Thursday, May 27, 2010

Back-lit water

Out for a stroll, I noticed how the early evening sun back-lit the lawn sprinklers. I thought it would make a picture, and it did.

And that really is it for London Daily Photo until sometime in July. The hiatus is on!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What are these flowers?

Shot with my new Canon PowerShot S90.
I know, I know, this blog is on hiatus. But, trimming a yew at my front entry, I noticed this flowering plant hiding under the dense, green foliage. It wasn't there last year and neither my wife nor I planted it. So, what is it? It sure is pretty.

Note how the reds and greens really pop. This is because they are complementary colours which means they are opposite each other on the colour wheel. The use of complementary colours is intrinsically a high-contrast approach.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A splash of colour, a drop of rain

This blog is on hiatus. See my previous post for an explanation on why I won't be posting again until sometime in July.

But today I took Fiona out to inspect the garden foliage and flowers after the rain stopped. I had to return with my camera to share some of the images.

Now, what was I saying about taking a much needed break?

--- All shots taken with my new Canon S90. I am very happy with my new camera but it takes some getting used to. ---

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New people, an important part of town

Shot with my Canon PowerShot S90. An excellent little camera.

I've run Fiona before, and I'll probably run her again. Allow me to explain why.

Bloggers who post daily photos from cities and towns around the world often show urban sites --- or should I say sights? I find the images of cityscapes from around the globe very interesting. Often the pictures show new buildings of which the blogger is extremely proud. But cities enjoy more than just a constant stream of new buildings; They enjoy a constant stream of new people.

Fiona belongs to the London stream. She is a new resident of Southwestern Ontario. As young as she is, she is most certainly not the the newest resident. This stream of people is large and fast moving. Of course, Fiona is still moving through headwater territory; Me, her grandfather, I'm moving rather quickly to the end of this river.

Fiona may be only a little more than eight months old but she has quite the sense of humour. She loves to giggle with the baby in the hallway mirror. Once, while I was holding her, she grasped the mirror on the our antique umbrella stand and pulled herself forward in order to peek behind the mirror. Discovering that there was no one there, she looked back at me with a puzzled expression.

The baby in the framed photo looks a lot like the baby in the mirror, except this tyke doesn't move. This baby is frozen in time and trapped immobile in a frame. Fiona can hold this picture in her two hands and rotate it and turn it and whenever she glances the actual image, the baby is always there.

For Fiona the picture is a constant delight. I hope today's picture is a delight for you.

À bientôt!

And now I must say, "À bientôt!" In a little more than a week, my wife and I are heading off for a 40 day adventure. We're driving across the United States and Canada in my aging Morgan. The car and I got old together. It is question which one of us will break down first.

I have bought a Canon PowerShot S90 and a Fuji HS10, complete with spare batteries, for documenting our trip and I am bringing a Dell Studio XPS with an SSD drive for filing the occasional story from the road. And I finally got a cell phone and a GPS.

My daughter, her husband and Fiona are keeping the home fires burning, the lawn cut and weeds pulled, by living in our home while we are gone. This is wonderful. Fiona will think of our home as her home and she will be even more comfortable when visiting us in the future.

I'll be filing stories and pictures to Rockinon: Travel when I get the opportunity.

Hope to see you all back here sometime in July,
Rockinon (Ken Wightman)

Some of my favourite pictures from London Daily Photo.

Northern Walking Stick
Evening Mist
Captain Rex --- possibly my most frequently hit image. Even Lucusfilm in California has visited.
London Lobster --- this is another frequently hit picture. I shot this right at the dinner table.
A Drop of Rain

I hope you had some favourites, too. Cheers!

Monday, May 17, 2010


It seems to me that I'm often confronted by articles claiming that folk today are in very poor shape compared to their counterparts in the 1950s. I wondered what was being said about fitness sixty years ago.

Surprise! Surprise! Word back then was that American kids were out of shape --- especially when compared to European children. In December 1953, Dr. Hans Kraus, M.D., associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at New York University, claimed the United States was becoming soft.

He said that 56 percent of  U.S. students failed at least one component of a comprehensive fitness test while 92 percent of European children passed the same test. A few years after this Canadians were being told that some mythical Swede outperformed them. I say mythical because later the government admitted that the whole Swede story was made up to embarrass Canadians into exercising. (It worked, and the myth is still repeated.)

One thing I am sure has changed over the intervening sixty years: many seniors are in better physical condition today than their counterparts from the 1950s.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fishing on the Maitland River

The South Maitland River is a stream located about an hour and a half north of London, Ontario. Fishermen take a variety of fish from the Maitland, including small mouth bass, rainbow trout and white perch. According to Hook and Bullet, "If all goes well, the white perch will be hooked by your crickets, the small mouth will be biting your maggots and the rainbow will be grabbing your wax worms."


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Known 'em since hatching

Shot with my new Fuji HS10. The lens is everything I hoped.

Another shot from my Fuji HS10.
The ducks and geese at Springbank Park are used to being fed, but they do like to keep a little distance. But with this lady the birds literally eat right out of her hand --- and slowly, gently, with confidence steeped in trust. It appeared this lady and the birds were friends.

When asked, she said that she had been feeding these birds since the day they hatched. These birds now come not at the sight of a handout but at the sound of this woman's voice.

Like I said, these birds and this lady are friends.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Swarming, sex-craving ants

There were ants swarming everywhere in Springbank Park a couple of weeks ago. Some sections of curb were a quarter inch thick with swarming ants for 50-feet or more. I'm pretty sure they were ants. I checked the Internet and PennState says its easy to tell ants. Just check their waists. "The waists of ants are thin and appear to be constricted . . ."

So since the swarming ants were along the curbs in the London park, I think it is safe to say these were "pavement ants." These ants are normally slow, sluggish, short-legged, and often nest under pavements and foundations.

According to PennState: Usually in the early spring and late summer these ants leave the nest and swarm. Females and males mate and the males die soon after. (I guess we can add another thing these ants like to do on pavement and near foundations: have sex.)

The mated female , now a queen, is soon laying eggs. She feeds and cares for the first generation until they are mature adults. After that they and succeeding generations care for her. She remains in the nest producing eggs the remainder of her life.

Oh, about that waist-checking advice, I wouldn't bother. PennState adds: "Respect these small insects since they do bite and some can also sting." In other words, if you can see this waist you're way too close.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Green Trilliums

I thought the green striped trilliums were really cool. They are --- but they are also diseased. The green striped trillium at the top of the picture is the same as the three flowers below, except for one thing, It is infected with the bacterium Mycoplasmas.

The infection causes the normally white flowers to exhibit varying amounts of green in the blooms. In fact, sometimes the entire trillium is green rather than white. The disease also distorts the shape of the petals and may even cause the plant to have more than the usual three petals. Diseased trilliums have been know to have as many as six petals.

So the diseased trilliums are pretty and in a very dramatic fashion. Is there a downside? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Eventually, the affected trilliums die from the stress of the infection.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blue jay test

London Daily Photo has some new equipment. Two new cameras, a Canon S90 and a Fuji HS10, plus a new notebook computer - a Dell Studio 16 XPS with a 250GB SSD drive. Why all the new toys? LDP is about to go on a hiatus and Rockinon Travel will be getting a little needed attention.

You see, my wife and I are taking my Morgan and hitting the road come the end of the month. Our daughter, her husband and Miss Baby are going to keep the home fires burning while we are out gallivanting. (Maybe I should teach them to blog?)

We're going to drive right across the top of the U.S., hitting Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, and Yosemite before reaching the Pacific and visiting San Simeon. Then it is up the coast to San Francisco and then on up the coast all the way to Washington state.

Then we are heading into the mountains and north to Canada. Once in Canada, we are heading home.

It will be a long trip in an aging British roadster. But then, I am an aging British roadster owner. We were both new when we met some forty years ago. (Actually the Morgan was new; I already had a couple of decades under my belt.) No comment on my wife's age. She's ageless.

I'll try and blog whenever possible, posting both stories and photos.

Today's picture is a blue jay at our backyard feeder. It is not a great shot but it is interesting as it was shot from inside our kitchen through the window looking out onto our backyard. The Fuji has a 24mm to 720mm lens and it works well. Unfortunately, the small, electronic viewfinder goes dark when you take a picture and the camera does suffer from shutter lag. (I keep hunting for settings to minimize the drawbacks.) Mix these two minuses together and you have a situation that many would find intolerable.

When I am more familiar with both cameras, I'll post a review on the Rockinon photo blog.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

April showers are a month late

It has been cool lately, frosty in fact, but it has also been very wet --- lots of rain. It even snowed briefly this morning. Luckily it did not keep snowing. With the leaves already on the trees, snow can linger on the limbs of the larger, aging trees and tear limbs free if too much snow falls.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Red-Winged Blackbird

A red-winged blackbird at a backyard feeder in London, Ontario, Canada.

I thought that red-winged blackbirds were mainly birds of marsh areas as they are very common in the wetlands bordering Lake Erie. But, I guess I was wrong as they are very common this spring at our bird feeder.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

PodCamp London

Steve Groves: Ldn. Free Press web strategist.
This weekend was Podcast London. There is a strong "geek" community here in London, Ontario. I use the word geek because the group of computer wizards themselves use the term in a humorous, modest manner.

An intrigued Ryan Wiseman, left, meets with Nick Wynja.
These are bright, in many cases brilliant, people. And Saturday they shared some of their knowledge.

A young man, Nick Wynja, gave a demonstration on shooting and editing video using nothing more than an iPhone. He can have the finished ready-for-air clip back at the television station before the competition has returned to their cars.

Newspapers, with their growing Internet video presence, could also use this technology to advantage.

Work at a paper? Check out this VeriCoder Technology link and their 1st Video app.

An sound editor is a word conductor.
Another speaker talked about editing sound with respect. He approached a speech recording as others might approach a piece of music.

There is a rhythm, a cadence, to our speech. John Meadows told us, "If people can hear your edit, your edit isn't working."
Rod Lucier points to the Creative Commons symbols in use.
Rodd Lucier, left, discussed copyright and the  development of the Creative Commons designations and symbols.

For an explanation of the various CC symbols, check out the Creative Commons site.

All images shot at the event are covered under the Creative Commons designation.

It spells NUJV. Huh?
Speaker, Nik Harron, told the audience the Beatles, in this famous picture, are spelling out a word in semaphore and it isn't "Help." Spelling help was the original idea but it was decided "those letters didn't look good." NUJV appears in the picture. 

I think that is another way to spell "Oops!" 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sprouting signs

The chap tilling his garden is a fellow with whom I once worked. He has a home bordering the coves just west of the city core. The coves are formed by an oxbow in the Thames River as it leaves London. The soil is fairly good but a bit sandy when you dig down. I don't know for sure, but my guess is that the billboard on his property yields a better return than the vegetables he grows each year.

Friday, May 7, 2010

By request_Little Miss Baby

Had a couple of requests for Little Miss Baby. Now into her eighth month, Little Miss Baby is developing quite the personality. She loves to laugh and giggle. Sometimes she laughs so long and so hard that she gets the hiccups.

The New York Times had an interested piece on The Moral Life of Babies. Jean-Jacques Rousseau apparently called babies “perfect idiots.” Rousseau obviously didn't spend much time around babies, but he certainly did make a perfect idiot of himself with his insight.

If you want proof that babies are able to think, check out my video of my manipulative little eight-month-old granddaughter. Now, what's the morality of this?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh Canada. . .

I've featured this downtown London building before but I just loved the way the Canadian Maple Leaf flag lined up with the building in this shot.

Before Canada had the red maple leaf adorned flag we had the Canadian Red Ensign. The Red Ensign carried the Union Jack in a corner as part of its design.

I guess feelings are still running a little high over the dropping of the Red Ensign as I was actually stopped on the street by a gentleman who noticed me shooting today's picture. He wanted to discuss the loss of the Red Ensign --- a loss that happen about 45 years ago in 1965.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rain Moves Across City

Southwestern Ontario is known for the flatness of the countryside. That said, there is a glacial moraine running across the southern end of London and I am lucky enough to live high on the slope. When a storm moves across the city, there is a get a great view from the end of Lookout Court. At times, one can actually watch the wall of rainwater crossing the city.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Creeping Charlie on the Move

Taken with a Canon PowerShot S90.
Creeping Charlie is a type of ground ivy which releases a strong aroma when cut. I rather enjoy mowing my spreading patch of creeping Charlie. The pleasant aroma makes mowing the lawn a little more pleasurable.

Native to Europe, creeping Charlie was intentionally brought to North America by European settlers. Today it is found much of the U.S. and Canada.

Landscapers consider creeping Charlie a lawn weed and not a beautiful wild ground cover. They will expend a lot of energy trying to get rid of it. They often fail. There was a time that they would use repeated applications of 2-4-D in an attempt to eradicate it but that time has past in Ontario.

The provincial government, backed by medical experts – like the Canadian Cancer Society – believe we should be reducing our exposure to pesticides. Children, who often play on lawns, are particularly susceptible to the potential toxic effects of pesticides. 

Ontario’s pesticides ban came into effect on Earth Day, April 22, 2009. Today, Ontario lawns are home to creeping Charlie and dandelions along with Kentucky bluegrass.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Not the brick for which London was once known

There are a lot of older yellow brick buildings in London. Of course, most of these are homes. The bricks in these home were, and still are, good bricks. Unlike today's product, the beauty of these old bricks was not just skin deep.

When you see warm brick today, it is often red brick with the surface coloured. This brick quickly begins to lose its looks. As the surface flakes off, the red interior becomes visible.

Oh well, in lots of cases no one will notice the flaking because the graffiti will distract us. Why every brick wall is not treated to repel graffiti is beyond me. There are a number of excellent products to make it easy to quickly wash spray-painted-graffiti from walls.

The wall pictured is one that runs beside Southdale Road. Walls similar to this line many of the busiest roads in London. They hide the view of traffic from residents and mute much of the accompanying street noise.

Note the true red colour of the brick now visible in a number of areas.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Morgan Run in the Rain

It was supposed to storm in London yesterday. It was supposed to storm right across Southwestern Ontario. I was supposed to drive from London to Burlington in my Morgan to meet up with a number of other Morgan owners for a group run up, down, and around the Niagara escarpment. I wimped out; I didn't make the drive, at least not in my Morgan. I drove down with another Morgan owner in what the club members call a tin-top.

Despite the forecast, many of the cars arrived at the departure point with their tops down. English roadsters can be very uncomfortable when it is warm and humid. Almost all agreed it was better to be wet with the top down than dry, or almost dry, cooped up inside the small sportscar, sealed inside the hot, humid, exceedingly small space.

But the weather cleared, blue sky could be seen and all was right with the world. Don't be fooled by the chap forced to do some emergency repairs. It just wouldn't be a Morgan run without someone taking the time to do a little repair.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Provincial flower - the Trillium

The large, white trillium is the provincial flower of Ontario. Although some claim the trillium is rare, it isn't. Acres of the flowers will soon brighten many a forest floor across the province. Another myth is that it is against the law to pick trilliums. No Ontario law specifically protects the provincial emblem. That said, it is illegal to pick any wild plant in a provincial park, and that includes trilliums. And I'd say picking wild flowers in any public park, even municipal, is asking for trouble. Look but don't touch. If you must take something, take a picture. And speaking of pictures, this trillium is in Warbler Woods off Commissioners Road in southwest London.

There are thousands of trilliums growing wild in Warbler Woods in London.