Calm & chilled Stratford through a lens

Calm & chilled Stratford through a lens

Spent a great Sunday morning looking at Stratford through a lens. Beautiful city centre and river. I didn’t take a lot of photos; I was too busy eating and relaxing. While there, I splurged and purchased a polarising filter for my Canon. I’ve been thinking about getting one for quite a while, okay for about two years and took the opportunity to pick one up at Carman’s Foto Source in the downtown area.  Super helpful staff in the store, especially to amateur photographers.

My nifty ProMaster CPL filter

Photo of a promaster polariser filter

My new little filter

It’s going to take a bit to figure out how to use it and still get sharp photos, but it really makes shooting blue skies on a bright day easier. I’ll have to do a lot of fussing to get the settings right, but so far, it’s interesting to use. I found it interesting how my whites weren’t so blown out like usual. I did struggle to get the light correct. Many shots were too dark and not worth keeping, others lacked the strong edges I prefer. When looking at photos, I tend towards crisp, dynamic colours, slightly over saturated and strong textures.

Did I do it this time? No, but it didn’t stop me from having a lot of fun.

River views while wandering down Stratford, Ontario

Photo of Stratford, On bridge on the river

Idyllic and calm

The filter is great for water shots. It’s easier to get a mirror effect. I still struggled to get the blues, especially in the above shot, without everything being too dark. Need to fuss with the settings more. But, this one isn’t too bad. It took about 5 photos before I achieved an ok balance. The sky is a little too white, especially given how deep blue everything was. However, I love how the shadows work, especially on the water. It brings a depth I didn’t get without the polarizer.

Photo of Stratford, On river

Paddling along the water

Looks inviting, doesn’t it? Lots of people paddling and kayaking, along with tons of ducks. Stratford is famous for it’s swans, but I’ll be buggered if I only saw 2 the entire long weekend. In spots, the water looked like a polished mirror. I really can’t wait to get to the waterfront with the filter and try this again.

Photo of Stratford, On river view

Glassy, smooth water

The blues in the sky aren’t quite right yet. The water came out beautifully, the sky, a little off.  Not sure why, but trial and error, trial and error. Eventually, when I look through a lens, photography will come naturally.

Stratford, Ontario City Hall

Photo of Stratford, On courthouse

Stratford, Ont Courthouse

Now that’s a city hall. Unfortunately we couldn’t go inside any of the historic buildings because of Covid restrictions. Spent the rest of the day looking in windows, taking the odd photo and just enjoying the sunshine and beauty.

Looking at myself through a lens

Photo of Stratford, On - selfie in the window

A perfect selfie – me and cheese

I don’t take selfies as a rule. I think they should be more than just a photo of a person smiling and posing for the camera. The filter helps with the reflections in the windows and makes it easier to pull up details and colours in post-production. Most selfies are deadly boring. They should be an expression of a person’s humour and outlook on life. So, that’s me with a big wheel of cheese, looking through a lens. Friends will find it amusing.


Stratford is a wonderful place to visit. You don’t have to go for the theatre. There’s tons of stuff to do and places to stay. Check out Stratford Tourism and Stratford for more info.

Time away & a selfie in Stratford

Time away & a selfie in Stratford

Friends decided I needed a brain break from 2020. They arranged for a weekend of food, wine, a play and a selfie in Stratford, Ontario. One waggish friend asked if I combusted when I left Toronto. Happy to report I remained un-scorched. We meandered up via the back roads for a glorious weekend of wandering around, eating, and sleeping. And more eating. Oh the food.  I’ve been trying to remember when I last escaped for a long weekend. At least 10 years, likely longer. There just didn’t seem to be any time to sneak off and be a tourist. Even before mom’s cancer diagnosis, there were other health issues that cropped up and kept us busy.  We wanted to go to Niagara Falls this summer, but life conspired against us.

People should think of Stratford for more than plays. What a great place to relax.  Great architecture, interesting history, wonderful places to stay and some of the best food I’ve had in a while.  It’s been so long since I fully relaxed, I thought I’d never be able to again. Ah, the peace and quiet of Stratford soon put that into the past.

I took my camera with me, but didn’t use it a lot, more interested in just walking and drifting. I managed to get a few decent photos though.

Photo of signage for The Three Houses B&B

Only regret? Didn’t spend enough time sitting by the pool

My only regret about the weekend? I didn’t spend enough time sitting by the pool, sipping wine and listening to our hosts regal us with great tales. We came for the quiet and left craving more entertaining stories – thank you David Lester! ROFL I could go back right now and not budge from the backyard pool. Just sit drifting with the breeze, laughing at the stories about Stratford & the festival. Single best weekend I’ve spent in at least 2 decades.

Photo of the front door of The Three Houses

The stories are worth the trip alone.

I did take some time to snap a selfie in Stratford

This is my favourite one. If I had just an inch or two more of height!

Selfie taken in a medusa like mirror showing just the top of my head

I’m too short for most selfies

The long weekend was … perfect in so many ways. Wonder if David needs a kitchen gnome. I’d be happy to perch in a corner, looking mildly decorative, being fed amazing breakfasts. Hmm, the banana pancakes. The croissants and jam. I better stop now, or I’ll never end this entry.

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WEEEE – a selfie of sorts & a bit of HDR

WEEEE – a selfie of sorts & a bit of HDR

Every once in awhile I take a selfie. Kind of …. it’s usually an accident. I was down by Berczy Park (Wellington St) again and stopped to take a photo of an old cash register in a window. I liked the rich browns and thought I could do something with it later. I initially tried to grab a shot without my looming reflection and realised catching my reflection made for a much more interesting photo. It was fun playing with the reflections to create a mood rather than a basic “look at me” kind of selfie.

Photo of reflection in a windowI did a little HDR wizardry (among a few other effects) in Photoshop to bump up the colours and create a hyper sharp image. I was surprised to see the glassware pop out the way it did. It created a cool effect.  I’ve finally learned a little adjustment goes a long way so the photos are looking a little less like amateur hour with Photoshop than when I started out.  It also helps that I’ve gotten better with the settings on the camera so the original images are cleaner to work with.

If you’re interested in seeing more photos stop by my Instagram/Twitter/FB account. I post slightly different extras on each but I toss a lot of photos on Instagram that don’t make the website cut so it’s a fun way of seeing what I’m working on throughout the week.