The sky was almost as blue as the sea last Tuesday when I walked onto the ferry that was docked in Victoria harbor. Ninety minutes later I arrived in Port Angeles. After waiting for border control, I walked ten minutes to the post office where I found my box half-full of nothing of interest. I stuffed the mail in my pack, walked back to the ferry, then returned to Victoria.
I spent the ninety-minute ride in each direction standing on the ferry's upper deck, camera in hand. Today I had my telephoto, a 70-300vr, as the strait crossing calls for a long focal length to photograph the vessels sharing the sea with us: the Clipper catamaran, container ships, military and fishing boats, a Westcoast Air sea plane taking off to the mainland, and many kayaks hugging the shore. The 70-300vr isn't fast, but in good light and kept below 300 it is sharp and the vr helps keep it stable.
I used the short trip to test two recent purchases: an REI Overnighter backpack and a Nikon D800E. I bought the pack at the REI in Seattle and the D800E in Victoria. The D800E purchase was the product of a long period of rationalization as I am long past the point of being over-camera-ed.
In the bright, harsh light I focused on color. I'm happy with the D800e’s performance but these aren’t technically demanding shots. A steady hand is all that is needed. I shot them at a larger aperture (smaller F-stop) than what I'd typically use on a bright sunlit day because of recommendations to keep the Nikon's aperture below 11 to minimize diffraction This will require further testing as I need small apertures for times when I want depth of field.
The backpack purchase was another in a seemingly- endless quest for the perfect pack. My dream is Tardis-like in size, light of weight, and stylishly unassuming. The REI pack comes close: it is light and unassuming, with looks that are more luggage than back pack. The Overnighter drew me in with padding that reinforces an easy-to-fill rectangular shape. When zipped open, the pack's carrying capacity is easily visualized, unlike a typical load-from-the-top backpack. The pack will play double duty: carry-on and day pack. Cargo will be a DSLR, a few primes (10, 20, 35, 85), and accessories such as charger, storage, a 62mm polarizer, blower, and wipes. In the space left I'll stash toiletries (when flying) or jacket and lunch (for walking around town).
Cold blue skies have given way to cool grey. I look forward to travelling south.
The photo is looking back at Government Street, Victoria, through a mirror. Shot with a D800E and a 85/1.8d set at f/2.8.
I tend to organize things -- photos, folders, correspondence, notes -- by date, so my labels start with yyyy-mm-dd which the computer quickly sorts into chronological order. This date format is called big-endian notation because the first in the series is the biggest item (the year), followed by the next biggest, and on to the smallest (the day). Of course, the existence of big-endian implies the existence of small-endian.
Yet what might be called middle-endian - December 17, 2013 - looks most pleasing to my eye. Why? Probably because I was raised in the US, according to the Guardian's Americans are almost alone in their use of mm-dd-yyyy.
Just off Fisgard in Victoria's small Chinatown is the narrow Fan Tam Alley, a good place for a wide-angle lens. This was taken with a fisheye then processed with Topaz Simplify to get this, well, simplified version.
Some people call fisheyes the skateboarder lens so here is the requisite shot, taken at a street fair in Victoria. I'd say the lens lives up to its rep. Note that this is one of the rare times I put the camera in auto-area AF as the action is too fast for me to decide where to focus.
The June 18th episode of RadioLab, Eye in the Sky, examines an aerial camera that can take a picture of a whole town every second. Well, a reasonably-sized town like Juarez or Dayton. The camera takes a shot every second which is then sent to a ground station where the results are sifted for patterns of interest. This may not sound so interesting as we've all seen shots from hight up in space, but it's the camera's proximity to the ground and the ground station's ability to identify patterns that is a big step forward. It gives one the ability to go back in time - photographically - second-by-second, with a resolution that is sufficient to identify the patterns of individual movements.
The technology was developed at MIT and first flown over Fallujah where it was used to track the movement of IEDs. It has since been used to solve crimes in a couple of North American cities. While its privacy implications have yet to be worked out, it's a technology application that seems obvious in retrospect. Listening to the podcast made me think I was listening to science fiction with it's hint of time-travel.
Below is a shot of Paul in a Victoria coffee shop. No, he hasn't started drinking coffee. Processed with Simplify.
Victoria's week-long buskers festival features musicians, acrobats, and jugglers. I found the crowd more interesting than the entertainers, such as this woman taking a picture of herself.
It was like laughter at a funeral. Sarah Larson, Scenes from the Women's March on Washington
On this Saturday I joined with thousands of Victorians to speak in support women's rights and to protest the incoming US administration. (Can we also protest stupid voters?)
It was a nice day, good weather, helpful police and a diverse crowd of friendly people. We gathered to listen to Mayor Lisa Helps and MP Elizabeth May then we marched around Victoria's downtown, blocking traffic in all directions. The march was accompanied by the sound of anti-US government chants which brought to my mind demonstrations past, Vietnam, El Salvador, AIDS, Chile, ... The times they are a changing, but unfortunately it is for the worst.
It was a great photography day, too: all kinds of people and lots of dogs, happy to pose for the camera. The posted photos are out-of-camera jpgs processed with Fuji's Acros film simulation. Despite the smiling faces and sea of pink greyscale better fit my mood.
I'm listening to Quiet by MILCK which you can listen to here.