(mostly) daily photoblog

Archive for January, 2011

Basking in the warming glow

The warming glow from this photo is what made me want to post it.  It is, in fact, from a couple of weeks ago and not from today, despite today’s beautiful sunshine.  After spending three days in below zero weather in Edmonton, AB, it was nice to return my “sissy-fied” body to the Lower Mainland.  Despite its sunniness, however, today was cold.  I got a chill while filling up with gas and I thought about how people always say that it’s a dry cold on the prairies and a humid cold on the coast.  After today, I’d agree.

Edmonton at Night

One quick post before I’m off on a plane.  Last night it got to -24 degrees Celsius.  It was chilly.  Here’s what Edmonton looked like outside my hotel room window.  It doesn’t look that cold, does it?

Certain requirements must be met in order to front a band

This is Mark Hall.  He is the lead singer of Casting Crowns.  They played the opening night of the Break Forth conference in Edmonton last night.  What I love about this photo is that it matters not what he looks like or what their music sounds like – he is clearly the lead vocalist of a rock band.  How do I know this?  He has employed the fist pump.

The fist pump is one of the many essential elements of fronting a band.  If you front a band and do not employ the fist pump, I think you can be replaced.  Isn’t that one of the rules?  I’m not sure, because I’ve never fronted a band, but I’ve attended a good number of rock concerts and every single one of them has included a fist pumping lead singer.

Can you think of other rules by which rock bands must abide?

Wing and a prayer

Photo Friday‘s challenge this week is “Travel”.  Conveniently, my wife and I have flown out to a conference in Edmonton, AB, Canada and this morning we flew through a bank of clouds.  I never fail to bring my camera everywhere, and everyone who has flown and is a photographer has taken a photo of the sun glinting off the wing, so I thought the wing in fog would at least be a somewhat novel take on a cliche.

But it’s late and I’ve got a full day tomorrow, so, uh, good night.

Danger, Will Robinson. Danger (arms flail robotically).

I’ve always been fascinated by warning signs.  The allusion made in the title is, of course, from “Lost in Space“, that tv show from the 1960′s.  The photo is from a power station that is adjacent to the park featured in yesterday’s post, which I think is a weird place to put a power station.  I wonder which came first, the park or power station.

Anyway, it’s the signs that intrigue me.  If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you might find there’s a photo of a similar man being struck down by lightning on a sidewalk cover back in January (maybe – I turn 37 on Saturday and the memory’s getting rusty).  I love this guy.  If I had a band, I’d put that dude on the cover my album.  I’ve been looking at this guy doing the electric limbo for so long, in so many places, that I’m interested in whether that’s what a human would actually look like if struck by the deadly forces of electricity.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to go touch anything that the electric limbo dude is guarding.  I just think that he looks like he’s getting down to music only he can hear.

Oh, and btw, I’ve subscribed to the post-a-day 2011 challenge to keep me honest and accountable this year.

What’s that in the sky? All orange and fiery and hard to look at…

On a rare, sunny day in January, I went out to the Public Library.  Our library in Chilliwack, BC, is next to a park in which someone wisely planted a fake pond.  Yes, fake pond.  Complete with water fountain in the middle.  I’m sure there’s something natural that was the initial inspiration for this pond, but now it’s a magnet for ducks and geese, like the stately gentleman above.  They show up because the people who frequent the library and the park often feed them.

As for the photo, I liked the way the water was an unnatural orangy-yellow from the sunlight that peered out from behind the clouds for two and three minutes stints throughout the day.  Yay, Vitamin D!

And judging from what I just wrote, I’m way too excited about a possible early spring and a few more minutes of sunshine.  Pathetic.

Once more, we go out to Ben at the lake.

The best part of this shot is Ben’s puffy vest.  When my wife first got it for him, he looked unsure of what he was supposed to do with it.  The only thing he has that looks like this vest is a sleeping bag, and he seemed to think we were pulling a prank on him.  Why I love it is that Ben’s the kid who needs some extra size to him.  He’s the skinniest boy I know.  I was, apparently, just like him when I was little, but you’d never know it now.  It’s hard to believe the kind of changes that I will witness as he grows up.

I wonder what my parents thought as I grew up?

Have you ever jumped off a dock into a lake?

Have you ever jumped off a dock into a lake with total abandon?  Actually, have you ever done anything with total abandon?  Ridden your bike so hard that your legs couldn’t keep up?  How about riding the scariest roller coaster that you can find?  What about jumping off a ten meter cliff (that’s 30 feet for my American friends)?  Or doing whatever it is completely freaks you out?  There is that moment that you know that you are no longer in control and whatever it is you’re doing has you, moves you.

There is that moment when you’re in the air and there is no way you can Wile E. Coyote yourself back to the dock.  Your heart is pounding and you’re not sure where you are.  You know there’s no ground under your feet but you haven’t hit the water yet.  You know it’s going to be cold, and it matters not that you’ve been in and out of that water four times already.  It.  Is.  Cold.

SPLASH!  and you’re in.  The splash, that respite from the summer heat, is over before you’ve registered it.  You’re gasping for air as you surface and your brain registered an excited blank.  Just the high-pitched eeeeeeeeeeeeee of adrenaline and cortisol hitting your system.  Then the cheering, from you and any friends who are there with you.

It is way too cold to jump off the dock at Cultus right now.  It’s freakin’ January in Canada.  You’d have to be challenged in a special way to want to do this now.  But that dock had me thinking about abandonment of all sensibilities.  I’m jonesing for Spring, I guess.

On a photo related note, I don’t know what happened this weekend in Cultus Lake, but the water went green.  Usually it is a deep blue, but Saturday the water was green.  This is not PhotoShop trickery.  I did not touch the color saturation levels.  The lake was green.  But enough about the color.

The kids are alright…aw, who am I kidding. My kids are awesome!

I have posted photos of my daughter quite often here on the blog.  My son, however, has not made as many appearances.  Now, one might come to the conclusion that I favor one child over the other, but that is not so.  The reason that I have more photos of my daughter than my son is two-fold.

One, my daughter is very much like me in that she can find almost any excuse to have to get out of the house.  Oh, we need some milk?  I’ll go get some.  You feel like an ice cream sundae?  I’ll go get one.  What’s that?  A bird is outside?  Let’s go.  I have “ants in my pants” as it were.  I cannot sit still, and neither can she.  So we leave the house on a Saturday morning or Sunday evening and go for a walk or a drive and along the way I take some photos that she is sometimes in.  Ben, on the other hand, wouldn’t leave the house in a fire.  He would say,”Aww…do I have to escape this burning building?”  “Can I stay here until you guys get back?”  So I have less photos of Ben because he’s rarely with me when I have my camera ready.

And two, the boy is incredibly energetic and does not know how to stay in one spot for any length of time.  That might sound counter-intuitive.  He can’t sit still but will not leave the house?  Yup.  When I finally do get him outside near a lake or river or forest or tree, he is like a hummingbird.  I think I’ve got a great shot, I set the aperture, change the shutter speed and he’s gone.  I don’t like to shoot my camera on Automatic, but with him it’s nearly the only choice.

But how could I ever favor one over the other?  I love them equally, but differently.

Saturdays are wonderful, stupendous, splendiferous days.

It was a beautiful Saturday.  No wind.  Cool, but not unbearable.  The perfect day for a walk at the lake.  I have found this to be one of the best perks of moving to a new city.  My house is now a ten minute drive from this lake – Cultus Lake – and where I previously went to the lake for once or twice a year out of obligation as a Lower Mainlander, now I go with my children quite often.  Once a month or so.  Today was the perfect day to wander and take photos of what I otherwise ignore.

During the summer months, this shot would be impossible.  The dock you see in the middle of the shot, and the rocky beach in the foreground are chock full of people.  Every person scrambling for a square inch of the worst beach you could imagine.  Which is why I love winter walks at the lake.  It’s quiet and peaceful.  It’s splendiferous.

BTW, Google Chrome’s spell-check keeps underlining the word “splendiferous.”  Stupid browser.  If you’re curious as to what it means, look it up.  It’s a great word.

A walk in the park.

A bit of a rehash, although I’ve never posted this particular photo before.  This is from the first days of my current camera.  I snapped this back in the autumn of 2009.  I’m posting it here, today, because of Photo Friday‘s “Trees” challenge this week.  Seeing as how it’s been raining torrents here in the Lower Mainland and I’ve been finishing off the second term of the first semester of school, I’ve had few chances to shoot anything new in the past week.  So, here’s a walk in the park, so to speak.

I love the colors, which is saying something because the lower mainland of British Columbia does not get a very long, nor vibrant, fall.  We have two seasons:  wet, and for two weeks in the summer, hot.  I’m not complaining.  I’m flying to Edmonton next weekend and already I have a chill in my underpants thinking about weather at 20 degrees below zero, so warm and rainy is not so bad.  But when I have to miss out on all four seasons, I might be allowed to whine a little.  So…wah.

No wonder I feel so tempted to speed home.

This makes my commute home look incredibly interesting.  In fact, I often do not take the freeway home because the side roads, with their farms, ponds, streams and pastoral outcroppings, make my drive much more intriguing.  I also take the side roads because there is no way to speed, forcing me to slow down and decompress from my school day.

The real problem with this photo, as I’m sure someone will comment, is that I took it while I was driving.  With my DSLR.  In my defense, I picked up my camera with my right hand, turned it on with my index finger, aimed the camera out the windshield and took the shot.  Not once was my focus off the road.  My camera has become such an extension of my body that I think I could handle many of its manual functions while performing some other task.

That said, British Columbia has some pretty strict cell phone/driving laws, and I’m pretty sure a nice constable would have little difficulty pulling me over for this stunt.  I wonder if I can get in trouble for posting a photo of me breaking a traffic law.  Hmm…

Build bridges…

…not walls.

It’s end of term and I’m ready for a good sleep.  At the same time, I’m tired and ready to move on to a new group of students.  I’ve made some great connections with my students but when you meet with 90 students a day for 80 minutes at a time, cabin fever does eventually settle in.  In some cases, I see some students more than their parents do.  For our own sanity it’s time to separate for a little while.

I prefer reminiscing about the “good old days” more than I like bemoaning the current days.

Pretty barn is pretty, and its twin is nice looking, too.

We have had a ton of rain lately, to the point where many of the smaller rivers and streams have been overflowing their banks.  All of the low spots in fields around Chilliwack have been filling up with water as well.  The weather’s been so unpredictable lately – last week there were small children skating on this pond and now, you can’t tell there was a snow day last week.  I’d hate to be a meteorologist right now.

What has been great is the number of photographic spots.  For whatever reason, I’m really feeling the reflective business right now.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m at the semester end or if my subconscious is feeling neglected, but I want to take pictures of everything with a reflection right now.  Maybe I need a counselor.  Oh well.  Pretty barn.

Jamie Oliver’s Potatoes, via me.

The wait is over.  There they are, in all their potatoish glory.  The crispiness on the outside is from the butter and the other stuff is garlic cloves, clementine peel and sage.  And they tasted great.  In fact, I’m going to check right now if we have leftovers because they look yummy.  By the way, if  you wish to try this recipe, go to Jamie Oliver’s website.

Oh, my darling Clementine

I made my favorite of Jamie Oliver’s recipes tonight, Perfect Roast Potatoes, and it calls for Clementine peels.  I did not know what a Clementine was until I made these potatoes (I’ll show you what they looked like in tomorrow’s post…oooh, suspense!).  It turns out they’re “a variety of Mandarin Orange” and they’re super sweet and delicious.

As for the photo, I desaturated all colors except orange when I processed this shot and I liked the way it looked.  Also, now I’m hungry for Clementines.  Oh my darling, Clementine.  Do you think they were singing about the oranges?  “Thou are lost and gone forever, Oh my darling, Clementine” (because I ate you, haha).

The creepy hand of …?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh…there’s a glow-in-the-dark about to overtake me!

Human form, in bronze

Photo Friday, this week, has challenged photographers to show photos of the “Human Form.”

I was driving through downtown Chilliwack, BC, today and I’ve passed Piper Richardson so often I nearly forget he’s there.  He stands outside the Chilliwack Museum.  He’s forever playing his pipes.  Richardson, during the battle of the Somme played his pipes as his company went “over the top” to rally his fellow soldiers.  He was killed, later, while retrieving his pipes that he had left behind on the battlefield while assisting wounded soldiers.  For his bravery, Richardson was awarded the Victoria Cross.

If I have to highlight the human form, why not highlight a hero?

Reflections after a snow day

I like the way things reflected in water have a surreal quality to them.  Like we’re peering through the looking glass and on the other side is our world, only not quite.

Yesterday was a snow day, but today was a slush day.  Welcome to the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.  One day, you’re sledding down a hill of fine powder.  The next, you’re driving through a 7-11 Slurpee.


Today was a snow day.  I’m a teacher, and could not make it out of our driveway, let alone to the highway to get to school.  When the kids got up this morning, my wife and I were ready.  We had breakfast and got out to the local sledding hill, which, conveniently, is right across the street from where we live.  We were on the hill by 7:30 in the morning.  No one else had even touched the hill with the exception of a overly ambitious cross-country skier who left us a couple of trails to follow.  It was dark and the kids had never used their sleds before, but we were all excited.  My wife cut the first trail and the kids followed that over and over again.

By 9:30, we had been sledding for an hour, there was a snowman in the backyard, and the driveway was clear.

It was a great day.

Steve, the lonely Snowtrooper.

“Join the Corps!” his friends told him.  “See the galaxy.”

No one told Steve that the galaxy would be this cold.  If only he had some hot cocoa.

Should I do it? Why? But, what if I don’t want to prove that I’m brave?

Bob debates whether or not he should ride the yellow slide.

New recruits have to ride bicycles until they pass the TIE fighter pilot test.

“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.  Who parked this thing here?  How am I going to get to work?”

Look, everyone. A suburb is being born.

This is what happens when a Mommy suburb and a Daddy suburb get together and make a baby suburb.  Unlike human babies, suburb babies are not the product of cell division.  Instead, suburb embryos take time and construction.  Many, many men and women are involved in the first steps in the life of a suburb.

The hard part is that suburbs often require the destruction of whatever was in its place before it was conceived.  A tree.  A house.  An acreage.  It doesn’t matter.  If it was there when the conception happened, it must be taken out.

But, isn’t it all worth it?  Isn’t it cute?  This tiny little suburb baby?  We don’t even know what it might turn out to be.  Will it be condos?  Or maybe a bunch of detached single family homes.  Or maybe, just maybe, it’ll be a gated community.  Only the future can tell.

Aww…grow baby, grow.


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