First Full day of sping2019

Yes, I am back. I had some issues with my domain name renewal time, as the credit card information I gave them was incorrect. That is all fixed now, so I can once again blog. Plus there was lots of stress issues from my work, as that was dragging my home life down a bit. Everything is back to normal now, and even better, spring is here, as it is not winter. And I drove around the valley, taking photos, celebrating the equinox. as from now on the Days rule the Nights. so happy about that too, as we went through a really weird cold snap of Sunny yet cold weather for a bout five weeks.

I have been getting a lot of emails about where I have been lately. Rest assured that I am OK, and fine. I bought a new TV that is 4k, being that it appears that I might be staying in the compartment for a while longer than I want to in Thornhill, BC. House prices are still way out of reach for me for the moment. So, I’m just saving money for that rainy day when something affordable comes along.

spring started so fast around here that the Pussy willows are not out yet, but the trees are starting to turn. You have to look hard in the low area of the valley to see any remaining snow on the ground. Just a drive up on the bench and the snow is still 30cm deep there. But the air is warm and summer like. It feels so nice.

Motorcycles are out on the roads too. along with the girls wearing their short shorts (Daisy Dukes) and T-shirt. Not quite bikini weather yet for them, but we are close. The yoga pants are the norm around here, even the out of shape wear them. Women love them. The guys are still wearing their winter fashion, in the Sun.

I turned on my A/C today, for the first time this year. It still works. My car sat in the Sun the whole day, so it was really hot inside it. The joys of owning a black coloured car. It is an oven during the summer periods.

Happy fiirst full day of spring!

New Camera Lens: 420 to 800mm Telephoto.

New toy: a 420 to 800mm telephoto lens, for my Sony A77 Camera. And when you factor in the crop-sensor size, the lens becomes a 630 to 1200mm lens, just like that. It was bitterly cold, yet clear out, and as soon as I got the lens home from the Post Office, I just had to try it out. Our first stop was just down the Kalum highway, North of Terrace, where we pulled over to an open field, and I snapped a few shots of the surrounding mountains, while there was enough light. I took about ten shots before I got the focusing figured out on the lens, but once I got it, the results were unexpectedly great.

The very first thing I realized about using this lens is, you have to be very still with it. You need lots of light to shoot with it, as a handheld lens, or everything becomes blurry. The second issue was the focusing ring, it is very tight. You giggle around a lot while turning the ring, and loose the shot. Lastly, the locking ring had too many turns before it would lock the lens, and you needed that locking ring tight, or focusing was next to impossible. The camera has to be put into full Manual Mode, as the lens has no automatic features what so ever, meaning you have no auto anti-shake from the camera’s electronics. So, you are back to old school shooting with it.

A must, with this size lens, is a tripod. Once the light levels drop off, you need a tripod for clean, no shake, shots. This lens, you are between F8.3 to F16, at the fully extended rang. So your shutter speed become longer during darker times of the day. And as I found out, with lots of wind, you really need to weigh the tripod down to avoid camera shake, as this lens is super sensitive to movement. I tried taking some Moon shots out at the airport, and the wind was pushing the lens, so slightly, but it was enough to blur the shot becuase I was at less than 1/4 shutter speed. So, needless to say, I have no good Moon shots for this post. Perhaps tomorrow?

The lens did do very well at the minus nine Celsius mark, as it did not fog up. I could only shoot for five minutes in this weather, but the camera and lens held up the whole time I was outside, except for me–I was freezing.

Weird, I am Awake.

I just thought I had to share this becuase it is rare that my body is “awake” when I am starting the day at 5:00am. Last night I fell asleep around my usual time, about 9:30pm, and had no troubles diving into full on REM sleep. In fact, I do not even remember any of my dreams. But needless to say, when I awoke, the whole worlds seemed to be up with me.

Starting the day was awesome. There was no one else commuting at the same time. I saw one truck on the highway, and he was going East bound, in Thornhill. When I got into Terrace, BC, across the Skeena River Bridge, there where only the “Walkers,” or homeless people, walking the main street (Lakesle Avenue) on my way to fill my coffee mug with the Black Throat Charmer that is served at 5:00am in town.

Once loaded up with coffee, I haul butt to my work place, on the other side of town, in the area called South Terrace. There ahead of me, the freshly built Cell Tower, shining its bright red beacon, pulsating every second, lighting up the mist around it, and it seem to say, “you work here.” Yes, if you love radiation, over several  thousand Watts of it, then you will be at home here. And the work day started. With out a hitch, snag or hick-up.

Maybe I ate something that made the difference? Perhaps I got just right amount of sleep I needed? Maybe the alignment in Four Dimensional Space and Time was perfect, and caused a well deserved ripple, at a quantum level? Maybe, being over fifty years old, my brain does not care anymore, and all seems relative now. It all does not matter; I feel awesome. I wish somehow that this moment could be bottled up and stored for later days that suck. Oh, wait, they have that already.

We will see how far it takes me.

Mother Nature Would Not Let Us See it!

As Mother Nature’s shroud blanketed the sky above us, the Moon and her glory sank into the Earth’s shadow, and all we could do was to imagine what it is she looked like as her reflective light faded, then reappeared again. The night seemed to become thicker with clouds, and yet the air warmed, an odd combination for the North Coast of British Columbia this time of the year. The winter snow was melting in the Skeena Valley, and there was no rain falling from the sky. Yet, we were unable to whiteness the Lunar Eclipse, but for one 3 minute period, when the clouds parted for one brief moment during the first phase of the eclipse cycle.

So, the short story, we saw nothing of significance, but the pretty lights of Terrace, BC, from up on the Bench of Kalum View Drive. Sadly, as much as I wanted to photograph the Lunar Eclipse, all I got were clouds shots. But the day was not a total loss…

The trip to Lakelse Lake, in the early afternoon, was a nice departure from the usual Sunday drive into town. It had been at least three weeks since we were at the park last, and the first thing we noticed was amount of snow that had fallen there since. Only half the parking lot was cleared of snow, though. The lake did have a layer of ice on it, but nothing close to being safe to walk on it, though some had tied, when it was colder the week before. But it was the setting Sun that made the day. Oh, was the Southern sky awesome to watch over the lake, as the clouds moved in from over the horizon. It was warm out at the lake too, a mere 3C, though Suzette was not dawning her two-piece bikini just yet.

The second stop was Onion Lake. Because this lake is a little higher in altitude, it was a little more frozen over, but not enough that I would try to walk on it. There sure was a lot more snow at the summit than there was in the low lands. Many vehicles get stuck on this stretch of the highway during the winter months.

The drive home was fun too. Yes, I am being sarcastic. Drivers on the Kitimat Highway love to speed, or have that “me first,” attitude while driving on it. And part of the speeding fun, is to pass other motorist going up hills, while you are doing the speed limit. My poor car did get sprayed with small rocks as the SUVs sped by me; but all was good, there was no damage.

Dinner at my home: Pork-Chops with veggies and salad. All of this smothered with Cream of Mushroom Soup. I got a passing grade! Then we watched a movie on Netflix, “IO,” 2019. and then left to seek out a view of the Lunar Eclipse. None of us saw the Lunar Eclipse, except for that very brief moment on the hill over looking Terrace.

The Yearning of the Sun

Actually, when I saw the sunrise last week, it felt as if I saw an old friend again, the Sun, but really, the yearning was for the return of summer. Yes, I had that feeling of needing the good old days of summer back, as I saw the Sun rise. Here in the Skeena Valley, you have the winter position of the Sun, which is just 25 degrees above the horizon, coupled with the mountains that circle around us. This leaves us with a very short day period during the fall and winter months. Seeing the Sun sink below the horizon, as the Earth spins, (this happens around 4:30pm in the afternoon), puts the damper on daily life, when you get home from your work day.

The above image is Miss Egghead enjoying the Sun rise in the mythical Cube Land. The image is a render done in Blender 2.8 Beta.

It is normal to have weeks with overcast sky, and days with rain in the valley. During the colder months, snow is the daily routine, sprinkled with ice, as the sky is cloud filled, with moments of clearing, allowing the Sun sneak through. But it is the darkness that creeps in, making the night life some eighteen hours long, leaving some people with the “Winter Blues.” However, with seeking moments like this day, where the Sun shines, getting out and absorbing its rays, is a natural rite.

Also, one more point: This has been an unusually warm winter, so far. We have missed the full onslaught of the Arctic Vortex, but nonetheless, it is winter. The Earth spins it usual way, and nothing can be done about that. However, there is, with out any doubt, less snow, than normal. The Skeena River is still way below its usual level, and the Coastal Mountains do not look that snow packed, as compared to last year. These are just my opinions, not scientific facts. Though, I have read some articles in the media agreeing with me.

May we see more Sun, and less clouds in the coming weeks, without causing drought conditions like last year.

A Few Thoughts On Winter, One Day Into it.

So here we are, in the winter season, and compared to last year, this year feels like the damn tropics. I mean, it is a lot warmer this year than it was last year, this time. But do not get me wrong, I am not complaining. After all, not once have I picked up a shovel to clear snow out of my way, yet this year. But I am worried about if we are in for a major dump in the fore-see-able future this season–I mean–is that way luck plays out?

Now that winter is here, and I wonder if the big freeze will start soon? Seriously, it never fails. You have an awesome start to the season, then “BAM,” the mother of all snow falls hits the neighbourhood. And you ask, “What happened”?

Well, today is generally a good day, for this time of year. It is clear out, although partly cloudy, the Sun does shine through it part of the time. We are sitting at plus 3C, according to my car. I headed into town to do a quick shop for some food, and the snow that was on the ground was melting on my car. It is a mixture of mostly rain with some snow, and this has only been going on for at last fifteen minutes, or so. But mostly clear out, so far for today.

Down town is fairly quite right now. Not what I expected. I thought I would be fighting the holiday madness of traffic on the roads, and in the parking lots. Even the store was nice and relaxed, while I did my shopping. This was totally unexpected, for this time of year. Something I find eerie, and hard to comprehend, having come from the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. We will see what tonight brings!

For now, I have my snacks, and I am curled up to the computer and monitor, as I bask in its blue glow. A piping hot cup of tea is sitting beside me, and some grapes sit on a plate by my PC’s mouse. What more could you ask for on a day like today.

Oh, a lot, you could say. I could ask for more! LOL

The first day of winter–yay. Here we come! Enjoy…..

Happy Solstice and the First Day of Winter

As the tail goes, in the North, on this day, the Sun shines brightly over the land, and for one moment all will see it through the clouds. No matter how stormy it is, the clouds will part long enough to let in the light, to signal the return of longer days. Today, was no exception. Driving to work, I saw the Moon casting its light through the clouds, to the West, and what a sight that was. The Moon rays were like curtains of light fanning out over the mountains, and through the valley. And later on in the day, the Sun happily rose into the sky, just enough to see it over the trees, as its ark-path through the sky will be it lowest of the year, a mere 26 degrees above the horizon.

Oh yes, the photo of the day, like all the times before, on Winter Solstice, I take photos. Here is my pick of the day. It is cool out, around minus 2C, so everything outside has a frosty coating of ice crystals on it.

Today should mark the beginning of the year. Why I say this? Because the days get long after today. I never understood the logic of placing our calendar start date in January. But hey, when you standardize the calendar, fitting it to your morays and myths, then you clinch the culture that follows it. I say we should adopt Sidereal time from now on, so that no government or organization can tamper with time, at anytime!

The Moon shines bright tonight. It is damn near a Full Moon tonight. For an hour, my bedroom was flooded with moon light, as the clouds parted for a few hours in the early night. Like this morning, tonight’s Moon, is almost full, and hangs high in the sky. I can easily see the snow caps top of the mountain from my window, and the clear outlines of the hazy clouds streaking through the sky.

So Happy Solstice, and may your happiness grow with each progressive day until summer Solstice.

One last Day of Fall

When I left for home, from my work, I looked over towards Western mountains along the Skeena Valley, and saw clear blue sky, and pure white snow caps, in the glow of the Sun. It was an amazing sight, after a week of overcast and rainy weather. Sadly, no photos, as I have been spending most of my time getting ready for impending Inventory that will happen next week.

While most get some sort of a winter holiday, myself, I might be working through some of the stat time off. I took on the extra duties, mainly for the money. On one of the scheduled days off, I will be making “triple” time, which I think will be either the 25th, or New Years’ Day. I have not received the final schedule yet. Do not feel bad for me, I am not religious; only tomorrow is significant to me, being the first day of winter, the rest is just time off for good behavior.

I will take my camera to work with me tomorrow. Like years past, taking photos on the shortest day of the year is somewhat tradition for me. Most often, I get really awesome photos, mostly of landscapes. So, hopefully, this year, December 21st will be a wonderful sun filled day, and there will be lot of unique shots to taken. Rumour has it, tomorrow might be clear, yet cold. We will see.

If the night is clear, I might try and spot the comet tomorrow, that will be near the Pleiades star constellation tomorrow. Sadly, there will also be a full Moon to compete with that will be nearly 30 degrees, making spotting the little green comet a challenge, even with a telescope. Hopefully Mother Nature will be on outside for viewing this.

The Low Snow Forecast

We are getting snow. Yes, sir…ey. It is falling, albeit this all depends on your location in the valley, as some places are getting as much as 4cm, while others are struggling with just 2cm. The bottom line: snow is falling. Now, if this was the Lower Mainland and surrounding Fraser Valley, then this little weather system would be labeled as “CHAOS” and the all the cities would be shut down. But no, not here, it is business as usual. We are getting some wind too, and that also depends on where you are living. Where I am, just a powdering of snow, but the wind is picking up. I am not sure what Suz. has in mind for tonight, but I hope she is driving. 

The work place is slowing down. I noticed that around the shop and office, the work load is becoming lighter. It was like this last year too, so I am not worried, but I can see into next year, January, and it is picking up again. Already, in four weeks, I can see over twenty work orders stacked up on the books. But for now, I can just sit back, kick the feet up, and relax.

The flu is all but gone now, except for the goo in my lungs that still lingers. Overall, my body feels a whole lot better. There are moments when a slight fever creeps in, or my nose starts dripping, but that is to be expected after a full on flu attack. I am just happy that it is over, or the worst part, anyway.

Still too weak to walk outside, and take the camera along. I think it is a combination of low self esteem and lack of enthusiasm that keeps me bind to my warm comfy home. So, me and the camera stay put, as I wonder the photos I could get outside–all those ideas, but then the coughing starts, and that is usually when the thoughts fade away. I think getting better, is the better choice right now.

Next week is the Solstice. I am excited about that. This year it is on a Friday, and we might go out and enjoy the longest night of the year. We might head down to the lake, and pay tribute to nature’s wonder of this astronomical event. We could very well be a super clear night, and the stars shine, making for a very awesome photo opportunity. But the best part is knowing that after the day is done, the days grow again, and with it, comes the warm weather once again. I am happy once again!

Home: Nice to have the Car Parked at the Airport.

Made it home, great flight, 7:00pm and nice to just drive home without having ti wait for someone. There is no great advantage of going to, and leaving from an airport, then to drive up to it, and then away from it, at your own free will. It is just an awesome feeling. And that is what I did. I stepped off from the plane, walked through the departure area, straight outside, and drove away. Terrace, BC, yes; Vancouver, BC, no. I could not have done this in Vancouver with out just as much hassles as waiting for a Taxi. I would still be there–waiting. Anyway, I drove right to Suz’s house, and we had dinner.

During the flight, there were no could in the sky. Along the horizon, all I could see was a band of deep red, stretched along the ocean. It was pretty much pitch black out, halfway through the flight, but the weather was identical to Vancouver’s, except the temperature, which was cooler by a degree or two. It was awesome to see a sunset like that from twenty-thousand feet in above the Earth.

Sadly, I sat in by the isle, so there was no point in bringing out the camera. I think the fellow sitting in the window seat would not of approved a 300mm lens stuck in front of him. This image I will have to keep in my memories.