36 Years Ago

Lorraine

It was 36 years ago today that I married Lorraine. I am so blessed to have Lorraine as my wife and partner in life.

2014 Highlights

12 months and a few photos that highlight some of the great memories of 2014. Click on any photo for a larger image.

January. Lorraine and I were able to take a weekend away in Toronto. We had a chance to act as tourists and we did things like tour the ROM.

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

February. Lorraine and I were able to take a weekend away in Ottawa for our anniversary. We toured the Museum of Civilization amongst many other activities.

Museum of Civilization

Also in February, I was commissioned to shoot Noble Street Studios in Toronto. Here are a couple of shots from that engagement.

Noble Street Studios

Noble Street Studios

March. I completed a set of upgrades for the studio which included a new console, new monitors and a new Pro Tools HD rig. This is what things looked like in March:

Whisperwood Studios

And again in December when the other half of the console finally arrived:

Whisperwood Studios

April was a fairly quiet month although the big event locally was a movie shoot. Downtown Kingston was transformed into a movie set.

Kingston Movie Set

May. We spent a wonderful time with our daughter and her family. We celebrated our granddaughter’s birthday and our grandson’s dedication.

Clara

Clara's Birthday

June. It seems to happen every year. I play at the company’s summer BBQ event.

Company BBQ

And the video:

July. This was our amazing trip to Venice followed by a cruise that took us to Athens, several Greek islands and Ephesus. An incredible experience.

Venice

August. My daughter and her family came to visit. I love spending time with my grandkids.

Grandpa and Clara

September. A major milestone as we finished the mixes for Trevor’s latest project. New World took over 700 hours of work on the engineering and mixing front. A very intense yet highly rewarding effort.

New World Mix Sign-off

October. Walt Disney World in the fall. No better place at this time of year.

Yacht Club

Also in October, I did a live recording for Trevor’s soft launch of New World.

New World Soft Launch

I think November was spent recovering from a very busy season although there were certainly numerous rehearsals and practice sessions taking place for the sixth annual Celebrate Christmas event in December.

December. Here is the stage dressed and ready for the Celebrate Christmas event.

Celebrate Christmas

Celebrate Christmas

So much happens in the ordinary course of living life that I often forget to look back on the many wonderful blessings and opportunities that happen every month.

There is much to be thankful.

Disney Decade

I tend to wander down memory lane a little bit over the Christmas holidays.

We spent many wonderful years at Disney. I happen to have this shot of Mathew, Lorraine and myself from 10 years back:

Walt Disney World 2004

And here we are just a few months back. Still having fun together!

Walt Disney World 2014

Happy Holidays

Cleaver Family

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Our family gathering on Christmas morn was limited in number but not in spirit. Matthew and I had played in two Christmas eve services the night before and between rehearsals and the two events, we returned home blessed by the good news of Christmas. Truly a wonderful time of year.

It was just Lorraine, Matthew, Tabby and I as we awoke to a beautiful Christmas day.

We had our gifts arranged under the tree in the lower level of our home.

Christmas Tree

As usual, Lorraine had spent a considerable amount of time wrapping most of the gifts with care.

Matthew's Gifts

Matthew's Gifts

The rest of our home had been wonderfully decorated for the season. Here are a few of the small details.

Christmas Scene

Christmas Village

Christmas Village

Christmas day has certainly changed as our children have grown older. Being able to sleep in a bit later is one welcome change although I do miss those years when our children were young and so very excited to gather under the tree and exchange gifts.

I hope that you and your family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas day.

Grandchild

Our newest grandchild connects with Lorraine (click on the photo for a larger image). Wonderful to see my daughter and her family over the long weekend.

Grandchild

Goodbye Venice

Tuesday, July 15th.

Our last day in Venice. We were up early to take advantage of our last morning here. We would leave the hotel at 11:30am to start our long journey home to Canada.

I decided to take a bit of a different approach to shooting Venice this particular morning. And, if I had enough courage, I might do something like this in the future: shoot with only one prime lens. In this case, my 50mm f1.8. Every time I travel, I struggle with camera body choices and the lenses. Part of this is due to air travel becoming more restrictive with respect to carry on and part of this is due to my minimalist tendencies. I prefer to travel light.

The fifty is a very sharp piece of glass and it provides a fairly neutral perspective. However, it is a bit challenging when framing shots particularly for travel photography. There is an incredible feeling of freedom, mind you, when you can take a very light rig out on the street.

So that is what I decided to do that morning. The 24-120mm f4.0 was put away and the rest of the day was captured with the prime. Click on any image for a larger photo and slideshow.

The Centurion Palace was our home for the time we spent in Venice. It is a beautiful property located right alongside the Grand Canal.

Centurion Palace

The public tap water in Venice is safe, cold, and great-tasting. It’s piped in from deep wells on the Italian mainland, and it’s so good that it has its own brand name: Acqua Veritas.

Water

What a lovely morning for a wedding.

Just Married

What is this box? There were so many of them in Venice.

Snail Mail

Even the signs are works of art.

Hotel Galleria

The Academy Bridge (Ponte dell’Accademia) is so named because it crosses the Grand Canal at the Galleria dell’Accademia, one of the top museums in Venice. While the Ponte dell’Accademia is not a new bridge ”“ it was first erected in the mid-19th century then replaced in the 1930s ”“ it is interesting for its high arch construction and the fact that it is wooden. The current Academy Bridge dates from 1985, when the 1930s bridge was deemed too dangerous. This early in the morning, the bridge contained no tourists.

Academy Bridge

Rising flood waters, sinking palazzi, tourist congestion and corrosive pigeon droppings. And now a different problem.

Inspired by a bestselling romantic novel, couples attach locks to the bridges.

The craze, inspired by I Want You, the 2006 novel by Federico Moccia, involves couples writing their names on the padlock, swearing eternal love and throwing the keys into the canal.

Couples had first shown a preference for Venice’s wooden Ponte del Accademia, where up to 300 padlocks are now fixed, despite a clean up with boltcutters in February. It did take me a while to count all of those locks. Can love still be eternal when the locks are broken into pieces?

Love Locks

There is always room for Gelati so why is this place closed?

Gelati

Lots of climbers and flowers. Very few trees.

Flowers

The area around the Rialto bridge is very popular with tourists.

Dining in Venice

Strange looking machines are found hanging against a wall.

Phone Home

Gondola racing is not for the weak.

Gondola Expressway

Many buildings along the Grand Canal are flooded and unoccupied. Usually you could tell by the lack of flags and flowers. In this case, the building on the right side was occupied, the building on the left was not.

Grand Canal

It must be tough to be a water taxi operator in Venice.

Water Taxi

Gondolas leave the Rialto bridge area.

Gondola

Now that is quite an entry way.

Grand Canal

Another water taxi passes us by on the Grand Canal.

Water Taxi

Our driver gave us an extended ride back to the airport. Wonderful views of Venice from the water taxi.

Water Taxi

So many churches and bell towers in Venice. How many? Well, 149 churches. You can tell me if I did not count correctly. And somewhere around 80 bell towers.

Churches and Bell Towers

Mooring poles. Not to be confused with Barber shop poles.

Mooring Poles

We had a wonderful time in this beautiful city. It was hard to leave it behind.

Last Evening in Venice

The morning of Monday July 14th started with heavy torrential rain as we disembarked from the Disney Magic. We made our way to our hotel — the same hotel that we used before our cruise. And Lorraine and I spent the morning walking the wet streets of Venice.

We made our way back to disconnect Matthew from the hotel’s WiFi and to find a restaurant for a late lunch. Back to the hotel to check in to our room. And then back out to explore Venice. I’d like to share a few shots from that evening. Click on any image for a larger photo and slideshow.

We decided to walk the busy tourist boardwalk near San Marco square. And, much to our surprise, the Disney Magic was making its way out of Venice on its next cruise. They left us behind. If you click on the image, you should be able to make out all of the passengers crammed on the topside deck. The view of Venice from the ship is certainly amazing. And it was also quite a sight to see our ship slowly make its way from Venice.

20140714_venice_278

There is simply no better light for Venice than the light around the golden hour. Here are a few canal shots with the warm light of an evening sunset.

Venice at Night

Venice at Night

Venice at Night

The city really does become very quiet in the evening hours especially a few steps away from the main tourist areas. And small restaurants can be found jutting out into alleyways literally everywhere in Venice.

Venice at Night

One of my favourite shots from the trip. The Grand Canal as seen from the foot of the Academy Bridge. During the day it is very difficult to even make your way across this bridge because of all of the tourists. However, at night, everything is calm. Even the Vaporetto — the water bus — is lightly travelled.

Venice at Night

Closing in on 9pm and the light is still great. The canals and the sidewalks are empty.

Venice at Night

Amazing clouds colour the evening sky over the Grand Canal.

Venice at Night

Our last evening in Venice. Tomorrow we start making our way back to Canada.

Venice at Night

Venice in the Rain

Monday morning, July 14th.

We had a wonderful evening on the gondola ride last night. We came back to the ship fairly late. There was apparently a sporting event of some sort taking place. I think the German passengers were excited by the outcome. Whatever. We spent the last part of the last evening of our cruise getting ready to leave the ship. Up bright and early on the Monday morning. Breakfast at 7am. Fond farewells to our friends in the dining crew. They were awesome.

There are a number of benefits to packing light. One benefit is that you worry far less about keeping track of your stuff while you are travelling. There just isn’t much stuff. We packed our three bags in less than an hour. Another benefit is mobility. In the morning we simply carried our bags of the ship. On our own. Easy.

The storms that had been forecast on the Sunday arrived with some intensity on the Monday morning. Just in time for our water taxi ride to the hotel. Fortunately we did not get soaking wet but Venice is a city enjoyed in any weather condition. The rain did not last for very long. We arrived to our hotel at 8:30am. Our room was obviously not ready at that hour however we were able to rest in the hotel lounge. As soon as the rain stopped, which was around 9:30am, Lorraine and I left Matthew in the hotel lounge and we went walking. There is always some interesting photography when things are a bit damp.

Enjoy some photos of Venice after a morning rain. Click on any image for a larger photo and slideshow.

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

Venice

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Venice

Venice

Venice

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Venice

 

Venice

Venice

Venice