(mostly) daily photoblog

Archive for April, 2010

I drive a sports car; the rules don’t apply.

While I waited for my daughter to get out of class a couple of days ago, I noticed this sign on the driveway of her school.  I also noticed the sports car in the background.  I know that it is a sports car and not a bus because it is small, silver, and has a spoiler on the back of it.  I rode the school bus when I was a kid and know that a bus is huge, yellow, and does not (unless it’s in a demolition derby or some kind of school bus version of a Formula One style race) have a spoiler.  My deductive reasoning skills tell me that this car is out of place.

It is also out of place not just because someone is breaking the rules but because someone at my daughter’s school drives a sports car at all.  Most teachers do not drive sports cars.  The obvious reason is economics, given our current rough times.  The less obvious reason is that most teachers I know are sensible, reasonable people who would see little need in driving a car with more horsepower and performance capability than they could or would ever use.  We’re practical people, us teachers.  Sports cars aren’t practical.  And…oh…I just figured it out.

This car must belong to a parent.  Never mind.

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f1.7; ISO 100; 1/640 sec.


My friend Ian Tyson came to my school this week and spoke to the students.  He’s a great speaker and the kids were captivated by both his humor and his personal stories.  The best part is that he’s a geek like me.  When we met it was like the universe brought a brother for me who likes comics, movies and superheroes as much as I do.

Here’s the plug.  Check out his website: iantyson.ca.  If you’re a school teacher, check him out and hire him.  He’s great.

Pentax K20D; Sigma 70-210mm; f8; ISO 1600; 1/30 sec.

Light clouds

When I was little, clouds were places of wonder, places where I could float and jump and hang out without any cares.  Then I went to school and was taught that it was a visible mass of water drops that was waiting to rain down on me and would never hold my weight, even when I was little.

Well thanks, science.  Thanks so much.

Pentax K20D; Sigma 70-210mm; f4; ISO 200; 1/125 sec.; ev +2


Four of the many reasons I love the Lower Mainland of British Columbia: tulips, farms, mountains and sky.

Pentax K20D; Sigma 70-210mm; f4; ISO 100; 1/640 sec.

Children Crossing

Hey!  Look out!  There might be some kids around.

Is it just me or is this kind of a creepy sign?  What is really going on between these two figures?  Is this a kidnapping?  What are they carrying in those briefcases?  Whose children actually carry things like that on their way to school?  I feel like I should drive faster to stop that guy from grabbing that unsuspecting female in the skirt.  Don’t slow me down, crazy 30km/h sign.  I have to bring down the wheels of justice on that guy.

Whoo…the imagination is flying.

My brain is really tired.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  It’s been a bit of a tough week, but I’m back now.  Yay!

Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f4; ISO 200; 1/200 sec.

My little blossom

I took an evening class last Thursday on how to improve my photos.  Jason and Darcie from Revival Arts Studio were wonderful and they provided a good reminder of the elements of good photography.  I’ve been winging it lately, rather than taking my time.

The kids and I went out and wandered through the local flea market on Sunday morning.  We then hiked through Downes Bowl, a local mountain bike rider hangout.  On the way back I took my time and took a few shots of my kids.  I think this one works, but you can let me know.

Pentax K20D ; Pentax M SMC 28mm; ISO 100; f2.8; 1/2500 sec.

Paper Lantern

This lantern was hanging over my head as I ate some very good salmon rolls, smothered in wasabi, dipped in soy sauce, washed down with tea and ice water.  I suddenly want sushi.

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 28mm; f2.8; ISO 400; 1/320 sec.


Hannah and I went out to the park; she practiced on her inline skates, I broke in my new running shoes.  After the park I gave her the choice for dinner and she chose sushi.  We ordered Salmon and California rolls, tempura yams and some steamed rice, along with tea and ginger ale.  She tried it all.  Apparently she’s not such a big fan of the salmon rolls and wouldn’t go anywhere near the wasabi, but she tried sushi twenty years before I ever did.   I’m always so proud of her (well, when she’s not dropping clothing on her floor).  She’s my “kiddo”.

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 28mm; f2.8; ISO 400; 1/25 sec.

So many ducks

Ducks are irresistible when you’re little.  This little guys mom was feeding the ducks, despite the gigantic sign not three meters away warning against the domestication of the local duck and goose population.  He was surrounded, yet he did not run and scream.  What surprised me most was that he didn’t chase the ducks away.  My son would have been barbarically yawping his way along the beach scaring all living things, ducks and humans alike.

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f2.8; ISO 200; 1/320 sec.


I don’t normally post multiple photos in one post, but I felt this was necessary.  After dinner, the family went out for a walk in our local, center-of-the-city park and Ben and Hannah excitedly played on a new playground installation.  While there, we found a local parkour group working out on the playground.  This guy was amazing; he decided to back-flip off the swing set.  I know that responsible parents everywhere will probably think, “Agh!  What a horrible example to set for the children.”  All I could think was, “How can I get Ben signed up for this?”  It was amazing.  Thanks to Brian Galenzoski and the guys from Fraser Valley Parkour.

He’s a dandy

I took Ben to the track at my school so that he could bike around in a spot where I could see him and met my sister and her sons as well.  While we were there this little girl named Ava came over to us and insisted that Ben and Luke (my nephew) play with her.  Ben took off on his bike while Luke feigned interest in his bike, then took off running after Ben.

Ben, after riding for a while, decided that running would be a good break from biking.  Luke took off running after Ben, while Ava chased them both.  They made this adorable little running parade, up and down the concrete bleachers, then onto the track, out onto the field and back.  While they were running around I found this little devil beauty growing among the concrete blocks.

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f1.7; ISO 100; 1/3200 sec.

Since 1645

My country hasn’t even been a country for as long as this soy sauce company has been around.

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f1.7; ISO 400; 1/50 sec.


The family (including my parents) went out for Chinese food last night.  It was good, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I love Wonton soup.  The rest of the menu, at most of the places around here, is okay, but I really like Wonton soup.  Broccoli, pork and those little brains floating around in that delicious broth has become my only reason to go to our local Chinese restaurants.

I’ve tried to get Ben (the pickiest eater I could have ever asked for as a son) to eat some of this soup by using young boy psychology:  “Ben, you should try this.  It’s got brains in it.”

Ben’s reply?  “Ew.  Why would I want to eat brains?”

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f1.7; ISO 400; 1/50 sec.


What can I say?  I am a sucker for nice curves.

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f4; ISO 100; 1/2000 sec.

Invisible Fence

I saw this while waiting for my daughter to get out of school.  I thought, “How sad.  To be able to see the world but not get to it.”  But we do this to ourselves all the time.  Who’s worse off, the dog with the invisible fence, or the human unwilling to find out where the boundaries are?

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f1.7; ISO 100; 1/3200 sec.

High Wires

One thing I’ll never get over is how beautiful my city is.  No matter where I drive, walk, cycle (although that hasn’t happened in a while) there are always scenes that I want to photograph.  The cool thing about living within a twenty minute drive to a massive river and huge mountains and less than an hour from the Pacific Ocean is that the weather often plays havoc with the residents, but supplies the most amazing landscapes.

This is on the way to and from work.  It’s land that’s set aside for the massive power lines, but it gives some respite from the chock-a-block houses that have been characteristic of some of the most expensive real estate in North America.  Green space covered in Hydro lines.  Great.

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f1.7; ISO 100; 1/1600 sec.


I learned an important lesson early on in my marriage:  flowers are important, but not near as important as figuring out which flower was the flower.  My wife, Hilary, loves lilies.  She had Stargazers in her wedding bouquet, and she was drawn to a print of Diego Rivera’s “El Vendedor de Alcatraces”, that now hangs above our fireplace.

It’s one thing to buy flowers; it’s another to show up at the door with the flower.

Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f5.6; ISO 400; 1/180 sec.


This is what Easter Breakfast looks like at my church.  I love the community aspect of it.  Everyone brings baked goods and shares as a great big group, drinks coffee and sits around tables, most likely discussing what they are eating.  My favorite part of this?  Paska.  It’s a traditional Easter bread (originates in Ukraine – one of many places where Mennonites lived).

We’re not “traditional” Mennonites.  In fact, if you are familiar with Mennonites from Pennsylvania or Kansas or Indiana, you’d not recognize us at all.  The major tenets have been lost, except for the food.  Our entire culture is based around food.  Mennonites I know, who don’t attend church, don’t know what pacifism or anabaptism are, all know what paska and farmer sausage and perogies are.  They all line up to buy portzelky (deep fried raisin fritters sold in paper bags so that the grease has somewhere to go) at the annual MCC sale (Mennonite Central Committee – a missions organization).

I still hold with this, however: community matters.  Most of these people, awesome people, don’t know me well, but they’d help me if I needed it.  That’s amazing and appreciated.

Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; panorama merged in PS CS4.

Space Mountain

This is Space Mountain.  My son had never taken a ride on a “real” roller coaster before, so I felt some trepidation about taking him on Space Mountain as his first roller coaster experience.  We got on, rode up the first climb and felt the cold air at the top.  As we peaked and took the first turn, Ben stayed quiet.  As we were whipped through consecutive curves, Ben stayed quiet.  As I screamed and yelled, Ben stayed quiet.  When we came to a stop I looked over at Ben.  He was looking straight ahead, eyes bugged out, and still quiet.

Thinking I had traumatized Ben, I asked (a little scared), “So, what did you think?”

Ben says, his voice a crescendo, “That…WAS…AWESOME!”

Ben’s a roller coaster nut.  Yay!

Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f8; ISO 100; 1/640 sec.


Danger.  If you stand in this spot, you will be struck with lightning.


Danger.  Zeus is nearby and he’s feeling trigger-happy.


Danger.  When lightning hits, you must strike a dance pose.


What can you come up with?  BTW, this is from a sidewalk cover hatch for BC Hydro, our friendly, neighborhood power supply.

Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL II; f5; ISO 100; 1/200 sec.


This bloom is from a camellia that is growing in my backyard.  Whenever I see it blooming in Spring, I’m reminded of the girl who broke my wrist in 5th grade.  She was tall and gangly.  She was athletic and strong and did not break my wrist on purpose.  She pulled me off a low book shelf, where I was seated, and I landed on my wrist, so technically I broke my wrist, not her.  Then my teacher came in the classroom, my mom was called and I went to the hospital and had to have a needle shoved into my arm down to the bone to anesthetize it so the doctor could set it and cast it.  I got to have an A&W cheeseburger and fries that night.

Oh, and the girl, whose actions precipitated all of this, her name was Camellia.

Pentax K20D; Pentax M SMC 50mm; f1.7; ISO 100; 1/250 sec.


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