Impromptu Concert by David Veldman

I returned to the Fiddle Park today, and once more was greeted very warmly by the many talented musicians making it their temporary home.

Below I have a few pictures from today that I really liked.

 

 

Musicians On Their Own Terms by David Veldman

Every year Pembroke plays host to the Fiddle Competition, an event on the Labour Day weekend that attracts musicians and their fans from all over the province. However many of the musicians show up on the monday before the event, filling the waterfront campground with their trailers. I headed down there today, hoping to catch a few impromptu tunes, and I was not disappointed. In fact, once I found a few musicians practicing their craft between two trailers, they welcomed me with a startling display of hospitality.

So I won't bore you with writing. Ahead you will see a few snaps that I took while enjoying their talents, all taken on my Xt10 and Meike 50mm F2.

 

Kontinuum - Light and Sound by David Veldman

This morning, I logged into facebook quickly before I began the ride down to Ottawa to visit my family. Out of the blue, I saw a sponsored page concerning tourism in Ottawa, which I decided to click on.

One of the highlighted events was a multimedia event called Kontinuum - taking place in an LRT station currently under construction. I was intrigued, and once I realized that it was totally free, I quickly ordered a ticket for this evening.

After a wonderful ride down to Ottawa on my speedy little Fazer, and a great visit with my family, I headed up through downtown Ottawa as quick as I could, just making it in time to check my bag and head into the venue.

The truth is, that you can't capture this event with photographs. A large part of the experience lies within the amazing music that pipes into every room. However, I did manage to shoot a few frames that I liked.

 

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The first step on the Kontinuum journey is to step into one of the scanning booths. The booth captures an image of you, tagged to your ticket which you scan in. The rationale behind this step becomes obvious at the end of the event.

 

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The winding path is, to say the least, a bit disorienting. You are confronted with blank corridors punctuated by flashing lights, see through curtains, and haunted by the inescapable music piping through every room. The music itself is wonderful, sliced electronic tunes that really enhance the experience.

 

 

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Shooting inside was very challenging. I pinned my X-t10 at it's maximum ISO - 6400. Even then, the shutter speed was very low, and I had to choose my subjects carefully. I love this shot for the brilliant light that creates its own frame.

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The cinema room appears right before you journey downwards into the actual subway station. Filled with lasers that reflect off of everything, it was a truly memorable experience.

 

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In the subterranean depths of the LRT station, you come face to face with the final multimedia performance - a stunning light show that simulates the arrival of a train. In a special touch, the screen also projects a few of the scans from earlier - giving some of the members a chance to see themselves projected on the screen.

As I exited the venue, I was quite pleased I had chosen to visit. Most importantly, I was elated by the realization that creativity still has its place in modern society. By most definitions, Kontinuum could be considered a work of art, a contemporary one at that. I typically disdain contemporary art, however this installation was both clever and well executed. A big round of applause to the creators, as well as the members of the Ottawa Community who had the vision to approve the project.

Kontinuum runs until the 14th of September. As I said before, it's free, so get your ticket and go see it!

The XF 35MM at the Fair by David Veldman

We all love summer fairs. Although it is already the middle of August, and the days have become noticeably shorter, the Cobden fair was still a celebration of summer, blessed with beautiful warm evening weather.

Tonight I brought my wife, her friend, and my trusty X-t10 with the 35mm F2 to the fair. I didn't expect to shoot anything wonderful - rather I was hoping that I could capture a bit of the atmosphere of a Canadian mid summer fair. As the sun faded quickly, I shot almost everything at ISO 6400, save for the first two pictures.

 

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For a fair atmosphere, 35mm was a tight focal length. But it made me think, forcing me to move about to frame my shots.

 

That said, the 35mm is decent for portraits, and is a very useful all round lens.

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Now that I am working in the photography field, I feel a lot more free in my personal work. Perhaps I feel like I have less to prove, although I still know that I have so much to learn. At any rate, I feel more comfortable with just shooting whatever I want - experimenting.

 

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Tonight I experimented by shooting the vendors interacting with their customers. A fair is not what I would consider a truly interesting event (too commercial for my tastes) but I enjoyed myself regardless.

 

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The X-t10 performs very well at ISO6400, the max native sensitivity of the camera. Combined with the 35mm F2, the focus was dead on, even in very low light. The only thing I missed was image stabilization.

 

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The picture above is probably my favourite from the night. I experimented with several angles, and had to wait for a moment when the proprietor was in the right position, as well as unobstructed by passing pedestrians. I particularly like the almost solitary feel it possesses.

All in all, I was very happy with my shots tonight - not because they were great, but because they were something outside of my comfort zone, and because I managed to capture maybe a tiny bit of the essence of a mid summer Canadian fair.

The Cobden Loop by David Veldman

Before I begin this little ramble, here is the earworm I am currently infected with.

https://vimeo.com/210671951

Today I decided to take my recently acquired FZ750 out for a spin. The FZ750 is a powerful, albeit old (1987) hybrid motorcycle. It was only made for two years, and as far as motorcycles go, it's quite difficult to define. Featuring a quick inline 4 engine that produces 94 horsepower, and a comfortable cruiser look, the Fazer is a byproduct of the 1980s, when manufacturers were experimenting with a variety of different ideas.

 

 

The bike is a monster - it rips away at any speed, in any gear when you twist the throttle. It's nothing like the smooth, civilized ride of the Nighthawk 750. Instead it feels like a drag racer, always threatening to unseat you.

Heading into Westmeath, I passed by the lookout, and then turned south to visit the Whitewater region, more specifically the Rocher Fendu. I have shot more than a few times in that area, but today I concentrated more on hiking than shooting.

 

It was a beautiful day. I captured these white water kayaks left behind by their owners. The mentality of the kayakers is very similar to British Columbian surfers - it's a laid back, friendly vibe.

 

The forest was beautiful, as always. There's almost a hint of autumn in the air. It's only August, but already the insects are less prevalent, which makes for a much more relaxing hike.

The riverside itself was gorgeous, although not exactly an ideal spot for photographs. This is the best I could do, a cumulonimbus cloud over a battleship island.

On the ride home, I FINALLY stopped on the side of the road to catch a picture of this stunning tree leaning over a rustic arch. I've passed this scene many times, but usually on the other side of the highway. I spent a few minutes trying to frame the scene, long enough for a concerned veteran motorcycle rider to pull up behind me and ask if I was ok!

I didn't photography anything great today, rather I enjoyed the cool air, the ride, and the effortless power of my new (to me) bike. Here's to many more safe rides.

Meike 50mm F2 Review by David Veldman

Wow a review! Everyone loves those right?

I generally don't review equipment, mainly because of my lack of qualifications to do so. However, occasionally I will find myself with a piece of kit that I feel so strongly about that I need to vent.

The Meike 50mm F2 is one of those.

I first saw the Meike by accident on Amazon, and was intrigued by the idea of a cheap, fast 50mm made in the XF format. I waffled on the purchase, but eventually pulled the trigger, a wise choice.

The lens is well made, solid and compact, with a clickless aperture ring and a well machined smooth focus ring. That matters a great deal, as the lens of course, is only manual focus.

Attached to the Fujifilm Xt10, the Meike creates a lovely look, and it a perfect size for the little APSC Camera.

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On the X series camera, manual focus lenses are a dream to use. Hitting the rear dial punches in to 100% magnification for easy detail adjustments, while focus peaking is a treat to use.

I haven't done enough serious shooting with the lens, but today I took it out for a quick walk with the missus, and came away very impressed with the quality of images it can render.

 

Most of the images in this post were actually JPEGS, shockingly. Although I tend to shoot Raw, I occasionally find myself using the film emulations. Because the light was rather nice today, I kept most of the JPEGs and tweaked them. Fuji JPEGs are wonderful for shadow retention, although naturally highlights that are blown, are a thing of the past.

 

Focusing seems incredibly easy - especially stopped down to f7.1 or 8 - it's impossible to know the exact number. For the shot above, I had my camera set to Black and White, with a Red Filter, and spot metering. With some exposure compensation dialed in, I got the shot effortlessly, despite almost running to keep up with an ever so slightly impatient wife.

 

I love the way the lens renders images. Combined with Fuji's x-trans sensor and film reproductions, there's a difficult to define luminance to them. Not the sharpest images of course, although the lens is quite sharp stopped down.

Most importantly, the lens is just fun to use. I really enjoy the process of shooting with it.

In short, for an Fuji XF user, I'd have to say I recommend this lens. It's fun, light and fast. You simply can't go wrong - not at 100 Canadian dollars.

The Forgotten Opeongos by David Veldman

I have not lived in my current county for very long - only 2 years to be exact. Despite that, I have managed to gain a respectable familiarity with the area, thanks to my predilection for long backroad drives in search of photographic opportunities.

Today, on a borrowed motorcycle, I headed out towards one of my favourite areas in the county - a long stretch of foothills called the Opeongos. The Opeongos are a part of the Laurentian Highlands. They start in Ontario, are bisected by the Ottawa River and continue in Quebec until they become the actual Laurentian Mountains.

I have taken many photos in this area, but despite that I find myself compelled to return on a regular basis. The road I chose to take was the aptly named 'Opeongo Road,' a settlement road with an interesting, if somewhat depressing history.

Although the settlement road allowed pioneers to build farms on free land given to them by the Crown, very few of them were successful. The soil proved mostly infertile, and few agricultural endeavors yielded results. As a result, the area is now dotted with abandoned farmsteads, churches and cemeteries. A few settlers managed to make a living, and in some cases their descendants still hold the land they worked so hard to tame. Thus, a drive down the Opeongo road is a trip through time, a testament to the transient nature of all human occupation.

I took few photographs today, but did manage to capture one image.

This is one of the many churches along the Opeongo line. Most are non-operable, but because they house cemeteries, are maintained by local volunteers. I captured the church from 3 different angles, but settled upon this one as the foliage provides a natural frame for the building.

I am sure that in time, I will return to the Opeongo road once again. There's a pervasive solemn mood that captured my imagination, and a wild beauty begging to be photographed.

Until next time.

 

 

 

The Perfect Light by David Veldman

Every now and then, a landscape photographer is blessed with warm, diffuse light. Today was one of those days.

Oddly, the day began poorly. The skies were hazy and flat, and I almost chose to remain at home, but I chose instead to see what I could capture. I set off towards the rapids on the Ottawa River known as Rocher Fendu (Split Rock).

I brought with me my cheap ND filter setup. The colour cast that these filters provoke is absurd, in fact one could say they are almost only useful for black and white - as you will see later.

When I arrived near the river, the light had changed from flat and dull to soft and warm. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I caught sight of late evening sun-rays playing through the forest, and I hurried over to a nearby creek to make the most of it.

 

Incredibly, I managed to capture a gorgeous sun ray. The light was piercing through a slight fog rising from the water, and I chose to use a very small aperture to blur the waters movement as well. Right away, I knew I had captured a great shot.

Next I headed down to the river proper, where I found a composition I liked, and threw on my ND filters. As I mentioned before, I found that the filters create a heavy colour cast, but I liked the image enough to convert it to black and white and keep it. It also isn't very sharp, but sharpness is no measure of a good photo.

At this point I needed to head home for errands, and I was quite satisfied that I had managed to capture one or two decent shots. Little did I know, that I would continue to catch a couple more photos on the way home.

I have passed by the house below a few times before. I liked the way it looked, but the time of year was wrong more than once, and the light did not always cooperate. Tonight, all the elements lined up perfectly to create a stunning shot.

At this point, I REALLY needed to get home. I drove quickly along the back roads, but to my amazement the light continued to improve, lighting up a few straggling clouds in a glorious way. Just before I jumped onto the main highway I spotted one last composition, and I doubled back quickly in the RAV to capture it. I also took this image in landscape orientation, but ultimately chose the portrait version I snapped, with the assistance of Maceys input.

 

I am generally happy if I capture 1 good shot on an outing. Tonight, I managed to capture several, including at least 2 that I want to print. Once again, I'm reminded that it's all about the light!

 

Happy Canada day!