New Camera

July 01, 2009 at 03:47 PM | categories: Photography, Amara, General | View Comments

My 30th birthday came and went on the 21st of June. I got a couple of toys including a new Canon G10 Camera. I have been carrying it with me everywhere and have a few pictures up already. Most are from trips to the park. But there are also a couple from Amara's end of school year pageant (look for the pictures in the church). Unfortunately for the pageant shots there were a lot of pushy parents trying to get pictures, so there are no shots of Amara singing.

The camera is taking some getting used to. The controls are very different from my 300D (Digital Rebel) but I think I am starting to get the hang of them. My main problem is that I am not as fast with the G10 as I am with the SLR. The zoom reacts much slower that I can with the manual zoom on the SLR so composition takes longer with that. I also am still getting the hang of changing the auto focus location.

The G10 does, however, have a snappy start up and I have yet to see it have a problem keeping up with the speed I want to take pictures at, a problem that has been plaguing me with the 300D. One of the reasons I wanted the G10 was that I can capture in RAW. My big disappointment so far has been that Bibble, the software I use for my photo work does not yet have G10 support as they are between major releases. For the time being I am making due with the software that comes with the Camera, but it certainly does not have an optimized work flow. I don't want to have to shell out for something like Adobe Lightroom but if Bibble does not get their act together soon, that might be the way I am headed.

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Winterlicious X2 / AGO / Dirty Dancing

February 06, 2009 at 09:15 AM | categories: General | View Comments

Yesterday Kate and I had a very indulgent day. The Winterlicious promotion is happening in Toronto right now and we decided to take full advantage of it. We booked a lunch and dinner reservation and then built a day in Toronto around it.

First we went to Barootes for lunch. I had the Chicken, Leek and Barley soup while Kate had the Baby Organic Greens with Apple Cider Vinaigrette. The we both had Penne with Spicy Italian sausage in Basil Tomato Sauce and finished it off with their "Special of the Week" which was Chocolate Layer Cake. Yummy.

Once we left there we walked to the AGO to check out the new building and have a look through the new collections. The walk was a chilly at -8C but we got there quick enough that we did completely loose the feeling in our extremities (about 10-15 minutes).

The new AGO building is a welcome change. It makes the building much more interesting and the extra exhibit space made for the opportunity to see many works that were locked away in the vaults before. Add the new works, and even if you were very familiar with what used to be on display, I am sure you will find something new to see. The new centrepiece staircase goes all the way up to the 5th floor and is outside the main structure of the building between the 4th and 5th floors similar to the staircase on the other side of the building. Disappointingly, they are having a major problem with condensation on the glass between the 4th and 5th floors of the staircase. They had to close that section of the staircase and the water is damaging the dry wall in places. After all the money and effort that went into the transformation I hope they will be able to find a quick solution to the problem and it is just a matter of working out the kinks.

After about 4 hours at the AGO, it was time for the cold walk back to King St for our dinner at Marcel's Bistro. Both Kate and I had the Salad to start, followed by Pork tenderloin in a tomato sauce with mashed potatoes & seasonal vegetables. We shared a 1/2L of the Italian Terrazze Della Luna Pinot Grigio 2007. For desert Kate had Vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate sauce in puff pastry while I had the chocolate mouse cake. Again yummy, but I think Barootes was better.

To complete the day, we had tickets to Dirty Dancing. We had excellent seats, 3rd row, first balcony center which we got for the ridiculously low price of $30 each. Thank you Red Flag Deals. The play was good, but not your traditional the story line is sung kind of musical. It was more like a play with a lot of music and dancing in it. If you liked the movie, you'll probably like the play.

In all it was a very long, fun, expensive but high value day.

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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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