Thursday, August 31, 2006

Foreground Flowers





After my appointment with Dr.C. I walked downtown, around the waterfront, over the Johnson St. bridge and over to the Songhees development and along the waterfront. I don't know how many miles I might have walked, but it looks like well over 8 miles on the map. It was a very bright and sunny day. I had my exposure compensation set to 2 stops minus. None of my photos are that great. The blue bridge photos are just more of the same I have bunches of on file already.

I put the polarizer on my 35mm and have about 12 photos of the water with it. Still has Velvia in it. It was a very bright and sunny day. I was out at the worst part of the day for shooting, too. From about ten to one o'clock. No clouds.

Pat picked me up at Spinnaker's as I was totally bagged and did not feel like walking anymore.

My results from the last tests show that my blood volume is okay. Nothing wrong there. I am getting enough liquids. Dr. C. says I am a very unusual case. The next thing is more blood tests after we get back from our Panama Cruise at the end of October. If my blood counts are still too high, I think the treatment is going to be that they periodically take blood from me. Last time I asked about that, I think they take about 1/2 pint. Seems quite a lot. It can be given to the blood bank.

We received a promotional slick magazine from Uniworld. It was nice to see a couple of the promo shots with foreground flowers in their book.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Scottish Invasion

This cannon sits behind the Castle at Blair Athol, Scotland. We did a very quick bus tour in 2004. This photo will be added to the trip when I get it finished on the Travel page of my web page. It will also be in 'Guns' in the Series on the Photography page.
Sept. 04/06 - upon further research this cannon is not at Blair Athol, but at Culzean Castle in Ayershire, I think. There will be more research when I upload our trip to Scotland to the Travel page on my web page.

The Grants are visiting Andy and Tara and so staying with us. They are from Pitlochry which is in the same area as this Castle, I believe.

The forums of VFXY are now up and running. I finally figured out how to log in to that part of the site. You must register for it. Then in one of the new forums I learned of a page where you can do mouse overs to show text when you drag your mouse over a photo. Cool. I must learn this. I have it bookmarked under blog stuff. I must learn to make a real blog, someday.

CETS

A rather derelict building in Malta. But the detail in the architecture is marvelous.
I am loading this as a photo to accompany a copy of page 2 of an article about aProgram for Police used as a tracking system for internet child exploiters and abusers. Anything that can assist the Police in this is well worth whatever it costs us in tax dollors.

System targets internet abusers

By Rob Shaw

Times Colonist Staff

--- page 2 ---

A Saanich police officer with high-tech computer prowess and experience investigating child crimes is putting his unique skill to use in Ottawa managing the RCMP’s cutting-edge Child Exploitation Tracking System.

It is a lot of work, far away from home, but Arnold Guerin calls it one of the best jobs on the force.

“I love it” said the Saanich constable. “My background is in technology and I love being a police officer. This marries the two, and I feel like I’m not actively investigating case files I am assisting investigators.”

The 34 year old has one of the most unusual jobs in the field of child exploitation policing. He’s on loan to the RCMP from Saanich for two years.

The Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) is a special national database. It lets police cross-reference data such as names, addresses, websites, e-mails, and partial descriptions of child exploitation suspects and cases.

Microsoft started working on the system in 2003 after company chairman Bill Gates received an e-mail from Toronto Police Det. Sgt. Paul Gillespie asking for help in battling online child abuse.

Microsoft donated more than $2.5 million worth of work into custom-designing the program. The Canadian-inspired technology was rolled out to 29 policing agencies across the country starting last year.

Guerin manages the program, designs the national policy and travels the country to train investigators on how to use the system. The RCMP provides a free terminal for every five officers working child exploitation in a detachment. They are dedicated boxes, beefed up with extra RCMP security.

The CETS program looks essentially like a website – a simple fa├žade that conceals a sophisticated and robust database, along with features for investigators to communicate securely on cases.

“It is very easy to learn,” said Guerin. “I tell them if you can order something on Chapters.ca that’s how easy it is to use CETS.”

CETS doesn’t actually store child abuse images or videos, instead it indexes case files, evidence and suspects. “CETS isn’t going to solve crime, police officers solve crime,” said Guerin. “CETS is the tool that allows them to bring their investigation a little bit further than had they not been sharing the information. It’s the police officer that really puts that together.”

The former Ladysmith resident trained on computers at Nanaimo’s Malaspina University College. He worked as an aboriginal fisheries and police officer before landing with Saanich police six years ago. Like many Saanich investigators, he put in a three year stint with the child abuse unit. He noticed police reacting to more child exploitation cases as the Internet became more popular.

“We can’t blame the internet for that,” said Guerin. “The internet is not the evil here, it is the tool and people are exploiting that tool to get access to children for sex. The technology has become so available to people, but none of the responsibility comes with it.”

Guerin applied immediately when, in early 2005, he heard of an opportunity at the RCMP National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre in Ottawa.

“I said, ‘I could do this job, it’s right up my alley, and this is what I’ve been training to do.” Guerin’s boss, Insp. John Charlton, was enthusiastic because he’d followed the system’s development closely.

“We were interested right from the get-go because we have a three-person child abuse team here and we knew child abuse and internet child exploitations was more than an emerging trend,” said Charlton, who is in charge of the Saanich detective division.

“Saanich is a progressive department, they see the opportunity to let one of their police officers go for a few years and come back with a wealth of experience,” said Guerin.

His four-year-old daughter, and wife, have enjoyed living in Ottawa because it is close to family in Quebec, he said. Guerin returns to Saanich next September.

“I’ll probably be driving a patrol car – in Saanich all roads lead to patrol,” he joked. “That’s not to say my experience is wasted. At some point there will be other opportunities. But I expect to be back in uniform, and I’m kind of looking forward to it.”

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Printing, Malta Architecture and Gardening



In attempting to print this photo of Pat in Malta, I got this very blue/purple print. I spent half hour reading the help for my Epson Stylus Photo 1280 printer. Finally, it dawned on me. The yellow color must be blocked. So, clean the print heads and presto a nice image. Now I am going to hang him. The print is on 8 1/2 x 11, so shall need a larger frame with room for a light wheat colored (maybe) matting with an old gold simple frame, or a simple flat black. What do you think I should use for framing?

I have tweaked and resized a few more pictures for my "Malta" travel on my web page. Slowly getting that album done, but enjoying remembering the good time we had there.

I moved the rum pot into the larger jar, as it was running over. I added some of the very ripe figs, some of the cherries, a cup of blackberries and a few yellow plums, along with a quarter cup of brandy and the same for sugar. It tastes pretty good already.

I mowed the lawn, moved the compost bin. The painters are coming to paint the garage and the trim of the house, so I have to get my plants off the garage walls. The grape and the evergreen clematis will probably have to be cut back. Oh well they both should grow again. I watered all around the back and topped up the pond. My tomatoes were beginning to wilt so it was about time I watered. Some predator got 4 of my goldfish, as I only see 3 of the 7 left now. The two with the white on them are gone. At least the beast did not wreck the pond edging this time.

Early this morning when I brought my camera in from trying to shoot star trails, there was mist on the lens and the battery was empty. I cleaned the lens with my regular lens cloth, but wonder if I actually got the moisture off or just spread it around a bit. Marc G. has told me to use a heavy black velvet cloth to do this. Thanks for the info Marc.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Playing with Borders




After seeing a Mustang on VFXY on another blog, I had to dig up my old snaps from a "mustang picnic" in 2004. My mustang is in full color - all reflections from the surrounding grass, other cars, etc.

I have added frames just for fun. I like the fisheye view of the reflection in the hub cap. When adding the frame the hubcap reflection distorted even more than it was before the frame.

I have my 35mm out for another attempt at star trails. Hope it works. I set up at 8:45. It is now 10:35, and I am going to go out and do a quick wipe of the lens. There is probably mist collected again.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

More of the Secret Park











I like how most of my photos turned out today. I have loaded an unsaturated copy of my previous post, for comparison.

The lagoon and all its pretty colors was on one side of the parking lot and the Bay is on the other side. There was a cargo ship at anchor. There are a very few houses along this beach. It would be a marvelous place to live. I am so glad we found this place, and hope it does not become overrun when all that new development goes in at the old gravel pit. I am glad I got these photos before any more houses and highrises go up.

I have a couple more shots for my beach combing album, and a couple for the My Town page, on my website -- to be completed eventually. It is about 1/4 finished. I am currently working on tweaking photos for our Malta trip in 2003.

I now have my 35mm Canon Elan 7e out on the deck, loaded with Velvia 50, F-stop 5.6, to be left out for 6 or 7 hours. A long as possible, since the ISO is not fast. A 400 would be better.

Wish me luck!

The Secret Park in Victoria

We picked up a Deli lunch and found our way to the secret park. It is the Albert Head Regional Park and wildlife refuge. This is a shot of the lagoon, strongly saturated. Since I have some Velvia 50 in my 35mm and took some of the same shots as with my digital, this is what I imagine the Velvia will look like when I get it developed. I shall add this one to my 'abstracts' album on my web page (to be completed some day),

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Breakers at Jordan River





Today we rode out to Jordan River on the Pacific Coast Honda to have lunch at The Breakers. Very good food. The cafe is under new management since we were last there. There is a wonderful view across the road from the cafe. My photos just do not do it justice. I cannot seem to capture the wilderness of the scene, to my satisfaction.

Pat found an old Raleigh bicycle changed to the sign post. I have signed up for The Visual Dictionary on photoblogs.org and sent them the word Raleigh contained on the close up of this bike. I don't know if they are going to use my visual word or not. I cannot figure out how to post photos to their blog posts thingy. Sigh. I cannot find anything about it in the discussions, either. Oh well, maybe it will become clear after more searching on the site. Its an interesting place, but I am finding it very difficult to navigate.

I got a couple of phots for the beach combing album - this rock for one. It is a lovely rock and was calling my name, so I took it home with me. The Pacific Coast bike has big carrying bags.

I must get out and find something to shoot with the velvia in my 35mm Canon. I should try for star trails on at least 2 or 3 nites. From what I am reading, if I use f/5.6 with the 28 - 135 zoomed maybe half way and leave it out for about 6 hours I should get some good trails. Our neighbors leave the light on in the window just below where I will be pointing my camera. I wonder if that will be too much light. I will have to make carefull notes and vary the time left out and the lens and f/stops, hopeing for at least one good take of the North Star.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Nuclear Medicine, blackberries, garden maintenance

Here is a 'door' for that album in my web page. I was to the Nuclear Medicine department at the Vic. General Hospital today to have my blood volume or blood plasma measured again today. The test takes about 2 hours, with an injection of iodine into my system, and then some of my blood is mixed with another element -- I forget the name -- and injected into my system. Thereafter they take 4 samples of 4 test tubes per sample at periods of about 15 minutes. Before taking each sample a bit of saline is put into the outlet gizmo to clean it up from the last sample. I thought I would be able to come home and find the information on my computer of how this test is done. The technician "Eileen" told me about it all, but I was over-loaded on information and could not remember it all. Its all very interesting. I am always scared of these needles and stuff, but really, they do not hurt at all. So, I go to see Dr. C. in about 10 days when she should have the results. Hope the technicians pass the test this time.

Yesterday I picked another 2 litres of blackberries using the hook that Sheila showed told me about. This enables me to get higher up blackberries and to get the hidden ones with fewer scratches. There is no more room for blackberries in the rum pot. It is totally full now, and that is all I am making this year. It is thicker than last year's rum pot.

After picking the blackberries I got some clipping and cleaning up of the virginia creeper and the plants along the driveway done with a wheel barrow of clippings taken to the back by the compost bin. There are prickly blackberry stems in there. I should have left them out, as they can cause some vicious scrapes.

On Friday, we had the carpets steam cleaned by the guys from Sears. Pat's room, my room, the dining and living rooms, the hallway and the stairs, with scotch guarding.

Today I added my blog to photoblogs.org and have been getting a lot more hits. I have a lot to learn about that site, yet. Lots of different kinds of blogs. I have a lot to learn about blogging.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Genoa Bay and Wading in the Pond










On Sunday, I waded into the water garden and picked out the rocks then reset them along the border. I watered all the back and filled the pond and tub garden. The grass is growing into the brown spots in the lawn. I think some of those spots were just where the weeds were killed and not burned out at all. There is some sort of animal using my woodland path as a bathroom. I am going to have to put down soap shavings, or cayenne pepper maybe - lots of it, and see if that discourages this filthy animal.

Yesterday I got the house vacuumed and floors scrubbed. It smells nice and looks much better. I hate housework even though it does not take all that much time and it looks so much better when done.

Today, Pat and I went to Genoa Bay on the Pacific Coast Honda, for our annual lunch and the ride. Nice bike and a smooth ride. I get a lot of wind turbulence on this bike though. My face is wind burned. Lunch was scrumptious. I had a seafood chowder that was full of seafood. Ymmmmmm. The cafe has changed ownership and they are cleaning up around along by the parking lot right over to the water. It is looking a lot better. It is a most charming place. The gallery was closed, so I browsed the store instead. I should have bought the light blue rain shirt and pants I was looking at, for on the Model T, although I don't think it was entirely rain-proof.

I had my camera set just right for the light conditions. This is one of my most favourite places in the world. I am going to have to make a Genoa Bay album for this year I think. Pat suggested I give Genoa Bay its own page. Sounds like a good idea to me. I would like to figure out how to do thumbnails that open out into bigger pictures than the ones I can do with Photoshop. I must look at what Edwardo Aites uses on his page.

The top photo is me when we were in Malta in 2003. I am working on that album. I am about half finished tweaking the photos. Slowly getting it done. I have 3 pages of 8 = 24 photos so far and I have not done the Pompei or the Gozo Island or the Sicily part yet. Some good pictures in there. I was looking at the Danube trip -- the photos seem really downgraded from what I see showing up on my desktop as wallpaper. So, there must be some sort of compression problem on loading to my Godaddy space. I wonder what is doing that. The front page photo looks ok. Maybe its that Photoshop album creator that is causing the problem.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Thetis, Hasselblad, gardening




On Tursday we went to visit Pete and Audree at their lovely Clam Bay hide-a-way. Audree made us a lovely salad/shrimp lunch. They are both slowing down a bit. Audree is going to need a new hip soon. She and her sister are going to Alaska the end of August, I think. They have sheep and ducks, and a garden.

I managed to get a few photos of Chemainus to add to my Travel - Chemainus album on my page. A couple of good ones of this murial.

Yesterday Andrew was over to test the Hasselblad and it seems to be in good working order with a bit of wear showing on the outsides -- its only cosmetic. He only pays 50 - 60% of what he estimates to be the market value, or he takes 25% if I leave it with him on consignment. He says that now that he has seen my stuff, he will do some more research of his own to come up with a price on things. The one he gave me is just not acceptable. I might as well keep it as give it away for a song. Pat talked to Hans again and he might be interested... depending ... yada yada. Hans says the stuff I have is very much like his system that he gave to his kids. He just wants a 150 mm lens. I told Pat to tell him I wanted $10,000 for it. We will see if he wants to make an offer or just talk about it.

The otter or something was in the pond again. My plants were broken down and edging rocks are in the pond. I have fed the fish and tonite I counted 7 of them up to feed, so I don't think any of the new ones are gone. All 3 of them are ok in the deck tub.

Today I spent 5 hours out in the garden. I have the lawn mowed and moved around the cement blocks in the vegetable garden to make a better arrangement of the paths. I have a small area by the bay laurel where I could put a chair or small bench - its 2 feet by 6 feet. I should fix the edging on the pond. Where I have place a board under the rocks to keep them from tipping into the pond, it seems to work very well. I can put small stone behind the board and they will not roll into the pond. Tonite I have watered the vegetable garden and the rhodos/grass area. Except for the places where I burnt out the grass with weed and feed, the back is looking pretty good now. The front needs more work, but it is not too bad. Same grass problem as the back.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Colquitz





I few more photos from yesterday's walk. I will be adding them to my walk summer, album on my page eventually.

I picked up my developed roll of 35mm from the fire. Nothing spectacular on that roll. While waiting for the pictures I went to Kerrisdale and looked for back pack straps for my small LowPro top loader; and had a look at the S3 IS. Its dials and screen are small and the body is quite chunky. I could get used to it for that 12X IS zoom, at a price that is half as much as a good L lense for a dSLR. Kerrisdale wanted $580 for the kit. FutureShop has it for $550 now, so I expect London Drugs will have it at that lower price soon. I would like to get the adaptor/hood, converter and macro with it too --maybe. That can be added on later though.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In the forest

I walked home from the Mall today and caught a few good forest shots. I only walked on the trails and so have some good trees and river shots. The sky was overcast.

Dr. S. says my thyroid medication is just right according to my last tests.