VSCO pesto

Earlier this week, there was some really great light in my backyard (a rarity this year, when all we seem to be getting is dreary, cloudy skies) and it was hitting our potted basil just so, begging me to take out the camera.

I always set my Fujifilm X-T1 to shoot in RAW+JPEG mode, with the intention of using the JPG and maybe messing around a little with the RAW if I didn’t like how the JPG turned out.

Anyhow, to my eye, the straight-out-of-camera JPG was perfect. Great colours, tonality, no blown out highlights, nice blacked out background (a fence in the shade of a 50′ maple tree). Perfect.

But what if I were to process the RAW image using some VSCO film emulations? Just for kicks?

Never having really shot film (I only started getting serious about photography in the digital era), I’ve nonetheless always liked the look of film, and have enjoyed using VSCO’s film emulations in Lightroom to get something that approaches a more analog look. Digital images have a tendency of being too, um, clinical to my eye. VSCO takes off the edges.

VSCO does an admirable job of emulating numerous slide and negative films from years gone by. I don’t really care that the “films” aren’t real, I don’t really care that the emulations aren’t perfect, and I certainly don’t really care what pedantic photo snobs have to say about VSCO (or any other of the countless film emulations out there). I just like the look that VSCO can provide in a single click. Each film emulation has its own personality, look and feel. Not each emulation is well-suited to each subject or lighting condition. Just like real film.

So here is my potted basil plant, 9 ways. The first is the out-of-camera JPG, and the other eight were processed in Lightroom using a different VSCO film emulation. Apart from the square crop and having set the while balance to daytime (5500K), no other changes were made.

Which emulation do you prefer for this kind of subject?

(Click on a thumbnail to see it full screen.)

#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1495731674332_51234 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid { margin-right: -15px; }
#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1495731674332_51234 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; }

Photo Essay #11: Greens and blues

For the 11th photo essay of my 100 X, I present to you a short study on greens and blues, ever so slightly muted.

View fullsize

Greens and blues #1Greens and blues #1

There’s something about this colour palette that evokes summer, but not quite. It’s full of promise, just like springtime.

View fullsize

Greens and blues #2Greens and blues #2

#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1495377898531_39283 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid { margin-right: -10px; }
#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1495377898531_39283 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; }

The tulip mania continues

The first Saturday of the 65th annual Canadian Tulip Festival was a little gray and rainy. That didn’t stop people from coming out and checking out the action (so to speak) at Commissioner’s Park just beside Dow’s Lake.

Many of the bulbs are in full bloom, but some—notably the Canada 150—still have a ways to go.

Click on an image to see it full-size.

#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1494776516493_16768 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid { margin-right: -20px; }
#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1494776516493_16768 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 20px; margin-bottom: 20px; }

All shot with my X-T1 and 16mm f/1.4 combo.

Photo Essay #10: Tulip season in Ottawa

Every May, no matter how long, short, cold or mild the preceding winter was, the tulips come out. Sometimes a week early, sometimes a week late, but they always come out.

The city of Ottawa is host to the annual Canadian Tulip Festival (starting today!) which is now in its 65th year. Over 1,000,000 bulbs are planted for the tulip festival, spread amongst several locales around the city, such as Major’s Hill Park and Commissioner’s Park (which is host to over 250,000 tulips on its own).

The tulip festival is the offshoot of a long-standing and very special relationship between Holland and Canada:

In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for Canadians having sheltered Princess Juliana and her daughters for the preceding three years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, in the Second World War.

The most noteworthy event during their time in Canada was the birth in 1943 of Princess Margriet to Princess Juliana at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was declared to be officially a temporary part of Dutch territory and the Canadian Parliament voted to change governorship to be Dutch territory for one day and changed the flag over the Parliament building to the Dutch flag for that day, so that Princess Margriet would be born in Dutch territory and would inherit only her Dutch citizenship from her mother. In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year.

In the years following Queen Juliana’s original donation, Ottawa became famous for its tulips and in 1953 the Ottawa Board of Trade and photographer Malak Karsh organized the first “Canadian Tulip Festival”. Queen Juliana returned to celebrate the festival in 1967, and Princess Margriet returned in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the festival.

Source: Wikipedia

Here are some tulips from Major’s Hill Park. As you can see, they’re almost open… and there are plenty more waiting to bloom.

View fullsize


View fullsize

Tulip season 2/5Tulip season 2/5

View fullsize

Tulip season 3/5Tulip season 3/5

View fullsize

Tulip season 4/5Tulip season 4/5

View fullsize

Tulip season 5/5Tulip season 5/5

#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1494640640947_56070 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid { margin-right: -2px; }
#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1494640640947_56070 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 2px; margin-bottom: 2px; }

Major’s Hill Park

Nestled between the National Gallery and the Château Laurier, the US Embassy and the Rideau Canal, lies Ottawa’s Major’s Hill Park.

Major’s Hill Park is the Capital’s first park, and has been a green space since 1826, when the building of the Rideau Canal began. In 1867, fireworks and bonfires in the park marked the Capital’s first Canada Day celebrations. It was formally established as a park in 1875.

View fullsize

Canada 150Canada 150

For Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations (ongoing throughout 2017), over 200,000 selectively bred  Maple Leaf tulip bulbs were planted throughout the capital region. They haven’t opened yet…

View fullsize

Look out below.Look out below.

Look out below.

View fullsize

Waiting for the day to startWaiting for the day to start

Waiting for the day to start

Major’s Hill Park provides some very scenic views of Parliament and the Rideau Canal, since it sits up high. Take a look at the bike path below the Library of Parliament… if anything this underscores the wisdom of building on high ground.

View fullsize

I guess they're not shooting filmI guess they're not shooting film

I guess they’re not shooting film