Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Print of the Week

seagull

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. 
- Aristotle

This was taken from the pier in Ventura, California (the home of Patagonia). It was quite windy and the gulls were soaring around. When they were flying into the wind towards the pier they were moving quite slowly relative to the ground and it was a little easier to catch them. For me it's always hit or miss whether I catch birds in flight and get them in focus etc. This one turned out quite well and the sun on the gull make it stand out against the sky. You can almost see the wings catching the air.

There are a few more gull photos in the album but this was my favorite.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

By the River

Last year's thistles, pairs of Canada geese, the sun bouncing off the river, bare trees, buds appearing, first butterfly, first frog, last ice.

thistle

canada geese

the weir

bare tree

buds

first butterfly

wood frog

ice

water under the bridge

See all 26 photos as a slideshow or overview

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Prairie Crocus

One of the sure signs of spring on the prairies is the appearance of the crocuses or pasque flowers. (actually an anemone not a crocus) They often appear even before the last of the snow is gone and their leaves don't appear to well after the flowers. They are generally limited to unbroken prairie where they grow in partnership with fungi in the soil. (which is destroyed by ploughing) I love their furry buds, purple flowers, and bright yellow stamens - a welcome splash of color among the drab brown of last years dead grasses.

crocus

crocus

crocus

crocus

crocus

See all 14 photos as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Print of the Week

Untitled

One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
- Henry Miller

This is another from our Kanchenjunga trek in the fall. It was taken on our rest day in Ghunsa, when we went for an early morning walk and I took lots of photos. The morning light was nice - golden sun on the hillsides, blue sky above, shade in the valley. It was a cool morning as you can see from the ice. This is another image that's almost abstract, but still recognizable.

See also another print from this same day.

See also other Print of the Week posts.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Walk About

After breakfast, for some reason I couldn't face sitting down at the computer. It surprised me a little because normally I don't even think about it, it's just what I do - either programming or editing photos or email or whatever. At the same time, I know I spend too much time staring at a screen.

So I went for a walk instead. It was a cold, gray, cloudy morning with a sprinkling of fresh snow. After our recent warm spell it was frustrating to return to what feels more like November than April. But there are always things to see and photos to take.

I decided I'd head over to Sutherland Beach for a change. Between the weather and the early morning and the choice of trails I managed to avoid most of the dogs and their walkers.

The photos are a random collection of whatever caught my eye, the river rippling and reflecting, the pigeons, dead leaves and grass, bales of hay, ice and rocks.

farm machinery

hay bales

ripples

pigeon

flowing water

ice

rocks by the river

See all 20 photos as a slideshow or overview


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Microflight

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. 
- Omar Khayyam

In the spirit of Alastair Humphrey's microadventures, I had a paraglider microflight the other morning.

It was a whopping 80 feet vertical off a high point along the river bank. (A big hill for the Saskatoon area!) The launch area was good but small - just enough room to lay out your glider between the bushes. We went out early at 7am, just after sunrise, to avoid strong winds (and spectators!). (I'm deliberately not saying where this was since there's no doubt some rule that says it's not allowed! As my father would say, the “stop its” are everywhere.)

It was a new experience to fly unsupervised. And not only at a new site, but a site no one had used before. That's not necessarily a good idea for beginners, but this was a tiny gentle slope with only a few bushes to worry about. In the summer you'd have to worry about possibly ending up in the river, but it's still frozen at the moment. We hung up some flagging tape at the top and bottom to check wind direction. We checked each others harness and glider. We talked through the launch and landing.

It’s similar to climbing with a guide versus on your own. Both involve the same activity, but when you’re on your own, suddenly there are many more things to deal with, decisions that you now have to make yourself, concerns that are now your responsibility. There is no one to correct you if you make a mistake or miss something. Scarier perhaps, but in the end more rewarding.

When you lay out the glider it's hard to believe that tugging on a few of the lines will suddenly turn this large expanse of floppy light fabric into a wing flying strongly overhead. Wonderful magic!

I pulled up the glider and was lucky enough to have it come up straight first time so I could turn and launch. The flight was just long enough to get clear of the slope, make a 90 degree turn, and then land on the ice at the edge of the river. The landing was fast (no head wind) and despite thinking ahead and wearing my Yaktrax I skidded on the ice and ended up on my butt (well padded thanks to the crash pad on the harness). It was still awesome :-)

Shelley had worse luck with the wind and after her glider ended up tangled in the bushes beside the launch she decided it wasn't worth the stress. I'm sure we'll be back and she'll have better luck.

I can't see flying here very much. The hill is too small for much of a flight, and not ideal for a "training hill". But it was definitely fun to do, and a good chance to get out before forgetting everything!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring is Coming

Sunday morning early I headed out to Cranberry Flats since it looked like such a beautiful morning. It's been a while since I've been here. When I was a kid my family used to come out here all the time. We'd walk the dog, my father would take photographs, I'd catch garter snakes and frogs, my mother would let us talk her into wading across to sandbars or the island. It's a little more developed these days with a real parking lot (albeit full of potholes) and boardwalks but otherwise it hasn't changed much.

There was another photographer out there with a long telephoto lens on his camera looking for birds. I don't think he found much except for the Canada Geese. He spotted a couple of coyotes crossing the river but I couldn't pick them out. I didn't have my long lens and I settled for smaller subjects, enjoying the play of early morning light on the frost and plants.

frost

Watch out for the rose bushes!

rose thorns

The frost on the river ice was fascinating when you looked at it close up.

frost

I'm a fan of back light, love how it shows the details of the leaves in this next shot.

Untitled

I was also playing with abstract images from deliberately out of focus shots.

unfocused

unfocused

It's always good to see (and hear!) the geese returning in the spring.

Canada geese

These were taken with my older K5ii since Pentax has my newer K3 again. They don't seem to be having much luck trying to fix it :-( I was using my Sigma 18-250 macro lens which has replaced my old Tamron 18-250. Some of the newer versions have upped the range to 16-300 but they're bigger and heavier.

See all 31 photos as a slideshow or overview