An Adventure in Portugal

OMG! Guys!! I am in Portugal. It was a mid summer suggestion from friends of mine to join them in their rental in Lisbon and now here I am! And all I can say is WOW. First its damn hot and second I AM IN LOVE. It’s so beautiful here and I’ve only explored a small section of the city.

Vine Wall In Alfama

Vine Wall In Alfama

During my first afternoon I wandered over to Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood. This section of Lisbon that was first settled by Romans and flourished under Moorish times. The narrow streets take you back through time as you walk along its meandering path. Here you will also find Castello de Såo Jorge sitting on the crown of the hill. I didn’t explore this today but I will definitely be paying a visit soon.

Number 32

Number 32

Old European cities are my favourite places to wander. There are so many things to photograph and Number 32 is a great example of the kinds of things I love to photograph. The old ornate wooden doors with their paint peeling tell a story of better days.

Lisbon Streetcar

Lisbon Streetcar

Wandering back into the bustle of the neighbourhood of Baixa and Avenida I started noticing these yellow trams. Tram number 28 is the traditional way to see Lisbon’s sights. The tram winds its way around the city, up its steep hills and through the narrow streets to give tourists an easy way to see the sights without all the leg work. On hot days like today I think I would rather walk the streets than be huddled together in this small tram.

Backyard Views

I was sitting out on the patio this evening with my camera in hopes of catching something interesting. 

One-Legged Robin

One-Legged Robin

I got lucky when a robin decided to visit. She look a little rough land in this photo seem to be a one-legged robin. Okay, she wasn’t really one-legged but she kept sitting there staring at me with her foot up. It looked so odd. Eventually she had enough and flew away. After her brief visit I decided to explore the garden and work on some close-up photography.

Cherry Bark

Cherry Bark

This closeup is of a cherry tree that is over 40 years old and unfortunately will not be around much longer. The trunk has been split open for years and the main branches have broken in the past due to the weight of the cherries. Nowadays there are very little cherries to eat in the hot summer sun so its time for this tree to go and a new one to take its place.

A Study in Long Exposure

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve gone out to photograph and today with the sky overcast I thought it would be a good time to head back to 50 Point Pier for some moody photos. I brought along my 10x ND filter to get my experiment on.

ND or neutral density filters are like sunglasses for your camera. The filter can be either screwed on to the front of your lens or it can slide in front of your lens with the help of a filter holder (sold separate from the filter, lens or camera). When placed on the lens it reduces the amount of light getting in to your camera’s sensor. 

Pier without the ND filter

Pier without the ND filter. Shutter speed 1/6th of a second

 There are different densities of filters. Some are only slightly tinted while others are more tinted. The different levels of tints allow you to shoot slower shutter speeds or open your aperture depending on what you are looking to accomplish with your photos.

Why would you want a longer shutter speed? When allowing your shutter to be open longer anything moving in your scene will essentially smooth out as shown in the photograph below.

50 point pier with 10x ND Filter. Shutter speed 87 seconds

You’ll notice in the photo above that the colours are very different from the photo at the very beginning of this post. ND filters are supposed to be a neutral grey colour, however, they usually tend to have a little colour in them. This colour becomes more prominent when shooting a long exposure. You will notice the one I use shifts the colour toward a more purple shade. This is because there is a little purple in the grey tone of my filter. 

50 point pier in Black and White. Shutter speed 15 seconds

One way to get rid of this colour shift is to create beautiful black and white images. Of course, if you are shooting in RAW you will be able to adjust the colour in your post processing to create the look you want.

Photography is all about experimenting and having a little fun. Most people don’t usually have a 10x ND filter but have one of the more common ones like a 3x or 6x. You are the artist so you decide which one works best for you.

Happy Experimenting!

It’s That Time Again

It’s June again. “So, what’s so special about June?” you ask. Well…the orchids are back! Every year I make the trek to Tobermory, Ontario to take photographs of a few types of orchids that are usually out in droves. This year with high water levels we were not sure what to expect.

Traverston Mill

Traverston Mill

My friend Nigel has joined me for the journey and as always we decided to take the “long” way. This usually means finding new places to drive through on our way up and not necessarily places that are on the way.

Our first stop is the Traverston Mill, located west of Markdale in the small town of Traverston. The mill was built in 1870 and operated as a gristmill till 1955, it is currently a private residence.

Chantry Island Lighthouse

Chantry Island Lighthouse

After messing around with some infrared photos of the mill we headed north west to the town of Southampton to photograph the Chantry Island Lighthouse. There was a haziness in the air so we didn’t stay long here. When processing the photo I went with a more vintage look to give it a little more character.

River in InfraRed

River in InfraRed

Going off the beaten track we found some little goodies to photograph by the side of the road. One of them was this picturesque scene of a river. I can’t remember where the heck this is but that’s the fun in exploring side roads.

Winter on Toronto Islands

Since doing some work on the islands over the winter I realized how beautiful the islands and the city are at this time of year. So my friend Nigel and I decided to take a trip to the Toronto Islands to explore and photograph the area.

Toronto Harbour

Toronto Harbour

The Toronto ice breaker ferry only travels to Ward’s Island, which is located on the eastern point of the islands. From here you can walk along the boardwalk on the south shore or the main road down the middle of the islands. We decided to walk the boardwalk to Centre Island and then take the main road back to catch the ferry.

Ward's Island path - Colour

Ward’s Island path – Colour

Instead of heading directly to the boardwalk we explored some of the homes and parks on Ward’s Island first. Near a beach we found this path surrounded by birches. I played around with a fog filter to get the effect you see in the photos.

Ward's Island path - B&W

Ward’s Island path – B&W

I can’t decide if I like colour version or the black and white version. Which do you prefer?

Skating on the harbour

Skating on the harbour

Heading back toward the ferry on the main road we came upon some ice skaters enjoying the sunny winter day. The inner harbours around the island are shallow and freeze quickly and they also make a nice ice rink with a spectacular view.

Snowy Wawa

My friend Nigel and I headed up for a long weekend to catch some waves, so to speak, in beautiful snowy Wawa. By “catch some waves” I mean photographically not actually getting in the cold, stormy water of Lake Superior.

Before looking for those waves we decided to explore Michipocten and Wawa for some snowy winter scenes. It wasn’t too hard to find those winter scenes as the snow started lightly falling on the already snow-covered landscape.

Middle Silver Falls in the distance

Middle Silver Falls in the distance

Middle Silver Falls. Black and white version.

Middle Silver Falls. Black and white version.

We explored Michipicoten a little more and found a beach with some small waves crashing and as we explored more we found a boat shed. It looked a little worn but that’s what I loved most about it.

The Boat Shed

The Boat Shed

After exploring Michipicoten we decided to head in Lake Superior Park to scout out some locations and get a few photos along the way. We found this hidden little beach at one of our stops.

A Secret Beach

A Secret Beach

Our final stop of the day before heading back to Wawa for dinner, was Magpie Falls.

Magpie High Falls

Magpie High Falls

As always when travelling there is usually something that is under construction. Little did I think that there would construction at a waterfall. So more intimate photos will have to do.