Bleu Lavande

We have not done many road trips this summer.  It seems like at this time last year, we had already done about five.  With that being said, it’s time to catch up.

The Eastern Townships is a great place to go for a road trip, as well as to see some beautiful scenery.  This weekend, we decided to go down to Stanstead in the Eastern Townships, in order to visit the Bleu Lavande (lavender) estate.

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It’s quite a drive to get there and if you like peace & quiet, rolling hills and wide open spaces, it will be worth it.  If you like lavender and all things that smell good, going to Bleu Lavande will be a bonus.

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For me, it was the photo opportunities that i enjoyed the most.  In all honesty, i thought the estate would be a bit more impressive.  Aside from the cafe and the store, all there is is rows, upon rows of lavender.

One side note: there is no indoor plumbing.  If nature calls, you are going to have to use the “Johnny on the spot” facilities that they provide.

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There is a guided tour of the estate that you can take, but walking around and simply enjoying the scenery, seems to be the best way to enjoy the estate.

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I don’t quite get the appeal of going here (i think you have to be female to do so), but there were plenty of people visiting when we went.

I must say that the area is very peaceful and once the band at the cafe had stopped playing, it was dead silent.  It was a nice change from the hustle & bustle of the city.

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The next four photos were taken from the parking lot.  It really is a breathtaking view.  I can only imagine how beautiful it is after a dusting of snow or when the fall colors are out.

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Going back home, there is endless photo opportunities of beautiful landscapes.  The only problem is, there is not many places where you can pull of the road.

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One of the dangers of driving down in the Eastern Townships on narrow, two lane roads, is wildlife.  A deer can jump out at any moment and give you the fright of your life and one did just that to us.

We were driving along a paved, winding, two lane road through a wooded area and at one point, i caught this brown object out of the corner of my right eye.

Subconsciously, i knew what it was.  However, it did not fully register until it had jumped out into the middle of the road, that it was a deer.

Within a split second of me first seeing it, we were staring at a full grown deer at a point in the road where we were going to be in another split second with our car.

Brake!!!!!

Though i was in the passenger seat, i nearly put my foot through the floor of the car, bracing myself.  I really thought we were at least going to clip him, if not hit him head on.

Luckily, my wife had seen him quite well and by always having her foot on the brake, we managed to stop and the deer went about his business of getting to the other side of the road.

Venison steaks were mere feet away.

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Thanks for looking.

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Street Art

I took the old X-pro1 out today.  Well, it seems to be old, what with everyone’s attention – even Fujifilm’s – on the new X-T10 and the “newish” X-T1.  The poor X-Pro1 (Fuji’s first interchangeable X series camera)  has sadly been forgotten.

However, i am still extremely fond of it and will not give it up for any of the new gear.  It does what it is supposed to do: take photos and it is damn good at it (i do have some input, of course).

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This is the kind of graffiti i like.  I love these wall murals that are around Montreal.  I found these ones in NDG (Notre Dame de Grace).

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The FOV of the 27mm is great.  I always felt a little restricted with the 35mm.  On the X-Pro1, i have a really compact system with the 27mm lens.

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The colors in these murals are just wonderful and i think that is what makes them so interesting and eye-catching.

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For this photowalk, all i had with me was my camera, nothing else.  I did not bother with a spare battery, because i knew what i was going to shoot and i had enough juice in my battery to accomplish what i wanted to do.

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Thanks for looking.

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A Little Getaway

I have been on long vacations (a month) and short vacations that last but a few days.  Personally, i would rather take a bunch of short vacations then just one, long one.  Though, i am looking forward to spending a nice, long month in the Philippines again.

After Canada Day, we went down to Burlington, Vermont to have a few days to relax and made the weekend extra long.

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The great thing about Burlington, is that it sits right on the shore of Lake Champlain.  Burlington also has a nice walking trail along the front of the shoreline, with various spots where you can look out onto the lake.

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While there, we ate a pretty neat restaurant, called “Splash”.  Now, the food is okay, so don’t expect gourmet dishes.  It’s a simple fish & chips, hamburgers & fries kind of place.

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But, what is really neat about the restaurant, is the fact that it is not only on the water front, it’s actually out on the water!  Not only that, but you can sail your boat right up to the restaurant’s dock, get off and have a meal.  Pretty cool.

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Sitting out on the deck or “dock”, you have a really great view of Lake Champlain and all the boats that are out sailing.

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Walking back from the restaurant, we spotted this dinosaur made out of plastic bottles.

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Here is a view looking up the trail that runs along the shore front.  It’s elevated from the shore, so you are actually looking down at the lake when you are on the trail.

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On our way back home, we stopped of in a nice park in a small town not far from Essex Junction.

This seagull was very brave and had his eye on our lunch.

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I spotted this hole that a woodpecker had made in one of the trees in the park.  I could not believe the size of the hole.  Seeing that there was still sap dripping, he must have just finished making this hole.

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I love the Champlain Valley.

Thanks for looking.

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Thousands Of Bricks

Some weeks ago, Brick Fest 2015 came to Montreal.  Essentially, Brick Fest is an exhibit for anyone who loves Lego.

I took my daughter to Brick Fest, since she loves Lego and is very innovative in building her own Lego creations.

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It was not a very large exhibit, but i do think that it satisfied even the most particular Lego enthusiasts.  There was something for everyone, ranging from Duplo creations, to Lego Technics.

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I really liked this Lego creation, a reproduction of Habitat ’67.  It was very well done.

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The old space Lego that was on display brought me back to my childhood years.  Why did the helmets of the spacemen always break at the chin?

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This guy was roaming about on the floor.  Perhaps he was verifying if people were real Lego lovers or not.

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Here is another Lego creation that i loved.  Anyone who lives in Montreal should recognize this building with ease.

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This Lego creation is probably my favorite.  The creativity that went into this is something else.  As far as i know, there is no Lego kit for this; therefore, the builder thought all of this out by themselves.  Quite amazing.

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I need this R2D2 to bring me cold drinks from the fridge!

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Nope, no WordPress or Instagram icons here.

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It was really a great day and i was very impressed by all the different Lego creations that people built.  If you like Lego, i advise you attend this exhibit the next time it’s in town.

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Thanks for looking.

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A Little Bit Of Downtown

What amazing weather we are having this weekend.  It may have been hot and sunny, but there was a nice wind today to somewhat cool you off.

Along with the great weather, i had a wonderful day with my daughter.  We went for a little walk downtown, had a bite to eat (McDonald’s) and spent some time in church.

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I bought the X100T along and managed to fit it in my belt bag.  No camera bag required.

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Along with the camera, i also brought along a spare battery and SD card.  All of this fit into my belt bag, along with my camera.

It really is awesome to be able to carry an APS-C camera with you, without a bulky camera bag to lug around.

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It was really nice to have a leisurely walk with my daughter.  It was nice to hear that she had all sorts of questions about what we saw around us.  She was also quite impressed at how tall PVM was.

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Thanks for looking.

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Nature

Last Wednesday while at Parc Jean Drapeau, i was able to put both the 27mm and the 18-135mm through their paces.

The 18-135 is a very versatile lens, with a focal range that covers the most popular focal lengths for general photography.

However, the 18-135 is a heavy piece of glass at 490g.  With it attached to the X-pro1 (450g), plus the grip (136g), you are looking at a total weight of 2.37lbs.  Though, that is still lighter compared to a D7100 with a 18-140mm at 2.57lbs.

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I really do like the lens because of the fact that i am ready for pretty much anything photo wise.  If you do decide to purchase the 18-135, i would advise buying a grip for your camera.  It will come in handy and make for more comfortable shooting.

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The lens does very well when doing close-up photography.  There is still good separation of background, despite that the maximum aperture at the long end is f/5.6 (of course, this does depend on how far back the background is from the main subject).

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It’s really nice to have the wide angle capability of the lens.  At 18mm, you have a field of view of 76.5 degrees and are able to fill your frame up with a big chunk of the scene in front of you.

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From using the 18-135 for a day, i can honestly say that it will be the lens mounted on my X-Pro1 the most.  It is just so versatile.

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Of course, if i wanted a much lighter kit, i could always mount my 27mm or use my X100T or X10.  But, if i were to go on vacation for any extended period of time and had a choice of one camera & lens, it would be the X-Pro1 with the 18-135.

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In a future post, i will give my first impressions of the lens, just as i did with the XF 27mm.

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Thanks for looking.

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First Photos With The Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8

In my last post titled, “L’Homme”, you saw some of the first photos that were taken with the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8.

In this post, i will show you the rest of the photos that i took with the 27mm last Wednesday.

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I was able to get within a few feet of these ducks.  They only got up and jumped into the water when i made a sudden movement.  Brave ducks indeed.

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I must say, the combination of the X-Pro1 and the 27mm is very compact and lightweight.  It’s a great “walk around” kit for photo walks.

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I like how the background separates from the main subject at f/2.8 with the 27mm.  There is pretty nice bokeh in my opinion.

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Here, i did some wide angle shots of downtown Montreal with the 27mm.  With an angle of view of 55.5 degrees, you can get quite a bit into the frame.

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You can get within 34cm of a subject when using the 27mm as a “macro” lens.  Not bad for this type of lens.

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Here are a few more wide shots of downtown Montreal from the other side of the St. Lawrence river.

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If you have any of the Fuji ILS cameras and are looking to have a nice, compact kit, have a look at the XF 27mm f/2.8.

Thanks for looking.

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