Canada Post’s gardenia stamps

Canada Post’s gardenia stamps

Spring is in the air for stamp collectors, courtesy of Canada Post’s gardenia stamp.

Photo of winter storm in Toronto

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Feb 14 gardenia stamps from Canada Post

Permanent stamps just in time for spring

Maybe, but not today. To help break up the winter doldrums and usher in Valentine’s Day, Canada Post is offering a pair of gardenia stamps.

Their annual flower offering doesn’t disappoint. Designed by Andrew Conlon & Lionel Gadoury, with artwork by Chantal Larocque, the stamps offer two views of Cape jasmine gardenias (Gardenia jasminoides).

You can pick them up in many formats, as expected – rolls, FDC, souvenir sheet, singles, strips of four and ten and booklets.

Feb 14 gardenia stamps from Canada Post Souvenir Sheet Feb 14 gardenia stamps from Canada Post Souvenir Sheet
Feb 14 gardenia stamps from Canada Post booklet

Gardenia stamp booklet

They go on sale Valentine’s Day across Canada. If your local post outlet doesn’t have them, you can purchase direct from Canada Post’s online store.

An afternoon in the ravine – David Balfour Park bugs ‘n stuff

An afternoon in the ravine – David Balfour Park bugs ‘n stuff

Pottered around this afternoon in the ravine behind David Balfour Park. Lots of green and buggy things down there to enjoy. Far too many of the 2 legged creatures today using the paths so no chance of catching any wildlife. Still a nice day, all in all.

I’ve decided to save for a better camera in the fall. I’m currently using a Canon PowerShot SX130, which is a pretty decent point and shoot camera, but it’s frustrating if I want to set up a close up shot. The macro zoom sucks. I’ve given up on it. It takes forever to set up close ups and is severely restricted in how close (especially with macro) I can actually get. Second issue is the view screen. I can’t see close up very well so it’s kind of irritating setting up shots at weird angles because the screen is pretty much a big blur. I’m going to see if a Canon with a swivel view screen is in the budget. Also, the new camera must have a better colour balance – this is a MUST. I find the Powershot, although fun to use, often bleaches out colours. The greens are never quite right and lean more towards a bluish tint, which I’m constantly correcting with Photoshop. A proper DSLR camera will also let me pop filters onto the lens to compensate for intense sunshine. Hopefully cloud cover will come out with more depth.

I’m thinking of sticking with Canon and hopefully will find one in my bracket. Henry’s Cameras usually has a good selection of used DSLR and lenses. I also need read up on f stops. Fussing with it on the PowerShot seems to be a lesson in futility – does bugger all.  It’s pretty limited in what it can do. Oh and the biggy on my wish list? Better control over focus. I’m tired of the camera trying to pick the focal point. I end up with more blurry shots than I can count. I’d prefer to be able to manually focus. The Canon PowerShot says it has manual, but it’s more a glorified “point and we’ll help you focus” kind of focus. Also be nice if the ISO were a bit more sensitive so night photos would actually look decent. Lots of research to do. I’m a bit wobbly with the mechanics of DSLR cameras and the ins and outs of photography. Time to educate myself about fstops and iso settings so I know what I’m actually doing.

In the meantime, here are a couple of photos from today.

Photo of a moth on a thistle plant

It took me forever to catch this moth. Well, okay, not forever, but it felt like it. Taking a photograph of these little white moths is like trying to bottle a will-o-wisp. They flit about so quickly, plus my camera really does stink at close ups. Got a lot of great shots of blurry white spots on thistles! Want to see those?

No idea what this bug is, but he’s a beauty. Quite large too.

Unknown bug photographed in the ravineNot sure what it is. Could be a cicada. My bug identification isn’t that good. I’m an admirer of insects, but an amateur at identifying them.

This shot I call Incoming! For obvious reasons.

Photo of a bee landing on a thistle plantDidn’t even know the bee was in the shot until I got home and looked at the photos. Lucky shot. I took the photo because I liked the contrast between the greens, reds and white. The funny part is I had spent nearly 15 min trying to catch a shot of a bee on the plants and had, by this time, given up. I did get some great shots later, but it is a bit funny.

Still parsing through the photos and will share more this week. So enjoy. I’ll be loading more shots on my Instagram account, so pop over there to take a look https://www.instagram.com/bittergrounds2016/

Spring blossoms in Toronto

Spring blossoms in Toronto

One nice thing about padding around the neighbourhood – there’s never a lack of beauty.

Photo of blossoms on a tree April 2017 Yonge and St Clair area Toronto

 

Lillies in bloom – testing the Acer Liquid  phone camera

Lillies in bloom – testing the Acer Liquid phone camera

I took my new cell phone out for a bit more fun today. The colour balance and crispness has really surprised me:
Orange yellow lillies in fulll bloom

I think the greens are a bit off still, I’ll have to sit and stew over that before I decide what to do. I wanted to test the focus and closeup features primarily so I kept taking photos of the same plant. All you need to do with the Windows 10 camera app is tap the screen where you want the camera to focus and it pulls up a sharp image very quickly:

Orange yellow lillies in fulll bloom I didn’t expect to be able to get so close and still have any photograph worth seeing without a decent macro lense. But …

Orange yellow lilly stamen

Move in, tap section you want as focal point, tap camera icon and out comes a photo.  Not bad for a modest, inexpensive little smart phone camera.