Sunday, December 24, 2017

'Twas the night before Christmas...

A Visit from St. Nicholas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (Random House Inc., 1983) & Poetry Foundation

Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Wishing you all the best for the holidays and in the new year.

Mindful of the Mood

'Tis the season for the yearly email purge. My email inbox was stuffed with hundreds of helpful hints on improving my photography.

Recently I received one from Improve Photography on how to create Mood. They suggested increasing the contrast, desaturating, and shooting from more dramatic angles. Not really inspiring.

So I consulted the Google and found this really good article by Frank Myrland of Digital Photography School: How to Capture Mood and Atmosphere in Your Photos

My photos seem to be hit and miss when it comes to expressing moods/emotions. It could be why lately I've been feeling a little "meh" about going out and shooting.

The following are some shots from 2017 that kind of work. But I need to be more mindful of the mood, I think. Learn how to create atmosphere.

A goal!

Tough one.

Seek out the mood.

Create atmosphere.

Give it a go.

To enlarge an image, click on the photo.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A night @ a skating rink

It's been a while since my last post, I know.  Haven't gotten out much lately. Too tired from work. The brain seems to go into mush mode where there is no energy to create.

Tonight I broke the mush-brain cycle and went out to shoot downtown night scenes with some friends. We started at Olympic Plaza and slowly made our way down Stephen Avenue.

Here are some of the things I saw and managed to catch. (Click on photo to make them larger.)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Theme : Guys who spend time with kids

Many things catch my eye as I'm out and about.  Can't help it.  After a few thousand photos themes start to emerge. One theme that seems to be ongoing is guys who spend time with kids.  They could be fathers or uncles or big brothers - I don't ask, so I don't know.

In the Dark Ages of parenting child rearing was left to women; men were the disciplinarians and breadwinners, but that's all. Or so the myth goes. I figure the past must have had some good dads that created good times with their kids. Good memories to pass on to next generations.

Anyway, seeing men spending time with their kids captures my attention. It's fascinating and a little heartwarming.

Here are some captures of men spending time with kidlings. Click on photo to enlarge and start the slideshow.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Composition : Subframing

This looks like something worth trying... subframing.

Photography Rules: Rule of Odds

A photography group I belong to suggested for our next meeting in October that everyone talk about a photography rule. My assigned topic was the Rule of Odds.

Of course, my brain went a little far of field...
"May the odds be ever in your favor. The odds are never in your favor." -- Hunger Games 
"Against all odds." -- Movie title
"Never give up, never surrender, and rise up against the odds." -- Jesse Jackson 
"Never tell me the odds." -- Hans Solo, Star Wars.
Getting back on track, and consulting the Google Oracle, I found the following definition for ...
Rule of odds – The rule of odds states that images are more visually appealing when there is an odd number of subjects. For example, if you are going to place more than one person in a photograph, don’t use two, use 3 or 5 or 7, etc. ...Studies have shown that people are actually more at ease and comfort when viewing imagery with an odd number of subjects.  -- Four Rules of Photographic CompositionElizabeth Halford
It's suggested that the odd number is always three. A Ted Forbes' video tutorial and a website called Composition Study (links at the bottom of this blog) both suggest that three is the ideal odd number.

Going through my older photos I found I am mostly drawn to the number 4 or 1 or crowds. Go figure.  Anyway, here are some photos that fit the rule of odds. You can decide whether these are more pleasing and comfortable and interesting -- odd number out. [Click on the first photo to start a slideshow of larger images.]

Slide Presentation

The Odds... a Canadian rock band.

Coming soon ... ZOMBIES!!!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Walk for Reconciliation 2017

The above poster was pinned to a bulletin board at the downtown Central Library.  

This morning I took part in the Walk for Reconciliation that started around 8:00 a.m. from the Harry Hayes Building and ended at Fort Calgary. I asked Charlotte, an elder carrying the American flag, if it would be okay to take photos of the walk.  She laughed heartily when I said I'd post them to Flickr.

After Charlotte's opening prayer, a fellow wearing a Metis belt gave brief directions of the route.  The walk was led by drummers, then banner carriers, then residential school survivors and elders. Some carried walking sticks representing each of the residential schools in Canada.  Some wore feathers. I followed the diverse group of fifty or more people along the river bike path, under Reconciliation Bridge, and through East Village. At Fort Calgary the group was met by one lone videographer from Global News.

Here are some of my images. Click on the photo to see a larger slideshow version.

Participants walk under the newly named Reconciliation Bridge.  Originally the bridge was called the Langevin Bridge, named after Sir Langevin one of Canada's Father of Confederation who is considered on of the architects of residential schools.