Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Photo a Day 55

Had to run around Langley to find some new neon, not easy with tailgaters everywhere. Finally parked and walked down Fraser Highway in the old shopping area. This was at least interesting but not a whole lot to choose from. Well. Done anyway. This will be the last post for the challenge, just turned into one more hassle.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Photo a Day 54

Every time I see a Western Union sign, it reminds me of the Pony Express. Don't know why. Spent a few minutes researching to discover Western Union was started in 1851 as a telegraph business - that part of the company shut down in 2006 when yearly telegraph volume dropped to 20,000 - and now survives mainly as a means of transferring money worldwide. They also invented the teletype machine, also confined to the dinosaur trash heap. Meanwhile Pony Express was formed in 1860 to provide speedy mail delivery from the eastern US to California and its 380,000 residents. By galloping across the plains and over the mountains, letters could travel from Atlantic to Pacific in only ten days. My confusion must result from watching too many cowboy movies with horse riders climbing up poles to intercept telegraph messages.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Photo a Day 53

Getting these shots at night helps, although I'd rather be elsewhere than furtively wandering the streets.
"Yes sir, we  really believe you are just out taking photos for your blog"
"Do you have ID on you sir?"
"No. Then could you tell us the care home you wandered away from?"
"Why don't you just sit in the back of the cruiser here. Take a moment to remember who you are."
Okay That's it. No more sneaking around with the camera. I can tell they're out to get me. Should have believed the man downstairs.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Photo a Day 52

During the day, this barely shows up. White neon does not catch the eyes. So I surreptitiously sneaked by and got this shot at twilight while no one was looking. After some hassles at Semiahmoo Mall and a tanning shop - what their problem was I don't know - a low profile was needed, just in case they assumed I was 'casing the joint'. How a photo of their signage could be considered an invasion of privacy or trademark theft seems incomprehensible but with all the patent wars going on in the big leagues - who knows? Now I'm home and feel secure. However, to be on the safe side, any knocks on the door will be ignored.  Wait, wait -  What's That Sound?

Friday, 20 February 2015

Photo a Day 51

Went out about ten to six to try and shoot some photos at dusk to get stronger colours and because some of these signs are not turned on during daylight hours. For a few moments, I thought I had left it too late as the sun melted away much faster than anticipated. However the pictures turned out okay, not even needing a bit of extra work. Usually I darken the background to bring out the neon, reduce reflections and remove people, but having customers at the table seemed appropriate in this case.
Quite a large neon sign since most have turned to back lights or leds to save money on operating costs. Not sure how much difference in manufacturing each type, it may be the deciding factor or maintenance. Single bulbs burning out are easily replaceable but neon bulbs I think are much more expensive. By quick calculation I'll have enough signs to complete the month, so I'd better come up with the next theme.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Photo a Day 50

For a while driving through Parts of Vancouver and Burnaby today, I thought I might strike out in town. Stopped on Hastings to get a supply of olive oil at Cioffi's; so I took a couple of shots of the 'Girl on a Swing'  and the historic marker plaque. Because of the light colours, it doesn't show well during the day but spending all day hunting for neon wasn't on the menu. As I walked back to the car, I spotted this one in a window on the other side of Hastings. Someone put artistry into constructing this sign. Really nifty with the flames and not just static letters. Reminds me of the knife at the tattoo shop a couple of weeks back. Now, what to do with the swing one. Hmm!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Photo a Day 49

Even a quick drive through part of Langley produced nothing other than the usual 'OPEN' signs on every third store. Instead of dodging the morning traffic, I decided to return back down 200th Street to go home leaving the acquiring of a photo until the afternoon. However as I passed the  shopping mall near 40th Avenue, a hunch made be pull in to check a little closer. Not much but I did find this neon in the front window of an insurance agency. Was kind of askew and part of the S was cut off by the door frame, still it fits the challenge. A touch up on the computer and voila, ready to go. At the outside, it lengthened my trip home by about two minutes, hardly enough to consider. Best of all, on the return there was no truck traffic on 16th to slow traffic to a snail's pace plus no diesel fumes.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Photo a Day 48

Wandering around in the outlands of South Surrey, I came upon this sign attached to one of the many faceless retail stores populating the grim Langleyesque environment. Had no idea until I checked online that it was another purveyor of ladies wear stocked with shiploads of Chinese manufactured, second-rate merchandise. Wait, this may not be the end of the rant. Visited a kitchen shoppe stocking a great variety of high priced offerings which took up an extreme amount of the square footage in a smaller sized store. Ownership looking for the maximum return on space, so the aisles can only allow passage for customers too thin to eat. No wonder every display has a dire warning ' Pretty to look at, delightful to hold, if you damage it, consider it sold'. Place probably makes more from breakage than real sales. Decided to drop in at Indigo Books which is a problem since they forgot to install a main entrance. Once you walk down almost to the alley way, you spot a small side door where one can slide sideways into the store. The greatest pleasure of the shopping trip was finding the car and escaping back into reality.
Oh! But look at the pretty star covering the A hole in the pink neon sign!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Photo a Day 47

Perhaps I need to drop into this shop and have my eyes checked. Not only have I driven by numerous times - keeping your eyes on the road ahead seems a proper excuse not to gaze sideways - but I've run by on 3 or 4 occasions without it registering on my retinas.  Despite always being on the lookout for neon during February, I must have been contemplating my navel as I passed. The area around King George and 24th was barren of any neon signs, so I was pleased to find one on the return for today's post. Now about tomorrow.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Photo a Day 46

Another sunny day so a couple of the neon signs were fading away from the bright light. Then I spotted this one hidden in the entry way of Coast Capital. Deep in the shade and no reflections to deal with made it almost easy enough to use 'as is'. Rather than head straight home, I took the opportunity to get a couple of street scenes (thinking of new themes) and a mural at the Blue Frog. Nearly every time I pass by cars are blocking part of the wall and I've yet to remember to head over earlier in the morning. As luck would have it, as I approached the lone vehicle started up and left giving me an unfettered view. Normally, somebody pulls into park the second I turn my camera on. Once I process the photo I can use it on the blog. Yippee!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Photo a Day 45

Busy morning but the challenge goes on. Seen this sign quite often as it's on North Bluff and is part of a seniors residence or care facility. Guess the pharmacy has a captive clientele. Didn't think I would get a decent photo as I always see it from the south side of the road. Once I moved in closer and framed in the shot, it turned out much better. Appears to have a burnt out leg on the Y and a bit on the A plus one of the open signs does not light up. Perhaps the store will be incorporated in the newer building about to be built next store and the neon will be consigned to the junk heap. So sad! I think it is unusual for a pharmacy to deliver, unless it is just to extended care facilities or they have a wee grass operation on the side. They might as well compete with all the small Mom and Pop marijuana club storefronts springing up. Yippee for capitalism.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Photo a Day 44

It's late and your post has to go out today.

But there were extenuating circumstances.

The contract stipulates ' No Excuses Will Be Considered Valid"

I didn't get out to look for a neon sign until late.

Well, serves you right for waiting so long to get the photo.

Mutter, mutter.

A whining attitude could result in today's post not being accepted.

I think the rules are too strict and unfair.

Doesn't matter. By the way. Just what is the photo supposed to be? Seems to be a toaster gone awry.

Anyone can see it's a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

Whatever. Just get the post uploaded and online within the designated period. Try to remember it is a Photo a Day challenge.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Photo a Day 43

Not too far to travel today. Quick trip in the drizzle right around the corner and the shot was taken. Hanging in the window of a private tutoring company probably catering to the Asian market as all I understand on the sign is the 'math' while the rest may be Korean and possibly another far east language. I've never seen anyone go in or out, so they may only do in home tutoring unless they have a larger venue elsewhere. Or maybe all the lessons are delivered online with occasional chats to address problem areas. All the signage is fairly small and barely noticeable driving by the storefront which means advertising likely happens mainly by word of mouth and customer referrals. Oh well. Back to the books.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Photo a Day 42

Best place to have taken this shot was probably the middle of Johnston Road, but I got squeamish about dodging traffic and stayed on the west side. Still I had to crouch down to to get all the neon due to a white ad banner blocking a bit of the top. Since the scissor part blinks on and off, I figured a few shots might be necessary to catch it on. Luck or my trigger finger worked the first time. Once loaded into paint.net, I decided to keep the ad banner and recolored it to black. Then I removed the reflections and the people in the shop, with the bonus of the scissors and comb remaining in view. 

Within a 500 meter radius I counted at least six barber shops whereas in most areas of Vancouver you have to search to find even one. Must be a really old school male population residing in the White Rock district. Wonder how many other neighbourhoods exist where barber shops outnumber hairdressers?

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Photo a Day 41

Judging by the actions of security forces hunkered in at Semiahmoo Mall, the only places photographers might be going would be the local penitentiary. Had already snapped one shot, which may not have been apparent to the fast approaching rent-a-cop, and was touched lightly on the arm inquiring as to what exactly I was doing. "Why I thought I'd just taken a photo of this sign for my neon blog" was not apparently the correct answer. Was brusquely informed the mall was private property and cameras were not allowed. When I inquired about exterior pictures I was informed that also was verboten, even from off property. Packed up my camera and departed.

Sent the mall owners - First Capital Realty -  a customer comment which will probably be ignored. Really, they should drag them selves into the 21st century. For one reason or another there are likely hundreds of photos snapped daily in the mall with cellphones as reminders or for price comparisons. Will the mall begin bag searches? If anything this old rundown mall needs to spruce up and try to attract customers, not drive them away. No wonder Zellers packed up and left with still no replacement retail outlets. Perhaps Canada will have its first abandoned urban mall in White Rock!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Photo a Day 40

Other than a walk along the beach, I didn't expect to find a neon sign to include in the photo a day blog, but there it was. Rather a nice touch turning the pointy end of the sword into a pen-nib. Only left to wonder whether the red drop represents blood or only the ink. No matter how many times you wander along the promenade or Marine Drive, there always seems to be a new store or building or thing to draw your attention. The more you hunt for photography material, the more it makes you take closer looks at everyday items or notice hidden treasures. So I'm not sure how many times the tattoo parlor just did not register in my view, until the daily search for neon drew me to the storefront.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Photo a Day 39

When I took this photo and reviewed it in camera, I didn't think the neon would show up well enough. So I kept meandering down the block to check out a couple more signs I knew were there. The first one basically disappeared as the sun peeked out through the clouds and was only marginally better even with the sun behind clouds. Down around the corner two more were washed out and of little use. Guess I'm getting use to the dull grey skies when the neon still has a chance to shine.
Once home with the pics uploaded to the computer, the original one of the beer and wine store turned out fine with a few minor touch ups. Does make me want to try catching some of the signs before sunup or just as twilight creeps for a chance at stronger hues. I won't look suspicious hanging around a liquor store in the middle of the night when it's closed - will I?

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Photo a Day 38

Started out on the other side of the road taking a shot of a 'beer and wine' sign in the window of a private booze shop. When I reviewed it in the camera, the cardboard boxes piled up behind the glass made me think I'd be left with a large whitish blotch in the finished photo. (Was proved correct when I got home.) So, it was back to the corner and cross over to try this one. Turned out rather well as I've learned how to disappear the background and the reflections without disturbing the neon tubes or color. While I really like the sign, sushi does not appeal to me at all. Perhaps if it was dipped in a fiery Thai dipping sauce to kill the texture and taste, I could become a fan. Maybe just skip the sushi and order spring rolls.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Photo a Day 37

With all the uproar over tanning and skin cancer, you'd think a sign promoting indoor tanning beds would have long been consigned to the garbage heap. But no, they must still be a viable business despite the constant barrage of negative publicity and bylaws restricting their use to only certain age groups. Although I've never considered using a tanning salon, working out in the sun or getting a tan on vacation has never been a source of worry. At least, I don't have to worry about insufficient Vitamin D levels from living in the basement.

When I took the photo, either the owner or an employee became visibly upset and hustled over to the main door to silently express their concern over my taking a picture. Maybe they thought I was about to report them to the CCS or pen a scathing article in the local paper. Perhaps they'll eventually have to run their operations like a blind pig by only responding to secret knocks on the back door with a little slider to view the customer before allowing entry. :)

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Photo a Day 36

Too good! Since we had to go into town today (Vancouver), it gave me the opportunity to get an outside photo, so as to speak. Means I'll spend one less day scrounging in the local area. This restaurant has been on the corner of Broadway and Cambie for quite a few years, but I never have partaken of the food. Not sure why not. Maybe because you have to run back and forth to have your meal cooked at a central grill which makes me think I have to do all the work and still pay out money - a concept I can't grasp. Pretty certain they also have a place up in Whistler so perhaps a dinner there sometime during a summer visit. This one took a some cleaning up to rid it of an outside light attached to the wall and a odd circular symbol in one corner. Nice to have the art work along with the neon and not to have to deal with storefront glass reflections.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Photo a Day 35

Turned out a lot better then I expected. Post photo manipulation rules! Had to crop a lot of this one, on top the overhanging eaves were very dark and below the owner - Wolf perhaps - was entirely too visible and recognizable, so both had to make the cut. Played with the levels until the neon shone right out against a greenish background which appears to recede quite a lot. Makes me think I could spend more time on each photo.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Photo a Day 34

What with trees and concrete planters, it was difficult to get a clear shot without my reflection taking front and center. Rather than try to clone stamp myself completely out with some of the darker background, I played with the blue level until I almost disappeared. Besides which the camera and a couple of hands pretty much obscure my face. Also, it really made the neon colors pop out with less distractions. Although the sign indicates a unisex environment, I've yet to pass by when a gentleman has been relaxing in one of the chairs.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Photo a Day 33

Driving by I would never have seen this one. It's almost hidden under the overhang of a commercial building on 24th Avenue and I spotted it waiting for the light to change. Since pharmacists used to prepare concoctions many years ago, it would seem to be a sign long past its time.

Once home and busily researching online, I discovered that there is a still a need for altering some drugs to suit individual patients. One that interests me involves turning solid pills into a liquid formula to insure immediate ingestion of a prescription. They can also reduce dosages; but halving and quartering pills can be a do-it- yourself project at home. Not sure how an increase or decrease in an active ingredient could be possible when dealing with proprietary drugs as they are normally made to prevent any extraction of ingredients. Years ago working for Frosst - makers of 222s and others - I knew they were always reformulating to prevent the codeine from being unbound from the inert fillers and sold as a street drug. So I would surmise a fairly sophisticated laboratory would be required to alter any medicines.

Maybe retaining the sign with the 'compounding' intact gives the illusion of master alchemists hard at work and justifies those high dispensing fees.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Photo a Day 32

Since I spent every day in January out hunting for a photo to use in this blog, I decided a monthly theme might make it a touch easier. After wandering around on Saturday, I noticed a few neon signs within walking distance. Not enough for a full month but if I wander a bit further afield in South Surrey, I'm positive I can eke out 28 for the month.

Although not as ubiquitous as they once were, it surprised me how many smaller neon signs are still in use. Most of the 'open' signs are either made with led lights or use an inner bulb in a box. Likely more expensive to go the neon bulb way, however they are much more distinctive and really catch the attention. Not having a polarizing filter means I 'm stuck with the reflection off the glass windows. Probably not too bad or distracting if I can keep my own shadow out of the way - just have to remember to crouch and shoot at an upward angle. Well one down and twenty seven to go!