Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tall Shadows and Tall Trucks

I completed my first business trip with the new job. They sent me to Wild Rose Country: Clairmont, Falher and Vegreville.

The following is my photo essay. It was actually the perfect time of year to go to central Alberta. The leaves were still on the trees and the snow hadn't yet fallen. Well, OK, there has already been a big dump of snow in Calgary a couple of weeks ago, but it didn't stick, and I don't think it's snowed yet in the region in which I was traveling.

An aerial view of the Richmond Olympic skating oval.

This is the puddle-jumper I boarded to go from Calgary to Grande Prairie.

The Fall colours form quite an impressive pattern from this height.

I thought this region was known as the "Oil Patch", not the "Mud Patch".

Tall trucks and tall shadows.

Dawn as viewed from the 9th floor of the Paradise Inn in Grande Prairie.

Sunrise at 8:15 along on my way to Falher, Alberta.

That's my Hyundai rental car heading North along Highway 2 to Rycroft.

My assignment was to review a tire store in Falher. Lots of farm equipment gets re-tired here.

Little House on the Prairie?
This structure reminded me of Medicine Hat.
Morning sun reflecting from the dew delineated the high voltage lines against the dark clouds.

They're not exactly roaming the prairie wild and free, but this still scores as a buffalo sighting in Elk Island National Park on my way to Vegreville.

Frequently I saw this type of bird in and around the Edmonton/ Grand Prairie region. I think it's a variety of Jay. I'll have to look it up. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Extra Low Tide from June - part 2

I finally got around to photoshopping a few photos from June's extra low tide at Spanish Banks. I had wanted to level the horizon in many of my shots before posting, but it wasn't supposed to have taken this long. What's that old saying about life getting in the way?

Better late than never. I was having difficulty with my Elements program in June. After upgrading from Version 5.0 to 12.0 I'm now on the right track.

Below are Tannah's exploits out on the open sand, leash free!

I love the perspective of this shot. At first I didn't like that there were two tiny people in the background, but now it strikes me as rather Lilliputian. I mean, how big is this Spaniel anyway?

Tannah is teaching my wife her "Happy Dance". 

I don't think Tannah even realized that herons were out there; they were that motionless.
Out there on the sand it's quite a surreal perspective of the city.
Tannah always obeys the signs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Deer Lake

We checked off another local lake this past weekend; Deer Lake.

We'd been on Deer Lake once before, years ago, to rent a pedal boat, but I wasn't even aware that a trail circumnavigated the park.  So, on practically the hottest, most humid day so far this summer, and ironically one of the last days of summer, we set off with our dog to explore a local hidden gem.

It's a good thing we packed water for us and Tannah.  As we left the parking lot the temperature sensor in the car read 25 degrees, but on upon return 1-1/2 hours later, it was 29!

We didn't see any feline wildlife...
...but we did see amphibious life.
And plenty of dew-covered spider webs.
Although Tannah didn't get to chase anything, she still had fun.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sandwich Board

I saw the best sandwich board this past weekend. How's this for a mantra?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Driving Event

There's really no way to avoid an unintended product placement here. I attended a driving event today and the photos will definitely show it was sponsored by Mazda. But nonetheless, since I can't seem to shake this automotive addiction, just suffice it to say I was in my element and I had a blast getting an opportunity to drive a Miata, however brief it was.

The weather was picture-perfect, so...

I took a bunch of pictures.

Don't let the scowl fool you: I got to drive this car!  The sun was in my eyes!
Now I see what the bid deal is about Miatas.
I still like the styling of my 2010 '3' better.
A classic 1967 Cosmo was on display too. Apparently there are only 5 of these in Canada.

I like the new Miata's larger diameter wheels. They make the car seem less of a toy in comparison with other models.
I kinda scratch my head as to why anyone would install the removable hardtop in the summer.
Can't beat the last weekend of summer for a glider fight. It ties in well with the wings of the Mazda logo.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

UBC Canopy Walkway

What was your first impression of your first encounter with a suspension bridge? Was it at all un-nerving? If so, might it have been because of the mighty chasm over which it spanned?

UBC has recently added a new twist. It’s a suspension bridge through the mighty conifers of the UBC Botanical Garden. I was half expecting to find a red VW Bug dangling below it, midspan.

We checked it out last weekend and it’s quite an experience. Just make sure you’re a good distance away from any rambunctious youngsters intent on trampolining the suspended structure into the stratosphere. Fortunately I’m educated enough to know that such a structure is engineered with a very generous safety factor. 

Steel cables supporting the platforms are wrapped securely around the tree trunks.
This "peek-a-boo" artist provides some scale for the girth of the trees used for the platforms.

A bird's eye view.
One foot at a time...Don't look down! It's only 23 meters to the forest floor below. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Killarney Lake on Bowen Island

Last year my wife discovered a little spot previously unknown to her called Killarney Lake on Bowen Island. A friend of hers was visiting from Winnipeg and they decided to do a day trip to somewhere neither of them had been before. Afterwards she thought it would also make a perfect day trip for us to take our dog. She was right, of course. Tannah loved it! And me too.

After we finally found parking, that is. It was touch and go for awhile. The village of Horseshoe Bay was packed when we arrived last Sunday in this hot summer tourist season. We ended up parking at the top of the hill and walking down to the ferry. Our plan all along had been to walk on the ferry.

Once off the ferry the entrance to Crippen Regional Park is just up the hill. From there to Killarney Lake is about another half an hour, dependeing on your choice of routes.

Scenery is quite diverse along the trail, from fairly dense forest cover to a marsh with white bark trees (I never know if they're Alder, Birch or something else so I won't even bother to name them), some live, some dead. They made for a good photo op, none-the-less.

The lake itself is larger than I would have thought considering it's on an island. There was even a canoe launched while we snacked on granola in the shade. A couple of swimmers braved the weedy water too.

Tannah earned her nap. She was on sensory overload the whole way. All sorts of wild smells to process.

The highlight of the trip, however, was on the return leg. I don't know what made me stop at this certain place along the trail, but I turned and looked out at a tree across a small clearing. I must have seen motion. There was a thick shape on a low branch, and I guess it took me a second to process that it wasn't part of the tree. It was an owl! I was not at all prepared to see an owl in the daylight. I had thought they were nocturnal. Obviously not.


 According to the bird guide it's a Barred Owl. Check out the tail. And those eyes! They're kinda spooky actually. This particular owl was scoping out something below him in the foliage. I had time to snap a few frames before Tannah noticed the motion and went ballistic barking at it. Of course it flew away at that point.