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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

2007: Part Third or The Self Portrait.

Looking at my pictures I had a hard time trying to figure out what to write on. 2007 was a rather sparse year of saved pictures. One thing I did notice was that I had a few shots taken of myself either a self portrait style or in a group. Funny how much your look can change in a year. I am going back to 2006 for a second just to compare things.

Now this was from November 17th 2006 (gotta love EXIF on digital pictures). Compare it with these two pictures taken on January 25th 2007.

Yeah, I grew out a full beard that year. It grows in fast so I can really get away with it at work when I am allowed to do it. I used my handy dandy tripod that I had picked up by this time. I did use it later as well.

I was up visiting my mom a lot during this period as well. She needed some help and I was pitching in when I could. On her birthday, my brother had flown in from out west to see how she was doing and to give a little hand as well. On March 1st we took her out for a birthday dinner at a little resteraunt called the "Ossawippi Express". A bunch of old train cars turned into a fine dining establishment.

Out comes the tripod again to take a self portrait, and a group shot of family and friend.

The self portrait wasn't really an ego thing, it was more a test of the flash and angling of the camera for the group shot. You will have to forgive me an my brother at this time. I had been up since midnight for work, and he had gotten into Toronto at about 8am. He picked me up and we headed north with no sleep, except for a 2 hour nap when we arrived. So in the group shot we have from left to right, my brother Bruce, family friend Dave, my mom, and of course myself.

I didn't have too many other pictures of myself until October. No self portraits, I had some one take the picture for a couple of group shots. I will only show one here.
Nov09-07 055
Yep the full beard is gone, and it's just the goatee. Also I went with the Mr. Clean look. I do believe I have a few more pictures as well I took running around out there. I will probably find them once I get my new computer up and running and all my photos properly downloaded and sorted on it. So till next time, and it should be more scenery and pretty pictures.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2007: Part the Second, or not all pictures are gems

Well, there's good photography, then there's bad photography. Using a camera can be very frustrating at times. As I have said before, most of my bad pictures are gone. Usually deleted before they are downloaded. Well that used to be true. I now keep even the bad ones, sometimes they can be useful.

I don't know why this series of pictures is so blurry, I will ponder this later. Any way back in February of 2007 I was up visiting my mother in Central Ontario. As for the past few years the winters up there are getting cold and snowy. Of course I had my camera with me and had to take some shots around her neighborhood. They all looked good before I downloaded them, needless to say I was disappointed at first with the outcome.

So without further preamble the bad pictures:

These are the first three, and yes I remember growing up with that much snow in the winter. They actually don't look that bad considering, in an artistic sense. With a little of Photoshop mods they could be amazing pieces of art. (note to self, find a copy of Photoshop)

This is my moms front entrance:

And yes eventually she had to get someone to shovel off her roof. :)

Looking down the street to the main road that goes by her street. The snow fall happened about two days before I got there. It was so cold that the snow on the road hadn't had a chance to melt. In fact, they rarely use salt on the roads in this area.

Well that's it for the blurry shots. Needless to say my skills got better. I also think that the camera sensor was affected by the cold. Just checking the weather from that day and year, it was down to -23 degrees celsius with a high that day of -10.


Monday, September 28, 2009

The Year 2007: Part The First

Well 2007 was a year where I started to take some more pictures. By this time I had also picked up a proper tripod for my camera. A small portable one that was sufficient for what I was doing at the time. Now I will be going back and forth here, there's a bit more to show and I am going to be working on themes rather then a chronology. Works better for displaying what pictures remain that I didn't delete.

Yes I deleted a fair amount of pictures. They were really bad, super blurry, or other things. I changed my mind later on about this policy. So now on with the show.

As I said earlier I bought a tripod. I wanted something to hold the camera steady while trying to take pictures of small stuff and self portraits(that will be a seperate post altogether). Before I had taken pictures of my miniatures in singles or small groups. Well this time I figured I would take pictures of larger groups.

As you can see I have a lot of toy soldiers. As well you can see an issue that was starting to irk me a bit. If I stood about several feet away while taking the picture it blurred, no matter if it was a portrait or landscape setting. If I got close...

I got some great detail, in the center and front, but the background started to blur. Mind you some of the shots I took have a certain look to them now that I look back on it.

Now when I started using the flash, thinking that might solve the problem...

Metallic paints and a bright flash just don't mix too well.

Now this miniature is one that I am proud of. Made of cast metal, it had to be pieced together, holes filled in, primed, then painted. This is the finished piece as it stands.

And finally a shout out to my "namesakes".

So that's it at the moment for my army, I may go back to them someday and try to take some better pictures. That will all depend on a few things.


Friday, September 25, 2009

The Things You See When You Have A Camera: Part 1

Sorry about yesterday and no post. I got distracted a bit. This post will finish up with 2006 and next week I will move on to 2007. So this will be a picture thread as well as a commentary.

Back in about October 2006, I was working temporarily at a mall here in Toronto. It was pretty busy, and I realized that not only do I hate going to shopping malls, I hated working them as well. Personal bias really, my first security job was in a shopping mall back in 1987. Old history really, and that's it.

So any way, there was a house behind the mall that was a stone throw from the security office. There had been a couple contractors during the day doing some roof work that involved a propane torch and BBQ tank. Normal type of tools for dealing with patching tar. Well the Contractors went home when the sun went down leaving their tools of the trade behind.

Then the fun began. I don't know exactly what time it started at, but all of a sudden flames began shooting out of the roof. Fire department arrived and started doing their thing. Unfortunately since it was so close to the mall, I and my fellow guards were busy keeping people back from the area, and assisting the fire department access. It was a sight to behold. Even a little scary too. Apparently a propane tank was left on the roof and they were worried about the fire setting it off.

Eventually the fire was put down enough and I was able to start snapping pictures.

From Year 2006

This one was taken without the flash. It seemed everyone fighting the fire was up on the roof..

From Year 2006

Here's what it looked like with the flash. Those reflective strips really showed up pretty good. I was at least a good 50 feet away when I took this shot. It really ruined my thoughts on how powerful the flash was.

From Year 2006

Here I was about 100 feet away using the flash. If you look you can see ladders with hoses on the top right and left hosing the place down from above. On the center left you can see a spray that they were hosing from the back first floor roof next door. There were at least 5 trucks there fighting the fire.

From Year 2006

I snuck in a little closer for this picture, the fire had died down enough so that the fire department wasn't worried about us security guards.

From Year 2006

Now I want to draw your attention to the lower left. Yes that was a fellow guard with his cellphone taking a picture. Reason I bring that up was that at one point I looked back at the crowd of people beyond the safety line and I saw something like five to ten people holding up cell phones, cameras, taking pictures.

So that's it. Keep a camera with you cause you never know what you may see while you are out and about.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

About My Camera

Okay, I have been wracking my brain all day on what to talk about today. I am going to take a step back from my chronology and talk about the camera I have been using.

My camera that I have been using since 2006 is a DXG 409. It's a smallish hand held pocket type of camera. It takes most pictures in 4 megapixel format which isn't that bad. It uses 2 AAA batteries, and has internal memory and a slot for SD memory cards. I don't have a picture of it, but I did take a shot of the manual which has a picture on the front.

Doesn't look like much, and it's done the job that I needed at the time. More on this later.

It has all sorts of neat options that you can get with most cameras, flash, timer, multiple shots at once(three automatic). It has a digital zoom, which I don't use because it sucks, and flash with red eye reduction. When I first started taking pictures with it I found no problems. Till I tried taking pictures of people and zooming in on distant objects. I don't have any of my early attempts at zoom, too bad to even keep as a mistake. Taking pictures of people and animals at night was the ick moment.

Nov09-07 013Nov09-07 008Nov09-07 006

See all the red eyes? That was with the red eye reduction on the flash setting, and I believe that I tried using some software to remove even more. Just plain awful. Needless to say I try to avoid taking pictures at night with the flash of people and animals (animals are just plain worse).

I have used some of the manual settings to try for some cool effects. Like
From Camera shots

and Black and White:
From Camera shots

Here's the same item with colour:
From Camera shots

I have learned how to use the exposure setting as well. Which is good for low light and enhancing certain scenes. I don't have too many like that yet, and will probably save them for another post. So enjoy, laugh at some of the pictures and I will have more pictures tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pictures Tuesday: 2006

Okay, finally some picture content. Be warned though, most of these pictures are…interesting. Some bad, some fuzzy, and well lets just look at them.

Let’s take them in order here. Oh course I don’t have any of the pictures I took for my job, irrelevant to be honest. This first picture was taken at a barbecue I was invited to. In this picture is of my friends wife Holly and their daughter Nikkole. As you can see it’s a little blurry.

Well it was a family get together so I was shanghaied into taking all the pictures. There I was draped with and holding more cameras then I thought possible. Some one else took this picture with my camera and yeah, it needs to be held really steady.

From Year 2006

Well that was the summer. I wasn’t snapping that many pictures, or I didn’t really need to keep them. I tried taking pictures of my miniatures when I was heavily into that hobby. I actually tried to take some to create a story line when I was at a friends place doing some miniature battles. The scenery was crude, along with the players, and I found more issues with the camera I was using.

From Year 2006

Well I tried to see if it was the situation or the camera. At home I decided to try to take pictures of some of my other miniatures that I thought I did some great detailed painting on. Once again, camera frustration arose.

From Year 2006
From Year 2006
From Year 2006

Well, finally there’s a time in every persons life that they will probably play with self-portraits when they have a camera. I was also trying to get a good picture of myself currently for my brother and my sister-in-law. I didn’t have a proper camera stand, so I had to do a jury rig to achieve the proper height. It took a lot of messing around till I got it right.
From Year 2006

Needless to say the jury-rigged stand was…ingenious.

Now for Thursday’s pictures, a final set from 2006 that requires a whole post all by itself.