Grays And Blues

On Canada Day weekend, we decided to take a little road trip down to Coteau du Lac, about 45 minutes from Montreal.

Our goal was to visit the historical site there, which lies on the shore of the St. Lawrence River.  However, what we did not know, was that the town had postponed their July 1st festivities to the next day, the day which we decided to visit.

Because of the fact that they delayed their festivities, which were being held inside the historical site and because the fireworks had been set up inside the site, the main part of the park was closed; therefore, we were not able to see much of the site at all.

We were somewhat disappointed; though, our disappointment was short lived once we saw the Grays and Blues appear.

The Grays and Blues of Montreal are a “living history” association, who dedicate their time in remembrance of those Canadians who fought and died in the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Here is their website for more information: http://www.graysandbluesofmontreal.com/

During their demonstration, we saw them fire the two replica canons they had, as well as their muskets – I was on the other side of the park, having lunch when they fired their muskets, hence no photos of that.

I was very impressed at how professional and meticulous they were when preparing and firing the canons.  They mentioned that they go to the US every year to get certified.  Anyone who does not pass does not get to participate.

All the photos were taken with the Nikon D2x and the Nikkor 70-300 VR G.  I shot everything in RAW and edited/converted them in Capture NX-D.

With it being our great country’s 150th birthday, admission to all Canadian National parks is free, so why not take advantage of it!

Who dares wins.

© ajmgatheringlight.wordpress.com, All Rights Reserved

 

Back To Coaticook

We first went to Coaticook last September and I posted about it here: (https://d7100shooter.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/coaticook-gorge/).

Well, last weekend, we went back to Coaticook; only this time, we took some family friends who had never been down to the Eastern Townships or many other places in Quebec.

They have only been in Quebec since mid-last year and they desperately want to explore different areas of the province, so we suggested that we tour them around the Eastern Townships a bit.

Coaticook is about a 2 hour drive from Montreal and most of the trip is spent driving on the highway that is very well maintained.  It’s a small town, so don’t expect too much when you get there.

Probably the two biggest attractions in Coaticook, are the ice cream factory (Coaticook ice cream anyone?) and the gorge.

Photos were taken with the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Nikon D2x.

Despite the fact that this was the second time that we had been to the gorge, it was still enjoyable.  Funny enough, the trek up to the suspended bridge did not seem as long as it did the first time.

There are plenty of places to visit and explore, just mere hours away from Montreal.  All you need to do is pack a picnic and hop in your car!

Who dares wins.

© ajmgatheringlight.wordpress.com, All Rights Reserved

Black Crowned Night Heron

Yesterday, we made our way to Fort Chambly, in Chambly Quebec – more about that in a later post.

It was a great day in all respects and we only experienced about 10 minutes of rain.  Mind you, that rain came down in buckets, but we were able to take some shelter underneath the large trees in the park.

After we finished our visit to the fort, we made our way back to the car by walking along the water front.  As we walked into the picnic area next to the fort, i looked out over the Rapides de Chambly and noticed a rather large bird perched on top of  fallen branch in the water.

The below photos can also be seen on my Instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/englishmaninmontreal/

At that moment, all i had in my hand was my little X10, which was somewhat useless at the distance that i was from the Heron.

Hoping that he would not fly away, i gently took off my backpack and took out my D2x with the 70-300 VR G attached.

Luckily for me, the camera was more or less set up for the shooting conditions.  It was already dialed in at ISO 400, which was perfect for the overcast weather we were having.  I only had to adjust the aperture, which i set to f/8.  Shutter speed varied between 1/320 and 1/500, which was due to the light.

I shot in RAW, which i do all the time with the D2x now.  Shooting in RAW with the D2x gives me so much more latitude when i want to edit the files.  It doesn’t take long to edit the files either.  A minute or so with each file in Capture NX-D and i’m done.

It was really great seeing such a magnificent bird up close like this.  I am very happy that i was able to photograph him.

Who dares wins.

© ajmgatheringlight.wordpress.com, All Rights Reserved

Art Out In The Open

There is nothing better than taking a nice, leisurely walk on a sunny, summer’s day.

That’s exactly what I did the other day.

I grabbed my little Olympus TG3 and made my way to Sherbrooke St. in downtown Montreal, with the purpose of taking photos of the various sculptures that are being displayed on either side of the street.

A bit of advice:  wear a good pair of walking shoes.  Ladies, leave the heels at home.

The open air museum starts at the museum of fine arts and goes all the way to the McCord Museum.   Along the way, you will be able to see 25 sculptures from Canadian, as well as international artists.

If sculptures are not really your thing, there are also 42 large photographs on display for the photographer in you.  The photographs are from Montreal artists.

The following photographs can also be seen on my Instagram feed: https://www.instagram.com/englishmaninmontreal/

A few words about the TG3:  Why did I choose to bring the TG3? Well, first of all, I can charge it via USB; therefore, i can charge it in the car very easily.  Secondly, it is the lightest camera that I own, so it is not hard to carry around.

Does it take the best photos?  That depends on your definition of “best”.  If you are talking about resolution, dynamic range, etc., no it doesn’t.  My X10 would have done a much better job at taking “better” photos.  However, I don’t think my composition would have been any different.

On this particularly bright day, the TG3 tended to overexpose a tad, but I was able to somewhat correct that in post – the TG3 does not shot in RAW.  The X10 does.

I can control the exposure compensation through a quick access menu setting, so I will keep that in mind the next time I shoot with the TG3 on a bright, sunny day.  -1 would be an ideal setting here.

Other than the slight overexposure from the camera’s meter, the TG3 was the perfect camera to shoot with that day.

As I mentioned above, the photos in this post can also be found on my Instagram and I was able to upload them to IG in no time, thanks to the built-in WiFi of the TG3 and the Olympus OI.Share app on my phone.  This is where the TG3 gets a few brownie points over the X10.

In sum, it was a great afternoon, leisurely strolling down Sherbrooke St. and snapping some photos of the great works of art that are on display.

Who dares wins.

© ajmgatheringlight.wordpress.com, All Rights Reserved

Instead Of WordPress…

… Instagram.

As many of you know, it can be quite a struggle to consistently post to your blog and for various reasons, such as:

  1. Life
  2. Life
  3. Life
  4. and a little thing called motivation.

Ahhh yes, motivation, that elusive bit of psychological je ne sais quoi that gives you a kick in the ass to get up and do something. Sometimes, it’s hard to find.

Perhaps i became discouraged about blogging after my original blog ran out of room to post photos.  It was a shame that i had to start a new blog; though, i was not prepared to hand over money to WordPress.

Perhaps i started to think that most people would not be interested in reading what i had to say.

Whatever the reason, motivation was and has been very hard to find, no matter where i have looked.

However, i have found it far easier to post photos to Instagram, which has been therapeutic for the photographer side of me.

Here are some of the more recent photos from my Instagram feed:  https://www.instagram.com/englishmaninmontreal/

All photos taken with the LG G5.  No filters applied.

Obviously, posting to Instagram is far easier than making a blog post.  All you need to do is pick a photo, edit a bit, choose the appropriate hashtags and post.

In the end, it comes down to having the right amount of motivation to maintain your personal blog or Instagram account.  It’s not easy and if you find yourself doing it because you think you have to, then take a step back an reevaluate things.

Life, family and your personal well being comes first.

Who dares wins.

© ajmgatheringlight.wordpress.com, All Rights Reserved

New Catch

When i go plane spotting, one thing that i hope for is to be able to catch something new.

Whether it’s a new type of aircraft or a new airline, seeing something new makes an afternoon plane spotting all that much more special.

On my last outing, i was able to catch two new airlines that i have never seen before.  Well, actually, one of them really isn’t an airline per se.

One of the aircraft that i caught, is a company aircraft (Glencore Canada) and is one of my favourite types to catch: the old 737-200 series.

This particular 737-200 has the gravel kit installed, which makes it even more unique.

Photos taken with the Nikon D2X and the Nikkor 70-300mm VR G.

Who dares wins.

© ajmgatheringlight.wordpress.com, All Rights Reserved

Developing Negatives In Photoshop Elements 9

In my last post, i discussed getting back into film and how i was approaching that move in order to be more self-sufficient in regards to developing the film into photographs.

I know that i have not covered developing film; though, i will most likely cover that in a different post.  At this point in time, i am on the fence between developing it myself at home or taking it to my local camera store to develop.  

In regards to developing my own film at home, i came across something really cool some time ago. Check this out:  (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2017788873/lab-box-the-first-multi-format-daylight-loading-fi)

To begin the process of developing your “negative” in Photoshop, you first need a JPEG of your “negative”.  Here is a sample image of a “scanned” negative:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As you can see, it’s simply a JPEG – straight from my Olympus TG3 – of the developed 135 film.  This photo in no way has been altered or edited.

I scanned the negatives with my camera set to shooting JPEG.  It is probably best to scan them with your camera set to shooting RAW, seeing as you will have more flexibility with a RAW file.  

Once you have your JPEG of the negative, bring it into Photoshop – i will refer to Photoshop in this post, since that is what i used.

Once you have the JPEG of the negative in Photoshop, the first thing that you will want to do, is to crop out anything to the left, right, above and below the frame of the “photo” on the film.

I suppose if i wanted to, i could keep the perforations as part of the final JPEG that i will work with.  But, to me, it does not make much sense.  After all, you are turning an analog “file” into a digital file, so what’s the point?

Once you have cropped your JPEG file down to what you want to work with, you are now set to flip things around.

Step one: use Ctrl J to create a new layer.

Step two: use Ctrl I to invert the photo.

Now your “negative” has been inverted and it is starting to look more like a photograph.

Step three: click on “create new fill or adjustment level” and scroll up to “levels”.  Click on “levels”.

From here, you can mess about with the sliders or you can just click on “Auto”.

You now have a photograph that you can print or use on your blog.  Of course, you can also do further editing to the file if you wish.

Here is the result i got with the “negative” that i posted above:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This photograph is a perfect example of why you should not lay your developed film directly onto the screen of your smart device when using it as a lightbox.

All those white, squiggly little shapes that you see in the middle of the photo, are the pixels of the screen showing through.  This is why i said that you need to put a piece of white, translucent plastic between the screen and the film.

I made a little film holder out of cardboard that actually lifts the film up from the screen by a few millimeters.  Lifting the film up a few mm while still keeping it flat, is another way that you can avoid these artifacts in the final photo.

And there you have it!  A cheap and easy way to scan some old, developed 135 film into digital files that you can use to print or post to the web.

A few things to consider:

  1. This was merely an experiment on my part to simply understand the process and the feasibility of it.
  2. The photos that i ended up with are far from being good.  Some factors that may have affected the quality of the final photo are: the age of the film, not using the sharpest aperture on my camera’s lens, my camera not having an APS-C sensor (i used my TG3), using the lens at a wide-angle setting and perhaps because the film was not completely flat.
  3. Going back to #2, i really don’t want to sound like i am making excuses for the bad photos.  I simply wanted to point out some factors that might affect the quality of the final product.  This is the first time that i have ever done this, so i may not have performed some aspects of it correctly.
  4. As i said in #1, this was only an experiment.

I hope that i was able to peak your interest in scanning film in some way and that you will experiment with this yourself.

Who dares wins.

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