Monday, July 31, 2017

That did not turn out as hoped

I had been thinking that being retired for now at least, I'd be able to start making some progress on the books I'm working on. There was a chunk of it with some character interaction I quite liked. Then I realized the timeline wasn't right. My first attempt to fix it didn't work. Sometimes that generates further ideas, but I stalled, and sat quietly in the warmth of the patio. I might have dozed off a little while.

The day started with a nice run and I was feeling perky about the prospects.

Now I'm editing some photos and beginning to think about the July Image of the Month. This is gonna be tough.

Remember we had guests last week, and one of them mentioned Curtis glaring at her? Same glare, only I'm the recipient this time.

I know this just kills you, but more lilies. The lily beetles have made a bit of a comeback, so I was out slaughtering them for a while.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

In the creek

Fish Creek. Right now it's a shallow warm creek. Unlike other times during floods or spring run off when it's a raging torrent that would sweep away an adult, today the smallest child could safely toddle in it. But there weren't many people there at all, much to my surprise.

The day started with an awesome buddy swim. I did 2 K for the first time in a long while, with 500 m in 9:25 which is getting back to a normal pace. My shoulders are feeling much better since I started focussing on strengthening glutes.

I could go on and on about the perils of letting your butt go soft from too much sitting and not enough motion. Suffice to say I've been working on it the last little while. Now my legs feel like running again, with hams and quads feeling strong. My low back and hips don't hurt. Yay!

My buddy swam 4 K in about 90 minutes just to see if she could. IMZ is in 4 months. Just saying.

After a trip to the Farmer's Market (salty chocolate caramel tarts, if you MUST know) and more berries, I was wandering around thinking about things to photograph. I've been wanting to do landscapes again, but the smoky haze makes those either really really good if you're in the right place at the right time and get lucky, or mostly likely, really bad.

Then I remembered my rule. When in doubt, go to Fish Creek. It's huge, so there's always something different to photograph. I wore old shoes I didn't care about, and happily waded through the creek from bridge 2 to bridge 1. It never got deeper than mid shins, and I walked carefully, mindful of carrying expensive camera gear. I was looking for reflection shots, and got a few, but the big surprise was catching a critter.

I'm thinking about doing it again next week, get in touch with me if you'd like to come along, and we'll work out a time.

I'm not sure what it was with this log. The light reflecting off the wood, and the deep shadows fascinated me. Somehow, though, the photo doesn't quite convey the same feeling.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Backlit begonia bounty

One of my buddies has encouraged me to work on photos where the flower blossom is between the sun and camera. This is a little tricky for several reasons, the major one being looking at the sun through a lens isn't good for your eyes. It's really tough to see what the camera settings are, and get them right at the same time as getting everything else right.

Still, I've been on a roll the last few days. These two are strong side light, shot in the back garden in the evening.

This begonia lives on the front steps. I was just coming back into the house when I got a look at it gently bathed in the reflected light from the patio. The light in that little spot was about as magical as I've ever seen.

These next three are posed, (turn a little away from the light, move those leaves, let your petals float in the air) if you'll accept that term for a potted plant. I moved them to make it easier to get the image I wanted.

In the back garden, again, with very gentle light, and yes, it really is those colours. There is almost no  tweaking in Lightroom.

Technically, this one isn't backlit, but the lighting is kind of odd, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to catch it. I've published it before, but that particular blog didn't get many readers so you may not have seen it.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Dahlia with and without

But first, the mammals in charge around here.

You'd be excused with that look on her face for thinking that Celina is about to tackle Curtis, but no, she settled in for a snooze. It's been a calm day here, cats snoozing, Pink Floyd on the soundtrack, and me evaluating and editing photos. Plus some wine bottle bleaching when I needed a break.

Here's two of the good shots today. I think it's the same dahlia, just a couple days later, and a bee that was right in there.

Embiggen that second one, I'll wait. Trust me.

A couple of months ago I got lost in the boonies and discovered a bridge painted the most ghastly colour of puce I could imagine. Not just painted, but repainted. Earlier this week we were out for a walk in K country, and I found another bridge that colour. I couldn't believe it. Someone somewhere must have got a heck of a deal on paint.

I was out catching up with the new flowers this morning, and think there needs to be a begonia day. Remember the backlit white peony from earlier this month? It was a leading contender for image of the month, but it has big time competition now. Big time. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Lily bloom lifecycle in one photo, and something

Here's the something. Like usual, I have no idea what this plant is.

I can see it from my usual patio writing spot, and have been wondering about it for a while now. Like many flowers when you look at it, it brings to mind all sorts of thoughts. Which might or might not be a good thing when you're writing. Amazing how much some of them resemble the alien spaceships that we could see if only we could penetrate their cloaking devices. As an aside, we must have half the galaxy coming to look at the idiocy going on just south of here.

These buds or whatever look much the same today as they did on photo day about a week ago. The pink has faded a bit, and all the rest is darker. I've been waiting for it to blossom, but I'm wondering if that is going to happen. Maybe I missed the bloom. Or maybe it's saving it's energy. It has taken over the space under the back bay window, maybe now it's going to try to take over the rest of that bed. That darn Alberta Rose is giving all the other plants ideas.

Here's the promised lily shot. Tiny buds, big buds about to bloom, actual blooms, fading blooms. Love it.

And another lily for you. This looks like it should be a vertical shot, but I assure you, those buds are horizontal.

I worked on some abstracts for a while, but they just didn't come together the way I'd like.

On the fitness front I was in the pool for a short swim today, getting back into it. Then a bit later, before it got really hot, a run. 5K 33:10, feeling pretty good. Glad I don't have to wait for after work to run. That will be be brutal.

There was an elevator pitch. Then a more detailed explanation. Then some feminine wiles.  I am helpless. As one of the characters in Coupling says, "I haven't the skills!" I now have a Strava ID. Look for Keith Cartmell if you want more details about runs and bike rides.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mugged by the begonia

Among all the other flowers are some begonias. We were just finishing up dinner last night (BBQ bison burgers, if you're wondering), and I'm looking around enjoying the garden. Suddenly the begonia a few feet away from me leaped out and grabbed my attention, demanding I run for the camera. That glowing orange just did me in.

There's still some lilies, of course.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The speedy and the erratic

It was fun watching the race on Sunday. I have to admit, though, for most courses triathlon generally isn't what you'd call an exciting spectator sport. You see a bunch of people milling around getting ready. Then they're an anonymous herd, milling around in their wetsuits and swim caps. Then they're in the water in a splash. Depending on the course and who you're cheering for, you've got time for a coffee. Then they burst out of the water and head for transition. This can be exciting, but it doesn't last long.

Then they are out of transition and off on their bikes, and unless you hustle you aren't likely to see both of these. There are some courses where you can hop on a bike and short cut to see them zoom by. Zoom being the operative word. Even the slow riders are going about 30 Kph unless you catch them on a big uphill.

If you can't do that, you end up waiting at transition for them to come back. That might be several hours. Then they are in and gone again, transitioning from bike to run. If you're in the port-potty you will have missed it.

Then there is the run finish. All sorts of drama here. For most of my races I asked Linda to drop me at the swim, and if she wanted to stick around for the bike transition that was up to her. Then I didn't expect to see her again till the finish.

As a triathlete, it's a bit different. You can appreciate better what the racers are going through. Plus, and this is the dangerous part, you get infected with the desire to do it again. I got bit by that a little bit, but I'm safe this year. About the only one I'd be tempted to do is Chaparral Oly, and I've been asked to do the photography for it, so I'm safe.

But I did look up last weekend's finish times for my age group. The winner finished in 4:25, and the middle of the pack is 5:45 or so. I'd certainly have been well over 6 hours, if I'd been so foolish as to try. Just as a comparison, the overall winner finished in 3:35. I know lots of triathletes dream of winning their age group and going to Kona, but I have no such aspirations. I'd be thrilled with a mid pack finish, but that seems so far away right now.

But next year, who knows? I keep saying I want to get into better shape. Maybe this will be the year, without a day job to wear me down. But even "aging up" into the next age group isn't going to help me much. The winner in that age group went 4:35. Speedy.

In the mean time, I'm still getting caught up on photos.

This one is so soft and peaceful. I can see it done huge as a big print in a meditation space.

The hens and chicks blossoms are still hanging in there, though beginning to look a little worse for wear today.

The day lilies are incredible this year! I love the vibrant yellow, orange, and reds. The ordinary ones are nice, but when you get the light right, they look like they're on fire.

Another damp rose. The new bud pushing it's way in there adds even more interest.

Part of the view from the reservoir cruise. Pity about the smoke.

I was quite taken by this railroad snowplow at Heritage Park. This photo is not really doing justice to that orange. Plus I was just imagining certain politicians staked out on the tracks, getting prodded with this. My imagination gets away from me sometimes...

Oh, and the erratic. I didn't take a photo, but coming out of Coop today there was a car with a handicap sticker that didn't manage to make it fully into the handicap spot. It's like they thought they were angle parking. Then on the way home I turn onto the street where I live, and someone is driving down the wrong side of the road, then the middle, then the wrong side again. I was thinking seriously about where exactly was the safest place to bail out. Then they swerved violently into the side of the road where lots of people park, and I think they drove on someone's lawn for a second. It was a tiny old person peering over the wheel. I'm not sure who was more terrified, me or them.

This is why I want to see car simulators set up, and people run through a standardized test before getting their license renewed. Fail, and you get a chance to study, get your eyes checked and eyeglasses prescription updated if necessary, maybe do some practice with a certified instructor, then have another go at it.

There are lots of people that fear the self driving cars, but not me. I fear those other people on the road that are driving distracted for whatever reason, or no longer have the cognitive ability to drive, or suffer a medical adventure while driving. The problem is only going to get worse as the boomer generation (and I'm one of them) ages gracefully or otherwise.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Smoking hot spectathaleting

Today was my day to Sherpa Michelle on her way to finishing her first half iron race! She did awesome in the heat and the sun, but it's her story to tell. My tiny little role in all this was to help her get to the event and carry stuff, and take a photo or two. Or nearly 400.

Here she is at bike check in, wondering if this is her rack.

As it was, she was the very first person to check in. Such a keener.

Lest you think I only had photo eyes for Michelle, here is:

Amy and Steve, race announcers extraordinaire

Our friend Antje, fellow specathaleter

My buddy Kelly from my very first triathlon. She almost always spots me first at events, and today was no exception.

One of my first ever triathlon buddies Julie. She's a tough, but rewarding photo subject, being so speedy and on the move, but with a huge smile.

And lastly, Michelle again, in one of the many finisher photos she has to choose from.

Should Michelle choose to blog race day from her perspective, you may see a few more of my shots, and I'll certainly link to it.

And yes, I'm still behind on flower shots. Good thing I don't have a day job anymore. Soon.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A little road trip

This was part of the view. I last saw this on a bicycle almost exactly 7 years ago. I wouldn't dream of tackling this on a bike now.
And these.
No, I don't know what either of these flowers are.

I don't know the names of either of these mountains, but suspect some of my readers do.

We had a lovely day browsing in Black Diamond at one of our favourite stores. Then down to Longview to discover 2 new photo galleries. Nice ones! Lunch. Very yummy lunch, and since it's less than an hour's drive we might go back for supper. There are places in Calgary that are about an hour's drive if the traffic is less than perfect.

Linda had never been west of Longview or over Highwood. We took it easy stopping several times to stroll around and take photos. One of my buddies had suggested Ptarmigan Cirque as a hike, and it turns out to be almost exactly 150 K from home. We hadn't planned on actually doing the hike, but it was nice to stretch our legs and stroll on the boardwalk.

I haven't spent much time in K country and was amazed how much stuff there is. More visits are being flanged up while the weather is nice. Up at a civilized hour, coffee, breakfast, deal with any garden issues, head out, have a nice afternoon, maybe dinner on the way back. Should be fun.

Along the way we scoped out the ring road highway construction. Sigh. The start to The Road to Nepal is a construction zone now. I don't think I'll try taking my bike the usual route anymore. There is a heavy haul road crossing where they've put steel plates on the road. Two places actually. You can tell where the first place was because the pavement is beat to crap there. That whole chunk of road has all kinds of clay and other crap on it. Plus there are regular road gravel trucks all over the place. Even The Road itself isn't going to be as much fun. There is a new farmer's market/event destination going in at the bottom of the long uphill. That's going to add a ton of traffic to dodge. The event part of it is open, but not the rest. It's for kids, and there's an admission fee.