Thursday, November 30, 2017

Still more Fish Creek, with wildlife

Here's some more of the Fish Creek photos from Tuesday. I'm not much a bird watcher, and I certainly didn't have a big lens on the camera, but this little guy was almost within arms reach. At that point it doesn't matter what lens you have. The trick is catching them when they are still. I think he was scoping out Heather to see if she had any treats.

As always, more reflections. I love being able to see the rocks at the bottom of the river, in the shadows, giving a surprisingly tree-like texture. This is just upstream of bridge 3.

I think this is near bridge 4.

It took several tries to get the texture of the ice, while still seeing the water and the rocks at the bottom.

The little dams are so much fun! I still hope to get together with some photo buddies to build a little dam in just the right place for bridge reflection shots. In the summer, of course. You might recall my summer walks through the creek, enjoying the warm water.

There were 5 of these. Heather had the big lens and was steadily clicking as we slowly walked closer. Eventually we got close enough I could get a reasonable shot. They weren't afraid of us, but were cautious. We had taken off the traction aides, but ran into a big patch of ice and about here is where Heather sat down abruptly.

There's a few places I need to go back to. There was a fallen tree with a fascinating shape that we spent some time on, yet somehow the shots were not quite right. Part of the deal in learning to use a new camera and lens.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Yet more Fish Creek, with a buddy

Photo rambles are more fun with a like-minded buddy. I've done a few group walks, and vehicle expeditions, but only a few with one other buddy, like Sean or Bart or Michelle or Ken. Yesterday Heather joined the ranks as we went through Fish Creek. She had always wanted to see more of it, and it's nice to show off the good spots.

We met up at Bebo Grove, and wandered in a big loop along the river down as far as bridge 5. We were pretty careful about walking on the ice because there are lots of thin spots and liquid water is everywhere. The "Icers" traction aides worked really well, and are essential if you want to be walking off the paved paths. Neither of us got wet.

It was a lovely day for a hike, just about zero, and mostly sunny, clouding over as the day went on. I ended up taking 260 shots with the new camera. I am totally in love with it and the new lens! So far I've edited 19 of those, and there are a few more I'm on the bubble about. No, I'm not going to give you all 19 today. Just some. Come back tomorrow for more, unless I do something else instead. You never know what I'll be up to.

I thought about converting this one to B&W, but that beautiful blue of water under skim ice convinced me to keep the colour.

The hazy reflections in the ice had me completely enchanted throughout the walk. You'll see more of that.

My photo buddy Heather.

That sky, reflected in the ice.

I love this tree. I've come back to it many times. I still want to do a photoshoot with my runner buddies. Them running past it, doing post run stretches against it, basking in the sun on it while nibbling snacks. No, that isn't a Heather photo bomb.

The less relaxing end of the tree.

I've walked within a few dozen feet of this picnic table many times, and this is the first time I've seen it. Much of the year you'd be standing in a swamp to see this. I'm not sure if there used to be a little picnic area here, or if it was washed here by one of the floods. This is near the big log jam between bridges 2 and 3.

This is one of the reasons it's nice to go with someone else. You take different routes, and see new stuff. There is always new stuff to see in Fish Creek. The river changes from year to year, the weather is always different, the vegetation shows up differently, and the light is always changing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A windy cold semi-serene remote sunrise

Linda got dropped off at the airport yesterday morning for oh dark thirty, as the saying goes. Since I was so far north and east, I thought I'd explore the sunrise in the gently rolling landscapes there. My thought was to get a nice landscape with layers of farmland, and some trees between fields, maybe a river or small ponds, even a canal. My second thought was to get a nice unobstructed view of the sunrise. Well, that specific part of the world is flatter than I remember.

The problem with sunrise hunting is that you don't know what you're going to get till you've got it there in front of you. Then it's too late to move. You have to shoot what you've got the best you can.

As the sky started to lighten I realized I wasn't going to get either of those shots, but I'd have a chance to try another shot I've had in mind. Often, winter sunrises are completely cloudless, and you start with complete darkness. Gradually an orangy pink glow starts in the east. It gradually gets brighter and brighter along the horizon, but straight up it's still dark. The colour transitions from light to dark are subtle and lovely. My old camera didn't really capture it well, so I thought I'd have a go with the new one.

This is better, but I'm still playing with settings. I fumbled around on the focus with live view, magnification doesn't work quite the same and my fingers are still learning the buttons. I might add I had the tripod set up on the lee side of the car, on the shortest setting, and it was still really windy.

On the road, looking west.

These next two were shot at the same place. I saw the trees ahead of me bathed in this red light, and I'm glad there was nobody behind me. Then I turned around and walked a few feet to get the one tree and the sunrise.

Another stop looking east again. I could wish the clouds were lighted up better, but oh well, the trees look nice.

This is one of the most iconic travel Alberta shots I've ever done. Yes, lots of roads go on straight, apparently forever, with no fences, and precious few buildings in sight. There was not much tweaking on this shot, it really was this colour.

In the end, I had a lovely drive taking the scenic route from the airport to home, via Delacour and Langdon, (not forgetting to wave at some buddies that live there.

Now I'm off to Fish Creek for a photo ramble with a buddy!

Monday, November 27, 2017

More Fish Creek and displays

The title says it all, here's some more of the Fish Creek photos from the weekend, and the displays Linda has done for this year.

 Did you see the Fish Creek shots from yesterday's blog? One of them is in the running for Image of the Month.

 I found a little maze in the middle of the creek. I always wonder what sort of art I'll find, and I'm seldom disappointed.

Plus a mellow (in comparison) sunrise.

Now the display shots. She was working on these right up to the last minute, almost.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The beginning of the Fish Creek photo deluge

Today I was down near the Fish Creek Learning Centre, or Shannon Terrace, whatever you want to call it. The first thing I found was the typical flood just near the washrooms. Of course I had to shoot it as a reflection shot.

These are near bridge 2. I was strolling around trying out some new camera equipment by shooting scenes I was pretty familiar with. I'm really pleased so far!

Reflection shots are fun, though during the summer it's tough because the slightest breeze will create ripples. Warm weather in winter is a different story, and we get a lot of it. You can get a skim of water so thin the wind doesn't really catch it, and it makes a lovely mirror. I didn't even think about walking on the ice.

The related problem of course, is the risk of slipping on patches of ice on land. I had a bit of a teeter tooter moment once when I stepped on what I thought was soil, and it was a layer of mud on ice. Even the pavement was covered is a frozen skim of ice as I was heading back, and I watched one guy go for a bit of a ride.

There's a bunch of other photos that will show up on the blog, and I'm going for a walk (with traction aides!) in Fish Creek with a buddy on Tuesday, so I'm suspecting the whole week will be full of Fish Creek. I'll try to make them interesting for you.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sunrises and exciting

Friday started off with some nice sunrise shots. Some of you may have seen them on Facebook. It was another day in retirement, turning down a contract offer that didn't appeal to me, puttering about tidying my desk, Linda working on her seasonal floral displays. There will be photos of them when complete.

Then two unrelated things happened, a phone call and a registered letter. The phone call was sad but not completely unexpected news from Linda's side of the family. She has to sort out a plane trip to visit relatives. The letter was for me. I can't remember the last time I got a registered letter, and my heart went pitter patter a bit when I saw who it was from. Then it went pitter patter A LOT when I saw what was in it. A completely unexpected surprise. A good one. Really good.

Sunrise today was just as nice, so I left that cup of coffee to cool, and zoomed out.

These three are from this morning, in time order. I liked that long narrow cloud and was hoping it would really catch the light, but it didn't.

It's smart to remember to look around during sunrise and sunset. The show in the other direction is sometimes better. This isn't as flashy, but I really liked the blues and the sense of depth.

This one is from Friday morning.

Soon I'm off to shoot another race. Lets see how that goes!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Throwback

Along path of contemplation I've been on lately, I started wondering about some of my earliest images. I picked out the ones I thought were best at the time, using whatever criteria I was using then.

But I got to wondering, how many had I passed by because they had flaws I couldn't fix at the time, and I could fix now. Or realizing they aren't flaws at all. Merely features. (Maybe only my developer buddies will get this one. You do know what the definition of a feature is, don't you? A bug with seniority.)

Or, I wondered, were any of them better now than I thought they were at the time for whatever reason? I determined to go back to the beginning (2016-06-11) to look through old files in date order and find out how long it would take to find an image worthy of the blog, that is not a bad image with an explanation.

And here we are, a lost star from 2016-06-22. I can't imagine why I didn't do anything with this. In the meantime enjoy this reminder of summer.

I'm going to continue on in my spare time, such as it is, filled with retirement activities, and see what I find.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Calling all iron-critters

Ok, so this post is mostly wanting to know about your Ironman experience, or more specifically, the post-ironman experience. In this post I mean Ironman the race distance, not any dealings with the corporation you may have had. For the non-Iron readers, you're welcome to read along, you might get some insight into obsessed people.

We're talking about a 3.8 K swim in open water, then ride your bicycle 180 K, then run 42.2 K all within 17 hours. I did mine in 2010, in Penticton. You can read about it here if you like. Some of my readers are new and have never heard of such a thing. They are probably backing away slowly, wide-eyed, wondering how they came to be reading the blog of a madman.  Lots of people I've talked to cannot imagine doing such a thing, and that's the first hurdle.

So you've done an Ironman. Any of them. The Challenge races, and the non-Ironman branded ones count. It's the distance, not the brand that counts. When did you do it/them?

I want to know about your life since then. Some people get in the groove and do several, even many of them. Others, like me, it's one and done. You?

Some get through and do a cartwheel at the finish line (she knows who she is), or they do a happy dance of joy (she also knows who she is). Some fall down in a heap like someone cut the strings. Some collect their medal with a big grin, then go eat their face off and put their feet up (me). Some give it everything they have and just make the deadline, others cruise along but are cranky they didn't break into single digit hours.

The full on glow is still there the next bunch of days, but you're getting used to having a life again. Your spouse and kids are getting used to having you around again. The glow happens when you think about it, or you wear some finisher gear. Or maybe it was a brutal experience you'd rather not recall. Or maybe you've done it so often they run together in your mind.

Life goes on. This is what I really want to know. Are you still active? What are you doing? Same three sports at shorter distances? Injured and given up? Burned out and moved on to other sports? If so, what and why? Are you still proud of doing it? Or would you still be married if you hadn't done Ironman (you think)? Did you get a tattoo or not? What is it? Do you still love it, or regret it? If you've sold your gear, was there a pang of regret, or was it good riddance to clutter you no longer needed? You probably made friends during the training, are you still friends or buddies with them now?

Do you ever wear the finisher gear, or did you wear it out and retire it? Do you still have the medal? Is it framed and hung with pride, or clumped in with all the other medals, or stuffed in a drawer somewhere? Did you want to do another one, but life (kids/job/injuries/money) prevented it, and now you're "too old"? Or maybe you've just started training to do another one now that those issues have been addressed. What difference did it make in your life?

There's a joke most Iron-critters have heard. It goes like this. You walk into a room filled with fit looking people. How do you know which have done an Ironman? Answer. You don't have to, they'll tell you. (bada-bump!) Do you find a way to tell people you've done it? Or only if they bring it up?

Really, I'm curious, tell me whatever you'd like about your post ironman life. Feel free to comment below, or add it to the facebook post. Or email me keith at nucleus dot com and tell me if you want your comment private or I can post it in the blog comments.

I'll even go first. IMC 2010, one of the last in Penticton. One and done, though Linda surprised me by saying it was a better experience than she expected, and a do again was a possible thing. I'm still active swim bike run, though this last summer was a bit of a struggle. I haven't done many races, but then I've never really thought of myself as a racer. They aren't that much fun. I am seriously thinking about doing an Oly distance next summer, but getting consistent training in needs to happen first. I'm done with doing races just to finish, I'd like to be finishing mid pack or so for my age group.

I'm so glad I did it! I remember the glow, and still feel the joy of crossing the finish line. You'll note that photo is still at the top of this blog. The most important part is that it got me active, with all the health benefits that go with it.

I've still got finisher gear, and the light jacket is my go-to cool weather jacket. There was a hoodie that was perfect for yoga savasana and cool summer evenings, but another hoodie I've hardly worn. The actual finisher T shirt is nice cotton but a blah beige, I wear it periodically. The bike shirt I've hardly ever worn even though it fits well. There's a velour sweatshirt thing that scratches my neck so I don't wear it much. It collects cat fur like you would not believe. All the active wear is hung up in the basement and I rotate through it. Some of the finisher shirts are beginning to look a little worse for wear because they've been worn a lot. The one I like the most is from one of my first races, the Chinook Half. It's a lovely light white material, with reflective threads in the weave, and fits loosely. Well, it was white, it's sort of going gray in places.

All the medals are hung in a bunch beside the computer, the IMC one at the front where I can see it. I even kept the wrist band.

Some of the habits carried over into the rest of my life, especially the organization and planning that are needed. Thinking through what's going to be needed in what order. Thinking about what could go wrong, what needs to be done to mitigate the risks, or cope with it in the event of. Probably the most important habit was to just do it. Get up and get it done. Don't obsess about the weather, just prepare for what might happen and deal with getting wet. So many workouts started feeling clunky and ended up being good. Get the most important thing of the day done early, then it doesn't matter what happens. So much paid work has happened because I dived in to get it done, then moved to the next thing.

I thought about the tattoo, and doodled what I'd get, but decided not to. A chat while giving blood with a Red Cross nurse about the risks of it made up my mind.

I'm still buddies to one degree or another with some people I got to know during the training. Some I only met virtually through blogging for social media. Others I know in person even though they might live far away, or have moved away. I see my coach, the famous Katie fairly often at the pool and we'll chat if we're water running. Or if my swim is in the groove I'll try to keep up. That doesn't usually last long. We go for coffee every now and then. I Facetime with Susi and do Facebook chats/comments with some other people that don't live nearby. I see a few regulars at the pool enough to say good morning and ask how they're doing. A few people drifted into my triathlon life because of Michelle's training, and those people likely will drift out of it again, but you never know. But most of the people I knew have moved on and are not likely to ever see this blog.

Even though I'm an adult onset runner, I've come to love going for a run. It relaxes me, I think about stuff in my life. Sometimes the blogs write themselves while I'm running, or I'll figure out a piece of the novels I'm working on, or I think of photo projects. I'm a bit more focused on swim technique just now, but there's lots of times when I let my body swim, and my mind would be busy thinking of something else. Yes, I knew exactly how far I'd swum, and how fast to the second, but keeping track of that is easy with my trademarked method.

What brought this up, you ask? My BRBE Michelle just completed her Ironman and had a fabulous day out there. I hope it was everything she dreamed it would be. She might or might not blog about it. I'm curious about where she goes from here, and that's what got me started thinking about where I went, and wondering where all you went after your race.

Please do comment, even if it's just that you never think about it.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Macro Monday 13, industrial

Here is another common object in many homes.

1. 2x mainly so I could get enough of the word in so you could read it.

2. 1x getting a feel for the light on steel.

3. 3x It looks clean to the eye. Really.

4. 3.1 x Love the texture so much I had to shoot it twice.

5. 4x

6. 5x You'd cut yourself very easily on that edge.

7. 5x

And here we are, what it looks like in real life. The LED light is right above it. I shot about half the time with the LED on, which gives a brighter look with some yellow. The other have was just the flash and ambient light, which gives a more metallic look.