News Flash

Getting Lost on The Lost Highway

The expansion of Hwy 7 in the 1930s was part of Ontario’s economic stimulus after the Great Depression. As the main link between Toronto and Ottawa, it had a decent beginning with motels, restaurants and gas stations springing up for truck drivers and tourists to stop along their way. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. When the four-lane divided Hwy 401 was finished in the 1960s, people took that route instead, taking the flow of trade with it. My husband and I needed to use the now nearly deserted highway this summer to get to a campground just north of Hwy 7 on Hwy 41.

When I first heard about The Lost Highway as a photography Meetup, I knew Norm and I would want to check out the rust bucket heaps, the Hubcap Hotel and the other abandoned vehicles and businesses. We couldn’t attend the Meetup, but we used the information provided to check it out on our way to the campground. I envisioned creating black and white images with a derelict truck providing a splash of colour and sepia-tone images of long-forgotten motels, diners and gas stations. The section on the Hubcap Hotel is particularly worth scrolling through.

The 2013 TVO documentary, The Lost Highway, included the owner of the Kaladar Motel talking about how the motel business dried up and how he now sells hubcaps at the Hubcap Hotel. Hubcaps for cars made decades ago now fill the rooms; nuts fill the dressers.

Norm and I tried to find the Hubcap Hotel using the Google Map of Lost Highway landmarks. Appearing to be on the south side of Hwy 7, just west of Hwy 41, we drove back and forth on that stretch with a GPS telling us that we were passing it, but just not seeing it out in the field. Turning south on Hwy 41, we tried to access it from the side, along the Trans-Canada Trail. We walked about a kilometer along one trail before heading back as the GPS told us we were still too close to the highway. We walked a couple of kilometers along a second trail, which was closer, but still we saw nothing more than mosquitoes in the woods. The hotel and the rust bucket heap near it were to remain lost on The Lost Highway.

We did find one pair of rust bucket heaps off Hwy 7 on N Rd/Mountain Grove Rd. I always find it amazing how many pictures Norm and I can take of the same thing, from different sides, different angles, different points of view. We could each post more than a few images online with no two being alike. I’ve shared three of my photographs here.

The only other Lost Highway landmarks we found were the many wooden shacks selling blueberries, which made the outing that much sweeter. It may be cliché that life is about the journey, not the destination, but we certainly did have fun getting lost on The Lost Highway.

If you have any better luck finding The Lost Highway, please let me know. I would be happy to hear from you.

Support Natural Resrouces Research by Posting to Instagram and Flickr

Technology News

Nature photographers have a new reason to post their geo-tagged images to Instagram, Flickr and other social media platforms.

Researchers at North Carolina State University found a goldmine of information in geo-tagged photos — including the millions of comments on them — of scenic European landscapes to determine people’s opinions of each site. From that information, they created predictive models to help guide land use policy, conservation planning and development decisions.

instagramUrban sprawl, more intense use of agricultural lands and farm abandonment are threatening landscape integrity, the authors write in the Oct. 31 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

flickr

“Social media offer the possibility of transforming the way researchers collect data on how we perceive and value the environment around us,” says Derek van Berkel, a postdoctoral researcher with NC State’s Center for Geospatial Analytics and co-lead author of the study. “Crowdsourced information provides an exciting alternative to small-scale social surveys, which are expensive and laborious to administer.”

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Move Over Moving Pictures. It’s Time for Still Images.

Event News

With the Toronto International Film Festival wrapping up this weekend, photography will be in clear focus in T.O. during the next two weeks with three conventions and a new photo exhibit. Combined, these events have something for everyone, from the novice to the professional photographer.

Things kick off on Saturday with Focal Point Ontario at the Holiday Inn International Airport Hotel Sept. 24-26. Tagged “Play, Learn, Grow,” this convention includes workshops:

  • Claude Brazeau discussing the challenges of working with available light for portraiture,
  • Robert Nowell talking about how to make a living as a family portrait photographer,
  • Andre Amyot sharing how to sell your value as a photographer before talking about price with your clients,
  • Andrew Collett sharing tips on how to market and sell fine art and landscape photography and
  • Jessica St. Peter providing practical information about search engine optimization.

Continue reading “Move Over Moving Pictures. It’s Time for Still Images.”

Flat ultrathin camera lenses?

Technology News

Researchers have always thought that flat, ultrathin lenses for cameras and other devices were impossible because of the way the full colour spectrum of light must bend through them. To capture an image in a camera, the light must pass through the lenses and bend to converge to a point on the camera sensor, a principle known as refraction. Because different colours bend differently, cameras typically use a stack of multiple curved lenses to focus each colour of light in the spectrum to a single point. Consequently, photographers have had to put up with more cumbersome and heavier curved lenses.

University of Utah electrical and computer engineering professor Rajesh Menon holds up the prototype of the first flat thin camera lens that he and his team developed.
University of Utah electrical and computer engineering professor Rajesh Menon holds up the prototype of the first flat thin camera lens that he and his team developed.

However, University of Utah electrical and computer engineering professor Rajesh Menon and his team have developed a new method of creating optics that are flat and paper thin, yet can still perform the function of bending light to a single point.

Menon and his team discovered a way to design a flat lens that can be 10 times thinner than the width of a human hair or millions of times thinner than a camera lens today. They do it through a principle known as diffraction in which light interacts with microstructures in the lens and bends.

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Don’t Just Point and Shoot

Photography 101

For the vast majority of my photo shoots, my main camera gear consists of a Nikon 5200D with a Nikor 18 to 200 mm VR2 f/3.5-5.6 lens, a Metz 58 AF-2 and various filters and other accessories. Fully loaded (without a laptop or tripod), my camera bag weighs about 10 pounds, which isn’t unusual. However, it is big and heavy enough that I am not going to carry it around with me everywhere I go — to and from work in downtown Ottawa, running errands in my suburb or just out and about walking or on my bike.

Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I bought a Sony Cyber-shot for just such occasions. It fits nicely in my purse or zipped jacket pocket. This 20-megapixel, 30-times optical zoom, f/3.5-6.3, point-and-shoot camera comes in handy when I come across something interesting in my travels. I typically have it on full manual mode, but I can easily switch to shutter or aperture priority.

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High-tech filter could produce brighter, clearer images in low light

Technology News

A new camera filter that lets in three times more light than conventional filters may be three years away, according to University of Utah researchers.

PHOTO CREDIT: Rajesh Menon In this illustration, light passes through the new camera color filter developed by University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Rajesh Menon before it reaches the digital camera sensor. Since all of the light reaches the sensor, unlike conventional digital camera filters where only a third of the light passes through, photos taken with Menon’s new filter are much cleaner and brighter in low light.
PHOTO CREDIT: Rajesh Menon
In this illustration, light passes through the new camera color filter developed by University of Utah Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Rajesh Menon before it reaches the digital camera sensor. Since all of the light reaches the sensor, unlike conventional digital camera filters where only a third of the light passes through, photos taken with Menon’s new filter are much cleaner and brighter in low light.

Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Rajesh Menon thought of the idea while developing a new kind of spectrometer, a device that reads the wavelength or frequency of light. He realized that converting spectral information to colour for a spectrometer could be applied to color imaging.

Traditional digital cameras use an electronic sensor that collects the light to make the picture. Over that sensor is a filter designed to allow in only the three primary colors: red, green and blue. With the filter absorbing the orange, yellow, indigo and violet from the colour spectrum, much of the natural light never makes it to the sensor.

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Award Winning Photos

Event News

Always of interest to us is the National Gallery of Canada’s second floor section dedicated to Prints, Drawings and Photographs. However, from March 24 to September 25, 2016, the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts 2016 are on display in the Contemporary Art section on the ground floor.

According to the Governor General’s website, the Awards in Visual and Media Arts were created in 1999 through a partnership of the Canada Council for the Arts and then Governor General, the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc (1927-2009). Each laureate receives $25,000 and a bronze medallion.

Edward Burtynsky, Shipbreaking #11, Chittagong, Bangladesh, 2000, chromogenic print, 1.02 m x 1.27 m. Collections: Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Windsor, National Gallery of Canada. ©Edward Burtynsky
Edward Burtynsky, Shipbreaking #11, Chittagong, Bangladesh, 2000, chromogenic print, 1.02 m x 1.27 m. Collections: Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Windsor, National Gallery of Canada. ©Edward Burtynsky

One of this year’s award recipients is Toronto photographer Edward Butynsky. According to the Canadian Council for the Arts, Burtynsky is one of Canada’s renowned living photographers. His imagery explores the intricate link between industry and nature, combining the elements of industrial activity upon our planet into eloquent, highly expressive visions that find beauty and humanity in the most unlikely of places. Born in St. Catherines, Ont., Burtynsky was drawn early in his career to the Canadian landscape and its resource industries, venturing out into quarries, mines and scrapyards to make large-scale colour photographs, such as the one shown here.

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News Flash Welcomes You

About News Flash

What began as a simple hobby based on my husband Norm’s and my interest for symmetry, design, shapes and layouts developed into a love of an art form. The blending and attraction of opposites has always been a passion of ours. We enjoy creating photographs that show the balance and dual nature of light and shadow.

Virginia St-Denis
Virginia St-Denis

At Flash Designs Studio, I assist Norm for the majority of his studio projects, working with models and doing theme shoots. My work has been more focused on the great outdoors, not only nature but also architecture.

With a simple Kodak 110, I was the unofficial class photographer in elementary school. Studying journalism in college, I learned the technical aspects of 35 mm photography and put those skills to work at various newspapers and magazines. I’ve become more creative over the years with digital photography, focusing on often overlooked details or taking a different perspective of the seemingly ordinary.

News Flash is designed to provide updates about what is going on in the world of photography, or at least within a short drive of the national capital region. News about photography contests, exhibitions, trends and the latest photographic research will all be covered here. I hope you enjoy my blog.

Virginia