Sunday, July 9, 2017

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Canada 150: Fireworks in New Westminster

Canada celebrated 150 years as an integrated nation this year, with July 1, 1867, being the day that the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were united into a single dominion of the British Empire. Note that Canada did not become fully independent until the Constitution Act of 1982 was passed!

Avoiding the huge crowds in and around downtown Vancouver, I met up with a few friends in New Westminster, to observe the Canada 150 celebration there. There were fireworks scheduled just in front of the River Market at Westminster Quay, and when we arrived early to find a spot to setup our cameras, the fireworks barge was still docked and being set up at the edge of the Fraser River - see photo #1 in the gallery. I called out and asked where the barge would be, and was told "... in the middle of the Fraser, about 100 meters west..." so we setup in a spot where we thought the fireworks would be visible to the right of the Inn at the Quay - photo #2. Well, much to my dismay, they towed the barge more like 600 meters to the west, thus totally messing with our intended composition. By the time the barge was stationary in the river, being kept on station with a tugboat on either end, there was not enough time to try and find another spot where we could incorporate the fireworks into an interesting foreground. Too bad!

In the gallery, the images that are wide, 16:9 aspect ratio, were some of the nicer still frames taken during the time-lapse with my X-Pro2, where I shot with the XF 10-24mm zoom and cropped to the wider format. The other, less rectangular shots (mostly verticals) were taken with the Fujifilm GFX 50S and 63mm lens. I will be posting a review on that medium format digital camera at some point in the future as well.

Following is a simple time-lapse I mentioned. Click on the image below to open the video (1080p - 13MB download) in a new window or tab. You can see the tugboats and barge moving back and forth, working to stay centred at more or less the same spot on the river...

Monday, July 3, 2017

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2017/03 California - Joshua Tree National Park

In mid-March, my friend Bill and I decided to make a quick run down to the southern California deserts. That region had received way above average rainfall and a wildflower "super-bloom" was fully in progress. Have a look at the above photo; normally that area of Joshua Tree National Park has rocky, sandy ground with a few sage-brushes dotting the slopes and maybe some tufts of drying grass. However back in March, as you can see, one could walk knee-deep in spots through carpets of blooming wildflowers!

Unfortunately it was too early for the bloom in the higher parts of Joshua Tree NP, where all the cool rock formations and, of course, the Joshua trees are located, so the slopes near the south entrance were the only spots to really see any wildflowers. With only this one area in bloom, we decided to head down to Anza Borrego Desert State Park the next day, a fair bit further south and where we knew the wildflowers were already fully developed.

This was the first time in over 20 years that I managed to make it down to southern CA during the peak of a wildflower super-bloom and it was indeed quite impressive! Stay tuned for more shots from Anza Borrego in the next few posts...