Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fragility, then strength

Yesterday I blogged about those two rose buds hanging in from last year. Today I was out for a walk in Fish Creek with just the 100 mm lens. I'd no idea what I'd find. But here's the opposite of the delicate rose buds.



The difference between what the camera sees, and what the human eye sees is astonishing sometimes.  When you look at the bridge from the path, even in good light, it looks black. No detail. I took the shot because I liked the dark geometry against the sky. Imagine my surprise when the girders turn out to be a bit of a silvery colour, and there is all sorts of detail showing up. At first I thought it would be these monolith shapes, but the texture of the steel is even more interesting. Consider that some worker pounded in all those rivets by hand.

Since I'm on the topic of bridges, I'll include another bridge shot for you.


In other news, as a hint, check out the changes to the 'Registered in' section in the sidebar. Best run buddy ever has promised to keep me honest about training. I'm a little nervous about the bullwhip artistry course she has just signed up for, but that's just me.

The pool was a gong show today. It looked like only 2 lanes open, and both were full of people that put the wreck in recreational swimming. I hung out in the viewing stands and caught up on my mail. Once the 50 m lanes opened I got one to myself, feeling creaky. I actually swam a warmup. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I swim a warm up. Normally I just get on with it. 1K 19 minutes long course. 4x 100 feeling kind of feeble. 100 backstroke in 2:35. I've no idea how fast that is, since it's the first time I've ever timed myself for back stroke. Normally it's a cool down. One more fast 100. Chatting with people in the hot tub.

There's other good news I can almost share. Come back tomorrow.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Remember these?

They're still there. I'm still infatuated. This isn't the best shot of them, you'll have to scroll down for that, or look at the retrospective. This is just to remind you of those two buds in the front garden. They've emerged from the snow and frost. And I should remind you, these are tiny, about 1 cm long.


I don't know what screen you're looking at this on, but feel free to zoom in on the bud. I dare you. 


Same bud, from the other side.


When I'm editing these, the bud ends up being 11 cm long, so roughly 10x life size. I took a screen shot of it at about 3:1, and this is just a part of it. I love the texture, and want to pet it but I fear it will crumble to dust if I do. I wonder what purpose is served by the tiny hairs.


Eventually they will crumble to dust or wither away, or Linda will deadhead them. I'll be sad. These little guys have been great subjects. I've learned a lot about using the 100 mm macro, keeping my hands steady (these are all hand held) and some other camera tricks to get a good image.

Trying to compose both together in a pleasing shot is difficult but still a learning experience. I need to close down the aperture, which drives the shutter speed down. That means either really really steady hands (and not even a breath of wind), or increasing the ISO (risking noise) or setting up the tripod. Considering the best place to shoot both in the same image is about where the background lattice is, you can see the difficulty.

If you want to come and try your hand at shooting these buds, I'd be happy to host you. I'll even feed you a cup (or two, or three) of my high test coffee first. Time limited offer, but I'm not in control of the limits. The wind could blow them off any day. Don't wait too long if you want to do this.

In other news I was back on the treadmill this morning, churning away, learning to run faster. Early days yet, but it's going well. For whatever reason when I got to Repsol my tummy felt full of breakfast, and my brain was full of whirling thoughts. Good thing I was carrying a notebook. I started scribbling down some photo related thoughts, and next thing I knew, I'd filled up two full pages. There's a to do list and a completion date. Lots of things to check up on and make a decision about.

All that took about 45 minutes, with some short chats with people I know there. Such a friendly place. When I got up my tummy was happy, my brain felt lighter, and my feet were ready to run. Walked briskly on the track to warm up, a half hour with intervals on the treadmill, and another walk to cool down. For some reason trying to walk on the treadmill doesn't really work as a cool down. I need to feel the air moving past me.

And I think I'm ready to sign up for a race! Stay tuned to my registered in section of my blog roll.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New skyline from an interchange to be

They are picking up steam on the SW ring road that will pass near here. It seems every time I'm out for a drive I see more stakes, and changes related to the pending construction.

Like this.

This view didn't use to be like this, but they've cut down a small bush and opened things up. Where I'm standing is going to be an interchange, if I understand the drawings correctly. Off to the top left is where the road is going to go, and there's been lots of changes on the Tsuut’ina land in preparation. At least the bottle exchange is open again.

Now you can see skyline from there.



I checked out the view a little further along, even though the light wasn't anything special, and found these. I'll have to visit again when the light is better.



For my photo buddies, dealing with the blue was tough in these two. I had to do considerable tweaking in Lightroom to try to both bring out the detail in the sky, such as it is, and not make it look like the ocean floor.

There was a swim meet at the pool, so we tried to get in and get it done. After racing me with fins (Michelle insisted I put that detail in) last week and keeping up, she want to do a longer race, and try to keep me from lapping her too often. Normally we split a lane, but today we circled. This was fun! I had a great swim, passing her several times, and as expected each time she pushed herself to make it harder for me.

We both ended up with record times! My previous best was 18:04 and today was 17:37, short course. That is about 106 seconds per 100 m,  or 1:46, which is a huge breakthrough for me. I haven't swum that fast since I started swimming again back in the early 2000's. When I was swimming in the mid 80's, I'd routinely do this, and if I worked I'd be under 17 minutes. This is what happens, though. You get stuck on a plateau. At first it's work to be there, then it's the regular thing, and if you let it, that's where you'll stay. When I was trying to break 20 min for a K, the first time I did it, I just barely made it and nearly puked at the end. Two days later I did it in 19:30 and kept on going. Now I know I can do it, I need to keep pushing.

Michelle took a minute and a few seconds off her time for that distance. Yay!

Another buddy came along and worked on some really basic stuff, and exceeded my expectations. We will be seeing front crawl soon.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Chinook madness

There I was, determined to run outside. Best run buddy ever and I were discussing the need for pants. Long or short, get your minds out of the gutter! In the end we both went with long. I brought a jacket just in case, and that turned out to be perfect. There was a bit of a breeze blowing off the reservoir, at just above zero. In the end we did 6.7 K in 50 min, nice and easy.

It was lovely for the first outdoor run of the year. We're in the middle of a chinook right now. That usually means wind and warmth, and today was all that. I don't think it got up to double digits, but I was just outside shooting some sunset, in a T shirt, and was fine for a while.

During the run I first saw a woman with a big lens point it up into the trees. A photographer birder, or a birder photographer, whichever is right. Then another guy carrying a big lens in camo. Then some people set up with a 500 mm lens, he said as we passed. We probably ran past a dozen people carrying big expensive lenses. I wanted to chat, asking what they were looking to shoot, but carried on with the run. Every time I see someone with a good camera now, I want to look and see which camera, which lens, and chat to them about what they like to photograph. So far I've met the nicest people.

Remember the house photos I mentioned? I was going to take a photo a day and see what the chinook winds did? That was starting last week, but I was somewhat disappointed that the snow didn't disappear faster. Here's the first and last one in the series.



Often during chinooks there is a classic arch of cloud across the sky, with the clear blue bringing sun and wind to blow the cloud away. It was a bit messier today, but I was trying to get some shots of the interface, and this happened almost by accident, a panorama of 5 shots stitched together. This is the social media version, and you can't zoom in too far, but the print version, wow! Anybody looking for a wide print to fit that odd space in their house? Proportions are about 1 high, by just under 5 wide. I'm pretty sure it would look great at 10 inches by 4 feet. Let me know.


Plus during a chinook we get lots of water running in the street, and bits of ice all over the place. Like this.



Friday, January 27, 2017

The omni-directional sunrise HDR surprise

For a short while today, I could see sunrise everywhere I looked.

Here it is, off to the south east, where you'd expect it.

Here's the HDR surprise. I wanted to bring out some of the colour buried in the bright sunrise on the horizon, and some of the detail in the trees. The tool for that is HDR. The problem when I was looking at the merged HDR images is that I didn't like any of them. There are a bunch of preset selections, and I normally choose normal or photographic. Both sucked. I paged through all the others, and a couple of the painterly ones caught my eye. Then I got into the B&W and perked up. They looked better. Much better. This would have been taken within a minute of the above colour image, so the sky is the same. Which do you prefer?

 Looking North East.

Looking South and a bit west.

Looking North.

Looking West and a bit North.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Contemplative

I've always believed that we should take some time out of our busy lives to just sit. Except, this isn't really time out of your life, it's time in it. What's being taken out is the busy.


I found that bench during a walk in the park yesterday, and almost didn't photograph it. To all appearances in life and in the photo, it faces a cliff that right now is covered in snow. Why would someone put a bench there?

It turns out there's a creek just out of sight. I think it would be quite pretty in the summertime, and I intend to check it out once the snow is gone. Even today I was tempted to just sit there for a few minutes to enjoy the quiet. Alas, some kids on fat bikes were approaching, and as kids do, were making a lot of noise enjoying themselves. Plus I had to get back to the car for a date with some Indian food and I wasn't sure how long the walk was.

Our lives are an onslaught of information, some signal, some essentially noise. It can be difficult to sort within even just the signal, trying to find what's important and urgent, or at least important to pay attention to, let alone all the noise. There's a certain amount of stress involved, and it builds up over time.

This is why I've loved having days off during the week through my so-called career. I would sit and read for a little bit, then put the book down and close my eyes. I might or might not have a cat purring nearby. Not to sleep. In fact I was sometimes more awake than with my eyes open.

In one sense I wasn't doing anything, yet in another I was doing everything. I would sit, and breath gently, and let my mind go where it would. Think whatever thoughts might come, and flit from thought to thought. Gradually the thoughts would slow as I paid attention to them, then dismissed them. I'd listen to my heart beat resonating through my entire body, feel my breathing. I'd let my body relax into the chair, yet keep my head balanced on my shoulders.

I would picture the stress, the cares, the concerns, the worries, all draining out of me as if rainfall was washing them away. Once I did this on a beach, feeling the gentle waves come and go, taking the stress away. I'll never forget that. After a while a feeling of peace and serenity will come. I feel relaxed and calm. Energized.

This morning I took a chair along with the camera on a tripod. The theory was to catch the moon rise coming up out of the sunrise, but I looked at the moonrise time for yesterday. Oops. Today it was only a few minutes before sunrise and the moon was buried in the light.

There I was with the camera dialled into the pre- sunrise, clicking the remote every now and then. Thinking quiet thoughts. There wasn't much traffic really, mostly my neighbours commuting to work and busses picking up school kids. Somehow they didn't seem as noisy as usual. I was thinking how calming it was, how quiet I was. Yet buried within that serene picture is the epitome of business, an airliner preparing to land. All those people on their way somewhere, some of them late and frantic. The pilots going through their checklist, making an extraordinary thing look like a routine task. Can you see it? I could, then I let it go. You do the same.


Isn't the sunrise calm and beautiful with oranges and reds, and the deep blue above?


A little later some purples showed up and I captured that and thought of my buddy Susi who loves purple. Such a vibrant colour usually, but isn't this soothing?


It was a bit cold, but I was dressed warmly. It wasn't quite as relaxing as the beach, I admit, but something about the crisp fresh air, and watching a beautiful sunrise made this serene. Afterward I came in to edit the photos, and started puttering about my day.

Oh, before I forget. The Indian food was at The Clay Oven. They moved east just a little bit so you have to get at it off 27th St, not 26th. The new place looks fabulous, and the food is even better than it was before. I seriously believe this is the best Indian food in Calgary. We always get an extra dish, and plan to bring some home to eat later. Three guesses whats for dinner tonight and the first two don't count.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

That woman, again

Into the pool for a swim, and there's that woman in my lane again. She's good company in the pool, always happy to share a lane, sticks to her side of it, and just lately has been trying to race me. Today was 50 m, 40 seconds, me working hard trying to stay ahead. Normally I lose her on the flip turn, but she powered through and was right there to push me home to the finish. Good for her!

After a West Bragg Creek snowshoe hike, a crampon hike up to the Ink Pots, and a fairly hard run, my hams are feeling beat up. And, according to my wonderful massage therapist, my quads, and calves, and butt and almost everything connected to those. Much better after.

So what did I do? I was looking for some fresh air so I put the crampons on, and went for a walk in Votiers Flats. Not long, not far, but I was carrying my camera pack because I didn't know what I'd find to photograph. In the end, no lens changes. But you never know.

Here's what I got. Pick the one that's not in Fish Creek.





Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Great light

There are days I wish I brought my camera everywhere. My problem is that I'm not happy leaving it in the car when I'm at Repsol working out, and I'm not happy taking it into the locker room with me. I suppose I could put it in one of the little mini lockers by the front desk, but then I'd have to remember on the way out. My track record isn't good for that. Plus there's a fee for it, but I don't know how much.

Photographers care a lot about light. It can change an image from blah, to fabulous, and back to blah again in a few minutes. Driving home from the workout I think I'd missed the best part of the sunrise, but it was still pretty nice with fluffy pink clouds. As I got closer to home the light got better, showing off all the hoarfrost on the trees.

Like this one, with the hoarfrost just on one side.


Or this one, what I saw as I was pulling into the driveway. You might have seen it on Facebook already.


This one of a tree in one of my neighbours is one of my best shots in a while. I tried to capture how the sunlight was dappling the frost.


And then it was gone. Back to ordinary light.

Still, I managed to get this one of Curtis looking regal. If his elbow was sticking out a bit more, it would be his classic lounging pose.


I haven't forgotten the house shots showing the Chinook, but the effects are not as dramatic as I had hoped.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Icy waterfalls

Here's a few more from Johnston Canyon. I've had a fairly high percentage of these come out, and sometimes I've been torn between which of several of the same scene to edit. One of the difficulties is trying to get just the right amount of blue or green into the ice. As long as there is at least a little bit of colour, Lightroom lets you boost it to craziness. I don't want to do that, though it makes for a dramatic photo. Your thoughts, did I nail it, or overdo it?

Before I forget, yesterday was a straight up political rant, if you missed it. A bunch of nice comments on it via various channels, thank you very much.

These shots are in no particular order. I edit them in a whimsical order so the time stamp and file number don't line up, and Blogger likes to reorganize photos anyways.

This is from the end of that little tunnel. I walked very carefully through that, let me tell you! While I'm thinking about it, thank you for all the suggestions to take a wide lens! Kathy from Neil's photo group was there, and it was nice to chat with her. I can't wait to see her images of this!




I was itching bring up some LED lighting to play with this wall of ice. That blue was gorgeous.

This is actually a vertical panorama, and that pool of water is a very long way down.


I'd love to take up ice climbing, said Keith, NEVER! I watched for a bit and nobody died or impaled themselves on their crampons or hung themselves by the rope, but I figure it's just a matter of time.


I've sort of got a thing about rock as well. Part of me was wising I'd dragged along the 100 mm macro to catch some of the frost on the rocks, and the fine grain of rock texture.

Even though one person suggested we got down the road a very little bit to Morant's curve, we didn't. I hadn't brought a tripod, and I'm pretty sure I didn't want to stand around waiting for a train. It's an open bet if I'd even have been able to hold the camera still, what with tired legs. We'll do it another time.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Been 2 days, the world is still here, a rant

Trump was inaugurated on Friday. As I write this Sunday afternoon, the world is still here. No atomic bombs exploding in the South China Sea or elsewhere. So far it's just been more of the same, the Trump team denying reality. To me it's blatantly obvious far more people attended Obama's inauguration than Trump's, given the photos. But Trump can't have that, can he?

Thus the spectacle of his spokesperson attacking the media and presenting "alternative facts." There are only 3 possible situations. That many more attended Obama's, that many more attended Trump's, or there were about the same. The photo evidence is clear. If Trump can't face facts like a grownup, and admit the truth when it's obvious, how can anyone trust him about anything else he says, when perhaps the facts are not so obvious?

One of my rules for life is to judge people by those around them. If you see someone hanging around with X, it's a pretty safe assumption they are X as well. Doesn't matter what X is, losers, winners, smokers, drug users, triathletes, whatever. There are some exceptions. I've hung out with the black lung guild for short periods, standing upwind; they sometimes have the best gossip.

What does appointing a secretary of education who thinks guns should be in schools to protect the kids from grizzly bears, tell you about Trump? Or an Energy secretary that wanted to shut it down and didn't even know what it does? Or a press secretary that presents "alternative facts" in contrast to reality? Or appointing lobbyists?

I can understand voter frustration with the government. I can see them wanting to 'drain the swamp.' What baffles me is why they thought Trump would be the one to do that, when all the evidence shows that Trump only thinks of himself. The one thing we can be sure of throughout his administration, is that Trump will take care of Trump, first, second, always. Enough about him, lets get closer to home.

My main concern is preventing the same thing from happening here. I'd like to think that Canadians are more sensible, and not as easily taken in by a con man, but Jason Kenny thinks he can win the leadership of the Alberta Conservative party.

These demagogues have much the same pattern to get into power. Make people fear and distrust each other, particularly immigrants. Denigrate the media, unions (except the police union), and the non-profit organizations that disagree with you. Say that crime is out of control and you will bring law and order. Appeal to a former greatness that you alone can restore. Indulge in wedge politics to prioritize a particular issue with a particular group, regardless what's good overall, or even true. Talk about taxes as an evil thing the government does, and how you will cut the waste. How you will provide leadership.

It baffles me why people fall for this. Immigration, for example. Unless you're sure of your Native ancestry, you are the children of immigrants. All four of my grandparents were born in Canada, but I think all of their parents came to Canada from elsewhere, and it wasn't so long ago, historically speaking.

I can remember the flap about the Vietnamese boat people. There were people that seriously believed it would be the end of Canada. Disease, crime, foreign customs, taking jobs from 'real' Canadians, it went on and on. Well, it was part of the end of Canada as they knew it, British to the core, with white Protestant men in charge and everyone else knowing their place. It's a better place now.

Canada accepted more than 100,000 of the boat people over the late 70's and early 80's and that's when the overall population was smaller. I can't find specific crime statistics for them alone, but crime overall dropped. From what I can read, most of them settled in as best they could, and their children are proud Canadians.

As for the rest of it, remember when a politician starts spouting that nonsense, think about who they are talking about. It's not some mysterious 'THEM.' It's your neighbours, your co-workers, the people you see at the gym or on public transit or stuck in traffic in the next car. It's the person that owns and  cooks in that ethnic restaurant you love. It's that nice person at the lab that takes a blood sample, or tests your urine to see what sort of health you're in. It's the foreign nurse that takes care of your elderly relatives. It's the person that worked in the public sector for 30 years as a nurse, a teacher, a cop, a firefighter, and are now retired with a modest pension. It's the people that are sick, disabled, homeless, marginalized for whatever reason, often through no fault of their own. It's the person that believes pipeline companies need to be held to a higher standard on leak prevention, and that it's important to review the economic case of oil and gas development, while recognizing that industry is a significant economic driver and source of well-paying jobs. It's every group of people trying to find their way in a complex world that you haven't got around to meeting yet. Remember that refugees are likely fleeing a situation you can't even imagine, and have every motivation to join a peaceful society here.

Demand the facts. Make the demagogue explain why they think something is true, then go look it up. Better yet be prepared and throw the facts in their face. Laugh at them when they say something stupid. Stick together, and understand that just because you don't appear to be on their hit list, that's this audience, this week. Next week, talking to a different group, you might be the one being demonized.

Remember that votes count! During the last provincial election one riding was tied exactly. They had a judicial recount, and I think three votes moved. That could be one car-load of voters. There's no excuse, get your ass out there to vote when offered the opportunity.

That said, I'd like to make voting more effective. This first past the post system leads to false majorities, where 40% of the votes leads to a strong majority government. I'd like to see some form of proportional representation that more accurately reflected the wishes of the electorate. And don't try to scare me with minority governments. Check Canadian history. There's been lots of minority government with significant accomplishments. Harper governed a significant part of the time as a minority. It just means the government has to work a little harder to pass their agenda, and that's not a bad thing.

Lots of people think that the world is going to hell in a hand cart, and there seems to be lots of evidence for that. Then again, you can read the same thing in Latin from letters written during the Roman Empire 2000 years ago.

Yes, we face challenges, no doubt of that. But the thing I keep in mind is that half of the smartest people that have ever lived, are alive now and able to communicate with each other in ways unimaginable only a few decades ago. There is amazing stuff happening, from advances in harnessing solar and wind power, to self driving cars, automated technology, medical technology that helps us live longer, and more that I haven't heard about.

We can't lose hope. It's up to all of us to work towards a better life for us and our children in the face of people that want to make it worse because they can profit from it. There's no room for loafers. What are you doing to make this a better place?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mountain, zoom, not B and W, but almost

Yesterday I posted a B&W shot of a mountain as seen from the Ink Pots above Johnston Canyon. I've been editing more of the photos today, in between a busy swim, and fun coffee date with buddies, where I drank a superb decaf mocha. Oh, what the heck, it's really pretty, probably the nicest ever looking cup of coffee I've ever had. And you wonder why I don't go to Starbucks.



This shot is a tiny subsection of that shot. For the photographers out there, yesterday's was at 70 mm with a crop sensor, todays is at 200 mm, handheld.


If I were a real imagery geek I'd put that other image here, with a tiny square and the four lines indicating where it came from. But I figure my readers are smart. If I tell you it's from near the centre, the ones that care will find it and marvel at the zoom. The ones that appreciate the textures of rock and trees will do that and move on.

Yes, it's an odd shape for my photos. Thank you for noticing. My normal pattern is to crop to 9x16, and portraits go to 8x10. Sometimes the photo will demand a different crop for some reason. This one? I couldn't bear to cut any of it out. Plus, cropping much of it out will have the effect of zooming in further and I think that starts to degrade the image quality.

Still, I can't get over how many trees there are, clinging to what must be a tiny patch of soil along the ridgeline. That's mother nature's tenacity for you, trying everything and seeing what works.

In comparison, here's what it looks like at 20 mm. The light was kind of flat while we were there, and looked like it was clouding over more as we waited for nicer light. By the time we got down it was clearing, and was mostly blue sky on the way home. Perhaps had we waited even longer...


My buddy Sean also has some photos from the day on his website. I haven't got around to do the ice falls yet. Stay tuned.

This was one of my best photography expeditions, and I'm so glad Sean suggested it. Normally the trail is really crowded. On the way up we saw about a dozen people, including a couple of women older than us who skied up. Good for them! Just walking up had me sweating hard, and I wouldn't want to think about up or down on skis. And yes, it totally went into the fitness tracker!

The way down was different, we saw lots of people, some of whom were barely dressed for the weather. I would not be surprised to hear that some of them had some slip slide adventures along the way, even on the lower portions of the trail.

I mentioned the mini-crampons I bought, and I can't say enough about them. I walked on sloped ice like I was in running shoes on the street. Up and down steep hard packed slopes, steep like a set of stairs with the snow completely filling it up, felt perfectly secure. And the best part? If you wear one or several of the individual cleats, you can buy a replacement package from Lee Valley Tools, and replace them as needed. If you look closely, they are a hex bolt with the centre hollowed out by a drill. $50, and a great deal. I might actually run with these on my shoes when it's icy out.


In other news, none of you will be surprised that I didn't run today. Swam instead, mostly pretty easy, except for when the guy in the lane next to me tried to race me. Put him in his place. And the woman I was sharing the lane with, wearing fins and working hard, tried to race me and mostly kept up to the swimming part, but I do my flip turns way faster. Gotta work on that core!



Friday, January 20, 2017

Just another mountain B and W

It's 12 k return from the parking lot. Wearing mini-crampons on boots. Uphill big time, 215 m net elevation gain, but the up goes up more, then down to the Ink Pots. Here's part of the view. More later.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

The score

On Monday I gave you a choice of two really similar bridge shots. Some of you played along in comments and other communication. Thank you for your preferences, and for the ones that commented about why it was their preference, thank you ever so much!

The original was deliberately composed to have the bridge deck in a certain place in the photo, right along the top third line. It only took minor cropping to do that. In that sense it was a success. However, it didn't make for the best photo. Several people suggested the mountain behind the bridge was more interesting.

So I took the exact same photo, and re-cropped it to show more of that, and not worry so much about where the bridge was. Nothing else at all changed between the photos.

And ta da! The second photo won 7 to 3. Thanks again for playing along.

The lesson for me here is not to get too hung up on composure rules.  Rather, look at the scene and see what is compelling that makes the best shot. Humans are notorious for seeing what they want to see, and I was focussed on that bridge.

In novel news, a germinating idea burst forth and I pounded away on the laptop for a couple hours to capture it.

Here's another black and white from the Waterton trip.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The coffee experiment, revisited

Once upon a time I didn't drink much coffee. Then we got a French Press and fell in love with good coffee. The only problem with that is that it becomes easy to drink too much coffee. For a while at Penn West I was drinking too much and tried to cut way back, too much too fast. I started getting some headaches that went away as soon as I drank some coffee. I experimented a bit and found that a cup at home, plus a cup brought from home in a nifty little travel thermos was perfect.

It turns out lots of habits change when you stop working. Who knew? The two cups still happened, but often both at once. Then sometimes there was a coffee after a swim or a run, or coffee with a buddy. We were out for a swanky brunch buffet on the weekend, and I drank their coffee like I'd never have it again.

Then I realized my sleep has been crap for the last little while, and decided it was time to take myself in hand, or rather take just my mug in hand. It's been a cup and a half only since Sunday, and I'm sleeping like a rock. Yay! So that will continue for a while. I think the better sleep will help the fitness.

What's your experience with coffee affecting sleep and fitness?

I'm bumping up the fitness stuff a bit, mainly trying to build consistency. Right now it's swim and run, and I'll add in the bike soon. Swims are typically 500 m then a bunch of 100 m intervals at CSS pace. For today, the 500 was 8:50, then 7x100 on 2, max at 1:45, and most were 1:43. This has been pretty typical. Then 100 fast (trying to keep up with Ed the Repsol swim coach), 87 seconds. Then some backstroke to cool down.

Running has been going well too, spending some time on the treadmill, wearing my heart rate monitor again. So yesterday:
-1.1 K brisk walk to warm up
1.3 K easy run to warm up more
On the treadmill, 5 min at 7:30 pace with HR steady at 125. (this could have gone on for a long time, till I was thoroughly bored.)
5 min at 6:00 pace, with HR steady at 140 (I'm not sure how much longer this could have gone on, but a while anyway.)
2 x 2 min at 5:28 pace, HR at 146 first time, 143 the second time. (My legs were starting to come apart, and my breathing was really hard, I'm pretty sure this is right up at the top of the aerobic zone, maybe even into anaerobic.)
Cool down a bit on treadmill, then another 700 m or so walking on track to cool down.

It felt surprisingly good, and my legs have felt really good since. I was on snowshoes about an hour and a half today, but I was getting tired at the end. Not like I was plowing through a ton of snow, it was pretty hardpacked. West Bragg Creek is nice.

Sunrise the other morning was lovely, though I missed a good one today.

I'm getting ready to count up and publish the score for the bridge photos, probably tomorrow. If you want to take a look and have your opinion counted, visit and comment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Keith, Hydraulic Engineer wannabe

Here I am, preparing the course for the dragon boat races scheduled for tomorrow.



Yes, it's really T shirt weather outside.

My neighbour Jeff and I have learned from bitter experience that we don't give the water a place to go, it will pool on the sidewalks and not go anywhere. This is bad because it will freeze overnight.



Oh, and sunset last night was ok. Nothing special.

This is an old photo, but Curtis and Celina are always special.

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