Lights On at the Legislative Assembly

Despite a slight  drop in temperature and a breeze that carried a chill, I met a friend at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta to celebrate the turning on of the holiday lights. I rushed to get there and made it on time, but no fears, there were speeches to make and then the countdown with a cheer rising up from the crowd of people that were gathered. Carollers stood on the front steps of the government building  and  sang some of my favourite Christmas tunes and hymns and the smell of hot Cocoa wafted through the air. I thought I would leave right after my friend left, but I got curious about what the view would look like from this point, and another. I sang along with the carollers and walked the grounds to get “just one more shot.”

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Crowds are arriving and getting a good vantage point on the upper plaza
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After speeches , a countdown and Hurrah! The lights are on!
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Walking down to the main grounds
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The star went out on the main tree but still lots of lights to see
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We got some snow this week-adds to the holiday cheer.
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Standing in line for hot cocoa
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Lights Everywhere!
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A view from the side-hope they get the star lit up again.
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The front of the Legislative Assembly-where concerts will take place inside under the dome.
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The plaza on the upper level.
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The Beauty of Lights

After the party at the church on Saturday, I could not resist hitting the streets in the neighbourhood to capture images of the lights from the decorations and the passing cars. I haven’t been shooting regularly  for about a month and I felt joy as I got outside and played again.

During the editing process, I experimented with warm and cool tones and some cropping because there was more in the viewing fame that I wanted with the 18-55mm lens. I plan to go back with my zoom lens and see what I can do with it.

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Looking Down 102 Avenue
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Trees at Jasper Avenue and 124 Street
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Jasper Avenue from 124 Street
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From the SW Corner of 124 Street and Jasper Avenue
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Looking north on 124 Street

People Shots

I usually do not take photos of people but started for activities at my church.We had a tailgate party at my church the night before the Grey Cup game in Edmonton, providing free food and refreshments to the community. There were games set up for the children to play and different tables set up with crafts, cookie-decorating and face-painting.

I spent time taking photos and even tried some bean toss to see if I still “had it in me.” I had a good time visiting with people and judging by the smiles on their faces, others were enjoying themselves, too.

IMG_0023Apple Cider, Coffee, Tea and Hot Chocolate

 

IMG_0064Face Painting was a Big Hit

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Emptying the Bean Bag Bucket
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Good Shot!
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Adults are just as Enthusiastic
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Loyal Edmonton Fans with a Nod to the Stamps
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Concentration on a Craft
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Decorating Gingerbread Cookies

 

Seeing With Cataracts

Cataracts have been wreaking havoc with my eyesight lately. The good news is I recently had an eye exam and discovered they are bad enough that I qualify for surgery. and  got a referral to a surgeon. Just waiting to hear from their office. While celebrating Thanksgiving with friends last weekend I felt very grateful for our healthcare system here in Canada.

I wondered if it was possible to describe in photos how I see things. I cannot do it “exactly” but will try Here is a night shot that I took , then added the brightness, admittedly too bright, with  the lines that emanate from a street lamp. The lines are more pronounced and extend only a couple of inches from the light source in all directions. I couldn’t change the tone but normally it just looks dark.The brightness that I see is more like the light on the outer edges of the lamp in the photo, not the center part. Also I only treated one light, they would all look this way as I get closer. Of course with all that brightness, the street  gets darker and I lose the details in the darker areas.

The other night I was walking up the street , looking at how far the halo from the streetlight extended and seeing a kind of rainbow effect and just about ran into a fellow coming from the opposite direction. I did not see him at all until he was directly in front of me. Needless to say I am no longer driving because the headlights of the cars coming toward me blind me and I cannot make out the curbs on the street.

Edmonton Autumn 2011 063Next is a photo that I took through my window, which was fogged up a little, a fair  description of how the colours get faded, sharpness is fuzzy and the light is so bright.

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Next is another example of how I am seeing now. I took the photo in manual focus mode, blurring a little and adding some light while desaturating the overall look. It strains the eyes so I wear sunglasses to get a little more definition. Regardless, bicyclists and vehicles often seem to appear out of nowhere so it is definitely disconcerting if not downright scary! On bad days I cannot read a book or my email.The strain is affecting me now as I compose this post.

 

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In the meantime I am taking fewer photos. When I do go out to shoot, I am relying on autofocus and adjusting my settings indoors.Feedback from others is welcome. Do you think I have described it right? Everyone is affected differently. Almost everyone whom I have spoken to, say that after cataract surgery things are sharper, brighter and have more colour. That will be a relief!

It is not often that we have a second chance so I am grateful that there is a solution.

Magpie and a Chase

Sometimes it is hard to get a photo of a Magpie. They are quick to move the moment that I focus my camera on them. but today as I came up behind one clinging to the trunk of a tree. I got two shots. Then I spotted a squirrel coming down the trunk of another tree and  the magpie spotted it at the same time. I captured a shot just as the squirrel was running to the bottom of another tree with the magpie close behind.
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IMG_0019-2 Luckily the squirrel made it to safety on time.

From Summer to…What?!

I know it is officially Autumn tomorrow , but it seems last weekend we went straight from summer into winter. It snowed, then melted, snows again then melted. I did finally get outside to take photos today. I hear the weather forecast calls for a warmer spell starting Sunday. Could we be blessed with an Indian summer?

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I went to another park after taking  these photos and it was quite pretty with the snow on the branches of the evergreens and a clean blanket on the ground without any foot prints.

Here are some close-ups. I do like the fall colours coming through the white. The light was bad so am getting more of a sillouette of this pair of crows-the park was full of a murder of them.

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Reviewing Summer Captures

Summer is not over yet but there is a definite feeling of Autumn in the air. I will be going out, need the fresh air and  to get away from the political gong shows that are going on in the news. But first I will post a selection of photos as I look back over some of my captures from the summer. Hope you like the slideshow.

 

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Nature Shots, Up Close and Personal

I enjoyed this walk, capturing images that required that I zoom in for a closer look, but not quite a macro by today’s standards. It is pleasurable to observe the smaller things in nature, like flowers and insects, as well as the bigger mammals and large landscapes.

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Thistle Flowers
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First Yellow Leaf
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White Wildflower
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Bull Rush
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Yellow Marsh Flowers
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Asters
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Cabbage White  on Clover
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Grasses
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Snapdragons
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Rose Hip
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Yellow Jacket on Paper Nest
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Clouded Sulphurs Mating

Two Kinds of Grebes (I think)

I saw two kinds of grebes last week and used a process of elimination to I.D. one of  them. The first was easy, an adult red-necked grebe with a “teenager.” The young one, quite developed in size, had the stripes still on the face  and was still being fed, albeit only occasionally. It made very incessant chirping noises, the kind that wear a parent down and make them “give in” just to get a break. I was facing into the light here and have a poor exposure.

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Young Red-necked GrebeIMG_0125-2

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Is that bald spot a give-away that it is a larger version of that young coot from last month, or is it a Pied-bill Grebe? The bill doesn’t seem right for a Coot. Feedback is welcome and I stand to be corrected.

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Bison in Late Summer

Visited Elk Island last weekend and saw some Plains Bison  in the fields and along the parkway. It is much cooler now so they are not hiding in the bush as a respite from the sun. The bulls are in rut now and can be very unpredictable and grouchy at this time of year. People often mistakenly think that they are so big that they only move slowly but they can go from 0-60 km in seconds.

We went around the Bison loop and saw these five grazing in the field. It was still hazy from the forest fires burning in British Columbia. IMG_0052-2

Further down the road we saw two lone bulls.I was glad that I was in the safety of the bus when I took these photos. The bulls beside the road were very close

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We were so close that this is all I could get in the viewfinder.This one’s eye is whitish-perhaps a kick from another bull? I liked the texture of the grass and his coat. IMG_0059-2

The colours of the grasses and the leaves are changing, a reminder that fall is just around the corner.

Lastly I would like to send my condolences to my American friends and family of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.I bought one of her albums in my late teens and have always enjoyed her music. Though she has passed, her music will live on.

I also send condolences for the loss of a true American patriot and man of service: Senator John McCain.

May they rest in peace, free of their infirmities and may we continue to pray/think positive thoughts for bright outcomes for both of our countries, all of our peoples, our leaders and our environment.