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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride


Oh ya! Happy New Year from rainy Fanny Bay! Today is a LONG blog post so grab a glass of your favourite beverage in quarantine and settle in for a good read! But for those of you who enjoy pictures, there are LOTS and LOTS of photos today!

And Happy Retirement to me today! We had a very early evening last night. It was nice to bring the New Year in on Toronto time, instead of B.C. time. We had planned on popping some champagne, but we were way too tired to do that.

So what did we do today? We sat around in Newman all day and I got very frustrated with the new camera! Hence the title of the blog today!

Today was a horrible weather day. Windy, grey, and torrential rain!!! With more to come overnight and tomorrow....

There is no road behind us now...only a Lake and it is encroaching on the empty RV spot behind us. That’s a lot of rain that fell overnight and all day today!

But enough about bad weather. For some fun today I thought I would share some of my top photos from 2020 and what they were all about. I received my first digital SLR camera, a Canon Rebel 7, last Christmas from my wonderful, generous husband Richard. He thought I might enjoy photography in my retirement and gave me the camera last year as a way for me to get some experience under my belt before I retired. I had a year to learn about photography and the camera so I would not get frustrated with the camera, and I could take some lessons in my spare time, while I was still working.

If you know Richard, you would know he is often away a lot in the winter doing Trip Directing. I used his absences last winter, as the perfect opportunity to sign up for weekend and evening photography classes in downtown Toronto at GTA Photography.

The classes were excellent and I was able to complete Photography 101, Travel Photography and Night Photography in person, before we all got locked down in March 2020. Thank goodness for ingenuity, because GTA photography started doing online classes through Zoom and I was able to complete Photography 201, Food Photography as well as Portraiture. I was even taking classes when I was in my hospital bed at home, laid up with my broken femur!

So before I tell you and show you what I finally did accomplish today with the new FujiX-T4. Here are some of my favourite shots from last year:

A beautiful vintage Barracuda in the Plant City Strawberry Classic Cruise-In February 2020. Little did we know this would be the last time we would be in Florida in 2020 Loving cars as much as I do, I love the reflection I was able to catch in the paint on this ‘Cuda.

Ice on the railing at Niagara Falls. This was the first time I was shooting at the Falls and I couldn’t seem to capture the falls properly because I only had the “kit” lens on the camera by this point. So instead of capturing the Falls, I shot the railing. Love the depth of field (Close up is in focus).

Maple syrup making at the Kabin in March 2020. We love going up to our very good friend’s Kabin to make maple syrup. On this day it was lightly snowing and I thought this shot of the maple syrup cabin looked like a picture post card! After this March weekend, everything got locked down and we couldn’t go back up to help finish off the maple syrup production. We miss our weekends at the Kabin.

Power lines by Queenston/Lewiston bridge in Niagara Falls. I love the curved and straight lines in the photo and how “gritty” the images look in B&W.

There was something neat about just shooting part of Richard’s face and hat and I love the bright red colour against the grey winter’s day.

BOKEH! Learning how to shoot bokeh (big circles in light) in photography class.

Abstract image of a rusted old train light at the train museum in Fort Erie. I like the green colour against the rust and dark shadows.

First cardinal of spring shot in Point Abino, Fort Erie. We waited and waited for some colour in the spring, as we were locked down and everything was grey and dirty, before the trees started to bud. The colourful cardinal was so welcomed, as I waited patiently beside a building, so the birds wouldn’t see me.

Landscape of Nations: Six Nations and Native Allies Commemorative Memorial at Queenston Heights. I love the framing of the monument. Very edgy...again I love B&W.

Robin Hood Flour Mill in Port Colborne, When we were in our most “locked down“ time in 2020 and I was working from home, we would get in the car and drive aimlessly looking for something to shoot. After we had done our daily walks, we needed to venture out a bit further outside of Fort Erie, and with “Port” being 15 minutes down the road, it was natural we would end up here. I loved traipsing around trying to find the best angle to shoot the old flour mill.

Sunrise on Lake Erie, with Buffalo skyline. I would often get up early in Fort Erie to try to capture the sunrise. On this spring day there was a perfect sunrise reflecting off Lake Erie. The Lake is not always the calmest lake, but on this day it was very peaceful.

Waverly Beach, Fort Erie. I worked from home every day from March 13th, 2020 til November 3rd, 2020. Every day after work we would head off for a walk so I could blow off some steam, get some exercise and take some photos. One day someone had put a Canadian flag in the water at Waverly Beach, just down from our home. At the same time as I went to shoot the photo, the Canada geese flew over. A perfectly Canadian composed photo! I submitted this photo to our local Fort Erie paper and they published it for the Canada Day edition! My first published photo!

Fruit splash shot with bokeh. I was practising this tricky shot by myself one night after taking Photography 201. I think I was thoroughly soaked by the time I stopped dropping the strawberry in the small glass container!

Old Fort Erie wooden fence with dandelions in B&W. On another daily walk in the spring we were going by the Old Fort and I thought the photo would look great in B&W.

The old pier in Erie Beach, shot from our backyard beach using a wide angle lens At sunset. The old pier has been smashed again since we left Fort Erie on November 3rd and there will be less of it to photograph when we are back home. I love these big sky evenings we get on the Lake. A photographer’s dream!

Waverly Beach in the fog. I was waiting so long for some fog, to be able to run down to Waverly forest to take some photos. I love the eerie, creepy look that fog gives to a photo. Finally one late afternoon, after work, the fog started rolling in off Lake Erie, and I told Richard I was running down the street to try and get the fog in the forest. I was pretty pleased with how this photo turned out!

Fishing off a kayak on Lake Erie. I was working at home in the summer when all of a sudden this guy is fishing off his kayak. I grabbed my camera off my desk and started shooting from my office at home. I love the nothingness of the blue around the green kayak.

Food porn! Summer salad from our garden, freshly made with colourful tomatoes and basil on Porches pottery from Portugal. There are so many good things going on in this shot from the balsamic dripping off the tomatoes, to the contrasting colours.

And then this happened...June 20th. Not a great day, but it was part of my 2020, so I had to share. My leg is still healing, but at least the surgeon did a great job and all of my health practitioners since have helped me to regain my ability to walk, golf and keep doing more photography!

My first swim in August after not being able to go in the pool all summer. It was so nice to take the brace off and get into the pool. Photo courtesy of Richard.

My first walk after recovery down to Waverly Beach. October 2020. I love the sky in this shot that Richard took on auto mode with my Canon. I was very gingerly walking down the stone pier and was feeling crazy good that I had made it as far as the beach on our walk!

I will share our 2020 photography highlights from our RV trip with Newman and Jerry to Fanny Bay another day. It was nice to reminisce over the last year of having my Canon Rebel T7, but now its time for the new camera.

Introducing the new Fuji X-T4!!

The Fuji X-T4 is a digital mirrorless camera.

In a regular digital SLR camera, the mirror inside the camera reflects the light coming in through the lens, up to a prism and into the viewfinder, so you can preview your shot. When you press the shutter button, the mirror flips up, the shutter opens and the light hits the image sensor, which captures the final image.

The mirror less system is more straightforward than the Digital SLR camera. Instead of using a mirror to bounce light to the viewfinder and the sensor, the sensor is instead directly exposed to light. When the shutter button is pressed, a door slides up to cover the image sensor. The door will then slide down, exposing the sensor to light. After than, another door slides up to cover the sensor again, which stops exposure, taking the picture.

Why I went with a mirror less camera was: more lightweight, better image stabilization, higher shooting speed, better image colours, image quality and the ability to toggle quickly from shooting stills, to video, without going through a menu to do so.

After a full day, and I mean a very full day of trying to figure out the new Fuji, watching and listening to the torrential rain, I was pretty frustrated with the camera. I read the manual, watched a bunch of You Tube videos on how to set up the camera, and at one point I reached out to a Fuji X-T4 Facebook group for help. Finally a suggestion from someone on Facebook helped, and I was able to get the camera to focus. YEESH!!!

Today just 30 minutes before sunset, the rain finally stopped, coincident with me figuring out the new camera in automatic mode only. I will save tomorrow - another torrential rainy day - 15mm overnight and another 25mm tomorrow, to figure out shooting in Manual mode!

In no particular order, my first shots with the new camera!

Just as the sun was setting, the rain started coming down hard again, and I had to run (well actually walk running for me yet), to Newman for cover!

I’m pretty happy with the camera and the quality of the images so far! I have the rest of 2021 and beyond to become familiar with it!

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