Friday, April 30, 2010

Kern-Paillard Pizar 26mm f1.9 C-Mount Lens

The Pizar 26mm f1.9 is the little brother to the more desirable Switar 25mm f1.4 that I wrote about a while back. The Pizar seems to be living under the brother's shadow. Does it deserve more recognition than it's given?

Make no mistakes about it. The Switar 25mm f1.4 is a better lens. Closer focusing distance, nicer bokeh, almost a stop brighter, and slightly better image quality overall. Both lenses have the same exceptionally good built quality that feels heavier than it looks.

As with most 16mm cine lenses, the edge is not good. If you are looking for sharp corners on a 16mm c-mount lens, you are looking in the wrong place. The sensor on micro 4/3 is much larger than 16mm, so looking for sharp edges on these lenses are mostly wishful thinking. Besides, people who buy these lenses care more about the cinematic look and bokeh than the fuzzy edges.

The Pizar is an OK lens rank within the Kern-Paillard family. Certainly there are better lenses from Kern-Paillard, but it also costs significantly less than the Switar 25mm f1.4.

Blossom at Osgoode Hall -- G1 & Kern-Paillard Pizar 26mm f1.9. Embiggen.

Tulips -- G1 & Kern-Paillard Pizar 26mm f1.9. Embiggen.

White Flowers -- G1 & Kern-Paillard Pizar 26mm f1.9. Embiggen.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

SMC Takumar 28mm f3.5 M42 Lens

When I first started using manual focus lenses on my digital SRL, this was one of the first few lenses that I bought. Over the years, I have owned, then sold at least four of these lenses of various flavours, but it always comes back in my lens collection. It's like a lover who, doesn't matter how many times you break up with, always in your mind, and never forgotten.

There are good reasons why this lens is so lovable and hard to forget. Let me be frank, although it's a very good lens overall, it's not particularly excellent in any one aspect, except, perhaps, flare resistance. It's a lens that won't stir my emotions, but when I don't have it, the lack of its presences is always felt. It is, an almost perfect all around lens, from the affordability standpoint.

No one will NOT mention the craftsmanship when talking about Takumar lenses. These lenses are some of the best made lenses you can buy, without forking out a small fortune. The petite size, silky smooth focusing mechanism, excellent optical performance, and the exceptionally good flare resistance are trade marks of the SMC Takuamr lenses. If you have never owned a manual focus lens, you really should buy the most beat-up looking Takumar lens, and hold it in your hand, and you will realize what a well made lens is supposed to be like.

This SMC 28mm f3.5 lens share the same traits as the SMC versions of the 24mm f3.5 and the 35mm f3.5. All of the three lenses perform similarly. My current copy of the 28mm 3.5 is sharp across the frame at around f8. Very little to fault this lens, except maybe the smallish maximum aperture of f3.5, but alas, you can't have small and larger aperture at the same time.

When mated with its original rectangular metal hood, damn, it looks gorgeous too!

Full blossom at Osgoode Hall - Canon 5D & SMC Takumar 28mm f3.5. Embiggen.

Stairs -- Canon 5D & SMC Takumar 28mm f3.5.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tamron SP 24-48mm f3.5-3.8 Adaptall-2

Big Tree - Canon T2i & Tamron SP 24-48mm f3.5-3.8. Embiggen.

Picked up this lens at the photo show couple weeks ago for peanuts. In overall good condition but is missing the most important accessory -- the hood. This lens is horrible with flare, despite the BBAR MC coating. The hood may help a bit. The lens itself is very well made as most SP series in the Adaptall system is. Very heavy for a smallish lens and feels very dense. This lens could almost be considered a constant aperture lens: f3.5-3.8, a 1/3 stop?

This 24-48mm lens performs OK on the 550D with a high density sensor. Not bitingly sharp, especially at the wide end, but it's not too shabby either. Edges (on 1.6x crop body) is quite respectable. In fact, the "edge" is almost as good as the center at f5.6-f8. Haven't tried it on full frame yet, but I would expect it to be pretty good.

At small aperture in a clear day at 24mm setting, this lens, like many wide angle lenses, makes the sky look very blue without a polarizing filter, but looks like one was used. I quite like that "Velvia" blue, although it looks very fake. This is even more pronounced when developed with the Landscape setting. Not everyone's cup of tea, but I like it.

Keep in mind that most zooms are not very good in the early days. It's obvious that Tamron put quite a bit of effort into designing this lens. A nice wide angle range on full frame.

Oh yeah, it has infrared markings for 24mm and 48mm. I would expect one for 35mm setting too, but no. The amount of IR compensation between 24mm and 48mm is quite large. One reason I don't like using zoom for IR pictures.

Will have an update when I get around to use it on the 5D.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fun with Infrared Photography - Part III

Don River and Gardner Expressway -- IR Converted 20D & Pentax-M 20mm f4 @ f8. Larger Picture.

There are different flavours of infrared, depending on the cut-off frequency of the IR filter. Most common IR filter is the Hoya R72, which has a cut-off frequency of 720 nanometers (nm). Lots of people like this filter because the R72 allows some visible colours to get through the filter, thus gives the "False Colour" you see in some IR pictures.

The higher the cut-off frequency, the less visible light and the image will become more monochromatic. Anything above 800nm will be basically just black and white. Some like the monochromatic look, but I personally prefer false colours in IR. This was what attracted me to IR photography in the first place. Besides, you can always convert the picture to black & white if needed.

Lucky for me, the IR converted 20D I bought has an internal IR filter similar to R72. It allows small amount of colour through, especially the blue and deep red. As with everything in life, having too much of one thing will quickly make your bored. I have shot with the IR 20D for just a few days, and I am already having IR fatigue. IR pictures need high contrast scenes to look interesting, like blue skies and lots of trees and water. An IR picture of a building will not be very exciting, regardless how wonderful the lighting is. IR photography is like a fish-eye lens -- it's fun and interesting when used in moderation. This begs the question, should you convert your camera to a dedicated IR camera?

I would say no to expensive cameras, unless you have an obsession to IR. But if your Rebel 300D, 10D, 20D, etc, is collecting dust and hardly sees the light of day, it maybe a good idea to have it converted to be a dedicated IR camera. Just keep in mind that the conversion itself will cost more than what your camera is worth.

Sun Rising Over Downtown Toronto

Sun Rising - Canon T2i & Tamron Adaptall-2 28mm f2.5 at f8.

Drove wife to work early this morning and on my way home, saw the sun slowly rising over downtown Toronto. It was beautiful.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fun with Infrared Photography - Part II

There are many problems that need to be overcome with infrared photography, depending on how one goes about doing it. For people who just use IR filters on unmodified cameras, the biggest issues are exposure time and black viewfinder. For a modified camera, they are focus and metering.

Unless your camera was designed from ground up as an IR camera, the metering and auto focus system are geared to and calibrated for visible light. On an IR modified camera, these two components will no longer work reliably. In most cases, the metering needs to be adjusted by at least 1 stop, but most of the time, 1.5 to 2 stops on anything that do not emit heavy infrared like buildings. For trees or flowers on a sunny day, negative compensation is required, sometimes as much as 2 stops. Thanks to digital, this is not as a big deal as it sounds, as you can always take a picture and adjust exposure as needed. The trickier part is achieving accurate focusing.

If you have a manual focus film SLR with a lens at home collecting dust, you will almost always find an infrared index on the lens. In the case of a zoom lens, there maybe multiple IR marks. Even the cheapest of lenses in the old days would have this index. Now a days, you will be lucky to get a distance scale on the lens, let alone IR mark. Unfortunately, to get accurate focusing, you will need to reference this IR marking on the lens.

The focus point for infrared is always ahead of that of the available light. If focus is achieved at 1 meter, the infrared mark is usually at around 1.1 to 1.2 meters. What this means is that once you see the picture is sharp on the view finder, you will need to turn focusing ring slight farther where the IR mark indicates. The amount of compensation is different for each lens. Some more and some less. This sounds like complicated, but it's not. After you have tried it a few times, you don't need to look at the mark any more, you will now approximately how much compensation you will need. Of course, if you use very large apertures like f1.2 or f1.4, this will be much harder to achieve critical focus.

Today I shot with a Pentax-M 20mm f4 lens on the IR 20D, and I am surprised how many sharp keepers. Partly because the 20mm f4 lens has a very short focus throw, anything farther than 2 meters is considered infinity, so the lens was set at infinity most of the time. The trick I used was focus bracketing. Take a picture at the indicated visible light, than turn the focus slight ahead for another pictures, and still a little further ahead for a third picture. This turned out really well.

Next time, we will talk about different IR filters and their effects on the picture.

St. Mary's Dormition Ukrainian Catholic Church -- IR 20D & Pentax-M 20mm f4.

Tool Shed in false colours -- IR 20D & Pentax-M 20mm f4. Larger Picture.

Bench in false colours - IR 20D & Pentax-M 20mm f4. Larger Picture.

Fun with Infrared Photography - Part I

Years ago, when for the first time I saw Daniela's infrared pictures taken with the Minolta Dimage 7, my jaws dropped to the floor, with a loud thud. These surreal, mystique, and fascinating pictures looked so otherworldly. I told myself that I would have to try it. The only problem, was money, or lack thereof. Back then, most infrared pictures were taken with an infrared filter screwed onto the front of a lens. Dedicated infrared cameras were very rare, partly because digital cameras back then were very expensive. Few would risk damaging the camera to convert it to IR.

Over the years, I tried some IR filters, but, most Canon DSLRs are not sensitive to IR, it would take many seconds to minutes to expose for an IR picture. On top of that, you can't see your composition with the filter on, because the filter is opaque. I soon gave up.

Next was the Sigma SD10 that was semi defective that I bought in a camera show. The batteries would only last about 30 shots. Something was wrong with it. But, the SD10 had a removable IR blocking filter. By removing this filter, you would expose the sensor to all spectrum of the light. So, I tried again, with an IR filter, but the image never came out the way I liked it. After that, it was enough for me. The only way I was going to try again is to get a dedicated IR camera that shoots just like a normal camera.

My chance came a few years ago when someone was selling a IR modified Canon 10D. I went for it, but soon discovered that I could not make any sharp pictures with it, regardless of aperture or focus point. The pictures were always soft. I returned it to the seller, who gracefully accepted the return, minus $50. My heart was broken. I have not touched, or even thought about IR until I saw someone was selling an IR modified Canon 20D on Craigslist, and I was lucky enough to be the person who bought it, at a great price.

I took some shots with the kit lens the day I bought it, and it proved to be excellent. A few sharp pictures, but mostly soft.

Next time, we will talk about the pit falls of IR modified cameras, and how you can avoid it.

Cheery Tree in full blossom - Canon IR modified 20D & EF 35mm f1.4. Larger Picture.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Vivitar Series-1 28mm f1.9 OM Mount

s Series-1 lenses were some of the best and most unique in its time. The 28mm f1.9 is one of the cult classics. Very fast for a wide angle at the time the lens was made. This is the second copy of the 28mm f1.9 lens I have. The other one is an MD mount. Both look and work identically. Very sharp lens, especially in the center. I like the warm colour this lens captures. Contrast is a bit low wide open but still sharp. Over all a great lens that deserves the Series-1 moniker. Will update on this lens in a later date.

Let's Play Ball - Canon T2i & Vivitar Series-1 28mm f1.9 OM Mount. Larger Picture.

Torture Flare Test. The VMC coating is very effective -- T2i & Vivitar 28mm f1.9. Larger Picture.

Untiltled - T2i & Vivitar Series-1 28mm f1.9. Larger Picture.

Glass Art - T2i & Vivitar Series-1 28mm f1.9.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

United Metropolitan Church in IR

United Met in Infrared - Canon 20D (IR) & EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS.

Got an IR Modified 20D today (Thanks John!). I have been wanting an IR DSLR for like an eternity. Bought an IR 10D few years before from someone, but turned out it could not focus. Everything was soft regardless where the focus point was (yes I know focus shifts for IR cameras). The 20D I got today is nothing like the 10D. Very happy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Leslieville - Joy Bistro

Very long time ago, this location was a store that sold Asian vine furniture and other Oriental products. From the front, you could see the furniture stacked from ground to ceiling. Not sure how it passed the fire inspections because that was a real fire hazard. Since then, Joy Bistro (and Over Joy restaurant upstairs) has become one of the most popular eateries in Leslieville. Across from the Jimmy Simpson Park, it looks looks really nice when viewed from the park over a bed of tulips.

Joy Bistro viewed from Jimmy Simpson Park -- Panasonic G1 & CPC Phase II 28-50mm el cheapo Zoom.

Joy Bistro in the early morning - Canon T2i & SMC Takumar 28mm f3.5. Larger Picture.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Photo Show and the Retina Lenses

Yesterday was another camera show. I think we have way too many camera shows in GTA. Twice is enough, I think. It's a show that I love to hate, because I always picked up stuff I don't need. Case in point, I bought more of the of the Kodak Retina mount lens -- Schneider Tele-Xenar 135mm f4, and 200mm f4.5. This pretty much completed my Schneider Retina Mount lenses, except the wide angle. I mistakenly bought a Retina-Curtar-Xenon 35mm f4, thinking it was a Kodak Retina mount, but it turns out to be a Contaflex mount.

Men know that the secret that holds the universe together is duct tape. Naturally, duct tape is my favourite tool. I strapped that Curtar-Xenon 35mm f4 onto a Yashica 50mm f2 lens barrel, taped it tightly with duct tape, and voila, a lens I can take pictures with. The sharpness of this lens is nothing to write home about, and it's far worse at the corners, even when stopped the heck down to the wazoo. Reminds me of the corners of c-mount lenses. This lens also flares like the light at the end of the tunnel - everything is white when there is any light falling onto the front elements. Ok, I understand it's a very old lens, and I have only used it once. Not a fair conclusion. Perhaps it has beautiful personalities I have not discovered yet. For the time being, it sits on the self and gives turn for other lenses. Perhaps I will come back to use it later and may even fall in love with it, who knows?

Looking at ya -- Canon 5D & Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Curtar-Xenon 35mm f4. Larger Picture.

Mannequins - Canon 5D & Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Curtar-Xenon 35mm f4.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring to Life

Despite the fact that spring is the most miserable season for me, as I am allergic to pollen. For the few months of spring, itchy eyes, runny nose, sore throats are common daily problems I have to face. Even with allergy medicine, the symptoms can not be completely eliminated.

But I love spring. Spring is life. Here in Toronto, everything looks gray in the winter. Sunshine is a rare occurrence in the winter. It's all drab and and boring. Spring, on the other hand, slowly paints the city into different colours. Green, yellow, red, white; you name it. Spring makes everything look so alive. Everywhere you look, you see life. It's a wonderful season, minus the allergies.

Green - Panasonic G1 & Canon FL 50mm f1.4.

Red -- T2i & Carl Zeiss S-Planar 60mm f2.8 Makro. Larger Picture.

Blue & White - Canon T2i & Leica-R 24mm f2.8 Elmarit. Larger Picture.

Yellow - Canon 5D & Kinoptik Special Cine 210mm f2.8.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Bench - Canon T2i & Pentax Ultra-Achromatic-Takumar 300mm f5.6.

This lens drives me crazy. On one hand the image quality and colour is wonderful, on the other hand, the internal reflection causes all pictures to have a brighter center of the image than the rest of the picture. It also vignettes on full frame. Not sure if it's built like this or the lens is defective. It does not look like it has been tempered with as it's cosmetically excellent.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Macro Madness

Macro photography fascinates me, but I am not very good at it. For one thing, to be serious, you will need to bring a tripod at the very minimum, in order to obtain sharp pictures. At macro distance, every little shake is magnified many times. I am just too lazy. Another thing with macro photography, is that its accessories are extremely expensive. Ring lights, rails, good tripod/head, and not to forget the lens itself, and all add up to thousands of dollars.

That does not stop me from buying macro lenses, of course. A lens junkie does not know when to stop and what is enough. At one point, I had more than a dozen macro lenses of all kind. Even at the current count, I still have 7. Among them are: Takumar 50mm f4 (1:1 version), Carl Zeiss S-Planar 60mm f2.8 Makro, Kilfitt 90mm f2.8, and Canon 180mm f3.5L. My favourite, and the one I use the most, is the Contax mount Carl Zeiss 60mm f2.8 makro (1:1 German version). This is one of the sharpest lenses of all the macros. Very large and heavy for a 60mm lens but is hand holdable. It also doubles as a standard lens, so it's much more versatile than the Canon 180L, which, without a tripod, is next to impossible to get sharp pictures at full macro distance. The Canon 180L is an extremely sharp lens as well and is probably one of the best made lens, in terms of construction quality. Due to its size, the 180L gets used probably 2 to 3 times a year.

But the Zeiss S-Planar 60mm Makro is something else. It's not as good as the 100mm APO, but I don't think it's that far behind. Even wide open at f2.8, this lens is razor sharp. All macro lenses are optimized for best optical performance at close distance, and therefore at infinity, some won't be very good at resolving details. The 60mm Makro is equally good at infinity as it is at macro. It's one of these lenses that I will not sell, unless I need the money to save my life.

Lady Bug - Canon T2i & Carl Zeiss S-Planar 60mm f2.8 Makro. Larger Picture.

Mannequin - Canon T2i & Carl Zeiss S-Planar 60mm f2.8 Makro. Larger Picture.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

St James Cemetery

St. James Cemetery - Canon T2i & Leica Elmarit-R 24mm f2.8.

Took Megan to the City Final Swimming Competition today. Her school would not dispatch two teachers to accompany her there as she was the only student in her school that made it to the final. Megan didn't win because she thought it was a false start. By the time she realized it, it was a good few seconds too late. She was so upset about it she didn't want to go to school for the rest of the day.

In any case, Rosedale Secondary School is nice, but there are no parking spaces nearby. I was forced to park at the other end of the bridge near the school. St. James Cemetery is at the corner of Parliament & Danforth, over looking the ravine and Don River. It's very beautiful place. St. James is the oldest operating cemetery in Toronto. It became the national historic site in 1990. This cemetery is closely linked to the magnificent "The Cathedral Church of St. James" on Church & King.

If you run out of place to photograph, St. James Cemetery is worth a visit.

Digital Rebel T2i (550D) Video Sample

Finally, after upgrading to Windows 7 and some hardware enhancements, I managed to actually put together a video on YouTube. Hope you will find it useful as a sample. Keep in mind that this video has been converted from its original file of 541MB to 90MB in Microsoft rmv format, and processed (compressed) by Youtube to MP4 format, so the quality is not even close to the original.

I apologize for the poor quality of the sound. It was recorded with the built-in mic. I guess a better microphone is needed.

Tsuna Awakens played by Dillon -- Recorded with T2i and Leica-R 35mm f2

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mellow Yellow

Mellow Yellow - Canon T2i & Leica-R 24mm f2.8 Elmarit.

Trying out the Elmarit-R 24mm f2.8 lens. Many say this lens was a Minolta design, and there is probably some truth to that, as Leica was in collaboration with Minolta for its zoom lenses. The built quality is 100% Leica, though. It's a darn sharp lens. Haven't used it much yet.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Canon Lens Prices

The Lady Bug House in Leslieville -- Canon T2i & Pentax-M 20mm f4. Larger Picture.

Last time I wrote about Panasonic lens prices, I was dismayed at the high $500 price for the 20mm f1.7 when sold by itself. Yesterday my friend Cliff showed some interest of buying the Nikon AF-S 300mm f4, and I checked the price of that lens, and then compared it to the Canon 300mm f4 IS. The $1660CAD price of the Canon version struck me like lightning. Couple years ago, this lens was $1200-$1300 CAD. The price has gone up $300 in the last couple of years. Unfortunately, this is not just one lens, but all of Canon's premium lenses.

Inflation does not increase this fast in North America. I understand the raw materials cost have gone up, but to this amount? The amount of increase can only be contributed to greed. I looked at my receipt for the EF 100-400mm L lens I bought couple years ago, and it was under $1600, today, the regular price of this item at Henry's is $1950, again, more than $300 increase. For most people, these kind of prices are just too high to afford.

For those who are on a tight budget, and want to get decent image quality, the only way to go is manual focus lenses through adapters.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Downtown Toronto

Downtown Toronto - Canon 5D & EF 50mm f1.2L @ f2 handheld, ISO 800. Larger Picture.

I remember taking a similar picture with my Digital Rebel 300D and the Canon 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 lens about 7 years ago. The only difference is that back then the picture was taken on tripod, and the 28-105mm was my only lens, besides the 18-55mm kit lens, and ISO 400 on the 300D was noisy. Seven years and thousands of dollars later, the pictures did not look that much different, except that I can hand hold the camera/lens and take a sharp picture without the tripod.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Leslieville -- Marigold Garden

Most people will not see the inside of Marigold Garden in Leslieville, because it's the name of a townhouse complex. OK, it's also the name of the street next to our townhouse complex, where the name of the townhouse complex came from. Like most townhouse complex/condos, there are problems, but people who live in Marigold Garden seem to like living here. In the middle of the complex is a courtyard, which I like the most. It's large enough for kids to ride their bike, skateboards, play balls, etc., and it's gated with lock and video surveillance , so you can be reasonably sure that you don't need to worry about them playing in the courtyard.

The best thing about Marigold Garden is its location. Two blocks south is a bike path and a pedestrian path that leads to east, west and south. To the west, it connects to the bike path along DVP, as well as to the Harbourfront. To the east, it goes to the Ashbridge's Bay Beach (Kew Beach) in a few minutes by bike. A mile to the south, and the end (or is it the beginning) of Leslie at Unwin, is the entrance to the best kept secrete of Toronto -- the Tommy Thompson Park, or Leslie Spit. This man-made peninsula of building debris extends about 5 km into Lake Ontario, and is about 12km around. Tommy Thompson Park is a stopping place for a large number of migratory birds. If you go there in the spring and early in the morning around 5 to 6am, you hear the deafening sound of thousands of birds cawing, singing, chirping. Tommy Thompson Park is also home to many wild life species, including coyote, rabbits, owls, butterflies, and many many more.

Of course, there is this infamous sewage treatment plant not too far from our townhouse, and a small number of factories are that still polluting the area. But, the area is improving slowly. It's a great place to live.

Marigold Garden in the spring -- Canon 1Ds & EF 50mm f1.2. Larger Picture.

Marigold Garden in the fall -- Canon 1Ds & Schneider 105mm f4.5 Enlarging Lens. Larger Picture.

Marigold Garden in Winter -- Pentax K10D & 40mm f2.8 Pancake Lens. Larger Picture.

Spring in Moss Park

New leaves emerge from tree branches everywhere -- Canon T2i & Leica-R 90mm f2 Summicron @ f2.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Leslieville - China Lily

China Lily, once a big local producer of sauces, now concentrates on other food products - Canon T2i & Pentax-M 20mm f4.

When I first came to Canada in 1980, Chinese and Chinese products were not as everywhere as they are today in Toronto. One of the products that I actually saw at super markets like Dominion, Miracle Food Mart, and other smaller grocery stores were China Lily products, most notably their soya sauce. Their no nonsense black & yellow label was easy to spot. Today, you will hardly see any of China Lily sauces.

China Lily was produced by Lee's Food Products. Their sauces has a cult following, especially those who grew up in Canada, where it was the only locally produced soya sauce when the business started in 1947. When we first moved in Leslieville in 2002, the sauce factory, which is practically located next door to us, was still in production. My wife says she could smell the soya sauce back then, but I never really noticed.

Lee's Food Products is still in business. The company makes a variety of food products such as canned foods and noodles. One of the things you can still buy today is Lee's stir fried noodles. My guess that they stopped producing sauces because of the abundance of them from China, probably at much lower prices. It's hard to compete with China, where it has the economic of scale, and much cheaper labour cost. That's too bad for the China Lily followers.

Filmic Lane for Mawz

Filmic Lane -- Canon T2i & Pentax-M 20mm f4 with CPL. Larger Picture.

This one is for Adam, who has a blog in LiveJournal called Filmic. This Filmic Lane is near Pape & Dundas sts, but I don't see anything filmic about it, unless there are some historic significance I don't know about.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Is Finally Here

It's strange, but spring always seem to sneak up on me unexpected. Each year, from the official spring day on, I would expect to see green leaves everywhere, but being in Toronto, temperature on March 20 is usually in the negative territory, and often snow can still be seen. Everywhere I look, it would be gray and dull. And then, when I least expect it, boom! Trees are green and flowers blossom everywhere!

Just last week I was looking for some green leaves to photograph but couldn't find any. Today, they are here, there and everywhere. I am glad to see them, although spring always bring with it pollens which makes me feel miserable for a couple of months. This is the time I usually take a lot of pictures until the flowers wither.

Spring also brings the Spring Festival, when most Chinese people would bring offerings to visit and pay respect to the ancestors in cemeteries.

New Life -- Canon T2i & Pentax-M 20mm f4 with CPL. Larger Picture.

Remains of Winter -- T2i & Pentax-M 20mm f4 with CPL. Larger Picture.

Pine Hill Cemetery -- T2i & Pentax-M 20mm f4 with CPL. Larger Picture.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Shingles Factory

Shingles Factory at night -- Canon T2i & EF 35mm f1.4L at f2, ISO 800. Larger Picture.

This is one of the largest factories in the South Riverdale area that is still in operation. This factory contributes to the pollution in the Leslieville area. At times, you can see black smoke coming out of the chimneys. Not a pretty sight.

Another one of the big factories, located at the foot of Don River and Lakeshore Blvd, that produced dish detergent, soap and other cleaning products for Lever Pond, has shut down its operation. The unionized worker were on strike for a long time (more than a year I think), and the factory didn't give in and just closed down the factory. Perhaps they already had plans to shut it down, so the workers were really fighting a lost battle. In the end, it's good for the local residents as it was also one of the big polluters in the area.