Monday, July 30, 2007

Lipizzan Stallion Show rework

I am starting over with the clean up of my very noisy photos from the Lipizzan Stallions show on June 23. The first ones I did turned out very soft. I was trying to sharpen in Neat Image. This time I just hit the auto everything. Then took it to photoshop and adjusted levels, size and sharpening. Any cropping, etc was done before and after, if needed. This looks not too bad on Flickr white background. I really like the black background here, so ...

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Last evening there was a bit of color in the sky. I went up the road to the Jail and tried to capture it against the sunset. Almost all of the sun was gone from the sky by the time I got there.

This evening when I noticed the color I put my plant up on the deck railing and shot it against the sky. When I did not use flash I only got silhouettes. This is the one using flash. The distant tree is in silhouette. I had about 5 minutes to shoot and all the color was gone. You can see the top part of the photo has no sunset colors left in it.

I finished loading my photos to the Flickr Victoria Grid Project. It was in the Town and Country Mall area. I loaded 32 to the pool. The limit, at the moment is 50 per person per month. I think that is a bit high. I am going to see if I can stick to the 30 limit... like one per day. There are 83 people in the Grid, but not everyone shots and loads to the pool. Some of them have not been heard from this month. The meeting to decide next month's grid is on Tuesday at Boston Pizza. I don't know if I will go.... probably not.

One of the guys did up a YouTube video for last month and one for this month. He used a couple of my shots as stills. yea me. and yea him. I have no idea how they make those videos.. video camera I suppose.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Blue Herons

This is an old photo of a blue heron on my garage roof. It was a regular vistor at my backyard pond. I made the pond deeper, but the racoons and otters still come to fish.

There was an interesting article in today's Times Colonist that I want to save to my blog. I really should get out to that park and look for the rookery.

Harassed herons head to suburbs

By Carolyn Heiman

Victoria’s urban herons have moved to the ‘burbs.

A provincial endangered species biologist believes a few of the Beacon Hill Park herons that were terrorized this spring by a chick-killing bald eagle have moved to the Cadboro Bay and Tillicum Mall areas, and are nesting again. Trudy Chatwin said several late nesting herons in those areas are most likely Beacon Hill Park refugees, although confirmation is difficult without banding the birds. Seven new heron nests have been spotted in Cuthbert Holmes Park behind Tillicum Mall. “Those must be the Beacon Hill Birds based on their incubation stage, which is very late” Chatwin said.

Another explanation, however, is that established herons nesting in that area built new nests after a tree branch holding their old nests broke.Whatever the reason, the new arrivals are delighting regular Cuthbert Holmes Park users, including Julian Anderson, who checks the chicks’ progress throughout the week. Five or six nests are in a cottonwood tree in the center of the park. “They’re pretty hard to miss . . . You can hear them as well,” said Anderson, who has photographed hundreds of herons over the years.

Most herons have completed nesting for the year, and their fledglings are already taking advantage of low summer tides to learn how to feed themselves.However, the birds will sometimes rebuild nests ravaged by eagles or storms, as it appears a few of the 100 Beacon Hill birds have chosen to do. This spring, 71 heron nests at Beacon Hill were abandoned in a weekend after a female bald eagle ate at least 39 chicks and 187 eggs.

The Beacon Hill nesting site was one of the few urban rookeries in the world and delighted visitors by offering close-up encounters with the prehistoric-looking birds. It won’t be known until next spring if the birds will return to the city park.

Chatwin notes colonies move naturally from time to time and as trees die. Cuthbert Holmes Park had an active rookery through the 1990s, but the size dropped in recent years. Colonies appear to be moving more often, especially when there are eagle attacks.

As for the late-hatched herons, Chatwin is cautiously optimistic the birds will survive, as bald eagles do not appear to be raiding the later-build nests.“Maybe they will be OK. However, whether they survive to the next year is another thing. Those baby herons have to learn to feed over the winter.”

Meanwhile, Chatwin is finalizing an annual audit of Vancouver Island’s heron population, which is showing early indications of being in decline. While one colony at Cowichan Bay appears to be growing, other important colonies at Beacon Hill Park and Crofton are decreasing in size.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Still working at the uploads For the Victoria Grid

I spent a few hours today, tweaking photos for the Flickr group... Victoria Grid Project. More people are loading their photos so I don't appear to be a big hog of the uploading space. These photos are not changed, except for cropping, downsizing and some curves or levels, so they should be good for the Grid.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More for the Victoria Grid Project on Flickr

More photos for the Victoria Grid Project on Flickr. There have not been any of the others in the group loading any photos after mine. But I shall keep loading mine anyway. A couple of the group got back to my photos to comment, and I returned comments on their stuff.

I did a walk around the perimeter of the Town and Country Mall, where there are going to be some big renovations happening. Fairway grocery store is closed. I actually have more shots from this part of the Mall to upload, but two of the shots are from Saanich City Hall. I wanted to end this post with another person, so that I have a row of people on my VFXY account. Click the button on the side panel to see my VFXY account. Its a nice little blogging community. Very quiet and peaceful.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Victoria Grid Project H28 July

More for the Victoria Grid Project for July on Map H28 on Flickr.

This guy hit me up for some money to catch the bus out to Sooke ($3.00) He showed me his dirty, worn clothes and said he was a laborer making $9.00 per hour. I believed him, but since he reeked of alcohol I thought he had probably spent all his cash in a bar drinking and could not get home to Sooke. I gave him a $1.00 so as to not encourage him to be spending his last dollar on booze. He would have had to pan handle for the rest. I asked to take his photo and he was quite pleased to pose. Said he was could be a good looking dude when he got cleaned up.

The photo I like best of this bunch is the puddle reflection.

The best is yet to come...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Victoria Grid Project #28

I was out shooting this afternoon for the Victoria Grid Project on Flickr. I got a few good shots. It rained a bit. I had the most marvelous clouds. I should have been shooting more of them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Grey Matters

Excerpts from the Times Colonist

Census Highlights

  • Greater Victoria has the highest proportion of very elderly people in the country – those over 80 – at 6.4 per cent of the population.
  • B.C. saw a 16.2 per cent increase in the number of centenarians since 2001 – up to 610 from 525.
  • Despite B.C.’s reputation as a retirement mecca, the province is actually only the fifth oldest. Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick all have a higher proportion of seniors. Oddly, Saskatchewan also has the highest percentage of people under 15, making it the oldest and youngest province.
  • The graying population means that there are more than four million Canadians over the age of 65 – that’s one in every seven people. Conversely, there are just 5.6 million Canadians under 15, and projections suggest they’ll be outnumbered by seniors by 2011.
  • Compared to other countries in the G8, Canada has one of the lowest proportions of seniors: 13.7 per cent of Canadians are 65 and older compared to 20.8 per cent in Japan for the same age category.
  • Sidney has more women as a percentage of the total population than any other town in Canada, followed by Saint Lambert, Que., and Yarmouth, N.S., while Rockwood, Man., Wood Buffalo, Alta., and Whistler, B.C., are the manliest towns.

. . . The top three grayest towns in Canada are on the Island – Qualicum, Sidney and Parksville. Around 4 out of every 10 people in Qualicum are older than 65, while 3 out of every 10 people in Parksville and Sidney qualify as seniors.

. . . One in seven Canadians is now a senior citizen, says the Statistics of Canada report…

. . . Women living average of 82.5 years and men 77.7 . . .

. . . Analysts say the rapidly aging population has major implications for the economy and society in general, ranging from worker shortages to rising health-care costs and increasing demands on pension systems. On a more positive note for society, it promises to creat a larger pool of volunteers, given the tendency of older people to donate their time to worthy causes.. . .

The article included many more interesting tidbits of information. Not the least of which was noting that the Baby Boomers are just now becoming seniors. The one in seven ratio will most probably increase in the future.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Antique Autos 25th Anniversary Meet

The Speedster photo is from the Club photographer's CD photos of each individual of the whole group. The shot of Active Pass is from the outside deck of the Ferry while trailering the car to the meet at Chilliwack. The train is on the way out to Chilliwack, shot through the window of the moving Van. The hotel shot, is of course the hotel we stayed at. The Hotel had just changed ownership. The service, the rooms, the food, everything about this hotel was dismal.

The tours on Friday and Saturday were very well thought out with directions that were easy to follow. We had some excellent stops. We were rained upon a bit on Friday, and Saturday was quite hot. I have the usual 'speedster nose' sun and wind burn on all exposed body parts. The little car ran fairly well, except for something in the coils cause a bit of a hiccup. Pat fixed it, but there are some other parts that need replacement.

It rained a bit today, but I really should get out and water the garden.

I had intended to go shoot the Victoria Grid Project today, but the rain kinda dampened my enthusiasm.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Glorious Sunset

There was a glorious sunset tonite. Too bad I did not have a good foreground. This is shooting from off my deck with a tree and a chimney for silhouettes.

Flares with the CS filter

We are having record breaking high temperatures this week. My thermometer is at 36 Celcius.

The neighbors moving truck is parked almost all the way across the front of our driveway with sun glinting off its white cab. So, I thought I would attach my CS filter and try to get some flares. Also took a couple of pictures of the yellow water lily. Now I see that the lily is finished. It sure doesn't last very long. The color on my lily was terrible, but I kept this one for the tiny flares on the right. The big flare is from the truck cab. Decreased brightness and increased contrast. I could not get any diamond shaped flares from shooting at a few degrees from directly into the sun. Hmmmm, my old Canon Powershot A50 did gorgeous colored diamond flares. I might have to revive that camera for the RAW, the Flares, and the sharper better color. Todays shots have a lot of noise too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The brown beetle

I found this beetle on my gardening shoe. I tried to make it stay on some colorful paper for a better shot. I zoomed it and I used the macro and the super macro settings. I have to learn to hold my camera very very still when doing these macros. I took the beetle outside to the patio table and finally to the deck from where I let it go, unharmed, but probably quite tired. It had a terrible time getting upright again when I would flip it on its back to slow it down a bit. It was not very fast, though. I think it was an old beetle. It has very long antenna and a black spot on either side, midway down its back part. It was about and inch, inch and a quarter long.

Yesterday I mowed the lawn and dumped the clippings on the garden. It is very hot. We are having a heat wave. It is suppose to last about a week. It was up to 28 yesterday, and as I type this the thermometer sits at 34 celcius. Its not too bad in the house though. We have curtains closed and fans running. That skylight sure lets in a lot of hot.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Saxe Point Sunset

This is tonite's sunset at Saxe Point.

I have a couple of photos from West Bay Marina from today, and I have a few of the deck plants. I think my old A50 took sharper photos. It did RAW too. It must be the way I am holding this camera. I shall have to start to hold it like I hold the Elan 7e, with my hand under the lens to hold it still when I hit the shutter button. Holding it by the sides does not work. Too much movement.

I feel I accomplished quite a lot today. My light garden is cleaned up and all watered. The vegetable garden and some of the back got some water today. Filled the pond. The little bee hive is now empty and the wasps are gone.

Pat fixed the fridge gas burner in the camper van, and it now lights. It had a whole bunch of rust and carbon in the little pipe that he cleaned up. Then we took it for a test run out to Saxe Point and West Bay Marina with the fridge running. It got quite cold in the freezer and cooled down quite a bit in the rest of the fridge.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


A couple of shots of the Glacier near Comox that I took on Thursday. I was shooting from the corner of 6th and Evergreen in Courtenay. So that is a long stretch for my long lens. I did not have the teleconverter attached nor was I using a tripod. There is a bit of noise because of the zoom using digital as well as optical zoom.

I am thinking about loading the signed one to Flicker as one of my groups wants a landscape without buildings, etc. no sunsets.