time to leave

The helicopter approaches ready to winch guys from the boat. Notice the skyway bridge in the background.

lecture theatre

The continuation of the helicopter series is delayed again because whenever I get an opportunity to post a photo on the day it was shot I take it. This is the lecture theatre at the University of Saskatchewan where I started by day this morning at 9am. I was so impressed with the room that I went back lunchtime when it was empty to take this shot.

Now really, the continued helicopter series will resume tomorrow.


I interrupt the helicopter series to bring you an up-to-date picture of night-time downtown Saskatoon. Back to the helicopter series tomorrow.

helicopter winching operations

Imagine this type of winching in rough weather, the helicopter is buffeted by the wind and the boat or ship is moving up-and-down with the waves. And of course when this procedure is used in earnest likely those are the conditions.

dropping in from the sky

Some of the glare at the top of this shot is not sun but water on the lens. At 10mm I am in close to get this shot, about 20 feet from the guy being lowered, and so at several points in this series the spray blown up from the rotors drenched me and my camera. In fact the shots right after this one look like they were taken underwater (I may post them for fun sometime). I learnt two things from this experience:

First, the Nikon D80 cannot auto-focus and therefore stops working when the front of the lens is wet – if this happens do not worry your camera is not broken — just switch to manual focus and keep going.

Second, the Nikon D80 and Sigma 10-20 lens are surprisingly waterproof!

harbour meeting

The griffon hovers off the starboard bow in a cloud of spray kicked up by the downdraft of the rotors. Police Marine Units and Military Search and Rescue Units don’t wait until there is an emergency to learn how to work together, they practice, and that is what is about to happen here.

As an aside — you will have noticed that my new Sigma 10-20mm is getting a lot of use. I had been anticipating getting a super wide-angle lens for ages - I tried the Sigma last year and also tried the Nikkor 12-24 a few months ago, but I returned both within days. What made me finally take the leap to go back and get the Sigma, was anticipating taking the shots on this boat - this assignment left me with no excuse - only a super wide angle would cut it. What I have found, however, is that the 10-20 is not only good for these shots, but also for almost all the shooting I do. I truly love this lens and wonder why I did not get and keep one of these a long time ago!

griffon from the sky

Today against the backdrop of Hamilton a police boat keeps pace with a CH-146 Griffon Helicopter from the Canadian Forces 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron.

(I am going away for a week, but I will set some of the photos from this series to auto-post daily while I am away - enjoy)

sunset patrol

I am starting a new idea called, “how would you have handled this shot.”

This is a photo of the Hamilton-Halton Police Marine Unit from the Burlington Canal Lift Bridge as the sun is going down. I am reasonably happy with the shot but I want it sharper. What would you have done?

My thinking was to push the ISO to 250 but not higher because I wanted no noise at all on the water. My D80 is better wth noise than my older D70s, so maybe I could have pushed it further, but still I do not trust the higher ISOs. I know though, that with a moving subject at 1/30 sec, the image sharpness will suffer and the f4.2 is not helping that either. Flash is an option but not an easy one at focal length of 11mm because the pop-up flash works at a minimum focal length of 18mm (so at 11mm I am going to get shadows). I suppose I could use my SB-600 Speedlight off camera with a diffuser but by the time I get it out of the bag and set the in-camera flash on commander mode the shot will be gone - and becides what I really like is the contarsting light on the water so I do not want to wash that out with flash.

So have fun with comments – suggest how you would you have handled this shot! And be critical and bold - I can take it - at least I think I can.


A shot from the top of Hamilton Mountain

sooner or later

Sooner or later he has to come for his shoes - and when he does he is sure to take me for a walk

sydney sidewalk

A candid shot from Sydney, Australia.

police boat in a hurry

Hamilton-Halton Police Marine Unit going somewhere in a hurry.

swan lake

Another picture of those Hamilton swans.

water works

A scene from the steam engines at the old Hamilton Water Works.


A place where I like to read

starboard quarter

Two police boats in formation with trailing boat following off the starboard quarter.

servants quarters

Another photo from inside Whitehern House, taken on the recent Open Doors Hamilton event.

comfy bed

A photo from inside Whitehern House taken on the recent Open Doors Hamilton event.

boat formation

Two of the boats from the Halton-Hamilton Police Marine Unit.

andrew ministering to the sick

You may not be able to read the stained class test, it says, ‘Andrew ministering to the sick.’ This is shot from the Hamilton Open Doors event in which local Churches, museums and other places of interest open their doors to let people wander in. I wandered into quite a few places—with my camera of course.

boat ramp

My cousin and his son — today I helped them put in a boat-ramp and dock.

hamilton-halton marine unit

The Nikon D80 got its first test today – it will take some getting used to but it passed the test. Here is one of today's better shots.

toronto city hall

A couple of days ago I posted a picture from a Nikon D40x, this is another shot from the D40x but it will is the last because this evening I took the D40x back to the store and brought a Nikon D80 instead. The D80 should solve the issues I had with the D40x and will be an upgrade from the Nikon D70s that I have been using for the past two-years. The old D70s will now be used as a back-up while I get used to the D80 and then retired and given to my daughter, who has wanted a dSLR for sooooo long!