Saturday, June 24, 2017

The dread Alberta rose

We have an Alberta rose just beside the garage. I'm quite sure it has plans for world dominance or something. It waves it's thorny branches in a menacing way, hoping to drag some prey in. There are roots and shoots springing up in the lawn and down the walk way between the neighbour's house a surprising distance.

Today I learned what it's role model is. The Millarville market has a rose growing beside one of the buildings. I was terrified.


Br'er Rabbit probably lives in there sometimes.

In comparison here's one of our roses. Still getting it's growth.


And another rose bud, a different one. Because I know you can't get enough.

Lastly, an arty shot. There was so much green in it, and I was looking for an alternative view. A few of you may have seen this on a Facebook groups page.



Friday, June 23, 2017

a few more blossoms for you

This is the first of the pink poppies to open. This is the same one I showed gradually opening it's maw, I mean the bud splitting open.


Roses. We have lots, and I love the buds and blooms.


The white peony out front is opening, and the light rain set it off beautifully.


The red peony shows off the water drops a bit better.

I was in the mood for a languid swim this morning, genially waving my flukes. What I got was a full pool with three other people in the lane. One swimming a bit faster than me most of the time, one a bit slower, and one a bit slower than that. I didn't keep track of how far or how fast. It felt pretty good.

There was a run on Wed, 3K in 20:52, feeling heavy and clunky. My legs felt terrible the next day, but feeling pretty good today.

This is going to be a busy weekend so I'm not sure what will happen for a long run. The camera is going to get a workout on Sunday!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Driving to the mountains?

It looks like this road loops around a bit, and will take you to those beautiful mountains.


Looks can be deceiving. That sign that indicates you have to turn left or right is not kidding. Just past where the road dips down, you come to a T intersection.

Technically, I suppose the road continues on and curves around to the right, but there's some big concrete barricades to prevent traffic. This will eventually become a business access road for the Tsuut'ina, but thats all tangled up with the ring road construction. They say they are going to build a huge medical centre there. If it takes as long as the road negotiations, it will be too late for me. Hopefully they'll get it built just about the time I need it.

Traffic is going to be hell here for the next few years. There are only 2 ways out of Woodbine. One is the road in the photo above. There is major freeway construction already happening. The other is 24th St onto Anderson road. Anderson is going to be widened to 6 lanes over the next few years. Why yes, I'm glad to be retired and not likely going anyplace in a hurry.

In one sense it will be nice to have the ring road done. They've been talking about it for most of my lifetime, and now it's time to spend the money. I suppose with the improvements in technology we will get a better road, and the environment will be treated more respectfully now than say in the 70's. Back then the plan was to bulldoze anything in the way of a direct route and it didn't matter if it was a natural area or a neighbourhood.

In another sense, it's symptomatic of our car culture, and the sickness of it in Calgary. That new road won't take me anywhere I need to go. At best it might take some cars out of my way for the places I do want to go, but I'm not likely to notice. I suppose once it's built it will be easier to get up to highway 1 to go towards Banff. But I'll bet money that it will quickly become just as clogged as all the other roads in town. More roads generate more traffic.

But really, I'm getting my head to a place where we shouldn't be burning fossil fuels. Not for propelling vehicles, or heating buildings or generating power. Solar and wind power are coming on huge, and Alberta gets lots of wind and sun. The quicker we get the coal fired plants shut down, the better. That's not to say I think the oil industry will go away. Certainly not! We need it as feedstock for the bazillions of materials we use in a modern society. And fertilizer to grow food, let's not forget that. And practically speaking, we're going to be burning the fuels for a while yet.

Electric vehicles are getting more and more common. Don't listen to the nay-sayers saying it won't happen. I remember them saying that putting shoulder belts in cars was unnecessary. That nobody would pay for airbags. That fuel injection was impractical for ordinary vehicles. That cars would never drive themselves. The list goes on.

I would be willing to bet that within the rest of my lifetime, gasoline powered vehicles owned by individuals will not exist and it will be illegal for a human to drive a vehicle in city limits except in case of emergency. Anyone want to take me up on it?


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I craved a beach

I was channeling my east coast buddies on Sunday. Craving a beach and the smell of the sea. In case you were wondering, there is no sea here. If you came for the waters, you were misinformed.

There are several private lakes, surrounded by expensive homes and guarded by community association employees. If you have buddies, it's possible to be a guest, or you can get in on the practice swims put on by the races.

Then there's Sikome, a public "lake", which I'm pretty sure I could throw a rock across, and I'm a shite pitcher. In years past it was a great place to get a loathsome disease caused by sick kids using it as a toilet.

If you don't mind driving out to Canmore, there's tiny little Quarry Lake, and it's equally tiny beach. Nice water though. Don't argue with the moose or bears that like to visit for a drink. If you 're prepared to freeze your ass off, there's Ghost Lake. Seriously, even in a wetsuit you're going to be cold.

Then there's Glenmore Reservoir. It's a beautiful body of water, no doubt of that, and would reasonably be called a lake if found in nature. It's 3.84 Km2 surface area, and contains 17 million M3 of water. From various places around it you can see the mountains, and downtown, and sometimes both at the same time. However, it's south Calgary's main source of drinking water, and they don't allow swimming. Various forms of non-motorized boating yes, stand-up paddle boarding no, swimming is a big no-no.

Right now the water level is way down in preparation for spring run off. Four years ago we had a huge flood here, and they don't want it to happen again. I went for a walk on what is normally underwater, and channeled being on a beach. Let's just say the experience was less than completely satisfactory, in comparison to Nova Scotia.

It's kind of a pity they don't install a beach there, and charge for admission to cover the costs, even if there is no swimming allowed. There's lots of things to do at a beach that don't involve getting wet.

In any case, here's some photos, showing how deprived I am. How much I miss the two times we rented that beach front cottage in Nova Scotia.
 





Yes, that really is a paddle boat on the reservoir. It's a replica of the S. S. Moyie. I've never been on it myself.

I had a nice walk for a couple of K on the "beach". It didn't smell quite as nice as the ocean, but it was still a nice watery smell. Afterward I went down to Fish Creek and enjoyed a quiet walk along the river. It's too small to swim, but some people like to splash in it. This is about as big as it ever gets.






Monday, June 19, 2017

Macro Monday, and a followup

Last Monday I was out with the extension tubes and got a bunch of nice macro photos. This one struck me almost more as a science fiction novel cover.


Or this, I could almost see this as a spaceship design.


Some of you want to know how I'm feeling after the half marathon on Saturday. Pretty darned good! I didn't do much the rest of the day, but Sunday I was up and around for a walk with Linda, and stained a section of fence.

Today was a swim, massage, picked up Linda and went for lunch. Afterward I braved the hell of Costco, complete with people that had no concept of other people having a place to be, and wanting to be there. I didn't run anyone down, but it was close for one woman. She saw the dead look in my eyes at the last moment and moved. Otherwise it was going to be a scene from Mad Max with the trophy impaled on the front of the shopping cart.

In the photo surprise department, one of my neighbours has asked if I have a photo of a particular plant, (I'm pretty sure I do), and about how much would a print be. Somehow he had never struck me as an art kind of guy, but his money is the same colour as everyone else's.

I'll leave you with this rose. Linda says it's a Therese Bugnet. Unfortunately it's got thrips that are eating the buds, so this might be the best one this year.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bees, a butterfly, and a ladybug

Sounds like the start to a corny joke, I know. But you get a bit of a compendium today, some of the wildlife that's been captured in my camera recently. In other news I was out for a walk this morning, and my legs are feeling pretty good after the half marathon yesterday






I'm still worried about the bees, but we've been seeing a few more of them lately, so that's good. Maybe they've just got a slow start to the summer. That is the first ladybug I've seen this year. In previous years we'd see many of them while doing garden clean up. We don't see many butterflies, and I'm sure this is the first I've seen of this kind. I think it's kind of handsome in the snappy black and white uniform, with the orange trim.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

It's about time, it's about pace, it's about

Bammy management. I had feared a bammy rebellion going into this race. A week or two ago I was actively debating, what's worse, a DNS, or a DNF? I was having cranky shoulders, muscle spasms in my back such that sneezing was an ordeal, low back stiffness, and sore everything below the hips.

(For the non runners, the bammy is that muscle between the butt and the hamstrings. Or both.)

It was gradually getting better and I decided to run, especially since I had been assured I'd get the best support EVER! And I did. BRBE is awesome like that. The idea was to take it easy, treat it like a long training run.

So first things first. These three photos, what do they have in common?



Look more carefully. Think like a runner. They already know. This is evidence that I sometimes get both feet off the ground at the same time! Yay me! I've been doing this run thing almost 10 years now, and this is the first actual evidence of it happening. Yes yes, I know, it's only ever so fractionally. I don't care. It totally counts. This was about a half hour after the start, so probably about the 4.5 K mark. It didn't last much longer.

Some photos, just because.



This is the last good photo during the race. Shortly after this was a gravel road hill that had the bammies and the hip flexors complaining. I slowed down a little, and never managed to speed up again. I was thinking very carefully about my stride.


Here I am, out on the great long flat bit I scoped out during a photo tour a couple weeks ago. I'm just glad it wasn't hot.

The return of T Rex! I am in serious plod mode here, having gone from just over 7 minutes per K, to just over 8 minutes per K. It was all I could do to reel in some walkers. Linda giggled hard when she saw this on.

My buddy Radar! That was a surprise. It's not every half marathon you see a person in armour, on a horse.

The end is in sight.

And there I am, right about where I thought I'd be. Back in January I'd hoped that number would be under 2 hours.

Buddies Susan and Kevin.

And Linda waiting for me. There are gluten free chocolate chip cookies in that bag.

What's missing from all these photos is Sherpa Michelle. She picked me up early, drove me to the race start, got on her bike to leapfrog me throughout the race to capture many photos of me, and talk me through some of the tough bits. Thank you so very much.

Next race? No idea. I'll be doing photos at the Wild Rose Triathlon, and doing Sherpa and photos for Michelle at the 70.3.


Friday, June 16, 2017

More hairy butts. I mean buds.

Some of you probably think I have a bit of an obsession going here. Those hemispherical symmetrical curves. What can I say? All I do is try to please my readers.






Thursday, June 15, 2017

Double luck?

I went to bed early last night. Just as I was drifting off Linda called me about a double rainbow. Strong. You guys will be happy to know I put on pants before looking outside. Very strong. Switched lenses. Still pretty strong. Got the wider lens on, just able to capture it from end to end. It still didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped, but still. This shot is very little editing in Lightroom.


Heres another view of it with a bit more tinkering to bring up the colour.

And just a piece of it, again with a bit of tinkering to bring up the colour. I was mainly interested to see if I could get the image to bring up colour we know is there, but our eyes can't quite see.

And for those that know what our car license plate is, the above images explain it.

This one is for Michelle, while I'm thinking of it, liking the martian plants going to seed. Soon, I think.


Short swim today, just to get moving again. My legs and back are feeling pretty good from the rest. I probably should have done this a long time ago. No idea how the race on Saturday will turn out, and no expectations either. I'll need all the luck from the rainbows.

Michelle says she's going to try to do her best to fill up a camera memory chip with such good photos I have to put them all on the blog. If that happens, she will have earned the photographer of the year award. I figure if there's ONE photo worth putting on the blog, she's doing well. In this case the problem is the subject, not the photographer.





Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I know you need your fix

It's been a while since you've seen kitties snoozing, and you need your fix. Never let it be said that I'm not responsive to the wishes of my small but loyal band of readers.


I've been on a bit of a macro tear lately, and there are more in the pipeline so don't think you've seen the last of them. I found this while looking for lily beetles and was quite taken by the shape and colour of the decaying petal. In some ways I'm as big a fan of decaying blossoms as when they're budding and in full bloom.

I'm not sure what this was, I think an Iris.

And lastly, a cheerful happy purple plant. I think it's a pansy.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Nearly 20,000 or MacroMonday or HairyAntButts

I couldn't decide on the title.

A year ago I brought home a new Canon T6i. I've been out on any number of photo trips, some hosted by my buddy the famous Neil Zeller, some with other less famous buddies, and some by my not famous at all self. If I believe the image file numbers I've taken just under 20,000 photos this year. That comes to about 50 a day.

All the trips have been fun. The furthest is down to Waterton Park. Some of been as close as our back yard or even inside the house, but I guess they don't count as trips. But the photography itself has been more fun than I had imagined it would be. The camera sees things differently than our eyes do, which has been a learning experience in so many ways. I see the world differently now. I think about composition, and lines and shapes and colour. Even when I'm looking at a flower, I'm realizing there is stuff there I can't see. Plants are surprisingly hairy.

Lots of photos get a big X on first view and they get trashed. There's been about 1000 of them since I last deleted a bunch.
Most are so-so for whatever reason and nothing happens to them.
Some (about 4100 so far) get one star and I look at them again and decide what to edit. I might go back and edit for something else, or someone might happen to see it and like it. Hey, it's happened.
Editing a photo gives it 3 stars (Not quite 1100 of those). These are the ones I'd show people if asked. Lots make it onto the blog.
Then we get into the good ones.
There are 212 with 4 stars. These are ones I like a lot for whatever reason.
There are 55 with 5 stars. These are my WOW! shots.

You can do the math on the percentages in each group. I'm always striving to better myself, knowing that on average 1 in every 400 shots is a Wow. The more shots you take, as long as you are honing your abilities, the more good shots you'll get. You can see lots of my 4 and 5 star shots here, if you haven't looked already.

Some days are better than others. One morning I was up on Tom Campbell hill shooting skyline and I was so disappointed when I got home that only a few of them were in focus. They looked ok in camera. Turned out it was a gusty day and the tripod was moving ever so slightly. That's all it takes.

Today was a great day! I was out this morning with good light and no wind. I put all the extension tubes on the 100 mm macro lens and captured 167 shots. Some were hand held with one tube instead of three. Imagine my astonishment when my initial pass gave me 87 with one star! More than half! Of course, I downgraded some of them when I looked more closely.

I still ended up editing 20 shots, which is a huge percentage for this kind of photography. Here's a few of them, including more hairy ant butts! These are on our peonies. If you look carefully there are two different species.






Here's another random bug I found. No idea what it is.




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