September, 2011

Sparrows on Lilies in Kew Gardens

Took the dog for a walk while on an errand to pick up some prints from the local camera store when the sun broke through the clouds for a few minutes, lighting up the flowers in Kew Gardens. For some reason a small flock of sparrows were interested in some lily flowers, so I started taking a few pictures.

While taking pics and focusing on a sparrow near the top of one of the flowers, another sparrow came fluttering in. I didn’t have the shutter setting on fast enough to freeze the flight of the landing sparrow, but the effect still looks cool:

Sparrow Landing on a Lily Flower

Sparrow Landing on a Lily Flower

And here is that same sparrow perched on the plant:

Sparrow on a Lily Flower

Sparrow on a Lily Flower

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Word on the Street Toronto 2011

Vanessa joined me for a trip downtown to see this year’s Word on the Street festival in Queen’s Park circle. Gotta love a city that devotes a day-long festival to all things book-ish. ;-)

Word on the Street: Robert J. Sawyer Autographing a Book for a Fan

Word on the Street: Robert J. Sawyer Autographing a Book for a Fan

Word on the Street: Kids Checking Out Graphic Novels

Word on the Street: Kids Checking Out Graphic Novels

Word on the Street: More Nouns!

Word on the Street: More Nouns!

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Red Sumac Leaves

A sure sign of Fall: the Sumac leaves turning in Woodbine Park:

Red Sumach Branch #1

Red Sumach Branch #1

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Insects on Purple Flowers

Went for another walk in Woodbine Park, and saw that a lot of purple flowers (a type of purple daisy?) was attracting all sorts of pollinating insects.

Caught a nice shot of a Monarch Butterfly sipping nectar from a purple flower. Along with the details of the butterfly I also love the bokeh on this one:

Monarch Butterfly on Purple Flower

Monarch Butterfly on Purple Flower

And here’s another of a bee on the same type of flower:

Honey Bee on Purple Flower

Honey Bee on Purple Flower

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Windfest 2011

Was out walking the dog and noticed that the sky down by the beach was full kites. Turned out to be an event called Windfest which I had never heard of before, but they put on a great show.

Shot many pics, of which these were my favourites:

Windfest Toronto 2011 #3

Windfest Toronto 2011 #3

Windfest Toronto 2011 #8

Windfest Toronto 2011 #8

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Hobomok Skipper Butterfly

Another walk with the dog looking for interesting critters to shoot with the camera. Saw this tiny butterfly, which was only just over a couple of centimeters long.

Hobomok Skipper Butterfly

Hobomok Skipper Butterfly

Turns out to be a Hobomok Skipper. While looking it up I couldn’t make my mind up as to whether it was that or a Zabulon Skipper (gotta love the names in either case), but according to this, which says that the Zabulon Skipper is not found north of Pelee Island and that in “anywhere but extreme southwestern Ontario the Hobomok Skipper is unmistakable”. Well alright then, Hobomok Skipper it is then. ;-)

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Moon and Jupiter in the Early Morning Sky

When I stepped out the door early this morning on my way to work, I saw the Moon and Jupiter high overhead. I immediately stepped back inside to grab my camera, fit the telephoto lens onto it as well as the tripod.

Clearly I had missed the closest conjunction point several hours earlier, but I figured this was still worth a shot.

Moon and Jupiter in the Early Morning Sky

Moon and Jupiter in the Early Morning Sky

(Hmm, Jupiter doesn’t even appear in the thumbnail image above, but it does come through as a multi-pixel circle when seen full-sized. Key thing was keeping the Moon and Jupiter in the same shot. Oh well…)

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Cork Board Project Finished

Ages ago I started to make a cork board, since we drank a fair amount of wine (having a family vineyard certainly helps) and it seemed a shame to throw them all out. I got a frame for it, and started setting down rows of corks.

This morning Vanessa asks for a cork board to pin of her jewelery to. This was sufficient impetus to put in the final few rows of saved-up corks to finish off the job.

Corkboard #1 (which emphasizes a couple of Chateau Volterra corks)

Corkboard #1 (which emphasizes a couple of Chateau Volterra corks)

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Canadian International Air Show 2011

Got to the Canadian National Exhibition around 12:30 and managed to find a good spot to view the Canadian International Air Show from. I brought along my f/2 200mm and my f/4 300mm lenses along with me to put them both through their paces. I tended to use the 200mm on the larger or faster planes in order to freeze their motion, and the 300mm on the smaller ones, trading off speed for detail. It wasn’t the best day for taking pics of flying planes, as the skies became cloudier as it went on, and was finally brought to a premature end when the front of a thunderstorm came in. Given that most of the show is over the water and facing south, in most cases side of the plane facing the audience is in shadow, hence the need for a fast telephoto lens. Still, it was a good and rousing show.

I arrived just as three members of the all-female parachute group the Misty Blues jumped out of an airplane. This was followed by some aerial gymnastics by Mike Wiskus in the red Lucas Oil bi-plane, and then some precision flying by the members of the Heavy Metal Jet Team. (The Heavy Metal Jet Team site only mentions having L-39 Albatroses and T-33 Shooting Star, but doesn’t mention what seems to be a swept-wing MiG which had a prominent place in their show). After that came more aerial acrobatics by Pete McLeod in the Red Bull Zivko Edge 540. Then came the Lancaster from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, one of only two Lancasters still flying. While it flew by they had an pilot who had flown 19 successful missions in one during WWII (and was shot down on his 20th mission), who was given a rousing round of applause by everyone in attendance when he finished. I didn’t catch much of Rick Volker‘s show in his Sukhoi SU-26M since it was mid-afternoon by that point and I desperately needed some food and drink! Then came the demo of the A-10 Warthog, which buzzed by the waterfront several times. At that point the air show was called on account of bad weather, though the MV-22 Osprey buzzed by — allowing me to get a single shot of it as it went by — on its way to shelter at Pearson International Airport.

Here are some of the better shots I took from the show:

Pete McLeod in the Edge 540 #2

Pete McLeod in the Edge 540 #2

Misty Blue Parachutist

Misty Blue Parachutist

Mike Wiskus in the Lucas Oil #1

Mike Wiskus in the Lucas Oil #1

Heavy Metal Jet Team #4

Heavy Metal Jet Team #4

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