Blog name change


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So after some thought, I decided to slightly change the name of the blog from “The Universe (as seen by Don)” to “The Universe (as I see it)”. A minor change, I know. What do you think? This is just another excuse to test out my new polling plugin. 🙂

Also, I added another six banner images to the rotation. Below is my favourite, followed by the poll!

Do you like the blog name change?

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Hawk Identification


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During the previous week mom and Walter were driving home and spotted what they first thought to be an owl just down the street. I headed out to try and take a picture before it moved on, and the bird was still there. Clearly not an owl, this hawk barely moved as I approached quite close, and only flew away when someone nearby honked their horn. The problem is, I’m having a small bit of trouble identifying the hawk. Quite a few species have been suggested, so I figured I’d try posting a poll here to see what you all think. Here you go!

What species of hawk is this?

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Unexpected


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So when I was down at the lake shore area a few weeks back photographing ducks, I saw something a little… odd? It was definitely a “you don’t see that every day” moment. Thought I’d share.

I didn’t talk to the guy, as he was quite a ways away from me when I took the photo. Wonder what his story was.

Video Games Live: Kitchener


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Many people know I’m a fan of video games. A few people know that I am a fan of video game music. Many games include completely original orchestra scores these days, some of which are extremely captivating. Other older game music has been remixed into very pleasant compositions as well. Video Games Live is a group of people who use local orchestras to perform some of the most popular music featured in video games over the past two decades. Everything from Mario Bros to Halo 3 and everything in between.

I’ve attended every performance they have done in Ontario so far.

Actually, more than that. I’ve volunteered to help out at every performance in Ontario. On March 13th and 14th they performed in Kitchener, where I helped out by running their costume contest and worked as a photographer. This grants me full backstage access and the ability to sit anywhere in the concert hall I’d like, which is simply amazing. So I spent my evenings last weekend taking photos of something I was passionate about, and filled my 16GB memory card twice. Here’s one of my favourite photos from the show:

Needless to say, it was a sold-out show both days.

The conductor, Jack Wall, is a video game composer himself. His recent success was with the Xbox 360 and PC game Mass Effect, one of my favourites from last year. He also did a lot of the music in the Myst series of games, among many, many others.

Tommy Tallarico, the main guitarist, is quite accomplished as well. He’s done a lot of composing himself (Earthworm Jim, Advent Rising to name a few) but also was a co-host on the G4/TechTV show Electric Playground.

The music was performed by Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. One of the best performances I’ve been to! They always use the local orchestra to do the performance.

Splitting Adam was touring with the group this time. They work for Electronic Arts and had a song featured in the game Need For Speed: Undercover. Great tunes from these guys as well, I wish them the best of luck!

All in all, it was a great show. There were a few new segments I hadn’t seen before, but even the older ones were great to hear again. Each show they always play a different set from their list of 30-40 different segments so it’s always something different. You’ll find a larger selection of photos below, and if you want the whole set of “keepers”, you can grab ’em here (warning: a lot of photos). I’m not sure when they’ll play next in the area, but I’ll be sure to help out. Always a blast!

P.S. Almost all of the concert photos were taken at ISO 3200 or ISO 6400. I am extremely impressed with my cameras performance at these settings!

Birds look much better when flying


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So today I got a new lens for my camera. I picked up a used Canon 100-400L IS, which is an image stabilized telephone zoom lens. The lens itself is huge, but takes amazing photos. I was on the fence about what telephoto lens to buy for a long time, and I’m glad I chose what I did.

With the weather unseasonably warm (it was 12 degrees today), I took the lens out to Barrie’s lake shore to photograph anything of interest with the new lens. Turns out there was quite a lot of Mallard ducks and Canada geese, which served as the subjects of my pictures once again. I think these are some of my best bird photos yet, and I really look forward to using this lens to capture more birds in the future. Looks like I’ll be putting a bird feeder in the back yard this year!

Here’s my favourite photo from today:

Take a look at the rest of them in the gallery below. Let me know what you think! There’s even one of a local wild turkey 🙂

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