Chillin' in Ottawa with the 18-55mm

Although the calendar says that spring arrived over two weeks ago, the Ottawa Valley has decided to ignore the good news. Instead, we're still being treated to below-zero temperatures, brisk winds and snow on the ground.

In spite of all this -- or perhaps because of it -- I decided that I needed to break out of the house over the Easter weekend and spend some quality time with my camera. A couple of hours walking around Ottawa's Sparks Street Pedestrian Mall and Parliament Hill should do the trick and, if I got too cold, I could always duck into a coffee shop. (It's nice to see Sparks Street gradually shedding its dead-zone mode but it's still got a long way to go, especially on the weekend.)

I started out with the 35mm f/1.4 on my Fujifilm X-E1 but realized soon enough that I like the flexibility of 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 zoom for walking around. It's somewhat heavier, but it balances well and I like the flexibility it gives me for framing a scene. The sun was brilliant against a deep blue sky, so I didn't get the chance to see what difference the recent firmware upgrade has made to the lens' OIS performance. Perhaps I'll do that in the next post.

For now, here are a few shots from a chilly weekend in Canada's capital with my favourite all-purpose lens and Fujifilm's own red-filtered black and white goodness.

A Happy Easter to all.

Steel and stone.

Steel and stone.

The beauty of Parliament Hill.

The beauty of Parliament Hill.

Saluting George Brown.

Saluting George Brown.

My turn (to shoot this photographic cliché).

My turn (to shoot this photographic cliché).

Architectural history.

Architectural history.

Happy 2015!

Well, another year has come and gone. But before 2014 was quite done my family and I enjoyed ourselves at Ottawa's Hogmanay night ("Hogmanay" is a Scots word used for New Year festivities). This is the third time that the Scottish Society of Ottawa has hosted the event and it seems to get better each year. The first two years were held outside Ottawa City Hall; a lot of fun the first time, but temperatures below -20C were enough to chill some of the enthusiasm.

This year the do moved inside the Aberdeen Pavilion, the only large-scale exhibition building in Canada surviving from the 19th century, and was a big hit. There was food for sale, activities for the kids, and a range of beer and (especially) whiskies for the adults. The big draw, though, was the free music provided by the likes of the Glengarry Pipe Band, Ecosse and Glass Tiger.

I took along my camera to take some shots of the bands in action. Although the Fujinon 55-200mm hunted a bit for focus on my X-E1, I still had a pretty good success rate at high ISOs (3200 and 6400, to be precise).

A few pictures for your viewing pleasure and my best wishes to you for 2015.