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X-Pro along the Niagara

Posted 2011.08.12 23.32 in Family/Friends, Photography by Stephanie

Today my sister and I went for an interesting drive and did some sightseeing, along the Niagara river. We actually started at Fort Erie right at the mouth of the river, then followed the Niagara Parkway northwards, all the way to Lake Ontario. And naturally, I brought a camera (or three) with me.

These shots were taken with my Zeiss Ikon Nettar, using Fuji Astia reversal (slide) film. I processed them at home in C-41 chemistry, hence the X-Pro (cross processing) in the title. The images all have a wierd otherworldly colour tone to them due to the cross processing.

I’m quite pleased with the results; the Nettar is a 61-year-old fully manual camera, and I took a guess on the exposure. Slide film is notoriously touchy for exposure levels, but I seem to have done a fairly good job at estimating the settings.

I took more pics with another camera, but that roll isn’t done yet so they’ll have to wait.

A Day At Marineland

Posted 2011.07.28 22.16 in Family/Friends, Photography by Stephanie

Recently, my sister had decided to take her kids to Marineland in Niagara Falls, Canada. Our parents were going to, and it sounded like a fun trip so I tagged along.

As a break from my ongoing compact camera thing, I decided to take an old classic with me – the Fujica 35-SE. Although not my original camera from 1983, this is the same exact make and model as that very first camera.

The 35-SE was introduced in 1959. A heavy, solid camera, it is fully and completely manual. To aid in setting the manual exposure parameters, it does have a selenium light meter, which still works after 50+ years! What I had forgotten was that my 35-SE suffers a light leak. This resulted in some colourful yellow-orange flaring on many (but not all) of the images.

Light leak aside, I’m pleased with many of the images, and even the ones with the flaring aren’t too bad.

Film was Kodak Portra 400VC, the first four exposures above were based on the “sunny-16” rule and the last two were trusted to the light meter. (The last two were also shot inside a moving car, so you know… just wasting film to get to the end of the roll!) Finally, it was processed at home with my tired & expired C-41 kit.


Been a While…

Posted 2008.11.30 1.00 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

So it’s been a while since I posted anything. Very busy with work, actually just a really busy and stressful month or four. Did some wine-tastings last week down in Niagara, that was a nice diversion for a couple days, but admittedly after the first hour or so I didn’t really care. If I hadn’t taken notes, I wouldn’t even be able to say what wineries we went to.

I’ve been trying to think of some funny things to write about depression, like ways to twist it and find the humour. Haven’t been able to think of any, though, and although I could write volumes of unfunny things about it, I don’t think that would be fun for anyone else to read.

So, just close your eyes here and pretend that I said something funny or wry on the subject, and maybe there’ll be something new here later.

Cave Spring Cellars

Posted 2006.11.25 1.00 in Wine by Stephanie

Fourth and final winery visited by my mother and I last Thursday, Cave Spring Cellars was a nice treat. Right in the village of Jordan, Cave Spring Cellars is right across the street from the Inn On The Twenty where we were spending the night, and next door to the On The Twenty restaurant where we had a very fancy gourmet meal. As with all the Niagara vineyards we visited, staff here were friendly, helpful, knowledgable, and ready to talk wine.

Riesling Reserve, 2004, VQA Niagara. This single-vineyard wine was made from grapes coming from the Beamesville Bench estate. The nose held light citrus tones, atop a mineral / slate base. The body was as I prefer, light, crisp, and with a faint zing to it. The finish was short and refreshing, with a return of both mineral and citrus sensations. A very nice wine, I gave this one a 90 on the Stephanie Scale. I also bought myself a bottle, at $17.95

Riesling Icewine, 2004, VQA Niagara. Evey now and then I like to try an Icewine, although I don’t drink a lot of desert wines. This example had a multilayered nose, with apples, peaches, and citrus in abundance, with faint tones of chemical underneath. It reminded me very much of Turkish Delight candies, of which I am fond. The body was full, creamy and luxurious, but well balanced with enough acidity to keep the sweetness from overpowering. The finish was long, and left me thinking more of candied fruit. This delight earned 92 points, and although it costs $59.95 per half bottle, I decided to treat myself to one. Favorite Wine of the trip.

Cabernet Select Late Harvest, 2005, VQA Niagara. This one was the unexpected treat of the trip. A blend of Cabs Sauv and Franc, this wine was made in the style of an Icewine(*) after the grapes were allowed to raisin on the vines. The nose is a wonderful aroma of strawberries, and in the mouth it is a light-bodied wine, presenting as nicely balanced and refreshing. The finish was long and pleasant, with a lingering sensation of strawberry. This wine earns an easy 90. I have to say, I have had an $80.00/half-bottle Cab Franc Icewine, which Cave Spring Cellars’ Cabernet Select Late Harvest compares very favorably to – but at only $21.95 per half bottle, Cave Spring Cellars is practically giving this wine away! Best Value Wine of the trip.

I grabbed 3 bottles of this favorite, and my mother picked up a trio for herself as well. This winner is only available at the winery, but even so, they’re running out fast.

(*)Note: For a wine to be officialy designated as an ‘icewine’ the grapes have to spend at least 3 consecutive days at sub-zero temperatures before they are harvested. If they don’t meet this criteria, they can still be harvested and vinted as an ‘icewine’ but cannot carry the ‘icewine’ designation. Hence terms such as ‘Late Harvest’ and ‘TBA’ (Totally Botrytis Affected).

Cave Spring Cellars

Kacaba Vineyards

Posted 2006.11.23 1.00 in Wine by Stephanie

The third stop of the day for my mother and I last Thursday was Kacaba Vineyards. As with all the other wineries, the staff were helpful, knowledgable, and eager to talk wines. The only problem I had at Kacaba was that there was a strong odour in the tasting room, kind of a mediciny smell, which greatly impacted my ability to nose their wines.

Riesling, 2004, VQA Niagara. This was a dissapointment for me. I found only sour apples and chemicals on the nose, and it quite put me off the wine. The body was light and mild, and the finish was short, with just enough acidity and fruit to make it refreshing. I could only give this one an 80 on the Stephanie Scale. Kacaba’s Riesling is priced at $14.00 per bottle.

Gypsy White, 2004, VQA Niagara. A blend of Riesling, Muscat Blanc and Pinot Gris. The nose held very strong floral aromas. The body was light, refreshing, crisp and pleasant. The finish was medium and refreshing as well. This wine earned an 87 and at only $12.00 per bottle, it is a steal.

Meritage, 2002, VQA Niagara. Kacaba’s Meritage is a Bordeaux-style blend. The nose was bold, with toasted oak, cassis, and peppers all in attendance. A rull, rich body carrying spicy tannins, but with a creamy mouthfeel, led to a long, fruity, plummy finish. A bold wine with aging potential, I gave this one 88 points. At $40.00 per bottle though it is a bit out of my range.

Kacaba Vineyards

Ridgepoint Wines

Posted 2006.11.22 1.00 in Wine by Stephanie

Ridgepoint Wines was the second winery of the day, for my mother and I, last Thursday. I’d never even heard of them before, but we were exploring the wineries of the Vineland / Jordan area and were looking for some adventure. The ‘staff’ were helpful and eager to talk about wine, and were very knowledgable. We found out later that the fellow we had been talking to at the counter, was none other than the owner of the winery!

Riesling Medium-Dry, 2005, VQA Niagara. A quiet nose with faint exotic aromas of citrus. The body was rich, somewhat creamy, and with a faint snap to it. The finish was longish, sweet, but with faint fruit. I do prefer my Rieslings to be in the German style, so the Medium-Dry seemed like a good choice, but this one did not have enough acidity to fully balance the sweetness. I gave it an 85 on the Stephanie Scale. At only $14.95 per bottle I picked one up for myself.

Unoaked Chardonnay, 2005, VQA Niagara. I don’t want to be another ABC wine snob (Anything But Chardonnay), so I am willing to give it a try now and then. What I find objectionable is the huge amount of oak that some wineries are using these days, so an Unoaked chard is always something I’m willing to try. This one had some vegetals, particularily corn, in the nose, and some vanilla tones. Medium-bodied and a bit creamy, led to long vanilla and herbal sensations in the finish. I gave this an 86 on the Stephanie Scale, and picked up a bottle for later as well, for $14.95

Nebbiolo, 2002, VQA Niagara. There are some great details on this wine, at the vinyard’s website. The nose was big and bold, with lots of toast, dark dusky wood tones, and roasted peppers. The body was medium, tannic, and a bit bitter. The finish was long and dusky. This one spent a lot of time in oak, and could use some more aging in the bottle.I rated this an 85. At $39.95 per bottle, it is perhaps a bit pricey, but a good big bold wine with some years in it.

Ridgepoint Wines

Vineland Estates Winery

Posted 2006.11.21 1.00 in Wine by Stephanie

My mother and I visited Vineland Estates on Thursday for some tastings and some lunch. Lunch was great, a nice gourmet meal to kick off the day. Like my previous visit to Vineland Estates, this was a pleasant one and the staff at the tasting bar were knowledgable, friendly, helpful, and interested in talking about wine.

Note – for a quick review of the scoring system I use to rate wine, have a look at this post from a few months ago: The Stephanie Scale

Pinot Blanc, 2005, VQA Niagara. Quiet citrus / grapefruit on the nose, and a crisp snappy body led to a medium, fruity and flavourful finish. I enjoyed this wine, and gave it an 88 on the Stephanie Scale. At $18.95 per bottle though I thought it was a bit pricey.

St. Urban Riesling, 2004, VQA Niagara. The nose held exotic florals, minerals, and citrus aromas. The body was light and smooth, and the finish was long with a strong citrus sensation. I quite enjoyed this wine, and it also earned an 88 on the Stephanie Scale. At $20.00 per bottle this one was a bit dear, but I picked up a bottle for later.

Cabernet Franc Reserve – Wismer Vineyard, 2004, VQA Niagara. The nose was loaded with roasted peppers and toasted wood. In the mouth, it was a nice medium-body, well balanced. The finish was long, with more toast, and some vanilla. The tannins were mild but made their presense known. This one was quite good, scoring a 90. Although it was $25.00, I grabbed a bottle of this one too.

Vineland Estates Winery