Friday, May 31, 2019

Bright flowers to offset the murk

Calgary is buried in smoke just now. It looks like fog, but smells terrible. I was out last night and took a quick photo of it, scroll down. In the meantime, enjoy the bright flowers in sunshine.

It seems fitting that the carbon tax was repealed today. Stupidity. Alberta was in control of where the revenues for that went. Now the federal government is. And no, nothing will come of the court case where Kenney will spend more of our hard earned money tilting at windmills. Saskatchewan recently lost a similar case.

The carbon tax  currently adds 6.7 cents a litre to the price of gas. The price oscillated by far more than that, which tells me it's not significant. Look at this graph of average gas prices in Calgary, and point to a change in the line that tells you when the carbon tax was enacted.

Just for reference, the carbon tax started started January 2017.

This is an unedited view of our street last night about 10pm. It should still be bright, since the sun is still up.

Driftwood of the Day

Thursday, May 30, 2019

How much they missed me

As you all know, or should know, I was away for a 4 day weekend to Cypress Hills. From what Linda says, the cats didn't particularly notice I was gone. Nor did they particularly notice I had returned. Such is life as cat staff.

I've been looking over the photos from the weekend, and there's two situations. One is already edited photos that have not yet appeared on the blog. The other is going through Lightroom at unedited photos, and wondering what I was thinking not to include them. So there might be a few more added to category one.

Here's another look at my favourite part of the trip.

I just noticed I'm coming up on the 2 year anniversary of buying my first camera. I wonder if I should do something special for that? Suggestions anyone?

Driftwood of the Day

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Short today

You had a big long post two days ago, and lots of brilliant photos yesterday. So here's a somewhat lower key blog today.

In other news my cranky knee is coming around and feeling better. I'm beginning to think about running. Maybe I'll pump up the tires and try a spin on my bike.

I've been designing in my head a bike attachment for my camera. It should clamp to the handlebars and yet be easily removed. It should carry the camera in a padded environment, strapped in so that even if the bike goes for a tumble (as it has, with me along for the ride) it won't be harmed. Waterproof is good. Able to fit any and all the lenses. This might be my next build project.

Lots of the go this week. Two swims and a massage. Fixing a leaking valve on a water barrel. Sharpen mower and cut the lawn. Bottle a wine kit. Start another. Make transportation plans with a buddy for a social event. Make tentative plans with a buddy for a different photo ramble. Confirm community association photoshoot. ZOOM!

Driftwood of the Day

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Cypress followup, and tulips glowing molten glass

Well, that was quite the 4 day adventure weekend in Cypress Hills! Click here, if you missed it.

I made it home in one piece Sunday afternoon. Ate, hung out and relaxed a bit, then went to bed and slept like a rock. Sleep is a get it while you can on these trips, and I didn't. I was dragging my tail a bit by the end.

Monday was spent editing photos and writing the blog, and getting more flower shots in our own garden. I caught the tulips in great light!

Driftwood of the Day

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Cypress Hills Adventure

As always with a Neil Zeller trip, SO MUCH FUN!!

It's hard to know where to begin, or what to include. I could begin at the beginning, but that's so straightforward, so linear. Some of the photos are pet projects of mine, like distressed wood, that most people aren't interested in, and aren't really the point of the trip.

One of the rules about photography is that if you want to take more interesting pictures, you have to stand near more interesting things. You have to put yourself in the path of interesting. You have to be prepared to freeze your tail off waiting for interesting to happen.

The least one can say about a NZ trip is that it's interesting. And yes, we found great stuff to photograph. That's practically a guarantee for a Neil trip; he works his tail off to plan and organize these, yet is flexible enough to chase the light, or change plans for the weather.

The places included our base of operations at Reesor Ranch, Reesor Lake, Seven Persons, Brooks Aqueduct, Conglomerate Cliffs, Great Sandhills, Fox Valley, Sceptre, Red Rock Coulee, Elkwater, Maple Creek (but no time for goat yoga, to the disappointment of some) and lots of great scenery along the way.

The animals included pelicans, antelope (and similar), a badger, owls, but (aside from a brief moment of panic on my part) no danger ropes. Plus, as you'd expect, people, geese, ducks, hawks, and the extremely friendly and photogenic ranch horses, dogs, and cats.

Yes, you say, but where are the photos? First, you have to understand there are no photos of the savage rogue attack washing machine. Sorry to disappoint you, but to get that story, you need to bring me beer.

Linda got one entry in her bookmaking contest about how many photos I would take. He was almost twice too high, but as the only entrant he still gets a prize. Remind me on our next photo ramble and I buy lunch. I actually took only 1012 photos, since I was working on composition, and trying to be thoughtful. Plus we were overcast so the star shot count is way down. I've ended up with 146 edited. No, I'm not going to make you wade through all of them. At least not today.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. Reesor Ranch is amazing! A big shout out to Scott and Theresa for making us feel at home, providing great food and fabulous stories.

R1, the main building in sunset light.

R2, part of the view.

R3, more of the view.

R4, their cabin tucked away from it all.

R5, a wind break in sunset light. I suppose this could have gone in personal interest.

R6, more view.

R7, yet more view. I never get tired of the endless sky and the distant horizon.

R8, we had some morning fog on the last day. Old equipment in fog is cool.

R9, Another view of the main building in the fog.

The people of the tour are almost as much fun as the places we go. There's time to get to know them. I didn't get a chance to shoot everyone, it's more opportunistic than that. If I'm captured by the scenery, like at Red Rocks, I'll shoot that. If I've got the shots I want, I'm likely to start aiming at my trip buddies.

P1, our fearless leader, Neil. Pity about the photobombing car.

P2, Cam hard at it.

P3, Lancette posing for Heather.

 P4, Heather working on the pelicans.

P5, Neil rounding up the pelican hunters.

P6, Heather.

P7, Lorraine.

P8, Lancette trying ND filters.

P9, Caitlyn.

P10, Neil and his drone.

P11, Caitlyn and Lorraine. No, there's nothing in the pens, but there's a great leading line to a barn.

P12, The whole group contemplating a panorama shot. L to R, Valentina, Chris, Philip, Lancette, Tracey (almost hidden), Heather, Neil, Caitlyn, Lorraine, Cam. Bart is guarding the van to make sure the badger doesn't steal our snacks.

P13, Valentina. Yes, I know, this looks photoshopped. I assure you, not.

P14, Contrary to appearances, Bart is not banging his head against the Conglomorant Cliffs.

P15, Caitlyn, startled.

P16, Lorraine. She had been snoozing mere seconds before this.

P17, Caitlyn, chasing rainbows.

P18, Scotty, one of our hosts at Reesor Ranch.

Some of the stuff along the way that is trip related, in no particular order.

T1, a bridge about halfway along the way.

T2, Neil basking in the golden glow of sunset.

T3, the badger. 

T4, Red Rock Coulee. (I have many, many photos! A few are below. More will appear more periodically in my blog. I may have to start a rock of the day feature.)

T5, just another sunset.

T6, the view from Conglomorant Cliffs.

T7, the owls live near here, but my shots of them are not good.

T8, the Sandhills. Look for Cam down in the bottom left for a sense of scale. (Hint, if you've got a chunk of wall 6 x 1 foot or so, or some multiple of that, this would print out in stunning detail.)

T9, taken through the window of a moving van, believe it or not. Shortly after this, the best line from the whole trip happened. "This van smells like wet photographer."

T10, a sunrise.

T11, one of the pelicans.

T12, a crossover photo. I guarantee everyone in the group saw this, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one that took a photo of it.

Some of my personal interest photos. Often I'm the guy wandering away from the group, looking in the other direction, shooting things nobody else will. At Red Rocks, I forgot time. Suddenly I looked around and wondered how long it had been. I was almost expecting Neil to break out his drone and buzz me to herd me back to the van.

PI1, some hay bales near the first bridge above. I could have stayed here a while longer, looking for composition. Normally such bales are piled neatly. Tumbled about is much more interesting.

PI2, we think this is Neil's secret map to interesting.

PI3, some flowers growing in a crack of a red rock.

PI4, another view from Conglomorant Cliffs.

PI5, another pretty flower. I think they're called Shooting Stars. There were some wild crocuses as well.

PI6, part of the view near Fox Valley. 

PI7, the first view of the Sandhill.

PI8, I was having a tough time finding photos on the sandhill. The light was kind of flat, making it hard to find shadows to show the ripples. Then I found the lee side, where the sand is gradually burying the plants.

PI9, one of my favourites.



PI12, I think this is my best shot from the Sandhills.

PI13, a red rock, with my small camera bag to give a sense of scale.

PI14, some of the detail of the rocks. The potential for close up and macro shots is incredible! So many rocks, so little time.

To replace the Driftwood of the Day feature, here's the drylands version.