Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Curiosity

Oftentimes, people ask me what I like photographing the most. Then too, when the topic of my blogging comes up, they ask what do you write about? Both questions I find difficult to answer with any certainty. I tell them it is not really a photography blog, nor a true diary, not even a space filled with tutorials. What is it anyway?

Probably what drives most of my endeavors is curiosity. Of course, "curiosity killed the cat", or so they say. Perhaps having as much curiosity as I do isn't necessarily a good thing, but it is the only way I know how to behave, so I carry on, writing and photographing everything interesting I encounter. And you, dear reader, feel free to pick and choose what you find interesting in this bit of space on the web. Maybe one of you might think of a snappy reply to that question? Suggestions most welcome!

Without further ado......

I don't know about you, but I find it hard to comprehend a rainforest this far north. Of course, coming from someone who lives nearer the equator, I'm not sure I even knew there was such a thing as a temperate rainforest. Well, now that I have lived in British Columbia for nearly a year, I now have a greater understanding of how it all works. Here is a condensed version, should you be interested. Although I do spend quite a bit of time photographing the beautiful flowers in Stanley Park,
I like the massive trees nearly as much. I am particularly fond of that yellow-green pictured tree. Can you believe the size of those rose bushes, as tall, or taller than the tourists? And to think he uses no fertilizer is mind boggling. Trying to get the hang of my camera, I walked back to SP because it was another cloudy day and I had a notion that there was something I was going to go crazy for in the park. Specifically, Beaver Lake. Not a pretty lake, by any means, but when I took Bruce there about a month ago, I saw something on the lake, and knowing what I no know about how everything here grows so rapidly, I wanted to check it out.

Finally, I figured out a better way to walk there through the forest,
where the same scene is repeated over and over again. So is this crazy phenom.
And that folks is what a temperate rainforest looks like, where the trees start growing all over again, heading skyward towards the sunlight. My lens will not allow me to get the whole tree (s) in but I'd say, conservatively, that those two new trees are 50 feet tall.

Although I've yet to see a beaver there, the evidence is clear, it is called Beaver Lake for a reason!
Pretty remarkable isn't it? Maybe that is a bad choice of descriptor because isn't that what regularly happens where beavers are found? Anyway, coming onto the circular path around the lake from the rose garden side, all I saw was what looked like wetlands, that is until I saw this.
That, friends was just the beginning because a little further along the path, holy cow!!
I couldn't help but think of a something our Mom used to say....they are thick as thieves! There were only a few areas along the shoreline suitable for taking a photograph, but believe me when I tell you, they stretched as far as the eye could see!
How do you top that? You don't!

I took the bus from the Park to Granville and Pender, walked a block over to Seymour, and began the trek home. Something that local folks, and I'm talking about those from Orlando, might find surprising is the evening local newscast. Very little crime for one thing, but what is curious to me is how what appear to be happenings that affect a lot of people are not even reported. As I walked along Seymour, I saw people filling the sidewalks on either side of the Orpheum Theater, with multiple firetrucks there, while others came screaming down the street.  Standing on the corner of Smithe and Seymour, I felt sure it would be on the news, especially, as I learned from the cashier at Nesters that high school graduations were happening there.
Rarely do I actually watch the news, but on that day, when the time came, I turned it on expecting to find out something. Not a word.

People are looking up in our little corner of Vancouver and that is because this 45 story tower artwork was unveiled last week. Oh my. For the longest time, there was a tarp over that area and who knew what was underneath? Not anyone I've met.
People say that all the skyscrapers look alike in Vancouver, but not anymore! We are happy because finally we can walk on that side of the street which had been filled with construction since our arrival.

Bruce felt the need to work on Saturday, having been out of the office for so many days, what with our trip and then nearly a week for work. Fine by me, I will walk over and we'll have lunch on that side of town. It was the weekend of the Dragon Boat Festival on False Creek and I was anxious to see what I could see. 

Along the way, it won't surprise you to see that I found some new and interesting things, including these fantastic flowering bushes! What an awesome little flower face.
I made my way past Urban Fare and onto the seawall,
and no, I didn't eat there, but it sure was cute to see. Having the dogwoods still blooming has been a treat.
While the above will have to suffice as far as the racing is concerned, let's meet Greg,
who had raced earlier in the morning. Plus, he was having his 27th birthday! Not only did he explain a bunch about dragon boat racing, he seemed quite proud to tell me that he convinced his Mom to join their team. Don't ask me how we began chatting because that is a mystery to me too.

Parting ways, he on his way to a birthday lunch with his family, and me on my way to meet my beloved in front of his office. We walked a few blocks to a place in Chinatown that I'd been told was good, and they were not kidding!
The thing about walking everywhere is you just never know what you might encounter, such as these two fellows using a chain saw to cut big blocks of ice into pieces.
This is a prime example of curiosity at work! Although I wanted to know more, fried chicken awaited. And it was so, so, good.
As was that slaw...fantastic! Plus some little fritters. Go there when you visit Vancouver! You won't be disappointed!

Another young woman sleeping on the street...
Disturbing Google street view of the rising tide of homelessness in Vancouver. 

Sunday turned out to be SundayFunday, wait, is that really a phrase? Anyway, following church and lunch, we walked home the usual way hoping to see what was happening around the gallery. We were not disappointed as there were actually two concerts going on, one in front of the gallery on Georgia, and one on Robson. We stopped to hear the Robson set, however, it became too screechy and improv for us, so we walked around the building and stumbled upon pure joy. The Vancouver International Jazz Festival is happening with over 300 performances all over the city. We arrived on the plaza when one act was finishing setting up.
Because we were a little early not many folks had assembled affording us a great place to view the action. Once they began playing it was such fun watching both old and young grooving to the tunes.
Once you love to dance, you never stop loving it even when you grow old as was demonstrated by those on the impromptu dance floor. My heart soared watching the woman in the straw hat, (in the middle of the picture) having such a good time.
She was moving so much at one point she shed the outer blouse, perhaps because she was warm. A tiny bit of rain fell as we walked home. Oh, the city life!
Walking along Howe Street, this great water feature has only recently been put back into action.
It is behind the Supreme Court building where only this week, the court handed down a sentence of six months for two men who faced charges of polygamy, one of whom has fathered 149 children!! 14 wives, oh my!

Giovanni and Pina were at it again, treating us like gold. This time we drove to their home in Steveston and what a home it is. Our former home would fit into theirs at least four times.
Everywhere you look there are delightful things to see from their world travels. And the feast they put together was a wonder, including pizza made in this outdoor oven.
There were meatballs, sausages, cheeses, lamb, beef, salad and the list goes on. Suzi, one of their daughters helped out, rolling dough and preparing toppings.
There is an indoor swimming pool, as well as a tennis court used to play field hockey by their grandchildren. They are in an area that at one time was primarily agricultural and next door to them it still is.
At least it is for the short term; we learned from another daughter, Anna, that folks are selling to developers at a rapid pace.
There were plans for a walk following dinner,  however that did not happen because it actually rained. A real rain, not the drizzly stuff we've become used to. Seriously, it is the first time since we've been here that it rained like a Florida rain, minus the thunder and lightening, which we've not seen since we left Florida. And while the rain was welcome for the trees and plants, it was very unwelcome for our drive back to downtown. Yikes! Nighttime driving is just not our cup of tea anymore. Bruce managed just fine and we were all snuggled up by 11:15, way past our bedtime!
Oh what a night it was!

Was there enough new things to satisfy your curiosity? I hope so!

yours truly,

Gail



Monday, June 25, 2018

Unexpectedly, a New Camera

Last week I was slightly off kilter as I am no longer accustomed to Bruce being away from home for multiple days. Then too, I was worried about my sister, so there was that. Anyone who knows me, undoubtedly also knows that when I am in a bit of a funk, I do my best to stay busy and not dwell on my feelings because I live by the motto, "this too shall pass." And while that may not work for some folks, to date, it has for me.

I was thrilled with an invitation from Beth to an impromptu dinner party at her cute apartment off Broadway, across the water from us. After distributing the salmon Bruce caught to others in their department, she saved some to grill for the seven of us. While I told here I would be delighted for the company, I am not a salmon eater. No worries, come anyway and I'll fix you something. I took the #10 bus across the Granville bridge and after getting off, walked the five or so blocks to her place which is part of an old home that has been converted into apartments. Very cute indeed. Speaking of walking, I am now slightly obsessed with that phone app that tells me how far I walk every day. Whether it is accurate or not, I'm not entirely sure, but I like it nonetheless. From Monday to Saturday, according to that, I walked 29 miles which pretty much is shocking to me.
The above is but a fraction of the sixty pounds of fish Bruce caught. How exciting that so many people were able to enjoy it. Taking my leave a little after 9PM, it was still quite light for my walk back to the bus stop. I continue to be amazed at how the mountains are visible from so many parts of the city.
Some readers will recognize the, under construction, Vancouver House which is just across the street from the condo.

Tuesday morning, first thing, I walked to Stanley Park to check on the rose garden as our trip had kept me away for nearly a week. Poor baby is what you are probably thinking right about now! The weather was warm enough, or at least warm enough that all I needed was a windbreaker, and the day was somewhat sunny. In fact, way too sunny for nice photographs of my subject matter.
As I roamed around, my wanderings took me to a crazy plant I've been following, wondering what the bloom will be like. Much to my delight there were ladybugs roaming around, undoubtedly to eat those black bugs.So, not only roaming, but it sure looks like mating to me! Making my way around Lost Lagoon to get to the rose garden, I was delighted to come across a, well, whole gaggle of geese, growing up rapidly.
Boy, I've got this post all out of sync because on my walk to the park, I came across this curious sight,
and there were loads of them blowing in the wind as well.
This young woman was recording a weather report alongside English Bay, and you will note all of the feathers in the grass behind the cameraman. Very curious indeed.

Back to the return journey from the park when I was super thrilled to come across this fantastic dragonfly!
According to this, it is a male eight-spotted skimmer. While that blogger claims they are common, they are uncommon to me.

As I really wanted to record those gorgeous roses at Stanley Park, I was more than happy to return the following day when the skies were gray. Because the forecast was for later sunshine, I went early, just after 8, delighted that I could finally get a pretty shot of a beautiful garden in the West End that had eluded me previously because of the harsh light.
Friends, it is just lovely with flowers one on top of another, reminding me of Jane's English garden. That is really why I wanted the photograph because I always lean toward connections with a subject. Then too, for the first time in my life, I have no personal access to dirt, so seeing what others are doing with it brings me great joy.
 Here is yet another blue flower I've come across in my wanderings. So many blue flowers here!
I guess you could call it a flower, although unlike any I've seen before!!

Good grief, arriving at the garden and removing my camera from my backpack, I put it to my eye and the screen was nothing but black. Now what? I changed lenses, turned it on and off multiple times, yet nothing changed. Upon further examination, I discovered it was blocked by the lens curtain, making the camera inoperable. I promptly took off walking to London Drugs camera department on Georgia Street. Except, there was a problem once I was there. Not a soul in the area and despite having three different employees look for someone who worked in the camera department, no one ever materialized. Discouraged, but not defeated, I walked down Granville until I came to Leo's, a camera store that has been in business since the 50's, that I've visited before. After an examination of the camera it was determined that fixing it was not an option.
Because they don't carry Olympus cameras, the fellow worked hard to convince me to switch to Fujifilm that with two lenses was going to set me back around $2,000. Well now. Leaving the store confused, I was going to call Bruce in Winnipeg when the phone rang and it was Matthew. What timing! Surely you can find somewhere that carries Olympus so you don't have to spend quite so much, he wisely advised. And so it was that, following a little lunch, I walked back to London Drugs, this time finding a very nice Croatian man to assist me.
Not only does he own the same camera, he put the strap on the camera, (something that is harder to do than it looks) and helped me with some of the settings. Having just purchased the Olympus in August, 2015,  I hope I did not make a mistake buying the new one that is not nearly as attractive, I might add. Time will tell, I suppose, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do and going without a camera, even for a day, is not really an option for this girl.

Granville Street is full of photographic opportunities which I took advantage of while familiarizing myself with the new camera. BTW, one of the reasons for buying the same camera is because I already have two batteries that fit it perfectly. Surprisingly, at least to me, had I purchased the Fuji, the batteries are $100 each!
Unfortunately, Granville is way too full of this sort of thing.
Looking at the photo below on my computer, I am marveling at this photo showing how very much men have changed during my lifetime. (photographer reflected in glass)
One day, a few weeks ago, a woman saw me photographing something on the streets and began chatting up a storm. Becoming very animated, this Australian, who was here on holiday, was telling me how she was "traumatized", after walking on East Hastings and seeing the throngs of homeless people who've set up camp on the sidewalks. She went on and on, never having seen the likes of something like that before. Neither had I before I came here, and indeed, I am still traumatized myself when I see this sort of thing, which is all too common.
A complicate problem to solve, people seem to accept it as part of city life. Increasingly, I am guilty of the same.

Once home, I studied the camera along with some online suggestions and when the light began fading, I went back out to practice. Practice? Oh yes, I always need practice.
Very puzzling that this giant Swallowtail stayed put long enough for a photograph as they usually fly around like mad. Oh yeah and the Hydrangeas are coming into bloom and are as big as softballs!

Rarely do I go out in the evening for many reasons, one of which is that is when my darling Bruce comes home for the day, however, because he still was gone, I took a walk to Sunset Beach which is only a few blocks away, something I wish I'd know last summer when the big fireworks show happened. Sadly, we are leaving before it comes again, but I digress.

 Lots to see any time of day in Vancouver.
Well, anyplace really....
Folks of all ages take walking very seriously,
as they do sunset watching.
Although not pictured, the logs on the beach were filled with people awaiting the evening show in the sky. I guess when you live through so many months of gray skies, having an actual sunset becomes way more meaningful.
Around 9:30, once the sun fell below the mountaintops, I walked home a happy girl with a brand new camera and the assurance Bruce would be home any minute.

Life is good.

yours truly,

Gail



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