top of Place des Arts.


Tentacles from…  well, i am not sure.


This gives new meaning to, “Big brother is watching”.


Preparing one of the stages for a show later in the evening.


Care to sit down?


Which way??


A view down towards the main venue.


Setting up the stage for some music later tonight.  There was also a sound check going on.



A street scene from the festival area.


We may have gone a little to early in the day, for there was not much going on at the time.

All the photos above (except for the Cadillac, which was taken last year with a Nikon) were taken with my X10.  I set it up at an aperture of f/8 and put it on Auto ISO 400.

Thanks for looking.

Cite Du Havre Park, Montreal

A few weekends ago, we ventured to Cite du Havre Parc.  I have always wanted to go here because the park is literally in the middle of the St. Lawrence river – i have added the location of the park in this post.

At the very end of the park, there is also a lookout that gives you a great view of the river and the Jacques Cartier bridge.


I took the photo below because it incorporates four “symbols” of Montreal and at the same time, have a lot of history behind them.

In the photo, you will see the Big “O” (1976 Olympics, the Expos), the Jacques Cartier Bridge (named after Jacques Cartier himself), the Molson Brewery (founded in 1786 and is a name you can’t get away from in the city) and then you have the Montreal Clock Tower (dedicated to all the sailors who lost their lives in WWI and was completed in 1922).


Getting to the park is not that hard.  But if you are not paying attention, you will drive right past the entrance, like we did.

There is free parking, but many people seem to park along the little stretch of road that leads to the park; therefore, watch out for car doors that are left open when leaving the park.  We nearly took the driver’s side door of a Volvo off.  I was given a dirty look when i honked at the owner of the car and told them to close their door.  I suppose they would prefer a three door car…

Once in the park, we were able to get a nice spot under the shade and looking out over the river.  Since it was a long weekend, there was plenty of watercraft out on the river.







Despite all the human activity on the river, this mother duck and her ducklings were not shy to come out for a little swim.



Every half hour or so, this red boat came roaring out of the port and did his run up and down the river with paying clients.





Looks like fun.

If you have never been to Cite du Havre park, i recommend going.  It was not very busy when we went.  Most of the people who were there, were fishing.  On top of it’s tranquility, you will get a really nice view of the river.

I took all the above photos with the X-Pro1 and the 50-230mm.

Thanks for looking.