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.

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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.

Canada Geese are Gathering

During a recent visit to Elk Island National Park close to Edmonton, I noticed Canada Geese in small groups, flying short distances and preening and resting. It seems they are getting ready for the long journey south. Yes, it is still summer but the nights are cooler and I find myself wearing a jacket even in the daytime.

While at the beach, there were dozens of footprints of geese etched in the sand. I saw a gander on the far end  and while watching it, almost stumbled upon a pair nestled in the sand.

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Later in the afternoon I happened upon a gaggle busy preening themselves at the side of the road beside the beaver pond.IMG_0261-2

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This squirrel carrying an acorn is another sign that I should check my winter clothing and make sure I am ready. It is still officially summer but I need to heed the signs around me. Things can change fast around here.IMG_0081-2

Fires Make for Hazy City

I have been spending a lot of time indoors this week because the smoke from the forest fires in British Columbia has been drifting into Alberta and Saskatchewan, even into Manitoba.

Looking out my living room window, the sun was red although in this photo it looks orange. I wanted to get a few photos of the sunset from outside but when I went out at approximately 7:50 I could not see it. The weather forecast is sunny and the sun won’t be setting for another hour, 8:58 p.m.

The sun through the trees from my living room window 7:44 p.m.IMG_0041

Looking west with no sight of the sun  7:52 p.m.IMG_0047

Looking east toward downtown, 10 blocks away is Rogers Place.IMG_0046

Looking downtown, those sky scrapers are 11 blocks away.IMG_0048

The air quality index was 7 all day which is high risk and when these photos were taken were 10+ which is very high risk. I feel for those who living with the forest fires in BC (over 550 fires ) Ontario and California, at least those are the ones I am currently hearing about. Praying for rain.

Crazy Weather!

This past weekend  at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival brought a change of 20 degrees in temperature, starting with HOT days of 34.5 degrees Celsius and changing to cold, day-long rain showers with a couple of light thunder storms and temperatures of 12 degrees Celsius. Add to the hot days smoke that rolled into the province from the forest fires in BC and you have a lot of variety in four short days.

There was a lot of variety in the music which was magnificent although I missed a lot due to poor health and a necessity to go home and get out of the smoke and rain. Here are some of the highlights:

The first day, Thursday, the festival kicked off with the concerts at night on Main Stage. First up was Tinariwen from Mali, whom I heard more than saw.Next was the first time that I have seen DakhaBrakha from the Ukraine  despite the fact they have played here before and I was amazed at the sounds they created using their voices, and loved their energetic percussion. At first I thought they were weird then I fell in love with them and visited a session again during the weekend to hear them play with City of the Sun which created some  magical moments for me as they blended their voices and instruments.

DakhaBrakha on Main Stage on Thursday nightIMG_0027 (1)

 

DakhaBrakha with City of the Sun at Stage 5 on SaturdayIMG_0007 (2)

I am a big Buffy Saint Marie fan and have seen her three times, first time being a fundraiser in Calgary in 1987 then at the Folk Fest in 2007. She sang songs that covered decades, including Universal Soldier and Up Where We Belong to Skywalker and War Racket. She had a red dress hanging on stage to commemorate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Her singing was powerful and she still speaks out strongly against injustice. Everything is hazy from the smoke that has drifted in from the forest fires in BC.

Buffy and her band from high on the hill.IMG_0068 (1)I went up the hill to capture the sunset over the city.IMG_0050 (1)

The second day, Friday, I woke up after a nap after completing my shift and the air was so thick with smoke I couldn’t see across the grounds and having asthma and a lung infection, I went home. That means I missed all the concerts that day, and got no photos.

Saturday, wearing a mask, I attended Stage 6 for the Peace Train session. I liked the big strong voices of The War and Treaty and enjoyed John Craigie and Michael Franti. Here I have a picture of the crowd as I enter the area, then Michael Franti and his band stirring up the large crowd with their positive message.

This hill was packed with fans.
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The air is still smoky as evident in the distance.
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It started raining after this and I did not take my camera out for the rest of the weekend because I did not want to damage it, but had fun and enjoyed dancing to West African, Celtic and Blues despite the fact it was pouring. Honestly, it was such a relief to come home to a warm bath and cozy dry bed when it was over. Despite this year’s weather I look forward to next year when it will be the 40th anniversary of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. I plan to be there both as a volunteer and a fan.