Monday, February 16, 2009

A New Day

Today is a holiday in Canada and I've spent some of the day tinkering with my blog. I added a few things and took some away. I changed colours and words. I added photos to the Pointer Island Showcase slideshow, and discovered a few spelling errors here and there along the way. It's been a great day so far! I appreciate the many who stop by from time to time to read and enjoy my blog. For those of you who wish to "follow" my blog, there is a new feature from Blogger (in the sidebar near the top) that will allow you to do so with a bit more ease. I haven't seen this feature on anyone else's blog yet, but I expect other bloggers will discover it soon enough. I wonder if you like the colour changes I have made to my blog? Please feel free to offer beefs or bouquets.

On February 12th I was waiting for Mike, a tired farmer, who had to clear enough snow so I could load some of his wheat. It took him and his tractor about two hours, and while I waited, I wandered out in his field in search of a photo opp. Wow, was I rewarded! Tiny patches and filigrees of ice on the stubble field were just far enough off the ground to fit my camera under them! This is nature's jewelry at its finest! I never knew you could grow gemstones in a wheat field. I wonder what other wonders I haven't seen yet??

My life, of late, has been rather hectic. I rarely seem to be able to squeeze out enough time to read the blogs of others and then there's the writing of my own posts that's mostly missing as well! (I do have a good excuse, but I find that excuses only satisfy the one who makes them. Here goes anyway...) For the past two months, my driving job has been inundated with visits to the repair shop. My truck is only two years old, but it has issues! Caterpillar (the maker of my engine) would not pay for warranty repairs unless they could prove that their workmanship was at fault. They sent me to a highly specialized test facility in Calgary - the nearest diagnostic facility with a Dyno (basically, a treadmill for large trucks). On February 5th, I left home at 4:45am and pulled back into my driveway at 10:20pm! Yee Haw! I was so tired!!! Here's the shot of my truck on the Dyno.
Now that the dust has nearly settled, Cat is repairing my semi under warranty and I am driving a rental unit in the interim. The first rental unit I had broke down, and now I have another one for a few more days. The first morning I tried to use the second rental unit, it wouldn't start and required a boost. I am feeling disillusioned and discouraged, since it takes me about an hour to move trucks, not to mention just starting the engine and then getting used to the way the unit handles. I really don't want to run over anyone by accident! (If you see me coming, just stay off the sidewalk and you'll probably be safe!) My unit should be done in two more days, but I'm not holding my breath quite yet. All the stress hasn't killed me (or anyone else) yet, so I think I'll be fine.


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Mindy said...

Beautiful pictures!!!

berlinwritergirl said...

What great pictures! It is President's Day here, what is it in Canada?

Davis Bigelow said...

Glad to hear from you all. Our holiday is Family Day, but I was alone for much of the day - at least until my wife came home from her job. Some of us still had to work, but it is nice to consider the importance of family - even when you're apart.

D. said...

Psst...its only a Holiday in Alberta.

Kami said...

Hope you don't mind blog browsing! LOVE your photos. You've got real talent. I'm still using my auto focus cuz I've been too lazy to figure out the settings. One of these days I'll have time!

I must say I am very jealous of your profile pic. It's always been a dream of mine to explore Australia and hug a koala bear.

Thanks for the comment on the mormon bloggers site. I did let my daughter lick her fingers. It would have been a shame to let good sugar go to waste.

Good luck with your writing!

Tristi Pinkston said...

I really like the new colors! And can I just say, I'm honored to be your first follower?

Davis Bigelow said...

Hi Kami, Glad you stopped by. (Every web surfer is welcome to visit my little corner of the virtual world.) Thank you for your unrestrained praise - very kind of you.
Your auto focus can be a very good thing, especially if your camera is a modern one. What brand/model do you have anyway? With my Olympus digital camera I use auto focus most of the time. For the close-ups, I use the macro setting (which focuses down to about 1.2 inches). In macro, the depth of field (the amount of depth in the focus) is so small that if I didn't use manual focus, images would nearly never be clear. As it was, the macro images in this post turned out better than I expected. I should have used a tripod, but working so close to the ground helped me hold the lens still. The brilliant light levels helped boost the shutter speed too.
When it comes to handholding a camera, using extreme macro is like using a long telephoto lens. Even your own heartbeat, pulsing through your hands, can blur the image. A good guideline is to never handhold a shutter speed less than 1/60th of a second for a standard lens and 1/200th of a second for a telephoto. Using a tripod forces you to compose better photos and keeps your images sharper. Even handholding a standard lens at 1/60th will show blur (unless you are using a flash – a flash’s duration is 1/1000th of a second or less, so it freezes the image while the shutter is open for the longer duration.) If you want to have some fun, set your shutter speed to 1/15th or less and use the flash to photograph a moving subject. Make sure your camera says you have enough light without the flash or the blurred part of the exposure will not record. The flash portion of the image will be crisp while the rest of the shot will be severely blurred. Enjoy!
As for the Koala bear, that was definitely a “bucket list” event!! Koalas are so soft! When the bear was given to me, it moved like it was in slow motion and just latched itself onto my shirt. Its gentleness was amazing! Holding a Koala bear is an event that everyone should have the opportunity to experience. This particular bear was at the Cairns Zoo in Cairns, Australia. If you haven’t looked yet, there’s a link in the sidebar to our Australian Adventure. (The slideshow is much cheaper than flying there.) We spent two weeks of pure pleasure in the land down under. I highly recommend it!!! (Two weeks were not enough though.)

Hey Tristi,
Thank you for being the first follower. A few minutes ago, I signed up to follow Mindy’s blog. It is my first try at this following thing. I’m not exactly sure how it all works, but I hope I will get an email with fresh posts from the blogs I am following. Glad you like the new colours. My wife, Diana, thinks they are an improvement too. I think the photos stand out especially well against the black.