Sunday, July 31, 2016


FOOSH - That's what the doctor at the mediclinic wrote on my form. I had to look it up when I got home - it stands for Fall Onto OutStretched Hand.

We had one last paraglider flight at Woodside (near Chilliwack) before heading home. I was happy that I finished with a good clean launch, a nice flight, and a good no-step landing.

On the way home, we decided to see if we could get in a flight at Revelstoke. We had a couple of flights here last summer and really enjoyed it - almost 6000 feet of vertical and beautiful scenery. At first it didn't look too promising since there were huge afternoon thunderstorms. But the next morning was nice and sunny and there were a whole bunch of pilots flying. Frustratingly, I botched my first launch attempt, and while I got off ok the second try it wasn't elegant. It was probably a combination of uneven sloping ground and nerves from the intimidating location and the audience.

I had a good flight and arrived with lots of altitude over the landing zone. My aging eyes have a hard time seeing windsocks from up high and it wasn't till I was quite low that I realized I couldn't see which way the windsock was blowing because it was hanging straight down. With no head wind to slow me down I misjudged the landing a little and overshot the end of the mown area, landing just past in tall grass and weeds. The landing was soft enough but I couldn't step forward in the tall grass and went forward onto my knees. It was no big deal since the grass was soft, but obviously I snagged my left thumb on something.

We finished driving home and got back to Saskatoon the next afternoon. My thumb was sore and swollen, but there wasn't much bruising so I didn't think it was too serious. But I looked it up online and it sounded like it should be checked out. (It's known as "skier's thumb", a common injury from falling with ski poles.) So I stopped at a mediclinic with x-ray facilities. Luckily it wasn't too busy. At first the doctor didn't think it was too bad, but then the x-rays showed a piece broken off the bone and displaced.

I saw the plastic surgeon on call the next morning after fasting in case they decided to operate. Thankfully that didn't happen since he figured the ligament wasn't too bad.

So now I have 6 weeks in a cast/splint hoping that it heals well. And then some work to regain strength and flexibility. At least it's my left hand (and I'm right-handed). Meanwhile, no paragliding or climbing for me for the next while :-( I'm kicking myself and feeling a little bummed out, but considering this relatively minor injury is the worst I've had in my life of adventures, I can't complain too much.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Another Revelstoke Sunset

Hard to believe I hadn't taken a single photo on this trip till now. More focused on paragliding I guess. We're on our way home and stopped overnight in Revelstoke. Like last time, I looked out the window, saw the sunset, and grabbed my camera. It was a little challenging getting a clear shot of the sky through the trees. The clouds were the remains of afternoon thunderstorms. We're hoping to get in a paraglider flight in the morning before the storms develop again.




See all 8 photos as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Photos of the Day

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere
- Van Gogh

water lily

A couple more photos taken by the pond at work.


I'd say this is a dragonfly rather than a damselfly since it's resting with its wings open and its eyes cover most of the head. Possibly a Ruby Meadowhawk based on color and black triangular markings on abdomen. It was a cooperative subject, landing on the chair beside me and letting me get close with the camera.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

On the River

A few photos from kayaking on the river last weekend. Not very many since it poured with rain for part of the time and my camera stayed in its drybag! On the other hand, the dramatic clouds made good photographic subjects. Not as many birds on the river as in the spring, but there are still a few ducks with ducklings, maybe from second nestings?

momma and ducklings

momma and ducklings

clouds, river, paddlers


There were some good reflections with the contrast between sunshine and dark clouds, but I didn't have as much luck capturing them.

clouds reflected in river


See all 10 photos as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Print of the Week

“The earth laughs in flowers.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Something colorful to liven up a mostly gray day. Quite an outlandish color scheme of purple and orange and green, I love it!


I also took some shots looking straight down, which can sometimes be interesting, but in this case I didn't like it as much. It also has a more distracting background. The above photo had the out of focus side of the house as a background (which was light blue but I desaturated it to emphasize the color of the flower)


A few days earlier and they didn't have the orange. Still pretty but not as colorful.


And plenty more flowers where these came from.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Bugs of the Week

Mourning cloak butterfly

I'll start with a butterfly since that's one of the few bugs people seem to like. ("bug" in the informal sense, not "true bugs" or Hemiptera.) I haven't taken too many butterfly photos lately. In the warm summertime they tend to be too active and don't sit still. When this one landed on the table beside me I didn't think it would stay, but for some reason it hung around patiently while I took a bunch of photographs. I think it's a Mourning Cloak butterfly, one of the more common ones here. And I think this older photo of mine is the corresponding caterpillar (aka Spiny Elm caterpillar).

Dragonflies, or in this case I think a damselfly, are also somewhat acceptable bugs to most people. Especially since they eat mosquitos :-)


In the next photo you get a better view of the wide set eyes. A bit like a Hammerhead shark, another hunter.


The damselflies were also busy having sex. It looks like one has laid eggs (red dots) down its body, perhaps to be fertilized by the other one?

damselflies mating

The eggs hatch into nymphs that live in the water. This is the longest stage in their life cycle, in some species lasting multiple years. The nymphs are predators like the adults. Finally, the nymphs crawl out of the water and emerge from their skin as dragonflies/damselflies. Here's the left over skin of one:

dragonfly nymph skin

This next one looks a bit like a giant mosquito, but I think it's a Crane Fly. Confusingly, but understandably, these are also sometimes known as Daddy longlegs, like the Harvestman "spiders" (which are technically arachnids, not spiders)

Crane fly

I'll start with a gentle introduction to the last, much less loved type of bug. Can you spot the crab spider waiting in ambush in this flower. Bees beware!

spot the crab spider

This one didn't have such a good hiding place, but it still blended in quite well on this wild rose.

crab spider on wild rose

I hadn't seen too many fishing spiders lately, but the last few days there have been a couple of big ones in one of the usual spots. You can clearly see its eight eyes (like most spiders have).

Fishing spider

One of them was carrying/guarding its egg sac. It was more skittish and I didn't get a very good photo.

fishing spider with egg sac

Sunday, July 03, 2016


Despite being an invasive and "declared a noxious weed", I still like the color and pattern of thistle flowers. (I think these are Nodding thistles.)


They're also quite interesting as they open.



And a similar color but different thistle (maybe Canada thistle, a strange name for another invasive)