Little Storm Passing Over Town As We Travel Home

This was the last leg of our day trip. This shot was taken while going over the Sande Overpass in Terrace, BC, looking West. I was the passenger–not driving–while I took the shot. What you are looking at here is a small hail storm that was just leaving town, heading West, the direction we just came from. As we traveled through it, we only got maybe a one kilometer stretch of storm, then it was over, as it moved westward. So, it was a good end for a super sunny weekend. After the storm passed, it cleared up again, so all was good.

We never stuck around for the sunset, becuase we had dinner, then I needed to get to bed for an early start tomorrow, but I am sure it was awesome. The rain stopped, and by the time I got home, the Sun was out again. It was then I realized just how long the days are here up North–it is still light out by 9:00pm! Crazy! You do not like the weather now, then just wait five minutes, it will change.


The Forest of Moss: On Ferry Island

These look like “sprouts” when I first seen the image in my photo editor. I was quite happy with these images, and I think I took about ten shots of this clump of moss on a tree stump just off the road that goes North to South, on Ferry Island. Ferry Island in on the Skeena River, just East of Terrace, BC; a great place for a small hikes. The moss was a brilliant green colour, rather fresh, obviously this spring’s growth, and quite thick, which is why I stopped to photograph it.

I used my Sony 30mm Macro lens, and took these shots at about one to two centimeters away. This is why I love this lens so much, its min. focal length is around five millimeters–very close. With all of sun light, this was the perfect time of day to do shots like this. I think my shutter speed was one thousandth of a second, with my aperture set at f2.8.

You see why I like this tiny cheap lens so much! Shots like this are awesome, and I think the lens was about $100.00. Next to my 114mm lens, this is the only other prime lens I own now. The world looks so different when you are this small.

The Shadowy Trail of Ferry Island

With the Sun hovering pass late noon on the service access road on Ferry Island, I took this photo, thinking that it looked neat the way the Sun casting its light through the trees on the road. By this time, the temperature was a blustery 15C, and I felt I had to undo my jacket from the spring day warmth. It was hard to get the shot too becuase of the amount of people who were also out hiking, as I did not want people in the photo. But with time ticking by, and I needed to get to a bathroom, this was the time to get the photo, with people out in the distance. The other folks were far enough away, it did not mess the composition of the image too badly.

I have seen many shots taken from this vantage point, but none had shadows like this in them. So I felt quite lucky with the timing. Once the leaves are out, this place is always in the shade, but with the Sun so high in sky, the shadows seem sharper and more pronounced than usual this time of year. Sadly, you only get to see this image as a 500 x 300 pixel image, you should see it as a 6000 x 3000 pixels.

Hole In The Wall

After several trips down the highway between Terrace and Prince Rupert, BC, we finally found the very small train tunnel some locals call, “The Hole In the Wall.” It is hard to find due to the bushes and tree growth along it and the highway. For the record, the tunnel is about a half hour drive from Terrace, BC, if you drive the speed limit, and is after the level train crossing and Car-Wash-Rock, another famous land mark along the road. With the sunny skies, we picked the perfect time of day to shoot the tunnel.

ADDED: Quote from Suz., “Heading from Terrace, this is after the Kasiks overhead rail crossing on the highway and the turn-off for the Kasiks Wilderness Resort.”

I was using a 144mm lens, so fairly wide, to show you just how close to the road this is to the highway. Actually, in this shot, you are looking at the “old” road, as it was before the 1980’s. The main highway is about twenty metres further away. Behind me are thirty years of tree growth, so hard to see if you are just driving down the road.

Also, the tunnel itself is not very long, perhaps fifty metres in length, as you can see the light from the other side where the sun was shining.The question I ask is, why build it, when you can either go around it, or blast more rock away to make it less of a corner. But, they did it, it looks neat. As far as I know, this is the only train tunnel along this stretch of highway between Terrace and Prince Pupert.

Pussy Willows Buds are Out

For the record, these are what my mother told me these were–pussy willows. Actually, I have no idea what their scientific name is, or what the locals call them, so, for the purposes of this post, I will refer to them as pussy willows. During my youth, a long time ago, seeing these pussy willows here in Thornhill meant that this was a sure sign that the full on spring season has started. Now, you can throw your winter gear back into the closet, and whip out the (warmer) summer clothing, with rain gear too, as spring also signals the Rainy season. On a supper nice day, with nothing but clear skies, seeing these pussy willows popping out among the trees is a sight for sore eyes–winter is behind us now–for good–until next year.

According to Suz., the Mason Bees really loves these pussy willows. As I was photographing this shot, above and blow, the tiny bees were all around me, taking as much pollen as they could carry with them. As for the true name of these little baby bees, I am not sure either. Some call them Mason Bees (though I am not sure they eat cement, are members of the Free Mason Society, or just hide among cracks in the bricks of your house), or call them orchard Bees, someone please tell me?

Anyway, enjoy the day! Must go now–Suz., has arrived!

Construction at the Four-way Stop Begins

This started about last Monday, or so, when the clearing started. I first noticed the surveyor’s ribbon marking the side of the road, then it moved to the trees, and then on Tuesday (April 10, 2018) the Arborists started their work. By Wednesday, well over the ninety per cent of the area was cut down, and by today, most of the wood and branches had been cleared away. With the change to skyline, comes the great view from the road, but a huge change nonetheless for most who grew up here over the years. But this is all in the name of progress, as next year, we should see a double lane round-about in this very spot.

In the above image, I am looking West, towards Terrace, at the New Bridge. It is here that the new round-about will be built.

I know that they had to cut down the trees now, this time of year to beat the birds that might nest here. Apparently, you cannot cut down trees with nesting birds in them–it would be uncool and not nice to the birds if you do this. The trees are cleared now, and then work will slowly begin without the knowledge of hurting any birds.

Because people were not suppose to collect firewood during the clearing, the Highways Contractors hired a security guy to make sure no one entered the Construction Zone. Even signs were posted at both entrances, and along the main highway stating that you must keep out. I am not sure if this guy is posted all night and day, but I felt sorry for him–a boring job–to say the least.

Anyway, the view has changed now in an impressive way. In this image you can see the “really old highway” that connected to the Old Skeena Bridge and Queesnway Drive, and the new route that connects the bridge traffic to the newer junction of HWY16 and 37, the Kitimat Highway (upper road).

April Fools, or Just Fools?

Listening to all the news on the United State wanting to drop out of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or at least awing it in their favour, got me thinking about what lays in my future as a Canadian. And to be fair, I am only referencing this on my own personal life–a life that is almost spanning five decades now. So I think I have some experience under my belt. I remember a time before NAFTA. There was a time long ago, that Canada only had bi-lateral agreements with other trading nations, and it worked. But people wanted bigger, better, with more profits, and the ability to grow at more accelerated rates, and at the time, this was the Automobile Market that launched it. But this was far from the utopia of free markets that the businesses wanted. There will always be outside forces that could bring down, or at least distort, the economy, and as corporations grew mightier then the countries they lived in, so to were the negative effects of the market shifts.

When listening to the U.S. president say he was pulling out of NAFTA, or at least change it into his favour, I thought to myself this must be a April Fool’s Joke of some kind. Could this be true, or just another one of his “flip-flopping” agendas he is so famous for? Changing his mind through an early morning Tweet on Twitter, like a teenager on social networking. The ramifications of all of this is the Markets bouncing up, then down, reacting to every tweet, like a farmer in his fields watching storm clouds pass by.

Sure, it is nerve-racking, as the media plays on every and tweet the US presidents throws out into the Internet. But remember, you can only cry “Wolf” so many times before no hears again.

So here is how I look at it. And I have lived through a bunch of rescissions in my lifetime. We may have our cars and oil increase in costs, but these are commodities that will not bring down our neighborhoods and governments. Sure, it will sting as a small portion of the work force will have to adapts into new industries, but there basic needs that can be met to keep our nation running as long as we have the will to do so.

We can produce our own basic needs like food, building materials and modes of transportation. Unlike some other countries, Canada has the ability to move forward at both the micro and macro levels inside our borders with self sustaining ease. We are, after all, an exporting country, thought not as efficient as China or the U.S. due to our small population, but we can pick ourselves up and run with it. We are fortunate that we are not reliant upon service industries, and raw resources, we have kept a sizable manufacturing sector alive.

So it is far from not being the end of the world when the U.S. president tweets the end to free trade. In the end, he will only hurt the people he leads–his own country. Sure Canada, and Mexico, will under go a transformation too, but both nations will pick up where they left off, and continue to grow, as we all look for more stable markets to trade with. And with the changing world dynamics through tools like the Internet, and digital money, it is quiet possible the U.S. will be left behind if they stagnate.

We need to eat, and we can grow our own food. We need homes, and we can build them. The only thing that will hurt us in the current market economy, is the mountain of debt that the average Canada carries–this we must get under control. But perhaps we need this market shift to correct the economy after all? Homes are out of reach for now for many people, so a good shake up might be what we need.

Day of the Swans

Who knew a trip to the lake today would land me a few dozen shots of the great Swans that call the Kitimat Valley their home. As Suzette suggested a drive out to the lake, her intuition of going out to the lake on a nice day paid off with more than just some landscape shots on my camera, but included a couple of families worth of Trumpeter Swans too. A total surprise, there were the swans, swimming gleefully, very close to shore. Sadly, there were other humans walking along the shore, so it was only a matter of time, as we walked closer, they would fly away. 

No doubt, these are swans. Now I wished I had a 1000mm lens, as these were shot with a 300mm, not quite close enough for this lens. It would have been nice to closer shots, but there were just to many people also walking along the shore. I was the only one with the telephoto lens camera, so the others had to get really close with their phone’s cameras to get the shot, and that was what scared off the birds.

They sure are mighty birds. No idea at how big they are, but I wager their wingspan could be about two metres, or more. It took them less than five seconds to get into the air, and they were just as awesome to look at in the air as they were on the water swimming around.

Stuff On the Skeena River

So after the shock of seeing the snow on the ground, the Sun came out and melted it all back to its liquid state, leaving us with an awesome day to spend as we wished. We went on a hike over at the Old Skeena Bridge, but on this hike, we went under it in stead. The goal was to see if we could find a way to get to the Northern sandbars, but from years of shifting sands from the river, the old routes were washed away. We opted instead to just stick around the base of the river, checking out the rocks, water and anything else we might find. There were even other’s doing the same walks too.

With the river so low this time of year, I saw more “pot holes” carved away from the water than what I normally see. I could walk right up to the main part of the river under the bridge, which is normally not done from the high water. It was quite awesome to see the carved granite at this level; I figure I saw about twenty more carved holes in the newly exposed rock.

The Sun was poking its way through the clouds enough that it balanced out the Northern wind which seemed to cut through you when it gust over 10k/hr. There was a fare breeze, but with the good fleece jacket on, hiking was was great. Could not argue that the day was not a good one for March–spring is on its way. We trek on wards.

We just happened to noticed this Surveyor’s Marker drilled into the rock on the South side of the bridge. It appears to be made of brass, and although beaten by rocks from years of floods, we could make out some of the markings on it. We must have walked over this many times with out noticing it. The Sun was hitting it the right way when I seen it. I took several shot with my macro lens so we could see if we learn more by blowing the image up later on. Here is what we found so far.

We know it is a Survey Marker commissioned by British Columbia with the year “1960” stamped on it. It has an image of a crown, and possibly the cardinal points of a compass showing North. It could also be a coordinate marker too, but the centre of it is badly damaged. The numbers “87,” along with “IEBAL,” and “E(V)ALT(K) and “RES” are also stamped on it. I have sent the larger images to some people that might know who and what this is for. Another mystery to solve–yay!

Anyway, the brass marker is about ten metres South of the bridge on the rock bluff where the pines trees are growing. Like I said, we must have walked over this many times before we actually seen it. Thus year it is exposed on the bare rock, but still hard to find.

As the day wound up, we have yet one more task to do before we called finished–it is movie night. Going to see Tomb Raider (2018) at the cinemas.

What The….. Snow in Late March?

On the calendar it says spring, but up here in the Great White North, winter still has its grip on daily life, and this morning when I awoke to look outside, this is what I saw. Snow, and a bit of it that came down last night. I guess it got cold enough that the snow flakes stuck and stayed on everything. I was hoping that I would see any snow on the ground at this elevation until next fall season.

I keep forgetting that we here in Thornhill, BC only have two seasons: winter and (springish) summer. The springish part is the rainy season which take up about three-quarters of the summer portion of the year. Anyway, after so much of my life down in the Southern parts of Canada, seeing this at the end of March was a little bit of a shock. But then I have to remember, I am only a short drive from the Alaskan, U.S. Border–cold is a fact here.

Hovering at 4C, the day quickly changed over to being nice, with sunshine. Me and Suzette will probably go out hiking later today. We have plans to see the new Tomb Raider movie tonight, as it opens at the Cinema–should be a good night out. I am hoping that this is the last time we will see the snow this far down in the valley–again–this year!