Saturday, October 29, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
In May of 1999, I went with a friend to look over the changes they were making at the intersection of Derry Road and Creditview Road. It was pretty much exactly the time they closed off the old road allowance of Derry between Mississauga Road and Creditview, a stretch leading to the Credit River and Meadowvale Village beyond that must have been travelled for a century and a half when they closed it. Creditview itself, between Derry and the newly-constructed 407, was also closed at this time... a stretch I drove many a time on my way to the glorious parks in Churchville.
These pictures were taken with my third digital camera, a Kodak DC-50.
Derry Road and Creditview Road, 1990, MapArt
Derry Road and Creditview Road, 1999, MapArt
Looking east along Derry Road, now Old Derry Road, towards the Credit River, and Meadowvale Village beyond.
Looking west along Derry as cars turn south onto Creditview...
Close-up shot from same location... the sign says "Old Derry Road Closed Permanently Creditview Road to Meadowvale Blvd." In the distance, just before the building on the right, is Mississauga Road, which runs parallel to Creditview.
The level crossing in the middle of the intersection of Derry and Creditview, now the exclusive province of the trains.
The level crossing, looking south across Derry towards the 401 in the distance.
Beyond the train tracks, looking west along Derry. The former northbound course of Creditview is on the right.
This was the way north along Creditview (to my back is Derry). At the time that it was open to traffic, it headed down into a thicket of trees. There were no houses, nor did the bridge in the distance exist. That bridge carries the new course of Derry Road over the creek, which runs just off to the right of the guard rail.
This was an even older entrance to Creditview! I never got to drive this stretch, but I have friends old enough to remember riding on it. It was just a few yards to the east (right, in this view) of the course shown above (off to the left in this view). The creek is just off to the right.
Looking west along the closed section of Derry Road, towards Mississauga Road in the distance.
Further westward along the closed section of Derry.
This is a slightly older shot, from the summer of 1998. I don't have a map showing it, but briefly in the mid-90s, Derry Road was "corrected" to cross straight across Mississauga Road (notice the dogleg in the 1990 map) to rejoin the main course of Derry eastward, through Meadowvale Village, via the portion that's now closed, and the section east of Creditview now called Old Derry Road. When I took this picture, the new course, up through the conservation area and bypassing the village, was already in use. This is the old detour, used for perhaps five or six years, shown in disuse by 1998. By now, this stretch is very likely under buildings.
I praise myself for having made it all the way through The Hobbit... it took a while, but I made it. But once I got into the trilogy proper, it... just... ground... me... down. I surrendered. The fellow who lent me the books made the mistake of asking me what I found so difficult about it. The discussion today reminded me of my reply to him, captured in e-mail archives from several years ago. I now present that reply to you, in hopes that it will resonate with some reader, sometime, and provoke a smile of recognition. :) Please enjoy. Or... at least, don't be too offended. :)
Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry were anything but merry as they trundled along the forest path towards certain doom and likely dismemberment. But they knew how to keep their spirits up, and were soon chattering away like great fat chipmunks on an acorn ale bender:
Ping, bling, follow the ring
Schwing, gling, swallow the thing
Hurdely burdely bow!
Skeedly weedly woe!
Needly pop! Tweedly drop!
Ow I stubbed my toe.
Tom Bombadil seemed to jump down on them from out of the sky, like rain, which was appropriate because as a result their trousers were all sodden. “What’s this, then?” Tom boomed. “Wee hobbits belting out the most glorious tune I ever heard, save one of my own? Try this one on for size, my small adventurers!”
Eat a bean, start a fart,
Eat a green, head a-smart,
Oh I love to wander ‘round,
Piss and wind and smoke and sound,
Marching through the forest cool,
Comb my beard with mining tools,
Peering in the silv’ry pool, hey!
Ho! Hee! Huh! Hum! Hi! Hic!
But all this talk of food had a bad effect, for didn’t it summon old Smaug onto the scene! He slithered over the tree tops like an evil wind, and appeared before them with a serviette tied around his neck, a hobbit-sized pitchfork in one claw and a toothpick in the other.
“We’re doomed!” cried Sam, wringing out his pants.
“Yes, yes, most assuredly,” agreed the dragon. “But before I eat you all, a song to soften you up…”
Eat, meat, heat, feet,
Seat, teat, wheat, cheat
Now I’m going to chew
Turn you into poo
That’s what I will do
Say ‘bye’ not ‘haloo’!
“We’ll see about that,” said Tom. The dragon decided he would be the first to go, and had just begun to move when, as luck would have it, Gandalf appeared from behind a tree, to the great relief of the hobbits! “Oh, I think not,” he told Smaug, and there was a great battle in which the forests burned and mountains fell and cities were laid waste and unicorns wept big tears that turned to crystals that trapped tiny pixies for a thousand years, but finally Smaug was put down, so at last Gandalf could sing:
I have smote the dragon, hey!
Pass me now the flagon, ho!
I’m not on the wagon, hi!
“For fuck’s sake!” cried the reader. “Can we please just get on with the story without having to suffer through this shitty, masturbatory poetry every other page? And it’s not bad enough it comes thick as oatmeal, it has to be the worst poetry I’ve read since grade eight! I mean, is every character in this story an artless drunk who fancies himself a slightly effeminate Elvis Presley, or what? Will you please just for God’s sake tell the fucking story?…”
Yes. Well. Erm. So Gandalf, Tom, and the hobbits feasted on Smaug steaks and Smaug lager for a fortnight, while they sat around the fire, swapping great tales and singing heroic tunes li— Oh, wait, I can’t, can I. Well, they started off towards Mordor again, singing a—oh, shit. And when they arrived, they called Sauron out to battle with a—oh, damn…
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
As it turns out, I forgot the CX7330 at home today, but I happened to have the Rebel XT in the trunk. Much better choice for this assignment anyway. That camera cost a lot of money, and I admit, with some of the shots I've taken lately with the Kodak point and shoot, I started wondering if I'd spent more than my own abilities justified...
Now let's make mention of that cheap little 0.42x wide angle attachment I picked up recently. The reviews I read about it after I ordered it didn't fill me with great expectations, but I thought, well, it's $70. So what if the shots aren't great; it'll be fun. How great do they have to be? I'm only an amateur — though I flatter myself a reasonably dedicated one — not a professional. So I was prepared for quirky, if technically flawed, shots...
Some of the shots I took today amazed me, though I say it myself. That 0.42x attachment lets me photgraph things literally at the end of the lens assembly. Maybe that's where the focal length of the original lens is anyway, but still... the realization I've bumped a leaf I'm focusing on was a shocker. So let me share a handful of what I consider the better of the 160-some shots I took over about half an hour today at Bruce's Mill Conservation Area...
Down in the valley... (a.k.a. nature's cathedral)
...and back up again...
Now look up... look WAA-AA-AA-AAY up...
Out of nowhere, a leaf laden with dew, or holding the rain...
...and its nearby twin.
The field at the edge of Bruce's Mill Conservation Area
I'll take a moment to comment on this one. This is actually a composite of two photographs. But only two. I photographed this field in panorama in late spring with my DC4800. As I recall, it took me about six or seven shots to accomplish this, and the results were nowhere near as consistent or satisfying.
Same view, focus slightly relaxed...
Shots like this pair are what I bought the Rebel XT for. I always wanted this kind of control. This sort of thing verges on 3D. I'm quietly proud of this pair of shots; I took them from only three or four inches away from the branches, and they came out just great.
Looking up on the way back out of the valley
Ladybug in repose #1
Ladybug in repose #2
I particularly like how the razor-thin shadowed edge of the leaf is defined in this shot. The focal control I managed here just about takes my breath away. Most of the shots of this calibre I've attempted till now have not come out, but these ones really worked. I'm especially pleased because these were all manual focus (as were most of the close-up shots you see in this posting), and not automatic.
Ladybug in repose #3
Ladybug in repose #4
This one is actually a detail of another shot, but it's not enlarged (in fact, in posting it here, it's significantly reduced). This might be the best macro shot I've ever taken, and it — as with everything else in this post — was achieved using that cheap 0.42x wide angle attachment. I imagine better shots are possible with more expensive versions, but only to the trained eye. I think these ones are just fantastic. I mean, yes, I had the vision to capture them, but I've had that before and blown it. So I credit the tools... they really made this possible, rather than simply desirable, as it's always been till now.
Backlit pine needles
Sunday, October 23, 2005
First glimpse of Heaven...
A blast from the past...
Anybody remember Toronto's bid for the 1996 Summer Olympics? You might recall we didn't get it. Atlanta did. Their revenge on us for the 1992 World Series, I guess. ;) But these stickers were common back in the early 1990s. I suppose this one has been on this box for twelve or thirteen years now. God... 1996 used to seem so far into the future. It's hard to believe it was nearly ten years ago now.
Come look through my window...
Or more precisely, off my balcony. A few days ago just before I left for work I happened to glance out just as the sun was catching the buildings, but leaving the east lip of the valley in shadow. I found the contrast striking, and in the five minutes or so while the effect persisted, I took about two dozen shots. These were the two I liked the best.
The drunk of the Irish...
Atmosphere at the Irish pub I recently attended with a friend.