A Rainy Day: So Refreshing

I do feel refreshed, as rain is beading down my windows, and the sound of rain drops hitting my roof is putting me to sleep. We are now back to normal rain time weather, which is kind of nice since we were rain deprived for almost a whole month, and then another month’s worth of “little rain” periods since then. The forest around says it needs it–badly.

Rainy Windows in Summer Aug 29 2013 small image

Also, last week I was taking shots of some of the old wooden buildings that are around me on the farm. Some of these buildings are nearing one hundred years old, and were from a time when farming and fishing were the only industry in these parts. I thought it would be nice to photograph some of them, just to preserve their legacy. When I show them to my landlord and get their history, I will post them. For now I want to organizes them. But this photo is the side of the well house, created from the previous occupants of where I live now.

Fishing Gear - Thomasso - Aug 27 2013 small image

Black and white is so cool for old wooden buildings. This shot was taken with a 30mm lens, in very low light becuase of the large trees all around it–it was also overcast out. I shot this with my Sony A77, using ISO 1600, at f5.

I think I see the grass starting to turn green again? LOL.

Broken Key

I am having a very bad afternoon. As I was leaving from work to go home, I dropped my keys. When I went to picked them up, and insert the key into the door, something was not quite right.

Broken Key - Aug 28 2913 sm image

I went back to the spot to where I dropped the keys, and luckily found the end that broke off.

I asked my employer if he had any strong glue, and maybe I could do a quick fix, but he recommended that I go to a locksmith. He said that they can make a new key, even if the old one is broken, and that it would only be something like five dollars.

The cool part was that he drove me to a locksmith in Langley City. The whole trip, include getting the key cut, was less than twenty mins.

So, if you break a key like I did, do not fret–a locksmith, or key cutting place, can fix it.

Out With the Old, In Fort Langley

It was sad to see the old building piled up into a heap, but that is the sign of the times. The old gas station along the corner of Mavis Avenue and Church Street in Fort Langley has been reduced to rubble to make way for a new building. I am not sure what will be built there, but it is very near to Fort Langley’s other major building project which is well under way in terms of construction. I managed to get pictures of this building just before it was scheduled for demolition. See the before and after photos I took, with the after photo taken just today around 3:00pm.

Before, as of August 23 2013.

Building in Fort Langley Aug 23 2013 small image

And what it looks like as of today, around 3:00pm.

Building in Fort Langley Aug 26 2013 small image

The “after” photo I took while I was with my friend on our way back from Langley City, going into Glen valley. I could only take that photo while in the vehicle, as the power windows did not work on the passenger side, so I shot through the glass–sorry for the poor quality image. I wanted to get a photo of it as soon as I could and post it here. The last photos was taken along Mavis Avenue, while the “before” photo was taken right on Church Street.

Made a LIttle Video with the Sony A77 Yesterday

I was ambitious, and I thought that I would start experimenting with shooting video with my Sony A77. I hit a few hurtles, but managed to get around them, mainly with file formats, but I scrapped out a little three minute video with all of the footage I took regardless of the setbacks. I do not own a blu-ray writer, and Sony shoots in MTS blu-ray format, but getting the Codecs (compression, decompression algorithm) to work, and properly edited, was a huge challenge. Here is the video up on YouTube, with YouTube music along side it.

The Sony A77 is awesome for shooting video. The files are great, and the quality is super clear. I had done much research before buying the camera, reading about how great the video quality was, and the wonderful files were, but it was not until I got my hands on it that I really believed it. The video quality is stunning, but you need the right equipment to work with these files or you work is just plain old DVD quality. Yes, the camera shoots in 1080p at 60 prams per second format like there was no tomorrow.

Do you think I could find someone with a Blu-Ray writer? Nope, not one of my friends owned one. At my work, everyone had the BLu-Ray readers for ripping movies, but it seems that the Blue-Ray writer just really did not take off from within the Geek community, or my circle of freinds.

The up hill struggle quickly came to an end when I found that I could edit in this super high format from within Linux, and do it very well. Actually, Linux worked awesome for editing these videos. I was surprised for not finding any usable documentation on the topic. I believe having the right hardware is the key to working with these large files. My P.C. is very (gaming computing) fast with a fairly hefty graphics card. I could take any software and use it, no matter witch O.S. architect it came from–I can run Window$ software on my machine without Running the O.S.

Enjoy the video. It is scenes of my patio deck, and back yard. Remember that YouTube compresses the video quality to a mere fraction of what the original video looks like, and still calls it High Definition (HD). But still, I think it looks stunning, even on YouTube.

Summer Impressions – Two Photographs

These two images give me the impression of summer, and really sum up what this summer has been for me so far, looking back in the last few months. I know, it is not over yet, but the sunny days seem to be changing as we are seeing a cooling off with clouds, rain, and longer nights. The Sun is no longer up when I leave for work now.

Fake Bird Aug 23 2013 Thomasso small image

Summer in Fort Langley Aug 20 2013 small image

I am really hoping that there is a resurgence of summer, another heatwave, in the near future. That would end off this season with a nice effect for me. Summer right up until October would be sweet. Here is to wishing.

What’s New On the Streets of Fort Langley, BC

In one word, “construction.” The main attraction is the new building being built on the Glover Road and Mavis Avenue block of Fort Langley. Just read the local news papers, listen to the people at the coffee shops, and watch as walk, drive and cycle through the town, to get a sense of the divisiveness of the it. Some like, others hate it, as there seems to be no in-between if you live here. However, the streets are alive, busy with foot traffic, and drivers, as summer creeps to an end. So I thought I would walk the streets and snap a few shots of the town from street level. It is also my revenge to the tourists who take my photo when I walk down town.

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For me, this is the creepiest statue there is. I call this the symbol of North America. No offence to the little ice-cream shop that uses it for their side walk advertising. But think about it: a kid, on top of a giant ice cream cone, eating it, and completely gorging himself of the cone; does that not imply the problem of youth today in general who are eating way too much junk food, and who are becoming obese because of it? OK, on to other photos.

Fort Langley BC Aug 23 2013 a

This is the South side of Mavis Avenue. I just about had a bird when I saw them put the trailer on top of the scaffolding. That was on top of the implementation of cement buttresses along the edges of the side walk. I sure hope those are not permanent. But. the best part of all this is the limited visibility when turning left onto Glover Road. I cringe every time I drive through here going to work.

Here is what it is like looking down the side walks. I actually like these shots.

Fort Langley Aug 23 2013 b

You are walking North on Glover Road in the above shot. The best part of this is that you will not get rain on when the fall wet season start up in September.

Fort Langley Aug 23 2013 c

And lastly, looking West on Mavis Avenue, right below the transport container above.

“Old Fort Langley is a changing,” my friend keeps saying, “you netter buckle up becuase it’s going to get expensive.”

It was a Beautiful Sunset to Watch

It was a beautiful sunset to watch, and I was glad that I made the effort to shoot it. The pictures sort of speak for themselves. There were others there too there along the aquifer by River Road in Langley, watching, enjoying the moment. Some said hi, and others just stood beside me as I snapped shot after shot of the light show. There was a women who asked many questions about shooting sunsets, and I tried my best to answer them for her. She was cute, armed with a Canon DSLR, but she only had its kit lens, but still, she did her best.

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An older couple was there too, shooting the sunset with their phones. They got some good shots; I was impressed at what their phones could do. Most of the small crowd then started walking further down the road as the Sun sank below the horizon, but I stayed behind at my favourite spot. The cute women left too with them.

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Then it was over.

I really like shooting the A77. In RAW format, these files are over 26 MB in size, plenty of data to work with.

A Little Retroness Today

I was pleasantly surprised when I found that after I bought my camera (Sony A77) the camera shop (when they ordered it from the factory) did the firmware update for me before I bought it. With all the software up-to-date, and I read most of the manual, I started programing some of my lenses into it. I can tweak my lenses and adjust certain parameters in each one, and the camera will store those in its memory – a very cool feature. Once the tweaking was done, I went to some of my favourite locations that I go to on foot from my  place and re shot some scenes with the new camera. This time I went with the retro and miniature effect mode; you know, to spice things up a bit.

My “retro” look in Black and White – the patio table.

A Retro Day Thomasso Aug 22 2013 small image

The funny thing about this black and white shot was that in my camera’s setting, I shot it in black and white, but when I started processing it in my favourite post editing software, Darktable, the photo appeared in colour? So this was not the same black and white look that I had in the viewfinder.

And the effect that never gets old for me:

Miniature Effect - thomasso Aug 22 2013 small image

I truly love this effect – miniature/tilt-shift lens.

I may enjoy the sunset tonight, as there are lots of clouds, but not completely overcast, so there might be a go show on for tonight. I meet some of the neatest people when up at the Look-Out on Brander Road.

Happy shooting!

Summer of the White Butterfly

I can arguably say that this summer has been the summer of the White Butterfly here at my home. I call them white, but they are actually a very light green colour. There are hundreds of them over at my place and surrounding area. Today, armed with my new camera, I thought that it was time to get some shots of these allusive little creatures. Finally, after many failed attempts of capturing one with the camera, I got a series of shots using my burst-shooting option, at twelve frames per second. These are very difficult insects to shoot.

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I used my 28 to 300mm telephoto zoom lens in a field that had direct sunlight so that I could get as much resolution as I could: shooting at ISO100, and lots of light for a “quick enough” shutter speed to capture the wings while in flight. These butter flies are so unpredictable that if it were not for the Sony’s super quick Auto Focus, most of these shots would have been garbage. If I get too close to the butter flies, they fly away-very smart critters these butter flies.  So I am resorting to shooting at full out 300mm with this lens, and predicting where the butter files’ flight path will be while shooting. It is tough–many misses! Both the camera and lens weigh in at 1.8kg!

Butterfly 01 small image

I am still hoping to that “sweet” photo, a downward facing angle of one of these butter flies with it’s wings fully spread–the storybook pose of a butter fly.