well seasoned


early to risenot quite a new moon

And just like that it's winter. Talking about the weather seems like a pretty boring thing to do, but when you're as moody as I am, then the change in seasons is a big enough deal to require some sort of cathartic release. The one consolation of all this new snow and the cold has been that it's sunny. Clean, fresh snow and sunny days reminds me of the winters of my youth. You know, when I was young and optimistic. This makes things a little bit better.

In my defense I do try to get out and do things when it is cold outside. On Sunday, despite the chilly temperatures I ventured out of doors to go to the Luminaria festival at the Devonian Botanic Gardens.

seeking sanctuary

The gentleman and I were of course a little bit early (because I am very punctual), but our carpooling chums were still out running errands. Being early posed a few problems. Mainly that we were bloody cold. Our friends being minutes away we needed to seek shelter and seek it fast. Thankfully the neighbourhood bookstore was open and for the next fifteen minutes we browsed through the stacks (the store has a crazy collection of the yellow hardcover Nancy Drew books) and listened to the classical music that the storekeeper was playing on a little stereo in the middle of the store. It was a store full of unexpected delights. But before we knew it we were off to Devon.

Having never been to Luminaria or the Devonian Botanic Gardens before I didn't really know what to expect. But the gentleman had suggested we attend earlier in the week because he thought that it would provide me with ample photographic opportunities, especially with the 5DMkII (otherwise known as the beast).

Our first stop when we arrived was the evening reception at the Ozawa Pavillion. It was an informal little gathering with mulled wine and little snacks and was a chance for the University Staff who run the gardens to give a little update about the recent improvements made to the gardens and to thank the donors over the past year.

in the arms of another man

I'll admit that I was more interested in the space than the conversation was going on. There was something about how warm the space felt, with the tatami mats underfoot and the shōji screens. It was a great little venue for a winter party.


Outside was a different story. It was bitingly cold, but beautiful. The path along the Kurimoto Japanese Garden had been cleared and was lined with little paper lanterns (okay, paper bags with candles inside). Simple, yet such a stunning visual. Along the path there were warming stations with little fires and hot apple cider so that you could have something warm to drink as you wandered through the garden.


The beast (so, just for future reference, the beast is the 5DMkII, the camero is still the 30D) had never been taken out in such temperatures before, and performed admirably in the low light capturing the steam escaping from the hot apple cider. But as I said before, it was ridiculously cold out so I was babying the beast a bit, wrapping it in a scarf when I wasn't using it.


I shot exclusively with the 50mm, and I'm really liking being able to shoot at its true focal length. The 50mm is even more versatile than it used to be. I'd still really like a 24mm though. I've been talking to a few photographers about it and they all told me that the 24 is the best lens they have ever bought. It's fast and the colours that you get with it are amazing. My heart trembles a bit when I think about it. But that will have to wait. I have enough camera equipment to play with at the moment.

breathing is an autonomic response

I think I'll be okay. I realize right now I'm trying to master shooting in impossible low light situations. High ISO is my friend, but perhaps that novelty will wear off and I'll only pull out ISO 6400 when I absolutely need to. I haven't tested out the expansion ISOs yet. Can you blame me for adoring the capabilities of these new sensors to shoot in such low light? Paired with a fast lens and the depth of field on the beast, I think I might have replaced my iPhone's status as life partner with my new camera. I think we're going to have a good future together.