Upcoming switch away from wordpress.com

I mentioned toward the end of last year that I was considering migrating the hosting of Montreal in Pictures blog away from WordPress.com. I am now close to pushing the button and so wanted to give those of you who follow my blog a little preview of my new site over at montrealinpictures.com.

montrealinpictures.com

I decided to go with the Photocrati theme and signed up for hosting through Bluehost and despite a few trials and tribulations of getting the image links correct (of which there were 4,000+) and re-sizing the images to fit the new template, it wasn’t such a daunting experience.

So why move away from the comfort of hosting (for free) on WordPress you may ask ?

Good question.

I was (and still am to a certain point) concerned that leaving wordpress.com would result in losing the visitors that find my blog through the WordPress community.

That being said though, I think there are advantages to switching, namely the large selection of plugins and the ability to monetize – fingers crossed on the last one ;-)

The new site is pretty much the same as montrealinpictures.wordpress.com with the only key addition being an online store where I hope I may be able to sell the odd image to help cover the hosting fees and buy the odd coffee :-)

Hopefully – if I don’t come across too many bugs – I will make the final switch this weekend before my next post.  Before then, if you have a spare moment feel free to pop on over to montrealinpictures.com and let me know if you find any issues. I’ve tested on various browsers and everything seems to work fine, but I will be surprised if there aren’t one or two bugs waiting to surprise me :-/

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

- Martin

Project 52 – Week 2: A few shots around the Old Port

I had planned to go visit the Snow Village over at Parc Jean Drapeau on Ile Saint Hélène last Sunday but decided that pouring rain wasn’t the best conditions to photograph it. At least I have until March and hopefully better weather to go shoot there.

Thankfully yesterday the weather had brightened up and so I went for a quick walk around the Old Port just before sunset. The recent days of warm weather (if you can call +6 warm) and rain has not been welcome to someone like me who enjoys photographing snow scenes, but the rapid thaw did have the advantage of leaving some big puddles to capture the odd reflection. In particular I was pleased to find I was able to capture a nice reflection of the Clock Tower on the Quai d’Horloge.

Reflection: Clock Tower, Old Port

Reflection: Clock Tower, Old Port
ISO 100 – 12mm – f8 – 1/45 sec (-2ev/0/+2ev)

Something that I wanted to check out was the recently established Ice Fishing Village at the marina next to the Quai d’Horloge. I believe this is the first time that an Ice Fishing village has been set up at the marina – just hope the cold weather returns else it will have been a short ice fishing season. If the weather is cooperative then you have until March 31 to check it out.

Ice fishing village in Old Montreal

Ice fishing village in Old Montreal
ISO 100 – 15mm – f8 – 1/125 sec (-2ev/0/+2ev)

Ice fishing village in the Old Port of Montreal

Ice fishing village in the Old Port of Montreal
ISO 100 – 42mm – f4.8 – 1/125 sec (-2ev/0/+2ev)

As I was walking back from the Quai d’Horloge I noticed some interesting cloud formations over downtown and the setting sun was producing some wonderful light that I just had to try and capture.

Montreal skyline bathed in light

Montreal skyline bathed in light
ISO 100 – 98mm – f5.6 – 1/350 sec (-2ev/0/+2ev)

Montreal Skyline in Yellow

Montreal Skyline in Yellow
ISO 100 – 105mm – f5.6 – 1/1500 sec

Despite the recent warm weather at least people were still able to enjoy some ice skating at the Bassin Bonsecours ice rink, although the larger section was closed off .

Ice skating at Bassin Bonsecours

Ice skating at Bassin Bonsecours
ISO 100 – 40mm – f22 – 1/10 sec

Montreal skyline

Montreal skyline
ISO 100 – 10mm – f11 – 1/20 sec (-2ev/0/+2ev)

I wandered along the Promenade du Vieux Port and found a ship moored alongside the Quai des Convoyeurs. The quay is notable for the tall marine tower standing at the end of the dock. Built in the mid-50’s the tower was a conveyor used to unload ships of grain. If you saw the film Bon Cop, Bad Cop you will likely recognize the tower and quay from the final scene.

Quai des Convoyeurs

Quai des Convoyeurs
ISO 100 – 28mm – f9.5 – 0.7 sec (-2ev/0/+2ev)

Quai des Convoyeurs

Quai des Convoyeurs
ISO 100 – 30mm – f11 – 1 sec (-2ev/0/+2ev)

While I was in the immediate area I thought I might as well take a shot of the Bota Bota Spa next to Silo 5 with Habitat 67 across the water.

BOTA BOTA Spa and Habitat 67

BOTA BOTA Spa and Habitat 67
ISO 100 – 18mm – f8 – 0.7 sec (-2ev/0/+2ev)

My final shot for this week’s post is of the iconic Farine Five Roses neon sign. Just as I was about to leave, the lamps along the Promenade du Vieux Port came on and so I took the shot of the sign in the distance with the lamps providing a nice added interest and leading line.

Farine Five Roses neon sign

Farine Five Roses neon sign
ISO 100 – 165mm – f8 – 1/8 sec

To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

– Martin

Photo mosaics using Mazaika

I was sifting through my pics from last year earlier today when I thought it might be cool to produce a mosaic from all the images. Following a quick Google search, I came across this nifty software from Mazaika that does a pretty amazing job of taking your images and rendering them into a target image that you want to produce the mosaic of.

Here are a few quick results I ended up with.

Square Saint Louis Mosaic

Square Saint Louis Mosaic

Plateau Mosaic

Plateau Mosaic

Saint Joseph"s Oratory Mosaic

Saint Joseph”s Oratory Mosaic

Montreal Skyline Mosaic

Montreal Skyline Mosaic

Montreal Skyline Mosaic

Montreal Skyline Mosaic

Restaurant on rue Saint Paul Mosaic

Restaurant on rue Saint Paul Mosaic

Sunset over Montreal City Hall Mosaic

Sunset over Montreal City Hall Mosaic

The process is amazingly quick given the number of images the software had to render.

I hope to work on a few more images while I have the free 30 day trial. It gave me a few interesting project ideas for the future and I’ll keep you posted on developments…First though, I need to play with more of the settings and see what they look like printed large – might make for a nice new picture to hang on my wall :-)

Mazaika also offer another image manipulation software tool called Photo Jumble which I downloaded the 15 day free trial but not yet had a chance to play with it. From what I understand, it produces mosaics/collages but allows you to select non regular sized images with different aspect ratios and rotate layers. I’ll be sure to share any results if I get some time to play before the free trial deadline elapses.

To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

– Martin

Project 52 – Week 1: More snow comes to Montreal

To kick off the new Project 52 (where I plan to take a picture at least once a week throughout the year), I ventured out yesterday (Jan 6) into another snow storm and grabbed some shots up on avenue du Parc and Parc Jeanne-Mance.

I’m pretty sure some people who are still waiting for the city to remove the snow from their street after the mega storm of December 27 were discouraged to have another 5-10cm, but for those who love the snow (me included) it made everything nice and white again.

For this week’s image I selected a traffic light on Parc avenue set against a backdrop of snow covered trees. With hindsight I should have shot the light when it was green to convey the start of a new project, but this was taken on my way to brunch and I needed my coffee badly ;-)

Traffic light in the snow

Traffic light in the snow
ISO 100 – 230mm – f11 – 1/90 sec

As with my 365 Project, I will likely be posting more than 1 shot and despite the fairly heavy snow falling while I was out on my mini photo walk, I managed to get quite a few shots yesterday.

This next one is looking down avenue du Parc toward the city skyline. I’ve shot from this location a number of times, but I liked how the skyline was almost obscured by the falling snow.

Montreal skyline softened by snow

Montreal skyline softened by snow
ISO 100 – 70mm – f9.5 – 1/125 sec

The next shot was taken out of focus on purpose ;-) I’m keen to experiment with taking pictures that are out of focus which provide the viewer with enough context of what the image is of, but allows for some ambiguity. I’m not sure this really does that, but I still quite liked the outcome.

Walker in the blizzard

Walker in the blizzard
ISO 100 – 300mm – f5.6 – 1/350 sec

Given there was a mini blizzard at the time, I was happy that a shot I took of the Hospitalières de Saint Joseph dome on avenue des Pins actually came out quite clear.

Hospitalières de Saint Joseph dome

Hospitalières de Saint Joseph dome
ISO 100 – 185mm – f5 – 1/500 sec

This kid was certainly happy to see more snow. I didn’t make it as far as the hill on the corner of Parc and avenue du Mont Royal, but I guess there were a lot of other kids (and adults) enjoying a sunday out with their toboggan’s.

Playing under the gaze of the George Étienne Cartier monument

Playing under the gaze of the George Étienne Cartier monument
ISO 100 – 165mm – f5.6 – 1/180 sec

I thought I would try to capture some of the colourful playground apparatus on Parc Jeanne-Mance against the almost monochrome backdrop of snow and trees.

Playground in the snow

Playground in the snow
ISO 100 – 135mm – f4.8 – 1/350 sec

Playground in the snow

Playground in the snow
ISO 100 – 140mm – f4.8 – 1/250 sec

If you have followed the Montreal in Pictures blog for long, you will know I always jump at the chance to capture a bike. This one had obviously been left for a while as it was almost completely buried by the snow storm of the 27th. I may have to go back at night and re-shoot this when the street lamp is on.

Buried bike in the snow

Buried bike in the snow
ISO 100 – 70mm – f4.8 – 1/500 sec

For those who follow hockey (or not), you will likely have heard the BIG news yesterday that the NHL lockout is likely over following a 16 hour negotiation between owners and players representatives. Good news for downtown businesses that have been affected by drop in business from the lack of games…

Game on

Game on
ISO 100 – 70mm – f4.5 – 1/500 sec

To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.

It was good to be out shooting again after a few days off. Maybe this week I will head on over to the Ice Village which opened for business last weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.

– Martin

A review of 2012 and 366 days of picture taking

January 6 2013

I hope 2013 has started well for everyone !

Having taken a few days after the New Year to reflect on the passing of 2012 and the finalization of my 365 Project, I thought I would share some highlights of the past year when I decided to re-kindle my passion for photography.

First, some numbers…having worked for 7+ years in market research, I still have a passion for numbers:

  • Photographs taken: 20,000

Well this is what I have in my Lightroom 2012 folder. It doesn’t include the thousands of images taken for the few time-lapse films I shot, or the hundreds (if not thousands) of images that I didn’t save due to their poor quality – there’s probably still a few thousand I could happily delete. Quite a few were bracketed shots for producing HDR images. Still, I can probably say I took around 50 ‘reasonable’ shots per day during 2012 – a few more than the 1 per day I set out to take ;-)

  • Photographs posted: 4,000

For me, this is probably a more interesting statistic since these were the ones I felt to be decent enough to share publicly. If I consider I spent on average 5 minutes processing each image, I start to see where my year was spent – over 300 hours pushing sliders in Lightroom – good job I enjoy the post processing as much as taking the photograph :-)

One regret though…I wish I had worn a pedometer during my photowalks. I know some days I covered quite large distances. In fact 1 week I estimated I had walked about 70km…something to consider if I ever do another 365 project.

In case you want to see the daily images posted over the year, I’ve updated the pages showing the picture of the day by month, or if you prefer, I put together a little slideshow to save you clicking through 366 images:

Each image holds a particular memory for me and is one of the great outcomes of the project and is certainly something I would attempt again and encourage others to do the same. Some days were extremely tough either due to the lack of inspiration, time restriction or inclement weather.

Although I have a number of favorite images taken over the year, I wanted to highlight my own 12 favorite pics of 2012.

I would love to know which your favorites were. I have an album over on Facebook which you can always flip through and hit the like button on your favs ;-)

I’m hoping one day soon to get around to creating a book using Blurb (or one of the other self-publishing tools). Does anyone have any recommendations for which service to use ?

So enough of the past…what for 2013 ?

Today was actually the first day I went out specifically looking to shoot since completing the 365 project. As I mentioned in my last post of 2012, I intend to complete a 52 Project in 2013, which given I will have less time to dedicate to photography will hopefully force me to keep shooting and improve my photography skills. 6 days into the New Year, I was cutting it close to not making the first week, but I’ll be posting a few images from today within the next 24 hours.

There are quite a few places I didn’t get to photograph in 2012, so I want to try and explore more areas of Montreal (as well as outside the city) this year.

Another big wish for 2013 is that I would really like to learn more about making time-lapse movies and hope that without the need to shoot each day I will find a little time to dedicate to this pursuit.

So what plans do you have for 2013 ? Anyone starting (or continuing) their own 365 project ?

Whatever your plans….I wish you the very best for 2013.

Thanks for stopping by.

– Martin

Project 365 – Leap year bonus day: Happy New Year and the end of a journey

December 31 2012

Today marks the end of my 365 (+1) project. Although it comes as a relief to have completed what began as the spur of a moment idea of taking and sharing a photo each day throughout 2012, I’m also sad to see it end.

Knowing that people were actually enjoying seeing my pictures everyday really gave me the encouragement necessary to reach the end – so a huge thanks to you all.

I was hoping to post something special for my last day – maybe a shot of the Milky Way from a mountain top, or a stunning sunset, but since today was overcast, those weren’t going to fly. Another idea was to go shoot the Firework display at midnight, but then that would have been too late to count as being shot today.

Instead, I ended up going down to Old Montreal late afternoon…at least I managed to get a shot of the stage for the festivities planned later in the evening with the backdrop of Bonne Année…

Bonne Année

Bonne Année
ISO 100 – 85mm – f11 – 0.5 sec

Montreal City Hall

Montreal City Hall
ISO 100 – 10mm – f4 – 1 sec

Montreal City Hall

Montreal City Hall
ISO 100 – 30mm – f5.6 – 1.5 sec

rue de la Commune

rue de la Commune
ISO 100 – 70mm – f11 – 4 sec

Old Montreal

Old Montreal
ISO 100 – 70mm – f4.5 – 1/3 sec

rue saint Paul

rue saint Paul
ISO 100 – 10mm – f4 – 1/3 sec

Place d'Armes

Place d’Armes
ISO 100 – 10mm – f4 – 0.7 sec

To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.

So now my 365Project is over, what now? Although I won’t be undertaking another 365 Project (not yet anyway), I plan to continue photographing places and events in and around Montreal – I still have a lot of places yet to shoot. With a new job on the horizon I won’t have so much time available, but maybe a Project 52 will be manageable and still give me the impetus to get out shooting whenever I can.

I’m also planning on publishing a selection of images in a book which will be another learning experience – probably using Blurb.

So what plans do you have for 2013? Whatever they are, I wish you a great, fun, healthy and prosperous 2013 !!!

– Martin

 

Project 365 – Day 365: Montréal under snow

December 30 2012

Back to a snow buried Montreal after our short visit to Québec City. Montreal is still recovering from last Thursday’s record single day snow fall of 45 cm. It was a beautiful sunny winter day today but the strong wind gave a wind chill of minus 20 and caused blowing snow across the city. Not that pleasant to be walking around, but made for some nice photo’s.

So after brunching on avenue Duluth, we took a quick walk around the adjacent streets on the Plateau.

Blowing snow on rue Prince Arthur

Blowing snow on rue Prince Arthur
ISO 100 – 75mm – f8 – 1/125 sec

impressive snow bank on rue Prince Arthur

impressive snow bank on rue Prince Arthur
ISO 100 – 90mm – f8 – 1/125 sec

Blowing snow on rue Prince Arthur

Blowing snow on rue Prince Arthur
ISO 100 – 62mm – f8 – 1/125 sec

 

rue Prince Arthur

rue Prince Arthur
ISO 100 – 26mm – f4.8 – 1/250 sec

rue Prince Arthur

rue Prince Arthur
ISO 100 – 40mm – f4.8 – 1/750 sec

There were a lot of people on their way to enjoy some cross country skiing, although they could have skied from their front door ;-)

Useful mode of transport around town

Useful mode of transport around town
ISO 100 – 18mm – f4.8 – 1/350 sec

 

Useful mode of transport around town

Useful mode of transport around town
ISO 100 – 20mm – f13 – 1/45 sec

Others had an even easier and fun way to get around town…

Best mode of transport

Best mode of transport
ISO 100 – 75mm – f16 – 1/90 sec

Cycling is probably not as fun…

Bicycle in the snow

Bicycle in the snow
ISO 100 – 16mm – f11 – 1/20 sec

Although you have to find your bike first !!!

Bicycle in the snow

Bicycle in the snow
ISO 100 – 70mm – f13 – 1/90 sec

The iconic Montreal staircases make for more shoveling after a heavy snow fall…

Plateau staircase under snow

Plateau staircase under snow
ISO 100 – 58mm – f5 – 1/60 sec

Plateau staircase under snow

Plateau staircase under snow
ISO 100 – 18mm – f4.8 – 1/30 sec

Plateau staircase under snow

Plateau staircase under snow
ISO 100 – 13mm – f8 – 1/125 sec

I hope the folks living here have another entrance…

One way to deter burglary

One way to deter burglary
ISO 100 – 58mm – f5 – 1/60 sec

Snow filled alley

Snow filled alley
ISO 100 – 18mm – f4.8 – 1/250 sec

Avenue Duluth

Avenue Duluth
ISO 100 – 70mm – f13 – 1/125 sec

Le Plateau under snow

Le Plateau under snow
ISO 100 – 70mm – f16 – 1/90 sec

rue Saint Urbain

rue Saint Urbain
ISO 100 – 105mm – f8 – 1/60 sec

Avenue du Parc

Avenue du Parc
ISO 100 – 70mm – f4.5 – 1/1000 sec

They say that after 20cm of snow the cost for snow removal is around $17 million and takes on average 4 days. With 45cm to cart away, they are saying it will take about 10 days to clear all the streets.

Forecasting 10 days for snow removal

Forecasting 10 days for snow removal
ISO 100 – 18mm – f3.5 – 1/90 sec

To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.

 

Although today is day 365 of my 365 project, being a leap year I will be posting a bonus day of images tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

– Martin

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