A Bad Day With A Camera

Sticks and Stones

Gray Park lives up to its name at this time of year. It really is grey. The few splashes of colour come from the evergreens and the occasional birdhouse to be found in the northeast corner.

High-density housing, Gray Park, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Canon)

Mostly what you’ll find here in the winter are skeletal trees and rocks, thus the name of this diary entry. I trudged the snow-packed paths to try and capture some images of both. The rocks I photographed lined the walking pathways and the majority were snow-covered. The ponds are snow-covered as are the paths. It’s drab.

I used to be pretty, Gray Park, Strathmore,
Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Samsung)

Luckily, I had some ideas of what I wanted to do ahead of time. The rocks have a lot of character and are fascinating to look at closeup images of if you just give the colour slider a bit of a nudge in Photoshop. Well, the kind of nudge Chuck Norris would give the slider if he were a Photoshop user.

This is my cross to bear, Gray Park,
Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Canon)
Just a touch of mottling, Gray Park,
Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Canon)
Earth tones are always in style, Gray Park, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Samsung)

Today was one of those days where I got to feel my age (mid-fifties). I could get down low for a shot, but getting back up… Let’s just say I am going to be sore tomorrow. Some of the best and most colourful textures appear low down on the rocks so I had to lay on the ground in the snow to capture the photographs.

Some of us come from broken homes, Gray Park,
Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Canon)

I have noticed that the birdhouses fall into disrepair every winter and volunteers bang them back into shape every spring. I’m not sure if it’s strong winds doing this or misbehaving kids as we have plenty of both. I honestly think it would be nice if they added more. There seem to be a lot more birds than housing for them, although I suppose it’s not surprising the birds face a housing shortage these days – every other Canadian does.

That’s some skin condition, Gray Park, Strathmore,
Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Canon)
Thar be gold here, Gray Park, Strathmore,
Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Canon)
Lines creep in as we age, Gray Park, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Canon)

I was having so much photographing the rocks I almost forgot that I had also intended to photograph some trees. It was either do that or I had to think of a different name for my post and, well, I’m kind of lazy. I wandered over to the copse of trees.

Confused trees budding out, Gray Park, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Canon)

Of the three tree shots I liked today, the above is the only “straight” one. You can see that our unseasonably warm weather has confused the flora. The poor things are starting to bud out.

On the move, Gray Park, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Canon)
Off the beaten path, Gray Park, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Samsung)

Some technical tomfoolery was needed to make my other tree shots look acceptable, to me at least. The top one is simply the result of stopping down all the way and jerking the camera diagonally while activating the shutter. Pretty basic. The bottom image is ten different images stacked with a few of the images in the stack flipped upside down. I’m not sure if I’m that much of a fan of it. This is the path back out to the parking lot. A more conventional of the path is shown below:

Off the beaten path, Straight B&W version, Gray Park, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Samsung)

I probably took over fifty pictures of trees, but they just didn’t work when I opened them up on my computer. It would have helped if I could have walked into the copse to try and get some macros, but I wore the wrong shoes, the snow was deeper than expected, and I was running out of lunch hour.

All the Pretty Things, Gray Park, Strathmore, Alberta, 2024-02-14 (Samsung)

I couldn’t resist poaching one last rock image on my way out of the park and this was it. My hands had gotten so cold at this point that I could no longer hold my Canon EOS R5 body properly, so I had to switch to my phone even though I got this shot standing up. I had to resort to using the phone for shots where I was lying on the ground and couldn’t manoeuvre the Canon easily. What matters is that I got what I feel is the best image of the shoot.

I had used up most of my lunch break at work by this time so I trudged back to the vehicle and headed home. I got in some exercise and I put some bits in the bucket today. It was a good outing.

Note: The photographs in this diary entry were created using either a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra smartphone or a Canon EOS R5 mirrorless body paired with a Pentax 100mm f2.8 SMC MF PK mount macro lens mounted via a Fotodiox adapter. Each photo’s caption indicates at the end which camera was used to create it.

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© 2024 Sean D. McCormick

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