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Archive for the ‘novascotia’ Category

I had been working hard all day, and as I left the office we were getting thunderstorms just east of the city. I was hoping they would continue in that direction, as I had no rain gear. There’s one thing about Halifax; if you’re a pedestrian, you see some strange and interesting sights. This is partly because it is a university town, combined with a naval base, combined with a fishing village, and combined with a mix of Scots, English, Acadians, and African Americans, who had all emigrated to Nova Scotia hundreds of years ago. Also, port cities are inherently interesting because of those who visit.

This day there was an American carrier visiting called the Wasp (after the famous World War II ship), and it was also the night of a high school prom. The first thing I noticed on my way home was a nice old Ford (from the 1910’s) with dear old dad (from the 1950’s) driving the kids (born in the late 1980’s), who were appropriately dressed for the gay 90’s (1890’s) in this year of Our Lord 2007.

Then I saw a sign in front of a stylish and brash clothing store catering to the university crowd.

Eye-catching
The store, called the Peepshow, always has unique and flirty advertisements. You should see some of their mannequins.

Then I boarded the ferry to cross the harbour, and I had a nice view of the Wasp from a distance.

Silva Wasp
The “Tall Ship” Silva passed near the USS Wasp, an amphibious assault ship. The Wasp was in town doing joint security exercises with Canada, and is extremely versatile. For example, it can provide medical care for up to 600 people, can handle flight operations for many aircraft, and can land or load massive amounts of people or equipment almost anywhere.

I've got an idea
Then I saw the small tour boat/bus called the Harbour Hopper (the green boat just to the right of the carrier) much nearer the ship. Then a light-bulb flashed in my head, and when I stopped blinking I went to get a ticket for the Hopper.

Ribbit
The Harbour Hopper is a LARC-V from the Vietnam era converted into a tour bus/boat. It was originally designed to carry up to 5 tons of cargo, and can navigate through 3 metre waves when landing or going into the water. It’s also quite annoying for residents of Halifax, with the tour guide blaring cute anecdotes about the city and history of same, and with the passengers waving to all and sundry. Normally I wouldn’t go near the monstrosity, but I wanted to get close to that ship!

Screwy wheels
Here is what we depended on for locomotion in the aqueous realm. The screw is linked to the wheel drive-shaft, and both turn at the same time, even in the water. The LARC can putter along at about 16 km/h in the water.

Last one in is a rotten egg
After a quick tour of the town and Citadel Hill (I actually learned a few interesting things, and it was late enough and gloomy enough from the looming storm so that we weren’t bothered much by waving) we headed for the ramp leading into the water. Having seen these boats zoom straight into the water, I knew how high a splash they could raise. I had to get a shot of the splash. However, we were all forced to say “Ribbit” very loudly as we went into the harbour. It was very traumatising, and not very complimentary to Kermit, who I have always respected.

Right of Way
We started heading up the harbour towards the carrier USS Wasp. Like on regular streets, you keep to the right. We were scrupulous about observing the rules of the road, as were other boats when they stopped staring at us. The LARC rode the water very well, and had little trouble with the waves from other ships and boats.

Bare Sticks
There were a number of tall ships in the harbour recently. These are the masts of two ships from Brest. In the old days the harbour would look like a denuded winter forest.

Guest from Brest
This is one of two ships visiting from Brest. She looks more like a vessel designed for an inland sea like the Baltic than an ocean-going vessel.

Size matters
Two lookouts and a US Coast Guard helicopter on the flight deck, after a hard day’s work. They really helped me to appreciate the true scale of the ship. If one of them had fallen overboard, just hitting the water wrong would either have seriously injured or killed the person falling.

Perspective
The USS Wasp is about 840 feet long and the flight deck is about 100 feet wide. Plenty of room for four US Football games, or 3.5 Canadian games.

Look up, look way up.

From a distance
Except for the American nuclear carriers, the Wasp is one of the largest vessels in the American Navy.

Sundown on Thunderclouds
There were some storms east of town, but luckily not a drop fell in town, and I had an uneventful walk the rest of the way home.

If you try hard enough, you can always keep from being bored.

a quickr pickr post

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There were small Blues and Big Blues, Wide Blues and Narrow Blues,

Fast Blues and Slow Blues,

Running Blues, Jogging Blues, Walking Blues and Dancing Blues.

Red Blues, White Blues, Dark Blues and Light Blues,

Happy Blues, Sad Blues, Angry Blues and those with the blues.

Marathon Blues, Half Marathon Blues, 10k Blues and 5k Blues,

and there were even Relay Blues and the Children’s Blues.

I realised that the annual Blue Nose Marathon was taking place today, and for a lark and also because it was pouring rain so that pursuing my normal photographic preferences was out of the question, I decided to have a look. Not wanting to be caught in the crowds near the finish nor the starting lines, I went to the MacDonald Bridge, where the Marathon and 10k runners would cross about halfway through their respective ordeals. There were very few spectators there, and I could walk around at will. It also turned out that the rain let up enough to allow me to take a few photos.

The 10k runners came first, because the marathoners had to circle downtown twice before crossing the bridge. The first few came in fast, and there was at least one woman in the top ten. Then a few minutes later the bridge started rumbling, and a sea of mostly red t-shirts moved towards me. I hid behind the railing, and saw a vast assortment of people walking, running, jogging, Nordic walking, and skipping with jump-ropes come towards me. They ranging in age from 6 months to over 70 years old, from anorexic to those over three hundred pounds, and were wearing (not all at the same time) shorts, at least one skirt, tights, jeans, oilskins, many colors of shirt, and some very strange hats. Most were sopping wet, but all the recreational and some of the competitive runners had grins plastered on their faces.

After the mob had moved through for their loop around Dartmouth, the marathoners started coming through. The leaders were 4-5 men, most of whom were in the 40+ age range. Then there were three women, followed by some more men. I heard later that when they crossed back over the bridge the women were still doing very well. This may be further evidence that women can approach or exceed male performance in the logest endurance events. The fact that about 7500 people participated may make this a statistically significant sample. Good on ya!

Newfoundlanders placed fairly high in the middle distance events. In the 10k run Aubrey Sanders from Corner Brook came in fourth behind three Nova Scotians led by Tyler Germani of Cape Breton with a 3:44 pace, and in the half marathon William Fitzgerald of Carbonear came in second behind Shawn Brady of Toronto with a 3:40 pace. But in the full marathon the highest placing from Newfoundland was Stephen Hunt from St. John’s in 32nd place, and Monica Kidd from the same town in 56th place.
Anyway, here are some shots taken by me with my wet camera, in low light of people moving fast (and slow). They had fun running, and I had just as much fun standing there and watching them run. It almost makes me want to switch from swimming and cycling to running. Almost!

Incoming

Incoming

Something worth chasing?

Something worth chasing?

Flying High

Flying High

Chauffeured

Chauffeured
“I love exercise. I could watch it all day.”-Russell

“I love my dad. He takes me and my little brother on a 10 km trip so I can see all these people sweating and staggering and turning all these strange and interesting colors…”

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

Cool Runnings

Cool Runnings

He just hadda wear shades…

Reeling Home

Reeling Home

Perfect Cadence

Perfect Cadence

Determination

Determination
He was doing the 10 km version of the race, and he was passing some of the other runners.

Second last climb

Second last climb

Soxy Sox

Soxy Sox

Some people dare to be different, and some have a lot of fun doing it.

Latin Beat

Latin Beat

I guess the maracas helped to keep the beat?

Friendly and Happy

Friendly and Happy

“Come on, Mom! We’re almost there!”

“….yes, dear….”

“Pardon me, Miss.”

He wasn’t the oldest person there by any stretch of the imagination.

a quickr pickr post

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Here are some random images from the area around Peggy’s Cove taken in the last few weeks. It is pretty similar to home, and I like wandering around. Occasionally there are some half decent waves, as well.

Happy Birthday,  Heather!
I found this on the barrens east of Peggy’s Cove. It was an iron sculpture in the shape of a flame standing exposed on a large erratic. I have no idea who made it, why it was made, or when it was made. It is a solid orange-red with rust.

Frosting on the Cake

Egyptian Tuckamore

On Castors
This Erratic had the most rocks and pepples supporting it.

Peggy's Cove From the East

Shed in Gold

Dawn Light on the Light

The Mirrormere

Jade and Whitewater
Still plunging, but with a nice wall of spray generated. Some of the water is being accelerated at 10-100 times the force of gravity as it is bounced upwards.

href=”http://flickr.com/photos/rexton/sets/72157600018333462/show/”>slideshow.

Jade and Foam
2/3rds through the plunge

href=”http://flickr.com/photos/rexton/sets/72157600018333462/show/”>slideshow.

About to Plunge
This is called a plunging breaker (the ones surfers like). This and the following picture were taken with identical settings.

There were some nice waves breaking on the coast on Sunday. I’ll be putting up some images for the next while; I took more nice ones than I had thought.

Plunging
The front edge is accelerating downwards very fast. The shutter speed was okay for the previous shot, but the edge is moving too fast here. I still liked the effect too throw this out.

There were some nice waves breaking on the coast on Sunday. I’ll be putting up some images for the next while; I took more nice ones than I had thought.

Breakwater
I was driving along the coast and the wall of whitewater rising over the breakwater caught my eye. It was 20-30 feet high, judging by the 15 foot high breakwater.

Prospect's  Sunrise
Looking from Peggy’s Cove towards Prospect. ‘Prospect’s Sunrise’ On Black

Fisheye

Steel Dawn

A Minor Reflection
‘A Minor Reflection’ On Black

Gold Headlands
‘Gold Headlands’ On Black

Tending the Nets
‘Tending the Nets’ On Black
Fishermen from Peggy’s Cove heading around the point to tend a net. They put one person in each of the skiffs around the net to help handle it. They really stood out against the lowering horizon.

Reflections on the Weather
‘Reflections on the Weather’ On Black
There was a storm approaching, and I thought there was a bare chance of catching the sunrise before it clouded over. I did make it, but within half an hour it was dismal and intermittent showers started.

a quickr pickr post

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About a month ago I needed to break away from school and work. I rented a car and wandered south along the coast. I was hoping for some nice pictures, but the weather and sky didn’t really cooperate. However, I made the best of things and kept my eyes open. Here are a few of the things that made the trip worthwhile.

First I drove towards Peggy’s Cove, hoping to get there before sunrise. As I passed a lake, I saw the dawn blazing on the clouds and reflected on the lake ice.

Cold Reflections of Dawn

When I made it to the Cove it was mostly cloudy, but the sun peaked through nicely three times, allowing me to shoot these.

The first image was sunrise through the clouds.

Prospect's  Sunrise

The second was when the Cove became sunny for a few minutes, and there were little ice pans from the upper part of the bay.

Fisheye

The third and final sunny image was a silhouette I saw as I was leaving the cove.

Steel Dawn

As I drove around the Bay I stopped at Northwest Harbour, a picturesque little harbour surrounded by hills, and well known for its colourful boats. However, what drew my eye that day was the quietness and the calm of the water.

Sunday Reflections

When I made it to Mahone Bay I found this little park on an island with a path around it. The bay was pretty calm, and the overcast sky had little clouds below the main deck reflecting on the bay. Just looking out on the bay would reduce your blood pressure, and I came away fairly relaxed.

Cold Lunch

Then I drove up the side of the LaHave River, which is about the size of the Humber River in Western Newfoundland, and which usually freezes up every winter. As I drove along I saw a rainbow conglomeration ice fishing tents and shacks on the water, which I had never seen home in Newfoundland when I grew up; we’d just cut holes in the ice and wander back and forth between the holes, and occasionally we’d make a fire on the ice to keep warm. In this case there was a seemingly semi-animate tree observing the activities of the strange hominids who would willingly sit on the ice for hours in temperatures near -15 C.

Huorn perplexed by human recreational practice.

Further down the river I saw an iceboat, which I had only seen once before. It was scooting along in a brisk breeze at about 60 kph, and I was driving along the river road at the speed limit trying to keep up. Then I found the boat’s home base and parked, trying to get a non-blurred image whenever the boat came close enough to shoot. It looked like a lot of fun, but when I fall out of a boat I’d rather fall into liquid water, and I’d also prefer my watercraft not to have three huge blades attached. However, these boat can easily exceed 100 kph, and if you like speed, they have plenty of it.

Breezing along at 70 kph.

While I was sitting in the car and shooting (to avoid the cold) I noticed a Merganser Duck in the water near the shore. It wasn’t looking at me, so I carefully egressed the vehicle and tried to get closer. I wasn’t careful enough, and he lit out like a bat out of a Persian Hell (i.e. cold), but I did get this snapshot.

Takeoff!

Finally I headed back, and one of the sights that I enjoyed on the way home was of the shore-fast ice in the upper bays.

Tied up for the Evening

Finally I came back into town relaxed and refreshed, except for a sore posterior from sitting in a care for over eight hours. Despite the bad lighting I saw some unique things, hiked around a bit, and just enjoyed the day. Maybe I’ll get out again before the spring breakup, and maybe conditions will be nicer this time.

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Normally when shooting pictures at night I don’t go beyond 15 second exposures, since my camera has a wide lens and this works great with any ambient light. Last night I was driven to experiment. I found out that I need a better camera, and that there are situations where you shouldn’t use one.

Yesterday, mumbling monkey sent out a head’s up about the Leonids meteor shower. Last night was the only possible night for good shooting, starting near 12:45 am AST and lasting about 2 hours. I decided to try to catch them, as this year was supposed to be better than average. If conditions turned out too cloudy, I could always take night shots from the area.

I went west of Halifax, since the sky looked clearer there. When I reached Peggy’s Cove it was a bit too cloudy, so I shot pictures of the harbour, the lighthouse, etc. Then about 11:30 pm I looked up. The sky was blazing with stars above and to the northwest, and there was no moon. However, to the east, where the greatest activity was expected, there was too much sky glow from Halifax, and it was still cloudy. There was also some cloud directly to the north.

After 2 seconds of considered thought, I jumped into the car and drove west to Mahone Bay. I planned to check the sky there, and if it was clearer inland I’d scoot north about 20 km to get away from the coastal communities and their Christmas lights (yes, it has started already). Otherwise, I’d try the coast and hope that I could find a dark enough area along the coast. Near Chester, the odds looked pretty favourable inland.

Driving north for about 10 minutes got me to a side-road with a view to the east, and there was almost no light in sight. There was some cloud on the horizon, but I decided to chance it. It was mostly clear , cold but calm, and a car would pass every 5-10 minutes; good enough. I set up my tripod, aimed the camera, and acclimatised to the light.

Then I looked up. I could see the Milky Way, and the stars were so numerous it was hard to pick out the Big Dipper. I was eventually able to pick out Orion’s Belt and orient myself, but in order to find the Big Dipper, I needed a bit of light to reduce the sensitivity of my eyes. Some of the stars seemed in colour, and this was verified later in a photo I took.

For the next while I sat on the car in total silence and looked up and to the east. I was miles from anyone, there were no animal noises, the air was calm and cold, and the endless detail in the moonless sky mesmerised me for over half an hour. I only saw a few streaks from meteors burning up, but the incredibly beautiful welkin and the utter stillness of the world brought me peace.

After starting to shiver so much that the stars blurred (making the Milky Way look more milky) I left and drove home along the empty road and highway. The pictures below don’t do justice to the sky, and I didn’t take many anyway.

Over the Edge
Over the Edge
A rock at Peggy’s Cove. The light on the rock is from the lighthouse, and I tried my first long exposure (the rock looked much darker to me).

O’Ryan

O'Ryan

Great Bear to Polaris
Great Bear to Polaris

Can you pick out Polaris using the Pointers?

a quickr pickr post

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A while ago I had an early morning free, and I’ve wanted to take pictures along the coast near dawn. However, that morning a storm was coming in, and the satellite image from Environment Canada showed cloud already almost too far east. I took a chance and raced out to the cove I wanted to shoot.

I lucked out; there was cloud overhead, but there were many holes off to the east. These conditions are often the best for shooting sunrises. To top it off, the wind was almost calm, the rain under the cloud approaching from the west was making a very dim rainbow, and a fishing boat was heading out for the morning chores. The area was almost totally deserted, and the morning light was glorious. The images below don’t do justice to it.

The rest of the day was rain, drizzle, and fog, but the dawn was worth it. I think you’ll recognise the location.

Morning on the Rocks

Red Green Reflection

Dawn Breaking Over the Rocks

Dawn Light and Green Light

Gold Headlands

The View East From Peggy's Cove

A Minor Reflection

Reflections on the Weather
There was a storm approaching, and I thought there was a bare chance of catching the sunrise before it clouded over. I did make it, but within half an hour it was dismal and intermittent showers started.

Tending the Nets
Fishermen from Peggy’s Cove heading around the point to tend a net. They put one person in each of the skiffs around the net to help handle it. They really stood out against the lowering horizon.

Rain Clouds
There were rain clouds approaching from the west. I have seldom seen a rainbow in the morning, partially because it is usually overcast when rain approaches, and partially because I’m either up too late or in the wrong place.

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Over the last few days there have been intermittent power outages around town. The weather has been pretty calm but wet, so we were in a quandary as to the reason(s) why. The official explanation from the power company was salt on the lines, which when combined with rain, drizzle, or fog created a conductive fluid. This fluid would supposedly short out lines and/or transformers in an unpredictable and irregular pattern around town.

Given the massive wind storm last weekend to deposit said salt, and the rainy and drizzly weather this week, then maybe it is possible. However, in my experience most such events would usually be associated with both wind and rain.

What does this have to do with cameras? Hair hangeth a tail.

Yesterday around 6 p.m. I was in my office trying to finish coding a storm surge model for St. John’s Harbour. I have an interior office in a 1970’s concrete monolith named the Life Sciences Building. The name may be due to the fact that this structure is so damp, dark, and dismal that it is a scientific miracle that higher forms of life ever get any work done. The mold is doing fine.

Just before I saved the file the power went out. Suddenly I couldn’t see anything, including the chair I was sitting in. Normally I have a little Swiss Army Card with a red LED light, but of course I left it home yesterday (it is in my pocket today, and no power outages yet…). It was also pitch dark outside. So do I have something for light, or can I feel my way past numerous students to the egress? some of the other students were using their cell phones, which actually worked surprisingly well.
Then I remembered my camera.

  • When I turned it on, the LCD screen made a good close-up light.
  • Pressing the shutter part-way down gave a reasonable orange light from the range-finder, which lasted a few seconds, and allowed you to see 10-15 feet. There was the added advantage that you could maintain a bit of night vision.
  • If you switched it over to the 10-second self-portrait option, you’d get a blinking orange light for (you guessed it) 10 seconds.

Then of course there was the big gun. The flash would light up everything, you could blind your friends, and this helped you avoid retribution. Of course your batteries would die faster.

Of course, just after figuring all this out, the power came back on, the main-frame computers were down until the CSs came back this morning, and most of my group was heading to the pub.

And the strangest thing in retrospect was that I took no pictures with the lens cap off, after coming up with all these ways to say “Let there be Light”.  Another day in the city who’s electrical system still hasn’t totally recovered from Hurricane Juan.

😦

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