Hoping For Warmer Temperatures

The weather here in Montreal has been really bi-polar for the last couple of weeks.  Not long ago, we were up to about 20 degrees Celsius.  Then, all of sudden, it started to nose dive and even went below zero at one point.

To top it all off, it snowed!  Yes, it snowed.  We’re in the middle of April for goodness sakes.  What ever happened to a gradually warming Spring??

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I apologize for the varying sizes in my watermark, which is due to the fact that all the photos are of different sizes.  I took these photos back in 2012 and i was not doing things as consistent as i do today.

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I took the photos with my D5100 when i had it.

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One can only hope that mother nature starts to cooperate and gives us some spring-like weather in the coming weeks.  No more teasers with single days of warm weather.  Just give it to us.

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Looking at these photos gives me hope that warmer weather and a bit of color, is just around the corner.  With warmer weather, comes new flowers and new photo opportunities.

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When the flowers do finally start to bloom, i hope to do some more extensive macro work with my 60mm on my X-Pro1.

And instead of delaying it even more, i think i am going to get myself the 16mm extension tube so that i can get closer focus with the lens.

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Be patient, spring – the real spring – is coming.

Thanks for looking.

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Rainbow

Yesterday afternoon was quite an overcast one.  The clouds looked somewhat menacing, but they only managed to sprinkle down a few drops of rain.

As the afternoon wore on, i noticed a beautiful sight in the sky.  A wonderful and colorful rainbow arched it’s way across the tops of the trees and houses at the back of my home.

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I really had to play around with the colors in these photos.  I wanted the rainbow to “jump” out a bit by making the colors a little saturated.

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It was really nice to see this rainbow come out yesterday afternoon.  It really brightened up what was otherwise a dull afternoon.

Thanks for looking.

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First Real Photo Walk Of The Year

I’m not much of a winter “photographer”.  I do get out once in a while during winter, but nothing like during the summer.  For one, at times it is just to cold in the winter for the equipment to be operating in.  Therefore, when this past weekend was blessed with gorgeous, sunny weather, i took advantage of it.

Last weekend was my first real “photo walk” of 2015.  Yes, i have been out before during the winter months to take a few photos, but this was the first time that i was able to stroll around and just enjoy the outside while taking photos.

For this photo walk, i took the X-Pro1 with the 35mm mounter and the grip attached.  I put the spare battery in my cargo pants pocket and off i went.  Nothing else needed.

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I set my camera up to shoot in 16:9 once again.  I really wanted to have a good go at shooting in 16:9 before coming to some conclusions, which i will save for another post.

For me, Old Montreal is full of photo opportunities.  You can go back there again and again, and always find different perspectives on certain scenes.  Furthermore, there is lots to shoot.  You just have to look around and you will find all sort of photos.

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Despite it being a gorgeous day, it was not that busy down at the old port.  There was a a good flow of people coming into the area, but nothing like you would expect on such a nice day.

If you follow the news, you probably heard about the guy who ran out onto the ice to save his dog.

I was down there when it happened, but did not actually see what occurred.  Though, now i know why all the security vehicles were racing down to that area, with sirens blaring and lights flashing.

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The fact that there was not to many people out, made it much easier to have a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk.  During the summer time, you feel like a pin ball among all the people.

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The AML boats were docked and seemed to be getting ready for the summer boating season.  My wife and i came to the conclusion that we have to experience one of the cruises this year.

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I converted the below photo of the ice into greyscale, because i felt greyscale served the photo much better then leaving it in color.  Besides, there was not much color to it in the first place.

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I am sure the subsequent warm days have taken care of the ice that is present in the below photos.  The seagulls seemed to be enjoying standing and sitting on it though.

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It was nice to see the musicians out in Old Montreal again.  This guy had a bit of an audience while playing, including me.

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All in all, it was a great day.  I was so relaxed strolling around and taking photos.  For me, that is the best way to go about photography.  Just take your time, slow down, compose, shoot.  Think about the shot.

Thanks for looking.

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The Photos In My Blog

All the photos that you see on my blog are mine and were taken by me.

Equipment used: I currently use a Fuji X-Pro1 and a Fuji X10.  All of the photos that i post these days, are taken with my Fuji cameras.  In regards to any photos taken prior to September 2013, they could have been taken with any one of my Nikon DSLRs that i once owned.  I do try my best to indicate which camera i used.

Settings: I don’t usually post what settings I took the photo with.  If you really want to know, you can ask me and I will take a look at the original file for you.

Post-Processing: I have only recently started to learn Photoshop Elements 9.  So far, i have learnt how to watermark, add a frame, add an outline, merge exposures and paly with different layers.  I’m getting there.

I have also recently started to use a new photo editing software called Photo Director.  I have had to start using this software because for some strange reason, NX2 stopped working.

JPEG or RAW (RAF): The JPEGs straight from the Fuji cameras are very good.  As a matter of fact, one of the reasons i switched to Fuji, was to be able to shoot JPEG and have no worries.  Honestly, i don’t want to sit in front of a computer for hours and process RAW files.  The minor tweaks i do on the JPEGs take long enough.  I have shot RAW with my Fujis, that is how i did my HDR photos.  Though, I can’t see myself shooting RAW all the time.

At one point, i did shoot RAW quite a bit and used the in-camera converter to turn the photos into JPEGs.  It’s great to do it in-camera if all you want to do is push or pull the exposure a bit or sharpen a bit.  But, if you are wanting to get into more detail, you really need to bring the photo up on a larger screen.

Resolution: I very rarely post the full resolution photo.  First, it takes up to much space and secondly, it takes longer to upload and i do tend to upload quite a few photos to my posts.  I use a tool called Fotosizer and i reduce my photos to “webpage/email” size. This will take some of the resolution away, especially if you zoom in on the photo.

Please don’t steal: I worked hard at taking my photos, so please respect that. For me, these are my little pieces of art. If you like any of my photos and want to use it somewhere, please don’t steal it.  Ask me.

Thanks for looking.

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Air Inuit Dash 8 Q300 (C-GIAB)

I first wrote about Air Inuit back in February of last year in this post (https://d7100shooter.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/air-inuit/).

Tonight, i was able to catch one of their “newer” aircraft, a Dash 8 Q300, painted up in their new livery.

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It’s a “new” aircraft to Air Inuit, but this aircraft is at least 24 years old.  It flew for 7 airlines prior to coming over to Air Inuit in 2012.  When Air Inuit took possession of the aircraft, it was modified to a 314 variant.

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As of 2012, Air Inuit has 10 Dash 8 Q300s in their fleet.

Thanks for looking.

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Columbidae (Pigeon)

It was such a beautiful day today, there was no way i was going to miss out on going outside with the camera.

Aside from going down to the old port for a nice, leisurely walk, i also took a short stroll around my neighborhood.

I put the 50-230 on my X-Pro1 and looked for some birds.

Well, there were not many song birds around, so i was left shooting some pigeons.

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You can give them all the fancy Latin scientific classifications you want.  For me, they are flying crap bags.  They seriously mess up any area they roost.

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The pigeon in the below photo was interesting to observe.  It being spring and all, he seemed to be in full strut mode.  He had his chest puffed out and was doing a dance, which took him in circles while stamping his feet up and down.  I wonder if he got lucky…

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I must admit, i do like the colors that pigeons have in their plumage.  They are not striking, but they are well balanced colors.

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The pigeons were not the most exciting subject to shoot, but they were quite interesting to observe in their behavior.

Thanks for looking.

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Stowe & Spruce Peak Ski Resort, Vermont

One of the destinations that we visited while in Stowe, was the Stowe Ski Resort and Spruce Peak (I’m not sure why i kept saying Sugarbush to some people).

If you are visiting during ski season and are not going to ski, there really is not much to do, except for maybe hanging out in the lodge.  Oh yeah, the lodge…. well, i will get to that story later.

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Finding parking is not that hard, there is an abundance of it.  Further, people seem to be constantly coming and going.

In all honesty, we had no idea where we were going.  We wanted to park close to the main lodge, but we had no idea where that was.

In our pursuit of trying to find a spot near the gondola, we killed a traffic cone and had to pry it from underneath the car.  1 point for us.

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As we started to walk towards the gondola, some guy from NY state stopped us and asked where the main lodge was.  I told him, “I have no idea.  I know as much as you do!”

After taking a few photos of the mountain and some family shots, we proceeded to walk towards what looked like a ski shop.

Once in the ski shop, i asked the lady at the cash where the main lodge was.  She pointed towards the ceiling and said, “upstairs, second floor”.

I half chuckled and responded, “That’s it?“.

Well, i don’t think she liked my response because she gave a laugh as if to say, “who the heck is this guy!“, and just went on about her business without saying another word to me.

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The reason i responded, “That’s it?”, was because the main lodge that i was being shown, was not very large at all.  The lodges/chalets at the ski centers in the Laurentians are larger.  Though, in the case of Stowe, i believe most people drive into town for their apres ski activities.

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After our little adventure in finding the “main” lodge, we made it over to Spruce Peak via a short gondola ride, called the Over Easy.  The Over Easy is free for anyone who wants to take it.  No ski ticket or skis required.

If you take a look at the photo above, you will see a dog on the right hand side of the photo.  Notice how big she is.  Well, she was not for getting onto the gondola to go to the Stowe side of the resort.  And there was no way that her owner was going to make her either.

I am sure the dog was saying to herself, “Oh, you think i am getting on that contraption huh?  Think again lady!  I’m going the other way!”, and she did.

The owner of this dog was not able, even if her life depended on it, to pull this dog even an inch.  On the other hand, the dog was very able to pull her owner quite a distance!  It was quite amusing to watch.

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Once over at Spruce Peak, you can see that there is some major construction going on in order to build up a serious ski resort.

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We walked around a bit and then went back to the other side to get our car.

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Thanks for looking.

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Saint Benedict Abbey, Quebec

Prior to making our way over to the sanctuary that i wrote about in my previous post, we stopped at the Saint Benedict Abbey or Abbaye Saint Benoit du Lac in French.

I also wrote about the Tour St. benoit, which can be found on the grounds of the Abbey (https://d7100shooter.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/the-tour-st-benoit/).

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The monastery is quite an imposing structure and far more modern then i expected.  If you are wanting to get the whole structure in your frame, you are going to have to use a wide angle lens or do some stitching.

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For the photos below, i had to walk a ways up the main road that leads to the abbey.  Walking some distance back would be your third option of trying to get as much of the abbey in your frame.

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Below are two granite slabs that have been used as a sign for the abbey.

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Going inside the abbey, you are met with absolute silence.  You can hear a pin drop.  The fact that it was so quiet inside, made me feel like i was hammering nails into wood when i was taking photos with my X-Pro1.

The shutter on my X-Pro1 is certainly not as noisy compared to the DSLRs i have owned, but it still makes noise.  I felt so conscious when i was taking photos and just could not bring myself to use it when we stepped into the church of the abbey.

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Luckily, i had my little X10 with me.

The X10 possesses a leaf shutter (http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Leaf_shutter) and is dead silent.  I remember when i first started to shoot with the X10, i thought i was not even taking photos, despite pressing the shutter button.  It is that silent.

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Despite it being silent, it’s small sensor – 2/3″ – is it’s downfall in low light situations.  It’s not terribly bad, but when shooting above ISO 800, things do tend to start falling apart.

Though it seems like a lot of light was coming through the windows in the church, i had to boost my ISO to 1000 to get a good shutter speed in order to avoid camera shake.

I did have to do quite a bit of work to reduce the highlights in the photos.

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Overall, the photos came out pretty good for the conditions that i had to shoot in.  I could have played around with them a bit more in post, but i think i did what i could.

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The photo below is compromised of 4 photos stitched together vertically.  As i said before, you really need a wide angle lens to get this structure in your frame properly.  The 18mm would have been wonderful in this case.

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There is a large amount of land surrounding this abbey and when everything is in full bloom, it must be absolutely gorgeous.

Thanks for looking.

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Sanctuaire De Beauvoir, Quebec

Day one of our road tripping adventure took us down to the Eastern Townships where we visited the Abbey in St. Benoit du Lac and the Sanctuaire de Beauvoir in Sherbrooke.

Luckily for us, the day was beautiful and just right for taking a long drive.  It is a bit of a drive, but well worth it in the end.

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Once you are parked at the sanctuary, there is a tremendous view to be had.  I can only imagine what this view looks like in the summer or even in the fall with all the colors.

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The interior of the church is not very big, so it was somewhat hard to get a wide shot with just my 35mm. Furthermore, there was people praying, so i did not want to disturb them with the sound of my cameras shutter.

The church is made entirely of of stone, which makes it a bit cool to sit inside for to long.

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Outside, just at the back of the church, you will find the stations of the cross.  This area must be beautiful during the summer months.

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Below are some more photos of the view to be had once you make your way up to the sanctuary.

One fellow came up to me and started to tell me that on a clear day, you can see beyond the mountains that you see in the distance.

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Here is the steeple of the new church.  In the basement of the church, they have a store and a banquet area for local community events.  You are able to buy locally made cheeses and chocolates in the store.

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On our way out, we came across a huge procession of people making their way up to the church for Good Friday mass.  It was something that we don’t see very often living in the city.  It was nice to see that whole communities still come together like that.

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I took these photos with my X-Pro1 and the 35mm.  As you can see, i used the 16:9 aspect ratio again.

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Thanks for looking.

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The Tour St. Benoit

As part of our road tripping adventure this past Easter weekend, we made our way down to Saint Benoit du Lac.

Saint Benoit du Lac is a small community of about 50 people in the Eastern Townships.  It is located in the larger community of Memphremagog and only compromises of an Abbey, a cheese factory and the surrounding lands.

It is a very serene area and aside from the imposing Abbey, there are several smaller buildings to be seen.  One of those buildings is the Tour St. Benoit.

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At the moment of writing this blog post, i can not find much information on what purpose this building actually serves.  However, i can only assume that it is some sort of chapel or meditation area.

I did notice a sign in front of the building that stated renovations were either in progress or were going to take place.  It’s good to know that these old buildings are being kept up.

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This chapel must be more picturesque during the summer with all the foliage out.  I spotted three stairways going up to this little chapel and i would assume that during the summer, you can walk up to the chapel and have a visit.  When i was visiting, the stairs were covered in snow and i was not even sure if people were allowed to go up to have a look.

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With these photos, i set up my X-Pro1 to shoot in 16:9, just as i had done with my X10.  I do like the aspect ratio, but it does have it’s limitations.  In other words, i am not sure that i would shoot everything in 16:9… or would i?  I am debating whether or not this “cinematic” aspect ratio can give justice to every scene or vice versa.

Along with experimenting with this new aspect ratio, i am also learning a new photo editing software and these are the “guinea pig” photos.

Thanks for looking.

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