Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Foggy morning in Toronto – winter goes at last

Good news! Winter finally moved along. Bad news, I’m Canadian which means I’ll still talk about the weather regardless the conditions. It rained and snowed all through the night. By morning, the temperature had risen above the chilling -10 with the wind-chill from Saturday and zipped into 3 Celsius. It’s now a balmy 8 degrees out there and no rain.

It was discombobulating this morning. The alarm went off and I rolled back to sleep thinking I’d set the alarm too early. It was dark. About 5 min later I sat up in bed and thought “wait, what time is it?” The fog had rolled in so heavy nothing was visible out the window. We get that up here on the 20th floor more often than you’d imagine. It’s kind of cool. Some days the fog is so thick around the building, the balcony railing isn’t visible. This morning was like that. By 10:30, the fog was still hanging in, but all clear once you got below the 15th floor.

Read more: Foggy morning in Toronto – winter goes at last

More #TTC subway horrors – anxiety driven artwork at track level

I spend way too much time on the TTC, but it sure beats sitting in the traffic above ground. Which brings me to more horrors along the Union Station stop. I swear, the artist behind them must hate humans. The people are usually so bowed and defeated looking. I'm puzzled why they were picked:

No happiness for you

 

I call this one “Happiness is two cars over”. Bleak, depression and mind numbing. I caught a cool reflection in the one on the right, which makes the photo a bit more interesting. Otherwise meh.

Read more: More #TTC subway horrors – anxiety driven artwork at track level

NIK plugins for Photoshop & Elements now free

NIK software - Google give awayI love plugins for Photoshop. I don't use a lot of them, but the right plugin can make a big difference. Among the best (IMHO) and the ones I've coveted for awhile come from NIK, which Google acquired a few years back.  I didn't have $150 sitting around to pick up the bundle, but periodically looked at the package, debating about buying it. Well, imagine my delight when I found out Google is giving away the entire package of plugins!  As of March 24, 2016 NIK plugin package is now completely free.

Yes, that's me in the background doing my little happy dance. The only thing better than getting free stuff is getting top quality free stuff.  

Included in the 429mb dowload is HDR Efex Pro 2, Silver Efex Pro 2, Sharpener Pro 3, Color Efex Pro 4, Viveza 2 and Define 2. The package works with both Photoshop and Elements, but check the versions and your system before downloading.  Hop on over to Google NIK and get your Easter treat. If you purchased the plugins this year, Google will refund your money, so no worries there.

 

https://www.google.com/nikcollection/

 

NIK filters and a mediocre photo cleanup

NIK filters

Yesterday I told you about NIK plugins for Adobe Photoshop (as well as Elements and Lightroom) being offered up free by Google.  I’ve been poking around with the plugins, seeing what they can do. I pulled up the rather mediocre (bordering on bad) photo I took the other night after the freezing rain storm we had here in Toronto. I grabbed a couple of shots that night, but didn’t put a lot of effort into them, which shows. They are slightly off focus, and the light didn’t do justice to the glowing halo around the tree.

Read more: NIK filters and a mediocre photo cleanup

Night after ice storm - photo Toronto March 25 2016

March 2016 ice storm - night shot in Toronto

We had a bit of an ice storm here in Toronto. Not too serious - unlike the one in 2013. Just your typical early spring mess.  I was lucky and didn't have to go out into it on Thurs. I had the luxury of working at home. I fall enough on clean pavement, I couldn't stand the thought of slipping around the city on icy sidewalks.  I've broken my glasses, ended up in emerg getting my head stitched and hurt various muscles and limbs more than I can count. I'm either going to have to get remedial walking lessons, learn to fall or wrap myself in bubble wrap.  So, I didn't get out to get a lot of photos during the day. The fear of falling on my face again was a bit too much.  

Read more: Night after ice storm - photo Toronto March 25 2016

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"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."

- Dorothea Lange

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