Monotone Patterns

Today I decided not to bring my Nikon camera along on my walk but rather take the smaller Fuji camera that my friend Nigel gave me. It’s a great camera but I just love my Nikon so much I just can’t seem to go out without it. But today, I finally tore myself away from Nikon and stepped into the world of Fuji.

Dried Leaf

Dried Leaf

I walked over to one of the local parks and I decided to focus on patterns and texture in my photos today. A dried leaf on the piece of wood caught my eye and I immediately got a few shots of it. The original shot is in colour but I found I was able to see more of the textures if I converted the image to black and white and really cropped into the leaf.

Wood Pattern

Wood Pattern

Not too far from the leaf, I found this old log. It’s irregular pattern and texture was amazing. I can almost feel the wood under my hand.

I think my Fuji did a very good job of capturing the images I was looking for. Now I just have to occasionally give up the dependency on my Nikon. 😉

Another Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

At the beginning of my walk today I noticed a couple of birds flying in and out of this very tall birdhouse. The macro lens is not the tool for this job but I thought it was an interesting viewpoint from way down below. With a little cropping and adding some clouds to the cloudless sky, I created the photo below.

Bird House

Bird House

From here I focused on finding macro shots, that is what my challenge to myself is after all. I have been taking lots of macro photos but they haven’t been that great so that’s why you are seeing such a mix of shots photographed with the105mm macro lens.

Seed pods

Seed pods

I keep coming across interesting seed pods and I wonder what the heck they look like in full bloom. The seeds in the photo above reminded me of these creatures from an original Star Trek episode (Operation–Annihilate). I wonder what kind of plant it is and what it looks like in summer. Hopefully, I’ll be able to recognize it to take a photo.

Leaf in BW

Leaf in BW

I found this dried leaf that has somehow wrapped itself around its stem and still kept curling in on itself. It really popped when I decided to change it to a black and white image. Sometimes taking the colour out of an image can make an image you thought was too busy or just not that great into something that you love.

Snowless February

Today I, with my friend Nigel, head out to Humber Bay park in search of…you guessed it…ducks. Beause what else are you going to find in the middle of February when there is no snow?

Mallard

Mallard

Going later in the day (which isn’t thalate this time of year) gave us this beautiful golden light that reflected off our subjects. There were lots of mallards, but then again, when aren’t there lots of mallards? As we explored the park we came across something unusual none of the mallard groups – a white mallard. 

White Duck

White Duck

It’s not an albino. Its eyes, beak and feet are the same as the other mallards. Plus those other mallards seemed to have no issue with this weirdly coloured duck in their midst. So what’s up with its white feathers? Is it a spirit mallard, like the spirit bears from BC? I’m so curious to find out more.

I found out that it isn’t that uncommon for a mallard to be white due to Leucism. Leucism is the partial loss of pigmentation that can result in white, patchy or pale pigments. We see this in nature more than we realize – a white tiger, a white snake and, of course, the well known spirit bears from the west coast. 

So, essentially our white duck is a mallard in all respects except its white colouring. 

Swan

Swan

There was one other common bird hanging around – the swan. You have to watch out for swans. They can be one mean bird if they don’t like you and yet there they are paddling away, looking all graceful and stuff. I see you swan, being all handsome and unassuming, trying to pretend you’re not coming up with some evil plan to take over the world. lol 

As always it was a great evening out exploring the park and getting some unexpected photos and some fun close-ups. 

Winter Walk in Claireville

I’m back in Claireville again. This time it’s a quick walk by myself for some fresh air and hopefully something interesting to photograph. After trying to find some inspiration I came across some ice in the river that had loads of potential.

Icicles

Icicles

It took some time after photographing these to decide how to portray them.I thought monotone colour would be best to showcase the details of how the ice has formed on these rocks in the middle of the river. In the first photograph I choose a more traditional black and white photo.

Icy Rocks

Icy Rocks

After playing around with the second image I decided to not do the black and white but to choose a blue cast to give it a cooler feel. Would you have processed these differently?

The Shrieking Shack

I was visiting my friends, Brad & Tracey, for a Christmas celebration last night and on my way home this afternoon I decided to stop at a shack I discovered awhile ago. It’s my new favourite ruin up here in Grey County since the old house on highway 10 collapsed in a big storm. 

Old Shack

Old Shack

Abandoned sheds/homes/buildings have so much more character than newer ones. It has a history to it and figuring out its story is what makes it fun to revisit time and time again.

Old Country Road

Old Road

Before leaving Grey County I made one last stop at this old road. I don’t know where it leads.. Where do you think the road will take you?

The Summer Homes of Sintra: Pena Palace

A short train ride away from Lisbon is the city of Sintra. Located on the west side of Portugal, Sintra was once a summer retreat for the kings of Portugal. There is a lot to see and do here and certainly not enough time in the day to do them all. I limited myself to three locations hoping I could tackle them all in the time I had.

When the train pulled into the station I wandered out into the streets to find the local bus that would take me up the hill to Pena Palace. By starting at the top I could walk down to the Moorish castle and then into the heart of Sintra to Quinta da Regaliera. It was best not to look out the windows as these experienced drivers whipped up the hill along narrow, twisty streets.

National Palace of Pena

National Palace of Pena

Arriving safely (thank goodness) at Pena the photos I had seen did not do it justice. The unique architecture and colours of Pena Palace and Park are an example of Portuguese Romanitcism. Built in the 19th century it is one of the more popular spots here in Sintra and one can see why. Reds, yellow and blues merge together to create a one-of -a-kind castle. And, of course, the views from this far up ain’t too shabby either.

Looking out over Pena

Looking out over Pena

The crowds here were crazy but with a little patience I was able to get a few shots during some of the lulls. From the castle I walked down into the palace grounds. Pena Park, as its known, is very large and unfortunately I did not have enough time to explore much, but I did get some time to see a small portion of it.

Fountain of the Small Birds

Fountain of the Small Birds

This moorish building is called the Fountain of the Small Birds. Inside its structure is just that, a fountain. As for the small birds I did not see any but I”m sure they visit here during the quiet times. Heading out of the grounds I walked downhill to the Morrish castle. From its walls one can see Pena Palace in the distance. And it is quite a sight.

Pena Palace

Pena Palace From the Morrish Castle

In my next post I’ll take you through my walk at the Morrish castle.