Monday, November 29, 2010

Hi Sailor:

When I was young I don't think many families could afford the luxury of having their own camera. It was normal to visit a photographer and have your family photos taken in their studio . And so it was, I was forced to wear my Sailor's suit and assume the classic pose


I don't know what happened but somehow I have stressed my right arm. It hurts for no reason and sometime it just throbs, so today it will just be this one photo. Clicking the mouse or using the touch pad aggravates it so I've been trying to keep my computer work down to a minimum.

This started about a week ago and I've been trying to figure out what I did. Perhaps it was the night I installed my snow tires, I haven't figured it out but in the meantime I've been taking Belgium dark chocolate to ease the pain. Hopefully it will be back to normal soon .

Friday, November 26, 2010

From the past

Recently, Geoff from down under issued a challenge to post some embarrasing photos from the past. As a result I dusted off my un-used scanner to find that the supplied software did not work. It was outdated and I presume it kept locking up because of my new laptop and Windows 7. I promptly went to the Epson website and downloaded the latest drivers but I didn't like their interface, it was too complicated. My scanner came with a lite version of Silverfast with Digital ICE. It was now 4 versions outdated and I am only allowed to upgrade ONE release forward. I was going to give up but . . .


with Geoff's encouraging words I decided to first try to obtain a scanner program GRATIS to make sure the scanner was working. It took a few days but in the end no one had what I wanted so I had to resort to going to the Silverfast website to download the demo. I did a few scans to make sure all was in order as they state they give no refunds after you order and pay. My first real test was a scan of an E-6 panorama taken with my Horizon 202 rotating lens panorama camera. On the demo version the company plasters their company watermark across the face of the output and it took me a while using photoshop to get rid of them .


This was taken over 10 years ago on a photo expedition outing with my camera club. We took the train to Squamish, had lunch and returned via boat which passed under the Lion's Gate Bridge. Once I registered and purchased the program and entered the serial number, the watermarks disappeared. Now I don't have to use the clone tool anymore

Now it takes time to learn a new skill. I tried to make this machine work before and gave up, so I have a mental block which prevents me from working on this project quickly. Some of you think this is a stall tactic . . .


Now I notice that BlueKat is giving me a few nudges and Geoff is starting to get impatient. I guess that's what happens to you when you are retired and have nothing else to do. He's even accusing me of stalling and inferring that I had no intent of digging out my old photos.


I have thousands of negatives and things scattered everywhere. I'm having trouble locating the really old stuff and it was not where I thought it was, so it's taking more time . . .

In the meantime, in an act of good faith, please accept these (for now).


This was takon on July 7th, 1956 because that is what is written on the back of the photo. It was probably a contact print from our family camera which I remember was a black box with a lever on the side. There was a square window on the top which you looked down and tried to frame your picture, and of course the image was reversed. After you took the photo you wound to the next number looking through the red window on the back.

The following is an older image taken around 1949 with my Grandmother and I was wearing my cowboy outfit.


I really am trying to find more but we have few pictures from this early period

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow & Cold

All week I was looking forward to riding my V-strom to the Suzuki Christmas Open house. I can handle cold but not ice and snow. All was fine until Friday night, then it started and didn't stop until half way through Saturday morning. This is what I saw as I was on my way to breakfast

(our back yard)

Lucky I managed to put on my snow tires a couple of days before. I have my tires mounted on spare rims and usually wait until we get our first snow warning before I lug out my hydraulic jack and T-bar. And so it was on Wednesday night, in the dark with a flashlight that I mounted my 4 snow tires. I can't wait to test them out. I purchased these last year but we didn't get any snow.


Here in British Columbia they do not allow you to install only two snow tires. No one will sell you two, you must have four - one for each wheel due to liability issues. Winter tires with the 'snowflake' imprint are more suited for cold weather, unlike summer tires which go hard (and lose their grip) in the colder temperatures. I have Nordic ice radials with aggressive tread.

(our front street)

Sometimes the weather forecaster is wrong and we often miss the front, but not this time. The temperatures are below zero and there is lots of ice on the roads.


Often times our snow has melted by noon but with no heat in the air it is taking longer than normal. I check the road conditions after breakfast hoping that I can still ride but prefer not to take the chance. I have to ride an hour south into Surrey and usually the conditions are worse there.


Today, the wise thing to do is to take my 4 wheeled commuter


I finally get to the Dealership. Not too much activity this time of year


There are some bikes outside but only a few as compared to what would be on display during the summer

(Brian (middle), owner of Motorcyle World, Surrey, BC)

Soon Santa arrives and starts to hand out some goodies


I don't know who these people are but others were taking their photo with Santa, so I did too


I've been keeping myself quite busy these past few weeks learning more about the pleasures of photography and immersing myself into getting all of my equipment in working order, and also upgrading my printer. A few years ago I purchased an Epson flat bed scanner with the idea of scanning E6 from my panorama camera(s) but I couldn't figure out the software and it just sat gathering dust. Then Geoff posted an entry about embarrassing photos and I thought that it was time to set it up.


I purchased this model just at the time the new improved Epson V700 was introduced. It came with all the negative holders and can scan all the film formats that I have, up to 8x10. It came with a simplified version of Silverfast but when I installed it on my newer laptop running Windows 7, it kept freezing. I could not get a free upgrade as they only allow you to upgrade ONE version newer, so I had to purchase it again. This time I have the lastest version (incl ICE) and it seems to run without problem.

In case you didn't know, I am a hobbyist. I experiment and do a lot of reading about things. When I had my last printer, which was top of the line 5 years ago I started to use bulk ink to refill the inkjet cartridges. I never had any problems with clogging heads, nor problem with colours in the final prints (photos).


I purchased this bulk ink refiller kit around 4-5 years ago and was refilling the ink on my Canon i9100 wide carriage printer. Real OEM cartridges are around $14. each and I need 6 . I purchased a new replacement printer from eBay and gave my old printer away to a deserving person who I hope will appreciate it. It is practically new and has been used very sparingly, perhaps less than 10 , 13" x 19" and a handful of 8" x 10" prints.

I now have a Canon Pro 9000 Mark II printer. I set it up last week and it uses 8 cartridges x $22. each . That's a lot of money for a few ml of ink in each cartridge. Also the cartridges now hold less ink than the prev printer. People like myself, who like to do their own printing know that the cost of the printer is negligible as compared to the ink and paper supplies. I was not sure whether I wanted to refill these ink carts or not so I did some investigation and found the company in the US who makes ink basically identical to the Canon formula. I also found out that the formula for this printer was changed slightly from the prev i9900 model. I ordered my bulk ink from eBay and it arrived on Monday


There is enough ink here to refill each cartridge 8 times. A complete set of OEM ink will cost around $180./set and I purchased all of this for around the price of 3 cartridges BUT one problem . . .

They decided to put a chip on each cartidge for ink status monitoring, and once the ink is empty it will never show full, even though you refill it yourself. There is a sequence where you basically deactive monitoring on this cartridge but then when it runs out of ink the printer would not know and you would probably damage the head(s). For every problem there is a solution, so I purchased the Chip resetter. It resets the chip to let the printer know that the ink is full. By doing this the printer would not show any error codes in case you had warranty issues.

If anyone is thinking of getting a new printer I would recommend the Canon Pro 9000 mark II, over the Pro 9500. The 9000 is a dye based printer with better colour. The 9500 is a pigment printer which is more archival but pigment can clog the heads more easily. If you print on a more occasional basis then the 9000 is more than adequate.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

AquaBus: False Creek, Vancouver, BC


On the weekend I wanted to go somewhere to take a few photos and I didn't want to travel all over the countryside so I ended up at one of my favourite places, False Creek. It is easy access and the parking is the right price. During the summer there is lots of activity down here along the sea wall with joggers, cyclists and people just out for a stroll


Today it was cool and only a solitary jogger along this S-curve section designed more for 2-wheeled motorized transport . False creek is an inlet within the downtown core of Vancouver with a seawall alongs its circumference.


If you are coming from the south and wish to go to the downtown area you must transverse one of 3 bridges, or if you are walking, you are able to hop aboard one of the many Aquabus's which cross this small inlet. There are many stops which can take you anywhere along its shores


I happened to be at the one at Stamp's Landing which is under the Cambie Street bridge. There is also a staircase at this location which brings you to the bridge deck level where you can either walk north towards downtown, our south to the Cambie shopping district.


There is not much aquatic activity this time of year. During the summer there are a multitude of watercraft, kayakers, dragon boats and yachts floating up and down. Today it was just watching the aquabus's going back and forth trying to find paying passengers to transport. They maintain a schedule and if there is anyone on the dock they will pull in pick them up, otherwise they just continue on their merry way. Like fish in a fish bowl it was just relaxing watching them go about their daily business.


It was like a game. With my Canon T2i & my 55-250mm telephoto lens in my hands I watched as they criss-crossed and zig zagged around the anchored boats and I managed to capture two aquabus' just by anticipating their moves and planned trajectories


It was like playing a game of snooker waiting for combinations and I finally managed to capture 3 in one frame . I kept scanning the landscape looking for a higher combination but no such luck. It was not my day to capture 4 in one window.

Finally after a while a better combination came into view and I got a more pleasing composition

(Good things come in threes)


After all these years of doing photography, I just never got into Macro. I did have a macro lens for my Nikon (AF 60D macro) but I seldom used it. We're not talking about macro mode on a P&S pocket camera but actually making quality prints of small things such as insects . For the past few weeks I have been perusing various photography forums and there are excellent macro photos posted . Other than the new to me 100mm 2.8 Macro EF Canon lens I just acquired, I had no macro or close-up accessories, so I decided to purchase this cheap kit to get started


This is a 3 ring extension tube set for Canon EOS. The only problem is that most of Canon EF-s lenses do not have aperature rings and to use these rings you have to meter in stop-down manual mode. So naturally I just had to have another Nikon Ai to EOS adapter (the right one in the photo below) Luckily I have a handful of manual focus Nikon lenses to attach. In Macro mode you are more or less confined to manual focus anyway due to limited DOP


These extention tubes have no electronic couplings and the rings can be used individually or in combination with each other to extend the lens. Focusing the lens further away from the film plane (read sensor plane in digital terminology). The EOS body is set to Aperature priority and you set the f stop via the aperature ring. The shutter speed is set by the brain inside the camera.


Here are the tubes all connected together. One end attaches to the flange on the camera and the lens connects to the other end. In my case I am using manual Nikon lenses so I also need to attach the NF--> EOS adapter.

I have nothing interesting to photograph at work, but just to give you an idea of what the difference is, here is a photo with my Canon T2i using the Nikon 105mm 2.5 lens, which is a regular non-macro lens


this is the closest focusing distance with NO extension rings

Here is what it looks like with all the extension rings attached to my Nikon 105mm 2.5 lens. It more or less makes it able to focus much closer. As a general rule extending the lens out 50% of its focal length turns it into an approximate 1:1 ratio. This means that the image will be life-size on the sensor.


now all I have to do is find some flowers, bugs or spiders to photograph

Friday, November 12, 2010


Before our big trip I had a desire to purchase a new camera. I had really wanted a Nikon as I already had lenses but what to buy. The D90 was being replaced with the D7000 and it wasn't going to be available until late October or early November and we were leaving before then. My friend was upgrading to a D700 and had a D300 for sale at a good price but it was already over 2 years since it's introduction and I wanted something with high ISO. I wanted something with a larger sensor than a P&S. I nearly purchased a GF1 but held back because it didn't have full HD (only 720p). I slowly eliminated most models from my list and decided to purchase the Canon T2i mainly because of its small size and also because I wanted the lighter plastic model, even over the newer 60D. I got the kit with 2 lenses to start. Then I wanted to upgrade my most used focal length to something with better IQ than the the kit 18-55is with better low light performance. I managed to snap up a Tamron SP 17-55 2.8 Di-II When you change camera systems you have to start from scratch as you have nothing that will fit. So within the space of a month I ended up with 4 lenses, which also includes a Nifty-Fifty and 55-250 is.

Last week I went to the Camera Show (swap meet) specifically looking for an UWA lens for my T2i . I didn't find one for my Canon but . . .

(Nikon D80 with Sigma 10-20 UWA lens)

I did find something for my Nikon D80. I don't really use this camera anymore as my son has borrowed it and thinks it now belongs to him, so now he thinks this lens is his too. I am still looking for a UWA for my Canon and there was none to be had for a reasonable price. I kept going up and down the isles looking for something specific and finally relented and asked a vendor who pointed me in the right direction. I bought the last one

(NF-EOS adapter)

From reading the Canon forums I found that there are many cheaply machined adapters on the market. This particular one was better finished and cost more than I wanted to pay but I bought it anyway . It was worth it for the immediate gratification factor.

This adapter fits the Canon EOS mount


and allows use of Nikon Ai lenses to be mounted. You expose in stop-down metering mode using Aperature priority . Not really a problem if you have used manual film cameras before.

(Canon T2i with Nikkor 105mm 2.5 manual focus lens mounted)

It is more difficult to manually focus AF cameras as they do not have the fresno or split image rangefinder focusing screens and you cannot install one as they will result in incorrect meter readings but you feel like you are actually in control of your camera changing settings like in the old days of film, rather than just pointing and letting your camera make all the decisions for you


Classic Nikon prime lenses actually have aperature rings and depth of field scales . I dug out a few more Nikon prime lenses

(75-210 nikor Series E , 50mm 1.4 , 105mm 2.5 , 35mm f2 , 180mm 2.8 ED)


Now for some sample photos using a Canon T2i, using different lenses:

(T2i, with EOS mount Tamron SP 17-55mm 2.8 at 17mm)

(T2i, with EOS mount Tamron SP 15-55mm 2.8 at 55mm)

(T2i, with Nikon F mount 105mm 2.5 manual focus)

(T2i, with Nikon F mount 180mm 2.8 ED manual focus)

(T2i, with EOS mount EF-s 55-250mm at 250mm)


Now that it is daylight savings time it is brighter in the morning on the way to work, but after work you have to ride home in the dark . As I leave work the sun has now set and the lights come on


It is getting cool, the daytime highs barely reach 10-12c


During the morning commute the temps are around 4-5c


It's a good thing I have heated grips

Monday, November 8, 2010

Photographic goodies:

I can't remember a time when you will find me without a camera. Over the past few years my companion has been a P&S pocket cam in my pocket. Often I have several with me. You just never know when you will need to record something. I upgrade often so if you don't need the latest model then I can put you on the waiting list . I notice lots of things and often stop to take a photo but since I purchased my new Canon T2i I seem to be going out of my way more to record "things"


Like these works of art painted on the sides of buildings. Perhaps the world needs another coffee table book titled, "Art painted on the sides of buildings, Volume 1" . It's just what I need, another project to utilize my spare time.


these images, painted on the brickwork are anatomically correct but not necessarily to correct scale. You are able to pick out the major buildings and bridges that identify Vancouver


My renewed interest in Photography has resulted in the purchase of a new printer which I sourced on eBay so I had to have a trunk to transport it home. It seemed that Canon had offered rebates on some of their products and many dealers had taken advantage of the "deals" and submitted their rebates to Canon for re-imbursement so there were great deals to be had on new cameras and printers where they had to remove the UPC label. I also lost the rebate on my camera purchase as my dealer perhaps, did not realize that Canon rebates were in effect at that time. I complained to Canon on deaf ears and they merely said that perhaps my dealer was not a "participating dealer" .

For these on-line purchases I have a postal box in Point Roberts, WA as many on-line vendors will only ship to the continental USA, and often they prepay shipping as in this case where they paid for FEDEX overnight service. We have an ongoing problem with shipments into Canada when you specify UPS as they are greedy and want to charge you $40. brokerage fees plus handling charges, so everyone I know will just ship to either Blaine, WA or Pt Roberts.

Luckily I am Nexus registered so usually I can skip the regular lanes. As I reach the US border I notice this long line. Most drivers are there to pick up their internet purchases.


I chuckle to myself as I am passing this line of cars wondering why they didn't apply for their own Nexus card, then . . .


I get to the front of the line and notice that the Nexus lane is barricaded and obviously closed. Now what do I do, butt into the next lane or what ?

Eventually I make my way to my postal box at the Letter Carrier where I have 5 packages waiting for me


Their main business is packages and they are also a FEDEX and UPS depot


I prefer service here rather than Blaine or Sumas as during the summer the lines are much shorter


Now I am getting anxious. My server goes back and forth a few times and then disappears. All I have are these small packages and I know my printer comes in a huge box. It is the reason I have made this trip across the border. At last he comes back with my printer in hand


I tuck the box into my trunk. There was no way I could have transported these boxes on my V-strom. Now goes the task of opening all the boxes to determine where everything is made for my customs declaration. Today everything I have is duty free, just have to pay the 12% HST

I turn around to look at the dwindling line. Many have come to pick up their new tires. Most people in our car club purchase tires on-line and save hundreds of dollars . Others may ship them to a service centre in Bellingham to have them installed.


I remembered to bring my camera and tripod with the thought of taking some water views but it was overcast and gray, similar to Key West this time of year so I looked at the price of petrol and headed back to Canada


Incidentally, a mile north on the Canadian side in Tsawwassen the fuel is much more


so it costs around $1.00 more per gallon in Canada. This is the reason that most people that live close to the border cross to fill their gas tanks and purchase their food supplies. Most often your food savings will "fill your tank" .


On Sunday I had planned to attend the Camera Swap meet. What to wear, what to wear. For those who know me know that I prefer shorts and sandals over jeans and running shoes. I know people who wear shorts year round, even during the snow of winter. The day started with sunshine staring through the window but I know there is no warmth. I have the 10c rule. Over 10c I wear my summer attire, but below 10c I change to jeans. I couldn't decide as the temperature gauge was "on the fence" .

I even went outside to "test the waters"


After a while I made my decision and arrived at the Camera show. I was looking for a UWA for my Canon. I have always been a Nikon user and I already had a few lenses. With the Canon I had nothing so I had to start over. I now have 4 lenses and one flash unit.


There were many tables full of delicious junque, tripods


and other tables full of cameras and other desireables. Stuff that you just can't do without.


and lots more stuff to ponder. I am a sucker for rangefinder folding cameras, the higher end ones such as Zeiss Ikona, esp Model A (645), or Kodak Retina IIa . I would even settle for a Moskva 2 6x9 folder (Zeiss copy) but nothing of that sort today, only tables full of mediocre stuff or pricey high end current models. I do like Nikon F's and there was one for a cheap price but I have become more selective over the years and let it pass.

I already have a few Leicas in my collection which I don't use so it was no use to purchase more to put in my drawer


As I left the building I noticed this in the bike rack

(My 2 wheeled content for today)

I did manage to part with some hard earned $$, so if you ask nicely I may let you know what followed me home