Monday, October 31, 2016

Colour and Anderson Ped bridge

That was exciting! The pedestrian bridge over Anderson road is finally open and of course I checked it out. It isn't as photogenic as the Peace Bridge, so I don't think I'm going to get images of it that will vault me to world fame or something. It's a nice, practical bridge, and had more than a dozen people crossing while I was shooting the sunset.  I had a busy day with the camera, shooting a sunrise (nothing worth showing you), flowers and the garden (surprisingly bright and colourful), my neighbours (she is more photogenic than him), and sunset from the pedestrian bridge. Here's just a few of each. Wouldn't want you to get jaded or anything.

I'm not sure what kind of rose this is, but it's still blooming.

These are the same two blossoms featured a little while ago. Not blooming, but not dying off yet either.

The bridge! Some of you are more interested on whats on the tripod. I'd mounted my 70-200 mm lens and taken some pictures with it, then swapped the camera onto a wider lens to shoot the sky.  There's been a few times I wished I had two cameras, one on the tripod dialed into a shot and waiting for the light, and the other one hand-held to capture whatever else is going on.

This is one of the images with the 11-20 lens to get lots of the sky.

This is with the 17-50 lens, but I should have had the 70-200 for this shot. Can you see the very tippy top of some downtown buildings? I'm glad I looked around and caught this.

 This is with the 70-200. And a moment later the show was over.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The run map done as it's going to get!

Previously, on Keith's blog:

There was a plan to do lots of running in 2016 in preparation for a marathon. The idea was to do lots of the runs on the many bike paths beside water and mark it on the bike path map. Even though the marathon didn't happen, what with work scheduling me for an additional month, lots of runs did. The map was faithfully marked in highlighter. Unfortunately, highlighter doesn't show up as well in photographs as it might.  I currently lack the Photoshop skills to do it electronically.

There's been lots of pathway construction and rehabilitation this year, and a few runs had some unexpected detour adventures. My run buddy is intrepid and up for whatever it takes. We got muddy shoes a few times, and while never actually lost, there were a few times I wondered just where we were going to end up.

Present day:
After I took much of September and October off (numbers later) we wanted to get out in the brilliant sunshine. Not too far, but we wanted to go someplace we hadn't run where we could see the mountains. Success! Plus it filled in a little hole in the map.

Today we parked at Carburn Park, and ran north along the Bow river to where the path stopped (construction) above Beaver Dam Flats in Lynn Ridge, then back and down to the dog park near Southland. Along the way we enjoyed a great view of downtown and the mountains, (I'll have to go back with the camera) plus the river. It was cool and perfect running weather.

As always we talked about everything under the sun, and stopped a few times to look at things. 9K, 1:07:31 nice and easy, even pace which is good what with the hills. As a digression when I was going through Mount Royal last week I photographed one home because I realized that it was perfect for one of my novel characters. Another scene is set near where we ran today, and I saw a couple houses that could belong to Mitch, one of Ceridwen's coworkers. Always nice when reality helps your novel.

I won't run tomorrow (never two days in a row), and I won't be trying to fill in any more of the map. I've already done more than I thought I would. The only piece that I missed was along the canal from Glenmore to Chestermere. Other than that, since it's hard to see the highlighting on the map, I'll give you a list:

  • Fish Creek from end to end, both the north and south sides where the path exists. Plus on top on the north side. 
  • Fish Creek down along the Bow river under 22X.
  • North along the Bow river both sides up to Southland, then the east side up to Ogden Rd. 
  • Both sides of the Bow from Ogden all the way through downtown out to Edworthy Park.
  • From Edworthy on the north side through Bowmont Park to Stoney Trail
  • Up the Nose Creek path from the Bow river up to Country Hills Blvd
  • The Western Irrigation District canal from the Canoe club to Glenmore.
  • Elbow river from the Bow down to the reservoir, on both sides where possible.
  • Around the reservoir all the possible permutations. (I'm still kind of amazed I can run around the reservoir; in my head I think of it as a long way.)
  • Down 37 St path back home.
  • All the various pedestrian bridges along the way.
  • A secret route out of downtown to home that is not along the river.
Some of these are plain runs, in the sense there isn't much to see, but for many of them there are spectacular views of the mountains, downtown, riverscapes, or scenic parts of the city, and sometimes if you get lucky there are sunrises or sunsets that take your breath away and you just have to stop and admire them. I have absolutely loved exploring the paths! Many of them were new to me (Bowmont Park is awesome!), and even some of the regulars I made a point of running the opposite way than usual.

It works out to:
  • 38.7 K January
  • 52.1 K February
  • 60.1 K March
  • 99.6 K April
  • 102.5 K May
  • 108.8 K June
  • 127.7 K July
  • 171.4 K August (oops)
  • 56.6 K September, almost half of which was in one run, at the end of which I crashed and burned though I didn't realize how badly till a little later.
  • 37.3 October, starting slowly again
  • 855.2 is the year to date total. Probably my biggest run year ever, in my entire life including Ironman training.
I realize for some of you, these run totals are nothing special, but I'm pretty proud of my year.  I need to say a big thank you to my run buddies Michelle (best run buddy ever! did I say?) and Patricia (even though she nearly killed me on an 18 K run) who ran with me, and to any number of blog buddies and other friends who encouraged me and took a polite interest as I blithered on about running.

I can hear some of you numbers people asking if I'm going to run 144.8 more K over November and December. I don't know. Stay tuned. Ask me again at the end of December. Do you get a special runner's pin for 1000 K in a year?

Here's the maps, looking weird as I tried to bring up the yellow highlighter.  I took a look at marking up the electronic version, which I didn't see an easy way of doing, then figured out that posting an altered version on my blog would probably be a violation of their terms of service. 

And a graph, because I just know some of my readers are numbers geeks, and will pine without a graph (hello Julie!).

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Fleets of black helicopters and cars

I love me a good conspiracy theory, as I've noted several times before in this blog. Two things are coming to mind lately from recent events. Trump spouting the words "rigged election", and in a moment of idleness watching Mr and Mrs Smith.

If you haven't seen it, the movie is a fun watch, by and large. But one of the things about the movie that gets me is not one, but two shadowy organizations that carry out assassinations, presumably at the behest of the government. Or maybe the two organizations are merely branches of an even more secret third organization, perhaps the Freemasons or the Illuminati or the Trilateral Commission. Who knows? There are several scenes of fleets of black vehicles conveying nearly endless numbers of men in black who are up to no good.

This is a recurring theme with conspiracy theories in books and movies. An all-knowing (or nearly so) organization, with endless numbers of vehicles and men chasing some poor sod because he or she has somehow discovered what it is up to.  Usually the poor sod prevails because his cause is just, or is filled with moral righteousness, or something.

Too many people now believe that shit. Somehow they believe in an organization like that, and simultaneously believe one man can defy them to get the word out to successfully oppose them, and somehow such a competent organization can let the secret out and not silence the aforesaid poor sod. Bah.

I say again, bah! It falls apart on so many levels. If this organization really is that competent, they'd be good at keeping secrets, and they wouldn't need to run things secretly. Demonstrate that much competence and you'd be elected in a landslide. If they were competent and somehow let the secret slip, and felt that assassination was the appropriate response, how then would they not hire a competent assassin? And if the organization is incompetent, why oppose it? Won't is simply flail around and fail to accomplish their goals?

Usually the book or movie devolves into an elaborate chase scene, where somehow the organization sifts through a bazillion clues to find the one thing that leads them to the poor sod, and yet can't quite seal the deal. In the movie there is a huge shootout at the end, where these two trained assassins take out dozens of presumably highly trained armed men. Entertaining but not believable.

Which leads me to Trump and rigging the election. The idea is stupid on the face of it. No rational person could believe that. Elections in both Canada and the United States are enormously decentralized affairs. Voters go to a local polling station, run by local officials with the help of volunteers from the local community. The political parties can appoint people to watch the voting process. There is a well defined process for the whole thing, including procedures to deal with human error and potentially fraudulent voting. In Canada millions of paper ballots that are counted and recounted and double checked by a small army of people.  The error rate is trivial, and cases of intentional fraud are essentially non-existant.

The US has paper ballots and various machines, some of which are more susceptible to tampering, but there  is no central choke point where a small group can alter the results wholesale. Any serious effort to 'rig' an American election is going to need thousands of people involved, all of whom are risking a felony conviction and major jail time.  There were a few dozen cases of voting fraud out of billions of votes. Hardly a plausible way of gaining electoral power.

Remember what I've said about a conspiracy? Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead. That's the key to unraveling most of these theories. How many people are involved and how do they get paid? How are these people coordinated? What do they tell their friends and family about their work? Who stands to gain from the organizational activities? Are there easier ways to achieve that gain?

What distresses me about these conspiracy theories is that it makes it harder for people to work together to accomplish things that make their lives better. To some extent such work is altruistic in that you might not personally benefit from it in a tangible way. You might benefit from what someone else does, but in the current world that's presented as something you deserve, and earned.

When people think some secret organization is running things it lessens their trust and respect for government and various public institutions. Just this morning I was reading of some emergency responders trying to deal with a serious vehicle collision, also having to cope with drivers bypassing the barricades. They felt it was an affront to close the road or something. The RCMP had to be called in to help maintain order. This is ridiculous, to think that the fire department and ambulance crews would close a road just to inconvenience you. Sigh. Or wait, maybe those drivers were fleeing some imaginary fleet of black helicopters or a convoy of black SUV's driven in close formation.

I'm still loving the skyline. In sorting through a bunch of photos yesterday I found one I'd shot from the A. E. Cross Conservatory, which is way SW of Calgary, yet you can see downtown. Or rather, my eyes could barely see it because of the haze, and the camera didn't do much better. But then when I cleaned it up I got this. The other one is from near Deerfoot and Anderson, and I hadn't realized it would show up so well.

Friday, October 28, 2016

A study in purple

Yesterday was a still a nice day in the morning. After I came back from scouting a photo location my brain was still in photo mode, and noticed some purple flowers still blooming. Of course I took pictures.

The cloud was sort of purple-ish as well but I couldn't get that to show up in the photo. Still, it's nice grays.

Lastly, a beautiful orange flower, just so you don't think it's only the purple ones that are the survivors. Sort of a palate cleanser, if you will, since some of you might have overdosed on purple.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Garden, effect, cause

The colour in the garden is mostly looking like this rose lately. There are still a few pansies hanging there, but not much else.

Mainly because of this a few weeks ago. It's nice now, but only going to get worse.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Frosted my bag awaiting the light

It was a chilly one this morning. I've shot downtown from the north several times, but never for sunrise. I have to say the street scene is much, much quieter in the morning, compared to an evening photo shoot. (That's the description, here's the photos.)

Everybody was headed into downtown, with one exception. A woman in a white hat and headphones did the stairs at least 4 times, and ran the hill at least once. Good for her. Hills and stairs are speed work in disguise. If she keeps this up all winter she will be very fast in the spring.

I shot from a few different spots, so if you're thinking you can't get all those shots from the same place, you're right. Lots to look at, even though the light was just ok, nothing spectacular. It's good practice to get out and get the shots.

Thinking of my buddy Neil while shooting this. It's his favourite bridge. Lots going on in this photo, and because it's nearly Halloween I left in some ghosts. In some of the versions I considered for processing, you can just see the mountains, which was a surprise to me. My eyes couldn't see them at all during the shoot. If you look at this one full sized, very carefully, you might see the mountains.

East village. This is as good as the sky got.

I goofed composing this. I love the contrast between the windows and frame of the two skyscrapers, and how small the hotel looks.

In the always look around, I caught the windows in these buildings winking at me. I hadn't realized the mountains would show up.

On the way home I got out of the car and fired this handheld, and I think it's the nicest traditional skyline shot of the morning.

I like taking a picture of the camera against whatever backdrop I'm shooting. I don't know why. Just because, I guess.  Something to do while waiting for the light.

For the last shots I was one landing down from the top of the stairs. They were pretty darned slippery! My bag was sitting on the bench as I was shooting. I thought it looked a lot whiter, and when I got back to the car I realized it had frosted up up quite a bit while I was shooting.

The Anderson pedestrian bridge is coming along. They are working on landscaping. I can't wait to find out what the camera will see at sunset or sunrise. Ran 5 K, 34 minutes, feeling pretty good. Towards the end my hams were talking to me a bit. Longish walk for a cool down, and stretched after. Anyone want to take bets on whether I core or not tonight?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fitness, blog anniversary retrospective, and cats

Oct 27, 2007 I started this blog. The very first one is ok, but then it was nothing but fitness blither for a while. Nine years in a couple days. This is blog post number 2190 over 3285 days, or a blog post every day and a half.

It's been fun. Unlike many people that either don't know what to write about, or have trouble finding the time, this usually doesn't seem to be a problem. If anything, the problem is the opposite, to capture the stream of consciousness that goes through my brain, weed out the drivel, and put it in writing in such a way that readers can get some faint sense of what I was thinking. I write about what pleases me, and usually it doesn't take long. I'm not about trying to increase my readership by pandering to the mob. I have a small but loyal readership, thank you guys for reading and commenting.

Like I said, it started as a fitness blog. Then I started slipping in a few rants on various topics. People seemed to like those. From there I branched out to include work stuff, NaNoWriMo, photography both iphone and Canon, and whatever other topics took my mind. One reader used the word eclectic, after a pause to think about it. I took it as a compliment.

So let's deal with fitness stuff and get it over with. The swim mojo is back. Today was 1 K, 18:25 nice and relaxed, even though my stroke had about 100 m of clunkerfest in the middle and some of the flip turns got tres sloppy. Some drill, and an 88 second 100 m, plus some pool yoga rounded things out.

We ran indoors after Sunday's swim. 30 minutes, and my phone says 4.25 k or so, legs feeling pretty good. First run since early October. I was really pleased with my run over the summer, and was a bit grumpy I didn't pace myself better during August. I'll be more careful with my builds next year. I'm looking forward to another winter of running.

I've been on the bike a few times, mostly easy spin to get my butt used to it again, and see what my quads and hams think. My heart and lungs are not working as hard for a given wattage as last year, but my legs feel weaker. I'll be working on that lots over the winter.

Core. My nemesis. I try to be regular, I do. Except I don't. Still, now is a good time to start building new habits.

No work stuff just now, though I'm trying to think about writing and photography in a work sense, in that the way to get it done is to just do it. Which explains sunrise photo shoots. I was thinking of heading out after second breakfast this morning to try for some foggy shots, but it had lifted to be uninteresting, and it started to drizzle in a cold almost sleet sort of way. Yuck.

Part of the joy of taking photos is showing them to other people. The blog has been getting at least one photo every day. Sometimes it inspires the text, sometimes they are not related.  These aren't always just the winners. I've included some that are flawed, sometimes as a demonstration of something I've learned, or because it inspired the blog text.

I've had lots of surprises about what other people think is a good photo, or what they like. I remember one particular photo captured totally by accident. I didn't even want to show it to her, and expected she would ask me to delete it. She loved it! Wanted it tweaked and sent in a reasonably high resolution.

I just started an instagram account (@keithcartmell if you're interested), though it isn't the best way to display them at all, but it is a good way of finding other photographers, and learning from them. I'm investigating a few other options of displaying my photos to best advantage, and to make it easy to buy them, if anyone should be so inclined. Only the winners will go there. One person has been promised a particular shot, and I haven't forgotten. I've had some nice compliments about my photos, and thank you very much!

"They" say that bloggers should do this and that, and there are "rules" about blogging. Post every day. Stick to one topic. Put advertising on it. Don't say "buy my book." Bah! This blog don't need no steenking rulz! So what you've seen is what you're going to continue to get. Unless I come up with other ideas.

Now to the important part of this blog. The cat photos. That's all you've come here for today, I know this. Although Curtis is very literary, often looking at what I'm writing or editing, and criticizing it, he won't put his paws where his opinion is and do his own blog. Celina is strictly verbal. We hear lots about what she thinks of the world in general, and the inadequacies of her humans in particular.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The clouds didn't cooperate

Shooting downtown skyline from the south at sunrise. There was great colour in the sky off to the east and I was hoping it would light up the sky above downtown. Alas.

I'd never really noticed the roof and lighting of this condo building. The semi-circle roof thingies (I'm too lazy to look up the correct architectural term) look like they should have a clock in them, and I was thinking of that old Harold Lloyd movie, where he is hanging off the clock face. You've seen the image. The sky is an ugly colour and I couldn't do much about it, but the buildings are nice.

One of my favourite buildings in the city. It's entirely possible I've spent more time inside it than any other building in the city other than my home.

I had hoped the pre sunrise rose glow way up high would deign to descend, but no.

Off towards the east there was a fairly nice sunrise going, but this is all the pink I could get over the city, and I had to push the image a little to get even that.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tracks in the fog

Some tracks are easy to miss. It used to be a valuable skill to be able to follow the tracks animals left behind. Maybe it still is, I don't know these things. But some tracks are unmistakable and unmissable, like the ones down the middle of Calgary, and many other western Canadian towns and cities.

It used to be the railway station was the center of town, and if the town grew, it grew around the station. It was common for a train to block traffic. Even now in downtown Calgary, there are only 8 ways to cross the tracks by car or bike, with underpasses at 4th St SE, 2 St SE (Macleod Tr North),  1 St SE (Macleod Tr South), 1st St SW, 4 St SW (one way north), 5th St SW (one way south), 8th St SW, and a level crossing at 11th St SW.  There are a few +15 pedestrian bridges, a couple of which are cunningly concealed within buildings or parking structures. If you have nerves of steel and don't mind trespassing, sometimes there are gates left open, which let me get this shot. Having buildings disappear into the clouds is an interesting effect.

The underpasses have gradually become eyesores. The homeless hang out in them. They are narrow and dark.  Lots of people hate going through them, but have no practical choice. Calgary is finally spending money to upgrade the underpasses and about time.

Sometimes it can be very frustrating to get around downtown, what with the limited railway crossings, one way streets, a couple scramble crossings to be careful of, and pedestrians who don't seem to understand they are taking their lives in their hands by stepping off the curb.

There have been discussions about moving or elevating the tracks, but the expense would be astronomical. Even after decades of growth, there are still empty lots beside the tracks.  The way the economy is these days, if there isn't a building going up on those lots now, it's going to be more decades till another one is started.

In a real sense these steel tracks were the first bones and sinews of Canada. That used to be the only way to travel long distances. Now it's difficult and expensive to travel by rail in Canada, which is a pity. The scenery along the rail line is often stunning. It's much more civilized than what air travel has become. I miss the trains in Europe, where even cars that look old and shabby on the outside are nice inside and travel 150 Kph at least. Some are much faster, and why don't we have them here?

Every now and then people bring up the idea of a bullet train between Calgary and Edmonton, but I don't think the market is there yet. Southern Ontario, from Montreal to Hamilton should be a natural. I remember when I first moved to Calgary there was rail service between Calgary and Edmonton, most days. It was called the dayliner, and ended service in 1985. It seemed that every week there was a news story of someone driving their vehicle into it or thinking they could beat it. Oops.

Now the bones and sinews are air routes and internet links. Airline travel used to be civilized. I flew periodically as a child, and remember men wearing suits, and women wearing nice dresses. Real  steel cutlery.  Airports were fun places to be. Not anymore. Given a choice I'd travel by rail over air any day.

A few weeks ago I was shooting downtown from beside the tracks, and was astonished how many trains were rumbling past. I probably spent more time listening to trains than not. One was so loud I was wishing I'd brought hearing protection. All freight trains though, no passengers. It's an interesting vantage point, but I don't think I'd do it again.

I suppose if I'd been really careful, I might have been able to capture the rail lines meeting at a point off in the distance, in the fog. Maybe next time.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

I photospectathaleted

The original plan for today was to run a marathon. I didn't. I didn't even do a half. Don't feel sorry for me. I overdid it in August and am still recovering from extremely tight and cranky legs. Maybe next year.

I knew one of my buddies was running a half so I had committed to cheering her on and taking photos. I'm going to babble about the photo bit for a minute, feel free to skip a couple paragraphs. When I was taking photos of Michelle, Antje, and Amy at the 70.3 this summer, I was using a 100 mm lens. The shots turned out beautifully, but with such great subjects what else could happen? The only problem was I had to be a long way away from them to get the various posing shots that happen, and people were walking in between. That lens doesn't zoom.

This time I was using the new lens, a 70 to 200 mm zoom lens. I love it, though it weighs a ton. Even at 70 mm I still needed to be a little further away than I liked for the pre and post-race 'milling around' shots. It worked beautifully for the out on the path shots. I just need to get better at framing the person I'm shooting. I'm still aiming too high. Plus when I'm starting to shoot at 200, I need to remember I can zoom in and continue to shoot. Several times I stopped shooting and looked up only to realize they were still a long ways away.

One of the better shots of the day happened before the race as I was dialing in, figuring out what settings to use, and saw this couple trying to stay warm. I've no idea who they are.

This was a challenging shoot for me, so it was good experience. Pre-race was cloudy, so that's one set of settings. I rode my bike to meet Patricia at Crowchild so she could drop any extra gear. That's under the bridge and really dark with construction scaffolding, so another set of settings. Then I waited for her to come back outside, with light cloud gradually clearing, so another set of settings. Then back to the finish line, under clear sunny skies, for another set of settings.

I spent some time trying to figure out how to get the classic finish line photo. From a photographers point of view it sucked. Shooting from the corral to the finish line, it was really hard to include both the clock and the finisher in the photo. If you were back there waiting you had essentially no warning your athlete was coming. You were shooting towards the sun so your athlete's face will be shadowed. Let's just say I'm not happy with the finish line shot. When we got to the front of the line for the finisher's podium the shadows were unfortunate. There are some shots I'm happy with, and I'm sharing them with the appropriate people.

I've been on a bit of a tear, both taking photos, and going back to develop older ones. One image in particular was in my head for a bunch of reasons. It's a shot of downtown at sunrise, but everything at the base of the image is dark, so it looks like the buildings are anchored in darkness, and rise up to the light. Perhaps it's an allegory of some kind; feel free to speculate in comments. This isn't quite how I had it pictured in my head, but pretty close.

Which leads me to keeping track of photos so I can find them again when I have imagery thoughts. One of the things that kills me in Apple's iPhoto and whatever they call the current abomination for collecting photos, is finding a particular one. Lightroom offers sophisticated ways to group photos in collections, and using keywords, and star ratings, and perhaps there are other functions I haven't explored yet. I haven't taken advantage of any of them yet, wanting to see what I actually end up shooting, and how I'd think about it after. I'm thinking I need keywords for this one like; skyline, downtown, sunrise, from bluff above Inglewood Golf course. That narrows it down to several hundred photos now, and there might be more next week. I need to start putting some thought into this. It might well be the first major project once I get Lightroom going on a new iMac. Soon.

This other one was shot just across the road a few days ago. It's a little overdeveloped, but I was looking for a bit of a painting feel.

While I was watching all the other runners, and I was surprised by another buddy I hadn't known was running, I was thinking it's been an excellent year for running. I was consistent, I built gradually, I had the support of the best running buddy in the world, and ended up running better than I've ever run since I was about 17. So that's all a learning to carry into next year. My legs are feeling better, enough so that I was thinking about a run this afternoon or tomorrow. We'll see.

Oh, and my buddy? She did awesome! A new PB at this distance, and missed her A goal by a minute or so. If she wants to blog about it, I'd be happy to guest blog her. (Hint, hint.)

Late update, no guest blog. But here she is, running strong just past the half way point.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Buildings and bridge yes. Sky no. Sigh

Being in a reflective mood this morning, after I dropped Linda off I headed over to Princes Island. I'd hoped for a sunrise shot along the river, but where I wanted to go was fenced off. The sky was looking promising for sunrise sky reflections off the water, but that didn't work out like I hoped.

After a quick plan change I got these.  There's a few others that I'm working on.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A walk in Fish Creek

Last night I attended a camera launch event. This is a first for me. How cool is that to be doing something for the first time at my age? Part of the evening was to mill around, chat to a Canon rep, and hold some very, very expensive cameras and lenses. I'm suspecting he had brought along equipment worth more than $100K. Anything I picked up I held very carefully. The 6D felt very nice in my hands. Just saying.

Part of the evening was a presentation by a rep from The Camera Store extolling the many virtues of the Canon 5D MkIV. It seems to be a very nice camera, best one ever produced by Canon, if you believe what they say. I happen to know it retails for $4700. Not going to be picking one up any time soon. That kind of money is going into a computer upgrade soon.

The last part of the evening was by Tod Korol. It was a bit of a surprise to me that he wasn't trying to sell the camera. He liked it, and displayed some amazing photos he'd taken with it, but his bigger point was that it was the photographer, not the camera that produced great pictures. Still, the colour he was getting out of the camera was stunning.

I was feeling a bit itchy and decided to wander around to see what colour I could find today. I haven't played with the colour on these, just cropped and tweaked exposure.

These guys are tiny, and I'd never really noticed them before, living in the flower boxes for the lodge.

Loved the mossy greens.

The light kept changing on me, making this one a bit tricky. Still not entirely happy with it, but the swirls of the wood reminded me of an ear.

Is it a bridge to nowhere?

This is as red as it got.

And as blue as it got.

Scoped out what might be a nice spot for sunrise shots tomorrow, if the clouds cooperate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

To cheer you up on a cool foggy overcast day

Your weather is probably different. I'm seeing some gorgeous photos of Nova Scotia, but what I see outside is overcast. Almost foggy. Trying to snow. Just below zero. Kind of dank by Calgary standards.

In January this would be considered warm and pretty nice. But it's October. Blah. So to cheer us all up, the photo of the day.

The rest of us should be so sensible.

Come to think of it...

Monday, October 17, 2016


You might recall a photo from Saturday of a pair of rose buds. One person loved the "failed" rose photo, thank you very much. I admit, there have been a number of my photos that I didn't like, but other people did. In any case, this is the photo I was intending to take. Go ahead, it's worth embiggening. All three of them are, IMHO.

Rather than being a red smear, the buds are in focus. You can see some of the detail in the bud structure. It just took a slight tweak to the camera settings, and making sure the focus was right. It doesn't take much to get a shot that's almost but not quite right.

Here's a couple other examples of getting the focus right. The cactus live at Lougheed House.

You saw the screen shot I took while processing the image, here's the whole thing. Remember, the big hens and chicks is about 2 inches across.

It's a good reminder to me about focus in daily life. It doesn't take much to miss the intended result. Sometimes the consequences are trivial. Sometimes not. I sometimes find myself losing focus in the transition between one thing and the next. One of my coping strategies has been to try to minimize the number of such transitions. There is a metabolic and results cost to switching our attention between tasks.

Now that  I'm mostly retired, I find myself thinking about what is important for me to accomplish during the day. Then I try to get at it, and get it done. Totally done and put away, before moving onto the next thing. Sometimes it's good, even necessary to have a slack day. But too many of them and you turn into a couch potato. There's lots I want to get done.

A practical example of focus changing other things has been running more this year. I put a lot of effort into training for a marathon, and I overdid it in August. But it was a good experience, even though my swim suffered badly.

The swim mojo is coming back! Today I was slow getting into the pool, waiting for some lane space to open up. Then 500 m in 8:55! That's one of my fastest times for that distance, and it didn't seem like I was working. 3x 100 m on 2, done in 1:35(!), 1:43, 1:43, then trying an all out 100, in 1:31. A few drills and a bit of water running rounded out the morning in the pool.

I think the thing that triggered the speed increase was reviewing some of the subtleties of the arm stroke with Michelle on the weekend. Thinking about that, doing the stroke better, focussing on it, made me swim faster. Gotta love that.