Toronto Skywalk

Toronto Skywalk

This is the Toronto Skywalk, picture taken when Steve, Mark, Elizabeth and I went for a long weekend in Canada sometime around my Junior or Senior year at MSU.  The trip started pretty poorly when the back window of Elizabeth’s car exploded for reasons that we still don’t understand.  We then switched vehicles to Mark’s Jeep, which was fine, kinda.  It was winter, and thus cold and we later discovered, while cruising along on the Canadian freeway, that the batch hatch hadn’t latched.  Fortunately, nothing fell out and a second disaster was avoided.

We did some version of the Toronto city pass, and I have a bunch of pictures of the stuff we visited, but it’s mostly contrived displays in tourist attractions.  This was just a quick turn around and look back picture as we were headed back to the hotel, but it’s still of the coolest ones.  This perception is probably boosted by the fact that shortly after returning I saw someone else one a minor photography contest on dpreview.com with a picture of the same, so I figured it must be something special.  I’d like to edit out all the people, but that’s a lot of effort and it’s only a two megapixel picture after all.

Edinburgh Castle

Castle of Edinburgh

Last shot from Europe for a bit… This is a picture of the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland.  It wasn’t the nicest weather when we were there – as is reflected in the sky, but for the most part it didn’t rain.  We were only really there for one full day but we had a chance to do a quick walking tour of the city and the castle.  We didn’t really get out into the countryside at all, which from what I hear is unfortunate as it is supposedly interesting and beautiful.

There was a lot of restoration going on at the time so just off to the right of the picture shown, the castle is covered in scaffolding, thus you get this portrait version of the shot instead.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Continuing with the European tour theme, here’s a shot of the Eiffel Tower. We visited Paris over a weekend that included Bastille Day (July 14th) which is the day on which the start of the French Revolution started.  It’s celebrated similar to our 4th of July with airshows and explosions.  We didn’t see any airshows, but we did get unnervingly close to some explosions.  Apparently the French found it entertaining to light firecrackers and just drop them on the sidewalk to explode a few seconds later.  Yeehaw!

We had visited the Eiffel Tower during the day, but went back to the area at night.  It was very foggy, which made the tower that much more interesting for photographs (I may have felt differently at the time, but I like them now).  Stabilized lenses existed, but we’re well outside my budget at the time.  Camera sensors were not what they are today either, so I tended to stick to ISO 100 (analogous to 100 speed film – not what you pick for night photography), to maximize image quality.  This is where the F/1.8 lens was useful as it helped keep shutter speeds fast(ish).  This picture was a 1/8 second shutter, which is pretty borderline for hand held (I had no tripod) and thus is a little less than perfect, but I think a cool shot none the less.

House with Thatched Roof

Thatched Roof

This was taken on the way to Stonehenge on a side-stop to get out of the van, stretch and see a few more things along the way. I don’t think there’s anything famous about this house in particular, but our guide was showing us some of the architecture that had survived / been preserved. He was comparing the thatched roofs (shown) with the stone roofs on some of the other buildings. I found myself rather impressed that thatched roofs worked at all given the lack of a true water-tight seal. I guess when you have several feet of straw stacked up it forms enough of a seal to work – they weren’t very long lasting though.

This one at this angle with the newer straw reminds me of some old lady with a bad haircut. I’m not 100% sure why, though I think the window makes me think of old wire-frame glasses. Maybe I’m thinking of some specific old lady that I’ve seen in a movie somewhere, who knows. I took a few shots of a few houses like this, but this one has the combination of being the nicest looking house as well as being the best framed photo to keep the background distractions to a minimum.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

This was taken on the same ‘Germany trip’ (it was a three and a half month trip and 11 other countries were visited in that time) on a one week-long break around the middle of that time when we went to the UK. A small bunch of us, myself included, did a little loop through London, Bath, Edinburgh, Liverpool, and Dublin. The stop in Bath allowed for a one day tour out into the country to see Stonehenge and a few other stops along the way.

This was originally two images – the C-2040 has a relatively wide lens, but not wide enough to manage the entirety of Stonehenge in one frame. They were then stitched together with autostitch, which was coincidentally developed at the University of Bath.  I did a little clean up to remove a few people and think it turned out very nice – almost on par with the Stonehenge picture that was included with Windows as a background image :-P.

Burg Eltz, Germany

Burg Eltz

I’ve been digging through my picture repository lately with the intention of paring down the photos I keep to at least just the ones that I deem decent.  I’ve also been interested in the idea of doing a daily photo for a while.  I think some of the daily photo type blogs are aimed at taking a photo every day.  I think that might get very redundant, so I’m going to just post a photo from the archives every day.  I have no specific themes or ordering in mind at this point .

First up is this one of Burg Eltz.  In 2001 when I was on study abroad in Germany.  We had train passes and no classes on Fridays so we took a lot of long weekend trips along with a couple longer, planned trips like the bus trip to the Rhine and a couple of castle tours that yielded this picture.

I had bought an Olympus C-2040 – a 2MP digital camera (state of the art at the time) specifically for this trip.  Armed with that, three 64MB Smartmedia cards and a pile of rechargeable AA batteries, I could take about 200 pictures before returning to our home base.  I think I was the only one on the trip with a digital camera and a laptop, so many group photos were taken with my camera as well.

This specific picture sticks out in my mind because I posted it some time after getting home (this is not the first sharing) and at some point, someone found it and requested to use it as the cover photo for a German language book.  That never materialized, and I’m not sure a 2MP picture is good enough for a book cover anyway, but it was still one of my favorites and at least one other person thought it was pretty good too.