31 August 2008

Unnoticed at the time

I took this for the lovely ornate street lamp outside the Quebec Legislature.
Only looking at it now do I wonder what that windsock in the background is for; presumably a hospital rooftop helipad, but I don't know.

30 August 2008

It's that time again.

What possesses me to try to take pictures of a stealth black cat on a white, shiny surface?
I honestly couldn't say.
Lurk more!
There will be pounces.
And killing.
And caves.
Very important, caves.
I disdain your hominid clicky-thing.

29 August 2008


Specifically, the Queubec City waterfront at night.
Every now and again I manage to hold the camera still enough.

28 August 2008

The fractal nature of water

A (presumed) leaky corner of the Skywalk, between Union Station and the CN Tower. (Also the baseball stadium and the convention centre.)

27 August 2008

More portico

The whole (or nearly) length of the colonnaded portico of Union Station, without the distracting mirrored modern buildings from across the street.

26 August 2008

Lots of cheating

Or at least tedious manipulation.
The colonnade of Union Station, looking north-east.
This started as a single DNG image; it got processed sequentially at +2, 0, and -1 stops of exposure, and composited back together in the GIMP for a sort of faux HDR image. On the plus side, one can see the pattern of the tessellated ceiling and the glass of the office towers at the same time. On the not so plus side, yikes. Many steps. On the, well, think about it, side, couldn't do that with film. (Even if someone could, I sure couldn't!) So one should not complain; this is the future, full of new bright possibility.

25 August 2008

Failures of housekeeping

So, on the balcony, there's a couple of these little yellow flowers growing; I presume from spilled bird seed, rather than as a side effect of bird mutualism with some distant plant, but one never knows.
The about-what-it-actually looked like version is this one, below; not quite straight down from very close (not quite in the lens hood, close). That black bar is one of the uprights of the railing; probably 3/4 of an inch square.
And this is what happens if I start trying to turn down the brightness and exposure far enough that there is actual detail in the structure of the flower.
And this is the whole thing, turned down that far. Lots of falloff, but I think it looks interesting. (Inaccurate, but interesting. :)
I really need to stop trying to do flower macro without a tripod, too, but tripod and impulse don't really go together.

24 August 2008


A lot of the time, what I want is not a tripod—since, after all, I have a tripod— but some device that will prevent the sprig of vegetation something is perched on from moving. Without, of course, disturbing the perching thing in any way.
Going to be a big market when tractor beams come in, but until then, one must to some extent trust to luck. This is one of the cases of getting lucky on the timing. (About half of them are; the problem with the rest of them is that I was even less lucky about the angle, as the butterfly kept flipping its wings to deal with the slip-of-vegetation-nodding breeze.)

23 August 2008

Blue, crested

Possibly should be "crested, blue". Jungle fowl from the Australasia pavilion at the Metro Zoo. Definitely not fond of high-visibility areas, but does cross sunbeams from time to time.

22 August 2008

Dignity Leak

He's been at the Metro Zoo almost his whole life, having been blown out of his nest and broken a wing in a thunderstorm when wee small. So he's got the proper mad stare down, but there are certain grooming deficiencies.

21 August 2008

Continuing the suid theme

One of the sounder of red river hogs at the Metro Zoo.

20 August 2008

Warthog among the wildflowers

Not much to say, really. Other than to note that the rest of the sounder is just barely out of the picture.

19 August 2008

A dignity of parrots

These—from August 4th—are K20D shots 6606 and 6607. From which one might correctly conclude that these fellows were perched side-by-each.

18 August 2008


That dark bit in the upper right, and just creeping in along the right edge, are two of the propeller blades.

17 August 2008

After the rain

Someday I will have DA* lenses with weather-sealing. Until that happy day arrives, I try very hard not to have the camera outside while it is actually raining, but just after can give good results.


A Québec streetscape. Another fortunate moment of illumination.

I normally am trying to get as much reach as possible, because I am trying to get pictures of small birds far away. Taking city pictures has given me an opportunity to understand why people say so many good things about the FA31 Ltd. lens.

16 August 2008

Old and New

A public building in Québec, new copper flashing still very bright.

This is one of the few times I've had purple—magenta, in this case—fringing in an image, but it turns out the GIMP makes getting rid of it relatively easy. I will decide later if this makes me feel artistically impure, but for now it's a significant help.

15 August 2008

Next time, I take the train

Since this is apparently the Ville de Québec train station. Bound to be an architecturally interesting interior.

And night comes on

One of those narrow moments of light, and I got lucky. This is not quite in Old Quebec, but certainly thereabouts.

14 August 2008

If I should fall from grace with God

Not a view I get often, and worth taking pictures, even through the rather dingy and definitely small window of a Dash8-100.

11 August 2008

The least lamentable jellyfish

So the Metro Zoo has updated/renovated in the Australasia pavilion, and put in a big Great Barrier Reef fish tank (many fish, much coral) and some satellite tanks, which include a satellite tank full of jellyfish.
I need to go back there with a tripod, at a time the room isn't full, and see if I can do a better job of taking a picture of something self-illuminating in dark water behind glass in a dark room. It really ought not to be that hard, but the place was packed, and jellyfish move remarkably quickly, at least in terms of what will induce blur.

10 August 2008

Trumpet Flower

The whole frame
And an attempt at narrow artistic cropping.
Not bad for ISO 800 and 300mm and dim inside light.

09 August 2008

Don't think too much about that branch

Tree Kangaroo, and it sat there like that quite happily, so I am forced to assume that the pose is comfortable....

08 August 2008

Not a gum tree

And, well, really, the wrong hemisphere, but apparently thriving all the same.

07 August 2008

Random Vegetation

Every now and again, I'll do something and it turns out far better than I could reasonably expect.
This is an example—more or less 'ooh, flower' and 'click'—and probably a hint that I should try to do more with the FA50.
The un-shrunk middle.
The whole frame.

06 August 2008

Mostly Asleep

Momma tiger, mostly asleep.
Admittedly a resort to charismatic mammals brought on by dis-satisfaction with the pictures of jellyfish, but, hey, some actual charisma.

05 August 2008

Distant Skies

This wee fellow is fond of the uppermost reaches of the cage. It's a big cage, allowing compassionate keepers to provide perching spots with truly wretched angles of view. The enclosure in beside a busy walkway out of the Americas pavilion, and the photographer has to stand there and sort of limbo around a narrow angle that will view through the mesh and compose with the whole owl, with—one hopes—as little of the blazing bright green plastic roof as one can get. (Though in the lack of the blazing, etc. roof aforesaid, there isn't enough light to get a picture of the creature whatsoever. Everything is tradeoffs.)
Though this profile doesn't show it, this particular saw whet owl is lacking its other eye, and I suspect does much, much better in the zoo than it would ever do in the wild. So the photo + title has more pathos to it (I hope!) than the well-fed and typically snoozing bird might properly engender.

The consolation of philosophy

A most contemplative yak.

The tail is long

And the zoom was not reduced with appropriate briskness, as the wallaby's rate of advance is impressive.

04 August 2008

Security and Freedom

The Metro Zoo's momma snow leopard with this year's two cubs. (I believe this year's. They are looking very leopardish, but still sticking close to mom.)
Would have had these up last night, but Blogger was in no mood to let me upload pictures.
Much more processed than I like, but, well, backlit forms themselves in shadow are pretty tough subjects.

03 August 2008

Former flowers

In the St. James Cathedral garden, a flower obviously entirely done with blooming:
And the full-scale version of the centre bottom of the image, complete with complimentary spider:
I was not expecting the spider.

150mm, F4.5, DA 55-300. Can't much complain about the sharpness, here.

02 August 2008

LBA—SMC Pentax DA 55-300 F4-F5.8

So, I did some statistics this morning, in an attempt to resolve an argument with myself:

Total Images: 6087

M-42 or No Lens 27
SIGMA 2120
smc PENTAX-DA 14mm F2.8 ED[IF] 46
smc PENTAX-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited 420
smc PENTAX-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited 83
smc PENTAX-FA 31mm F1.8AL Limited 663
smc PENTAX-FA 50mm F1.4 586
smc PENTAX-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited 536
smc PENTAX-FA MACRO 100mm F2.8 1606

The "no lens" is my unsatisfactory experiments with digiscoping; the SIGMA is the 70-300 APO DG F4-F5.6 zoom.
What was clear from this is that while it is a fine lens, I just don't use the DA 70, preferring the 77mm Limited. (I think I have a relatively better instance, of its class, of the 77 than I did of the 70.)
The other part of this is that the softness at full aperture of the Sigma 70-300 has been driving me quite mad. I generally have dim light in the morning, trying to take pictures of birds on the feeder, since the balcony where the feeder is located faces north and there's this row of houses in the way of the direct morning light. (Not the row of houses this house is in; another one, perpendicular and east of it.)
So, when I found out that the camera bag I'd ordered and pre-paid hadn't come in because it was discontinued, I went down to Henry's, traded in the DA70, Sigma 70-300, and came away with a different bag and the Pentax 55-300. (And a lens pen, to avoid a 14 dollar credit.)
I don't like letting go of working things, but, well; the DA70 deserves someone who will love it, and the 70-300 someone who wants to play to its strengths. (It really is much better in blazing bright light.)

So I walked away from Henry's down to the St. Lawrence Market (always revictual last, if the victuals need refrigeration...) and of course went through the surrounding lawn and gardens of the Cathederal Church of St. James, since, hey, new lens, rain shower just past, this is usually a receipe for some good flower shots...

It was, but I also got quite lucky in observing a molting sparrow, I think a house sparrow but could not begin to assert any certainty about this, given the outright frazzled state of its plumage.
Feeling perhaps somewhat bashful at being observed at its dusty moulting ablutions, the sparrow stalked off.
And lurked at the edge of some grass, eyeing me warily—does that clicking noise imply some sort of predation strategy? Is the avifauna regarded as tasty, and good with ketchup?
Or is it just another damned primate voyeur with a camera? And the sparrow flounces off.
All of these, expect for the flounce (F6.3), are at F5.8, and all were taken at 300mm, full extension and wide open. I'm feeling like I made a good decision, in terms of getting myself something that would be sharper at 300mm.

I want the DA* 300 F4 rather much—many people taking absolutely gorgeous pictures with this lens—but it is not in this quarter's budget, and it is very much heavier, and I would probably benefit more from the 60-250 first, if it ever makes it on to store shelves, and, well. I'll always want a reasonably compact and light longish zoom, too, for those occasions where I don't really expect to need the reach but you never know....