Last year around this time my good friend the family man took me cruising on his classic Honda CM400T motorbike. She’s uncomfortable, slow, hugs the road like, well, she doesn’t. Thankfully, this year she was replaced by a nice little Kawasaki 650.
The first time we went for a ride I wore my most bike-friendly outfit that wasn’t shorts and sandals – jeans, which just happen to be on the skinny side, Nike running shoes that I bought on sale in Switzerland, a t-shirt and high visibility vest. When I saw the photos my buddy took of me, though, all I noticed was the shoes! Apparently all his work colleagues noticed the same because they all had a good-old laugh because of my outfit – so much so that I decided to make the most of those shoes when we went out riding again (with one of the work colleagues too this time.)
We rode out to Wells, 80km up the Barkerville Highway, on a sunny but cool afternoon, taking our time on the winding route. Arriving at around 6pm, we decided to grab a coffee and bite to eat at the Jack ‘O Clubs Restaurant on the main road. They seemed a touch busier than normal, and you could tell: the food took an age to arrive and was average at best. The coffee was hot but undrinkable. At least it helped to warm our hands.
One of the main reasons I’ve been shooting people so much recently is that I’m getting ready to shoot a wedding. And, to be honest, wedding photography is anything but my forté. And so I am practising. (Whatever you do, don’t tell the wedding party!)
Ah, just joking – they read my blog and know my abilities.
But I digress. Yesterday I shot a cute five-year-old, who kept bringing me flowers throughout the evening – red ones, yellow ones, white ones and blue ones – all of which I was instructed to cache in my pocket to plant in my garden when I got home.
“Do you know why I’m bringing you so many flowers,” she asked after depositing yet another posy in the palm of my hand.
She continued, before I even had a chance to respond.
“Because you live so far away, and I don’t get to see you much, so I need to give you enough to last you all the time you aren’t here.”
P.S. Trampoline hair makes for hilarious portraits. And, as I doubt whether I will get to shoot any trampoline hair at the wedding on Saturday, I got my fill with my little model yesterday! 🙂
You may have received an email from my blog recently, clicked on it, and been met with this:
I am sorry about that. You see, Learning to keep one’s head down on the relational battlefield (Part 1) was the first in what was to be a long series but, just after posting it, I had second thoughts. This was something that I experienced, which probably isn’t interesting in the least to the majority of you. You who follow this blog for its photographs and short accounts about interesting people and places I’ve come across.
The story I posted and then deleted is best left for those times around a barbecue where a friend asks, “I heard a funny story about you once having a stalker. What’s up with that?”
And then, because we are around a barbecue, with wine in hand, the story can take on a life of its own, and it may actually turn out to be more amusing and intriguing than it was in reality.
To make up for my faux pas, I’m leaving you with a few photos from a few weeks ago, just as Autumn was ready to make an appearance. We drove out along the Blackwater road to feed some horses, and then took a route home that I didn’t know existed. The mosquitoes weren’t too bad and the skies were breathtaking. Literally. 🙂
A few days ago I featured the photography of a teenager with whom I spent some time shooting the Billy Barker Days Carnival one Saturday evening recently. I showed her a few tricks in terms of what aperture to use, how to use the shutter priority mode to create movement in her photos, and photo framing.
I, on the other hand, had a tripod and so spent most of my time doing long exposures to create really cool effects – interesting images of common fairground attractions. Also, with all those lights around, I had to play with bokeh a bit too!
the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens.
Did I mention in yesterday’s blog post that my Vancouver friends live in Horseshoe Bay? Yes, the one from which many a ferry sails. Over the years I’ve visited them in two different homes, both of which overlook Howe Sound and Whytecliff Park.
This was my view from their balcony when I first arrived in Canada in 2013, jet lagged and disorientated:
They have since moved up the hill slightly, but the view is very much the same. This time around, having battled jet lag considerably better than my previous trips (and, therefore, being awake while everyone else was) I was able to enjoy a phenomenal meal with old and new friends and then join them down at Whytecliff itself later in the evening. I half considered cliff jumping with one of the sporty youngsters, but wisdom and memories of my cliff jumping in Madagascar stopped me. I just shot him, some of the others and the view instead. And did some cool edits later.
After he was done having fun, we moved down to the water, where I was in my element shooting in the evening light. I hate taking photos of the same things twice. Fortunately I won’t have to shoot at Whytecliff again, because the evening we enjoyed there was just about perfect.
Over two weeks ago I invited you to join me on my latest adventure Cruising Canuckistan, and then I promptly went quiet. One of the reasons was that I went camping with church friends a few days after writing that blog post (into wifi-less barren lands). What happened while there brought my blogging to a complete, grinding halt until now – but more on that next week. (I have in the meantime kept busy on Instagram with mostly iPhone photos.)
Here I am, though, ready to kick it off properly.
So, I arrived in Vancouver in the middle of July, and went to stay with friends I try to see whenever I’m in town. As I had shot the city itself a few times before, I asked what new sights they could introduce me to. One of those was the Sunshine Coast, which I think we explored on a Saturday afternoon.
We only boarded the ferry at Horseshoe Bay after 4pm, which seemed a bit bizarre to me, but with the long evening, that was plenty of time to drive from Langdale up the Sunshine Coast Highway a fair way and back again to take the last ferry home.
Of course, I was up to my old shenanigans, asking complete strangers if they would pose for me, and I managed to fling my entire camera bags’ contents down a flight of stairs on the ferry, but still captured some pretty cool shots! Apparently Nikons are hardy cameras.
Our first stop, in the too-bright-for-photos sunshine was Roberts Creek, and on the way back I got some magnificent sunset photos in and around Sechelt. Then, with the sun already set, the light on the ferry was absolutely phenomenal! But I’ll let you be the judge of that.
… you have to just jump in the car, drive where it leads, and pray for a sunset worth photographing (and you may even have some other subjects thrown in as a bonus.)
This evening was one such occasion, where my car led me out along Hydraulic road down to Nyland Lake Road where it crosses the river. I had my eye on the plunging fuel gauge and so turned back towards home without shooting anything until I arrived at my regular shooting spot – the Dragon Lake boat launch.
Again, the sky did not disappoint and the water was alive with things worth shooting – including several ducks, which posed willingly.
This weekend I was meant to be at home in my little town, driving an old car in our annual parade. Instead, I am in Edmonton where there just happened to be a parade on too. Unlike our parade, which runs for about 20 minutes, the Edmonton version seemed to go on for ever.
The parade launches K-Days, the 10-day exhibition, which has been running every year since 1879. The first parade took place in 1903. I’m sure it looked completely different to this year’s (of which we only had the stamina for about two-thirds.)
Click on images to scroll through bigger versions.
This morning we caught the bus down to the “K Days” parade in town. Afterwards we caught the train again, and then went for lunch at the Muttard Conservatory. The weather was pretty perfect – balmy but not overpoweringly summery. Here, just a few photos from the afternoon.
(Click on images for larger versions.)
Tree in a blanket
LRT (Light Rail Transit) station
Off kilter: Bay Enterprise Station
On the LRT (with no alcohol involved)
Lunch at the Muttart Conservatory
The Muttart Conservatory pyramids looking towards town
Some random odd couple on a bench (outside the Muttart)
It’s summertime, which means it’s softball time. Last week I went to watch the daughter of some friends playing. The cool thing was, when I asked how her team had done, she had no idea whether they had won or lost. Now, I believe in good competition and playing to win, but you must really be enjoying yourself if you don’t know whether you did or didn’t.
She got a few good hits, made it back home a few times and fielded well. I know I complain about the little critters, but the evening would have been pretty perfect if it hadn’t been for the infernal, ever-present mosquitoes!
And then, I’m really excited because we are due to start playing softball at church again every Sunday evening until the end of August. I had a blast playing last year, so I can’t wait for it to kick off in two weeks.
You will find that most of my photos recently have been taken in the evening. One reason is that I am not (traditionally) an early riser. I guess I should try to change that – if only for the dawn photos I could be getting. Another is that the light at this time of year simply lends itself to beautiful pics.
This evening as I left church a rainstorm was just passing. The dark storm clouds were still about and the sun was streaming enticingly across the parking lot from beneath the clouds. Over the years I’ve always encouraged budding photographers to keep their cameras with them at all times. “You never know what photographic opportunities you might miss with your camera safely packed away at home,” I would say wisely. But recently I’ve been the one leaving it at home. This evening wasn’t one of those times though, and so I decided not to go straight home but rather to see where my car led me.
That was firstly to Gook Road, then on to Legion Beach on Dragon Lake, downtown (across the Quesnel River) and finally back up to Cariboo Pulp and Paper. I underexposed several of these to try to enhance the mood. I also tried to get different angles of landmarks I’ve shot before (like the pulp mill and bridge.)
As usual, the bit of effort and petrol (or gas, as they call it in these parts) was worth it. Click on pics for larger versions.
Gook Road with rainbow
Boats, Legion Beach
Skew jetty, Legion Beach
The setting sun, Legion Beach
Quesnel River bridge
Quesnel River bridge from the bank, looking upstream
One of my favourite photos from my trip to the States and Mexico could really have been taken anywhere – if the light had been as perfectly golden as it was that afternoon in East LA. Of course, what makes it is that I shot straight into the setting sun – blowing out the exposure and colours. But, as I said, I love it.
And that was basically that as far as perfectly-posed shots went because she saw a kid in a window and her natural-self took over.
“Is there a specific reason,” you may ask. And no, there isn’t.
I’m thankful for so many things about my year in Canuckistan. It hasn’t been the easiest of years, that’s for sure, but it has been good. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made and the support of my family and friends back home. And, amazingly enough, many of those friendships (back home) have actually become stronger despite, and possibly because of, the distance.
I’m thankful for all I’ve experienced and the places I’ve got to explore and photograph.
But most of all, I’m thankful that my relationship with God has become deeper, more real and more enjoyable.
Last week I went out to a lake outside of town with some friends. Here are a few of the pics.
Yes it is. Summer. With glorious golden evenings, fisher-people fishing and mozzies reorganizing themselves into familiar kamikaze squadrons. The majority of these photos were shot on one of my cycling routes around Dragon Lake.