Friday, August 31, 2018

So that couch to 5 K thing, plus an emergency vehicle

How's that going, you ask? (Actually, I know nobody has asked that. Bear with me.)

Two runs, two days apart, 4 K each, both just under 29:30. Both feeling pretty good. This is about the pace that BRBE would run at, though for a lot further. The lessons I've learned from previous efforts is that I'm taking longer on warmup, longer on cool down, and stretching after. I'll probably hang out at 4k for a while, nice and easy. Two of the major secrets to running is consistency and stopping before you have to stop.

There was a swim in between them, one of my best swims in a while, 1K, 19:30, dodging two other slower swimmers in a lane. Neither was good about pausing to let me pass, so I had to time it just right and push up to about race pace to pass them. Lots of fun.

If the hot tub had been guaranteed to be open, I might have made the time to swim today. That's what I really wanted, the hot tub. A rest day is good. I was out last night on a photowalk with Neil Zeller and a bunch of people that follow his Facebook page. Lots of fun, even if I didn't get many good shots. These are the ones I like best.

The star of the show.

Some of the participants. I was thinking about shouting out to have everyone pointing their cameras over the rail, but this is more a social occasion than a photo taking occasion.

The fire rescue boat zoomed by as I was on my way to meet the rest of the group. I'm glad I had reset the camera and cleared the chip before I got out of the car. I had only a few seconds to get it up and let the camera find the focus. A few shots and it was a dot in the river.

The boat zoomed by pretty quickly, so I got the idea they were on a mission. It was a nice day out, so I could easily believe that someone had handed over their beer and said watch this. Or maybe someone slipped on the rocks and fell in. It's easy for things to go wrong on the water, especially if booze is involved.

It seems lately we've had lots of emergency vehicles in our neighbourhood. There's a story to almost all of them, and I sometimes wonder what it is. It's none of my business of course, till they come for me.

As a writer I often think about human situations, wondering if there's a way to work what I see, into one of my books. A set of tracks left in the snow on an embankment means that someone had an exciting few moments. A car sitting there with a police car behind it, lights flashing. A tow truck with a mangled car behind it. Sometimes the most implausible series of events happen and there the situation is. I am convinced that the various emergency crews have some amazing stories to tell.

The problem for a writer is plausibility. A simple thing like two characters meeting, so the writer can get on with the story of them falling in lust, breaking up for a while, then realizing they are the right person for each other, and settling down to live happily ever after. That's a harder thing than you'd think, writing two characters meeting. Do it wrong, and the readers roll their eyes and pick up another book. There's a story out of the photowalks, where two people met at one of the fireworks classes. Both single because of the death of a spouse. Now they're married. It would be tough for a writer to do that one and not sound like a cliche.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Big Hill Springs, revisited

My buddy Sean and I visited Big Hill Springs park May 2017 for a photo ramble. See here. Note that you also get a photo of Celina being innocent.

I'd always wanted to go back and what with one thing and another, and another, and yet more another, it didn't happen till yesterday. As chance has it, I was on my way to meet Sean for a beer after his work.

Aside from the park being overrun by small noisy mammals with insufficient adult supervision, it was a great time to visit. The park is lush and green, and the little creek is flowing nicely. The sound of the various waterfalls is extremely soothing. For a while I was watching a photographer do some family portraits.

Waterfalls are interesting things to photograph. It's one of the clearer examples of how the camera 'sees' things differently than our brain does. Compare one and two, to number 3. Neither is quite what we see, yet we all instantly recognize the flow of water. I don't actually much like photo 3, I only include it for comparison.

This is one of the reasons I get choked when people say photography is not creative. They say that a photograph of something shows what it is, nothing more or less. But photos 2 and 3 were taken about 30 seconds apart, without me moving my feet. All that changed was camera settings, and a very slightly different view angle. I think you'd all agree they give a very different emotional feel to the scene. No creativity, my ass.







Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A lily trifecta

Once upon a time, I was too young for the two main industries in the town I lived in. The horse races and hotel. I suppose I could have gone to the races, it was about a 5 minute walk across and down the road. But I didn't. I'm pretty sure I was drinking in the bars before I ever went to the races.

Once there, someone explained many of the various bets to me, and I was appalled. The odds of winning were terrible. Not that I knew anything about horses, but I watched for a while, making a note to myself of which horse I picked, but not actually placing a bet. The first night I went none of the horses I "picked" finished in the top three. I was really pleased, since I had saved myself about $20, which was real money back then, enough to fund 3 or 4 nights of drinking, depending on a number of factors that I need not go into right now. (Beer was 95 cents a bottle and if you didn't hand the waitress a one dollar bill and tell her to keep it, you were thought to be cheap and might get slapped.)

Then one of my buddies was on about the trifecta. All he could talk about was the huge payoff for a not big bet. I kept my experience firmly in mind, namely my complete lack of success in picking any of the top three, let alone all of them in the correct order. I did bet a few times, since I was told that made the race more meaningful, but meh. I don't remember winning anything more than trivial money, and I suspect my total bets was on the order of $20.

Fortunately I didn't lose too much money playing poker with groups of friends that included people I didn't know, before taking a math course that taught me how to calculate such odds. (They start at terrible and get worse, in case you hadn't known.) Typing and business math, taught in the same room, and probably the two most useful courses I've taken in my life. One to teach me how to type, and one to truly understand what a bad deal gambling was. If that wasn't bad enough, there were lotteries.

I clearly remember lotteries being a new thing while I was in high school. The prize was a million dollars, and the draw was a half hour televised extravaganza. My brain melted when I calculated how long I would have to work to earn a million dollars. It melted again when I calculated the odds of winning. It was quite literally all the money one could possibly ever need. I mean, the very definition of millionaire was that you could buy anything you wanted.

As I think of it now, winning a million dollars in the late 70's would have been a catastrophe for me. Sure, interest rates were sky high then, and a normal bank account would have paid out interest to fund an extravagant lifestyle. But then interest rates went down, and down, and down. By the late 80's it probably would have been funding a very modest lifestyle, and it only got worse. Once the principle is tapped it all goes downhill really quickly, and there you are, no relevant work experience, and unless you were extraordinarily disciplined, not much to show for what got spent.

I think of myself as fairly good with money, but in many ways I was a feckless youth. I probably would have spent most of the income on wine, women, and song, or the moral equivalents thereof.

Since I didn't have much, I was far more careful trying to spend where I would get an actual return. Or better yet, once I was in a position to do so, put the money to work by going out and making friends, then bringing more buddies like itself home.

Here's a trifecta of lilies for your amusement, though I suppose a trio is a more accurate term. I just happened to be thinking trifecta today, for several reasons.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A different clematis

This is the clematis planted just this year in the back yard. It raced to the top of the iron trellis we installed, then bloomed like mad.

The couch to 5K thing took another lurch forward, running 4 K all at once, in 29:18. This is almost exactly the pace that BRBE and I would do our long runs at, back in the day. Then, I'd just be settling in the groove, today I was nearly done.

I ran up towards the reservoir, but turned around at Southland. They've got the shell of the pedestrian underpass installed, which is nice. What's much less nice is the pile driving happening about 100 m from some homes. Those people must be going berserk. Just running past I wanted to be wearing hearing protection.

It sort of reminds me of that one balcony that is jumping distance from the Memorial to 4th Ave flyover. The exit ramp from Anderson to ring road northbound is about 150 m at most from some homes, and I suspected it's actually closer to 100 m. A sound barrier will probably be built. Probably.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Bee moustaches!

I'll bet you didn't know that bees had moustaches. The things you learn reading this blog. I've been wanting to get a backlit shot of the orange dahlia, and the light hasn't cooperated lately. Today there's been brief bouts of sunshine so I was out looking. Then I noticed the bees were kind of sluggish and seemed willing to pose for their moment of fame. I hustled back in and got the extension tubes. 90 shots later I came in to find about a dozen were worth looking at, and these 4 were the best of the bunch.

This one made me go wow! It's in the running for image of the month.

I know my buddy Susi will be disappointed there are no cute bee bums here today, but she can console herself with the purple.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Moose eye, duck opinions

A morning photo ramble with a buddy in Weaselhead park is a great way to start the day! First there was a mama moose giving us the stink eye. She had a calf with her, but it was shy and elusive so I didn't get a nice photo of it.

Then some ducks told us what they thought of us.

My ramble buddy hard at it. She posted a bunch of photos on Facebook.

Some photos here and there throughout a nearly 9 K walk over several hours, as subjects took my eye. One again, for a few subjects I was once again carrying the wrong lens.

We barely heard any city noise or construction. The air was still smokey, but seemed a little cleaner surrounded by all the greenery.

Many of my photo buddies go to Globalfest with their cameras, and I've seen some stunning photos come out of it. Don't look for any from me this year, though. Maybe next. We've already bought tickets. If you love fireworks, now's the time to buy, and mark your calendar. At this point the shuttle ride is likely to cost more than the event. Get the event tickets, take the shuttle. Driving there isn't bad, but trying to drive out is an exercise in frustration.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

More bees!

As always the bees are loving the dahlias and I think the other flower is lamb's ears. These aren't quite macro shots, but getting there. I always think the bees are giving me the eye, wondering if I'm going to do something to them. Not at all, little bees.

This dahlia is open now and it's just lovely. I'm just completely captured by the yellows and orangey reds. I could photo it all day. I hope I get a chance a backlit shot while this is in bloom.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Lilies, to cheer us up.

Oh, and a couple clematis snuck in.

This was back at the end of July when there was still sunshine. We put this clematis here almost as an experiment, and it very quickly reached the top of the lattice. It's been struggling to get up on top of the trellis, but I'm sure it will make it. Then a close up of the blossom. It seems to be happy here.

Now the lilies. Sorry to make you wait. I don't think I need to say much about them. I think these are all pre-hail, or between at just the right time.





Now we get rainy smokey, or smokey rain, whichever you prefer. You'd think the rain would clean out the gack, but not so's you'd notice. Sooner or later it must end.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

I took the wrong lens to the office today

The office today was in Fish Creek As in, in the creek. I've done this a few times, and it's a great experience. It's different every time. I was thinking about which lens to take, and I goofed. Here's the first thing I saw, standing on bridge 7. I'd though seriously about bringing the 70-200 mm lens and that would have been good. Instead I brought the 24-105. Not gonna bring 2 lenses for a walk in the creek.

You may have seen this shot already on Facebook or Instagram.


Calm, for reflections.

Look carefully! It's not just rocks. I got lucky and caught a dragonfly in flight.

I was loving the light here. This patch is normally pretty boggy so I've never been here.



Up on the hill a bit. Normally there'd be a nice view of the mountains. Not. Stupid smoke.

Bridges 5 and 6.

I'm amazed people ride on this path. Walking along a little further in the direction behind me in this photo, the edge drops off quite dramatically.

Bridge 5, if you can see it in the haze.

I only saw a few other people. I heard one guy, yapping into his phone for a while, but mostly it was quiet. The creek is low, and the trickling over the rocks sound is wonderfully soothing. I couldn't hear construction equipment at all.

If you want to join me for a walk like this, let me know.