(mostly) daily photoblog

Archive for October, 2010

What? Two posts in one day?

I forgot to post something for Photo Friday.  This week’s challenge is “Fluffy” so I went back to a rather fluffy self portrait.  Honestly, I don’t enjoy putting myself in front of the camera.  I am quite comfortably ensconced behind the lens at most social events, school events, family events, well…everywhere.  I think my wife has a great number of pictures of me taking pictures.  This was a cold morning while I was out with my daughter taking photos of the sunrise.  I shot this in the sideview mirror of my vehicle.  Objects truly are bigger than they appear.

Hint of a storm.

I like when you can see the hint of a storm in the offing.  The clouds up and to the left have a touch of grey that suggests we’re in for a fun afternoon.  It turned out to be a nice day, but that grey lining never left, always threatening.  In fact, now that I think about it, what’s that junk about a cloud having a silver lining?  If silver is a type of grey, then a silver lining would be a bad thing, no?

Wow, I’ve not posted in a while.

I’m sick.  Boohoo.  Does someone have a remedy for a head that feels as though it’s stuffed with cotton?

Here’s a farm.  Meh.

Notre Dame in Black and White

I was going through my photos from Montreal and found this one.  It’s hard to believe that I haven’t posted this.  I found Mary’s halo of stars quite interesting.  I’ve not seen a great number of Catholic churches – I mean, I’ve been to Italy and seen more than my share – but I’ve not seen a church with a facade that looks like this.  It’s simple and beautiful, and Mary has stars.  I’m sorry.  I can’t get over this.  Does anyone know what it means?

Vancouver’s urban beauty.

I love Vancouver.  I visit it as often as possible.  It is one hour, by car, away from my house.  There are so many streets I have not gotten to know as well as I would like, but this is an area I know pretty well.  This is the corner of Thurlow and Melville.  It’s a block and a half from Christchurch Cathedral, and a few blocks from the center of downtown.  It’s not far from Vancouver Art Gallery (my kids’ favorite spot in Vancouver) and only a couple of blocks from the waterfront.

I’ve been to Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Seattle, Portland, Rome, Nice, Barcelona…and they all have nice things to offer, but I love Vancouver.  The glass and steel of this young city (only a hundred and twenty some years old) makes me smile and feel warm.  I’ve never lived in the city and which probably explains my infatuation, but it feels comfortable to visit.  Vancouver is my close relative I like to visit, but wouldn’t want to live with.  Absence makes the heart stay fond.

In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia.

Huh?  Actually, I should make note of the fact that the title, above, comes from one of my favorite novels, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera.  I haven’t read it lately, but this quotation always struck me as poetic.  At the end of anything, a relationship, a love, a career, nostalgia clouds our minds and makes them seem better than what they are.  The reason this thing is dissolving is that it is no longer worth having, yet we look back on it with fondness.  Nostalgia is a trickster.

In a related note, Jonathan Foer’s book Everything is Illuminated was named for this quotation from Kundera.  If you want two books to read that will challenge your mind, in totally different ways mind you, check out these two books.

This is what 18000 motivated student leaders look like.

Al Gore, during his We Day speech, told the 18000 students in attendance that they are not “our future”; rather, they are our present.  He exhorted them to think of themselves as the people who would solve the world’s problems and to start now.  He then made an analogy that I’d never known.  When the Apollo program put a Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969, the average age of the people in NASA’s mission control was 26.  This means that when JFK made the speech in 1961 that the USA would put a man on the moon within the decade, the average age of those same mission controllers was 18.  They heard the challenge in 1961 and eight years later they provided the response.  We have to stop thinking of our students as the future and start thinking of them as our present.  Thanks, Al Gore, for putting things in perspective.

We Day: please pay attention

Yesterday saw “We Day” visit Vancouver.  The photo above is of the giant screens in the center of Rogers Arena in Vancouver.  I took twenty-nine students to We Day and the experience was amazing.  If you’ve never heard of We Day, here’s the event in a nutshell:  Al Gore, Martin Sheen, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jim Berk, Ethan Zohn, Robin Wiszowaty and others joined with recording artists Colbie Caillat, Barenaked Ladies and Hedley to bring a challenge to 18000 young leaders to make the world a better place.  The vision for all of this was first articulated by Craig Kielburger, the founder of Free the Children, and his brother Marc.  They envisioned harnessing the energy and power of youth to build schools in developing countries, to provide healthcare and clean water and alternative income sources for people who really need it.  We Day is the big kick-off for a year of events, fundraising, and awareness campaigns that the 18000 students will be working on in their own schools for the remainder of the year.

It was inspirational and uplifting, with messages ranging from having the power to change the environment (Gore) to finding something worth fighting for (Sheen), everybody is somebody (Jackson) to teachers are important (Berk).  Incredible day all around.

If this sounds interesting, go to Facebook and “Like” We Day.  Every “Like” equals a dollar for Free the Children; in other words, one million “likes” equals a million dollars to help villages and their children all around the world.

This photo is posted here as part of the Photo Friday weekly challenge:  Warped.


Where would you stay if you were Paul McCartney and in Quebec City?

Apparently here, at the Chateau Frontenac.  Okay, it’s pretty nice, I guess, if you like that kind of thing.

Canada’s funky game (the post-game mess).

Ice hockey is the national pastime of my fellow Canadians.  A little known ritual after playing hockey is the “airing out of the gear”.  The smell that comes off sweaty gear is funkadelic.  Nasty.  Eye-watering.  I’ve been near pig farms with less significant smell.  Whoever the driver of that Nissan is, he or she is smart.  Air out that junk before the funk gets in the trunk.

Autumn burgundies

Today I ate an awful amount of turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie (although, I could stand a bit more of the pie).  After Thanksgiving dinner (it’s Thanksgiving this weekend in Canada – fyi), my family and I took a walk across the street to take a few photos.  I stopped and took a few shots of the leaves that are rapidly changing and falling.

The top one’s an oak leaf, still attached to the tree, in a super shallow depth of field.  I hit that with my 50mm prime lens at an aperture of f1.7.

The second leaf is a birch leaf I found lying along the side of the road.  It was shot with the same prime lens at an aperture of f16 and the flash was used.

Two different leaves, two different methods.  Same autumn.

Welcome, Night Owls

This is the Couche-Tard on the corner of Rue Notre Dame and Rue St. Pierre.  It’s a chain of convenience stores and it’s known as the “Night Owl”, but the direct translation is “Sleep Late” (which I like better).  Personally, I just like saying “couche tard”.

Couche tard.

Couche tard.


I am so immature.

I am such a lady…

On my recent trip to Montreal, I discovered Simons, this amazing clothing store.  I got a little giddy in this place.  My fellow shoppers and I agreed that we’d only spend forty-five minutes in the store, as we had a dinner at the Palais des congres to attend and had planned on visiting the Notre Dame before having dinner.  Forty-five minutes was not nearly enough time.  I managed to browse most of the men’s section and the amazingly-cute-but-too-expensive pillow section.

Here’s the thing:  in my house, I’m the shopper.  It’s not that my wife doesn’t like to shop (she doesn’t) but she knows what she wants and goes to a store and gets it.  She hunts the things she needs, kills them and brings them home.

I am the gatherer, the lady (according to most of the guys I know).  I love to shop and not buy anything.  I will look for the same things in six different shops before I decide I don’t need whatever the item is for which I’ve been shopping.  I am fixated on bags (messenger bags, backpacks, slingpacks, man-bags, murses – I have them all), shoes (I have three different pairs of skate shoes, a pair of Doc Martins, two pairs of brown dress shoes and two pairs of running shoes), jackets (black, brown, navy, and three sport coats) and hair care products (don’t ask).

My male friends all call me a lady when they realize that I’ve not worn the same jacket three days in a row.  When I complain (which I no longer do) about forgetting to put on moisturizer before leaving the house, some of my male colleagues look physically uncomfortable.  The best part:  I think I’m beginning to enjoy making them uncomfortable.

Here’s why I like living where I live.

I got home from a trip to Starbucks to pick up a Pumpkin Spice Latte for my wife and saw this across the street.  If you’ve looked back through my blog, you’ve seen that I live across from a park, but tonight’s sunset (as disappointingly early as it was – where’s my summer going?) made the park more beautiful than ever.  So I thought I’d photograph it just for you.  And you, and you, and you…

People watching is a lovely pastime.

I don’t know what he’s thinking about, but I wish I had taken the time to sit and enjoy my surroundings like he did.  He just sat and watched as people wandered by.  He’s not reading, not listening to an iPod, not texting, not on the phone.  Just sitting.

This photo was taken in Quebec City, adjacent to the Chateau Frontenac.

I can’t believe how many Saints there are who drink

So, I’m not Catholic, but I admire their saints.  I’m not sure if this pub is actually named for Saint Alexander, but there are a good number of pubs in Quebec that are named for Saints.  In fact, just down the street from this pub is the Pub St. Patrick.  Now that I think about it, after all that miracle making and saving the sick and and praying and being righteous it might be nice to have a good pint of something slightly alcoholic.

Good for you, Saint Alexander.

Yellow is the color of energy.

I have had a bit of a long week.  Sorry about not posting.  I feel as if I’m just now getting my energy back.  There is something to be said for being home and getting enough sleep; what needs to be said is being home and getting enough sleep is awesome and necessary.  Here’s a little, old, macro shot to give a shot of energy to the end of the week.


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