Do Megapixels Matter?

I have been taking digital photographs for over 20 years now. I first began dipping my toe into the digital universe as a supplement to my color film photography, but I went full time digital around 2007.

I’ve used a variety of cameras but almost all of my images went on to this blog or were viewed on a computer monitor. I did the odd color print on my home inkjet, but in the last ten years or so even my travel photography was documented for the Internet.

Of course as I got more into digital, my cameras got better and certainly the sensors featured more megapixels. At the end of the day though does a larger more sophisticated camera sensor really matter?

Lets take a look at a few images over the years.

2 Megapixels

Location: Ravine, Georgetown Ontario

Camera: Canon Powershot A60

Date:2003

This was my first digital camera and quite primitive by today’s standards. The photo holds up pretty well as a blog entry though.

5 Megapixels

Location: Woolen Mill Ruins, Merrickville ON

Camera: Nikon Coolpix 5000

Date:2005

This was one of Nikon’s early fixed lens, non DSLR digital cameras. It had its quirks and was quite slow in use, but given the right conditions it yielded a decent result.

6.3 Megapixels

Location: Wolf Grove Road, Mississippi Mills, ON

Camera: Fuji Finepix S6000fd

Date:2009

One of my most enjoyable digicams – this was a bridge camera with a 10.7X wide angle to longer telephoto lens attached. This rather large and bulky apparatus went on many a trip with us, and gave us some wonderful memories.

8.2 Megapixels

Location: Kensington Gardens, London UK

Camera: Fuji Finepix F480

Date: 2008

There were times when we took a cruise holiday, and it just wasn’t convenient to carry the large and clunky long zoom S6000 ashore. As an alternative I picked up a smaller Fuji pocket sized camera. The F480 was not an easy camera to get a good picture with – it was slow to focus and very poor in low light situations. Once in a while I did manage to use it properly.

10 Megapixels

Location: Sydney Harbour, Australia

Camera: Canon Powershot S90

Date: 2015

By 2010 I wanted to stop taking a big heavy bridge camera on holiday but I could not tolerate using the smaller Fuji Finepix 100% of the time. The Canon S90 solved my problem as long as I did not want to take long telephoto shots. It had a great lens and sensor combination for most travel photos and it went everywhere with us for years. My granddaughter Veronica still uses it.

12 Megapixels

Location : Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Voyage Church, La-Seyne-sur-Mer, FR

Camera: Panasonic Lumix ZS50

Date: 2016

This compact 30X zoom is my current travel camera – tiny, lightweight and extremely versatile. I got it in 2016 because I wanted to get longer telephoto images than I could get with the S90. it is a bit slow for action shots, but it has image stabilization and the colors are great.

12.3 Megapixels

Location: Old Railway Bridge, Almonte ON

Camera: Nikon D90

Date: 2024

With most of the major manufacturers switching to mirrorless cameras, the older DSLRs are getting sold off at bargain prices. I picked this 2008 era Nikon up dirt cheap.

The D90 was a great still photo camera in its day, and I can use all my 1990s era Nikon autofocus film lenses with it. It’s very heavy and I’d never take it on a holiday, but it sure is a fun camera to use.

24.2 Megapixels

Location: Mississippi River, Almonte ON

Camera: Nikon D5500

Date: 2015

Although I was a single lens reflex film photographer for close to 25 years, I was slow to embrace the DSLR. A major reason was that I did not want to be cleaning dust off the sensor. In 2015 I decided that Nikon had solved the dust issue and I got the D5500 and a couple of VR lenses.

The D5500 is arguably the best camera I have ever used. I have not traveled extensively with it, although I’ve used it a lot for family photos and around Almonte. It has an articulated touch screen and a pretty good optical viewfinder. It is excellent for fast action.

I do plan on taking it on future driving holidays and I likely will use it to teach my granddaughter the basics of DSLR photography.

To sum up, I have taken images with 8 different digital cameras with various sized sensors ranging from 2 to 24 Megapixels. All of these images look OK on a blog. Now if I were cropping the image to enlarge a portion of it, or making large paper prints, the situation would be different. But for my uses I would say that anything over 5 MP will be fine.

There are other issues that might influence your choice of camera, such as the need for fast action in sports, or long telephoto wildlife photography. Certainly if you intend to make high res videos, many of the earlier digicams would be useless to you.

At the end of the day, an old school still photographer can get by perfectly well with a 10-12 MP old school camera. That’s how I see it, anyway.

10 Years Ago

Looking back 10 years isn’t so tough when you get to the point where you can remember how it was 70 years ago.

Nevertheless, 2014 was unusual in one sense. We did not take a cruise of any sort that year. We had taken two in 2013 before Susannah was born (TransAtlantic and British Isles) and we had scheduled a bucket list TransPacific cruise for 2015. Maybe we were preoccupied with helping Sarah with 3 kids, or maybe we were just saving our money for that cruise of a lifetime.

In any event, it looks like our holidays in 2014 were weekend affairs in Syracuse NY.

I just had a look back at some of the photos I took on one of those trips. Most were shot with a tiny Canon S90 digital camera. There were some clunkers, as that camera was pretty bad at fast action – and little kids move fast. Others – like the one above – are pretty memorable. That one was taken at the Gifford Zoo.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Expresss in Dewitt, so the kids spent a fair bit of time in the pool. Even Susannah enjoyed the water.

Most of our shopping was at the Destiny Mall. I doubt Veronica would enjoy the classic carousel today as much as she did in 2014, but she sure liked it back then.

Destiny Mall also has a number of indoor obstacle courses. The kids were only able to use the junior course back then. This year they were climbing on the 5 level adult one. Scary.

I guess the point is you don’t have to take a big expensive holiday to have fun. We sure had fun 10 years ago this summer.

Rogers Unplugged

Time was, you had Plain Old Telephone Service over a twisted pair cable, and analog cable TV over coax. When the Internet became available there was dial-up connection over the phone line, and eventually either DSL or cable access. Even if you switched away from traditional telephone to Rogers Home Phone, your connections were complex.

Up until recently I had a spaghetti jungle of wires and boxes, even though all of my communications came via Rogers Cable:

  • Ancient Rogers PVR with a hard drive inside, connected to a CRT standard definition TV.
  • Two dumb HDTV units connected via coax to Digital TV boxes.
  • Rogers Internet modem connected to a Linksys mesh network for wifi access thrioughout the house.
  • Standalone telephone modem connected via coax.

It all worked OK after a fashion, but I got a notice that the very old PVR was going to be decommissioned by Rogers at the end of the month – the 24 year old SDTV would not work any longer. This set off a flurry of IT activity at my place.

First, I removed the old PVR and the SDTV. The old TV will have to be recycled.

Next I moved the larger dumb HDTV to the basement to replace the SDTV and got a brand new Samsung smart TV to go in its former place. Very nice.

Next was the start of Rogers Unplugged. The telephone modem, Internet modem, two other cable boxes, coax cable and mesh router setup were all replaced by a new Rogers Gateway, one wifi boosting Pod and three tiny wifi IPTV boxes. A lot of wire and electronic junk went out the door. And I ended up saving about $80 a month on my Rogers bill.

I’m still learning how to use the new TV and I had to reconfigure a wireless printer, but so far I like the new setup. The new gateway – XB8 – takes care of everything.

I remain convinced that modern technology is too complicated for most of us boomers though. Case in point – you can’t configure anything on my shiny new network without a cellphone app. It sure is a long way from the old telephone party line. (If you don’t know what this is, don’t ask.)

Gratitude

Our previous cats – one purebred, two moggies – were adopted as kittens, less than a year old.

We had hoped to age gracefully alongside our beloved ginger, Mr. Oates. We were devastated, left forlorn and bewildered, when Oates got suddenly ill and passed away at the age of 9 last year.

We certainly did not expect to be in this situation, and at our age it seemed unwise to get another kitten – who might live 15-20 years. Would we just have to give up on the idea of feline companionship. Now that was a depressing thought.

In March we saw a Facebook notice about Stanley the white and brown tabby. He was going through his own later life crisis. Adopted as a rescued kitten, Stan had lost his home and his family in middle age when the older man who he lived with had to go into a nursing home. He had a brief stay with the older man’s relatives, but they had two other cats who couldn’t get along with him. He was lucky to get placed in a no-kill shelter who took him to a foster home. At least he wasn’t stuck in a cage in a humane society.

Older guys like Stanley face a grim future if they are homeless. They probably have a 50/50 chance of ever being adopted and it can take months, if not years for the right person to come along.

He needed us; we were pretty sure we could fix things for him. He came home with us a week or so after we saw the Facebook notice.

It took Stanley a few days to decompress; it took him a few weeks to get comfortable with us. Nowadays his gentle nature is coming to the forefront:

  • He’s responsible. Stan uses his litterbox religiously, and he respects our furniture. He knows what a scratching post is for.
  • He’s playful. For an older cat he has lots of energy, and he loves to chase after a wand toy, or bat around a catnip bag.
  • He’s a lap cat. We were not sure he would be at first, but now most nights he’s happy to hop up beside me on the couch, crawl onto my lap, and PURRRR.
  • He’s not an all night cuddle bunny, but he will hop up a few times during the night to get warm. He stretches out, mostly on Maria’s side of the bed. He is a hot water bottle.
  • I think he will become my afternooon nap buddy before too long. He’s taken to snuggling with me for a brief time after lunch.
  • Finally, Stan has a profound attitude of gratitude for having been given a second chance. Cats are singular beings of habit; that said, they have much to teach us about adapting to crushing lifestyle changes or being content with simple pleasures. So many cats in our area are cruelly dumped in rural venues where they end up cold, hungry, sick, lonely or in a world of pain. We are saving one old soul from such a fate. He is grateful.

Keeping Comfortable

Maria’s dad used to say regarding home maintenance: “If the roof is OK and the furnace is OK, then you are OK.” I cannot disagree.

This year marks 40 years where we have had some sort of furnace/AC combination in our home. After a scorching 1983 summer and feeling the need to replace an ancient inefficient Olsen gas furnace, we were ready for it.

I think I can remember all the heating and cooling activity over the years, so let’s try.

1984 – DuoMatic-Olsen Ultramax furnace, Lennox single stage A/C.

What a gamechanger this was. The furnace was a high efficiency, condensing model – no chimney needed to exhaust hot gases. The Lennox did a great job of keeping us cool. Now the furnace did have some teething problems as this was cutting edge technology back then. The original metal venting motor got badly out of balance and we had to replace it with a plastic one that made the furnace much quieter.

We saved a ton of annual natural gas consumption with the combination lasting for 19 years.

2003 – Coleman dual stage furnace, Coleman dual stage A/C

The Lennox air conditioner was in poor condition by now so we decided to increase efficiency. Coleman is a York brand, and our installer recommended it. We certainly did enjoy our brief experience with it but unfortunately we moved in 2005, so I’d say we didn’t really get our money’s worth. However it was a major selling point when we wanted to go to Almonte. The unit was still in service when our old home sold again in 2011.

2005 – Concord Single Stage furnace, Concord single stage A/C

In many ways this was a step back in technology although we were getting a new system in a new home. Concord is a Lennox brand but is generally considered a “builder’s grade” system – a bit lower quality but OK for a new home where the insulation will be good. The picture above is that furnace.

The installer did a particularly good job and the system worked fine for many years – 19 in fact.

However- I was getting concerned about the A/C unit as it featured a noisy old fashioned compressor that needed a special kit to keep starting well. Then last fall the service person for the furnace told me that they had already condemned about 50 comparable units in town for cracked heat exchangers. I was lucky to get another winter out of it. So-

2024 – Tempstar Dual Stage Furnace, Tempstar Single Stage A/C

This just went in the last couple of days.

Tempstar is one of the many brands made by the Carrier company, and is a pretty good one. However we chose it because our current service company sells it, and we expected to get expert installation. (We certainly were not disappointed.)

It’s never a pleasure to shell out a big amount, but we have to keep ourselves comfortable and trouble free. I think this particular combination is a good one for a number of reasons:

  • We got to choose it ourselves.
  • A dual stage furnace is preferable here in the Valley, where we have some really cold winter days but a lot of the time we can run more efficiently at lower capacities.
  • We really don’t need a fancier A/C unit because a single stage can keep us cool in the short summers we have in Almonte. That said, the new A/C unit is way quieter and more efficient than our old one.

So hopefully we’ll be set for a few years. It’s early days but we are enjoying the quiet operation of the furnace.

In the opinion of Maria’s dad, we would be OK.

Almonte 2024 (Vintage Camera Style)

I usually try to photograph the river and downtown Almonte during the spring runoff. This year was slightly different as I performed my photography with a 16 year old digital camera body and a 10 year old lens. By digital standards this is pretty vintage. Of course I am pretty vintage myself.

I have to admit that as far as photography goes, my technical requirements stalled out around 2012. The current mirrorless cameras are far better at low light shooting, fast action, selfies, video, dynamic range, and high ISO – but I am pretty much a good light, still image photographer. Besides I have a ton of 30 year old Nikon glass I still want to use.

The old camera bodies are cheap and some beautiful pieces are available for a slight premium price.

So off I went with my Nikon D90 and Tamron 18-200 lens.

After parking at the library, I headed down the Almonte Alameda (better known as the old CPR railway right of way.)

Crossing Bridge Street, I got a photo of the old Almonte Town Hall. Then I walked on to the CPR railroad bridge.

A view from the bridge. The water is coursing pretty well over the weir that holds back the flow into the power station.

The power plant can’t handle all the water either, so it dumps quite a bit back into the river.

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The riverside Barley Mow pub isn’t quite ready yet for outdoor dining and drinking, but it was busy inside.

Moving on to the Riverwalk, I got closer to the water.

There was plenty of water coming over the mini-dam next to the old Thoburn mill building,

Looking back at the railroad bridge from the Riverwalk.

The riverwalk continues over to the main waterfall. Here you can see the pub, the power station and the bridge.

This past winter did not have as much snow as usual, so the spring runoff is quite a bit less abundant. It is still pretty impressive at the main waterfall though.

After a walk to the base of the falls, I could photograph the whole cataract at once. Later this year all this will be a trickle but it’s pretty neat right now.

Now finished with my water based photos, I headed back up Mill Street towards the Alameda. Lighting was pretty good to capture the old Post Office in the distance.

Back on the Alameda, here is the Storytellers’ bench.

Well, having wrapped up a brief photoshoot, I can make the following observations about taking photos with a vintage DSLR camera:

  • It’s quite a lot like using a film system. You have to take your time, fill the frame with your subject, watch where the light is coming from, and make sure you don’t have an extraneous telephone pole growing out of someone’s head. You really only get to review your work after you get home.
  • Although you don’t have nearly the megapixel image size of a brand new mirrorless, your images are fine for printing or posting on the web. Even looking at them on a 1080p computer monitor will be fine.
  • Nikon got digital color capture right the first time. Even a camera from 2008 will give lovely results.
  • A big heavy camera and telephoto lens are hardly discreet enough for stealthy street photography. In fact, someone carrying a camera is so rare these days that the average person will likely think you are some sort of professional photographer.

I hoped you enjoyed this old school photo session in historic Almonte. I’ll try to do another one next spring if possible.

Stanley

As many who frequent Facebook already know, we have adopted a senior cat named Stanley.

We have been a rather quiet and lonely household since our beloved Mr. Oates passed away in November. For a while we weren’t sure if we’d have another feline pal. Then we thought we might wait until after the summer to look around for one. Then a simple twist of fate intervened.

I saw a post about Stanley on a local cat adoption site. Stanley had been a rescue cat of the site owner many years ago. He was now 9 – just a couple of months younger than Oates was.

Stanley’s original owner was an older man who had to move into a nursing home. So Stan lost his home and family. The man’s brother tried to take Stanley in, but they had a couple of female cats who didn’t get along with him. Stanley had to go into a foster care based cat rescue agency.

He was being fostered by a remarkable couple in Portland – about an hour’s drive south of Almonte. So we went down there to meet him.

We were impressed by Stan’s friendly and kind demeanor and it looked like he would be a great fit for us. Older cats have very limited adoption options, so he probably needed us as much as we wanted to take him.

After we filled out the adoption forms and paid Stan’s adoption fees, he had to go to Ottawa for a microchip procedure and then we picked him up and he had to endure a 45 minute drive back to Almonte, confined in a carrier. So we didn’t have a really great start to our relationship.

It didn’t take Stanley long to get comfortable though. He was eating and drinking heartily within a few hours, and he’s been sleeping with us every night he’s been here.

He’s a big cat, with big feet, but he walks around silently, like our old cat Sammy (1999-2015) did. He has a nice friendly purr and is very talkative, especially at mealtime.

He enjoys the sunshine coming in through the sliding door in our family room, but he isn’t a cat tree sort of guy. He likes to look out from a lower vantage point, and for his naps he heads under the bed where it’s quiet.

He’s playful for an older cat and loves chasing a wand toy around the house when he awakes from his naps.

All in all, Stanley is a great companion for us in our dotage. Two old crocks and an old cat. Perfect. We hope we all can enjoy life for a while yet.

A Photographic Lifetime

It is now over 60 years since I first got interested in photography and started taking pointers from my Uncle Howard.

I suppose for simplicity I can break up the time periods into ages of activity:

1960-1970 – The Paleolithic Age

  • Equipment: Ansco Cadet pocket camera system.
  • Media: Mostly slides – 127 paper backed film

Mercifully not much of this era has survived. Aside from bad quality, the subject matter is dismal. Most of what is left are a few digitized slides from my last year at Queen’s.

1970-1982 – The Stone Age

Shortly after I started my career with General Foods, I bought my first “serious” camera.

  • Equipment: Yashica Electro M5 rangefinder.
  • Media: 35mm Slide Film

This camera was in service during the time I met Maria, and documented our early life and times together. It was also used for the first pictures I took of Sarah. It went to Switzerland with me on my first overseas journey.

The Yashica was a Jeckyll-Hyde sort of device. With good light it was quite capable of decent imagery; in poor light or with flash it was a toss-up whether you’d get a decent picture or not. The above is from the fall of 1971 at Maria’s aunt’s home in Buffalo NY.

This one is of Capilano Canyon in Vancouver in 1973.

Sarah at our new home in Georgetown in 1979.

Monte Rosa Switzerland 1981.

1983-2001 The Bronze Age

In 1983 I had my chance to buy my first SLR camera. This has led to an over 40 year relationship with Nikon.

  • Equipment : Nikon FE manual focus SLR. Various 3rd party lenses.
  • Media: Until 1985, 35mm slide film. After 1985, 35mm print film.

At the time I got the Nikon FE (used) I was not able to afford a bunch of Nikon branded manual focus lenses. I did get some 3rd party zooms at reasonable prices. These tended to be slow and bad in low light, so I had problems even with faster film.

I did get some decent images though.

Sarah at the Toronto Zoo, 1984.

In Philadelphia, 1985.

Enjoying the swimming pool in Georgetown, 1985.

First day of school in I believe 1985.

At Gettysburg, 1985.

Starting in 1987, we took a March break holiday every year as well as some fly and drive summer holidays. Most of these holidays were documented in photo albums which we keep to this day. The pics have not been digitized and it would be a huge effort to do so. Nevertheless the FE and its lenses saw lots of use between 1987 and 2000.

As an example I scanned a few images from our trip to Texas at March Break 1989. Here is Sarah at Rosita’s bridge on the San Antonio Riverwalk.

A view of the Riverwalk itself.

And here is La Villita marketplace near the Riverwalk.

2002-2007 The Golden Age

  • Equipment: Nikon F80 film camera.
  • Film: Mostly Fuji 400 print film.

By 2001 I was growing increasingly frustrated with the Nikon FE. My eyesight was failing and I could no longer focus the camera correctly. Many of my images turned out blurry.

To correct matters I invested in a new Nikon F80 film camera and a couple of Nikon zooms. Later I added a few second hand Nikon primes and zooms to the mix.

The resulting kit was the last hurrah for 35mm film and in fact its golden age. The camera was a joy to use. It had automatic film loading and advance. The lenses were autofocus so I didn’t have to worry about blurry shots. There was even a corrective control on the viewfinder to account for my failing vision.

By now computer tech had advanced enough that I could scan and digitize and store photos. So I started to dip my toe into the digital pool.

The first time I actually used the new system was in 2002 when we took a March break trip to Belgium. Here are some of the scans from that holiday.

The Grand Place in the baroque heart of Brussels.

Leopold Park in the neoclassical European Quarter of Brussels.

The main square in Bruges.

Beautiful Bruges canals.

The Cloth Hall in Ypres. Destroyed in World War I, it took 50 years to rebuild.

The last time I took a complete film kit with all the lenses was on our first cruise holiday in 2006.

Here are some of the scans from that trip.

Field of Mars, St. Petersburg.

Fortress of St Peter and Paul, St. Petersburg.

Peterhof palace, outside St. Petersburg.

Celebrity Constellation in Tallinn, Estonia.

City street in old Tallinn.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen Denmark.

After our retirement in 2005 we did a fair bit of travel – most of it involving flights and cruise ships. It became increasingly difficult to take a full-fledged film kit along.

Rasons for this were many:

  • Changes to airline boarding security made it difficult to take a lot of additional baggage – such as a film camera and interchangeable lenses.
  • Film was increasingly subject to X-ray scrutiny. Although I never had a problem there was always the possibility that your film would be fogged or destroyed.
  • Longer holidays meant taking more film along, or trying to buy it in foreign countries.
  • The whole kit was getting heavier and harder to take along – I wasn’t getting any younger either.

I was ready for a transition to digital – but not to a digital SLR.

2007-2015 The Transition Age

Travel photography after 2006 became almost exclusively a digital exercise. I owned a series of point and shoot (compact) digital cameras over the years. This was a time of rapid development in digital photography and the early DSLR cameras were a bit primitive. They had problems with dust getting on their sensors and I didn’t want to be cleaning a delicate sensor all the time. So I stuck to compacts by and large.

  • Equipment: Some cameras I owned during this time were, with the number of Megapixels in each photo:
  • Canon Powershot A60 (2MP)
  • Nikon Coolpix E5000 (5MP)
  • Fuji FinePix S6000fd long zoom bridge camera (6.1MP)
  • Fuji FinePix F480 compact camera (8MP)
  • Canon Powershot S90 compact camera (10MP)
  • Media was of course whatever digital sensor came with them. They were all CCD sensors.

I’ll show a photo taken with each of these cameras.

Beaver Valley Ontario 2003 (Canon A60)

Old Montreal 2006 (Nikon E5000)

Oia, Santorini 2007 (Fuji S6000fd)

Vlaardingen NL 2009 (Fuji F480)

Bora Bora French Polynesia 2015 (Canon S90)

By 2015 my transition to digital was complete. I thought I might dabble in digital SLRs again at that point.

2015-2024 – The Large and Small Age

  • Equipment: Nikon D5500DSLR and lenses
  • Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Travel Zoom
  • Media CMOS sensors.

In 2015 I once again purchased a digital SLR and some modern Nikon autofocus lenses. I didn’t intend to take this system on any of our travels though. For that I got my current travel superzoom pocket camera – a Panasonix Lumix ZS50.

Here is Almonte ON in 2019. Taken with a Nikon D5500 DSLR with a legacy Nikkor 35mm autofocus film lens from the 1990s.

And here is Rome 2019 taken with the Lumix ZS50 travel zoom.

That brings me up to date – almost. I’ll end with a pic taken from our latest Caribbean cruise.

Amber Cove, Puerto Plata DR – Feb 2024. Lumix ZS50.

So while there has been a sea change in my photographic equipment and media over the years, a few things have remained the same.

  • I stick to static image photography. I have never been a fan of video and movie making.
  • Photography for me has to tell some sort of story or document events or travels.
  • I do my photography in color. I know black and white has its nostalgic appeal but I leave that to those before me who were taking pictures in the 1920s, not the 2020s.

As for the future – well as long as I am able, I’ll continue to use the camera tools I have. Most folks by now have put dedicated cameras away in favor of a smartphone. I doubt I’ll ever do that, although in very low light a smartphone camera may work wonders with its computational photography.

San Juan PR by night. Pixel 7 Smartphone image.

This has been an ambitious blog post – to cover a lifetime of photos – and I hope you stuck with me. Photojournalits used to end their stories with a -30- so I’ll do that now.

-30-

Last Days

Our last day at sea started out partly cloudy and calm. Just as well, as we had to get packing and it is no fun to look into a suitcase while the ship is rolling and pitching.

It got a bit rougher as we approached the Bahamas, but still OK for packing.

We caught sight of land as we cruised through the Bahamas.

We encountered a cold front with showers on our way. This was actually a good thing as it would drop the heat and humidity in Florida.

Our final picture at sea. Things were clearing up as the sun went down.

Here we are pulling back into Fort Lauderdale at 5:30 AM. Another Smartphone image.

It had been a great cruise but now it was time to say goodbye to Reflection and her crew.

We had an easy debarcation, took a cab to the hotel and stored our luggage.

It was sunny and cool in Ft.Lauderdale so we went shopping while waiting for our room to be ready. This nice tree was near the Ross store.

It wasn’t long until we were settled into our hotel for another couple of nights. It was a pleasure not to have to rush to the airport.

A pleasant evening was in store in Fort Lauderdale. The locals found it unseasonably cool, but we enjoyed it.

We found it comforting to spend a couple of days in a familiar place. We were up early to enjoy the hotel breakfast. Then we did a bit more shopping and after that we just kicked back at the hotel pool.

There were some lovely flowers in bloom that I had missed photographing last time.

Not to mention these colorful guys.

Maria liked relaxing after a busy week at sea.

After the craziness of a port day Friday, the hotel was quiet on the Tuesday. No cruise ships in port makes things much simpler.

Not too much time left in the tropical climate.

We enjoyed our restful Monday at the hotel and then got up Tuesday and took a shuttle to the airport.

Our flight went smoothly enough and we arrived on time in Montreal. We got through customs, picked up our luggage, went to the car park to get our car and then had the approximately three hour drive home. We were back in Almonte around 8:30 PM after a brief stop on the way for coffee and fuel. A long day but it went well.

That concludes our travel story for now. Hope you enjoyed being with us.

Amber Cove Ramble

Another warm sunny day dawned with calm seas as we made our way to our final port stop in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

The coastline was in sight all the way into Amber Cove Cruise Terminal.

Getting closer now. You can see patches of seaweed in the shallower water.

Might as well relax on the balcony until we are moored at the pier.

We’ve picked up the pilot now and we’ll be entering the harbor.

There’s the cathedral in the city of Puerto Plata.

Looks like we’ll be sharing the pier with another Norwegian heavyweight. This one’s the Getaway, which has sailed down from Cape Liberty.

The captain turned the ship in the outer harbor, and backed us into the pier.

We got a nice view of the Dominican coastline as we made our way in.

Once off the ship we got a view of the Reflection at our last point of call.

We walked down the dock and immediately entered the Amber Cove port facilities. Very nice.

Lots of these colorful fellows were hanging around.

These two were as tame as a pair of domestic felines. About as obedient too. You could get a selfie with them if you wanted to.

It didn’t feel very much like Christmas, but I suppose we could pretend.

In addition to bars and shops and restaurants, the port facility had lots of stuff for a family day.

Here’s a nice swimming area which was free for passengers to use.

We were not very far from the ships at all.

Then there was the lazy river for swimming and tubing.

Here’s another view of the lazy river.

The complex at Amber Cove is called Taino Bay. It’s very family oriented. We just stayed in the complex this time. Maybe if we come back, we’ll take a ship’s tour and see more of Puerto Plata.

Back aboard we saw a bulk carrier departing for Quebec City. I don’t know what she will pick up there, but I suspect grain of some sort.

That concludes our day in Taino Bay, Puerto Plata. We have one last day at sea and then back to Fort Lauderdale,

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