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The weather in Central Alberta at the start of 2013 has been abnormal to say the least. It seems we went from winter directly to summer. From snow to summer drought.

The only sign of spring is the newly emerging greenery and the sight of new spring flowers and backyard robins.

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The above photos were taken with my iPhone 4. The top photo of the pink cherry blossoms was edited on the iPhone using Snapseed. The purple tulip picture was taken and edited with camera +.

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The weather was fine today for a walk in downtown Red Deer, Alberta.

Red Deer is celebrating it’s 100th birthday this year.

One of the downtown landmarks is the Buffalo Hotel.

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I have seen pictures with shaped bokeh in the out of focus background on Flickr and thought it was interesting. The weather outside has been extremely cold this time of year and the Christmas lights are all around. I thought I would finally give this “Do it Yourself” project a try as the conditions are perfect.

The results are the above image and some of the images I have included below. Total time it took me to make the necessary lens hood was about 15 minutes.

From my research on the internet you need to use a “fast” lens. So, I used my 50mm 1.8 lens for this project.

All I used was one sheet of black poster board ($1.49), some black construction paper ($3.49 for 50 sheets) and a whole lot of scotch tape. I needed scissors and an exacto knife.

It's not the prettiest as you can see but it works pretty well.

If you want to try this simple but fun project just Google “custom shaped bokeh.”. I found a useful YouTube video to help me with the making of the hood. The only items I couldn't find was how to make some of the shapes for the bokeh. That was pretty much trial and error with scissors and the exacto knife.

The final step is playing with the shapes and lighting. The shots shown here are all from my first day of shooting.

You need to have your camera set to Aperture Priority and use your fastest f- stop. (mine being 1.8) I found that using my external flash with a soft box mounted on it gave me the best results when shooting indoor shots. The shot below with the cat and candy cane shapes was with no flash.

If you decide to try this have fun!

 

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Santa Claus is coming to Town! Actually, he already has at the local mall in Red Deer.

 

Bower Mall in Red Deer held a fundraiser in his honour. You could have breakfast with and the proceeds going to the local Christmas Bureau.

 

Now that December is here the shopping mayhem begins. I don't miss working in a mall. I remember that each week leading to the big day getting busier and busier until the 24th. Then you can recuperate the next 11 months until you have to through it again. I still work retail but the sector I am in is not so crazy as the shopping mall retail environment.

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I took this photo in September. I was walking in the underground pedway in Edmonton, Alberta and came across this “shadow.” It turns out that this is an advertisement that made me stop, look, read and think about it's message.

I took this photo with my iPhone 4. I also did the photo edit with Snapseed for iPhone. The more I use this app on the go I love it. Highly recommended for any iPhone or iPad users out there.

 

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Enjoyed more warm fall weather in Canada's oldest National Park.

Aspen leaves are turning yellow to add a small dash of colour. We also could hear a elk bull calling others of his presence.

Banff National Park never disappoints.

 

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