Sunday, December 30, 2007

December 30, 2007-On to 2008

Hello faithful reader.

Well, 2007 has come and gone. The world is still in a turmoil, and Dslr shooters are in a tizzy about what may or may not be on the next generation of cameras.:-)
Actually, I had a decent year, all things considered. Had a great vacation in Las Vegas in April. Daughter and her SO accompanied us, and had a wonderful week. They plan on returning. My work here is done.:-). Also had a wonderful week at the Grandfather Mountain, Nature Photography Weekend in June. This was my third year, and i love the place. Great scenery, great company. Pentax may be the # 3 in the camera game, but the owners are #1 to me.
Even though i was bought out from my place of employment, after 34 years, it was not that bad. I had really no love for the business, and was glad to be out. The SO even said i was now sleeping better and snoring less. I tried to tell that to the PDML at GFM, but they don't believe me.:-).
This was my best year every for web based sales from my Equine shows. That means a new lens i fear.LOL

Managed to keep busy with a few part time gig's, and i think i have some decent prospects coming my way in early January.

My daughter finished her show year with 5 of 6 Championships, Champion year end and first overall in Level I, Dressage, in Ontario at the Trillium level. Why we cannot sell this horse still amazes me.

Christmas was good for us. Small and quiet. Had supper at my sisters, whom i only see 1-2 times a year. She does not cook, but didi a great job.

So to all, have a great Newyear and hope all your wishes come true. There has to be a job out there for me somewhere. I'll find it.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dec 15, 2007-Wether the Weather

Hello faithful reader.

Well, i have finally had enough of local news and weather channels and their "Storm Watch" doom and gloom reports.

Ten minutes of super hype, for a meager amount of snow, say 1-3 cm's, that may or may not show up.

I can not believe how worked up the GTA of Southern Ont gets over these "storms". I worked for a survey company for close to 34 years, and most of my work was done away from the office, in Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta. I have also worked winters in the East Coast.
It is not unusual in the North, to have snow in Winter. Trust me, it does and will happen.
Usually 3-5 cm's a day is common from Nov to Jan, at least, if not more, then it settles down a bit, snow still but less often. Local news might mention it in the daily weather forecast, but believe me, they do not make any big deal out of it. Heck the snow plows don't even come out for any thing less than 5 cm's. You just drive on it.

Here is a typical Northern news lead, as i remember it.

"Oh BTW we should get about 10 cm of snow tonight, say how's are hockey team doing these day, Ken".

That's the Northern way. It should be adopted here. If i see one more reporter standing out side, toque on and saying how bad it is out side, when you can still see pavement, I'll scream.

One or Two cm's of snow, can and will, paralize Toronto and the 400 series of Hwys. No one slows down, and the OPP will respond to a crash a minute. People its winter. Has been around here for 1000's of years if not more. Trust me, in that it will snow between Nov and April every year.
Get those snow tires on, slow down or stay home.

And please no more super hype news stories about what is inevitable any way. Half the time, when i am hoping for a snow day, the sun will shine, and Buffalo gets it.:-)

Sorry for the rant. I'm feeling better now.

Thanks for listening


Saturday, December 1, 2007

December 01, 2007-Repair week concluded

Hello faithful reader.

Well its been a pretty exciting week, at least for a guy with 10 thumbs.

I have, and still have, some repairs and things to do around the house. I have been "semi retired" since June, and i thought this is now or never time to get some of this stuff done. Three things needed some what immediate attention, a leaking sink cold water handle, a broken basement sub floor(the raised wood kind) and our electrical panel upgrade. I have no intention of doing the panel. The panel has been on the list for quite some time. I have had someone in to install and repair my air conditioner on several occasions and i questioned his wiring on several times. My suspicions we're confirmed by the electrician with comments like, who put this in, its illegal and could cause a fire. Stuff like that.

Managed to get the old water handle off. Its an old, old sink with separate handles. A trip to the local Canadian Tire and with some hands and knees product searching, found what i needed, a cold water plug. Nothing much to put it back in, however i forgot our house was built by a left handed owner, and the taps are all back wards. I should have bought a hot water plug, as the handle is reversed now, but i was not going to get into a fight with it again. We'll live with it.

Next i tackled the floor. A piece about 4'x4' plywood had rotted, due to a small water leak the house has during certain kinds of rain or spring thaws. I knew the plywood and at least one 2x2 had rotted, but kept putting this off. I REALLY need to be motivated to do stuff like this. Motivated, as i did not want my electricians to break a leg, i fixed it on Tuesday. My simple 1 hour plan turned into a 5 hour adventure. My carefully planed mini saw did not cut the mustured and had to find my skill saw, which took some time. Needless to say, finally a new piece is in place, but some old survey words found their way out into the open.:-0.

Friday was D day. The panel was getting up graded from 60 to 100 amps. I hand tried to get this done over the past three years, and the people my SO wanted in kept putting us off. I thought i was being quite fair in letting her have three years to ask them, so in Sept i said i was getting someone else, that she has a hate on for, and that prompted her into calling the son of another friend who is a qualified electrician and a price and date set quickly.
Friday WAS supposed to be nice, about +2 and sunny. Well, how does -10 and snow sound. We pretty much had to do this now, as it would take another month to get Hydro to come and cut and hook power up.

Only a few minor snags, wrong size this, wrong length that, but by 3 pm all was done and inspected. However the worst part was waiting for hydro to come back at 6pm and re hook. Good thing we have a wood stove.

Soooooo, three major repair items are done, i still have 10 thumbs, but its enough to please the SO for a while and i can concentrate on how i will fix the next set of problems. Remember i need to be motivated.:-)

Thanks for listening


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

November 21, 2007-Back from my trip

Hello faithfull reader.

Well its been over a month since i last wrote anything, thats due to two things. My life is now boring, and what was to be a two day trip back on Nov 5th, turned into a two week x country adventure in the US and Canada.

I had no loads to escort for about 10 days, when i recieved a call to escort another converyor belt to the Dayton Ohio area for Nov 5th. Sounds good i said, easy loads to cover, just follow and in Michigan another escort is needed and they lead. Well we delivered the load around 9am on Tuesday morn, helped my driver take wires and lights off, then we headed back to Canada.

Stopped for fuel around Wapakoneka Ohio, when my phone rang. I knew i should have shut it off, but i answered it anyway. I'm needed in Holland Michigan for the next day to be one of 4 escorts on two super loads going to Fort McMurray Alberta. Managed to find the place on Wednesday, and met up with all the other drivers. The one driver from Michigan, who shall remain nameless was a complete jack ass and pushed my buttons from the get go.The loads had been sitting in Holland, as well as the truck drivers, for 23 days until they finally received permits for Michigan.

Two days to get out of Michigan and over the bridge to Sault Ste Marie Ontario.Friday was drive like mad to get to Nipigon, were we had to weekend over. Oversize cannot move on weekends in Ontario. Well two days of Mr knowitall(not the guy from Rocky and Bullwinkle, i like him) was all i could stand, and i quit and started to head home. I finally cooled off, and returned to honour my commitment, reluctantly.

Three days of following a 16' wide by 16' high load followed untill we reached Lloydminster Alberta Wednesday night. Alberta escorts would now take over and i could look forward to a long, three days to get home. I over nighted in Lloyd and headed out Thursday.
Gave it pretty hard, Lloyd to Kenora Ontario in 13 1/2 hours. Not much to see or stop for photos in the prairies. Friday i made it to Longlac, i was tired, and over nighted there. Big changes since i was last there in 1999. They put up some street lights and built a new drug store.
Managaed to get a few photos on Friday, of some churches i had always meant to in Upsala and Longlac(the Upsala one is featured here.)
Saturday was a twelve hour drive and i'm finally home after 13 frustrating days.

I am now in the process of looking for a new job, for obvious reseaons. I do not want to travel anymore, and guess what this job entails.LOL

Any way, glad to be home, the North is still the same, under populatred and dreary, but it was nice to see, for the moment, one more time.

Thnaks for listening


Saturday, October 13, 2007

October 13, 2007-Post Thanksgiving Blues

Hello faithful reader.

Been a while since i had something to write down, been a bit busy with post season photo orders and job hunting.

Its not unusual for a lot of orders to come in after the equine season is over. Lots of people wait to see if i get anything else they may want printed or on a CD.

I don't mind, bill's have to be paid, right.:-)

This past weekend was our Thanksgiving here in Canada, and as in the past 7 years, i made the anual trek up to a friends hunt camp in Madawaska Ontario, for a weekend of what we call bird hunting(actually its more of a nice walk in the bush, with camera, but i bring the 410 along to make it look good) and the "family" dinner on the Saturday. The family is a group of people, some related to but mostly associated with the camp and are or were one time Mmadawaskians. Great group of people. Unfortunatly some could not attened. The desert lady was there and had my fill of home made carrot cake and pecan pie. Now as long as my Doctor does not read this.LOL

Its a happy and sad weekend for me. Happy as i enjoy getting away from the big smoke(Toronto) and in the quiet bush. Quite a few photo op's but the weatehr the past few years have lead to not so great colurs in the trees.
Still, photos are out there to be found.

Sad because its pretty much it for the summer type weather most people like. I personally am a cold weather person, so i'm not so sad for long.

Two banquets on tonight. The Central East Hunter Jumper, of which i supply slideshow material and take awards photos, and the Cadora Dressage Banquet, of which my daughter will receive her first place and Champion awards.

Unfortunatly they are at the same time, different locations, and i will miss her night. To bad we only knew about the Cadora one a few weeks ago, not longer.

For that i am very sad. I missed a lot of my daughter growing up, due to major work travelling, and i try to attend everything she does now, to help make up and catch up the time missed.

Thanks for listening.

Oh and what am i thankfull for on Thanksgiving, well, that i have a wife that puts up with the cameras all over the house, and a daughter who is smart, honest and fun to be with.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11, 2007-A proud Mom and Dad.

Hello faithful reader.

Well the horse show season is just about wound down for me, one more to go, but it has for my daughter.

As i may have mentioned, she she has been riding for about 15 years, showing in the hunter ring for about 10 years, and last year, about this time, made the switch to Dressage from the Hunters, due to some coaching concerns.

Well it turns out we should have made that move many years ago, at least with this horse, the Trakehner mare. Both of them have taken to this disipline like ducks to water. Lessons went well, and her show this year in Orangeville were all great. Out of six shows, she was Champion for five of them.

This past weekend, was the Trillium Championships, again held in Orangeville. Saturday was lovely and was a schooling day, although it was judged. Did well, and we enjoyed the sun and the day.

Sunday however was another day. Heavy rain off and on all day made for some tough ring conditions, but the mare has shown Hunter in these conditions and it did not bother her, as it did with some others. They did their two tests and finished second place for both, which was good enough to take Champion for the Tournament in her division, Level I.

Daughter is finally happy again in her riding, really enjoys the dressage atmosphere and team comradery.

Only sad part is she needs money to help build up their house hunting fund, and we reluctanlty will be selling her. If this years success does not help in the sale, i don't know what will.

Thanks for listening, and oh, ya Mom and Dad are very proud.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 30, 2007-Summers gone.?

Hello faithful reader.

Well it looks as if summer is on its way out.


Several reasons. One, the Canadian National Exibition is on, signals unoffical end of summer, my last horse show for Trillium was last weekend, and most important, after three months off, i have a job interview scheduled for Sept 4th.

This is important, as MTO still, after 5 1/2 weeks have not done anything about my drivers physical, and the school routes are now all handed out, so job one is out. I have some temp work later in Sept to help set up a new store, but i get from the phone calls it will not lead to anything permenent.

I do have one resume in for a car parts driving position but no word.

I said all summer i did not want to get another job in surveying , as is this interview, but it sounds as if i can decide weither i want to work 3, 4, 5 days a week etc.

Job would be scanning survey plans, which is the new way of storage, as well as plans from other surveyors they have and old notes etc. Some of the old notes are in bad shape and are photographed instead. I should be able to help in that regard.
This, apperantly is an ongoing process, and has been for two summers.

Well i'm Xing my fingers. A job is a job, and i'm not really ready to fully retire, just want to slow down , but still do something. To bad my equestrian photography does not earn enough to live off of.

Thanks for listening


Friday, August 17, 2007

August 17, 2007-A busy week

Hi faithful reader. Well its been a busy few days here in the Castle. Tuesday was our 25th wedding anniversary, and we had some old friends over in the backyard for an informal open house on Wednesday night. Good to see the faces again, and see we are ALL getting a bit on in years, not just moi.LOL.

We held it during the week, as i knew everyone would not stay to late and i could at least get SOME rest after.

Thursday afternoon in town was a bit exciting. Brad May, a Stouffville resident and member of the Anheim Ducks Stanley Cup Team, had his day with the cup. An informal photoshoot and signing at Bruces Mill in the morning and then a 2 mile parade through town with the cup.

As a hockey fan, but definetley NOT a Leaf fan, i was thrilled to see the Cup. I have never seen it in person and it looks pretty good concidering where it has landed over the years.

A good week for picture orders, and i'm still waiting to hear about my physical for the bus job. Three and a half weeks and no reply. How many drivers are out there.:-)

I hate Gov red tape.

Thats it for now.

Thanks for listening.


Monday, July 30, 2007

July 30, 2007-Old friend still remembers

Hello faithful reader.

Flash back to 2001:

"Dad, she's not getting better, her leg is still not right".
"Well we can't jump her in this condition," says I.
"I know, and i can't bare the though of selling her. What can we do."
"I'll call Ma two and see if they have a spot for her at their little farm and we'll go look for another project horse,if you want."

"I think i would rather like that, said Erin."

Travel now from 2001 to yesterday(July 29)

Having not seen our old, banged up Throughbred Mare for some time, my daughter had us call up to our friend up north to see if she/we could visit.

Not a problem, you knew you could come any time, said Jacki.
I know, I know Erin said, its just, well, timing you know.

LOL Jacki said, I know, come up and visit. Oh and BTW I don't think i told you or your Mom and Dad(us) we moved her to our friend just north of us last year.
No said Erin, is she ok still.

She's fine. Her lamness is all but gone. They had an older horse that passed away, and the other horse was lonely and looking for a new pal. She and Horas, a huge Clyde cross (Horas) are unseperatable pals now. They have a 15 year old daughter that riders her lightly and does a few small fair shows. I knew that would be ok with you guys. With my health, i can't even ride my own.

That is not a problem Jacki. Will the new people let us come up.


So, after about 6 years, yes i know we should have checked in more often, we saddled up and went for a visit.
Followed Jacki and Bill up the road a few miles, and into a nice old farm property.
Erin gave her special whistle, and out of the run in shed came our old TB, ears forward. I swear after all these years, she remember Erin, maybe not me, but her for sure.
A few carrots and picture showing insued, and it was evident, Megan was indeed happy here. Horas, as mentioned, would not leave her side. Even tried to get inbetween us, untill i brough out carrots.:-)

Erin was asked if she wanted to ride her, and she did. You could still see the bond they had for over 4-5 years.(see picture) and she still jumps the same.

At almost 20 she has a nice place to live, and horsey pal, and a nice little girl to gently ride her.

I had to laugh when we were leaving. Horas went out of the run in shed to the paddock to eat. Megan started to follow, turned around, and came back and gave Erin a head rub. Thats when i knew she remember us for sure. Had to say goodbye before heading out with her pal.

What a great day. I know we should have made the attempt to see her more, but this is the rush age. No time etc, etc.

Well, I;m glad my kid decided to make time yesterday. It was so nice to see her again, and our friends to.:-)

Thanks for listening


Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 26, 2007-Shoulda done this years ago

Hello faithful reader.

Well, whilst i was standing around, baking in the hot sun last weekend at a two day horse show, my daughter and horse spent a nice relaxing , but fruitful weekend at a Dressage Show in Orangville Ontario. She has owned her horse, Calyn,for 5 years now, mostly doing Hunter shows, but she recently( last September) switched to dressage, mostly due to major conflicts with her old Hunter coach.
The one big difference in the two diciplines is the fact you are given a time that you are to go in the ring and do your test for the judge. This is great, as in Hunter/Jumper land, one has to wait around on their horse for the oportunity t do their thing. Can be tiring and hot etc. So whats the big deal, well she gets to sit and relax in a nice shady area were the stalls are and chat with friends, whilst i'm all by my lonsome, baking.

Well i suppose i should get to the point of todays write up.

At the previous show in June, E had two very good % scores and was Champion on the Saturday(shows are over two days) and won a "Cooler" which is basically a light blanket in real talk.:-).
Well last weekend, she had very good % scores again, and was Champion on the Saturday, but since she won a cooler already, was given a nice saddle pad, and the runner up(Reserve Champion) was given the cooler. On the Sunday, again very good % scores and this time they did not know what to give her for a prize so she got $50.00. Her cooler had no writing on it to say what show she won it at, so the $50 can go to that.

All this time, over two years, we have been trying to sell the horse as a Hunter, with very little interest, and after 2 shows we have a tentitive offer on her.

I always knew she should be doing this dressage stuff, ya right i did.LOL

Any way, we are pleased as punch on E's success rate in Dressage and hope she can do well in the Championships in Sept.

Thats it for today, just some chest thumping from a proud Dad.

Thanks for listeing


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 18, 2007-Almost there

Hi faithfull reader.

Not much to report lately. My bus training is over, for a bit. I have my hours in, and instructor things i'm ready, and so do I.

I have a refresher on Tuesday and road test on Wednesday. Xing my fingers.

Then its up to the Provincial Ministry of Transport to approve my physical. If our level of government is like others out there, i'm screwed.LOL

I think this school bus thing can really work out.

I'm at a very nice relaxed point in my life, having been tossed from the Survey/Mapping game last month. More time to do things I want to do, meaning enjoy and relax.

Had lunch with a friend in the roofing and siding business today, and he sorta offered up a eavetrough sales job to me.

Now if i could drive bus and do that part time as well, things might be good here.

Anyway, its friggin hot out again, so i;'m going for a beer and sitting out side and see if some birds will fly by.

Thanks for listening


Thursday, July 5, 2007

July 5, 2007-Eyes wide shut

Hi faithful reader.

So, i have begun what is hoped to be, my new carrer training this week. Tuesday was manovering the bus around a big empty Silver City park lot for a few hours, learning turn reference points and weaving in and out of tightly set up trafffic cones. I hit 1 curb and 1 cone. Instructor said thats pretty good for day one.

Now comes day two, yesterday. We went back to the park lot for a second, as my partner wanted to do some more tight turns in a safer environment, as we were scheduled to go and do some back road driving, to get used to the bus, the roads, traffic, albet light, and signals.
We drove north of were i live and its not quiet but its not busy either so it was not to nerve racking. I did some back roads and then she hasd me do some more travelled roads as she felt is was getting comfortable.

This is were i came to the realization, that us 4 wheel drivers are pretty bad. Just in the space of 1/2 hour on moderately traveled roads, i watch as car after car, passed us in unsafe areas, when stopped at railroad tracks and other venues.

This was a huge eye opener for me. I all ways, try, and give the bigger rigs a bit more space, not to dart in an out, but now i see why.

I propose that all 4 wheel drivers HAVE to take a 2 hour road drive in a big rig, so they can see what A holes they can be.

Not only will i have the safety of many small kids to worry about, but 1/2 of York region.

This should prove interesting.

Thanks for listening


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

July 3, 2007-Strawberry Festival and our record

Hi fathfull reader.

Well last weekend, June 30th, was our Strawberry Festival as part of Canada Day celebrations. Been going on for 23 years. My were does the time go. Seems like yesterday they were still in planing mode.

Well it was perfect day. Weather was warm, but not killer hot. Parade had a good turn out, and our fledgling radio station 102.7 had a float and parade route booth. I took a few pre parade photos and a lot from the float.. Some good crowd shots if i do say so myself.

We did our Whistle Off in the park at 2pm and had 119 participants sign up.
Led by our whistler, Steven Sword, we managed to whistle for the aloted 5 minutes and set the Guinness record for the biggest whislte off.

We did 6 tunes including whistling O Canada in French and English. You can tell the difference.LOL

Any way a long day and sore feet, but a good day.

Please see and look for the link to the photos near the bottom of the home page.

Thanks for listening


Friday, June 22, 2007

June 22, 2007-A new beginning

Hello fathfull reader.

Well last week was a very special week at the horse farm. The owners have had a breeding pair of Trumpeter Swans on the property for about 7-8 years now and all but one of those years have produced a large quantity of young swans. In 2003 or 2004, only one baby survived. In most years, including 2007, 5-6 will survive.

The picture shows some of the newly hatched birds about 5-6 hours after hatching on June 12, 2007. Afew minutes to gather their collective thoughts, then into the pond for a float with MOM.
I snapped this shot, when Mom was trying to get them to climb into her wing for safe keeping. They are VERY territorial, and i have seen them kill Canadian Geese and ducks aswell.

As you can see, they are already fighting for seniority.

I sent this to the local paper, and they ran it on the front cover.

I, to say the very least, am very happy they did that.

So to spoil an otherwize good week i had a stone hurled at me on a photo drive this afternoon and cracked my windshield good.

Siggggghhhhhh, whats $300 bucks to someone retired

Well that it. Meeting up with my buddy Knarf Saturday. Should be interesting.

Thanks for listening


Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 21, 2007. Why did i keep the sky light

Afternoon all.

Well its been a hectic week or so. I never knew being semi retired, required so much work. I think i'll go back to work just for a rest.
No i'm only kidding. Just trying to get a few things done around the house that i have neglected since i bought it, and a few interviews. I spend a day after leaving MMM to process some photos taken at GFM during June's Nature Photography Weekend. The one you see here, made it to what is known as" The dishonerable mention" category. Thats sounds horrible you say, but not so. These are photos that, for some small mishap on the photographers part, would have most likely finished in the top three of what ever category it was entered in. For my photo, a Dslr Infrared conversion shot, the judges felt the sky needed to be darker. Point taken, and duly noted for the 2008 contest.

Going out Friday and shoot some MF B&W. Have not done that for a while. Im excited.

Thats it for today. I have a cutsy pic and story for you Friday

Thanks for listening


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 12, 2007-Time to catch up, or, How i survived the Doug and Mark Show.

Morning all.

Sorry i have been a bit tardy on the blog lately. I had a pretty hectic, for me anyway, couple of weeks. Hectic used to mean, a month of working late, partying late and sleeping litte. Now its down to camping on a mountain for 3-4 days, then spending a week or so, unstiffing up.

As i mentioned, pretty busy lately. I spent May 31 to June 4 in a lovely spot in North Carolina, called Grandfather Mountain, near Linville. This was my third year attending the Nature Photography weekend and had a blast. Meet up with some old friends and met some new ones. All great folk. This year we had in the PDML compound(told ya you'd hear more from us in the blog:))folks from Australia and England, as well as my self from Canada. Speakers were all good, and i think i absorbed a few things. Mark Cassinos macro lecture was the best. Gona give that a try this summer if i can.

A lot of great photos entered in the contest. My IR shot made dishonerable mention, which actually is a good thing. One of the hilites of the weekend is Doug and Mark's(the judges) comments on the photos. If they were Canadian, there names would be Doug and Bob. They work great together and humour styles are the same, Monty Phython or bust.

A few of the regulars had to back out at the last minute, and were missed, but we had surragate Knarf with us anyway(see photo)

After lack of sleep and two long drive days, i only had a short time to catch up on sleep and attend two horse shows on the weekend. First one was to watch my daughter and PAEC Dressage team in Orangville Ontario. Every on did great and E had two excellent scores and was Champion in her class for the day.
Next day was spent at a farm north of us, shooting a Hunter Jumper schooling show. Nice place and i love to shoot there. Great backgrounds and colourful jumps, and a great owner.

As i am now officially "between assignments" as they say, i can now do my equine work during the day, and get out orders a lot faster. To bad its not quite enough to make a living, so i'll have to look for a "real job" in a while. I have my first interview to day, first in 34 years. I'm a bit nervous over this one. I thing things have changed from 1973.

Anyway, wish me luck and talk to you soon.
Thnaks for listening


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

May 23, 2007- Feeling sad for George

Hello fathfull reader.

About 26 years ago, my wife and i rented a farm and old house, for about three years, prior to buying the house we have now. It was a great place, set back from the main road, yet close to town for shopping and relaxing. Place was huge, 5 bedrooms plus a summer kitchen. I was not a fan of the stone basement. Always felt creepy down there, even in daylight.

Seems like a normal old farm property right. Well maybe not, for you see, I and many others in town as well as previous occupants, firmly believe the place was haunted. Not just due to creaks and groans of a 150 year old house or wind blowing through holes in the mortar, but out and out blantant haunting.

I must say though, George as we named him, was more of a practical joker than a "Get out of my House" kind of spirit. His big nusance was throwing rocks through windows. Well not really. You would hear a big crash of glass, spend 1/2 an hour inspecting all the windows of the house, and as always, would find noting out of place. Settling back into your chair to continue reading, and there it was again.If it happened once it happened 50 times over the three years we spent in the farm. After a while we would just sigh, say thats enough George and it would stop for a few days.
Other things that happened was singing could be heard from the kitchen, horses neighing, and knocks on a bathroom door, when you knew you were the only occupant of the house at the time.Many times i was alone in the house for a few days at a time, and would leave a book on the coffee table in the livingroom, only to find it gone the next day,and returned to its exact spot 1-2 days later. That i hated.:-)

Several people before, and after us, left the house before the rent term was up,always complaining of the things going on in the house.

The last family to live there, did so for about 20 years, bringing two kids into the world from there(we had our daughter there)I recently met up with them, and not having told them some of our tales, heard the same things told to us, when we asked if anything unusual was noticed at the house.

My concern for George is this. The property was sold last year, and the front of the farm will be an Auto Mall, and the rear will be single family dwellings. Not a nice fate for such a nice farm. Originally the house was going to be torn down, but i hear now, it will stay and possibly be an office of some sort.

I hope George treats his new neighbours nicely.

Thnak for listening


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

May 15 2007-The quest for knowledge, Part II

Just thought i'd give a brief out line from last night, for those that are interested.:-)

Instructor brought in her light system and her 19 year old daughter, who as it turns out, does not mind having her picture taken, unlike my daughter.LOL

Her system is pretty basic, but does a very good job. Two 500 watt strob's and stands, a plain Jane rod and stand fore backdrops and that's it.
Back drops are painted muslin, and canvas, and props were foam cushions to raise people up to make a nicer, rounder group photos. We worked on the 3', 6', 6',6' triangle being subject 3' away from backdrop and the lights 6' away a6' between them. This is her basic small studio setup.

We spent an hour or so watching her pose and shoot her daughter, and showing us various ways to soften light with out a softbox, and use home made reflectors for shadow reduction in certain cases.She showed the class how to work the light meter, at least i can do THAT.:-)

With home made light box, and metering, it only took her a moment to set the power on the stobs for her working ap of F8. Stob's trigger by wire and i see now what you need for the hotshoe to do that.
She works with a D70.

At the end of the night she posed a group of 5 students, some tall and some short etc, and showed us ways to position them, and also briefly touched on using a flash and umbrella as studio lighting in a pinch.
I may have to go this route for any pet store shoots, as if they are all small like the Petvalu my wife works at,. i won't be able to utilize the 6' method, but the one stobe method sh eshowed us. Either that or get the stobbracket and just lift the flash off the camera.

The best part was at the end, she asked to see the horse, pet and kid pictures i was asked to bring in, and she thought they were all great. I'm happy.:-)

Next week, our turn to wreck havoc in the photography world.


Oh, my Pentax K10D partner, was not able to get his Sigma flash to sync wirelessly, so i think thats a dead issue, if anyone is thinking of getting the 500dg super for wireless flash.I thought i was getting it to work, but i have some shots with the flash in the picture and the red ready light is still on, so maybe my cheat method failed.
Now, to find the cash for a 540.

Thanks for listening.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

May 8, 2007- The quest for knowledge begins after 50

Hi gang.

Well last night, was the first of 5 lighting/portrait classes in Barrie. Long day as I was in the field until 5:30 then a made dash to the school, a hour a way. Took a while to find everything, but we did.

As I walked in to the class room, one gent in the class was raving about his new digital camera, must be a Nikon shooter, says i. LOL

Nope, he has the K10D and kit lens, so I whipped out mine, K10D camera that is, and we bonded. I feel so good now. :-)

Teacher is not the regular instructor for the class. Great I think, a Physics Prof. teaching me photography.

Wrong. She also teaches the night classes for Wedding and Children's portraits.

Bonus, says I. Maybe this is worth the drive to Barrie, me thinks.

Course outline was presented and a two hour talk about portraits, what to look for, the "shapes" thing.(how to set up the people to form, in principle, diamond, triangle and eclipse. Not really sure how to explain this yet, but it made sense in the examples)

She asked us what we wanted from the course, and I mentioned more experience with not only on board flash, but how to light and expose for studio stuff. I mentioned about the possible pet work in stores. She used to do that before just going to people portraits, so she will add that to the class, and will bring in a bunch of tips for me.

Sounds like a real night class. Learn what you want, not what the school says you need to:-) Instructor seems to know her stuff, and is a good speaker. I think I’ll learn something here.

Looking forward to next week, She is bringing her lighting in and we get to play. She will be setting up the subjects, and will shot them herself, but we can do our own shooting, if we want(I want).

Thanks for listening


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

May 2, 2007- Turning the corner

Hello faithful reader.

Well its now May, and as the header say's I'v turned the corner. The Jan-April blah's are gone, the grass is greening up, the property taxes,house insurance and Truck insurance have all been paid and the John Derre is charging its little battery for a summer full of grass cutting and squirrel chasing. The grey one hates that, BTW.

May also brings out my other self, the equine photographer. My first show starts on the 20th. Good thing Monday after is our Stat holiday. Chance to snooze.
Lots of good things lined up. I have several shows back that i lost to another company last year. Seems politeness is still needed in some business after all.(I'm the polite one :-))

Had a visit Monday with my Doctor. Man getting old sucks. More problems found. Quess all of those gout attacks over the years has produced some nice arthritis in said foot/toes.However it has now pushed me to actually do something, and i'll be getting my 17 year old Norco mountain bike out this week, and start peddeling my arse around town. Gotta lose a few LB's and get the legs in shape for all day standing at the shows.

Just about lost the end of my thumb this morning. Cut it on a broken bottle that found its way int my garbage. Nasty cut along the top. Probably should have gone for stitches.

Daughter and Boyfriend are now hooked on Vegas. Gota nother one.

Bwaa Haa Haa:-)

Well thats it for today.

Thnaks for listening


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

April 24, 2007-Back to basic's

Hello faithfull reader. In keeping with the main spirit of my blog, that being horses and photography, i'm happy to announce that i have found a College night class that will allow me to hone up on studio lighting and Portrait photography.

Its a bit of a drive from my humble abode, about 80 Km's, but its also the closest facility i can find. Over the past 8 years or so, after putting photography on hiatus for most of the 90's, i have managed to remember, or atleast find classes, in all that has been forgotten. Several classes in B&W darkroom, now gone the way of the Dodo bird in most areas, general tips of the trade from the good folks at Pentax Discuss Mailing List(PDML), and now pretty much my last learning curve, that of studio lighting.
After this, next will be a specific class on Photoshop for photographers. I have just enough experience now, to be dangerous.


I have read up on the internet about this, but i tend to need to be able to see it in action before it really sinks in.

I was a bit disappointed that the school i took the B&W classes in, had stopped the class due to low enrollment, but i have enough experience now to be able to develop and get out some sort of print, if and when needed.
I still love film B&W prints, but digital software has come along way over the past few years, and coupled with printers like the Epson 2400 and Canon i9500(i think) excellent B&W conversion prints are now possible.

Well thats it.

Thanks for stopping by.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April 17, 2007-From desert to spongy grass

Hello faithfull reader. Sorry about nothing posted for a week or so, but i was on vacation in Las Vegas last week and am just getting back into Ontario life. We had a great time, as we always do, but its always great to be back home.

I don't mind flying to destinations, i just hate the very act of getting to an airport. Left the house early as suggested and arrived to an almost empty terminal. I did our check in over the internet and it only took a few minutes to get past Air Canada desks. For everything i dispise of AC, these ladies were great. So now we have a long wait, and beer is $10.00. Arggg.:-)

The hotel we stay at is a smaller one near the Flamingo, and is a nice, quiet building. It used to be our favorite place to play, and still is, but they don't have the ever popular $1.00 beer, so we now have two extra hotels we like, O'Shaes and Casino Royal. Dollar beer tastes great.:-)

Went on a tour to Valley of Fire National Park and that was excellent (insert Mr Burns here). A lot of nice photos were shot that day. The SO and i loved the quiet enviroment.
Went and saw the Wynn and Venetion hotels and the Secret Garden at the Mirage. Got my night shots around town, i missed last time in Vegas. It took a bit, but we managed to find our favorite slot machines that used to be at the Flamingo, but we found them at Bally's. The double diamond McDonalds one. Get the bonus lady and play a snakes and ladders type of bonus for extra points. I seem to be able towin on this one.

Even managed to come back with a few bucks.

Thanks for listening


Thursday, April 5, 2007

April 5, 2007-Up down and film meets digital

Good day all. Well it may be the end of the first week of April, and Easter Weekend to boot, but you sure can'nt tell from here ist spring. The great weather the last few days, even of it did rain, it was warm, has turn sour again, and we had a small blast of winter over night. The wind picked up, the temp dropped and over 2 million people in Toronto and the GTA all forgot how to drive all at once. Amazing 1 cm of snow and cars and truck bounce off each other lik a pin ball game.

People, SLOW DOWN. How hard is that.

On a good note, a friend of mine, i have a link to his blog, knarf, recently bought a Pentax istD camera. Why is this so important, well because now, film is officially dead. He was probably one of the last hold outs of the members of the PDML.

Notice though i said Pentax, not Nikon or Canon. This is for all you people brainwashed in to thinking only N or C can produced good pictures.

Well, all i have to say is that Pentax has made excellent film cameras and lenses for over 35 years, and it proves some people think for them selves and not let marketers rule there lives.

Pentax makes a very good Dslr in the K10D and K100. Shake reduction in camera, great image quality and viewfinders.

Now don't get me wrong, nothing wrong with N or C cameras, i just wanted to let you know there is another choice.

I use Nikons BTW for my equestrian work as Nikon had better dslr;s before Pentax came out with theirs.

I use both and for different reasons. Do your self a favor, and try a Pentax when looking for your next camera.

Thanks for listening

Sunday, April 1, 2007

April 1, 2007-Is it time to slow down folks

As i sit here in my livingroom, that serves as my "Office" and watching the rain beat down on an already soaked environment, i thought today might be a good day to jot my thoughts down, as i'm having a slow day, and thats what i wanted.

I, and I'm sure many others out there, find it hard to get up and going in the mornings. It takes me a good hour to get up, stretch, pour some wake up juice down my throat and talk my self into joining the mad rush, the 24/7 people, the traffic jams, and the company voice systems, so dominate in our lives today.

I don't know about you readers out there, but i long for the good ol days. Not so much nickel bread or $4.00 a case of beer, although that would be terrific, but the way things were up to the early/mid 80's.That being, stores that actually closed for a Sunday off. Beer, liquor, gas, grocery all of those things. Was it so hard back then, to actually think a day or two ahead and STOCK UP on things you'd need for 1-2 days.Heck i can remeber when Beckers actually closed for Christmas, the only day of the year.
They don'nt do that now, do they. Gotta sell the 1/2 expired jug of cream and a few packs of smokes.

I quess the whole point of this, is that there never seems to be that slow down or shut down day to unwind and enjoy life. Oh i'm out of tick-tack, quick to Wally World.

I think it would be nice to head back in that direction, don't you. I know i would not mind. Then a long weekend actually becomes a long weekend, not just Monday off.
Of course, i still live in the 60's so it may be the herbs talking, or that voice i keep hearing in my ear, the one that says, "buy more camera gear". Thought is was going somewere else there, did'nt you.

Point is, less stress equals less problems. Seems simple to me.

Now if we could do that,AND, get rid of company voice mails, that would be just as nice as stopping global warming.

Thanks for listening


Saturday, March 31, 2007

March 31, 2007-The snow is gone

Well, its only been spring for what, 7-8 days now, and it is already feeling like it. The Toronto Maple Leafs(not my hockey team) is fighting fo a playoff spot. Again.
Good by John Ferguson Jr. The Blue Jays(my baseball team) had a so so spring, and some questions on pitching, but will be starting their 30th season this year, April 7 1977 was the date of the now famous home game, playing Chigago in the snow.Bet those players from Califonia were'nt prepared for that.LOL.

I had my spring hair cut today, and all my baseball hats fit again. No more beany head.

Finally got my Epson 2400 print profiles to work, i hope, and life should be good from now on.

The posted picture today is the one that Pentax rejected for the online gallery. I love this shot, but it seems i'm the only one.From the 2005 Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend in June.

Lovely spot i hope to make it a yearly trek, until i can't trek no more.

Cats are all asleep, think i'll have a beer out side and wait for the suirrels to sho up.

Have a good day.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

March 24, 2007 - I'm in a Gallery for Pentax

Hi all. Well Spring has sprung, the grass has ris, i wonder were the birdies is.....I think you know the rest. LOL

I'm in a bit of a good mode these past few days. Our trip to Vegas will be upon us soon, and as the title mentions, i now have had 4 of 5 submitted pictures accepted to the Pentax on line gallery.
The Pentax camera email list, i frequent, was invited, alone with a host of others, to upload our best pictures to the website. Its looking good in Beta, but they are still working on it.

One of the accepted pictures is the one to the left of this post.

Its raining today, so maybe its a good day to work on the WhiStle Radio Stars of Stouffville II logo.

Have a good day

Thanks for listening


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

March 20, 2007 - Big K and Little E

Sunday i went to a good friends birthday party. Seems i'v know little E all my life, and i suppose i have. It was his first BDP and i was asked to shoot photos for the parents and family, so they could concentrate on the party and keep an eye on 1/2 dozen young'ens.

The Mom is my daughters Dressage coach, and i had the pleasure of doing the same, for her Hunter coach's daughter in 2004, little H.

The standard gang was there, Grandma's, Uncles, Aunts, etc and the small kids at H's BDP are now a lot bigger and run a lot faster that i can.

I wanted to shoot as much as possible at their level, like 6" above the floor. The last time i spent this much time on a tile floor was after a 3 day binge after a work camp in the bush.LOL

Lots of great food, pasta shells, cheese potatoes etc. Thank you ladies for a great meal.

The kids were well behaved, or atleast as best as could be for agroup of 1/2 to 4 year olds.

A few games to keep them interested, a great Grandma toy room, even Big K was caught in motion. STS, playing with a group of cake waiting boys.

Speaking of cake, little E had his right of passage, the lone hi chair and a bowl of ice cream and a plate of icy, sugary cake, ever so carefully smeared across the face.

Enjoy the day little E. Before you know it, you'll be driving the John Deere.

Thanks for listening

Dave Brooks

Saturday, March 17, 2007

March 17, 2007 - Friday the 16th, was interesting

Well, i managed to make it through another March Break with out to much trouble.

Forgot my daughter's riding lesson on Thursday and bought the wrong chicken wings, but at least i remembered the right beer.

Traffic was really light, no major truck car collisions on our 400 series Highways, managed to do a little bit of photography, and play with the cats.

One thing did liven up Friday. I am one of several Moderators on an Equine BB. Seems one of our members had a bit to much of Mom's 772B(you need to remember how we used to buy from the liquor store in the 60's and early 70's to get this remark)or Dad left some roaches in the ashtray, but they went on a very slanderous rampage, calling several other members all sorts of interesting words.

And i thought only surveyors and truckers talked like that.

Well, many emails from concerned members and a blitz by the full Moderator staff cleaned 'em up around 10am.

Now to track em down Bwaaa Haa Haa.

Several of our Hunter team showed last weekend at the March CE Trillium show. Not a great turn out, but again good numbers for this time of year. The young lasses did well. No championships, but good placings for good points. It all counts eh.

Oh one other thing. I finally ave up on Norton AV and installed McAfee instead. Computer still slowish, but not as bad as Norton.

Take that which ever way you like.

I was among a number of people who shoot Pentax cameras, to upload my best images to be included in to an on line gallery and for Pentax promotional stuff. I submitted four images, and three were accepted and one was not.

Still pretty good, i'm happy. I had a look at it last night and i'm happy to be among such great photographers.

It is in Beta mode right now, but please look again.

Oh and the 772B reference. Well, before we got modern liquor stores, ie: self serve, we had to fill out a slip with the product number and quantity. Hand it to an employee and he/she went to the back on got your order. 772B was my Mom's favorite wine. A cheap sugar concoction, but she like it, and well, deserved it. She was a great lady.

Thanks for listening

Dave B

Friday, March 9, 2007

March 9, 2007 March break madness

So this is our areas March break week, starting today. I say ours, as i am led to understand not all school district areas have the same week for the break.

As in the past, i/we will not be going anywere for the week. Atleast not by plane, train, or ship. Its the crowds. I hate crowds. Shopping at Christmas time, even two months before Dec 25th is like putting my head in a vice, squeezing whilst someone blares American Idol reject songs, over and over. I think you get my drift.:-)

Nope, my idea of March break, is to, sit out back and have a cold one, enjoy the lesser clogged roads, to and from work. AND, and this is more important, enjoy a few days of photo drives, to catch up on missed opportunities during the winter.
Now the weather is getting a tad wormer, which means less ice on the roads. As i travel by myself a lot, and on back roads, this could be the savings of a tow truck, or worse, a call to my wife for help.

Winter is the time i really like to shoot Black and White photos, with film. B&W digital conversions and prints have come a long way from the simple Photoshop command of "Convert to Grayscale" as i discoverd in 2001 with Ver6. Thought i had died and gone to heaven. However getting good tones and contrast, as well as a good print, was not to be, for me, until late last year, when, through the good folk at the PDML(more on this bunch later) came up with good work flows and printer combos for digital B&W, Juan Buhler, being one of the better PDML ers at this.There are also a number who have taken great pains to get a good B&W workflow going and have been rewarded with showings and books.

Although i support B&W film, i and many others do like the "feel of silver". I have however, improved my digital colour to B&W conversions quite a bit lately, and as my confidence and appility grows over the next while, i probably will do what i have done with my film colour shooting, and that is all digital now.

I have recently upgraded my S800 printer, bought in 2001, and now have bought my first Epson printer, the 2400. I have been assured by Epson as well as real people who own the printer, that both colour and B&W prints will look asume. So far my few test prints show this.

I'll be using this printer for all my inkjet equestrian sales this year, and i hope my clients will see the differences.

Well, thats it.

Oh wait, almost forgot, its round two of the Jokers Hill CE Trillium shows this weekend. I'll be popping in over the next few days, to support the team etc. I also need some more Angie-isims from the show, and from the person that inspired this venture.

Oh-co-co for those that don't know is a rider showing for practise and does not want to be scored.

Thanks for that dear.

Thanks for listening.


Thursday, March 1, 2007

March 1, 2007-Finally a winter Storm

It seems, over the last few years,the City of Toronto media goes nuts with "Storm Watch" and insert year and date here. I get all excited, possibly a snow day from work. No point in playing bumper cars with all the drives who forget that one needs to slow down when it snows and or rains out.

For the most part, the storm never gets here or is 1 1/0 of what they were yapping about.

Well,today we had everyone on the same page. Storm hit a few hours after predicted, and that led to some nasty weather man comments by the office micro, and as hard as expected.

Now, i'm used to winter in our North, having spent close to 20 years working in Thunder Bay, Kenora, Hearst etc. A 10cm drop every other day is ordinary, and we deal with it and carry on with work and social lives.
Today was one of those little 10 cm days, but with the wind and warmer temps, we got the big wet flurries that really mess up the roads. My 15 minute drive home took over and hour and a half.
To make matters worse, the bar i tend to stop at every now and again, closed early, just as i got there. Oh well, for the best i think.

So now we're at home, wood stove pumping and watching the rangers hockey game, waiting for the last two thirds, the freezing rain and AM rain for Friday.

So it looks as if March comes in as a Lion, and hopfully leaves as a Lamb.

Thanks for listening, i'm going for more ice.:-)


Sunday, February 25, 2007

February 25, 2007-Snowgolf Day

Saturday was our annual Snow Golf day. I ~ think ~ this is around year number 20, but i have only been home from work traveling for a few years now, so this is my 4th year.

Its a fun day, with 30 or so people attending. This year, due to other commitments, we had about 20, but still enough to carry on.
The game is simple, play golf in the snow.
The course is on 10 acres of land, however we usually play on about 1/2 that, just so me and a few others don't have to call 9-1-1 for a defibulator.:-). In previous years, we have played an upper or lower course. This year we played a combo of both and it worked out well. A number of holes were in behind trees, one was next to our mid course warm up fire and 1 up the drive way, which proved tricky when people were coming and going.:-)
The course hazards are just a few. Two dogs chasing the balls,a ton of trees(we play 'tween em, not around 'em)and a large fire pit, working.LOL

Takes about 2 hours to play, and the winning team gets a nice trophy and accused of cheating all year long.:-)

A pot luck dinner is next on the menu, cold beer and good tunes and conversation.

Most leave around 10-11pm, but thats WAY past my bedtime.

I've included a shot here on the blog, but the pictures can be seen at
See the Colour Links.

Have a great day, and Thanks for listening


Thursday, February 22, 2007

February 21, 2007

Well, not much happening the last few days. Been sick with the cold going around. I thought i could make it through the winter, but my luck ran out.

As mentioned, i dabble in digital Infrared pictures, so, i thought today might be a good day to post one.

Shot June 2006 in the Blackwater area of Ontario.

For those that are not familiar with IR photos, this is not a winter scene, but a shot taken with a custom white balance and a Hoya r72 filter, which cuts out visible light and allows infrared light through. Blues are black and greens are white, as the infrared light is being reflected back.
I used to shoot these with infrared B&W film, which gives good results, but is difficult to work with and results can vari, shot to shot. Doing this digitally allows for instant viewing and exposures, balances can be adjusted for your own tastes.
Some work in Photoshop or similar editing software is needed, but once a work flow is established, things will speed up.
I still need a decent work flow.

Its not necessary, but it is advisable to shoot in RAW mode, as you have more control over the final shot, and adjustment to white balance can be made in the image editor at this time.

So, enjoy the shot, more will be posted.

Thanks for listening.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

February 20,2007 A new show season starts

Well, as mentioned below, i';m involved in the horse world. Part time photographer, and full time banker/wallet, horse holder for the kid(my daughter).
The Central East Trillium season started with the first show, held over two weekends as there is alot of snow on the ground and somepeople think its cold out.

Its only -20 C, which is a nice July afternoon, in Thunderbay.LOL

Our Hunter show team is quite large this year, and several of our younger ladies did very well. A rider moving up from X rails to Short Stirrup, and CEq, won ribbons from 2nd to 6th. Great way to start off.
One rider showing in her very first Trillium show, won Reserve Champion in Adult Amature.
Our Equatation riders cleaned up as usual.

Great start girls.

Daughter is switching over to Dressage this year. It suits the horse a bit better, although she still is a good 2'6/2'9 Hunter.Lessons are intense, help is always there, and progress is happening.

WhiStle Radio.

Had another board meeting last night to discuss progress on fund raising, studio location and equipment as well as show pitches. Its slowly coming together.

One of our, make the public aware of CIWS 102.7 FM will be a giant whistle off, held at the Stawberry Festival, July 1st, 2007. This will set a Guinness world record, and we invite everyone to show up.

Details can be found at or here, later in the spring.

Help support Whitchurch-Stouffville Communitty Radio.

Thanks for listening


Monday, February 19, 2007

February 19, 2007. I'm here

Welcome to North of 19th Avenue, my blog site.

I'm new to this so bare with me for a while.

Most of what you'll read, will be of my hobbies and volunteer work, which is photography and Equestrian Events.About 80% of my photography involves the Equine Industry, and my personal work involves recording the older farm buildings, houses and barns as well as equipment and rural landscape shots.
I converted to digital in 2001, but still shoot conventional Black and White film both 35mm and 6x7 formats.

I use a variety of equipment, Pentax K10D and Nikon D1H, D2H and D200 digitals.

I have been dabling in digital B&W and digital Infrared as well. Lots to work with and lots to learn.

My site will have updates on my equine photography, my personal photography and likes and dis likes on the current and past music scenes. You'll also hear some rants about a pet peeve of mine up here, north of Toronto, and thats the demolotion of old and historic biuldings in York Region.

I'll also contribute in regards to our Communitty Radio station, CIWS, which we hope will be up and running by July 1, 2007 on 102.7 FM.

Stay tuned and thanks for listening.

Dave Brooks