Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Toronto weather - wanna be funnel cloud & relief from the heat

It's been unreasonably hot and humid here in Toronto over the last week. With the humidex, the temp has been pushed over 40c (that's over 100 F for my American friends) for days now. Plus so dry, it's become a worry. Well, today (Sat), Mother Nature sent us some relief. The promised, but not believed, cold front just roared over the city, bringing rain and lower temperatures. I stood on the balony and I could feel the temp dropping by the minute.  The clouds were moving overhead so fast, it was amazing. I did manage to snag this before it blew overtop: Photo of storm clouds rolling over western GTA

Don't often see wannabe funnel clouds over Toronto, but it looked like this cloud bank was trying it's best. The wind was whirling around and around, picking up speed for a short time, which caused this.   It's west facing, must have been over Etobicoke and Mississauga.   

Right now, windows open, enjoying the fresh air. I won't have to water anything on the balcony tonight. The pots are over flowing with water, the wind has died down and the rain is coming down in bucket. Keep your fingers crossed the humidity doesn't return.

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Barcelona street art - 2004 mad cats

I swear, Barcelona has some of the BEST street art I've ever seen. It's mad cap, brilliant and in your face!

Photo of street art in Barcelona 2004

When I was in Barcelona in 2004, I spent quite a bit of time wandering around photographing some of it. Yes, I know, not the usual touristy thing to do, but wholly mackeral it's worth a trip just for that alone. I should crowd fund another trip back to take follow up photos. I could do an entire book just on the art I saw. The above photo is one of my favourites. I call it "Space Cats from Hell". I think they're cats ... maybe they aren't.  But they look like cats to me so ... a day late but in honour of International Cat Day yesterday. Enjoy.

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Nik filter - film noire and the Cathedral

I keep some photos in reserve to experiment with. These'll be toss away shots that aren't particularily ... anything. Not good, not really bad, just mediocre and not worth posting. I hang onto them to test and push the limits of my imagination. It's incredibly easy to go overboard with filters and such, so I have to reign myself in quite a bit. You never get to see the really absurd edits. One spot I have a lot of trouble getting a clean shot is the Cathedral - also known as the Hockey Hall of Fame building at 30 Yonge Street Brookfield Place. The main floor of Brookfield is quite awe inspiring but a bugger on wheels to get a good photo. Even if you stand right in the middle, you end up with a weird optical illusion. Nothing ever looks quite straight. But it's fun to play with.

I took a photo with my Acer Liquid to see if there would be any improvement and nope... still mediocre. So I spent a day or two poking it with a big stick to see what could be done with it. The original is blah. The filtered version is over the top but I have to admit, I love it. I used NIK's Silver Efex Pro 2 filter. The Vintage -> Film Noir 1 filter worked effectively in changing the mood. I tinkered with the various settings, but the ability to throw on a paper style made the photo. The Fuji Neopan Pro 1600 paper option increased the contrast and grain enough to suit my my melodramatic tastes.

Brookfield Place main floor with Nik Filters Film noir option

 If you hover your mouse over the image or tap it if you're on a touch screen, you can see the original shot and understand what I mean about "blah". Too much light filters through the ceiling, washing out the architecture. I'll have to nip down there the next raining day to see if it makes a difference.




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One perfect shot - a rose in bloom

Once in awhile I snag a shot that is perfect:

Photo of a pink rose, taken June 2016 Toronto

Taken June 22, 2016 1:33 PM north of St. Clair, west of Yonge.

 Nothing more needs to be said, just enjoy.

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Colour balance issue resolved on Acer Liquid M330

I was a bit worried last week when I noticed the colour bleached effect on greens with photos taken on my new Acer Liquid. I was, quite honestly, puzzled by the lack of colour depth. All other colours were STUNNING and crisp. But the greens were drained. I fussed with settings, tried to over ride the white balance etc but no luck. Then I fell back on the tried and true - I rebooted the phone and checked for any updates. Sure enough there was one for the phone that I had missed. I slapped that in and the green balance is perfect:

Nasturtiums on balcony = taken with Acer LiquidThat's what was missing - the rich, deep shades of green. Now that I have that straightened out, I feel much more confident in heading out to take photos. I must admit, the lack of greens irritated me over the weekend.  You can see a few other shots I took today over on my Memoirs post - the great aphid battle of 2016 I grabbed them on the fly this afternoon. Compare the difference with previous photos here Lillies in bloom - testing the Acer Liquid phone camera.

Better ones to come ... promise. But work first; play later.

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