Monday, July 20, 2015

Kawagama Lake Getaway

We had our first cottage escape this past weekend! Friends have a cottage on an island in Kawagama Lake, which is quite a drive north, but it's worth it to be on water and get away from it all. We went up on the Friday which was grey, overcast and rainy, but we kept our fingers crossed for nicer weather for the rest of the weekend.

View of the dump through a wet car window

Window reflection revealing inside and out

Grey day

Boathouse colours

Cold lake, warm interior

Good night bunky
Well, the crossing of the fingers seemed to work, because the next day was beautiful! Other friends came up later in the day and we enjoyed drinks down on the dock, and I did my usual water frolicking throughout the day.  There was good food, lots of bevies and interesting and entertaining chit-chat.

Blue Bunkie close-up

Our delightful hostess in the chair of truth

DBP in silhouette


Yours truly doing jumping jacks - 1 second exposure!

Sunset - ahhhh!

CC and sunset

Cozy cottage interior
We didn't spend too long at the cottage on Sunday as we had to head home, but it was a lovely, relaxing visit and kicked off the summer with style.


The weather has not been great for most of this summer - lots of rain.  We usually visit the Aberfoyle antique market a few times throughout the summer, but didn't feel like traipsing around in the damp.  The other weekend, however, was gorgeous, so we zipped down and joined the other keen shoppers (window- or otherwise) to see what was available.

As usual, I'm drawn to some of the more colourful and worn-out pieces, especially when they are juxtaposed with different colours, sizes and styles of other pieces.

There is always something that is a popular sales item, and this time it was cameras and accessories. I liked the irony of pointing a camera at other cameras, especially when most of them were old-fashioned film cameras, and I was capturing them digitally.

Morning Shoot

The day after my Toronto visit, I decided to get up early to take some photos down at the convergence of the Speed and Eramosa Rivers.  I had noticed on my bus rides into work that there was always mist present on the water in the early morning and wanted to try some longer exposures to capture the morning light.

Early Reflection
Speed River Ducks
Speed River Sunburst
The latter is my favourite as the sun shone through the trees creating a sunburst effect that was reflected on the water.  The mist also showed up well and you can see the sun dappling parts of it.

Toronto Tourist

Even though I work in the big smoke five days a week, I took a Friday off and went in early a few weeks ago to meet a friend for lunch.  I also took my camera and tripod in to take some pictures. I'll share a few of the better ones here.

Urban Silhouette

This picture of an almost completed new, interestingly-shaped building was taken through a gap in a sculpture, with the morning sun situated at the top of the crane.  I liked the effect of the silhouettes with the sun rays streaming along the side of the sculpture.

Harbourfront silhouette
I walked along the lake at Harbourfront and took a shot of the life-saving equipment at the shoreline, with the Toronto Island ferry and the Islands in the background.  The tree silhouette created some softness and organic shape to the picture.

Harbourfront view
 Along the shoreline, there's an interesting concrete sphere that has been there for years, but has unknown function.  Sculpture perhaps? It made an interesting foreground to the urban background that included the omnipresent CN Tower.

Colourful boats
 This was also taken along the Harbourfront shoreline.  They rent canoes and kayaks, and I like the colours of the stacked hulls and the abstract reflection they made on the dark water.  In the distance, is the old Canada Malting Company building.

University Avenue fountain
 There are a couple of them and they are situated in front of the court house. I liked how the sun back-lit the water.  If you look closely, you can see the trail from a plane in the sky, just below the sun.

Harbourfront Panorama
 I used the Panorama function on my iPhone to capture this vista. The Queen's Quay building can be seen on the far right and left of the photo.

 I have always loved this old modern building and liked the juxtaposition of the top of the monument on University Avenue with it.

A walkway under a building with the distant green park visible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Photography 101

I love taking photos, but must admit that I'm something of a technical moron.  Most buttons on my Nikon D3100 have never been used and I have no idea what they are for.  I have decided to change all of that and give myself tutorials (there are plenty of good ones online) and actually read the damned instruction booklet that came with my camera, in hopes of teaching this old dog some new tricks.  Whereas, I have been happy to keep the camera set in the default position in the past, I'm now going to try and use some of the other buttons.

One little project I tried was to put the camera into the Aperture-priority auto mode.  Sounds like a mouthful huh? By doing this, I can control the size of the aperture that lets light in, and thus, keep one object in focus while the surrounding background has a nice fuzzy, out-of-focus look.

Geranium blossoms
Missourian Gooseberries
Succulent flowers
I realize I have along way to go and have much to learn, but every journey starts with a single step.  Or so they say.

Dinner Party for DBP

Last weekend we had some friends over for dinner to help our dear friend, DBP, celebrate her birthday.  It was meant to be a cocktail party, but because we had a total of eight guests, we decided to go all-out and make it a dinner party.  The day started off grey and damp, so we didn't think we would be able to enjoy drinks in the garden, but, lo and behold, the clouds dispersed  and the sun came out! We had bubbles and cheese and crackers in the garden after all.

LP brought guacamole-stuffed JalapeƱos that had been barbecued, so they were soft and smokey. I had one then had a case of the hiccups, which happens when I eat spicy food, much to everyone else's delight.

CC set a wonderful table, as usual, and was at the local farmer's market early, to get the best flowers, in this case, peonies.

We had Vichyssoise to start, something I have rediscovered recently.  My mother used to make it many years ago, and it's simple but elegant.

For the main course, we had Caesar salad, Quinoa salad, Asparagus with orange sauce and spicy, yoghurt-marinated Chicken breasts. The yoghurt helps to keep the chicken moist and any combination of spices work well. I liked the addition of turmeric to give it some colour, as I find chicken can look so blah.

For dessert, CC made his famous sponge cake and served it with lemon curd and stewed rhubarb. Much wine was consumed and there was a LOT of laughter, just how a dinner party should be.

Origami fun

I have been making Origami pieces, off and on, for some time now, and have recently taken to carrying  some paper with me for the long bus commute home.  The other week, I folded the following standards…
Origami paper waiting to be folded.
Classic Crane.
Turtle, a favourite.
Spinning Top - made with three pieces of paper.
I also like to troll Origami websites to come up with some new ideas, and recently found one that detailed how to make a Pinwheel Cube out of six pieces of paper.  The components are all made the same way and then are assembled by sliding the pointy ends into the pockets. I used six pieces of paper that were black on one side and white on the other, as I liked the contrast and Art Deco look…

I also like to follow some Origami enthusiasts on Instagram, and found one contributor who made cranes.  Interestingly, he also hand-paints the paper or draws doodles or makes cuts in the wings.  This got me thinking because I love to make ornate, paper snowflakes at Christmas, so I decided to give it a try.  I folded the crane in plain, white paper first, marked the wings in pencil, unfolded the crane, then made some cuts with scissors and refolded it.  I was quite happy with the result…

I decided to try a similar method with an Origami Star Box, and loved the result…

I still consider myself something of a beginner, but am always striving to try new things in an attempt to make it more interesting and challenging.