Friday, November 30, 2007


Since I was a young geology student in the late 1960s, I have maintained an interest in rocks and minerals. Newfoundland and Labrador is affectionately called "The Rock" and is an excellent place to find rocks and minerals. In fact, one of my former professors once described this province as a "geologist's paradise".

The first photo was taken in the Johnson Geocentre ( ) and shows a piece of gypsum, mined in Newfoundland and Labrador for making gyproc. The second photo was taken not too far from my house in Holyrood and shows calcite, one of the most common minerals on earth. As far as I know, calcite is not mined in this province.

My apologies for not sending my Photo of the Day for the past two days, but we have been having Internet problems again.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Newfoundland Dog

The Newfoundland dog is known for its gentle, loyal, and protective personalities. It has a waterproof coat and webbed feet and there are many stories of people at sea being rescued by this breed of dog.

Because they are solid black, it is a challenge to photograph them. I photographed this dog in Brigus, Conception Bay. It was a very bright (around 2:30 pm) summer day and everything in the background was white. I cropped these photos as close to the dog as possible, but you will see that it is very bright.

As expected, there were many responses to yesterday's email. Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I listened to VOCM's Nightline (a local radio station's open line program) last evening and was sickened to hear one caller call the four RCMP officers who tasered the Polish Immigrant in Vancouver Airport "murderers". While it is unfortunate that this man died after being tasered, the RCMP were called to the scene because the man was acting illegally. I, along with millions of travellers, have been stuck in airports for extended periods. The language barrier added to his frustration, but there are Police in Poland, and he probably knew that they were there because of his behaviour, especially since he had a criminal record in Poland and has dealt with police there.

Since 9-11, every traveller on this planet has experienced first-hand the tightened security in airports and KNOW that suspicious behaviour will NOT be tolerated. In fact, I heard a news story that an 80 year-old man was arrested because he made a joking comment about a "bomb". Just last spring I was taken out of line in security in the US because I had forgotten I had a bottle of Vaseline an a small penknife in my camera bag. I, like 99.99 percent of travellers, was totally cooperative and handed over the items without argument.

However, Mr. Dziekansk was so out of control that the RCMP were called to deal with the situation.

They had four choices:

  • Talk to the man to calm him down
    Airport officials had been dealing with him for 6-8 hours already, including a person with limited knowledge of Polish, and using Internet translation tools, This was not an option
  • Tackle him physically
    Had that been captured on tape, the media would have had a circus with that as well.
  • Shoot him
    Not an option at that point in time
  • Taser him with a weapon they were permitted to use

This was NOT murder, but an unfortunate outcome of a situation that was caused by Mr. Dziekansk. It was he who decided to act illegally. If he had acted like the millions of other frustrated travellers in the world, the police would not have been called. The police were doing their jobs!

Two RCMP offers were murdered in the last month or so; which brought the total number of RCMP officers murdered to 9 since 2003. Where is the public outcry against murdering police officers? Where is the support for the men and women who serve and protect the citizens of this country?

My wife has written a letter that has been circulated to the media across Canada. Thus far she has received one response; a request to cut the letter in half because it was too long to print. I am attaching the letter in it's entirety.


RE: Tasering Incident

I’ve been following the media’s reporting of the death of Mr. Dziekansk after being tasered at Vancouver International Airport. Many are questioning, even condemning, the RCMP for their decision to use a taser rather than physical restraint to subdue him. I believe such questions come from the public’s lack of understanding as to what the job of law enforcement officers entails and how extremely stressful and dangerous that job is in Canada in 2007.

Experts have identified law enforcement as “one of the most stressful occupations in the world”, second only to soldiers in combat. Recently I read a report on the stress and trauma experienced by those who police our country. Written prior to the murder of the four RCMP members in Alberta, it reported 117 Canadian police officers murdered between 1962-2001 (this does not include those others killed on duty-related accidents). The report also stated that assaults on police officers in Canada are high and escalating at an alarming rate. Since the writing of that report, nine RCMP members have been murdered by criminals with long records who were released by an overly lenient legal system to do what they did.

Violent crime is on the rise from St. John’s to Vancouver and in every small town in between. We no longer live in a country where it’s safe to walk our streets at night and police forces everywhere are struggling to keep up. But they can’t keep up unless the government admits this country has a serious problem and provides the necessary man/woman power and tools vital to do the job.
Few, if any, detachments across this country have a full slate of officers and some do not even have enough cruisers for the members they do have. This is due solely to severe government cutbacks in the 90s.

RCMP members often are forced to work 12-18 hour shifts due to the increase in crime and the insufficient number of staff and, unfortunately, they generally work alone due to lack of federal funding. Every time a police officer stops a car in a routine traffic stop, he/she is stepping into an unknown situation that could turn dangerous – even deadly as evidenced recently in Nunavut. If and when a situation turns dangerous, an officer has a split second to decide on a course of action. In that time, he/she has to evaluate the situation, keeping in mind the safety of innocent bystanders, his/her own physical safety, and even that of suspects. Do we really want them to also have to consider how the media will interpret their actions?

The incident at Vancouver Airport was an unfortunate tragedy and we all feel sympathy for the dead man and his family. But let’s take an objective, not emotional, look at what happened.
We live in a post 9-11 world and the safety and security we were so proud of prior to that day no longer exist and major airports are constantly on alert for anyone acting in an erratic or suspicious manner.

Have we forgotten that we are a country at war - with thousands of Canadian troops fighting in Afghanistan? At home, our law enforcement agencies are also on constant alert for anyone who would enter our country and perpetrate crimes against our citizens. Have we become so politically correct that the safety of a man engaging in threatening and illegal behaviour in our airports is more important than that of our protectors?

If this man were so easy to subdue, airport security would have handled it themselves. But officers were called and they made a decision to use a taser. Given the times we live in and the venue in which this occurred, should those officers have put themselves and innocent bystander at risk. They didn’t have time to find an interpreter or do a psychiatric evaluation. They were called because airport security judged the situation too dangerous to handle alone and they needed backup. The police officers were concerned only with the safety of the civilians (Canadian and foreign) who were in that airport at that time.

Every police force across Canada needs 3 very important supports to do their job efficiently and effectively: financial support from Ottawa; a legal system that backs them up; and the respect, and cooperation of the people they protect. Unfortunately, they have none of these. Our government has made cutbacks that leave police officers overworked and understaffed; our legal system is continually releasing criminals back unto our streets to reoffend; and the people are quick to judge and condemn police whether they kill someone or are killed themselves.

We now have law enforcement organizations across Canada making decisions such as whether or not to equip their members with tasers based on pressure from an overzealous media that is quick to condemn without all the facts and a public that has little understanding of what the job of law enforcement officer entails.

For those of us who find law enforcement officers easy targets for our criticism and contempt, perhaps we should become more informed about the dangers they face, the hours they work, the supports they lack, the disrespect they encounter daily. Do some research into our legal system, the light sentences for repeat offenders, the plea bargaining by hardened criminals, the release of violent offenders for good behaviour. Then research the increase of violent crimes in our towns and cities.

Shame on Canada that those four officers, who did nothing but their jobs, have already been judged and convicted by the public they protect and a media that is becoming increasingly sensational. If that man had killed one of those four officers, he would have been at least considered innocent until convicted by a court of law.

Sadly, those four officers have already been reassigned – guilty of nothing more than doing what they swore to do to protect Canada and its people. But I suggest that before the public and the media condemn their actions, they remember this. In a post 9-11 world, everyone (no matter their nationality or language) knows that such behaviour as exhibited by this man is suspicious, threatening and illegal and absolutely would not be tolerated in any airport in any country on this planet! Zero tolerance of such behaviour is the worldwide rule of thumb!

I still believe in the democratic process, something our troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world, are fighting and dying for. Before I condemn the RCMP for protecting my country and its people, I will wait until all the facts are in. It is far too easy to respond to the tasering incident from an emotional viewpoint only. I refuse to crucify those four officers based on a few minutes of a money making video or by a media concerned primarily with sensationalism and ratings.

Barbara Lane

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Kirk

The Kirk is a historic Presbyterian church in St. John's that I photographed in 2005.

The first photo shows the pipes of an organ located in the front of the church. The second was taken not long after the service was over - a glass of water that the minister used during the service is located to the extreme right side of the photo.

The third shows two symbols. The first may be either the Burning Bush or Tree of Knowledge. I am not sure of the meaning of the X, but after a quick search of the Internet, I think it may have something to do with women's role in the church. If anyone on the list knows the meaning of the symbols, please let me know.

These photos were taken without a flash, but I used a tripod with ISO set to 1600. I used a tripod in most churches because of the dim light.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


If you have been on my list any length of time, you know that I enjoy taking photos of food. In fact, most times I am at a function that involves food, I usually take photographs before guests arrive.

I photographed the photos of these fruit and cheese trays at an outdoor wedding in mid-summer. It was a bright sunny day and I liked the arrangement and types of food. I was a little concerned that the lighting would be too harsh because of the bright afternoon sun, but liked the photos when they were downloaded.

I never judge the quality of a photo by looking at the image on the camera's display. Often, it may not look great, but when downloaded, I find it is excellent.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

More Garbage Boxes

I had several emails yesterday about "garbage boxes". Quite a few people asked for a little more information so I am sending more photos today.

Most towns in Newfoundland and Labrador have by-laws that require people to cover their garbage because seagulls, crows, dogs and other animals tear open garbage bags, causing a mess. Many people have built or purchased containers in which they store their garbage bags full of trash until they are picked up once a week and trucked to a landfill.

I photograph the ones that catch my attention and show the creativity of the owners. The first one is entirely made of small trees. The second has a "painting" that depicts a rural scene and the others, like one I sent yesterday, have animal designs.

I didn't think garbage boxes were unique to our part of the world, but they may be. If they are used where you live, feel free to let me know.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Garbage Boxes

A few years I was driving through a small community with my Father, and he mentioned that he would like to take photos of garbage boxes. He said he had been observing them for years and noticed how different they were. I admitted that I had never really noticed the shapes, colours and styles of garbage boxes, but since that day I have! I encouraged him to should start taking photos of them himself and that they would be interesting to other people. Since that day, I have been observing, and photographing, garbage boxes that catch my attention.

The three photos today show styles of garbage boxes and how the owners chose to paint them. I have noticed quite a few with maple leaves, only one with a dolphin, and many with original art. Believe it or not, I have seen a few deep freezes that have been converted to garbage boxes. Remember - EVERYTHING'S A PICTURE!

I have a growing collection of these type of photos which are documenting part of our culture; a part that not too many people even notice. From time to time, I will share some that I find interesting.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Witless Bay Line

This morning I chose two photographs taken on the Witless Bay Line, about 15 minutes drive from my house. I visit this area several times a year to capture the barren landscape. There are many small ponds and lakes in the area and all of them have large glacial boulders (also called erratics). On one calm morning, I took some time to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet, enjoying the reflections and still water.

That morning, I took many photos of the boulders and their reflections. The first image this morning shows a lake, with the barren landscape in the background. The second is a closer view of a couple of rocks. It reminded me of the Japanese gardens (with rocks and sand) that are used for meditation and prayer.

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


The reaction to yesterday's photos of snow was mixed. Many loved the photos and several "hated" the snow. No matter what, we are sure to have lots of snow (and photos) between now and April.

This morning I chose three photos of red peppers. I like the bright red colour as well as the shape and texture. I also converted one to b&w which emphasizes the shape and texture, rather than the colour.

All photos were taken on a table by our living room window without a flash. I used a white background so that the viewer would be drawn to the pepper only - nothing to distract. Once again - try different angles no matter what you are photographing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Yesterday we had our first snowfall of the season. It is hard to believe that it was as warm here on the weekend as in Florida and California, and now we have a light covering of snow. I still remember the feeling of being a child and how excited I felt at the first snowfall.

The first two images are of the same branch, but I included them to show you that moving the camera just a little will change the final image.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fortress of Lousibourg - Entrance

I was having Internet problems again this weekend and didn't get all my Photos sent on Saturday. That's why most of you received two Photos of the Day yesterday.

To keep with the Fortress of Louisbourg theme, I am sending another two photos of an entranceway; this time from different angles. The second photo was the most challenging because of the bright light coming through the entrance and the dark shadows on the wall of the fort. I focused (and metered) on the bright pathway to ensure that the things outside would not be too bright. By eliminating most of the bright sky, I was able to capture the image I wanted.

Remember that you are not limited to one photograph of a particular subject - shoot lots and from different angles especially if you are shooting with a digital camera.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fortress of Louisbourg

In 2005, I visited the Fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia. Visiting this area was like being transported back in time with a digital camera. Though I was only there for 2.5 hours, I was able to capture over 600 photos, each of which show a snippet of what it was like in this town over 300 years ago.

The first photo was taken in a "servant's room" that had a large barrel which may have once been filled with wine. I wanted to capture the window with the barrel so I focused on the brightest part of the window knowing that the outside would not be too bright. There was enough light coming through the window to illuminate the barrel.

For the second image, I zoomed in and metered off the brightest part of the barrel. You can see that it is perfectly exposed, but the outside is now too bright. Since there isn't much of the window showing in the image, the brightness doesn't bother me too much.

Fortress of Louisbourg - Doors

Today, I am sharing three images of a building at Fortress of Louisbourg.

The first is the original photo. I tried to capture as many windows and doors on this building as possible but couldn't fit them all in. I couldn't take the time to get a better shot because I was trying to get to the final event of the day.

I wasn't really happy with the photo, but the door was very interesting. I cropped the image by centering the stairs which lead to the open door -with no hint of what is inside.

I thought it was a pretty good image but found the green shutter to be very distracting. I removed the shutter as well as a tiny sliver of another window (left side), creating an image which leads the viewer to wonder what is inside the door.

Normally wouldn't share the one with the shutters, but I since am sharing photo ideas, I guess it is OK! ;)

Friday, November 16, 2007


Nasturtiums are very pretty flowers that brightened our back yard for the past two years. The bright yellow and orange blooms are very photogenic.

We collected seeds in September, which are stored until Spring, when we will plant some around our new property.

It is 10°C (50°F) this morning. Quite warm for this time of the year.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


As most of you know, I enjoy photographing houses, especially older houses that have been abandoned. There is one house in a nearby community that I have photographed several times in the 25 years that I have been living on the Avalon Peninsula.

The first photo was taken in 2004 and you can see that the house is in a sad state of disrepair. Last summer, I drove by and just had to stop and get a photo of the same house after someone had restored it. Quite often, the older houses have deteriorated or been torn down when I revisit them, however, this particular house was given a new life.

As I drive around communities on the Avalon, I notice that more and more houses are being fixed up. I am not sure if this is because outsiders are purchasing and restoring them, or if there is more money around because of the number of workers who work in Alberta and maintain a residence in Newfoundland and Labrador.

If you wish to see other photos of houses go to:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I photographed these flowers with natural light coming through the large window in our living room. I liked the colours and shapes of the flowers.

As we move into late fall and winter, I won't get photos of flowers in the wild. Occasionally, I will send flower images to brighten up dreary days. After 4 days of rain in a row in this part of the world, I think the colours will be a treat!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Thanks for the positive comments about yesterday's photos of veterans.

This morning I am sending an image I created for today's Photo of the Day. In keeping with my theme for the past few day's, I incorporated images of veterans on a photo of The Fighting Newfoundlander, a statue situated in Bowring Park in St. John's. (

I have also created a b & w image of this "poster". You can find it , as well as the complete b & w photo essay of the veteran's at:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Veterans 2

Thanks for the positive comments about yesterday's photos of veterans.

I am continuing the series again today. As I photograph the veteran's during the playing of the Last Post as well as a moment of silence, I look at the veterans' eyes and take individual photos of them. Very emotional!

Once again, these photos were taken in colour and converted to b & w. I used Picasa 2 (a free program from Google) to create the b & w images.

Our school has a web site dedicated to our Veterans. Click the link to visit this site.

Veterans 3

Thanks for the positive comments about yesterday's photos of veterans.

Yesterday we had a Remembrance Day Celebration at our school and the guest speaker was a young man who had just returned from Afghanistan. Students listened to him intently and it was a valuable lesson that they saw that veterans are not necessarily the gray-haired "old" men.

Our school has a web site dedicated to our Veterans. Click the link to visit this site. Feel free to photograph Veteran's Day or Remembrance Day celebrations in your area and send them to us for our site.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


For the next few days I am planning to send b & w photos of veterans taken during Remembrance Day Ceremonies since I have been using a digital camera.

I mentioned a while ago that I take lots of candid photos of people and enjoy capturing expressions when they are not really aware that I am taking a photo. On Remembrance Day, I like capturing the expressions as the Last Post is being played. Without exception, the veteran's eyes fill with emotion. Thoughts of lost friends, horrors witnessed, people and places .... memories of war all rush through their minds as they "Remember".

I try to photograph individuals during this part of ceremonies and their eyes tell a story. Sharing the photos is my way of "remembering" the sacrifices made by those who died as well as those who brought the memories home with them.

Our school has a web site dedicated to our Veterans. Click the link to visit this site.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Chinese Lantern

Yesterday's photos of the vulture turned off quite a few people, but I still like the photos of the vulture eating a carcass of an alligator. Those were "documentary" photos that showed the important role of vultures in cleaning up dead animals. Here in this part of the world, crows serve the same function.

This morning I am sharing two photos that I took three years ago after a light frost. The orange flower of the Chinese lantern is dusted with tiny ice crystals. I cropped a small section to show a closer view.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Black-headed Vulture

While in Florida a couple of years back I saw a flock of vultures eating a dead alligator floating in a river. I sneaked as close as I could and was lucky to catch a few photos of one bird sticking its head into a small hole that had been picked in the body.

I thought at the time that I could never remember seeing photos of vultures eating this way and thought that I should be able to sell the photos to a textbook company. I have had them on my website for over two years, but no one has even commented on them. I am not certain that anyone has even seen them.

I suspect that the vulture's (and crows' in this part of the world) digestive systems have evolved in a way that rotten meat doesn't hurt them. Humans urge when they smell rotten meat and I am guess eating it would cause all sorts of problems.

Feel free to check out other vulture images at:

Bald Eagles

Bald Eagles I spent a rainy day yesterday organizing my Facebook Albums that featured photographs of different bird species. Now, I can find...