Thursday, July 05, 2007

Good-bye Cape Breton, 2007

The famous Cabot Trail on the Saint Lawrence side (the west side of the island of Cape Breton). Touted as one of the most spectacular drives in the world, I'd say it's pretty good. I'm terribly spoiled though what with being from California and having already been to Big Sur and on the Highway 1 all the way up the coast of California. I daresay it rivals the Cabot Trail, but I give top billing to Cabot Trail by one notch.

Today is our last day here. Tomorrow morning early we're leaving and going back to the states. I think we'll hit the U.S. on day two. The weather has been uncharacteristicly cloudy and cool in this region though it's up to 78 degrees today. The weather is strange everywhere now, isn't it! Hail in London? My, my. We miss the sun but I suppose that will be soon remedied. I'm hearing of broiling temps in the United States.

In the morning we get to go...down the hill. It's Cape Smokey. I asked at the Visitor's Center and the grade is 15%. 'Tis on the edge of the mountain, yes, with the very big Atlantic ocean below. I plan to close my eyes! However it's only 1000 feet and we will creep down very, very slowly. If we exit the other way there are two grades higher and longer than this one and hairpin curves. Nicer road, but we'd prefer to just go the way we came. There are a few other big rigs in the park now. Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the least busy of any national park we've ever been to. The employees have said there will be lots of people, but I don't know where they are! We've seen the most moose ever and that's been fun. We've seen a Bald Eagle and an Ovenbird.

I've had a terrible time deciding which photos to keep and toss and which to upload. That's why not too many pics yet. I'm shooting RAW now (which is like a digital negative) and the files are huge. As a result I had to spend two days transferring image files to CD. Not 48 hours straight, but I was sick of transferring by the time I finished. But on the up side, I'm learning some neat post processing techniques. I've learned how to use adjustment layers and I've learned how to "paint with light." I tried downloading a Photoshop action, but it didn't work for me so I'm doing it manually. Paint With Light (PWL) in the digital darkroom is what was called dodge and burn in the wet darkroom. Even Ansel Adams dodged and burned! Get out of town you say? I know, I know. You think that the pictures came out of the camera that way, don't you? Me too, but now I learn they didn't. They did not! Dodge is to lighten pixels, burn is to darken them. Ansel Adams spent a ton of time doing it. Ansel Adams said, 'We don't make a photograph with just a camera. We bring to the act of photography all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard and the people we have loved.' I like that one.

I've also finally figured out how to use Neat Image to sharpen. Only took me two months. Yes well, some of us learn slow but when we get it, we got it. It's not very intuitive. I've read Noise Ninja is easier to use, but that if you already know how to use NI then it's just as good. Guess I barely eeked in on the "if you already know how to use it" part.

Oh and the boots I wanted...they didn't have any small enough for me. And the store guy kept talking to my husband instead of me, so my husband had to tell him they were for me. I need a size seven...they had an eight. I used to wear 6 1/2 but after my second baby my feet grew a whole half size. I wanted to get fractious over it, but I exited the store calmly. My husband did pick up a piece of killer chocolate cake for me on the way home at Seaside Restaurant so that soothed the disappointment significantly. I opened the box and noticed they even put four splots of cream on it. That stopped me from becoming unruly. Last time I only got two splots. :)

Iris are growing wild here. In big fields. They are candy to my eyes. Here is one.

Below is a little bird. It's severely cropped but not too blurry for a little old 28-135mm Canon lens, handheld, at the seaside, on a very blustery day.

Now I have to go make meatloaf, and tuna sandwich makings and egg salad sandwich makings so we'll have some good food to eat on the way to Wyoming. We will have a few days of a lot of driving before us.