Sunday, April 30, 2017

A flower, cat mood shot, and rock snot

This was a tough blog title to work. Often I'll have something happen, or someone will say something, and I'll know right then it's a blog title. There was a comment today about a great big windshield that I could have done something with, but the rock snot had to be done. Just had to.

Firstly, another bloom!

We had tons of sunshine coming into the house today, and the cats were writhing on the floor. How could I not take a photo? Or two. Or two dozen...

That last photo of Curtis and Celina did not turn anything like I expected. When I saw that line of shadow above his eyes on screen it totally changed how I was going to edit the shot. Yes, I could have brightened it up and showed the wall and floor without blowing out the white patch of fur. But no way! I love how his ears and eyes emerge from the shadow, and the sunlight picks out the highlights on his fur. Maybe you can't see that in the web version, but I sure see it in my version.

The light was interesting this morning so I had a go at some of my series one abstracts. None of them did quite what I thought they were going to do. Even so, I like the shapes here.

In comparison, here's one of the series two.

Lastly, the rock snot. I know you're all burning with curiosity. I'd never heard of it before.

This was seen during our run in Fish Creek. The weather was nice and both of us (or more importantly, our legs) felt like running. We explored the north part of the 70.3 run course, from 22X up to somewhere about the turnaround point. Lots of people out running today. I ended up 12.2 K, 1.5 hrs, 7:23 pace.

This was a happy run! It's surprising how one day you don't want to run and the next day you do. My "run" earlier in the week was a 2 K train wreak. I stopped before I was going to hurt myself. Today, 12 K nice and easy. Michelle blames her shoes and switched them up. I'm not sure what it was with me. My half marathon is June 17, so 7 weeks out, and I'm feeling apprehensive. I'd hoped to get a good training cycle done this year and maybe flirt with breaking 2 hours. No way that's going to happen. I'm going to be happy to finish and earn my cinnamon bun. The problem is, I'd told myself there weren't going to be any more races where I was going to be happy to finish.

I'm happily picking through the April photos looking for the Image Of The Month. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Circumnavigating Sikome

I'll try not to gush too much.  It was just one of those lovely days for a bunch of reasons. In fact I'm so excited I forgot I'd published this morning. You may have missed a new series of abstracts.

Once upon a time when I was a kid, maybe 14 or so, I was out for a bike ride around town. I chanced to to meet up some other kids, one of whom I knew, and we rode around and had fun all afternoon, with nothing planned.

Today we didn't want to run. My hams are cranky, and BRBE's calves are not happy. But it's been crappy weather for a while, and today was lovely out this morning. We badly wanted to be outside, and landed on a bike ride in Fish Creek, not using our fancy road bikes.

Well holy doodle! I haven't had so much fun on a bike in ages. We've often run in the west part of the park and know many of the trails, so we noodled along. We explored a bit in Votier's Flats, then decided we could make it to Sikome Lake, such as it is. It turned out to be 34.5 K round trip over 2.5 hr or so, stopping lots of times to enjoy the scenery.

We didn't zoom but rode along enjoying a beautiful day, dodging a tonne of other people on the path. Some of them seem to have forgotten that many people move on the path, so if you're going to stop and chat or just admire the view, get off the path. Fortunately my squeaky shark noisemaker still works.

I had to laugh at one point, I was a bit behind Michelle, just out of sight around a corner. A guy coming towards us, turned his head and just about rode off the path scoping out her butt, then turned to look forward, with me looking right at him. Busted! He looked so guilty.

Yes, we waved as we went past Terry's place. One guy said hello to me as if he knew me, but I didn't get a good look. There was a guy on those ski-roller thingies, lots of people on bikes, a few on roller blades, some skateboards, plus lots of walkers and runners. Once I nearly rode off the path trying to see what kind of camera and lens a birder was using. A few times I wished I'd brought my camera, but then we never would have made to Sikome. It's nice to see so many people out enjoying the nice weather. Everybody is desperate for spring, and this is as good as it been for several weeks.

Contrary to the map below, Sikome is some damp sand just now. Later they'll charge admission to get in, but you couldn't pay me to go in the water. Every child in the water uses it as a toilet, and probably some the adults do too. Supposedly they have water treatment of the lake. Supposedly.

Along the way we saw scenery like this, though not exactly as represented.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A new series of abstracts

I've missed being alone with my camera, outside in the fresh air. What with one reason or another I haven't been able to get out much this month. Today it was going to happen rain or shine, and what do you know? It turned out nice by recent standards, meaning no snow. The light by photographic standards was nothing to write home about, but I did get some nice shots.

What has me all excited is finding a new way to create abstracts. This is fun! Here's a couple of them, let me know what you think!

This was all after a so-so swim. I've been feeling weak and feeble in the water, though my times are only a little slower than usual. This morning I was in the hot tub first for a long time. Normally I get straight into the pool, but it was really busy and I wasn't in a rush. Back into the hot tub after the swim of course. Water ran a little.

There was a bad moment going into the Farmer's Market. I was a bit early, and had my mind on coffee. (Duh!) Nobody was in Analog and for a bad moment I thought they had closed. But no, just running a little late to open, or I was earlier than I thought.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The long kiss goodbye

The lips are waving. Linda had a huge giant milestone in her working life. After 35 and a bit years, she pulled the plug (insert any number of cliches here) and handed in her retirement notice. June 9 is her last working day at the City. She will be on "vacation" for a while after that, then the retirement gig starts.

It's amazing to me, and lots of other people that someone has been with the same employer that long, but there are people at the City with more service time than that. I'd have to stop and think how many employers I've had in that time. More than a dozen in oil and gas alone, and there were several jobs before that.

Even with all the thought and planning (and teeth gritting endurance) that's gone into it, the reality hasn't sunk in yet. Changing a routine is hard sometimes, and this is a long habit. She is looking forward to spending lots of time in the garden this summer. I don't think she's going to miss work in the slightest.

My current contract will end about then, though the timing is less certain. I'm looking forward to spending lots of time on photography this summer. Maybe more of these abstracts.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Unexpectedly art

This is exactly what it looks like.

I didn't even have to do all that much.

Here, this will help orient you.

Yes it snowed today. That's all I want to say about it.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Another great excavation!

The paperwork breeds in an incestuous way, you know. Maybe you don't, but I doubt it. All my readers are adults, or ought to be, and we all know this stuff. Leave it alone and it grows and grows. The dust bunnies start moving in. Then it starts getting out of hand. Any time I want to gross anyone out I just have to tell them about the mouse condo in some files at a gas processing plant I once visited.

My desk had reached the dust bunny point. I couldn't find stuff anymore. Like bills that needed to be paid soon. The coffee table right behind me was stacked up with stuff as well. I decided today was the day.

Paid the bills and started shuffling and filing and shredding and washing. Books entered into the database and stamped so we know they have been done. There is an enormous mound of paper behind the books and that paper bag. Some time later here we are.

It's a desk again! On the coffee table, down at the bottom layers of the paper, I found a pay stub from 2009, and other paperwork of a similar vintage. So far it's been filed in a drawer, but I really must develop a master data strategy regarding paperwork retention. Within arms reach, and don't ask me why, I have tax paperwork dating back to 2000. (Sighs deeply and hangs head.)

One of my buddies asked if I was wearing a pith helmet for this. No, but once I got into it I was almost regretting the lack of respirator or dust mask.

The observant of you will have noticed the kettle print has moved from the desk to under the glass of the coffee table. No, there's a framed version of that about to get hung on the wall. This is a print they did to check their settings and found an issue. A pretty minor one, I could barely see it after they pointed it out. You probably won't notice it even if I did point it out. None the less, I wouldn't feel right about actually selling it. I'm open to other suggestions.

Some other photos, just because.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The ones really in charge

I mean, just look at his expression. Doesn't that tell you everything about the way things should be done? And right now.

I was busy doing something else, and suddenly had that watched feeling. She had been asleep. I'd like to think she wasn't wondering if was time to bring me down and feed on my liver. After all, we've been feeding them lots lately. They've been shedding their winter coats and growing in new fur.

Me and BRBE were out to Ralph Klein Park for our run today. I wish I had brought my camera. There's great views of the mountains, and there is a ton of birds. We stopped running for a minute to watch a hawk, and try to figure out what the other big bird was. Might have been an owl but it didn't move so we weren't sure.

That little tail off to the bottom right is the beginning of a canal leading down to the Bow River. I'd like to go back and try that sometime. I am not sure the road around the wetlands was open. Up near the 2 K mark there was a locked gate on the road. I'd hate to take the long way around and find that gate. Still, it was a good run, my legs were feeling happy for most of it.

Curtis just now is trying to tell me it's time to give him more crunchies. He's very clear. The second thing he says is "stupidest humans ever." It's very difficult to type. Very

Friday, April 21, 2017

First blooms!

A little Johnny Jump Up is the first bloom this year! Lots of other plants are pushing up out of the ground.

The Hens and Chicks are doing well too.

In between photos I was on the bike, on the trainer. They were only sweeping our streets today, so I guess it's time for me to put the road tire back on. 45 minutes mostly easy spin feeling pretty good.

The next wine is a Spanish Milagro. It's been fermenting and today got racked to the carboy.

Is this an abstract or a kids crayon drawing?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


The world is going to hell. You hear that a lot lately. Often in regard to the American government, such as it is, but about other drivers, youth (anyone under about 50 the way I look at things), and the state of the world in general. But if you do your research, they've been saying this since writing was invented.

Drivers. It's been a very zoomy couple of days on the road. People are dodging and weaving, desperate to get ahead. How futile! Calgary traffic is slightly better than it used to be, what with the economy sucking. But Calgary is a big city and there's lots of traffic everywhere, all the time. Plus the economy is picking up.

Plus, construction season has started, and our end of the world is in for it. The SW ring road is finally being built. At least some of the people that started negotiations are dead now, of natural causes. This has been discussed for the better part of a human lifetime. Anderson road is being widened; a bunch of trees got cut down on the road allowance beside the golf course.

It's spring here, and that means weird weather. It was warm enough and just barely sunny enough to go for a run after work in shorts and a tech shirt. Snow is forecast for early next week. Wait and see. I once took a practical fire safety course where they lit actual fires and we had to put them out. My team's day for that was a whiteout snowstorm. That was in May. None of us wanted to put the fires out. We wanted to huddle up. The driving course that day was fun.

Plus the clouds do weird things. I just love this pattern. Sort of an Esher flavour.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Photo Gallery news

I've been teasing you for a while about the possibility of a photo gallery. Zenfolio was the first suggestion, and to be thorough I looked at a bunch of others, Squarespace, 22slides, Format, Photoshelter, 500Px, 1x, Smugmug, Shutterfly, Photobucket, and probably some more. I'd go from one to the other, trying to keep track of what I actually needed now, what I might need, and what I didn't need.

I had a full scale dither happening! I couldn't make up my mind. Even reading the various 'getting started in x' didn't help encourage me to dive into a free trial. I was almost landed on 22slides, when I had a brain wave.

Why not see if the tool I already had would work? Why not indeed? I spent a happy little while puttering between templates, and thinking about layout, then pushed the button.

Basic and simple is the word. You'll see some tabs with different groups, such as Landscapes, Skyline, Cats, and some others. You'll need to go there to see them all for your self. Don't be afraid to click on the photos to embiggen them, all of them should be worth looking at big.

Go where, you ask? I'm glad you did. Here. I've also linked to it on my blogroll. Just remember Keith Cartmell Photography and it's easy. Check it out, I'll wait till you come back. There's still work to be done, and some more images to find. I'm not as consistent as I'd like to be about keywords and star ratings. Serves me right. Now I'm going to have to scroll through a great many images to find the ones I want.

That blog is going to concentrate on photography. I'll add new photos as good ones arrive. Maybe a year from now I'll wince at seeing the ones in the gallery now, but that just means I've grown. I might blog about photo adventures, or if there's a good story to tell. I'm too lazy to write the same thing twice, or even do copy paste, so I might tease you with the start of the story, and link to the other blog so you get the whole picture. I might add a couple more groups, but I'm limited on how many I can add. There's always limits; you pick the ones you want to live with.

What's going to happen with this blog? I'm not entirely sure. I've liked the idea of putting up a photo a day, and photo of the month. I might still do that. I'm pretty sure I'll continue doing rants once in a while, those seem popular. I'll babble about fitness but won't harp on it. The fitness people reading this know the ins and outs already, and the rest of you don't care that much. There might be a bit more about the writing process, and progress, or the lack of it, or the attempts at it.

Maybe it will turn into the retirement adventures of K&L. We've been good for so long, maybe it's time to cut loose, kick up our heels, and frisk off into a whole new world! Stay tuned.

Here's one of the abstracts that didn't make it into the gallery. I think of this one as a bit of an old fashioned map. Lots of mountain ranges in the darker shades, with some valley in the yellows, and a long skinny lake. Now I'm thinking about the people that could be living there, and what they'd get up to.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

She watched me take off my pants

She even took a photo. There might have been video. These BRBE's, gotta watch them.

Yes, that's snow in the background.

The occasion was an 11 K run in 11:25, 7:45/K pace, in South Glenmore park. It was a little slower than usual, but it was as fast as either of us felt like running. We'd just been in the pool for an easy swim. I'm just happy to make the 11 K. My hams, bammy and butt are not feeling the run love. Massage tomorrow. Yay!

The photo galleries are under active construction today. I'll share a link tomorrow I think. I was hoping to have it all polished up today, but some of the tinkering took me longer than I thought, and a few of the images I want to use are bigger than they need to be. 

I think my iPhone is not feeling the photo love. I thought I'd taken a picture of the trees all covered with a layer of snow, but no. It wasn't there when I got home, and it was complaining about low batteries along the way. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The passion of the cats vs human serenity

When I was out in the garden the other day revelling in the smell of spring, of wet cedar mulch, of defrosting ground, I was trying for some reflection shots of the rain chain. I've never really been entirely happy with shots of it because it's so long and skinny. But I'll keep working on it.

But I did get this shot of one of the cups in the rain chain in perfectly still water, and thought it was such a peaceful image.

I'm big on peaceful the last little while. Our lives are full of go go go. Lots of people seem to think that the world can't carry on without them involved, and it's just not true. Try the experiment. Turn off Facebook, Twitter, email, and don't answer your phone for a day. Pay attention to your kids if you have them, a spouse, your parents, your family, your friends. Take some time for yourself, too. The world will carry on without you just fine. It will never stop, and is relentless about messing with your life unless you say no, so be firm. That's before kids. Or cats that want something.

The cats are feeling their spring catnip or something. They've been eating like little fur pigs the last few days, shedding like mad, and telling us to feed them more. They are playing with each other fairly roughly, by cat standards. I was there taking photos, and am amazed anew how fast they move. In a pair of frames not shown below, Celina is ready to pounce straight up, in the next frame less than a second later, all I see is a tail at the top of the photo.

Then they played dominance games at the top of the kitty condo. The Paw made an appearance. You'll know it when you see it.

In other news, I was working on the abstracts some more. Maybe I got lucky with the experiments. Even though I used the tripod, and took some care trying to compose them, I'm not quite as happy with the results.

Here's one of the better ones, but I think still experimental. Are you interested in seeing more of these? Or would you rather see more real stuff like cats, flowers, bridges, or landscapes and such? I'll still take the photos for my own amusement, just won't put them here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Evolution of a sort of abstract

Here we go. How to make an abstract image in two easy steps, take photo, then develop. Though I'm not sure why I'm telling you this, because now you'll be able to do it yourself, and you won't need to come to my blog.

First photo is right from the camera. This is kind of flat, since it's a JPEG produced from the RAW information. It's perfectly obvious what it is, and it's a bit dull. There's some out of focus in the top left corner that needs to be cropped out. In some cases you want the background to be out of focus, but that's not what I'm doing here.

Second is what I'd consider normal tweaks for a nice photo. Cropped, tweaked to bring up the colour and texture. It brings up the lines leading from top left to bottom right. Kind of a pity there isn't something there to be a splotch of colour or the focus of attention, but you can't have everything.

Third is playing with settings to produce something more abstract, where it's not immediately obvious what it's a photo of. The colour is more unnatural, I've played with sharpening and texture and other things. There were several preset choices that looked good here, but it wasn't as tough a choice as this one.

This lets the eye and brain wander around, looking at the lines and shapes and colours, letting the emotional impact settle in, rather than saying "another pretty landscape, next."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A pretty reflective

I'm glad that week is over. I was out in the garden working on some water drop shots, but they didn't work out like I wanted. Maybe I should have set up the tripod but I didn't want to do that tonight. I just wanted to stroll the garden and enjoy the peace, quiet, and smell of wet cedar mulch. Yes, it snowed a little today.

There's a new reflective ornament in the  back that I found today. It's probably been there for years and I've never noticed, but it is really pretty and has the most interesting reflections. I'll probably shoot this more.

You can see the house, the rain chain, part of the pergola or whatever that's called above the gate, some of the garden, and me.

Here's another of the abstracts I was experimenting with. Still need to get out the tripod and get serious on them, but I've been doing some planning. This weekend for sure, but the list is already long.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Abstract, and reality

Is anyone really surprised about the United issue? No, really. What other industry treats paying customers so badly? Of course they overbook. Proper data analysis would tell them exactly how much to overbook but I don't think they do that. Cheaper to sell more seats than actually exist. Used to be it was sort of a reverse auction when they wanted somebody off. Eventually somebody will decide the money is worth the delay.

Except they didn't this time. So they brought the cops in and dragged the guy out. I suppose he should  think himself lucky he wasn't shot or tasered. Maybe if he'd been black or Muslim. He's likely been blacklisted and can never fly again without the TSA goons making his life miserable.

It isn't really just the airlines. It's the whole ethos of the idea that the only thing that matters is getting it cheaper. Nobody wants to pay what something costs anymore. To drive down costs airlines have been cutting staff and salaries, stuffing more people into the airplanes, and doing everything in their power to cut costs.

This is what a corporate oligarchy looks like. A few firms split up the market to suit themselves. If you want to fly, you don't have many choices after you run the TSA gauntlet. You want internet or cable there aren't many choices. There's only a few news outlets now. Book publishers have been consolidating for years.

All of that is to the detriment of marketplace choice. Consumers are not getting a better deal. The only thing in the capitalist world that gives the consumers a better deal is competition. It's that or government regulation, and the regulation isn't particularly efficient at driving down prices. It just makes the government a clumsy referee. Better than nothing I suppose.

Here's the nightmare thought. Remember the beef recalls a couple years ago? They happened because of inadequate inspection and trying to push too many cows down the kill line to cut costs. It happens in every industry. A corporation exists to make a profit, and it will do whatever it can to do so. All the nice ads and marketing and sweet talk from the CEO are bullshit to sooth the unwary. Most corporations have accountants and lawyers to tell them exactly how close to the line they can skate. What is their risk of getting caught and losing the lawsuit, compared to cutting a particular cost? Especially since cutting a cost improves your bottom line this quarter, and the consequences, if any, are later and maybe never. Think it through.

Your only weapon against such tactics are to vote with your money. Pay a little more to buy local organic food. Examine alternative transportation choices, including taking more time to get there, or not going at all. Don't just pick the cheapest seat.

There is no reason anyone should ever drive a Volkswagen again. They should be sued into bankruptcy. What, you've forgotten already? They count on that. You knew United breaks guitars. Why would anyone fly United? Many said they wouldn't, but they do. Don't.

Here's another abstract to sooth you after a troubling ranting dose of reality.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A canvas, I'm so excited!

Some of you may know the story. I've been meaning to get some of my photos printed for a while now, and even with this semi-retired life never seemed to have the time. Then I sent a buddy a quick screen shot of a photo that'd I'd tweaked and asked if it was too much. The response was "I want a print!" I guess it wasn't too much.

So that was impetus to get organized and get it done. I picked up the first one today. It's the red combine landscape I've had up several times. Here it is in real life, on an 18x 32 canvas, right where everyone coming in the front door is going to see it. The light is kind of funny, in that the right side of it seems a bit brighter. I did nothing to it in Lightroom, just cropped it slightly.

A photo of a canvas print of a photo. A little self referential, but that's ok. Even after spending a long time looking at it on screen, I'm still seeing detail I hadn't noticed before. Now that it's home, I'm almost wishing I'd printed it bigger.

Next week I should be able to pick up the three other prints. They're on nice paper and getting framed now. This photography stuff is fun!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lost in the boonies

I took the scenic route to Red Deer today. At least that was the plan. The scenic was mostly hiding in the clouds and mist. Sort of like this.

Along the way, about in the middle of being lost, I found this bridge. It really is this ghastly pink. I only took the photo to show other people, and because of the bent up sign. It wouldn't be interesting otherwise.

In any case, much to the disappointment of some of you, I got unlost eventually. The map on the phone worked, sort of. It showed a blue dot, but Mrs Google didn't believe I was on a road. It was paved. I hadn't intended to actually go through Sundre. The road north from there is still shite.

The wine is acquired, and the first kit is started. A Vermentino, if you believe that name.

Linda's garden is starting to explode. We aren't sure if this is a daffodil, or a hyacinth, maybe. Possibly an Allium Giganticus.

Plus I had some nice comments about the abstract, thank you! I'll be doing some more of them.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

An abstract experiment

Yesterday I had a lovely quiet day. I was going through a macro photography book and making notes, when I had an epiphany. A great idea for  series of abstract photos came into mind, and one of the techniques the author mentioned would be really helpful.

This photo is an experiment, just to see if the idea will work. What are your thoughts on this abstract?

The rest of the day was doing house stuff, accepting a delivery of a huge box, and being forced to nap by the cats, as they held me down. I'm not kidding.

Today was a nice easy wake up day, then off to Repsol. The pool was a bit of a gong show and we debated which lane would be best. Michelle wanted to try a time trial, but the lanes were full. Eventually we settled into a lane and just swam.

I had fun with my inner shark coming out to pass the other people in the lane. One guy was working hard to stay ahead of me, using fins and paddles. With two other people in the lane I wasn't going to try to pass him. He stopped after a few laps and I heard him gasping as I turned. I deliberately didn't time myself or count laps, and stopped when I felt like stopping. I had assumed I'd be timing and counting laps for Michelle if she did the test at all, but it turned out she just did it herself. She's thrilled that she took a whole minute off her 500 m time! I keep telling her that she's going to bust through this plateau she's been on, and be swimming way faster. Soon I think this speed will be slow for her.

Then we were off for a run, me being a bit cautious from cranky legs. 9K 1:11 and slowing down on the last one. Long warm up and cool down. Then off to coffee and treats with a buddy, such a nice visit!

Don't be afraid to comment below about the abstract, or respond on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I'm really curious to know.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Not quite the running of the bulls

Curtis is convinced there is a huge supply of hot buttered mice outside, ready to be hunted by the mighty orange predator. That's what he says anyways, but we secretly suspect he wants to hunt for better humans. Not that he'll find them, of course. But try telling a cat anything it doesn't want to believe.

Celina is a whole lot more secretive about it. She doesn't make a big production of asking out, she just keeps an eye out to the main chance, and dashes for the door. Any door. Once she gets there she has no idea what to do next. Often it involves sitting there and looking around.

Last night we put them on their harness and let them stroll around in the back patio for the first time this year. You will be expecting photos, I know, I can see your eyes scrolling down. Up here! (TWSS)

There are no cat photos today. Sorry. I thought about it, but trying to manage a camera and two leashes with cats on the other end is one expensive piece of plastic, glass, and electronics too many. They wanted to go in opposite directions. Celina to explore the grass, Curtis the garden, and a few minutes later the fence. No hot buttered mice.

Here's a nice abstract B&W for you. My next photo trip is the scenic route to Red Deer to pick up the wine kits we ordered. Up 22 as far as Caroline, or maybe just Sundre, then zig zag over to Red Deer for lunch time or so. Anyone have any good suggestions for landscape vantage points?

I got a few nice things said about yesterday's landscape, thank you very much!