Pretty Lights In the Snow: A New Years Day Walk

It was like magic; the pretty lights in the snow along the Terrace Grand Trunk Pathway that stretches beside The Yellow Head Highway 16. I waited for the right time to walk this, to take photos of the LED coloured lights along the path. Of course, it had to be dark out, and not foggy, and above all else, it needed to be a non-work day the next morning. So, New Years day, was the perfect choice. So me and Suz headed down the path, snapping photos as we went.

What was neat about some of the lights, was that they were half buried in the snow–adding for that extra light effect. The above shot was one of my favourites. The other weird thing about shooting LED lights with a digital camera was that you can see the lights fade in and then out again. The light oscillates from bright to dim, and back again.

As for the path, it was icy, so you had to watch your step. At one point, I found it was better to walk off the path, than on it. Of course, I have water proof runners on, which did not help the grip on ice problems I was having.

The weather was even weird too. It was 7C at my place overnight, and tonight, it was hovering around 3C. It was actually raining out when walked the path, and snow was melting at a good rate. The roads were perfect to drive on throughout the Skeena Valley, both in Terrace and in Thornhill, BC.

I sort of screwed up when I took these shots. Normally, I set the ISO to 100, and adjust my shutter speeds accordingly. But this time, I had the ISO to “Auto,” and the camera left the shutter speed a 1/125 per sec., and adjusted the ISO for me. In most cases I hate images with lots of noise from the high ISO values, but I did some good shots from tonight, so I will keep them.

I hope you enjoy the light show. Have a great New Year!

HAPPY 2019!

As we leave 2018 in the dust bin, and move into 2019, one thing was apparent: this year’s celebrations were quiet around the neighbourhood. Me and Suz., did not really hear any fireworks, or party noises at the stroke of midnight. But then again, we spent New Years at my place, so my neighbours are a in a different class economically, fireworks are a luxury only some can afford. In all, a quiet night, but one that I was happy not to go into work today.

Yes, Netflix. I have to talk about Netflix. Me and Suz., watched and episode that just came out from the Black Mirror series called “Bandersnatch,” last night.  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we started watching it. On the trailer, it says, run time “one hour and thirty minutes.” When we get passed the two hour mark, we started to wonder. Oh yes, we never at that point made any interactive choices during the movie until that point. In other words, we let the story move through its unassisted story line. Enough said–I will stop here. No spoilers here. The caveat here is, you have to watch it either on a smart TV, or on a Roku device, like what I have becuase you get to make choices. The show has multiple endings, and can last up to five hours.

New Years Resolution? None.

Reflections: None.

Hopes and aspirations for 2019: Nope.

However, I am looking for to 2020, when we theoretically can see better.

So, Happy New Years, and enjoy the day off today. I sure am.

Flying Away – A Very Short Migratory Trip

A fully sponsored, work related, trip to the Lower Mainland for some training is in order, for me. I am going back, albeit for only twenty-seven hours, it will like a life time, as I see the old neighbourhood again. I can only predict what it will be like, but I am sure it will be the same place I left only fifteen month ago. I am looking forward to the trailing, but not to going back.

Let us just say that I have grown accustom to the clean air, little to no traffic, and the sound of nothing, except maybe the odd truck or two here in Thornhill, BC. The Shock of going back, to Surrey, BC, might be too much for my body. It has grown soft with living with less pollution and stress. Oh, and I am sure the water is going to taste the same too.

I guess I will be leaving on Tuesday morning, and then coming back the next night.

The Photo: A bird’s nest in a tree at the North West end of George Little Park in Terrace, BC on December 1st, 2018.

Driftwood on the Beach of Douglas Channel

We went out to Kitimat for a little day trip. We went down Alcan Road, to a place called Hospital Beach (I think is the name) just to see all the LNG stuff that is taking place there. We saw the dredgers out in the harbour, and the property where the workers are going to stay while they build the LNG facility–it is the same place as where the RioTino worker were housed.

But while we were there, I took some photos of the beach, and to my surprise, the photos turn out awesome. The driftwood shots turned out great. Well, gotta go and start the work week. The photo was taken on November 13, 2018.

100 Years of Remembering

The Centennial Anniversary of the 1918 Armistice has arrived, and it got me thinking, putting time in perspective, it was not that long ago in terms of history. In Canada, we celebrate it as Remembrance Day on every November 11, so every year, just about every community has Cenotaphs that people lay their wreaths and Red Poppies at. There is usually a parade, but everywhere people are asked to give two minutes of silences, to pay tribute to those who fought and gave their lives during those days of war. 

So lets do the Maths on this. I am just over fifty, so, when I was born, the end of the First Wold War was just under fifty years old, and the end of the Second World War was just about thirty years old by then. The Korean War had ended just over a decade ago, and I was alive during the Vietnam War. (All these dates are approximations) And yet, looking back before my time was almost impossible, or impossible to find a context to put it in. As a kid, time was not relative, as I did not fully understand it, as my life experience was so little to draw upon. And this is why we need Remembrance Day. It is away to put all of this into perspective, and above all, never to forget, which can easily happen when you were never born during that time, and never experienced it.

Regrettably, never forgetting does not mean we have learned our lessons, as Wars are common throughout mankind’s history. We seem to allow history repeat itself at an almost rhythmic pattern, and conflicts are a constant drone throughout the world. Wars are fought differently now, compared to a hundred years. As my grade seven teacher once told us in class, “then, you could see the face of your enemy, but today, an ocean can separate you,” (Mr. Simons, Circa. 1979). So perhaps remembering could put things into perspective, and may cool the tensions of allowing wars to ignite. We can only hope, but we must never forget. 

Halloween Day!

We made it! The spooky day is now upon us now, and to night: we roar! I got most of my costume done early this morning, using a couple of prosthetics, and lots of fake blood. Plus I am using sprite-glue for the latex bits that I have stuck to my face, for the first time. The stuff works. I may post a photo later on tonight.

Since I get off work early, I will head home to finish my costume, then drive up to Suzette’s place where we will greet the Trick or Treaters, and then have dinner there, as she is cooking something yummy. Because it is a work night, I will probably get home early for bed. I am hoping that this glue comes off with out any troubles.

So, Happy Halloween! Have a scary night!

ADDED: Spent the evening at Suzette’s place for dinner. It was an awesome meal, the best chilly in the Skeena Valley. 

It was funny to watch. As Suzette was preparing and during the cooking process, the interruptions from trick or treaters, seemed like everything five minutes. In all, from the time that I was there, and estimate of thirty kids were asking for the sugar loaded treats.

A note about the kid’s costumes here in Thornhill, BC. From what I seen, I can say that the kids are better dressed here, than from what I remember whan living in the Lower Mainland. Also, it appears that the kids here spend more time on their makeup and appliances from what I have seen. I did not see any indecent costumes, and I can say this might be in part to how cool it gets here in the evenings on the North Coast.

It was a good time. I am too tired from my busy day, so I am calling it sleep-time early.

A Drive Down Kitselas Road

Since it has been over a year since me Suz., drove down Kitselas Road, we thought it would be a great opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon, and I taking the opportunity to shoot more autumn tree shots of the Skeena Valley, so we headed out to go for the drive. We do not get to spend that much time on the West side of the Skeena River, and it is a less travelled area, just outside of Terrace, BC. Since it was a fairly sunny day, it did not take much of an excuses to go for the drive. So off down Kitselas Road we went.

We got into the valley at just the right time, as the Sun was setting. The yellow leaves looked an extra orange, from the filtered light. The other weird thought I had, was how calm the wind was here, where just across the valley, where I live, it was gusty. The Western mountains must be protecting this part of the valley from the wind.

Not sure what the names of the creek was, but it is the second bridge you cross before you get to the end of the road. I would say, Kitselas Road is about fifteen kilometers long. The colours of the creek looked awesome, even in the shade of the mountain near by. You can tell it has been a dry summer, by looking at the creek. Last year, this was about a metre high, and looked like it was standing water from the Skeena River near by.

It was good drive; loved it. Now the weekend, and the holiday, are over as of tomorrow. Sigh…..

Doing Some 3D Work at Home

It has been a while, leaving my rendering and animation hobby sit on the shelf for nearly a couple of months now. I was not too busy for it, but I did have other “likes” I wanted to pursue first before I jumped back into doing 3D art work. So, being I was talking a one week holiday, this week, from my “real job,” I made it a week of rendering on my 3D software. And rendering I did.

So I completely recreated it from scratch, again, my Egg Head character, but this time making it as a female. So, her she is, Ms Egg Head.

Those first few steps were hard. 3D Blender is not an easy piece of software to learn on. Setting up the rigging for the mesh, I had to go right back to my help files to relearn the process, as I completely got stuck with the Inverse Kinematics settings on the armature. The other issue I had was setting up the mesh, so it matched the armature the way I wanted it to–that took a day to get it the way I wanted it to go. But, I was pretty happy with my results. The mesh, and rigging, took less that an day, and I was doing basic animating the next day. The stuff I am doing here is “kindergarten” stuff to what the software can do. You can do Motion Picture grade work with 3D Blender–it is everywhere.

Anyway, I am currently rendering out a small “Dance” video. We will see how well that goes. More to come.

Instead We Did a Hike Along Howe Creek, In Terrace.

It was a spur of the moment switch up from our past routine, so after Mochas and Coffees, we headed up to the Howe Creek park at Sparks Street, and do the trail from there over to the Howe Creek Tree park. Since it was fall, and the trees looked so awesome with their fall colours, I took the camera along. I was not disappointed, becuase at every turn, hill and field, the trees were stunning. It was a great hike becuase it took all the worries that were on my mind, and allowed me to focus on the beauty that was around us. Hey, this might sound cheep and tacky to you, if you have lived here all of your life, but for someone who lived far away from this, it is like coming to a whole new world. I will let the photo speak for themselves. Anyway, I shot 152 photos, and it was hard to choose what to post from them. I would say about 60 of them turned out as keepers, and out of that 60, choosing these ones were hard. I might do an album, and post that too. We will see.

The above shot is looking at the Bench, just below Skeenaview Drive, from Sparks Street, using a 300mm lens. Sadly, power lines fill the horizon, so I used the telephoto lens to try and see through them. It is hard, but if you look closely, I missed a set running right up against the tree line. And just a short walk to the tree line, you will hit the creek itself. And once you are in the among the trees, you are blown away at the colours as you stand underneath the tree canopy.

Once we started walking down the trail, we met several people, some jogging, some walking their dogs, and a few were on bikes, and yes, we stopped at one time, talked, and then started walking again. Terrace is a small town, so you are bound to know half of the town, sooner or later. And many also like to hike the trail too.

Over the last couple of days, rain had fallen. The creek had some volume to it, but you could see the signs that it was almost running dry during the summer months. This pond was almost transparent, with the clear water from the springs that feed it. The leaves dotted the water’s surface, and were slowly sinking to the bottom, making the water look really dark. I call this the black mirror effect.

SQUIRREL! Yes, you will see squirrels here. This little guy was not happy to meet us on the trail. He scurried around, from tree to tree, like Tarzan on speed, so we figured that we were close to his nest. He chirped and squeaked until we moved on, but not until I got about ten shots of him right above me.

And then for the grand finale, the tree park. Almost at the end of the trail, you meet the bottom of Lanfear Drive, and on the Western side of the road, lays the Howe Creek Tree Park. It is here that you are blown away by the colours of the trees at this time of the year. With just the right amount of Sun light, with some clouds to diffuse the light with, in the right position in the sky, shafts of light illuminate the trees in a stunning, and breath taking, show that even a camera cannot duplicate. You have to be there to see it.

The Hills Look Bright Today

A little tongue and cheek with the photo I chose for this post–a shot of down town Terrace, BC looking North East at Terrace Mountain, all lit up by the setting Sun. In the for ground is Lakelse Ave., and Emerson Street; pretty much the down town centre at the old mall parking lot. But anyway, let me get on with the post. It is Thanksgiving day, Monday, a holiday for us here in Western Canada. Me and Suz., did get out for the afternoon. There was a drive down the Prince Rupert Highway, to Ackers Point Telegraph Point, then a romp around town before we called it a day. I did get lots done at home; more or less cleaning and organizing. Oh, then there was the awesome dinner over at Suz., place, totally yummy! You could say it was a great day overall.

Yes, it did rain. We needed it. According to the forestry website, we are still in a level-four drought classification for the North Coast. Even Suz., admitted that in all of her life, she has not seen it this dry here in the Skeena Valley. Climate Change, or what! Last year, at this time, the mountains were completely white with snow. Today, they look like are in the middle of summer: dry and bare. Even with what little rain we got over these last few days, it is not even close to what we need.

Holidays, you gotta love them! Need more of them. This working life it sometimes to tough on a guy.