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I have picked up a couple of photography (and otherwise) related toys over the last month or so.
The weather here in Toronto has really started to warm up early, so I went out and got myself a few bits and bobs from the Spring Bike Show at Exhibition Place to get me all motivated for a long season of cycling. So far I have entered the 75km Ride for Heart event on June 3rd (you can sponsor me here) and I am considering making a 100 mile (~160 km) ride my goal for the end of the season. I will see how my training goes before I fully commit to that one!
I also picked up a nice Pentax F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 lens from the Pentax Forums Wanted section to replace the one I sold a long while back. I always enjoyed this lens due to its very small size, decent close focus ability, its unusual zooming (the barrel extends as you zoom OUT, meaning it is smallest at the 70mm setting) and sharpness. The copy I received is pretty much as new (better than my previous copy) so I look forward to getting out and about with it again.
Finally I came across a very well priced Pentax Q kit on craiglist locally. I watched it for a while and when the price dropped again I took action and followed through with a purchase. So far using the Pentax Q is a real joy. The fisheye is amazingly fun (especially for street photography) and no doubt you will be seeing a lot more photos from this combo posted soon.
During our trip to Quebec city we also hopped on a great bus tour which took outside the city, to the Ile d’Orleans, Montmorency waterfall and the Basilica Sainte Anne de Beaupre. Here are a few shots from the Basilica.
The first is a 3 shot HDR, you can see some of the great fall colours off to the left of the Basilica
The 2nd is a look inside, also a 3 shot HDR. As you can see its quite a stunning building.
These are a couple of shots from inside the Cathedral Notre Dame in Quebec City, which is the head of the Catholic Church across all of Canada. You can read some of the Cathedral’s history here on wikipedia
It is a very unassuming building from the outside, but the inside is quite spectacular. We ended up visiting here a couple of times. We happened by it ourselves whilst wandering the streets, and the following day we did a guided walking tour which also stopped in at the Cathedral. Take note of the lovely sky painted on the ceiling. It was very overcast and rainy both times we were inside so it was good to see a little blue sky somewhere.
Both shots here were done handheld with my Pentax K200D and Sigma 10-20mm, at ISO1600 (highest my old body goes!) and are 3 exposure HDR’s taken at +/- 2.0 EV. The noise reduction in Photomatix, which I used for blending, seems to have done a great job on the noise. The noise is still quite noticeable in the full size images though. I used Tone Mapping with the Enhancer method in both cases to generate the final image.
A nice little night street festival on Yonge St in the Fall is Nuit Blanche. I loaded up with the Sigma 30mm f1.4 (for the dark) and went walking.
This guy was prancing around in lycra down at Yonge-Dundas Square so I had to catch him in action. It was very busy! And quite chilly, first cool night of the season really (it warmed up again after that night though). You can see all the people down the street in this shot.
Summer time in Toronto is also time for The EX. The EX is the annual exhibition, filled with rides, games, shows, and truely horrible (but tasty) foods.
Some of the food highlights include deep fried Mars Bars, deep fried Cola, deep fried butter and a Krispy Kreme Bacon Burger (Krispy Kremes for buns). I wanted to try out the deep fried Cola but couldnt find it, same went for the Krispy Kreme burger, although I doubt I would have been able to bring myself to order it anyway! I did try some deep fried Mars Bar though, was good!