We are having our first significant snowfall of the season. Just a little sprinkle, about 1cm of ice-snow, but it is still snowing out so there is room for more to come. It is still very cold out, about -3C, so the snow is very light which means this will stick around for the next couple of days until is warms up. Got some pretty photos:
I live by a large hill, so fortunately, I am at the bottom of that hill, but I am seeing many people, driver’s, who are driving large 4×4 pick-ups who cannot make it up the hill becuase they have low quality tires on. Even in 4×4 mode, vehicles cannot make it up the hill if they have bad tires on. However, the garbage truck had no trouble, and this little Nissan car made it up too without any trouble. It is the tires that make winter driving fun, not the size of your vehicles.
I think by tomorrow I will hate snow once again; but for now, I will enjoy it, only becuase I have not had any for so long.
I overlooked the super cold weather are getting to step outside and do some long exposure shots of the stars. The sky is so clear right now that you could almost believe that you can reach out and touch the stars. They are bright, twinkly and right in your face.
I know the photo is hard to see, but it is Orion, shot through some trees on the edge of the forest by my place. I used a 30mm Macro lens, set at f2.8, ISO 100, 15 second exposure on my Sony A77.
It was around minus 7C, so I was not outside for that long. My biggest challenge was setting the focus. This 30mm lens is cheap, and the lends depends on the auto focus to set the proper focus, and setting it manually is hard: trial and error.
We are getting some unprecedented cold weather for December here in the refrigerator called the Fraser Valley. But, as I say, it could be far worse… like snow, drifting a metre high with 3 centimetres of ice underneath. When I was outside this morning shooting some landscape shots, I seen a jet high above me in the super clear sky, I wondered if they were off to somewhere tropical. I got it with a 300mm telephoto lens. I think it was landing in YVR (Vancouver). Yes, even thought it was super cold out (for Vancouver standards) the sky was incredibly clear, with lots of sunshine.
Funny, even with the 300mm lens on, this plain still looked tiny. I did not crop the image, and I left the vignetting showing becuase I thought it looks cool (pardon the pun). I also see that I need to clean my sensor again (there are two very noticeable spots in the image).
When I turned on the television, this afternoon, ready to watch the news channels that I normally watch, the station cut into a live broadcast of the South African Leader announcing the death of Nelson Mandela. I stood there with my mouth wide open, not shocked, or in disbelief, but I was caught off guard with this news. Nelson Mandela is special to me becuase in my second year at University, I did a group project about him in one of my Sociology classes where I got study him very carefully.
I guess when you spend a lot of time researching a living hero, leader and mentor, for a class project, you create an attachment to the man on many levels. I dedicated six weeks in this course of finding every bit of information I could about Nelson Mandela for my research paper. The presentation was also a group component to the course so I was paired up with four other students who were also equally enthusiastic about presenting about Nelson Mandela and his life work. I had learned so much, and gained so much respect about the man, that I say his stories should never be forgotten.
Without any doubt in my mind Canada still has so much to learn from Nelson Mandela. Everything from First Nation issues, to basic human rights in our land, I can say that Canada has lots of room for improvement. Canada made Nelson Mandela an honorary citizen, the government of Canada, in return, should at least take his teachings, values and integrity to heart, and practice them here to their fullest to all who are Canadian, and all those who are beyond our boarders.
Rest in peace Nelson Mandela.
We seem to be getting a little cold spell, which has lasted for about three days now, and said to be with us for the next seven days. What is unusual about this artic outflow weather pattern is that once the cold started, we have had very little precipitation, which translates into no snow. Tonight we are supposed to hit the coldest part of the weather pattern, with the weather warnings are saying a wind-chill that feels like minus twenty degrees Celsius. The actual temperature is supposedly going to dip down to minus twelve here.
The weather in the Vancouver (Canada) area is normally mild throughout the winter season, with expected periods of below freezing temperatures, like with what we are getting today, and these normally only last for short periods. There are people who are vulnerable to these extreme temperatures that are not equipped to deal with the cold who are out on the streets–the homeless. Vancouver has a large homeless population who otherwise do not have permanent/dedicated shelter. In these weather events, many homeless shelters in the Down-Town area open their doors to more people that usual. Tonight, and the rest of this week will be one of those times.
But there are people how do have homes, but their homes are not equipped to deal with the freezing temperatures. I was in a home yesterday in the Fraser valley that very poor insulation and was prone to having the water pipes freeze up every winter, and a heating bill that would be up to three hundred dollars per month! Sadly this was subsidized housing, and although the building looked nice on the outside, it was in a sad state. I can only Imagen that there are thousands of home in the Lower Mainland like this one.
I am glad that there was no snow before the cold snap hit us. There are reposts saying that we are in for snow later on next week. As much as I hate snow, or driving into, I am ready for it. I bought chains for my truck just on that remote chance that we may get that super dump, or snowmegeddon that we wish would never happen. Remember, even though Vancouver is in Canada, we are not prone to getting large amounts of snow, and weeks of freezing temperatures–one of the reason why I live here.
I bought some walnuts from Walnut Grove, near Fort Langley, from a store that I like to shop at every now and then (but I will not plug them here on my blog) and I am assuming that they are local nuts, as we do have lots of walnut trees on farms that I am sure harvest them. I love eating them this time of year. I think these nuts are winter food because if I eat them any other time, they make me sick. When I saw the barrel full of nuts in the store, I just had to buy a few kilograms.
While I had the bag full of nuts, ( I was eating them on my home) I thought I would take a few shots of them with my A77 before all of the nuts were eaten. Using just the light from my table lamp, I got this image. Tomorrow I might try and get some different shots with my studio lights. I used my 30mm Macro, using ISO100 at 1/250 at f2.8.
I got this brilliant idea about using these close-up filters that you see on EvilBay that sell for really cheap. I wanted to buy a set, so I made a purchase way back in September, but the order was a dud, never sent by the seller, and I ended up waiting for six weeks before I got my money back. So, once everything was settled with PayPal (Part of EvilBay) I dared to try again. Success, as for a mere Seven dollars, a close-up + 10 filter arrived in the Post today after a three-and-a-half week wait from China. So, playing with the filter on my 30mm (DT 2.8/30 MACRO SAM) Sony Alpha lens, this is my first impression.
The close-up filter really did not do that much of a difference in magnification, but I should stress that I only tried it on a couple of shots, without a tripod. I have been pressed for time, so I may work on this again this weekend. The above shot was taken with the filter, and my shots without it were about the same, but without the extreme Bokeh (blur). So the filter does have some value if I want that extra smooth Bokeh that so many photographers crave for in their shots. The branch is only about 2 to 3mm in diameter.
I also need to point out that my 30mm lens has an extreme minimum focus distance of only 6mm, so I can get really super close to my subject and get 1:1 ratio images.
This filter will also fit onto my 55 to 200mm lens, so I may try it on that lens and do some shots this weekend.
One issue that I found with the filter on my 30mm Macro lens was that it only focuses on objects within a 0.6 to 30CM distance. Being that this lens is a prime, I am stuck with shots within that focus range, unlike my telephoto zoom lens where I can zoom in and out. When I did the maths on the optics, I found that close-up filters really do not work that well with wide-angle lenses to begin with. So this is a case where I should have put more thought into what equipment would work before I went on the Seven Dollar spending spree.