Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Ten-Day Vacay

Hello folks! Long time no update. I finally finished the school year. Unfortunately, I have a mandatory 3-month spring/summer term , so my "vacation" only lasted about 10 days. Nevertheless, I made the most of it and got a lot of things done...like sleeping, BBQ-ing and of course, taking photos.
My gear hasn't really changed at all. On these photos, I used the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and the Canon 50mm f/1.8. There are several events here condensed into one blog post, so bear with me!

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Okay, this wasn't part of my vacation. It's a pic of the Golden Gate bridge I dug up from last year's California trip (taken from inside a moving car). The fog was rolling in and it made some really dramatic clouds! Consider it a bonus photo :)
My little brother got confirmed on the day I finished my last exam. Confirmation is a Catholic sacrament. It gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross (the definition via Wiki). 
 Bro and with his confirmation sponsor, Rudy. 
 With his grade 8 teacher. 
 Rudy & Elen :)
 We went all around to hunt for restaurants, but a lot of them were closed. it was about 9 pm at night. We got to this place (I believe it was called Congee Palace). It was pretty good actually. 
I like how the noodles were still crispy. 
Some other day later...enjoying the awesome golden hour. Photocred to Inez. 
Tried our hand at a little levitation photography. 
 I was bored and I needed a new FB profile picture. Photocred: Inez. 
 Tried some "Hadouken" photography. Apparently this is a huge fad in Asia and I can see why. It's quite fun to do!
Gotta love the sunset. 
 I've always wanted to go to High Park to see the cherry blossoms. Finally got to it this year. It usually blooms mid April but the colder temperatures pushed the bloom back a bit. It's probably a good idea to leave early (really early, like 7 am) if you want a decent parking spot. It gets really, really crowded, especially if you go on a weekend. 
 We arrived there at 7:30 am and the sun was already too bright. A lot of overexposed shots and harsh shadows in these pictures I'm afraid :(
 These were the trees near the front entrance. It's less crowded here and the flowers are decent. However, most of the trees are located near the Hillside Gardens. It's also a lot more crowded there. 
  Loved the magnolias--I think they were prettier than the blossoms. 
 It's also a good time to go people watching. 
 There were so many dogs out that day! I even saw my two favourite breeds: the Samoyed and the Chow-Chow :)
 As you can see, it was pretty crowded. It's hard to take pictures with no one else in it.
 Of course, no outing would be complete without at least one picture of these two ;)
 I really need a haircut. Photocred: Inez. 
 Overexposed sky, but oh well. It was difficult to get a proper exposure in such bright conditions :(
 I love watching other people take pictures. As expected, there were a lot of wedding photogs out there taking pre-wed photos. I even saw a couple shaking a tree in order to get the falling petals in the shot. Some armed with huge reflectors and lightboxes too. 
 I think this lady was cosplaying, though I'm not sure what she's supposed to be. She definitely attracted a lot of attention though. 
 The sun was unbearably bright--it was difficult to avoid harsh shadows. A word of advice: go to see the blossoms either during sunrise, sunset or at blue hour! Your pictures will come out a lot nicer. Also, if you have a telephoto lens, it would be great to isolate some blossoms. I shot these pictures with either the 30mm prime or the 50mm prime. I wish I had an 85mm or 135mm prime too...it would make really nice bokeh. 
 Finally, a lady that used her lens hood properly! You'd be surprised about how many people had their lens hood on backwards. On a bright day like this, you need it. 

 Love the contrast between the blues and the light pink. 
 Decent background blur from the 50mm lens--would be better with an 85mm though! That lens is next on the list! 
 I was trying really hard to track this bird down and wait for it to stay still. 
 My mom & dad. Too many people in the background though. 
 I thought these bright yellow Forsythia plants stole the show. They were definitely awesome for portraits too! 
 Everybody gets a picture with the gorgeous Forsythias. 
Again with the gorgeous magnolia. Unfortunately, the sun was too strong :(

You need to go see the cherry blossoms at High Park at least once. I think the ultimate place to see cherry blossoms and magnolias would be in Washington D.C. Other places to see cherry blossoms in the Greater Toronto Area would be Kariya Park and perhaps some botanical gardens (I haven't been to many myself). Anyways, I hope you enjoy the photos. I ran out of captions to say under each photo, sorry for being lazy--I have a mild flu and it's really annoying. 

Some planned blog posts over the next few months would be about a retreat and camping at Killbear. Stay tuned for them (if you want). 

Cheers to more sunny days and adventures ahead! 

-e.m. 

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