Saturday, 31 January 2015

Photo a Day 31

Walked past this mosaic countless times and probably stomped right over it without being aware of its existence. When there are so many people going to and fro from the mall, it pays to keep one's head up on a swivel especially to avoid conflicts with motorized wheelchairs and walker assisted pedestrians.
Once you have realized that it is part of the walkway, you can step back near the building and have time to study it in more detail. Represents what White Rock used to be some where back in the early to mid twentieth century. A journey out from the big City of Vancouver to the summer cottage where you could enjoy time at the beach. At that time the railway station was a stop on the Burlington Northern railway and not just a reminder of the old days.
Not easy to grab a photo since I had to back away a little to encompass the whole mosaic and there is no way to get higher to lessen the acute angle of view. Perhaps a fish eye lens would have helped?

Friday, 30 January 2015

Photo a Day 30

Spotted two Chinese restaurants with multiple paper lanterns, hanging over the outside seating; but I chose to capture this one due to its more intricate decoration. They are lot more noticeable during the day when the winter sun can peek in under the awnings while at night a light bulb has to suffice. Little did I know paper lanterns come in various shapes and guises with most divided into five separate types.

Baby's Bottom: a miniature lantern now often used for Christmas tree decorations.
Rolling Paper: tall cylindrical types usually seen in bars and restaurants.
Tomato Light: the classic round mid sized lantern also referred to as Big Red.
Crystal Magic: multi-shaped lights built with rectangular and triangular panes.
Buddha's Gastronomy: larger lanterns which are used as temple decorations and at festivals.

Most of the lanterns we see are regular, run-of-the-mill Chinese red types used to decorate stores, temples and street festivals. I would have guessed the colour to be Imperial Red but it apparently relates to fire and symbolizes good fortune and joy.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Photo a Day 29

My guess would be shadows. And I'd be correct. On a smooth surface the shadows of the small tress might have been sharper; however, against a rough concrete wall the edges diffused into the peaks and valleys softening the effect. Lines from the seams of the plywood forms are still clear even in the photo as are the quarter size indentations left from the form ties. All I had to remember was to keep my own shadow from intruding into the scene. Often times when composing the shot, the fact that the black blob towards the bottom is yourself just does not register.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Photo a Day 28

Today the photo was almost right outside the front door. Actually noticed that the flowers had bloomed which seems to have happened quite suddenly because I'm almost positive they were closed yesterday. Spotted them on the way out for a morning run and planned to get the camera out as soon as I returned. Then I decided to wait and see if the sun would pop out long enough to shine a little light on the subject. So not long after lunch I was able to snap away at leisure. As memory serves, I was sure the shrubs were a variety of Witch Hazel and a quick search online confirmed my suspicion. Still odd to see a shrub in full bloom before the leaves have arrived.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Photo a Day 27

Seems to be getting more difficult to find photograph worthy material for the daily challenge, especially when the weather stays dull and grey. Sunshine helps to liven everything up with brightness and shadows. So today I slowly marched along eyeing possibilities but just as quickly rejecting them. Finally ended up at the park on 18th Avenue thinking a picture of a dull bush would have to suffice for the day. Helpful that I paused to view all the landscaped islands at the corner or I might have stepped on these fungi and ended up wandering much further afield. Tried to identify each of these by referring to our old, never used mushroom book with no luck, Of course, they may not be mushrooms. However, they are very colourful and very noticeable, so I guess they are trying to attract birds or entice innocent bystanders into using them for a last supper!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Photo a Day 26

Never can be sure of how your thinking will change throughout the day. Pretty calm and serene starting out on a walk through Campbell Valley Regional Park but you can never be sure what lies beneath.  But that's a story for another day.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Photo a Day 25

Original plan was to return a book to the library and try to pick up a few magazines for easy reading before searching for a photo of the day somewhere in the vicinity. While I nearly always glance at the wall going up to the mezzanine because it is a showcase for new artists, I rarely look anywhere else. Today by chance I noticed how many things cover the walls including some paintings. For a  nostalgic return to the past, the artist has highlighted the old railway station, the summer cottage feeling of yore, the 'white rock' and in the distance the pier. Only my guess but 1913 may be the year the BNR built the station and 1988 might be the year the present library building was opened to the public.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Photo a Day 24

Didn't spot this rather odd engineering detail on a Roper Avenue condominium until a couple of days age. It was one of the buildings we looked at last April and probably twice in September when we were full on searching for a real estate deal.

Quite a few items tended to scare me off being serious about purchasing any of the four units we walked through. First was the poor shape of the elevator which seemed to bounce off the walls going up or down and was a couple of inches out at every floor landing. Second, in order to make the floor plans work, either the architect or builder decided to reduce the aisle room between the counters by about four inches which forced you to side step around the slightly oversize fridges. Third were the closed in decks which had been done piecemeal and  highlighted the  exceedingly poor workmanship. At this point I discovered many of the widows were single pane and only some had been upgraded to sealed units. Apparently more buildings are allowing owners to take charge of what used to be common property.

One of the deficiencies I missed entirely was the construction on the southwest corner. Appears the west side of this three story building is supported on a few eight inch concrete pillars instead of perimeter walls. Only other area I've ever seen this type of construction was in severe muskeg zones where the concrete posts acted as piles since the ground always shifted and heaved. Inspectors must have really been asleep on the job or the structural engineer never went on site preferring to send in the stamped plans by mail.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Photo a Day 23

Another good day to avoid the outside weather as the rain keeps teeming and no end in sight. Since the question came up about the hotel in Paris we stayed in a few years ago, I decided to grab a screenshot from Google maps and process it artistically. So the Hotel Relais du Pre as though done as an oil painting. Tomorrow I can't use a bit of moisture as an excuse.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Photo a Day 22

Well! If you can't find anything else interesting, you can always throw in another mallard duck photo. Not that many around. Guess the ones who winter over were too lazy to make the long flight south. They seemed to be feeding pretty well in this muddy little pond so life can't be all that bad.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Photo a Day 21

I was looking at these a while ago (took a couple of photos back then) and never really read what was on them other than the 'Celebrating 100 Years'. That refers to the building of the White Rock pier, but this time I realized the two flags were slightly different with part of the pier on each one. How that ties in with the 'Five Corners' I have no idea. Besides which the five corners don't exist, at least not now, although a one time maybe Buena Vista ran straight through before the condominiums were built. Guess you have to be old enough to understand the reference.

With all the wind storms over the fall and winter quite a few of the flags have been blown away, unless there has been a little collecting going on in the wee hours of the morning. A couple of these nicely framed would add a brilliant touch of colour to a drab wall.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Photo a Day 20

With a lot of time on my hands waiting for a dealership to do an oil change, I thought I would find a photo op without any problems. Walked around for forty five minutes, looking here, looking there, all to no avail. Could be I was just disinterested - like not in the moment - or more plausibly, blind to the opportunities staring me in the face.

Finally I gave up and headed back to the dealership to see if the vehicle was ready. Well, of course not. Already fifteen minutes overdue, the car sat in the bay with the hood up and the wheels off (tire rotation time). So I started wandering down the back lane to waste more of the morning, when what to my surprise, I spotted this large mural - about 60' x 18' -  on the side of a body shop. Even if cars were not parked in front, I could not back up far enough to take in the whole painting so this is a rather small portion.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Photo a Day 19

Not sure about the secret of this building. Obviously belongs to White Rock but there are no signs to tell us what may be inside. No windows either, just a well locked door. My guess would be pumping equipment to bail out Marine Drive when the storms come a calling. T'other side has a colorful aboriginal style mural while this side has a definite Van Gogh influence. Notice how the warm yellows and oranges surround the ATM machine enticing you to get some hot cash in your pocket - for a fee of course.

Wonder if the city receives a cut?

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Photo a Day 18

Scraping the bottom of the barrel today. Looked at this opportunity a week ago, but decided it was a bit of a stretch as a perspective study. Loses a lot by having one side of columns and the other glass store fronts. Blame it on the threat of rain and not wanting to travel too far afield.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Photo a Day 17

Every time I pass by one of the newer condos, I'm attracted by a section of the outside decorative finishing.  A combination of paver stones and concrete cover the ground backed by what appears to be concrete seating, more or less like an amphitheater. While it might at first glance seem to be welcoming, the signage definitely suggests otherwise. No loitering, no skateboarding etc. with the stern admonition that this is private property. Despite the warning, I jumped up on the wall and took a shot of the circular pattern.

My ulterior motive was to post process the photo into some type of geometric pattern to gain more experience in using Since the shot was taken at an angle, the circle was rendered as an ellipse so I thought I could manipulate it into an electron pattern. First I removed everything but the circle of pavers. Then I copied the result and pasted it into another three layers before rotating them individually into an octagonal arrangement. Each of the layers transparency was reduced before adding a background layer of transparent colour. Flatten and save.

Now what can I do next?

Friday, 16 January 2015

Photo a Day 16

Time to go out and look around. Where to go? How about Serpentine Fen? Okay, might be a drab time of year but usually you can get a few good close up photos of ducks or raptors or even a mangy coyote. Parked and headed past one of the tower lookouts heading over to the main pond. There were some waterfowl all clustered in the middle while the closer ones made a beeline for the furthest reaches. Not used to the ducks being quite so skittish, even with the crowds at West Beach they are tolerant of people being 8 to 10 feet away.

Once we start walking along the dyke beside the river the answer becomes clear - dogs. Seems the wildlife reserve has been transformed into an off leash park despite all the warning signs to keep your mutt on a leash. Counted at least 12 dogs running loose completely uncontrolled. And then we spotted 2 rather largish pit bulls being restrained by their owners but clearly indicating the viewing tower was off limits for the time being. Soon the area will soon be deserted of wildlife and be replaced by many, more plastic bags full of doggy droppings strewn all over the paths.

Well, as Roy would say 'Happy Trails to You' and don't step where Bullet went!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Photo a Day 15

Due to imminent rain (at least, it looked that way) I decided not to wander too far afield. These screens decorate a local mall in order to beautify an otherwise plain drab boring wall. Even without a lot of plant growth, they do the job; although being completely covered in a vine like clematis, the effect would have been spectacular in flowering season.

Judging from the stunted growth of all the plantings, I would guess they are trying to survive in six inches of soil strewn over a densely packed backfill of pit run. It would be interesting to compare a present day photo with the artist's rendering for the plans presented to city hall for building approval.

Converting the photo to black & white helped by removing the rather insipid colour of the stucco finish!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Photo a Day 14

Kind of a selfie as I'm in there more or less covered by a shadow. Not the best time of day to try this shot as the sun, which I tried to keep hidden behind the mirror, occasionally blinded me as I shifted positions. Now I'm able to see what lurked behind me, although I have to remember to reverse everything in the field of view.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Photo a Day 13

Not allowed to venture outside to get my daily photo fix, so I have to make do with scenes close by and try to see them from a new direction. Tidied this one up a bit in post production, as they say, to remove unwanted and distracting elements.
Meanwhile, my slightly strained Achilles gets a chance to rest and heal. Too bad I tend to ignore my own advice (frequently) by stretching after a run on Saturday and going a millimetre too far. Lucky for me, I have an excellent nurse and caregiver who ices down the heel, gets me coffee and reminds me to take some Advil and stay off the feet. Thanks Jan!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Photo a Day 12

A crew spent a day erecting the construction fence, covering the roof and wrapping the entire house in tarps about three months ago. Personally, I felt a backhoe and a dump truck should have put an end to the eyesore without fanfare. However, nothing has happened since then except the tarps have blown off during two or three windstorms and the plastic now protects nothing.  Money wisely spent.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Photo a Day 11

Gosh! Another leaky condo under wraps for a multi-million dollar rehab. Wonder how many that makes since the late eighties? Someone must be keeping track or maybe with so many, nobody cares anymore except those peering out through the lacy tarps.

"Honey, what's it like out today?"

"Well it must be nice dear. There's a pretty blue glow hitting the windows."

Since the remedial work takes a year or more, it must get stressful living in an all day cocoon. Not only that but for eight hours a day workers are stomping back and forth tearing off the side of your unit, removing windows, doors, flooring and slowly replacing everything a wee bit at a time. And once the tarp finally falls away allowing a view of the outside world, you're left to contemplate paying off your $70 thousand share of the bill.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Photo a Day 10

Walk by this stylized cross practically every day. It's an adornment beside the main entrance to a Presbyterian church which is also home to a daycare centre, meeting hall and a de facto community meeting place. Except for the name the only other mark to identify the building as a church is a small two foot regular cross cut into the concrete above the entrance. Most Christian crosses have three arms of equal length and a fourth longer one while this one reminds me more of a Greek crosses which usually have four equal arms. The church seems designed to fit into the surrounding area rather than stand out and continually call attention to itself.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Photo a Day 9

The rosy pink coat caught my attention, however the sun retreated  behind the clouds leaving a grayish washed out scene. Rather than ignore the family dynamic, I took a shot thinking that a bit of touch up processing might still leave me with a viable image. Just applying a vignette filter seemed to be enough to refocus attention on the the pink coat and the little girl's obvious interest in the seagulls she was feeding.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Photo a Day 8

This is one of the water supply tanks for White Rock, another one to the north must be 60 foot tall and I'd have to stand in the traffic on North Bluff Road dodging speeding cars to fit it in the viewfinder. They're easy to spot on the way by and a couple of months ago, I had to search around them for clues to a multi-cache. Some of the information was on dedicated benches and the rest were gathered from the paintings on the tank. Needless to say, the geocache was hidden in a park not far away.
Most of the information on the tank relates to the invention of Thomas Crapper and the upgrades to its operation over the years. However, it is a little disconcerting to have the domestic water supply decorated with pictures of toilets and accessories as though that is the primary use of the water system.
Three other nuggets of information I learned googling on the net. One, the water supply for White Rock, most of South Surrey and the Semiahmoo First Nation comes from six wells in the area and not from the north shore mountains. Two, the water is delivered to homes without any treatment except for this well at Merklin which has limited chlorination. Three, the City does not own the water system as it was sold to a private corporation - EPCOR - in 2005

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Photo a Day 7

So I'm wandering around at West Beach taking photos on a gray foggy day when I see the triple headlamps of  a  BNSF train rounding the corner at the far west of the peninsula. Moments later, the engineer starts sounding the horn - still 3 kilometres away - to warn everyone walking the promenade or at the shore to keep of or vacate the tracks. Thinking this was my chance to get a shot of the Amtak on its way to Seattle, I began to run towards the west boat access crossing where the lower guard rail would be less noticeable in a photo. Made it with a few seconds to spare. Obvious by then it was a long freight train - not the passenger Amtrak - but the three engines filling the view screen were too good to pass up. Unfortunately due to the almost foggy conditions, the sky was rendered in a grayish blah.
Simple solution. Open up my program, upload the photo, remove the crappy sky and replace it with one more befitting my imagination. Can't you already feel the warmth of a sunny day at the beach :)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Photo a Day 6

Not really a clue why these boulders are carved and placed in a circle in Blackie Spit Park at Crescent Beach. A wild guess would be a connection to Native American prayer circles and the stories imparted by the stones are tales from local oral history. There seems to be no information about them online plus I was unable to see any reference to their existence in the Blackie Spit Park: Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Plan commissioned by the City of Surrey. Maybe city crews will simply disappear them one night.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Photo a Day 5

Taking a photo of this 25 pound howitzer was a piece of cake compared to trying to find a geocache -  probably a camouflaged magnetic Altoids tin - hidden somewhere on it,. Everyone and their grandmother snaps away with cameras and phones pretty well nonstop, pausing only long enough to upload to Instagram, a blog or emailing all their friends. If you're an adult, searching and poking around it like a 5 year kid definitely brings out the stares and questioning looks. Suffice to say I cut off the geocache hunt rather quickly with city hall on one side  and a RCMP detachment on the other. As to the gun itself the next photo pretty well explains all there is to know.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Photo a Day 4

Lots of problems with this one since I had to go back three times to get a photo that was reasonably well in focus. Changed the settings a couple of times to to try and get the AF to close in on that one little spot. So either my eyes are fuzzy or the lens just is not capable of capturing a sharper image.
Most days I would pass by these buses without ever noticing the colorful berries still clinging to the branches despite the leaves having fallen off a couple of months ago. Seem to be a lot more observant when the pressure is on to come up with a semi-interesting shot for a daily post. With mixed rain and snow falling, the fingers are the first to suffer trying to make the adjustments to the settings, hold the camera steady and depress the shutter button only half way to allow the focus and metering to work. Now I'm left to wonder why the birds haven't made a meal of these berries.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Photo a Day 3

Here we have a gaggle of geese! Or maybe two gaggles of geese since the ones at the other end are keeping their distance or are just snobs. The near end of the pond appeared to be frozen with a couple of inches of melt water on top, so it may have been shallow enough to freeze in the colder weather the last few days. Why there should be a special word to describe a bunch of geese hanging out together probably remains a mystery. Likely the result of a bored English professor following his 'publish or perish' calendar in hopes of gaining tenure and a ten hour workweek. Start with aardvarks all the way to zebras, conjure up a nifty word to describe animals gathering together - is there a minimum number? - and presto, another publishable book to gather dust on the shelf presuming a copy is sold. It's difficult to understand the rationale behind most of these:

  • a sleuth of bears
  • a zeal of zebras
  • a crash of hippos
but some do make some sense. A troop of baboons or a parade of elephants especially when either are on the move seem aptly descriptive. 
Oh, by the way, a group of aardvarks can be referred to as an aarmory - tricky adding on that extra a :)

Friday, 2 January 2015

Photo a Day 2

Originally, this was meant to be a comment on the yellow brick road and the nature of heading off into the unknown, However, conditions in life can change rapidly causing sudden shifts in perception. Now it appears more as a 'line in the sand' or 'dare you to cross this line' or 'stay on your own side of the line'. Such is how it speaks to me.
You think you're part of something only to realize you actually are just over there, not truly a member of the group - just a hanger-on - with scant chance of ever gaining full acceptance. Most of the time the signals are subtle but very clear on not intruding into this other personal place and thinking you can ever be a full participant.  At most, you are only entitled to toe up to the line, mind your manners, and occasionally, be allowed to pretend you are welcome.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Photo a Day 1

My wife and I decided on a photo a day challenge for 2015. No rules or themes (as far as I know), just produce one new post per day on anything that captures the imagination. Seems like a constructive way to look at things a little bit differently and get more adventuresome; instead of relying on the boring point and shoot method. So I started out taking a picture of a painting in progress - not by me -  (hmm, am I allowed to use the finished product as a new post?) which sits right beside me on an easel and is loosely based on a small lake scene which Jan took a photo of on the way to Eagle Bluffs. Rather than spend a lot of time and effort, I thought why not begin close by and work out from there. With any luck I could complete the entire year without going out of the house. However, I'm more interested to see where the challenge leads each of us.