Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Springtime brutality

Winter is hard on cars. Days, weeks, and sometimes months of minus WTF takes it's toll on us, and cars.  But spring is brutal. Yesterday a pothole ate one of the tires on our car. I got a couple of K, then it started singing the flat tire flop song. Sigh. They couldn't repair it, so that's a new tire.

It's not just the potholes. There's probably a technical term for them, but the alleys are full of slushy holes. Drive into them and you drop to the bottom of the slush. It might be deeper than your car tire. An inch away could be steel hard ice. I'm guessing a tiny chunk of salt fell off a car, which started the melt, and when it gets some sun there's more local melting. The ice softens up as the water spreads out and down.

There's a spot in the alley behind us where there's a a foot of water in the hole, and ice all around. At night a thin, non car supporting skim of ice will form, but don't be deceived. Drive in and you won't drive out. I try to drain the water away, but look what I have to deal with. That ice wall is 4 to 5 inches thick, high, whatever. Bump!

Our neighbour behind us did much of that chipping, and my wrists thank him. It's a minor consolation that there are some nice reflections to be had, provided a willingness to stand in another puddle.

The amaryllis bloom is still developing. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile we are being whipsawed with nice days and cold nights. There might be snow tonight, disguising the slush holes and potholes even more. At least the air isn't hurting my face anymore.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Fading, and swelling again.

Not me. The Amaryllis. It's bloomed, faded, and there are some new blooms coming in. I've never seen them at this stage. I'll have to watch this. If I was a real pro, I'd set up on of my cameras and take a time lapse of it. There'd probably be a cat photobombing happening, which you guys might like.

Here's the nice bloom from last week.

It's now faded and crumpling. In the mean time, it slimed me as I was getting photos of the nearby hibiscus. Good thing the police didn't happen to see my hands. I don't know if they still use the term 'red-handed', but they would've liked to. Readers from last year know that I'm just as interested in fading blooms, as I am in budding, and full blossom. They're all beautiful in their own way.

The poor hibiscus gets chewed by Celina a lot. We are fortunate that the recent bloom is too high for her.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Macro Monday 24, in my cups

I got looking at an object I use very nearly first thing every day. Learning to use a camera has been great practice in looking at things differently.

The first thing is seeing light differently, appreciating the different qualities it has through the day. Next is thinking about what would make a good shot. Maybe the light makes it, and it would be just an ordinary shot even a few minutes later. Or maybe it's just a compelling subject by itself, or maybe you see it in a new way and you know how to create the conditions to shoot it so it's interesting. Then you think about what lens to put on the camera.

I took this object out to the patio while looking things over. It was only when I put it on the ledge that I realized what could be done. It actually took several tries to get that last shot. Then it was down to the basement for the macro lens, amazed at the colour and texture that was coming up.

Doesn't this look a little like a flower garden? These did not need a lot of pushing in Lightroom once the exposure was right.

Here's the object. The harsh morning light really fired up the reflections and colour. The big version of this really pops, but I'm not sure how well that shows up for you. And yes, that's a bit of a selfie. I didn't see that till I edited it.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

For the Celina fans out there

In furry person, Celina is quite a pretty cat. Very elegant and well spoken. Extremely well spoken on many different subjects, as anyone who has met her knows. Photos, however, don't seem to do her justice. The camera doesn't love her the way it loves Curtis. I'm not sure why. She's actually a difficult subject, always turning her head, or giving me the squinty-eyed look when I have the camera in hand.

Often when she snoozes her head is tucked down into her tail, or into the lap she's in, which doesn't make for a good photo. I don't think I've ever seen her snooze on her back like Curtis does. She typically doesn't stroll from place to place, she darts, and it gets her nearly stepped on sometimes.

Lately she's been taking to eating her food really slowly. Curtis bolts his food then comes along to push her away to finish hers. She's such a tiny kitty we don't want to see her miss any meals, so we separate them, or stand there and watch. She will slowly crunch away, looking at hime between bites. Poor Curtis. A few times I've just let them do their thing. I figure if she's hungry she'll eat faster.

Here's 3 recent photos that are a bit better than average for her.

Friday, March 16, 2018

What happens under bridges

Most of us never think about bridges, other than crossing them on the way to where ever we're going. Almost nobody thinks about the underside of them, but sometimes they make for interesting photos.

This is one of the older bridges in Calgary, and the lowest. It's only 2.0 m clearance (6'6"). There are several signs about the lack of overhead, and yet there are still mishaps. On the day I took this, a tall cube van was doing an 11 point turn on one side of it, while drivers going either way waited patiently. That's better than the alternative for all involved. The driver had the grace to give the other drivers an embarrassed wave when he finished. Several people have tried to drive bigger vehicles under there and it worked out about like you'd expect.

There's a famous bridge in Durham county, North Carolina. It's informally called the can opener. Google 11foot8 and prepare to be amused. Thats 3.56 m, so I guess it's just high enough that people think their vehicle will fit. I wonder how many drivers have been fired over the years.

The graffiti is what caught my eye. It's actually fairly far from the path, and the river is lower than the path. I'm just guessing that some kid either scrambled out on the girders and painted with one hand, or they somehow used a ladder.

This was meant to be an arty shot of icy reflections. If there'd been 3 rocks in an artistic triangle I'd have  been a lot happier with it, but I wasn't about to hump 2 more rocks onto the bridge just to drop them.

You can see that same rock off in the distance. This is the pedestrian bridge over the Elbow, between 9th ave and the Bow river. I like the nice clean lines, unlike the cluttered mess of the first bridge. The only difficulty was essentially standing on some homeless person's front porch. There is a bit of an alcove in the bridge structure where someone has been sleeping.

I like that there is space for people to take in the view without getting in the way of people that are just passing through. Looking to the left in this photo is where Elbow joins the Bow. I suspect that there are some nice photos to be had there, if the light is right. The ones I got were blah.

There's lots of bridge construction happening. Closest to home are new bridges over Fish Creek  and the Elbow for the ring road, along with lots of interchange bridges. Crowchild trail is being widened and about time too, that's been a major bottleneck for decades. Macleod trail has a recently completed (I think) double diamond bridge at 162nd, and a new bridge for the ring road.

Construction is supposed to start on 9th Ave over the Elbow going into Inglewood, which is going to be interesting to see how they do it. Unlike the recently opened zoo bridge, they can't close off 9th Ave for two years of construction. Can they? There's some vacant land nearby, maybe they'll build the new bridge there, then one weekend remove the old bridge and lift the new one in place. That would be cool to watch. Let's just hope the engineers do their sums correctly, and it doesn't turn out like that pedestrian bridge over Shaganappi Trail that was 11 cm too short.

It's not really a bridge, but there's lots of work happening on the deck of the Glenmore dam so the bike path is closed for a couple years. It's not really a bridge, but there's a BRT underpass being built at 14 St and 90 Ave.  Those are just the ones I know of off hand, without doing any research. There are probably more, and that's not even talking about road widening and other construction projects.

In the mean time, getting anywhere is going to take longer. For obvious reasons the construction companies restrict access to the building site, and that means lane closures or restrictions. This just sets off the road rage idiots, who feel that it's all happening just to inconvenience them personally. It's probably going to surprise a few distracting driving idiots who think they can do their normal social media thing as they drive and realize too late the lanes have changed. I feel for the people around them.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The less said about that, the better

After the nice swim, let's just skip over Tuesday entirely, shall we, and stretch the skip  till the lovely snooze with the Curtis soundtrack Wednesday afternoon. You don't want to know.

Then Linda was trying a new recipe. It tasted really good, but there are improvements to be made, she says. I managed to catch a moment of the cauliflower pizza prep. Rather than a wheat based crust, it used riced cauliflower. That's the piece that needs some work.

While that was in progress I was out doing a little bit more ice chipping after the snooze, trying to get as much water off the street before it snows more.

Yes, more. They are forecasting 10 to 15 cm of snow today. All the snow so far has been light and fluffy, but this is probably going to be wet and heavy. Good thing I don't have any outside plans for tomorrow. Well, except shoveling. Lots of that.

Here's what it looks like Wednesday evening after a beautiful sunny day.

The alleys are going to be ugly. That's all soft and slushy, and I sure hope it gets cold before it snows.

By contrast, this ice is hard as steel. I could see some subtle yellowish highlights in the ice from the setting sun, but they don't really show up quite the same here.

As of Thursday morning, there is a light fog, ominous clouds, and it's just beginning to snow. Here we go again.

Anybody have any experience with big digital frames? One of my buddies wants to get a print of the white peony, (yay!) and I was thinking of getting one done as well. Linda has a small digital frame, maybe 10" diagonally she kept on her desk at work. We got to thinking a big one might be a nice way to display my good photos. At some point you get into TV territory, and I don't much care what it's called, as long as it can cycle through photos. Suggestions?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

More from a Fish Creek ramble

These are from a walk at the beginning of the month, on a day that looked like spring. However it was playing with us, since it snowed lots more. In the meantime I was happy to tramp through Fish Creek between Bridge 2 and 3, especially since I was wearing traction aides.

They were totally necessary, since the ice on this hillside path was the only stable thing to walk on. I don't know where I'd have gone if a bike appeared. Yes, there were lots of bike track on that path. Right beside the ice was slippery mud, with frozen ground underneath, and a long way down.

I've looked up toward this path many times, wondering where a daring bike trail came from. Now I know. It's wonderful to still be discovering new trails after all this time. No doubt there will be many more over the summer.

Along here might have some nice sunrise or sunset shots.

I doubt this bit of the creek is anywhere near so photogenic now, with the snow melting in the warm days we are swimming in. The roads are a sloppy enchilada, and that's where they've been plowed. There's some pretty fearsome ruts on the rest of the streets.

Remember that one atypical photo from a few days back? Yeah. Today's the day.


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