Tag Archives: busy

“Busy Bee”

“Busy Bee”

“Everyone is busy, yet we all have access to the same amount of time.” 
― Chris Guillebeau

The prevalent activity around here lately is bees and blooms. It’s so nice to see bees after a few years where bees, particularly honeybees, seemed to be quite scarce around here. I returned to my patch of Canada Thistle and simply stood for a while, watching all the activity, including the numerous species of pollinators.

From small to large, plump to thin, the bees, wasps, and various flies were busy collecting the bounty of nectar these wildflowers had to offer. It was not till I spent a few minutes standing there, observing, that I noticed the sweet smell emanating from the thistles. It’s something I had as yet been unaware of. As the fragrance drifted around me it is no small wonder that so many insects were drawn to this large patch.

Of all the harvesters, this mid sized bee is the one that caught my eye. Most bees and wasps would land on a blossom and spend quite a while going to each individual component flowerette and collecting the nectar. This bee, on the other hand, flitted from blossom to blossom, spending mere seconds on each. It truly was a busy bee. The image above represents a split second where it slowed long enough for me to capture a sharp image of it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0 ISO 200

High Resolution Image on 500px

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“Floral Door Hardware” – Hotel California, Todos Santos

“Floral Door Hardware” -  Hotel Caifornia, Todos Santos

“When you take the time to look carefully, deliberately, to really ‘observe’, the fine details missed by our busy, ever filtering consciousness, expand our vision and engrave that memory more permanently.”
 – Ed Lehming

It’s the details, those little things our brains tend to file away as inconsequential within the broader experience, that fascinate and perplex me. Our eyes see it all, but very little is retained, unlike the camera, which keeps a permanent record of everything. But, as I said in my quote above, you have to take the time to look for those details and consciously remember them, or the details are purged, as we hurry to take everything in. Are we really taking everything in? Yes, but so much more is lost. That’s just how our brains are wired.

I find that to be the saddest thing in our busy world, at least in western cultures. We save up and vacation in the locales of our imagining. But, when we get there we, and I’m speaking generally here, tend to go to the places we have seen images of and drink in a larger experience than the photos or videos of others provide. That is quite fulfilling as we are now seeing ‘more’. Yet, how often do we stand in a place and really experience it? Taking in every fine detail?

My example above is a piece of hardware on a rustic door at Hotel California, in the Mexican village of Todos Santos. We had spent quite a bit of time touring this well-known tourist destination. But, it was not till I was standing outside the door, waiting for the rest of my family to finish their various activities, that I noticed this beautiful, handcrafted door hardware. In the shape of a coneflower, the petals are brass, stamped with yet more detail and the centre, is forged iron. In my opinion, a wonderful addition to the weathered wooden doors leading to the gift shop. Then there’s the wood itself, with it’s complex grain and subtle colour hues. Who saw the staple? No cheating.

Had I not been standing there, I might have noticed them, but not the details. I’ve had the same  experience when I take a hike with someone and find them surprised at the number of photos I have made of wildflowers and other items along the way that they missed, even though the believed they were taking it all in.

If you want to be an observer and savour and experience fully, you need to slow down, just like enjoying a good meal. Take it in, one small bite at a time and let the image fill your senses.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

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“Chinatown Rush” – Montreal

“Chinatown Rush” - Montreal

“The first problem of living is to minimize friction with the crowds that surround you on all sides.”
― Isaac Asimov

I wanted to capture the hustle and bustle of this Montreal intersection with an experimental long exposure. It was interesting to look back on it and see the woman in the foreground moving quickly across the frame, while the car is stopped.

This was also an experiment in light where I was trying to cover the whole spectrum for white to black.

Interestingly, growing up in Toronto, I really would not consider this a ‘rush’. For that, I could set up at Montreal’s Gare Centrale (about 18 million people pass through there every year) at quitting time. Perhaps on another visit?

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm
1/10 sec, f/22.0, ISO 200

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“Centre Eaton” – Montreal

Eaton Centre - Montreal

Never let me say “There’s nothing  to photograph”.

Though my preference is really nature and outdoors images, I also, occasionally,  have a ‘thing’ for patterns and urban scenes. Today, after a day spent in several corporate offices, I took a walk through ‘underground Montreal’. It’s a series of connected shopping complexes that reaches several kilometers under downtown Montreal.

During the day, this is a very busy place, full of commuters on their way to work, students, attending the adjacent McGill University and shoppers, out for a bargain. In the evening, it is essentially vacant, and I find it a nice place to walk and stretch my legs after a day sitting through meetings.

Today, I made my way to the upper level of this section of the complex, the Montreal Eatons Centre, to get a view of the complex from a higher vantage point. The above image is the result. I like the strong lines and flow of the place and added a bit of ‘posterizing’ to accentuate that effect.

iPhone 5s back camera 4.15mm f/2.2
1/40 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40

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“Black-Capped Chickadee on Branch” – Lynde Shores

Black-Capped Chickadee at Lynde Shores

There’s something strangely calming about these little  birds, so common in Southern Ontario. Which strikes me odd, since they are constantly flitting about and are rarely still.

In fact, they seem a bit nervous most of the time. Perhaps it’s moments like the one, captured above, where the chickadee is resting briefly on a branch that gives that sense of peace? A bit like many of our days, where we move rapidly from task to task and take a brief moment to pause.

Do we appear calm to our peers who also long for rest, or does our outward appearance betray the fact that, as we pause, we are only considering our next task?

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“The Search” – Buskerfest, Toronto

Old Lady at Toronto Buskerfest 2014

Another favourite photo and a venture into street photography for me. This photo was made last year at Toronto’s annual Buskerfest.

I was walking the street, knowing there would be some interesting scenes to photograph. The street was extremely busy and it became difficult to get a shot that was not full of distractions. I like to isolate my subject as much as possible. Off the main venue, Toronto’s Yonge Street, which is closed to traffic for Buskerfest, there were several people sitting and chatting, including this woman, who was searching through her purse for something. For her, it was a break from the busy crowds and a chance to sit and have a smoke.

Originally, I had titled this image “Old Lady at Buskerfest”, but on further reflection, I can’t tell if she is really that old. I don’t know her story, but the photo makes me want to know more. For now, it remains a moment in someone’s life, captured in a single image.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 @185 mm
1/60 sec @ f/2.8, ISO 200

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