On February 1st Tracy and I headed down to Mexico to witness two of our best friends getting married. There were over 50 other guests who came down as well which made for an absolutely great trip. We met many new friends and also reunited with some old ones.
Our resort, the Ocean Turquesa, was just south of Cancun near a little town called Puerto Morelos. As you’ll see in the photos, the resort was beautiful and had everything that one could want. We were close to a lot of different activities so you were definitely not trapped on the resort property. We took a trip into the jungle to a little market/spa and into Puerto Morelos one day. We also went down to Playa Del Carmen which was about 45 minutes away and spent the morning along the shopping area and beach. Near the end of the week we visited a little zoo/sanctuary that was close to the resort called, Crococun Zoo.
Crococun Zoo, was set up as a refuge and breeding program for the crocodile population in the area because they are being forced out of their natural habitat by all of the resorts which are being built up and taking over the swamps and mangroves. Over time they became a refuge for all kinds of exotic pets which were confiscated by the authorities or given up by owners who didn’t realize that it might be hard to take care of a 16 metre (50′) python… They had a group of wild monkeys in the area as well who love to hang around because the tourists have food so they get a steady diet of fruit and vegetables.
The day before we headed home Tracy and I went for traditional Mayan massages at The Jungle Spa. On Sundays the property has a local market which we visited earlier in the week but they main business is a spa staffed by local Mayan women. The business was started by a woman from the US who wanted to give the local women a way to support themselves without having to work for one of the giant resorts (who only pay between three and seven dollars a day). 75% of the proceeds go directly to the women who provide the services which gives them a livable wage which they can support their families with. Tracy found out about this spa before we headed down and thought that we should give it a try. I’m so glad that we did as I’m sure I will never forget the experience. They have a style very similar to massage therapy that you would receive here in Canada. It was a little painful but so worth it as over the next couple of days you could feel everything loosen up.
We took advantage of the resort as much as possible as well, just relaxing by the pool, wandering the property, and catching up with friends we don’t get to see as much as we would like. Almost every night there was a group of us going for dinner or we would all meet up at the lobby bar and share some laughs and stories about our various adventures.
The wedding couldn’t have gone better; the weather cooperated nicely and the setting was gorgeous. After the ceremony Brad, Marie and I set off to take some portraits around the property. They asked me if I would do their portraits as they trusted me over the other options provided by the hotel. It was fun to spend time with them on their special day and I was more than happy to help out. Also a big thank you to Tara who took great photos of the ceremony while I was just standing around…
I would have loved to get this post and pictures posted sooner but the six weeks since returning have not been kind to me. I returned home with a case of salmonella poisoning which lasted for over two weeks and then just as I was feeling better I came down with shingles… which I’m still fighting. So editing and sorting photos took a little longer than expected. But the good news is they are all done and ready for viewing.
I broke the photos down into three galleries. As always there are few photos included here but the full gallery/slideshow can be seen with the links.
Hope you enjoy!
When I began climbing in the gym I had no real aspirations for getting outdoors and trying my new found hobby right away. I put the idea of outdoor climbing into the “maybe next year” pile and keep it as a possibility for when I felt ready. The appeal to climbing outside was to serve as a vehicle for more interesting adventure based photography but that appeal was far out weighed by my intense fear of heights… yup, scared of heights and took up rock climbing, I know.
This Spring while talking with my friend James, I decided I would try and get up to visit him in Kelowna for a weekend. He also started climbing over the Winter at a gym so when we first started talking about it we were talking about hitting his gym a couple times while I was there. Well, between the time we started talking about it and the time I actually headed up there (last weekend) James had met some other climbing enthusiasts who were very much into outdoor climbing and used the gym as a supplement during the offseason. By the time that I arrived in Kelowna, James had converted to climbing almost exclusively outside and was only going to the gym when the weather made the outdoors untenable.
Before I knew it there was a full weekend planned for and outdoor adventure that I’m sure I’ll never forget. The weather turned out to be fantastic with a mix of sun and cloud and nice moderate temperatures (18-23) all weekend. When I got in on Friday afternoon we headed to his gym where I met a couple of his friends and we messed around for a few hours working on problems and getting an idea of where we were in skill levels. It’s important to know what each other is capable of before going out and finding that you are unmatched and one person is bored while one person is over doing it. Finding that we are in the same ballpark at least was great and set up the weekend nicely.
On Saturday we got up and headed out to a place called The Bouldering Fields, which is located on the north side of Okanagan Mountain in a place that you wouldn’t find without a map. This place is pretty remote and known mostly to locals but has gained popularity every year since being discovered in the 9o’s and published in a guide in 2005. It was the site of an aquifer (underground lake) which collapsed a long time ago (1000+ years) leaving a pit full of giant boulders (hence the name) and sheer smooth walls that stretch up a terrifying 100 plus feet around the edge.
The hike in was little more than a goat trail on a very steep embankment, which we took in stride. It was all downhill on the way in but all up a brutal hill heading back. I felt lucky to introduced to such a gorgeous and immense corner of the wilderness. The people who frequent the area are very respectful and conscious of what they have so it is very well taken care of.
I tried to capture the place but I’m really not sure that I did. I’d love to head back and shoot again soon as I’ve had some ideas for different shots that I would love to get now that I’ve seen what I tried out the first time.
On Sunday we headed to Skaha to the crag named Red Tail Lower. This area was recently turned into a national park and preserved as one of Canada’s best climbing areas (I believe only second to Squamish outside of Vancouver). People from all over travel here to climb and I was lucky to have new friends who knew the area well and were happy to show me around.
Compared to our trip into the Bouldering Fields, which feels as remote as I’ve been in a while, this place felt like a provincial park. It was clean, well travelled and had outhouses; a very welcome addition to the experience. The routes were clearly well used and whole atmosphere felt comfortable. The hike was only about 25 minutes in and not difficult. This was an awesome park for what was my third day of climbing as I was tiring and didn’t relish the thought of another difficult hike in or out.
I was able to get through three routes on the second day and enjoyed every minute of it. There is a lot of excitement when you are suspended 60+ feet in the are by mostly your own will and strength with the knowledge of a lifeline tied to your harness. I think it was my first climb of the day when I finally stopped panicking after the 70 foot mark; that was a big break-through for me.
I hope you enjoy the photos. There are about 50 or so. The last 7 in the series are of a guy attempting a very difficult climb across the ravine from where we were at. He was incredible to watch and I was lucky to capture it. I’ve posted a few below, but the gallery and slideshow links give a more complete version.
Also wanted to say thanks to all the people that I met over the weekend. I really appreciate all the help, advice, guidance, and support you gave over the two days of me struggling to keep up. I hope to see you again before the season is out.
So, I’ve been a little lazy about getting on here and blogging. I just haven’t felt like it lately. Partially due to being sick for the last week and partially because I’m kinda just in a routine with nothing super interesting to report.
I did however get to spend time with my sister and mom yesterday for the afternoon. Jen is down visiting my parents for the week while she is on spring break so they took the day and came down to get in some shopping and also to see me. I took her through the data centre at work and showed her a little of what we are responsible for. I always like showing people through the data centre to give people a sense of the scale of computing that I do and to give a physical face to the magic that happens behind the scenes.
So we went for lunch and wandered downtown enjoying the day until it started raining. It was just nice to visit. I always wish I could spend more time with Jen and Chris, but given they are a two day drive away, it’s a little geographically restrictive. Oh well, they will be down in the summer for a visit again and we’ll get more time to hang out I’m sure.
Last weekend I finished processing my first wedding shoot. I was super excited to get the pictures done but the headcold took out my energy and made everything feel like it took twice as much effort. My friends were super happy and I am pretty proud of the results. Check out some of my favorites below. Also, I had some time before the wedding to wander around Hornell and shoot for about an hour, so I’ve got a few of those pictures too.
I have been shooting a lot more this last couple of weeks (need to process a bunch of pics before I can show them). I’ve found that keeping the camera out and handy encourages me to make some pics when I see it just sitting there, waiting to be used. I’ve been doing mostly indoor macro type stuff due to the weather but I know it’s supposed to turn around here anytime and be a nice spring so I expect to get outdoors shooting soon.
No big trips planned anytime soon but we are looking at going to the east coast in the summer for a couple of weeks. I’m sure I’ll find a few opportunities to make some pictures out there while exploring.
Hope things are good with you!
So after five months and five returns to Nikon, I finally won.
I have a brand new, in box, 105mm replacement lens in hand.
Happy dance has been completed.
I have a wedding story to post later on this week but I thought I’d just put this up quickly.
Thanks to all that have heard me complain over the many months about my broken toy
Well hell week is now behind me and I’m getting some normal sleep again so things are looking up!
This week we have some friends from Saskatoon visiting so I’ve been getting out in the afternoons and spending time with them and their family.
I can’t believe that it’s already October; where is the time going? Reading other peoples blogs and talking with friends it seems that this time of year always seems really busy and hectic. I suppose it’s due to putting everything off in the summer until now and then now comes and you have to get to all things you procrastinated on… long live procrastination!
Next weekend is the long weekend and I’m really looking forward to it. I have to do some work but not a lot so I should get some time to relax.
Right before starting hell week, I managed to get into the gardens on campus again. It might be the last time of the season to get some nice shots in from there so it was a good little walk.
Hope things are good on your end. Here is a link to the slideshow gallery.
Happy almost Friday!
So it’s back to work for this guy as of this past Monday. After two and a half weeks off I’ve been a little slow on the uptake but slowly getting back into everything. I have a couple of good projects to keep me busy and I’m working the ticket queue for the department, which is always interesting.
Last weekend we got out camping for my birthday which was a blast. We just went to Goldstream to keep it close to home and I didn’t feel like driving too far after coming back from a road trip just the weekend before. Also I wasn’t nearly as organized for planning a birthday camping trip and didn’t really tell anyone about it until the week before. This meant that people could come visit for the day/night but not have to worry about booking a site or travel too far for just a day trip. James was out from Kelowna too so we had a good hang out which I’m sure will be more and more rare in the future.
On a bit of a tech note, this week Google has started a beta program for social networking called “Google+” which so far seems pretty good. I’ve read through the terms of service and like what they are doing. The privacy features are great and so far work as advertised which allow you to keep groups of people separate from others but also allow you to easily communicate with all the groups you have. If you haven’t seen it and would like an invite, let me know and I’ll send one your way. This is social networking for the security/privacy conscious among us.
On a photography note, I made really good use of the new lens and tripod last week as you’ll see. It’s great to be able to get as close as I can now and really pull detail from the smaller things around us. So far I’m having a blast with it and this means lots of photos. I’m going to post a few but there are more here in the gallery if you’re interested in seeing more.
Well hope things are good on your end!
Here are the pics from the birthday camping trip:
So, as I mentioned earlier, we took a drive out to visit friends in Saskatchewan.
The trip was great and I’d do it again. Put a about 3900 kilometers on Sally (our Smartcar) and while she struggled a little going up the very steep climbs in the mountains, I wouldn’t hesitate to take her across Canada if we ever decide to. A lot of people were surprised that we’d take a Smartcar on a trip like this one (hell some people are surprised we take it on the highways…) but we had no problems that would have been solved with a larger vehicle.
Highlights include (in no particular order):
Colby – Jason and Tara’s little one
Visiting with James and Jennifer in Kelowna
Rocky Mountains and the Icefield Parkway
Seeing mountain sheep really close up – about 30′ away
Getting home in one piece – thought we were going to die on the way into Vancouver because of terrible drivers.
It was to spend time with Tara, Colby and to some extent Jason. They are doing really well and have a great thing going out there. I’m not convinced that it’s somewhere I would want to live, but that doesn’t stop Jason from asking us when we are going to be moving out there; the usual response is “not anytime soon”. I mean it could happen, but it’s not in the five year plan.
If you haven’t made a trip through the Rocky Mountains, I can’t say that you should more emphatically. They are spectacle and something everyone should see… like the rest of Canada really. Going in the spring was great because there is still snow on the ground and the scenery is fantastic. I tried to capture the essence with the camera but I’m not sure I really managed to… that is a pretty tall order.
So we are home, safe and sound and looking forward to the next road trip.
Below are some of the pics that I’ve posted in the gallery. I have posted them here: Saskatoon Trip Gallery.
Also known as my Blue Bridge project.
So this one is a little late, but hopefully worth the delay. We were on vacation visiting friends in Saskatchewan last week and the pics I had taken weren’t developed before I left. Now we’re home safe, sound, and relaxed after a great road trip. More about the trip in a post later this week.
First on to the project at hand.
I started vacation and decided I wanted to undertake a bit of a project but didn’t know what it was going to be until I was leaving the house and heading down to Johnson Street Bridge on a sunny Monday morning.
I thought that because the bridge was coming down in the near future it would be great to get some final pics of it for the archives. The weather turned out awesome and I had some time to kill after an appointment in the morning. So I got to the bridge area about 1030 and just started wandering.
I had a great time shooting and am quite pleased with the results. I took my time and tried to work through the range of things that I’ve learned over the last while. There is so many details to think about when you’re able focus on the subject before you and not rushed or pulled away before feeling finished. By the time I walked away from the bridge I felt as though I was done for the time being; that is a rare feeling most of the time.
After all the processing of these pictures, I’ve come to see that no matter how much time you have, there are still things that you want to do differently. I can think of a few things to try and do next time in the area, so I don’t think this is the last I’ll shoot of this subject.
I think it’s going be weird to look down Johnson Street and not see that blue monstrosity of metal reaching over to Vic West. Though, I admit I love to see changes and the building of the new bridge is going to be interesting. I’ll have to keep up with the project and shoot the stages over time I think…
So on that, here are the results of my wandering down at the river.
Things are good here but nothing much exciting happening lately. I’ve been sick off and on for the last couple of weeks which doesn’t help with a productive life. I’m better now and finally have some energy back.
This weeks roll was really a bit of an experiment to get a timed series together. I used our christmas cactus for the project as it was starting to bloom and the flowers were really nice.
The picture of the car with a huge Dell box sticking out the back was from one night at work when Jeff and I had to move a server from one data centre to another. Jeff didn’t think that it would fit but I was sure it would… until I saw that the server was still in its shipping box. I have moved servers in Sally before, but never when they were in their shipping box. We got the car into the loading dock and got the server out to the car and the jammed it in as best as we could. We got to the other data centre and as I was going to unload the server, I noticed that the gate wasn’t actually fully locked so we could have potentially lost a six thousand dollar server… live and learn?
Hope that things are good with you.
Very busy week last week. Started the new job so there wasn’t a lot of picture taking happening. I think this job will be interesting very quickly as after the first week I already had 2 hours of overtime. I think that “busy” will be a bit of an understatment soon.
I joined the University Club (formerly known as the Faculty Club until 2000) on Friday and went for lunch. The food is good and the atmosphere is a lot quieter than the two pubs on campus. I like the grad lounge but I think I’ll like the club a little more as it has a pool table. I really miss playing pool so it will be nice to go and play on lunch breaks from time to time.
We were out of dinner on Friday night to a new Indian restaurant and it was really good. We enjoyed the whole experience and would go back again. After dinner we met up with some friends downtown at The Mint for some drinks and catching up. It was good to see everyone as it feels like it’s been a while. Also came up with a cool project for shooting (thanks to Zack Arias for the idea) so Davin and I are going to make some time for it. If you are still reading this Davin, we should try and get together over the weekend.
That about sums it up for now.
Enjoy the shots, though they aren’t my best yet I had fun taking them and I learned a ton about low light shooting and what my limits are. As I was adding tags to the post I just realized that these pics are the last of the summer … geez that went by quick this year.