Friday, May 31, 2013

Vintage Port

Opening a bottle of vintage port requires a deft hand and special tools - port tongs and a decanter.  The port tongs are heated over open flame or set in coals until red hot.  They are then applied gently to the neck of the bottle below the cork and held there for 30-45 seconds.  Then they are removed and an ice cube or ice cold water is applied to the neck of the bottle.  A crack is heard and the top of the bottle with the cork intact is removed - no shards of glass occur with this method.  Then the port is decanted, sometimes through linen stopping when sediment is observed.  The sediment is featured in this photo with the bottle top and cork along side.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Locks on the Douro

There are several locks on the Douro, the largest of which has a gradient differential of 35 metres, just over 100 feet.  The rate of ascent is about 1.8 metres per minute, so the trip up takes about 17 minutes.  There is about 30 centimetres clearance either side of the ship and the captain negotiates the entrance to the lock manually.  Although he has an iPhone on the bridge plugged into a laptop so he may just sit there while an iPhone app does the real work.  Note that our ship - the Queen Isabel - has a helipad should something go terribly wrong.  So far so good.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mateus, Portugal

Remember Mateus? The Portuguese sparkling rose that was popular in the the late 70's?  Well this the palace at Mateus that is featured on the label.  I always wondered how to pronounce it; some folks would say 'ma-toose'; other would say 'ma-Tay-oose' or some other way, but the correct way to say it is 'ma-tay-oosh'.  So now you know!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Favaios, Portugal

Moscatel de Favaios is lovely stuff, photographed here amongst the vineyards from which it originates. In Portuguese the 's' at the end of Favaios is pronounced as 'sh', and the first syllable is 'fav' not 'fave'.  And they speak fast 'round these parts so if you follow these pronunciation guidelines and talk like you're in a rush you'll get along fine here along the Douro.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Porto is home to , what else, Port Wine.  The city itself is very photogenic and the production of port wine is one of the oldest controlled appellations in the world.  It's also a very hilly city, maybe you can get a sense of this in today's post made with the iPhone Hipstamatic app.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


This palace in Sintra is one of my favorite places, it's kind of quirky in many respects, for instance these two towers, which one would expect to be over some great hall or other public room are actually the chimneys over the kitchen

Saturday, May 25, 2013


I think those might be the sardines I had for lunch yesterday.... Photographed in the Alfama district of Lisbon.

Friday, May 24, 2013


This is the tomb of Vasco de Gama in Jeronimos Monastery in Belem, a town in Lisbon.


Here's the last of the 2010 Series of images from Portugal; this one taken in Praco do Comercio in post from the road!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


This photo was taken near the end of our last trip to Lisbon.  Canon 5DII with Canon 24-105L lens.  I had the camera resting on a retaining wall for this long exposure.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I don't remember exactly where this photo was taken; I'm guessing it was in Belem.  Only tourists would be out in the heat taking photos when it's 38C.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


We're off on holiday to Portugal in a day or two, I will be posting images from the trip daily.  To get you in the mood and to give me time to settle in I thought some photos from our 2010 trip to Lisbon would be appropriate.  This photo was taken in Belem, a short journey from central Lisbon.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I had a great seat for our little concert - close enough to watch the guitar strings vibrate.  Thanks to Darrell and Roy and to our friends and neighbours who made it a great night.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


The crowd stayed late long after the guitars, mandolins and harmonicas had called it a night.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I used the Lensbaby composer on my Canon 1Dx for most of these shots.  I had the ISO cranked way up so that I'd get a nice series of grainy photos.

Friday, May 17, 2013


 Darrell travels with a full set of harmonicas.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


The full AndersonBurko band had five members but our living room isn't that big so Darrell (on the left) and Roy (on the right) did a three acoustic sets by themselves.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Last Friday our friends Roy and Darrell came 'round for a house concert.  We cleared out the furniture and that lads let 'er rip.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Recent Projects

This blue glass wall is an icon in this otherwise white on white interior retails space.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Recent Projects

This curved stair adds a touch of drama to this cosmetics store.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Recent Projects

This high end cosmetics store is in West Edmonton Mall.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Abstract in Blue

This blue abstract photo was made with the iPhone Hipstamatic app.  What is it you ask?  A backlit blue recycling bag tied to a tree.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Recent Projects

The front of this 24/7 pharmacy features a two story space and glazed curtain wall.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Recent Projects

Here's an exterior shot of the all hours pharmacy.  The building sites on the corner of a busy intersection and there is no landscaping whatsoever. The Canon 17mm TSE lens comes in handy for these situations.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Recent Projects

I hadn't photographed much in the way of retail space for a while then two assignments in under a week.  This pharmacy is open all hours which made the shoot easy on one hand (never a locked door) and difficult (what about all those customers wandering about?).  The solution?  Come at 6:00 a.m.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


This is our dog Parker; she turned 5 a day or two ago and this is her birthday portrait.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Face in the Woods

It might not be that obvious at this size, but this broken off branch looks like the face of some animal.  The 'eye' - (middle left) is actually a screw placed there for reasons unknown....

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Look Up

I'd say that 80% of photography is seeing the opportunities that are right before you and making the most of them.  Planning, cameras, technique, editing etc make up the rest, but if you're not keeping an eye out then nothing else matters; at least that's been my experience.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Dog Banjo

My dog Banjo is a Welsh Springer Spaniel.  He doesn't sit around much so if you want to take his picture you'll have to walk him for about 90 minutes.  In this photo he's settled in for a nap on the deck - between my legs.  What a great guy!

Friday, May 3, 2013

First on Your Dial

For decades CKUA radio broadcast from their studios in the Alberta Block on Jasper Avenue.  In October of last year they moved to the their new studios.  Before the move I took this photo for them of the mural that adorned the west side of the old building.  This graphic will be enlarged to near full size and transferred to the wall behind the reception desk in the new studios.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Recent Projects

This panoramic image of this bank interior was made by merging two photos together; the images were recorded on my Canon 1Dx with the Canon 17mm tilt/shift lens.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Recent Projects

Getting the white balance correct is one of the biggest challenges in interior photography.  I this photo there are four different light temperatures in play in this photo of a new bank; the fluorescent fixtures out in the banking area; a halogen pot light in the upper right, the large suspended fixture in the upper left and daylight coming from behind.  I made for JPEG copies of the this photo from the RAW file each corrected to the appropriate light source then I blended them together in Photoshop.