Kids Christmas 2007

December 18, 2007 at 08:09 PM | categories: Photography, Amara | View Comments

We hosted a little Christmas party for our friend's kids and Amara today. The youngest of the bunch is pictured on the right. Click the picture to see all the pictures I took.

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Installing Windows XP on a New Computer Without a Floppy Drive

December 14, 2007 at 10:32 PM | categories: Computers | View Comments

New computers with an Intel Chipset like this one support RAID and AHCI. Unfortunately you can't install Windows XP without the use of the F6 + driver disk method of loading drivers for installation, but only using a floppy. What happens when you don't have a floppy drive? You have to jump through hoops.

In my search for how to handle the situation, I quickly found this post which sent me on the right track, in search of nLite which allows you to add drivers directly to the Windows install CD.

Unfortunately, if you don't happen to have another computer with a floppy drive both Intel and Asus make things even more difficult. The Asus install CD has a make disk utility to create the driver disk, but requires a floppy drive in order to get at the drivers. Intel does not make things much better. They also provide a disk creation utility. It happens that they use WinImage, which at least means you can extract the drivers, but it is unfortunate that they don't just provide a zip disk.

Once I figured out that I HAD to use the drivers from the disk image, things went smoothly.

For those of you shocked that I actually installed Windows XP, the computer is in fact for me and XP is necessary for the work I will be doing with Kate starting in January when my paternity leave ends.

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Maybe I Should Have Been A Photographer

June 19, 2007 at 12:22 PM | categories: Photography, Amara, General | View Comments

The last couple of weeks I have been taking a lot of pictures. Two weeks ago I took some pictures of some of my wife's new mommy friends and their kids (see right). This is the first of 3 get-togethers this group will have that we will attend before we move back to Burlington. The second set, from last Wednesday is already up and we are supposed to meet up with this group again tomorrow, which will hopefully also yield some good pictures.

All the get-togethers are supposed to happen outside at a park, but it was too cold for the first one and we headed over to Bayshore Mall. The temperature issue sorted itself out for last week's get-together and so all of the pictures are outside. Each environment proved to have tricky lighting conditions. The mall had a mix of incandescent and fluorescent lighting that was sometimes too dim. I punched some of the pictures up with a flash bounced off the ceiling, but found the children did not cooperate with being in the good light.

The second shoot, was supposedly at the wrong time of day to be shooting. Best light is closest to dawn or dusk which provides a nice soft light, but we were shooting under the harsh mid day sun. I think the fact that everyone was sitting under a shady tree worked out well. There was plenty of light and the washed out sunny backgrounds look really good (above left).

In between those two photographic opportunities I went to my wife's sister-in-law to be (Tara)'s bridal shower. Again the available light made things a bit challenging. The pictures were taken between 3:30 and 5:30 which does not mean harsh mid day sun, but is still not the subdued soft lighting of dusk. There was a lot of shots half in, half out of shade, as well as some with full on sun and a couple in door. Even so, I think there were quite a number of good shots. As kids tend to do, this little guy and his grandma (left) to the left provided the standout shots. I'll have to corner Tara and Christian at their wedding and make sure they get to be in a picture with some kids :)

On Saturday Kate and I visited with Mike and Maria and their kids for a BBQ. I think I am getting the child photography thing down. It helps that Jaan (left) and Aisha (below right) are too cute for words. Between wanting to be photographed and being shy, they proved to be almost perfect photographic subjects.

Here again I was contending with what is supposed to not be ideal light, but I think the lighting really enhances the mood of these two photos. Some of my success here is happy accident, but I have been getting more and more keeper shots, so I think some degree of my success is that I really am getting better at figuring out where to point the camera, what to keep in frame, when to take the picture and what to do about bad (and good) lighting.

I don't just take pictures of other people's kids. If you have looked though the galleries linked above, you may have found one or two of Amara. She of course also has her own section in the gallery.

Sunday was father's day so I got a bit of a day off, both from picture taking and looking after Amara. Kate took a couple of pictures with Amara and I in Strathcona Park to commemorate my first father's day. I think they turned out pretty well. I didn't totally stop taking pictures that day, I took this picture of Kate and Amara (left) at Strathcona Park also.

Some of the mothers from the get-togethers that did not know much about me, assumed from my comfort with the camera and the resulting pictures that I am a pro photographer. I have also been getting more and more comments that my pictures look like they were taken by a professional. Maybe I missed my calling. In any case, I am seriously thinking about selling my services, at least as a child photographer, to help supplement the camera equipment lust that has developed over the last couple of years. What do you think? Would you pay me to photograph your child. I am sure that I would be cheaper than Canadian Baby Photographers and I would't make you buy your prints through me :)

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This Little Piggie Cried "Wii, Wii, Wii," All The Way Home!

May 30, 2007 at 11:01 PM | categories: General | View Comments

A Nintendo Wii has arrived in our family room. We were in Wal-Mart today and they had them in stock. It was the first time I have been anywhere when they had them in stock.

We got the console plus an extra Wii Remote controller. They were out of stock on the Nunchuck, and we opted out of getting the Classic Controller for the time being. We did not get any other games so for the time being all we have is Wii Sports

Wii Sports is super fun. I worked up a sweat playing, but I am not sure if that is because I was working really hard or because the house is really hot. It's probably more about the house being hot ;)

The browser is also cool. I can now watch YouTube and Google Video on my TV, but for some reason TED Talks did not seem to work. I'll have to look into that.

In all I am quite impressed with my first little go with the Wii and can't wait to play with it more. Hmm.... Perhaps I will catch up on my sleep a bit first though.

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Parental Leave

May 04, 2007 at 03:56 PM | categories: General | View Comments

Amara is proving to be a demanding child and with no other support people to help Kate I have decided to go on parental leave. My last work day before that happens is May 11.

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