The portable advantage

Last week I posted a couple of photos I took with my smartphone. As I said, in the past I have had little use for camera phones – the quality is almost always terrible. However, lately, I have found my new smartphone to be a marked improvement over its predecessors.

This little camera offers decent picture quality, exposure presets (like “sport” and “close-up”), and even has evaluative metering which allows the camera to adjust the exposure based on the light source.

Of course, these are pretty standard features for a low-end point and shoot, so why do I care?

Well, reality is that I don’t take my DSLR set up with me everywhere. It’s too much gear to lug to work on my bicycle. Even packing a compact point and shoot, when I already carry a phone and an iPod (my Torch’s memory can’t quite handle my 50GB music collection just yet), is more gear than I want to carry. So having a decent phone camera is appealing.

But these aren’t images I am likely to print and frame, so again, what‚Äôs the point?

Well, for me, this is about two things: practice and fun.

Having a camera handy allows me to snap quick glimpses of things I might want to return and shoot later, or just work on seeing the light in various situations. It provides the flexibility to experiment when I might otherwise miss out.

It also provokes me into doing things I might not otherwise do. When I have the DSLR, I tend to be a little more ‘serious’, only taking shots that seem to have some weight to them. Not always, but usually.

But with the Torch, I tend to be a little more playful, something I’d like to bring into my work overall. So this provides a way for me to think outside the box and then try to go back and build better images around a similar theme – things I might not have tried otherwise.

Anyways, here are a few more shots from the Torch. Enjoy ūüôā

©Michael D. Pereira

©Michael D. Pereira

©Michael D. Pereira

©Michael D. Pereira

©Michael D. Pereira

©Michael D. Pereira

©Michael D. Pereira

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Last of the syrup

So I just returned from a trip to the farm for Easter with my wife’s family. They produced over 1,100 litres of maple syrup back at their sugar shack this year – a record! For the curious, it takes about 40 litres of sap from a maple tree to make 1 litre of syrup. So that means they boiled down over 44,000 litres of sap this past month!! We estimated they were back in the sugar shack boiling¬†for over 200 hours.

Pretty amazing… and delicious ūüôā

I decided to post just a few more images from my shoot with Sean at the Laurel Creek sugar shack to mark this record year.

Mike

©Michael D. Pereira

©Michael D. Pereira

©Michael D. Pereira

©Michael D. Pereira

Sugar shack blues

Following up on my post from a few days ago, here are some more shots from the sugar shack! These ones focus more on Sean and music.

Hope you like ’em.

Mike

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

I fell into the sap today…

A few months back my cousin Sean* approached me about taking some photos out at the maple sugar bush in nearby Laurel Creek.

Sean’s been working on an album of “syrup songs” for the last little while – a light-hearted little album about his love for making syrup – and he was looking for some photos to go with the album. Sean and I have been playing music together for a¬†few years now so I was pretty excited to be a part of it!

I took advantage of the brief time I had the Canon 70-200 f 2.8 in my hands and headed out to the sugar shack on nice evening about a month back.

These are a few of my favourties from around the sugar bush.¬†In a few days¬†I’ll post some more of the music focused shots ūüôā

Mike

*Ok, so technically Sean and I are second cousins once removed,¬†but “Cousin Sean” just sounds better ūüôā¬†

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

Open windows

When Kim and I moved into our first home a year ago we¬†discovered that the previous owners had left a shed full of stuff behind¬†that they either¬†didn’t want or thought we could use.¬†¬†

At first we were dismayed. We felt like the previous residents had used our new home as a dumping ground for their unwanted junk. However, after the snow melted and we could pull everything out of the shed, we had a look at what they left behind. Our mood lightened.

The list of miscellanea included a wooden patio set, 15 or so cans of paint, some old windows, several nice bird feeders, 3 shelving units, tiles, and a host of beautiful clay flower pots and gardening supplies. Some of it has been handy, some of it we had to throw away, some of it is just waiting to be used.

It was the windows that caught my eye. Old wood framed windows, covered in cobwebs and cracked white paint; rusted hardware and broken glass. They were perfect!

I brought the frames into my garage workspace and started the long process of restoring them.

First up? Demolition. With a hammer and a rag I carefully knocked out the glass, using pliers to remove the remaining shards and glazing points. I then used a fine wood chisel to scrape out the molding that sealed the glass in place, revealing the wooden lip at the front that the glass rested on.

With the glass removed I turned my attention to the paint. I used a chemical solution to strip out the layers of what was probably lead paint. The frames had been re-painted so many times that it took three applications of the solution to remove the paint. Years of yellowed goop bubbled to the surface and peeled away in slimy ribbons under the edge of my putty knife. I did this one at a time, leaving the stripped frames to dry out for several days. This allowed any paint residue to become brittle and easy to scrape away with a piece of steel wool.

After the paint was stripped away, I removed the rusting hardware and began the process of sanding down the wooden skeletons. This was a tremendous amount of work, combining power and hand sanding over many hours. I had to completely sand the wood four times, each time with a progressively finer grain of sand paper. The first sanding removed the remaining paint and dirt that had built up on the frame. The second sanding brought out the grain of the wood, while the third and fourth sandings continued top bring out the grain and smooth the surface.

Once this was done I used a neutral wood filler to seal up the holes from the old hardware and  began to apply a stain to the wood. Staining serves several purposes: one, it adds a darker colour to the wood; two, it brings out the grain even further, really emphasizing the texture of the wood; three, it seals and protects the wood to prevent it from drying out and becoming damaged.

The results can be quite beautiful. I applied three coats of stain to each frame to give them a rich dark reddish colour. Once the final coat had dried, I drilled new holes and added new pewter hardware so they would retain the look and feel of windows.

 
The frames were completed, now I just needed to fill them.
I made some prints and took them to a local framing shop to have glass and mattes custom cut and the prints mounted on a rigid backing.
  
I was quite happy with the results and I know Kim was really surprised on Christmas morning when I presented her with a selection of our wedding photos, taken by my friend Wayne Simpson, framed in the restored windows from our first home.
 
 

©Wayne Simpson

©Wayne Simpson

©Wayne Simpson

Thanks for reading!

Mike

PS. the title of this post comes from a song by Sarah Harmer entitled “Open Window (the Wedding Song)”. I hope you like it.

Summerfolk

Some images from our excusion to Summerfolk in Owen Sound! We were pretty farm from the stage, so I used my 80-200mm lens. I think they turned out pretty well, considering the low light and the fact that I wasn’t using a tripod ūüôā

See my last post for some of the music from that weekend.

Enjoy!

M. 

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

 

©Michael D. Pereira

Owen Sound Grain Elevator

So, Kim’s parents gave us tickets to the Summerfolk folk music festival in Owen Sound last weekend, and man, what a great show. We got to see Colin Linden, the ever awesome Danny Michel, and one of my personal favourites,¬†Sarah Harmer (who I got to nervously say hello to after the show!). I’ll have more¬†from the show later, but for now, enjoy this one¬†I snapped while watching The Human Statues. The scene is a sea gull soaring past the Owen Sound¬†grain elevator.¬†

M.

P.S. I stongly recommed clicking on the names above for some awesome music.

©Michael D. Pereira