(mostly) daily photoblog

Archive for September, 2010

Our Lady of Good Help

The chappelle Notre Dame de Bon Secours stands in old Montreal and the rear of the building overlooks Montreal’s waterfront.  Mary is keeping an eye out for danger.  Good old Mary.  She might want to keep her on that seagull.


Notre Dame, Montreal

I have little energy and little time.  Sorry.  Here’s the Notre Dame basilica in Montreal, Quebec.

Beautiful.


Yo, DJ. Play that song again.

I am currently sitting in a hotel room in Montreal looking over a great number of photos I’ve shot over the last six days.  I’m in Montreal for the Canadian Student Leadership Conference.  The graffiti above is in one of the hallways in Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School.  The conference has been awesome, except for one thing…

I’ve been getting a bit sick of the music that’s been played at the conference for the last three days.  Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”, Flo Rida’s “Club can’t handle me”, and Ke$ha anything.  If I never hear these songs again it might be too soon.  The kids love the songs, but I think even they are starting to feel a bit tired of the DJ playing the same songs again and again.  I know I am.


Quebec bridges at sunset – Unforgettable

So…I’m in Quebec right now.  In the last four days I’ve seen Montreal and Quebec City and learned a great deal about Canadian history.  These two bridges are the Quebec and Pierre Laporte bridges.  They span the St. Lawrence River and take travelers into Quebec City.  I took this shot while on the SS Joliet, a dinner and dance boat that travels out from the port of Quebec City into the St. Lawrence River, out to the bridges and then back.  We were treated to a beautiful sunset on the river, and then made it back to the city as the lights came on at night.  La Belle Province, indeed.


Ain’t no sunrise like a Cultus Lake sunrise, cuz a Cultus Lake sunrise don’t stop…

Ooh, is that Coolio?  If you don’t know Coolio, look him up, you whippersnapper.  My daughter and I were listening to a CD on the way to the lake – a compilation of hip-hop songs from the late ’80′s and early ’90′s – that has Coolio’s “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New) on it.  Besides Coolio, it includes songs like “MistahDobalina” (Del the Funkee HomoSapien), and “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” (Tribe Called Quest).  My daughter thought the songs sounded hilarious – me, it took me back to my job at the mall in 1989 selling clothing at Bootlegger (a Canadian chain of young adult retail stores).  It took me back to the following list of things that I hope are never revived by the fashion industry, music industry, or, well, any industry:

1.  Baggy pants with high waists.  Seriously?

2.  Big hair put in place with Final Net.  No one thought that much alcohol under that much pressure was a bad idea?

3.  Polka-dot rayon shirts.  Silk shirts.  Wha…?

4.  Fido Dido.  Really?

5.  Vanilla Ice style.  Worst abomination of a song using a Queen and David Bowie sample.  And the hair and dancing…argh!

6.  Suspenders.  If you are not wearing clown pants, dress pants, or are a lumberjack, these are not necessary.

7.  Tight pants and loose baggy shirts.  Yechh…

If you would care to add anything to this list, feel free to drop response.

Oh, and the photo, it’s a sunrise on Cultus Lake.  It was just something I shot after listening to music from my youth.


Morning on the lake road.

While out on an early morning walk with my daughter around Cultus Lake, I snapped this little photo.  I love when roads disappear from sight.  It makes me think that maybe, way down the road, where it leaves my sight, a door opens into something else entirely.

A parallel world?  Another dimension?  Narnia?  Perhaps a ringing tone in my ears and then a trip to the magical island of Lost?  Jack?  Kate?  Sawyer?  Hurley?


I’m not sure I was all that tempted to dive in anyway.

Not much to say.  Just thought this was a nice photo.  Considerably more planned than yesterday’s post.

Also, it’s raining today, so this is a “thank you” to the meteorological gods.  Thanks, for giving me one nice day on the weekend.


Fine, feathered fellow Canadians.

The first week of school is finished and I can’t sleep in.  It took me all of four days of waking up early to put my body into school mode.  I wish I could sleep in, but at 6:51 a.m. this morning I woke up and stared at my alarm clock.  The alarm was off, the house was quiet, my children and my wife were still asleep, but my brain was ready to go.   I dressed, grabbed my camera and took a drive to Cultus Lake.  The clouds were lifting as I drove, lifting just enough to make it look like someone had spread cotton batting over the treetops.  It was a beautiful morning.

I took many photos this morning, but most of them were planned.  The geese were not.  I heard them coming, aimed the camera up and took two shots.  Wrong lens, wrong aperture, not bad shot.


Photo Friday: Daybreak, or how to take photos in your underwear without the neighbors noticing.

Happy Friday!

I’ve posted a nearly identical shot back in July, but this is a submission to http://www.photofriday.com/, so I worked the other photo I took that morning.

Here’s how to take a similar photo:

1.  Awaken to high winds and climb out of bed to investigate.

2.  Close every window in the house.

3.  Pass the patio door and realize that 5:13 in the morning is a great time to take sunrise photos.

4.  Grab camera and wander onto deck in skivvies.

5.  Take two photos, just in case.

6.  Head back to bed and snuggle against significant other to warm up.

7.  Receive stern warning about snuggling at “ungodly hour.”

So that’s it.  Seven steps to a great daybreak photo.  Good luck.


My body’s in the game, but my head’s on the Oregon coast.

Tomorrow is the third full day of teaching for me in the 2010-11 school year.  It is the beginning of my 11th year in Abbotsford, BC.  It is an exciting year, as the student leadership program that I started at my school has really taken off and the next three weeks will test how well I’ve done my job as a student leadership teacher and I’m so proud of what my students are doing.  But…

My head is on the Oregon Coast.  Nehalem Bay State Park, to be precise, as in the photo above.  I had such an amazing time with my wife and children on the Oregon Coast this summer that I find my head, my brain, drifting off during downtime in class to the beach, the dunes, the camping.  I’m not sure how much longer this brain-drift will happen, but I’m having a great deal of difficulty staying on task.  Any advice?


I love storms.

Tonight, in my little town, there was a spectacular thunderstorm.  I was dropping off a couple of Wii games at Blockbuster and, while facing the door, lightning flashed behind me and it was a bright as having a camera flash go off in my face (not one of those little flashes, either).  The thunder that followed quickly after was so loud I felt it in my sternum and the windows in the door of the Blockbuster rattled.  It was awesome.

I grew up on the Canadian prairies and experienced phenomenal thunderstorms.  I miss them now that I live on the West Coast.  When I experience storms now, I relish them with child-like glee.

The photo above was taken just an hour ago, and is the aftermath of the storm that rolled through here about two hours ago.  It is the beauty that can be enjoyed after chaos and destruction and noise and why I love storms.


One of many reasons that I don’t want to go back to work.

I am a teacher.  I get two months off work over summer, two weeks at Christmas and another two in Spring.  I have a pretty amazing job when it comes to holidays.  I can justify it to people I know who are not in the teaching field by saying that I am only paid for ten months of work and that I take two months unpaid, but it doesn’t make my job any less awesome for holidays.

I love my summers.  One thing I was not prepared for, however, was how emotionally attached I would become to my holidays.  But that was before I had children.  Now, I spend the first week getting used to being at home and follow that up with seven weeks of doing nothing but spending time with them.  Days, while my wife was at work, with them and I going to bookstores, parks, lakes, trails, skate parks and, well, you get the idea.  Now, with school starting tomorrow, I’m in mourning.  My daughter and I took a walk this weekend to buy our favorite Greek yogurt and stopped at the fountains at the nearby condominium development.  I don’t know to what tune she was dancing but she climbed to a spot a short distance away from me and got down to a song I couldn’t hear.

It’s not that we won’t have those moments now that school has started, but we won’t have the luxury of doing them whenever we like.

She is a reason I don’t want to go back to work.


Memorials: Our way of saying what’s important, often after we should have acknowledged it.

I spend a lot of time trying to remember inane things like where my car keys are, whether I left a door unlocked before I left the house, and what my colleague wanted on his sandwich from Subway on the lunch run for which I volunteered (lettuce, tomatoes, olives, peppers and pickles – oh sure, now I remember).  I can remember less inane things like my anniversary, my wife’s birthday, and the birthdays of my son and daughter.

This morning I went for a walk with my daughter and came across the Sappers’ Memorial at Garrison Crossing in Chilliwack, BC.  As I wandered around the memorial park I realized how little time I spend remembering that people died for me.  I mean, not me, specifically, but me and others like me.  It was nice to walk around with my daughter and explain what this memorial means, why it was put up here.  She gets it in a visceral way, telling me that she feels sad that these people had to die “that way”.  She is also proud, in her nine year old way, of what they did.

I hope that I remember that moment, the moment when my daughter got it.


Photo Friday: Round, or making art with rain and a barbecue cover

The key here is to take photos of objects after rain, but focus in so tightly that it’s difficult to tell what the object is.  In this case, I took a photo of raindrops on my barbecue cover.  I know, I kind of gave that away in the title – I’ve never been one for subtlety.


Doors are both entrances and exits. Why do they only say EXIT?

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we had more positivity?  Why can’t we place the word ENTRANCE above the door, along with EXIT?  Or maybe OPPORTUNITY.  Or how about a sign that says, “If this is the moment when you need to make that decision that will change your life, do it.”

On second thought, maybe that wouldn’t be the best approach to doorway signage.


Steveston, BC, is a nice place to visit.

A little highlight from a recent trip to Steveston, BC.


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