Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 August 23rd not a bad morning: red sun and floatplane

The hydro (electricity) was scheduled to be off in Moosonee today so we were up early to make coffee before it went out. I checked outside and it really did not look that promising. No glorious sunrise seemed to be in the offing.

A bit later there was a little bit of colour down the river before sunrise so I headed outside. Nothing spectacular. Some cranes around but it was pretty dark although they were pretty loud.

Other people told me they saw a quartet of bald eagles at the other end of the sandbar. Also saw a hydro boat traveling to and from Moose Factory -- figured they were picking up workers.

All of a sudden things picked up. A red sun started to rise across and down the river from where I was shooting from the Two Bay docks. I had come outside with a 70-200mm lens and all of a sudden I wanted something longer.

It took me a few minutes to get back to the house and pick up something more suitable. The sun was still red but unfortunately it was also quite bright which meant it was not possible to really place it within the landscape. I tried an HDR sequence but didn't like the results when I processed them later.

The power was supposed to go off at 7:00 a.m. and sunrise was 6:23 so I didn't have a lot of time to process a few pictures before I shut down the computer. Got a few posted and turned it off and waited for the darkness.

The darkness was a bit slow in coming but eventually did. Didn't seem much else was likely but all of a sudden I noticed that the floatplane that had been docked was moving. Got a couple of shots of it from the top of the river bank as it taxied down the river.

It taxied a long way. I had time to get back on to the dock at Two bay where the aircraft would seem to come almost right at me as it took off before it turned and revved its engines for take off.

I was shooting RAW so I had to watch out that I did not overflow the buffer on my Canon 7DII. Takes a little discipline, learning not to just press the shutter and fill the memory card.

Got a reasonable sequence of the aircraft, a Sealane 182 taking off. Processing them was interesting since the sun had been on the far side of the aircraft. Finally decided to heck with the background and worked on keeping the near side of the aircraft reasonably light.

A lot of pictures so I decided to create a separate gallery on my smugmug site and just post links to that.

One comment I got later on was that the Sealane 182 had a three bladed propeller and the aircraft I photographed had a two bladed. A few internet sites later taught me that the plane could have two or three blades so I left my captions alone.

I took a few other pictures that I didn't use; ravens following me around looking for breakfast, people camping on Charles Island.

The past couple of days I had been using my new Canon G3X but today I used DSLRs. There is no way to follow a fast moving object on a back panel the
way you can through a viewfinder.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Making money with photography

Photography can be an awfully expensive hobby. It is one of those fields where you generally get what pay for in equipment and everything you buy is out of date a few months later. Ok, that is a bit of an exaggeration, lenses tend to last for a long time.

I take a lot of pictures; tens of thousands every year -- sometimes a thousand in a single day. The shutter on a camera is rated for a finite number of pictures, maybe 150,000 or so. Every picture you take is using up a bit of your equipment.

If you use flash you use up batteries. Those I buy when I go down south because they are a lot cheaper at Wal-Mart in Timmins than they are in Moosonee.

Replacements for cameras come out every three or four years. Unfortunately there are often big improvements with each generation and it is hard to say no, I don't "need" this new technology.

That's the justification for spending the money.

I'm fortunate that live a fairly simple life so I can devote much of my income to photography but at times it seems tempting to try to make some money as well.

Not so easily done.

One thing I don't do is charge for taking pictures. People sometimes call me and ask how much I would want to take some shots at this party or that event. The answer is zero. I have a day job. Most of the time I take pictures to please myself: sunrises, birds, trains, the river...

I have several websites. On a couple of them I have advertising. So far today I have taken in seven cents from that. It adds up and some days are better than others. Mind you, some are worse. In my dream world the advertising would pay for the websites. Probably not in this lifetime.

I sell prints from one website. Of course I also let people download most of the pictures so they can print them themselves. Sales are not a big feature; something comes along every few months it seems, mostly small sales. It took me about five years to make $1000 in sales.

Newspapers buy pictures sometimes. Out of town ones do if something big happens here or if I have a shot of something that was in the news. The bad things about this are that not much happens here that is of interest to the outside world and sometimes newspapers don't pay much or fail to pay at all. In the past there was a fairly local paper that used to  print a lot of my pictures and that was a reasonable and regular source of income. I had my first article in a newspaper when I was in high school and it is still a thrill to see my stuff in print, paid or not.

Finally and sort of surprisingly I sell pictures for textbooks. Here it helps to have a site that is relatively well indexed. This means that editors can search for specific images.

One nasty thing about making money is having to pay tax on it. That takes a lot of the fun out of the whole little business. I can deduct a few expenses, e.g. web space, which helps a bit.

In the end none of these small sources of income comes close to covering the costs of my photography hobby. In some ways that is a good thing. It reminds me that it is a hobby; that it is something I do because I enjoy doing it not something I have to do to make a living.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Do adult ravens trick juvenile ravens to keep the best food for themselves?

When I watch birds I most watch common ravens close to home. I don't go for long treks across boggy ground to see them; they tend to show up around where I live. I suppose they come around because I feed them: eggs, lard, cheezies, meat and other stuff.
Right now I get visited by two adult ravens and about four very noisy juveniles. I suspect that parents have kicked them out of the nest but they still follow their parents around to beg for food.
Today I watched some interesting interaction.
I threw an egg and one of the adults took off with it; pursued by two juveniles. The adult started eating it, they kept whining and eventually the adult abandoned it to them. Feeling sorry I threw another egg and the adult grabbed it. Then something different happened. The adult dropped the egg by the edge of some tall grass and headed into the tall grass and came out with some rolls. I recognized them as ones I had thrown out earlier; the adult had cached them in the grass.
The adult started to eat the rolls. The juveniles approached. While this was going on another adult raven came and grabbed the egg and took off. The first adult broke up the rolls and gave pieces to a juvenile. Eventually two juveniles grabbed big chunks of the rolls for themselves.
It left me wondering: was this a deliberate strategy to divert the attention of the juvenile ravens while the adult raven removed the egg? Eggs, after all, are a favourite food.
If you want to see more pictures of ravens take a look at the ravens gallery on my website.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Winch driven ferry at Gardiner.

Photographs of the Gardiner ferry.

Coming back to Moosonee we usually stay overnight in Cochrane and catch the train in the morning. This trip we got into Cochrane early and decided to take a drive north on highway 579.
Our goal was the ferry at Gardiner, about 20 miles north of Cochrane. It's a quiet drive on a decent road through peaceful country to get there.

We came on the ferry suddenly; the road turned and headed down to the Abitibi River and there it was.
It is a small ferry, a couple of vehicles but it is big enough to handle the demand. It doesn't have a schedule; it runs when there are people who need to use it.

We grabbed a couple of shots, drove down and drove on. We went across to the other side of the river then drove up the hill and bank down to come back across.

Afterwards we got to talking with Alex Carriere who was the operator of the Cassiopeia IV, something he has been doing for a long time. Alex showed some pictures of the ferry and its predecessors and described how it works in the winter.

Coming from Moosonee we are used to people driving vehicles across the river but here was a new twist. They keep running the ferry until people can drive across beside it. That I would like to see sometime.

The ferry is winch driven. When you look at it you see that there are two guide wires to that keep it in its channel; when you look more closely you see the winch cable that runs along one edge to propel it back and forth. Apparently it is the last winch driven ferry in Ontario.
After making the trip ourselves we decided to wait around for the next run and get some pictures from the shoreline. That took a while, it was more than hour before another vehicle showed up. Fortunately, it didn't rain and the bugs were not terrible. Finally got a chance to get some shots of the ferry in operation.

Pictures of the Gardiner ferry.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Back in Fort Albany, Ontario again. This time for the funeral of an old friend who was also the mother of my partner's son in law.
Fort Albany is a small community on James Bay in Northeastern Ontario; about 90 miles north of Moosonee.
Getting here is a short plane ride; less than half an hour. The cost is $540 return per person. It sounds reasonable to me but is probably outrageous to people who are used to traveling long distances for that kind of fare. We came on a small plane where one side was taken up by mail and cargo; the other by passengers.
I first came to Fort Albany more than three decades ago. In those days we flew on much slower flying DC-3s most of the time. A lot of things have changed; a lot of things have stayed the same.
One big difference today is that there is a functioning water distribution system. Often, you can drink water right out of the tap. To me that seems amazing. Unfortunately right now the water is a bit murky.
There are a lot of new buildings here. A lot of old ones are gone, for example the old residential school which lingered on as a day school, police station and band office for years after it was closed down. There is a good picture of St. Anne's, unfortunately mislabeled as Fort Albany Regional Hospital.
On my first morning here I went for a walk. Beautiful day for it; the ground and snow still mostly frozen but warm enough that I could have gotten away with wearing a medium weight jacket. After about an hour and a half I realized I was in danger of getting a very bad sunburn.
I posted a few shots from my walk.
One thing that is amazing is the availability of internet here. Naturally the place I am staying (Loone's Lodge) has it but everywhere I went people are online, tablets and laptops running. Cell phones don't work here; maybe some day.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I bought some more stainless steel cutlery. Same pattern as I purchased in 1974. Plain and simple stuff

Almost 40 years since I first bought thi
By Paul 1974 buyer from Moosonee, Ontario, Canada on 7/19/2013

5out of 5
Pros: Easy To Clean, Nice Weight, Dishwasher Safe, Attractive Design, Classic Simple Look, Comfortable Handles
Best Uses: Formal Meals, Daily Use, Informal Meals
Describe Yourself: Practical
I first bought this pattern in 1974 and have bought a few pieces since then, most recently in 2013 when I bought four more place settings and serving pieces. I was a little worried due to some comments that quality might have slipped. When the package arrived I was impressed. Some pieces look a bit different, e.g. different cut outs in the slotted spoon, butter knife, but nothing significant. The new pieces are just as heavy and solid as the old ones. The knives are made in two pieces - on the new ones the joint is much finer - the old knives tend to show dirt around the joint. Finish may be a little different but could also be from wear over many years. Very pleased.
2013 purchase on left, 1974 on right. Paul Revere
Tags: Picture of Product
2013 purchase on left, 1974 on right. Paul Revere
Tags: Picture of Product