Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Victoria & Saltspring - Days 7-9

Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Victoria & Saltspring - Days 7-9

This final gallery of our 2021 Island trip has photos covering the last few days of our vacation. After the long 460 km drive from Port McNeill down to Victoria, we stayed at Marketa's B&B. The stay was wonderful in this large Edwardian style home, with very cozy rooms and an absolutely delicious breakfast in the morning. We had a room with its own large Jacuzzi tub, and it was wonderful to soak in it after a long day of driving! The next morning we visited Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria, which features tons of colourfully painted floating shops and house boats.

After a delicious fish&ship lunch at Fisherman's Wharf, we headed off to Schwartz Bay to catch the ferry to Saltspring Island, where we stayed for three days at my friend Ted's place. The first evening on Saltspring was great, nice and clear but the following days, the smoke from all the wildfires in BC and Washington finally got pushed out far enough to severely affect the visibility there too. In the last few shots in the gallery, you can see the smoke and haze, and the orange and red sun which was nearly blotted out completely. It was really too bad that the amazing views from Mount Maxwell were all hazed out. Oh well... we will definitely be visiting there again in the future, hopefully with clearer skies next time!

That's it for this trip, summer number two of the COVID-19 pandemic. Next year, Emily and I really hope to be able to visit Germany with my father! Crossing fingers the pandemic is under control by that time finally...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip

Monday, September 13, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Alert Bay - Day 5

Gallery (45 images): 2021 Island Trip - Alert Bay - Day 5

Unfortunately the weather did not improve much and our day over at Alert Bay was pretty much overcast the whole time, with a smattering of drizzle occasionally too. We took the ferry from Port McNeill to went over to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island first, staying for maybe three to four hours, then caught the ferry back to Port McNeill, and stayed on to get to Sointula on Malcolm Island.

By that time it was evening, we were both hungry and as it turns out, absolutely nothing was open in Sointula anymore, save an ice-cream stand. It was also drizzling and the prospect of spending about three hours wandering around there, getting damp and hungry, didn't seem appealing. Emily and I looked at each other and decided to quickly walk back to the ferry before it left. We managed to get on and headed back to Port McNeill.

Alert Bay was very scenic though, with lots of colourful buildings, a great walk through the ecological preserve, as well as a visit to the interesting and educational U'mista Cultural Centre, where one wasn't allowed to take any photos however. Hopefully the next time we visit the area, the weather will be better! We'll also have a better idea how long it takes to explore and can optimize the timing of our visit...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip

Saturday, September 11, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Telegraph Cove - Day 4

Gallery (35 images): 2021 Island Trip - Telegraph Cove - Day 4

The weather improved slightly the day after our three night stint in the ever so relaxing school bus, and after photographing the bus in detail in the morning (seen in my last gallery), it was off again, driving further north up the east side of Vancouver Island, first to the small historic community of Telegraph Cove, then further on to the town of Port McNeill. We stayed in Port McNeill for two nights and after a ferry ride, spent most of the next day over in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, with a very brief stint to Sointula on Malcolm Island. That will be in my next gallery...

Telegraph Cove was wonderful visually, with brightly painted old buildings right at the seashore built upon pilings, weathered floating docks and lots of history. We didn't take any whale watching tours but spent some time with binoculars searching the ocean off in the distance for any signs of large sea mammals. Sadly, we only spotted boats, kayakers and birds...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

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Gallery: 2021 Island Trip - Days 1-4

Gallery (45 images): 2021 Island Trip - Days 1-4

After an aborted camping trip to the Fraser Canyon, right at the start of all the forest fires in BC (the town of Lytton was burning down the evening before we had planned to leave), our first trip of 2021 turned out to be to Vancouver Island. Back in February, we had arranged and booked a trip to the interior, to the Kootenays, but after the Lytton fire we thought the interior would be too risky due to the risk of forest fires, so decided to book an alternative trip to Vancouver Island. Good thing we did it when we did, since everywhere we wanted to stay still had accommodations, and the ferries were not yet fully booked either. Had we waited even a few weeks, we'd likely have had a very hard time...

These are shots taken during the first four days of the trip, a few near Nanaimo where we stayed one night, and the rest up the east coast of Vancouver Island, north of Campbell River by the town of Sayward. We stayed in a converted school bus parked in the forest, a whimsical and enjoyable accommodation to be stuck in during three days of rain. A bit more info on this place is in the gallery link above...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2021 Island Trip

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

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Gallery: 2019 Grand Canyon Trip - Moab Area

Gallery (50 images): 2019 Grand Canyon Trip - Moab Area

This last gallery wraps up my 9300km, 2019 Southwest road trip with my dad! The last two days, before the long drive back home, were spent in the Moab, Utah area. This above gallery contains images taken in Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park as well as Arches National Park. On the drive back, the weather wasn't very good, so almost no photos were taken. In fact, we ended up driving through a blizzard with substantial snow on the ground, going over a long pass in eastern Nevada, and that was in mid-May!

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2019 Grand Canyon Trip

Finally, to end this last 2019 Grand Canyon trip blog post, here are six more expansive panoramas which will open in new windows or tabs when clicked.

Grand View Point, Canyonlands National Park...

A similar view as above, but with differing foreground and a wider field of view...

Buck Canyon Overlook, Canyonlands National Park...

Candlestick Tower Overlook, Canyonlands National Park...

Plateau Viewpoint, north of Canyonlands National Park...

Dead Horse Point State Park...

Thanks for viewing. The end!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

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Gallery: 2019 Grand Canyon Trip - Southern Utah Area

Gallery (25 images): 2019 Grand Canyon Trip - Southern Utah Area

This gallery contains images shot in southern Utah, in the vicinity of Mexican Hat. It was a leisurely day, first visiting a viewpoint looking down on the amazing loops of the San Juan River, at Goosenecks of the San Juan State Park. Next, we drove through a large portion of the Valley of the Gods, kind of like a "mini Monument Valley" in some ways, and there were lots of beautiful wildflowers blooming. Then, we drove back up the Moki Dugway to visit the Muley Point Overlook, since we ran out of time the day before. The photo of my dad near the edge of the cliff was nowhere near as dangerous as it looked by the way! Finally, it was an easy drive up the highway to Moab.

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2019 Grand Canyon Trip

Here is one panorama I stitched from Valley of the Gods, presented as a 4000 pixel wide image once you click on the thumbnail below to open it in a new window or tab...

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

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Gallery: 2019 Grand Canyon Trip - To Mexican Hat

Okay, now back to blogging about my 2019 trip to the Southwest with my father! Working on these photos again, more than a year after posting the previous gallery from that trip, fills me with a longing to spend time in the desert once more, but unfortunately I'll have to wait until COVID-19 is thoroughly under control before venturing south again. 

The drive to Mexican Hat was lengthy and we took a completely different route than originally planned. I had wanted to drive the Burr Trail, in from Boulder, Utah, like we had the day before, then drive south through the Strike Valley / Waterpocket Fold area, taking the ferry across Lake Powell to Halls Crossing. Two things kiboshed that idea completely: firstly, there had been a lot of rain and the road south was apparently very muddy. I have experienced Utah mud in that area, and even with a real 4x4 with proper off-road tires, the mud can clog treads almost instantly and make driving nearly as bad as if you were on ice. My Outback had mere all-season tires, which I felt were certainly not up to the task. In addition, even if the road hadn't been muddy, I found out that Lake Powell's level was so low that the ferry was grounded and wasn't running at all. There are some shots of the nearly empty lake with more descriptive text in the gallery.

In the end, after driving through Long Canyon, then wending our way down into Strike Valley, we headed north instead, exiting Capitol Reef National Park to the east after spending a bit of time the park. Driving to Hanksville we turned south, eventually crossing the Hite Crossing Bridge, then finally down the crazy switchbacks of the Moki Dugway before arriving at Mexican Hat. That evening, we drove towards Monument Valley near sunset, and we happened across a heard of wild horses, which I carefully stalked and managed to frame with the Monument Valley spires and mesas in the background. The shot in the gallery was the best one, and also the last shot I got in before they finally had enough of me and galloped off...

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2019 Grand Canyon Trip

I shot a number of panoramas that day. Firstly, a near 180 degree shot in Capitol Reef National Park...

The next shot is just outside of Capitol Reef, en route to Hanksville. There were yellow wildflowers carpeting the desert, just beautiful!

South of Hanksville, there was a gorgeous view with red rocks in the foreground and some snow covered mountain peaks in the background, quite a nice combination...

Lastly, there are two views from the top of the Moki Dugway, looking east towards Mexican Hat...

Saturday, February 27, 2021

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Gallery: White Rock Wander

Gallery (90 images): White Rock Wander

[Updated 2/27/2021: Added 25 more daytime beachfront shots to gallery. The X-S10 has now been returned to Fujifilm after my testing was completed.]

[Updated 2/21/2021: Added fifteen night shots to gallery and more descriptive text about the X-S10's IBIS to this post.]

You may be wondering why I haven't been posting much, only two posts prior to this one since March of 2020 actually, or maybe you've figured it out based on those few previous posts, but basically my life changed quite unexpectedly in 2020 and it's not due to the pandemic. I now have a truly wonderful partner (with two cute cats) and she has totally changed my life for the better, changed my priorities dramatically. A while back, I moved from Vancouver to White Rock and the above linked gallery is really the first time I went walking about with my camera gear, intent on documenting my new neighbourhood. I had a day off work, where she didn't, so I took the opportunity to wander the streets and the first 50 shots in the above gallery are what I captured that day. She is also an enthusiastic photographer, so we are both looking forward to the time when COVID-19 has passed and we can travel outside of Canada again.

Although the commute to work is now well over 40 km, more than ten times farther than it was before (!), traffic has been manageable. The longer daily drive meant downsizing my 6-cylinder 2019 Subaru Outback (what a wonderful powertrain it had) to a more economical 4-cylinder 2021 Subaru Crosstrek "Outdoor". I've always wanted a Crosstrek, from the time it was first announced nearly 10 years ago, but I always felt it was too underpowered. It now finally has a powertrain that I can live with for longer road-trips with a full load of camping gear and a roof carrier, a new 2.5L engine with over 30hp more than the older 2.0L engine. Its new larger engine is essentially just as economical as the smaller one used still in the lower end models, but the significant increase in hp makes for a much more punchy and enjoyable powertrain. Anyway, enough about my new car, back to photography!

The images in the gallery were actually taken with Fujifilm's new X-S10 camera body, on loan from my local Fujifilm rep (thank you!), and my X-Pro2 was left at home. While I still much prefer the rangefinder style body of my X-Pro2, and prefer the old school dials and more customizable buttons, the X-S10 still proved to be a very nice camera to use in practice, once I customized some of the controls. The X-S10 has ergonomics that are more on par with most other modern DSLR and mirrorless bodies, and it does not have, for example, the marked shutter speed dial, a marked ISO dial etc. The X-S10 has unmarked control wheels and a "PASM" mode dial, so ergonomics that are likely far more familiar to people using other camera systems, which isn't really a bad thing for those thinking of giving the Fujifilm system a try.

The X-S10 also has in-body image-stabilization (IBIS), which works very well indeed. The last fifteen photos in the above gallery were all shot handheld, no tripod, and the EXIF display will show the shutter speeds and so on. Shots as slow as 1/2 second are still pretty much tack sharp, which is nearly 5 stops or so of improvement with a 50mm equivalent lens. Overall, I would rate the IBIS as being quite a bit more effective (and more consistent) than the IBIS unit I had in the Fujifilm X-H1, which I shot with some time ago but finally gave up again due to still liking my X-Pro2 better overall. I am certainly looking forward to the day when a hypothetical "X-Pro4" might include IBIS! Regardless, overall the X-S10 is a very compact and light camera, but with a nice substantial hand-grip and it proved quite enjoyable to use, despite my above mentioned preferences. Enjoy the photos!

I will be making an effort to blog a little more often, but don't expect too much...

Monday, February 22, 2021

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Gallery: Hawaii 2019 - Wave Splashes

Gallery (45 images): Hawaii 2019 - Wave Splashes

On the last two days of our trip I was still very sick with the flu, so didn't feel up to doing much. I feel really bad for my father, who must have been really bored and disappointed! Basically, he and I went to a beach just south of the Kona International Airport, at Wawaloli Beach Park, and I stood there patiently waiting for waves to splash against the lava shelf. Much of the time my dad just waited in the car. The surf wasn't particularly impressive on either day, but when a wave hit the lava shelf in just the right way, some fairly impressive splashes could be seen. The above gallery has 44 images of wave splashes... kind of a lot, but then that will be the end of photos from the Hawaii trip. I intentionally used a very high shutter speed in order to freeze all the splashes, and sometimes, when the light was just right, some of the water globules almost look like they were formed from mercury and not just good 'ol salty H2O.

So, that was it for my Hawaii vacation. Soon, I will continue on with processing shots from my 2019 trip to the Grand Canyon with my father....

Link to: All the blog posts from my 2019 Hawaii Trip