Archive for January 2011
As mentioned yesterday, we spent the weekend in Jasper. For those of you who don’t know, Jasper National Park is on the east side of the Canadian Rockies halfway up the province of Alberta. In the winter, Jasper is the home base for skiers heading up to Marmot Basin. The skiing was fantastic!
There were no crowds (January appears to be a bit of a low season) so we barely waited for the lifts. If you go all the way to the top, it can easily take 20 minutes to ski down. There was a lot of low cloud cover on our first day, but the skies cleared on our second day to reveal the whole resort.
What I didn’t expect (and maybe I should have) was how many of the staff at Marmot Basin and in the Jasper hotels are Australian. Nearly half the people I spoke to or overheard were Aussies. There was even the odd Kiwi thrown in for a bit of diversity (fush and chups anyone?). I remember the same thing when we visited Whistler/Blackcomb some years ago.
I wonder if Australians are drawn to good skiing the world over. Or is there something particularly special about the Canadian Rockies that make them feel more at home? For me, it was a pleasure to hear the familiar accents.
Below is Pyramid Mountain, with an elevation of 2,766m. It is the highest peak near Jasper and provides a stunning backdrop to the town.
Technical details: ISO 100, F16, 1/100s, 32mm
Photoshop mods: Curves to enhance contrast
For most of my life, I have quite happily muddled through without the support of coffee or tea. My wife, on the other hand, has been a stronger supporter of the little black leaves soaking in the hot water. I never saw the appeal of tea. Who wants a mug of some milky tasteless hot water? Besides they always serve it in those tiny little girly cups!
Over the years, I’ve been encouraged by my wife to pick up tea drinking for it’s social aspects. I began to occasionally dabble, but didn’t really commit. At least, not until I encountered the great variety of laneway cafes so common in Melbourne. Since then, I became a big fan of having business meetings over a cup of tea. I even had my own tea pot at work with a bag of loose leaf tea.
We spent this past weekend in Jasper, a four-hour drive from Edmonton. There’s very little between here and there. Certainly there isn’t any good tea. This morning, our breakfast tea tasted like stale coffee. She at least tried to drink it. I didn’t get past a quick sniff.
On our way home, still in need of a hit of tea, we stopped to get my wife a cup at a rural service station. Half an hour later, she was still grimacing through this cup of tea because, apparently, even though “it tastes like paper, at least it’s hot”. It’s interesting how malleable our standards can be when we’re desperate.
I caught this photo this morning as we left Jasper. A herd of goats was stopped in the middle of the highway licking the salt off the road and this goat was keeping watch.
Technical details: ISO 100, F16, 1/100s, 100mm
Photoshop mods: Cropped
Having recently returned to Canada from a long stint in Australia, there were a few things that I missed and was looking forward to sampling once again. What I didn’t expect was that, without fail, I had adjusted my perspective and that thing that I once craved when it was not available to me, no longer held much interest.
It was primarily food and restaurants that I craved. Not that the food in Melbourne wasn’t great (it was!), but you sometimes crave the foods you grew up with. It seems that after seven years away, I’ve grown accustomed to their absence. Those restaurants that I once missed, I’ve now visited and found wanting without exception.
For me, at least, it seems that the old saying that you can’t go back appears true. Now, of course, I miss my Melbourne favourites.
Today’s photo is another monochrome macro because I’ve been receiving some positive feedback about those and who doesn’t appreciate kind words? This is condensation on our lounge window.
It seems this daily blog is challenging not only me, but also my hard drive. The goal is one photo per day, every day, but I take far more than just one photo, especially when I’m trying something like panning which usually takes a few tries to nail.
So far, in the past 23 days, I’ve generated nearly 20GB of RAW files, jpegs and PSDs. It doesn’t require a mathematician to tell me that this blog may consume more than 300GB before the 365 days are out. I think I may need a bigger hard drive…
As for today’s photo, I’m still enjoying the lensbaby.
7C in Edmonton in January? Seriously? Not that I’m complaining, I like it hot. Not that this is hot, but it’s a good 30 degrees warmer than a couple of weeks ago so it almost seems hot. We’ve set winter jackets aside for now. We’ve also set aside the electric blanket that we added to our bed when it got really cold back in November. It feels like spring.
Unfortunately the warm weather alternates with freezing temperatures overnight. Each morning the city closely resembles a skating rink – fun for pedestrians and drivers alike! Car accidents were up nearly four-fold yesterday and I know the odd person who took an unplanned ride on their backside! Perhaps all this warm weather isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
Our backyard snow fort is slowly melting and the walls are starting to tip over. I’d better get outside and make some repairs before the whole thing collapses.
Technical details: ISO 1020, F7.1, 1/30s, 100mm (with extension tubes)
Photoshop mods: Curves to increase constrast
Driving home from dropping the kids at school the other day, my wife told me that I need to find my “driving zen”. Bascially I need to relax and find my calm inner driver. I have to admit to a tendency, while driving, to grumble about each and every crazy driver (I swear it’s them, not me!) with whom I cross paths.
I’ve seen all manner of odd driving in Edmonton – driving on the wrong side of the road (both accidentally and intentionally), tailgating at high speeds, running lights, taking shortcuts over the medians and – my personal favourite – driving really slowly while talking on the phone. If I’m alone in the car, this sort of behaviour may occasionally trigger some shouting. This is, of course, with the windows up. The shouting is for my own benefit. It’s therapeutic.
So, perhaps her comment is fair. I do need to find my driving Zen. In the meantime, maybe I can just rig something up on my car to fling snowballs at the offending cars.
How much snow have we received in Edmonton? I’ve heard as much at 60.5 cm since January 1st. That doesn’t really sound like that much. Fernie (a ski resort in BC) says they’ve received more than 5 metres this year!
I’ve learned that to control run-off, recover sand and clear streets, Edmonton has five snow storage facilities where they pile mountains of snow collected from the city streets. They are currently predicting that these facilities will hold 2.4 million cubic metres of snow by the end of winter. That’s three times the average year. The snow is currently piled 25m deep. These mountains of snow will last through August (which is about when it will start getting cold again!).
Our snow storage facility out front is not quite so full, but we’re getting there.
Technical details: ISO 320, F4.0, 1/640s, 35mm
Photoshop mods: Shift to B&W, Highlight/shadow tool to restore snow texture