Friday, April 28, 2006

Chicago and the 5D

Last week we took a quick weekend trip to Chicago to meet up with Leslie's family. I had been to Chicago once before, for the NAMM show back in 1988. It had been a while. In addition to being a lot of fun to see Leslie's family and getting to know our new nieces, this was a great chance to try out my new Canon 5D camera. Fun!

I got the 5D the weekend before for Leslie's graduation. OK, that's a lame excuse for buying a camera ("Congratulations honey! Look what I got me!") but with the trip to France coming up this summer, I really wanted a camera where a wide lens is a wide lens and the screen on the back of the camera is absolutely fantastic! I can tell you this... 12.8 megapixels is right on the edge of too much. In some of these shots from Chicago, I could zoom in to 100% to see lots of great detail but when I see the whole picture, that detail is lost. When I view them on my screen or in a digital picture frame that detail does me no good. Great to know that I can crop and still get really good results and that I can make great big prints, though.

Looking north along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago from the top of the Hancock building. The weather was wonderful with big puffy white clouds and a gorgeous blue sky.

Chicago's waterfront from the top of the Hancock tower

The Chicago Water Tower and the Hancock building. Old meets New meets the sky.

Ah the martini... and the grandeur of the 50mm 1.4 lens on the 5D. The depth of field is small but it does a great job of low light photography like in restaurants and on the 5D it is a real 50mm lens, not an 80mm which is way too long for food shots.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Shredding some hills

OK, we weren't shredding the hills, but Leslie, Zach and I all took a snowboarding lesson today at Whistler and it was awesome. I've been trying to master skiing up there for the past year or so - not enough to ever get any good but enough to get a bit better - but I wanted to give boarding a try. We had a great time.

The word is that skiing is easy to start but takes a lot of practice to really master. Boarding, on the other hand, has a steep learning curve but once you master the basics, you've pretty much know it all. After one lesson, I'm in no position to really say if that is true but I did get a sense that there are fewer things to keep track of on a board than on skis. Next time we go up, I'm going to give boarding another try and see if I can comfortably get to the blue runs more quickly on a board than on skis.

Seeing as it is April - it might be a while before I figure that out for sure.

One thing is sure though - boarding gear is both cooler to look at and immensely more comfortable than skiing gear. That alone is a good reason to stick with it.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

On Thursday, our team went up to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival to take some pictures of flowers (good place for that... eh?). It's a pretty long ride up but it was well worth it. I was expecting thousands of acres of tulips spread out across the valley though I was suprised by how few rainbow fields we saw but we definitely did see a great variety of tulips as well as a number of other types of flowers.

On Friday, we stopped by again on the way up to Whistler and caught one more location which did have a much better selection of flower fields though a poorer display garden. The sky wasn't as clear as I would have liked but the flowers are definitely striking.

Rogue Daffodil

As we were driving past a field, our guide mentioned that the few flowers that were scattered around it were rogue daffodils. When they cleaned up the field after the previous years batch of daffodils, they missed a few bulbs and sometimes those grew into daffodils. This one was another rogue. I keep picturing World of Warcraft rogue daffodils sneaking up behind some tulip and backstabbing it....

Tulips as abstract art - Thanks LensBaby!

Firebloom. OK, this isn't really firebloom but it is what I imagine it looking like. I bet this is the only discussion of tulips on the internet with so many links to thottbot...

Anyway, more pictures of flowers, rogue and otherwise, at