Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Camera!

So as you all know by now, Shayne has gotten way into photography.  Ever since he got his Canon Rebel T1i a year and a half ago, I stopped taking pictures completely.  This was only because in comparison to the shots he could get on his camera, mine were just terrible on my point and shoot.  It made it almost not worth it for me to even bother anymore as I was constantly disappointed in my results.  Alas, since Shayne has now upgraded to a Canon 5D MarkII, it left the Rebel without a home.  And since it was technically living in our home...I decided to buy it off of him!  So there I have it, I am now the proud owner of a camera I have no idea how to operate!

My first time out with it was at the island a couple weeks ago, and what a wonderful day (not because of the was just a wonderful day!)  I rode my bike back and forth all over the island in the sunshine with some snacks in my bag and my ninja hoop on my back.  The highlight of my day was finding a secret little patch of beach, completely out of view of everyone, and setting up shop there.  I took these pictures on my little beach between major hooping sessions!  Hooping under a tree, lakeside is an amazing way to spend a day!

The water was frigid on my feet!  I could only last a minute at a time before I couldn't feel my numb toes anymore, but it was so refreshingly worth it!  These pictures didn't turn out so well as it was my first time out with the new camera, and again, I had absolutely no idea how to use it beyond turning it on really!  I knew how to adjust the ISO and Fstop, but these are settings which were foreign to me...not knowing what an ISO or Fstop are (yeah so I went to film school and took photography classes, but I suppose too many beers have clouded my memory)

Above is my little private sanctuary, the shot is taken from the water looking back.  I was hooping there, just to the right of my bike (you can see my green hoop there on the ground!)

Some of the pictures turned out too dark, or too bright as I fooled around with settings, but you still get the idea of how beautiful this location was!

See the two birds flying by just as I snapped the shot?!

It was a wonderful day on the island...up until I was suffering so much in the hot sun on my way home (I'm a redhead after all!) that I could only make it as far as Trinity Bellwoods where I completely collapsed in the cool shade!

Later on during my holidays (which are almost over boo!) I went to high park (yesterday!)  Still having some difficulty with the camera, I think these pictures turned out slightly better.

Can you see the little fuzzy babies above??

I found that taking pictures of white swans in mid-day sun was near impossible.  Continually over-exposed and I just couldn't figure out how to fix it.  This was before I knew about the exposure setting feature :-/

So many 'models' in the park!  Though it can be hard to capture the little guys who tend to move around so much!  But still, look at how much better the quality of these pictures is over the ones I used to post from the snappy little one I used to use!

I hung out here with a book for a while which was heavenly.  I adore all these little birdhouses, I feel like I'm hanging out in such an amazing wildlife sanctuary!  Also, being that it was in the morning of a weekday, the park was practically deserted.  I've never experienced high park that empty was wonderful!!

Isn't it amazing that this bit of country can be found right in downtown Toronto?

I decided to wander away from my usual ground in the park, and go off in search of the more secluded nature trails.  Seriously, it really feels like you've taken a trip out to the countryside, but it's reachable in about 20 stops on the streetcar!  As much as I think of myself as a country girl, I don't even know exactly what poison ivy looks like, and this park is full of it...and I was wearing open sandals.  A combination of stepping very gingerly and luck worked in my favour and I had no poison encounters.

Since I naturally brought my ninja hoop along again (I rarely go places without it now) I was on the lookout for a perfect, secluded place to do some dancing, and I found it in the above picture (you can see my purse and hoop leaning against the tree)  I threw on my iPod for a while and hooped around the base of the tree...but always still a little shy and wary of folks who might see me from up on the road, or perhaps folks might wander from the trails (they never did)

I love this shot, it looks like this man is just out taking his geese for a walk!

This was a really hard shot to get due to the lighting, and I'm not too happy with it.  Again, trying to shoot white birds in mid-day sun is super hard!

Thanks for reading!  And I'll leave you with a fuzzy baby duck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Trip Diaries of Old

Alright, in going with the theme of old time reminiscing, why not post some excerpts of old trip diaries?  I don't know why I do this to myself, publicly share so many things which truly can be held against me (in terms of embarrassment)  But when faced with writer's block, why not quote some old stuff that's already written?  Cop out?  Sure, but a potentially hilarious one.

I kept consistent diaries growing up, including extremely detailed ones of those notorious family vacations.  I think many of us took these vacations and road trips with the folks in the past, surely you understand!  The horror they could feel like, at times, while they were happening, but how wonderful they are now, engrained in the memory.  I wouldn't trade those days in for a fortune.

Prince Edward Island, Summer 1992, I was 13 years old.

Written before the trip began...
"We are going to go to town to stock up on our food I guess, and to go shopping - of course.  There is just one problem - I don't have any money.  I have $9.80 but I am spending that tonight on makeup"

"I was cursed today, and I am still in love with Leonardo DiCaprio"

Written during the trip...
"We are in the van right now on our way to PEI.  Last night I slept on the cot in my room because I made my bed so nice and didn't want to sleep in it and mess it up so I dragged the cot into my room.  Then we watched the movie Hook, it was good and long"

"About four more hours of driving until we settle down in a big Sharaton or Chimo hotel with an indoor pool, bar, sauna, exercise room, hot tub and big rooms of course, $800 a night.  But if mom is paying it will probably be a cheap prostitute paradise"

Describing the hotel room... "The room is a fair size, only smaller then most.  The bathroom is nice, but the style makes it so hard to move around, it's too small for my standards"

"It's 6:03pm here in Woodstock, New Brunswick.  We came here to the Panorama is NOT UP TO MY STANDARDS! The pool is OK, there is a hot tub, games room and stuff indoors, but it's not nearly as nice as the Universal. The room is orange and brown and gross.  Oh yeah, I bought a shirt today, it has white and green stripes"...Later that evening, I went on and on about how great the pool and restaurant were, hmmmm I was a tough critic I guess!

"Today we had our picture taken at Grandpa's Antique Photos, I can't stop looking at our picture it is so awesome! We are going to have dinner soon (frozen pizza) You know, every night dad snores so loud and Craig and I are up all night practically talking and we whisper so mom and dad can't hear us, then every now and then we shout BOOGER!"

"Well there's no better way to start the day then a ride on the back of a horse. Today we went horseback riding"

"Mom and I went to another boardwalk while Craig and dad went to Sandspit.  Mom bought a wicker duck-shaped pot-pourri holder, and I bought a little twig chair"


"We went for a walk and saw the biggest salmon in the world.  It was a metal fountain"

In old Quebec City, on the way home from PEI "We dined at an outdoor patio restaurant, I can't remember what it was called, but it was right beside all the little shops.  It was great.  In old Quebec, which is right near the water (there was a Communist Cruiser docked there) there are so many people playing the violin in the the middle of the street"

...maybe next time I'll regale you with diary entries from my BC trip when I was 15. BAHAHA!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Memories

It's funny the way random daily occurrences bring up memories of things past.  Being that I'm on vacation, I've taken to watching some quirky little movies, and some docs on line.  I was just watching a doc on the digital world we live in.  They were just showing some old scenes from various interview shows which took place in the early 1990s, and I was shuttled back momentarily in time, and for some reason I just had to write about it.

Early 90s summer vacation: Laura and her brother Mark, Kim and Lindsay.  Hanging out on the street, in the mall, in the yard.  I remember painting furniture out back (acrylic over oil - impossible) and it began raining.  That furniture was forever tainted with raindrop stains.  Listening to Soundgarden, Moist, Prodigy, Pearl Jam... watching the Kids in the Hall.  Constantly shooting our own spin-off, the Kids in the Closet.

I remember the sound of the ceiling fan in my living room, that constant hum which was always prevalent in our short films, or while watching the Regis and Kathy Lee show (this was before Kelly Ripa - the true old days!)  I got into this weird habit one summer of recording everything I did through my days, beyond my detailed journals, to point form lists (including bathroom breaks) I was a strange kid.

I remember watching an episode of a talk show, Sally or Oprah or Camilla or Leeza...I can't remember which one, they were all the same.  Anyways, this episode was about girls who thought they were ugly and unlikeable, but clearly, were not - they only suffered from their own personal disorders.  I went to the hatched mirror in the front hall and looked at my reflection, and told the girl in the program that she was beautiful, it was I who was the ugly one.  And then I told myself I was beautiful, but I'm not sure I believed myself.

I remember playing the piano, constantly, by ear.  Craig and I had Dad's membership card to Allan Video, so we'd walk down there all the time to rent VHS movies.  Curly Sue, My Girl, Three Men and a Baby... I would watch the movie, then promptly learn the theme song on the piano for the rest of the day.  I had quite the movie soundtrack repertoire under my 11 year old belt!

I remember letting off fireworks with all the families on our street after the dress rehearsal for my local theatre group's annual play.  I have a picture of my brother and I, kneeling over the burning schoolhouse, me wearing pounds of blue eyeshadow and red lipstick...which was of course, only left on my face from the theatre.

I remember being in the audience for the new Jonovision talkshow.  I wore my leather jacket and straightened my hair.  The topic was "my friend thinks she looks like a celebrity"  The only one I can remember was a Drew Barrymore look-a-like.  Of course, no one thought she looked like Drew Barrymore.  Personally, I don't really remember, I was too concerned with how I thought I'd look on camera.

I remember furiously writing poetry and short stories, getting lost in the web of my complicated imagination.  I would bring my writing books on every family vacation, weeks of rental cars across the country, my mind spanning every mile.  Every attraction my parents brought my brother and I to, I would imagine I was a character entering a new (or ancient) world.  I would remember every detail and use it in a story later on.

I remember spending hours at Laura's place.  Laura, Kim and I pouring over magazines, cutting out pictures of Billie Joe Armstrong and Eddie Vedder and taping them to Laura's closet door.  She had quite the shrine to rockstars there.  And that one day when the sky turned yellow, we were sure we were about to die in a sudden tornado, we wrote death notes, for anyone who may have stumbled onto Bach Blvd. after the hurricane and would find the notes we wrote in our last moments.  Young teens forever immortalized on post-its.

I could go on for hours about all of these memories, from camping to the cottage but I'd take up this entire blog I think.  Anyway, cheers to summer vacation.  Yeah, it isn't two months anymore, but a couple of weeks will do, and I won't lose sight of those days past.

Whale Rescue - Farallon Islands

I'm not sure how old this story is, but I've just heard of it, and I have to repost.

If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.