Archive for February, 2007

The Biodome

When in Montreal with a few days to kill (and in order to get out of the freezing cold for a few hours), you really can’t beat the biodome. It’s up near the Olympic Stadium, yes the same stadium that a 50 tonne block of concrete fell from some time ago. That stadium.

Piranha

There are fish (obviously), tropical animals and…. Ok it’s a biodome. Four seasons under one roof. Nothing finer for hopelessly fogging up your camera lens after you come in from the cold to the baking heat. After the lens cleared up, with a little help from mr. t-shirt, I was able to properly capture a whole host of interesting plants and animals. Well, capture from a distance. For some reason which still escapes me, I brought the 30mm prime and left the 70-200 IS back in the house. Crapola.

IMG 0859

I’ve been reliably informed that the above is better viewed large so in an unusual turn up for the books, here it is, large as life. There, hope that was enjoyable. Although it was a deceivingly small building, we managed to counteract that by going around a second time and swapping lenses. G’wan diversity!

Reflecting

I managed to get some decent shots, despite leaving my zoomy zoom lens back at the house (and running through the ‘bat cave’ screaming like a little girl, twice. No, I don’t like bats). Was pretty happy with what I got with the macro but vowed to return with the big white fella (the lens people, the lens) after our trip to New York. One of my favorite parts of the outing was the fish tanks. They were interestingly lit, which proved to make the fish very photogenic. Other than that, the penguins were entertaining. This shot reminded me alot of the current Guinness TV ad.

A mate for life

Yes? No? I could photoshop in a bar and a couple of pints if that’d help you. That is to say I could, if I wasn’t too lazy to. Alot of the animals seemed to be engaged in some kind of peaceful protest and/or union action. Like the two crocodiles/alligators (no, I don’t know the difference).

IMG 0919

Despite my gentle directions that they should move and possibly eat something, they lied and lied some more. I assume they were tired, or of course on the aforementioned work stoppage. So we toddled off back out into the cold after a less than satisfying feed at the pricey biodome cafe. No, I didn’t get back there this time with my longer lens. Next time gadget, next time….

(flickr’s got some)

Long time no surf…

Garrettstown

After an unsuccessful yet wholly relaxing few hours in Fermoy trying to sell photos to seemingly unwilling passers by, I decided to return to one of my favorite spots; Garrettstown. Of course I wanted there to be huge waves so I could fully test out my new 1.4x teleconverter but it wasn’t to be. Instead there were ripples which some were still making a valiant effort to surf on. My reason for going was two fold. Firstly of course to test the new hardware and secondly to shoot a few in RAW so I may finally decide where to put my money; Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture. Still undecided. Maybe after the processing load of the blog awards next weekend I’ll have a clearer understanding of both. On that note, only 4 and a bit days left until the big night. Woo!

The Birds

Floating

On a recent drive from New York City to Boston, we made a stop in Cape Cod to take in the beautiful New England scenery. Loads of nice houses, pleasant people and certainly no shortage of the aforementioned scenery. In a seemingly hopeless search for a beach (we circled a bit and indulged in a bit of head scratching) we ended up in several locations, including the Martha’s Vineyard ferry terminal. Note to Self: On returning to Cape Cod, spend a few hours in the Vineyard…

Waiting for more biscuits

After finally finding a beach and seeing the utterly befuddling sight of ice meeting sand, we took the opportunity to get rid of some utterly shocking excuses for biscuits. Lemon crunchy things that although not fit for human consumption, seemed to meet with the standards of the nearby seagulls. As if by magic, like they could hear the packet opening, there were dozens of them overhead, waiting to see what was for lunch.

Youngest Child Syndrome

Given that I had barely used my heaviest lens (the 70-200 IS) and also due to the fact that I’d been to B&H Photo a day earlier to pick up a 1.4x teleconverter for the lens, I felt it behooved me to try the thing out. These are the results. Some, as in much of my photography, are out of focus, poorly framed or just plain nonsense. If you notice a difference in processing also it’s down to the fact that I’m currently trying out Adobe Lightroom on another recent acquisition, my 17″ macbook pro. The whole thing still confuses me greatly.

Not Camera Shy...

Anyway, back on track. I took a few of the biscuits, cracked them into pieces and scattered them lovingly on the ice in front of where I was standing on the pier. There was a sheet of ice a good 60/70′ long, stretching from the shoreline out almost into the middle of the river and it was like that for the entire length of the shore. A cautious seagull slipped and slided his way over to one of the fragments of nasty biscuit as I almost literally rolled around the pier laughing. As if it couldn’t get any funnier, a few of the airborne birds then decided they had to get a piece of this and deftly dove toward the water to get a bite. Only it wasn’t water, was it?

Oblivious

On realising their error, they pulled up steeply, wishing to avoid a head on collision with the solid ice. A couple managed to pull off this daring maneuver; The rest hit the ice with a thud, slid across it’s smooth surface (completely past the biscuit they’re after in the first place) and then tried to get back to the spot before anyone else got to the food. There was mayhem of biblical proportions. The rest of the birds joined in (a good 30 or 40 seagulls) and began crashing into each other as they tried to land on or walk around on the ice. At this stage, all three of us so called adults were doubled over laughing at the unfortunate creatures trying to claw their way around for a taste of a lemony cookie.

Grace and Poise on the ice

We finally ran out of food and broke the last couple of biscuits into pieces and flung the bits onto the ice. It seemed the confused and disorientated animals resorted to violence of the utmost order (as seagulls normally do) and the whole thing descended into a frenzy of pecking, pulling, head butting and slapping. We took our leave, fearing that any minute an animal welfare officer might arrive and arrest us all for seagull taunting. What I was more worried about though (given that we were in the U.S.) is that a particularly street smart gull would attempt to sue us for damages. Needless to say, we drove away at speed…

(some more; flickr)

shortlisted

Some good news to come home to; I’m shortlisted for the blog awards! Hurrah! See ye all there on the 3rd! Now if I jet-lagged brain can only figure out what time it is, what day it is and where I am on the planet. Damn timezones!

That’s all she wrote…

Frozen News

And so, as things have a habit of doing, this short journey to the snowy place has come to an end. Although it has been three weeks and there have been numerous trips and activities, I can’t help but feel in some ways it’s been shorter (and in other ways longer). So back to Ireland, back to work and back to routine. Back to the Blog Awards. Just back. Back to return again someday soon. Back to save money. Back to… right, I need my breakfast!

Frozen in Boston

Starting to feel that Montreal really is home now. It’s only been (almost) three weeks but already I feel like I’ve been here longer. Must be all the travelling around that did it. On that note, we returned from a stormy and snowy Boston last night after a massively delayed flight.

Back Bay Rooftops

The snowstorm that hit much of the upper part of New York state whipped into Massachusetts on Wednesday, leaving us hotel bound for much of the day. Better that than endure the torture of freezing hail, hidden 6″ deep puddles of almost frozen slush and those crazy crazy Boston drivers. As a result of the poor weather the photos from Boston are lacking somewhat, including the mammoth session I wanted to do around the grounds of Harvard. Ah well. It was my first time back in 10 years, maybe I’ll get those photos in 2017!?!

Risky skating on the common

Boston Common proved to be rather entertaining for a stroll, not only due to all the footpaths being locked under a few inches of ice…

Perhaps more in the coming couple of days before returning to the mother country early next week… (Maybe)

New York; it’s a hell of a town…

Grand Central Station

A couple more unprocessed photos from our ongoing travels across the pond. Left New York City today, having been there for the last (almost) three days. What a city. Unfathomably big yet quite easy to navigate. The subway is a blessing. Still got loads of exercise though! Didn’t get to update as regularly as I’d like, being offline does that to a blogger I suppose. Back online now in Boston and with my new macbook (more on that development later). Thankfully the lodgings in Boston are a damnsight better than NY (more on that later too). What a city though…

Lighting up Rockefeller

Above shot is taken at the front door of the Rockefeller centre, looking out across the ice rink.

Also, I see that voting in the Blog Awards has now started. What I suppose I should say is “If you think I deserve it, vote for me” but I’ll just say “vote for me regardless”. You can do so on the Awards website. More from my travels soon…

back from Quebec City

Hotel De Glace - The Ice Hotel

I thought I’d seen some pretty cool stuff in my so far limited time on this planet, but after seeing the ice hotel just outside Quebec City, I’m blown away. An entire hotel, complete with bar, nightclub, chapel and numerous rooms and suites all entirely composed of ice and snow. I’m in awe.

Dog Sledding

Also muchly in awe of the strength of the dogs (granted I had a full 8-dog-power at my disposal) during our stint at dog sledding. Didn’t get a whole load of photos of this one, too much time was spent both enjoying the ride and of course, enjoying piloting the sled. You can have your fast cars and jet planes, the best buzz is being pulled around on a few sticks of wood held together by string by a team of 8 unfathomably energetic dogs. I need a rest…