Happy Halloween! (Reformation Day to all the Lutherans) 😎
Each year on the 31st our crescent comes together to host an event affectionately called the “Hallowiener”. We sell hotdogs and a drink for $5.00 and donate all the proceeds to a cause. This year it was supporting the Za’atari Refugee camp in Jordan. It’s great to help out because any money given the government will match. This year we raised over $600.00 and sold a pile of hotdogs! Thanks to everyone who came out and helped out! 😀
For my early birthday present this year, my lovely wife signed me up for something totally awesome. It was the Prairie Smoke & Spice Barbecue Fundamentals class. This was an introduction to the Low n’ Slow cooking methods made popular in the Southern States of America. But gradually, low and slow is coming to the truth north, strong and free. For over a year I’ve been delving into BBQ cooking on my Big Green Egg ceramic grill. I instantly fell in love with smoked food and the amazing results this method of cooking produces. Being the self-starter that I am, I learned everything I know from the Internet and watching YouTube, especially the Barbecue Pit Boys‘ channel. But it was really great to get some first hand instruction in real life. Enter Rob’s Class.
This course is absolutely ideal for the BBQ beginner. Rob takes you through all the various grill styles from Yoder Pellet Smokers to Kettle Grills to Offsets, etc. for low and slow. And, he cooks competition grade food for the participants so you can really experience what great BBQ is supposed to be like. Rob comes across with a humble confidence. He isn’t trying to prove to the BBQ world that he’s “all that and a can of slow cooked spam.” He simply and effectively communicates the knowledge, techniques, and tips and tricks that make for amazing food. The course had the perfect balance of classroom instruction, engaging hands on learning and of course, the best part: eating! Even though it was 5 hours long, never once did I feel like it was lagging or slow. Rob really kept it moving, interspersing the teaching parts with the results parts – us scarfing down some of the best BBQ in Saskatchewan. It was great to watch him prepare and rub down a brisket, and then get to taste the finished product (which was kicked up to notches unknown to mankind). Likewise for the pulled pork, chicken, ribs and for this course, a kettle grill cooked prime rib. Rob showed us the importance of reverse-searing the prime rib for a perfect internal medium rare cook but also some nice crispy bark on the outside too. It was to sooooo good! Everything was simply delicious and I could have indulged in the sin of gluttony repeatedly. 😀
If you want to have an excellent experience and get into BBQ, I cannot recommend Rob’s class enough. He’s a great instructor with a wealth of tips from the BBQ competition circuit and years of experience. It’s the perfect course for the beginner or the person who already loves BBQ and wants to learn more. If you have a carnivorous BBQ fan in your household and are looking for a perfectly unique gift for her or him, be sure to sign up for the next class. For the proof is, like they say, is in the
I love off camera flash. The results are always superior to natural lighting. No contest. Ever. 😎 But that said, there is something just awesome about candid shots of kids being kids. No light shapers other than clouds. Fast lenses. Awesome cameras. It’s magical! 😀
Granted, I’m a little late to the party. But I want to set the record straight on the Nikon 1 V1. “It doesn’t suck!” It’s amazing little camera! This image of the kids is straight out of camera with no edits (other than water mark and resize). The colours are amazingly vibrant! All the images are very contrasty and punchy, and I like it! I finally had the chance to go for a little walk around today with it and shot a couple of landscapes. Other than the fact that it was a foggy abysmal day, I found that it set the stage for some cool black and white. I shot in JPEG and RAW and had a good experience with both. RAW always gives more latitude, but the JPEG performance is really nice. The only achilles heel is the high ISO, which is to be expected for a small sensor camera. But it’s not that bad, all things considered. When you evaluate the performance against my current DSLR, the D300s, it doesn’t lose by that much in color and dynamic range. It’s negligible really. ISO get’s punched in the face, but we already knew that. For outdoor day to day stuff, in my opinion, the Nikon 1 brings the thunder. And, its far more portable. But I already mentioned that. 😎
Regan’s birthday present finally arrived! She wanted some new bling and bling she got. To go along with it, I decided I’d take snapshots of everyone listed on the necklace . . . in black and white. 😎 It’s timeless and awesome.
Happy Birthday (belated) to me! I got a new lens and I’m super stoked about it. Nikon announced their new 85mm f/1.8G prime in January. Half a year later, I’ve got one. And it is pure AWESOME. I really can’t emphasize enough about how much this lens rocks the set. I read a few reviews about it and everything was extremely positive. It’s sharp. Contrasty. Renders awesome colours. Focus is bang on. Shot wide open, it’s really good, stop it down to 2.5 it’s boo ya sharp & bokelicious! 😎 I finally got to try it out at Eddie & Roberta’s 50th Anniversary Come & Go Tea at the Alameda Legion, then also afterwards at the family party at the farm. It was mainly candids but I did do some family photos too. The event was a riot, despite the heat and everyone had a great time. I’m thankful to be able to have spent the day with the Frietags and very thrilled to try out the new lens. It didn’t disappoint!
What can I say? I am one proud Papa of 3. Baby Pria was airlifted into the world via c-section on April 3rd at 1:31PM. In the mad furor of an OR Theatre, the gift of life was placed in my arms . . . again. Birth is always tougher on men than it is on women. I’ll maintain this to my dying day. Probably etch it on my tombstone even. 😉 Watching the one you love suffer while you can do nothing is very draining/frustrating/scary. C-section, in this regard, is more intense but for a shorter period of time. You can’t have it all. 🙂
It’s a wild ride no matter what. You see this little pink bologna loaf and you instantly fall in love. It’s incredible. Truly the greatest and fullest of the human experience to look into the eyes of another person and seeing your own image (in this case, Regan’s image, thank the Lord!). We are truly thankful to God for a safe delivery and also to the AWESOME doctors, nurses and staff at the Moose Jaw Union Hospital. We have received incredible care and attention all the way through. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of you, you do an outstanding job! And of course a big thank you to my beautiful wife Regan who is super strong and a real trooper through it all. And to Phoebe & Ethan for being outstanding older siblings. And to our families and friends who have supported us, visited us and prayed for us too. We luv ya mucho! 😀
Pastor Kreutzweiser stopped by today for some prayers and a blessing. He quoted these words from Psalm 127:
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Psalm 127:3-5 ESV)
Here’s some photos. They’re straight out of camera other than the resize & watermark. No time to edit. I’ve got three kids to chase after now! And I couldn’t be happier! 😀
This past weekend was the big rip roarin’ shin dig in Moose Jaw. My Dad turned 60 big ones whilst my youthful wife slid into the big Three-O (30 in layman’s terms). 8) Anyways, it was super fun! We had cakes and drinks and food and merriment all round. And now, Dad can get a senior’s discount. Maybe he’ll take us out for breakfast at Smitty’s. heehheehe… 😆
CLICK HERE to see the whole Gallery on Flickr.
Photo Geek Commentary: I was shooting my 50 f/1.4 for the majority of the shots. I tried my 105mm at 2.8 too, but I needed as much light as I could get so I went back to the 1.4. I did a combo of available light stuff for some of the candids, as well as placing an SB-900 strategically around the deck and triggering it with my SU-800. It made for some more interesting shots. It was all the realm of high ISO for the available light stuff, 1250-1600 for many of them. It produces grainy looking shots, but let’s face it, we’re not gonna blow these things up. They’re candids of moments so the picture quality trumps pixel quality. One other thing of note I did for the portrait of my Dad and his pal Al, was to match the light colour output of the tiki torch. I used a 1/4CTO gel and an umbrella to diffuse the light and make it look like the torch was lighting the whole shot. The tell tale sign of the umbrella flare showing up in Al’s glasses gives it away (and I was too lazy to clone out the glare). 8)
I’ve been marinating two ginormous steaks for a few days in the fridge. They were dry rubbed and then put into foodsaver bags to suck all the air out. The vacuum process opens up all the pours in the meat beautifully and allows the rub to work its magic. Pure awesomeness results! Then, you apply the meat to the grill. Sear it directly on the coals both sides, then retreat to indirect heat for the rest of the cook. Medium rare at the 135º and it’s super delicious! 😆 I also did some southwest roasted potato fries on the propane grill. Can you smell that? That smells GOOD! 8)
After din din, I was able to catch three of Ethan’s moods in a row. heheheheehhe……..
Well, it’s great to be home! We just got back from a nice family vacation camping trip to our newly beloved Adam Lake in the Turtle Mountains. We just love that camp!! We had a really nice time and took it easy, did some geocaching and hiking and swimming and eating! 😆 As usual, I had the camera and took a few shots. It’s such a stellar location and I highly recommend Adam Lake to anyone! Also, we were able to check out the international peace gardens. It’s quite the place with lots of fun stuff to see and do. All in all, we had great weather and good family memories! 8) Here’s a sample of some shots:
You can check out the full gallery of images on Flickr by clicking here!
We went to Moose Jaw Friday night for my Auntie’s 50th Birthday. The threshold hath been crossed. There’s no turning back! 8) It was a metric tonne of fun to see all the relatives even if it was whirlwind visit. It’s nearly impossible to get the whole clan together anymore so it’s always a good time when we can show up and see the fam. I brought along the camera and my trusty 50mm f/1.4 lens. I love that lens. It was the perfect choice for this event, especially later, after everyone came back into the house for drinks and merriment. It was evening and I didn’t bother with any flash setups, going for the more natural candid shots. Besides, my dad had his 580 EX II pocket wizarding all over the place. Another flash and we would have all had epileptic seizures! 😉 So natural light when there’s not much light. It’s truly the realm of f/1.4. You need primes to do this, opening up the camera’s eye as wide as it will go to harvest as many photos as possible. You’re not gonna get these shots with a zoom, even a f/2.8 zoom. (OK, OK, maybe on a full frame camera where ISO isn’t as big a deal). That said I was still shooting the majority of the inside shots at ISO 1250 – 2000. On a DX body, that’s huge. So the pixel quality starts to look like a cell phone image. BUT the picture quality is awesome. The shots are still sharp and have way cool depth of field. When I’m doing candids I’m more interested in picture quality than pixel quality. White balance is a gong show in a house that has a nasty mix of old fluorescents and incandescents, but I still left it on cloudy for the most part. RAW files make switching it a 3 second thing later anyways. But it was a super fun event and a great way to catch up with family and make some cool memories with the ol’ picture mill.
Another beautiful evening in Southern Saskatchewan last night. The wind got up nice, nice enough to fly a kite. So we grabbed our trusty wind walker and away we went. I also grabbed the camera and my 105mm macro lens. Why? Usually this kind of shoot lends itself to wide angle. Well, I had an alterior motive – that being compression & bokeh. [Photo geek alert! Just look at the pictures if you don’t know what either compression 0r bokeh are. ;)] Compression is the photography effect created when you use a long telephoto lens to make a photo. The background gets smooshed together, compressed as it were, making for portraits that are pure awesomeness. Add that to f/2.8 and you’ve got sheer awesomeness, photographically speaking. And, top it all off with golden light and 100% unadulterated awesomeness. I just watched Cliff Mautner’s latest Kelby Training webinar called searching for the light and he made this comment again and again about compression. He said that if your images are lacking something, it’s compression. And he’s right. I tend to be a wide angle kind of shooter. But you just don’t get the added loveliness of compression with a wide angle that you get with long glass. So I grabbed my 105mm lens and dialled it in to f/2.8 and went to town. All the images here are shot with the 105mm at f/2.8 (except the obviously wide angle landscape shots near the end). I was super pleased with the shots, technically speaking. I’m always happy with pics of my own kids though (who isn’t, right?! ;)) Try some telephoto in your life. It makes a big, awesome difference! 8)
Kids are always doing cute stuff. Granted, they also do loads of stuff that drive you crazy too. But every once in a while, it’s cute. Yesterday after lunch, Phoebe couldn’t take the strain of life anymore and needed to grab a nap . . . right at the kitchen table. A good dad would have gently scooped her up and taken her up to her bed to slumber in peace. A great dad goes and gets the camera first so the memory lasts for eternity! 😉
I decided I would post a few picks for Easter, a few of the kids and some Crocus shots from the other day. I was happy to come across a whole pile of crocuses just starting to burst forth into life! Yay! Another sign that winter is dead! Long live spring!
And, for the most important part of Easter:
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
As we all know, spring hath sprung! Moir Dr. celebrated by having a block party, a variable hootenanny in the hills, a carousing in the crescent, a shindig in the streets! It was wonderful to see the kids ripping up the road again. It’s been far too long!!!! 🙂 Bring on the Sunshine!
F/1.4 is pure awesome. 🙂 There’s no other way to laud the sheer quality and sweet bokehliciousness. I highly recommend picking one up. 😉 I’m utterly impressed with my new AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G. It’s tack sharp, even when it’s wide open, and it makes shooting inside in natural light a dream. Of course, when you shoot any lens wide open they suffer from Chromatic Aberration – a pink or blue fringe that shows up on the edges of your images. The good news is that you can get rid of it by stopping down a stop or two. Which is the other good thing about f/1.4 – it’s beautiful at f/2 and completely usable. Contrasted to my 50mm f/1.8, it wasn’t at it’s best until f/4 which is sub-par for indoor natural light shots. Anyways, take a look at some of the candid shots, pretty much all shot at f/1.4 (occasionally f/2). 🙂
Hehehehehehe……. my wife used to be in a chess club. What a nerd! 😉 I probably would have joined one too, cuz I’m cool like that. Chess is probably the noblest of all games if you exclude parcheesi. 😀 Anyways, we squared off last night with a bottle of our favorite wine (Angus, an Australian Cabernet-Sauvignon) and my old glass chess set that Regan bought me. I’ve always wanted to take pictures of this set and the new 50mm f/1.4 provided the sweet sweet bokehliciousness needed to do it. Normally, one should use a macro lens for this kind of thing, but I’m never taking that 50mm off my camera again! 😉 I thought I would punch the contrast a lot and do some black and whites as the lighting was not super great.
Had some fun with the kids today. I was trying to get Ethan to walk at me with the wooden-toy knife because it made him look like Chucky (that freaky murdering doll from when? 1989?!?) 😉 It’s always super fun taking candids of toddlers. I was in a Silver eFex Pro mood today too when I was doing some editing. I like the antique-eque looks and the high contrast stuff. The more indoor shots I take handheld with my 50mm, the more I’m getting used to higher noise. Earlier I would never have taken these kinds of shots because the noise was unacceptable to me. But, when you go high contrast or black and white, it adds a certain je ne sais quoi. 😉 I don’t mind it anymore.