Sunday, November 26, 2017

Creative November Challenge Day #26: The challenges and opportunities of technology

I took my Nikon to the parade and fireworks last night, hoping to capture a few good images of folks enjoying the colourful, brightly lit floats. Unfortunately, I had my camera settings all wrong so finished the night with very few shots worth saving. When all was said and done the only image I really liked was this one. Despite being grainy and out of focus, it captures a little of what I felt as I sat with my nieces watching the parade approach.

I converted the image to black and white, before cropping it, applying a couple of filters, and tweaking various elements to achieve an effect I liked. The whole exercise was a good demonstration of the challenges and opportunities of technology. While I'm grateful the technology let me salvage something from the crap I shot last night, I'd have preferred to be more adept using my camera so that I captured images I wanted in the first place. 

Needless to say, I didn't feel inclined to pick up the Nikon today but I couldn't resist taking this pic of Jackie with my iPhone. She had a wonderful time with the girls but was in dire need of a nap by the time they headed home at noon.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Creative November Challenge Day #25: A day of mixed emotions

Today was a gift in so many ways. To start with, the weather was fabulous - mild and sunny with very little wind - which made for a lovely 8k run up river and back this morning.

With temperatures hovering around 13C, we figured we had no choice but to take Jackie to Risser's Beach for a walk. As it turned out, we had the whole beach to ourselves so were able to let her run off leash for much of our time there, which - needless to say - she loved. 

I'd taken my Nikon with me but was too focused on spending quality time with puppy and Husband to break it out. In any case, my iPhone did an okay job in the bright light of midday. 

By the time we made it home, we had just enough time to tackle a few chores and squeeze in a short visit with my folks before picking up these two sweeties for a sleepover. 

Our evening with them was heaps of fun. We started by making homemade chicken tacos for supper, then filled travel mugs with hot chocolate and marshmallows and headed downtown to take in the local Santa Clause parade, followed by some fabulous firework. Once home, we cooked up some popcorn, played Jenga and read two books together before the girls finally tumbled into bed around 10:00 pm.

It would have been an almost perfect day but for one thing. We learned this morning that my mum's last remaining sibling, our dear Aunt Marg, passed away last night. She was 92 years old and had been ill with cancer for some time so the news wasn't a surprise. Against all odds, she'd hung on long enough to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday before lapsing into unconsciousness the next day and slipping away around 2:00 am.

I spent a lot of time thinking about Aunt Marg as we rushed from one activity to another today - remembering our visits with her over the years. She was an extraordinary person in many ways but two things stand out for me. The first was how bright and intellectually engaged she remained to the very end of her life. She never stopped learning about topics of interest to her and loved nothing more than discussing what she learned with others. The second was her determination to care for herself physically and mentally through diet and regular exercise. I'll never forget how impressed I was when she took up biking and cross-country skiing in her sixties when she began having heart issues. What a wonderful role model - proof positive that fitness can be gained at any age.

So, as I head off to sleep tonight, I'm filled with mixed emotions - deep sadness about Aunt Marg's passing mixed with intense gratitude for a day filled with some of the people and places I love best. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Creative November Challenge Day #24: Away

There's been no time for much besides work the past few day but, fortunately, there was a terrific sky as I headed to the ferry tonight and, since I was a few minutes ahead of schedule, I had time to grab two or three photos. This is one of them - tweaked only slightly to capture what I saw. 

It's moments like this one that remind me why I'm so grateful to live where I do. Happy weekend, everybody!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Creative November Challenge Day #21: Struggling

Halifax Seaport Market just after sunset

I'm having a hard time with this challenge. It seems that most days I can find time for photography or writing, but not both. 

Today, I'd hoped to head out for a photowalk well before sunset but got stuck at work later than planned and missed the best light. As a result, most of the photos I took were grainy and far too dark. I like the composition of this one but not much else.

My objective when I headed to the waterfront was to photograph this recently installed monument celebrating women who volunteered during World War II. I'd hoped to capture it with the colours of the setting sun behind it but had to make do with the illumination provided by floodlights. The monument consists of three sculptures. Much as I like the sentiment behind them, I can't say I like them much.  

Directly behind it is another monument celebrating immigrants who came to Canada via Pier 21. I've always loved the energy of this one and the floodlights do a better job of highlighting the central figure.

Here's hoping my efforts bear more interesting fruit tomorrow.   

Monday, November 20, 2017

Creative November Challenge Day #20: Making the best of things

The new Shannon Park Lookoff in the rain
I've been struggling with this challenge - partly because I'm so damned busy these days but mostly because it's November, which almost by definition means that it's grey and rainy in this part of the world. There have been a few breaks here and there but mostly the weather's been grim.

Despite a dreary forecast this morning, I threw my camera in my bag as I headed out the door, as I have every day this month, and stopped en route to the ferry long enough to take a few photos, though I knew without looking at them that they weren't worth keeping. Everything looked flat and uninteresting in the drab light seeping through the clouds.

Frustrated, I reminded myself to keep trying to find something to shoot. However bad the light, I wanted to make the best of the limited opportunity I had for photography this morning.

As I approached the ferry terminal, a few rays of watery sunlight broke through the clouds low on the horizon. I tried a couple of shots looking out towards the mouth of the harbour but there was too little light to make an interesting image. However, when I turned to head into the terminal, I noticed the windows reflecting an enhanced version of the view, and quickly grabbed a few photos on my way inside. I didn't get anything I really liked but this is my favourite of the bunch.

On the ferry, the options were equally limited. It was too cold to ride on the upper deck and the windows were spattered with rain and sea water so it was impossible to get a clear shot outside. The views were even less promising inside so I finally decided to try creating something a little more abstract.

From a distance, it seems to me it's easy to make out the subject of the image, but maybe it's less obvious close up. In any case, I liked the result when I tweaked the image on my iMac tonight.

I suppose there are a couple of nice life lessons there - that, even when life is most grim, unexpected slivers of light and opportunity can present themselves, and that sometimes even mundane objects have unexpected beauty when we take time to look at them in new ways. In any case, trying to make the best of things is nearly always a good idea.