Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On a swiss hillside...

This past weekend Tara and I went to a horse show out Orangeville way. Tara and Lego were supposed to be in it, but Tara is still out of commission from her fall a couple of weeks ago.  The horse show is inconsequential except that we met up our friends from the barn, Laurie and Ian. Laurie and Ian weren't riding in the horse show either. Like us, they were there to cheer on Jeanine who is also from the barn and the only from the barn competing. But Jeanine competing is inconsequential as well. I only bring up the horse show for context.

Ian, who along with my lovely self, were the only ones from the barn at the show that don't ride. And Ian is a photo buff like me. Only he is much better at it.

While we were chatting and waiting for Jeanine to start riding, Ian offered to lend me a few lenses to try out. Nice lenses. Nicer-than-I-have lenses.  I took him up on his offer and very carefully attached them to my old camera body and took a few shots.

70-300mm. The rider was at least 150ft away (large version)
The first one he lent me was the 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 IF-ED. I took a few shots and noticed how much quicker if focused than my cheap 70-300mm G lens. It also has vibration reduction which results is much sharper photos. At less than $600, I'd consider buying this lens, if only for photos of Tara riding.
70-200mm. Wide open. (large version)

The second one he lent me was the 70-200mm 2.8 IF-ED. The famous 70-200mm. This lens was bigger than I thought, and I really had to be careful using it without a tripod. It handled beautifully and even wide open it was still sharp. This is a lens I would love to have, but it's currently out of my budget (at $2400, I'd need to take a lot of photos to justify it).

However, the last one he lent me stole my heart. The 85mm 1.4D. This is the lens I want. This lens made my dinky little D70s, my 6 year old camera, work like I had always envisioned cameras to work. And the image quality, well it is like butter. But not factory farm butter, more like a fine European butter, from a Burlina cow grazing on the side of a Swiss mountain. Butter that makes day-old baguettes taste divine. But don't take my word for it, take a gander at the photo below (click the link for a larger version).

My hottie and a 85mm (large version, flickr)
With the announcement of the D7000 today, the smart money is on upgrading my body from old and out-of-date to shine and new. But the wise money may be on the 85mm if I can hold off camera envy for a little bit longer....

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Sunday, September 05, 2010

Busy month

August was a busy month.

August 1-3 was spent in Buffalo.

Hot and hazy was the name of the game
A week after that we headed down to Raleigh, North Carolina (Aug 10-15). This was for the second part of Tara's residency examinations (the practical part). We gave ourselves a couple of days to drive down and a day to adjust before the Friday exams. We are glad we did; the weather was very very hot. We're talking 38°C at 8:00 pm hot with a humidex in the mid 40s.We ate outside one evening; it was like being in a sauna.

We spent our adjusting day visiting with other optho residents and trying to chill out before the Friday exam. On Friday, Tara had her exam in the morning and then we drove up to York Pennsylvania to stay with one of Tara's good friends and fellow resident Mitzi.

The visit with Mitzi was really great. It was good for Tara to chat about the exams and get rid of some excess stress. Saturday evening we spent at Mitzi's parent's country club. It was pretty swanky; we took part in a wine tasting for Mitzi's upcoming nuptials. We tasted quite a number of great wines included a Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001 which was divine! It was back to Ontario on Sunday for us.

Tara was up in Caledon on Aug 16-18 learning how to do a surgical procedure involving the eye and anti-inflammatory implants. I don't really understand it all, but Tara had a good time.

Tara and her mom headed to Ireland Aug 19-28.This was a long awaited Mother-Daughter trip to the emerald isle. Tara had a great time. I was left at home to take care of the dog :). I got a few things done around the house, but not nearly as much as I had hoped.

A few days after Tara got back from Ireland, she put in a few days working at a vet clinic in Toronto (Aug 31-Sept 1). Time to start paying off the trip.

The plans for this long weekend were to head back down to York for a wedding. Unfortunately Tara had a rather abrupt meeting with the ground this past Thursday at the barn. Tara and Lego were jumping the cross-country jumps when Lego clipped one of them and stumbled. In his effort to right himself, he dislodged Tara and sent her flying. She hit the ground rather hard and an ambulance had to be called. Tara is sore, but doing OK. No bones were broken and nothing seems out of place. Her fall did cause the cancellation of our weekend plans.

So that was our August; a little too busy if you ask me. Oh, and in case you were wondering, we found out on Wednesday that Tara passed all her exams. No real surprise, but a welcome relief from the waiting.