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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

As everyone in Atlantic Canada knows, this has been an unusual fall. It was fairly innocuous and pleasant until Post-tropical Storm Noel hit in November, immediately followed by a mix of rain and snow (I wish it had been a bit less post and a bit more tropical). Then winter hit a “little” early, with frequent flurries and temperatures that rarely made it above -5 C. Then we got this week’s weather. Things started warming up until today it broke plus 10 in places, a fair amount of rain fell, then it cleared up this afternoon and was amazingly sunny, with brisk (to a Newfoundlander) winds and temperatures staying above zero.

The nice thing for me was that the storm gave half decent waves along the Atlantic coast, so I rushed to Peggy’s Cove after work. Except for the wind blowing sea spray directly onto my lens when shooting straight at the waves, it was perfect. I finished around 4:40 pm, then drove back to town. Things had become strangely calm, with very little traffic, almost nothing open (except video stores and movie theatres, of course). The sense of calmness and serenity was wonderful.

I went home, downloaded some of the images from the Cove, and present them as one view of an Atlantic Canadian Christmas. Happy and peaceful holidays, and may your New Year’s resolutions be little ones.

Looking Out the Entrance

Looking Out the Entrance
The Gulls were really active, since the waves had stirred up the ocean.

In the Cove

In the Cove
Bad waves almost never make it into the Cove. Today there were 4-5 metre waves outside the cove and pounding on the entrance.

Crash

Crash
Tip: Don’t shoot directly into the wind, unless you like spray on your lens…I wanted this shot so much I tried it anyway.

Broken rock

Boroken rock
The large flat rock near the centre was broken off the ledge in the foreground. I estimate that it weighs on the order of 120 metric tonnes.

Boom

Boom

Smash

Smash
Best Viewed Large. Note the chunk gouged out of the rock in the foreground. This comes from Noel in November. There was a lot of damage in the Cove.

Sunset

Sunset
Along the Coast

Along the Coast
The entrance to the Cove is just beyond the little red shack. This coast is full of rock ledges and often has a lot of wave activity.

 The Evening Light

The Evening Light
I know it is cliche, but the light was very nice.

Again, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and Happy Quanza, Hannukah, and Chinese New Year (coming soon). Given the recent weather, I’m just as happy with a warm and dry Christmas.

a quickr pickr post

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I have certain views on this Scottish idiosyncrasy , and as a result I think I have one (1) golf picture on my flickr site. Imagine my bemusement when I was invited to add my image to Great Golf Pictures, and I am now a Great Golf Pictures Award Winner! I think it is honest to say that the picture below reflects my feelings about this. Have a nice day, and keep golf in the family.

Archie Bunker

Archie Bunker

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A few weeks ago I took a two hour cruise (therefore no Gilligan-type problems) on a ketch that turned out to be more colourful than usual. We sailed from Lunenburg Harbour out to the Ovens and back (this is on the Southwestern Shore of Nova Scotia). The wind was light but steady, and we made fairly good time.

It reminded me of how much I like sailing. Maybe I’ll get a boat.

Romantic Sunset
Two retirees enjoying the light.

Heat Shimmers
Sailing Dory reaching back into the harbour.

Cirrus Streamers

Captains Courageous
Sailing as far into the wind as possible in order to round the lighthouse.

Clearing Battery Point
Clearing Battery Point on the return leg.

Final Run
Sailing towards the berth.

Wakes
Wake of the ship and the Moon.

Twilit Silhouette

a quickr pickr post

Master of all she surveys.

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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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Flashearth

This is yet another application for looking at the Earth, similar to the satellite images on Google Maps and including same, but also including aerial photography, Microsoft VE, Yahoo!Maps, Ask.com, Openlayers, and the wonderful NASA Terra images.

I started at the world view, then drilled down to Newfoundland, then the Avalon, then St. John’s, and finally down to the small boat basin near the Narrows. I was able to identify fishing boats, figured out it was mid-morning from the shadows, and could see it was fairly breezy when the aerial photo was shot (from the waves in the harbour).  You can also rotate the images. However, to capture an image you need to do a screen capture, and this application isn’t quite legal yet.

MODIS Images 

As a side note, one of my favourite applications for real time satellite imagery are the images from the Aqua and Terra satellites. You can access the images from the MODIS rapid response system.  You can see images up to four times per day for any area on the globe with resolutions ranging from 2 km down to 250 m, and with visible and many infrared channels. It is used for many purposes, including forest fires, oil spills, damage from natural disasters and wars, etc.

For example, here is:

  • Nova Scotia on a day with afternoon Bunny Clouds at 2 km resolution

  • The Nile, the Sinai, and Eretz Israel on (you guessed it) a sunny day at 2 km resolution and at 500 m resolution. The Nile River Valley really stands out, doesn’t it? Can you pick out the Suez Canal?
  • Oahu and Mauna Loa at 2 km and 500 m. There’s always a problem with satellite images of islands in the tropics; the larger ones tend to develop clouds even when there is very little convection elsewhere. Of course a fair bit of convection is par for the course in the tropics, which you would see if you looks at any of a series of images for the Dry Tortugas (I had to slip in a Pirates of the Caribbean reference).
    As a side note, looking for convective clouds piled up near the horizon was one of the signs the Polynesians used when looking for new islands, or when searching for an expected landfall.

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la Cueva de los Cristales (Cave of Crystal Giants), Mexico, originally uploaded by JohnnyG BC.

This is life size. I wonder how sharp the edges are?

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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.

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