Outdoor Shapes and Texture

I Decided to Play with Filters while Editing since it was Such a Dull Day.
Using an aged filter.
Trees and Grasses along the Trail were Beautiful and the High Contrast Easier to See
I like how the Foreground and Background are Similar.
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Lured by Chickadees

Though the temperatures dipped a bit between Christmas and New Years, it has been a mild winter. We had a snowfall then warm temperatures above zero on New Years day, which was all the incentive that I needed to go to the river valley and try to capture images of any bird I could find. I was lucky that there was a man feeding a squirrel and the chickadees, too. I hung around where he dropped the seeds and nuts and gazed until I saw movement, then raised my camera to my eye and focused on the squirrel or bird through the viewfinder, then clicked, sometimes successfully capturing an image.

Yes, I did get fur and feather blurs but also got fairly-focused images. I felt joy being outdoors and hearing the calls of Chickadees, Magpies and possibly a Robin and some Pine Grosbeaks.

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Looks a Little Awkward, but I am glad s/he paused for a Moment
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Whoops , not Fast Enough
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Thank Goodness for Those Pauses and No Sticks in front of it
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Another Oops
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Very Dull Light: a Challenge to get an Eye Glint
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Happy to get the Colour in this Magpie’s Feathers
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Stuffing his Beak until he had a Mouth-full of Corn
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I Love the Wing Feather Patterns from the Back
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I also Loved Hearing the Flutter of their Wings as they Flew over my Shoulder to get to the Food

It was a most enjoyable walk which I need a lot more of after enjoying all those Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate, Turkey and Ham dinners. Happy New Year Everybody!

The Edge of the Valley

Quiet, except for the slap of the skis on the trails and the puncture of the poles in the snow  as skiers glide along the valley below me.

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Lines of tree branches stretch, standing out from the grey in the distance.

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I look up the stairs, and plod upwards , stopping every now and again to take in the view and catch my breath.

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It was a dull, overcast day, but mild enough for a leisurely walk along the valley. I enjoyed it very much, though couldn’t capture an image of the chickadees that stopped to inspect me. Maybe next time.

Merry Christmas!

I like this photo of the advent wreath celebrating the weeks before Christmas waiting for Jesus’ arrival. The candles represent Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. The white candle in the middle  is the Christ candle, lit on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. In the distance you see people visiting, a time of coming together to celebrate.

I follow the Christian tradition of beholding the birth of a vulnerable child, God with us, meditating on Love and Light, celebrating the life of Jesus the Christ and trying to live as God would have me do.

I respect all other beliefs and wish everyone Peace.

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Love that Horsey Smell!

Many years ago, I took a horsemanship course in Ontario. I worked with a great bunch of students and though I failed, I learned a lot of horsemanship and personal skills and got a couple of jobs working with horses after that. One of the women that I took the course with looked  me up on Facebook this year and left a message. It turns out that we  live not too far apart and  we finally connected this past week , the first time in 39 years!

We visited horses, of course, and though I didn’t ride, I petted them and took photos while we caught up on what we have been doing all this time. It was very humbling to try to step between the rails and found I needed to grab my leg and inch it over the rail, straddle the bottom rail, then slowly inch my other leg over. Pathetic! What tiny bit of muscle I have is tight, tight, tight! I am definitely not ready to ride, or even get on. I have something to work for now and even if I can’t build my strength and balance and flexibility to where I want, I will improve.

I was quite happy taking photos and just smelling that horsey sell on myself. We had so many memories to share and it was a fun afternoon.

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Running around the exercise paddock

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A quiet Pause

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Up Close and Personal

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Day is Waning

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.

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

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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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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.