Tag Archives: Photography

I Awoke to This

North of 60 degrees N latitude, winter starts early and spring starts late.

Yesterday, I awoke to this:

Winter is coming.

It had rained during the night, and then the temperature had dropped enough for it to change to snow, at about -1 celsius.

Much different from this recent experience:

Canoeing on Great Slave Lake

In Northwest Territories, when the weather changes, it changes fast. There’s no shuffling.

Soon, the parka will have to come out.

Don’t Leave Home Without It

A couple of nights ago, I took this photo of the Aurora Borealis.

See anything?

You might see a little something, but you will have to enlarge it – a lot.

Living north of 60 degrees N latitude means that the Aurora is spectacular. From the south, the Aurora assumes a fairly standard curtain-like shape. It hangs there high in the sky, its undulating green hem twinkling in the solar breeze. But It’s not always readily visible from the south (and by south I mean southern Canada). There’s light pollution, the earth’s position and distance to consider.

From here, however, it’s a different story. It’s a living shape – swirling into seashells and lodgepoles and disappearing into the horizon in a smoky streak.

You can see stars through it.

So, why don’t I have a better photo to share with you? Well, it’s a long story. Actually, no. It’s not. It’s a simple story.

I forgot my camera. Again.

My M and I were driving back from grocery shopping – we have to drive an hour and a half for that – and we had made a bit of an evening of it, too. A meal in a restaurant, like that.

It was about 10 pm when we started back and by then it was completely dark – a great opportunity to see and photograph the Aurora.

But the photo you see here was taken using my cell phone, and with something like the Aurora, that doesn’t work.

So I was a little pissed at myself for not bringing my camera, even though I knew there was a good chance that I would see the Northern Lights.

Essentially, I didn’t do my due diligence.

The are good photos to be had if you bring your camera. (The Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island.)

Sometimes, that’s not important. It winds up just being irritating. But at other times, it can be downright dangerous. You wouldn’t want to fly with a pilot who hadn’t done her due diligence, for instance.

And then there’s the inbetween. Where you’re warned that you need to pay attention, that you’re getting complacent, that there is potential danger. For instance, that maybe your ex-narcissist is still lurking, still checking, still trying.

That happened to me last June.

All of a sudden, there he was, demanding my attention.

I hadn’t thought about him in any real way in a long time. Yes, I’d written about my experiences with him, but from the perspective that he was out of my life, that my chances of any kind of contact with him were becoming more and more remote with the passage of time.

But then, in June, he started actively trying to find me. And the indirectness of his actions scared me because his past attempts to re-establish contact had been very front and centre.

He went to my last workplace, claiming to be my spouse and asking for directions to my office. HR denied him any information and then phoned to let me know – the person he spoke with knew he wasn’t my husband and also didn’t like the vibe she got from him. So she took it upon herself to phone a former employee to give a heads up.

Then there was Dan, my son’s dad. We hadn’t spoken in a long time, but he phoned to tell me that Harry, my ex-narcissist, had called him looking for my address. Dan was concerned because he knew that I had experienced a lot of trouble with Harry.

Two warnings. Both from people who didn’t have to do anything.

Harry’s indirect approach had me worried. This behaviour told me he was planning some sort of trap or ambush. M advised me to go to the police.

I was in the process of organising that in my head when … my phone rang.

It was Harry.

There was an immediate ten minutes of non-stop murmle, murmle, murmle. It came pouring out of him, like a rusty faucet disgorging a hundred years of mind-filth: I’m doing this, that, this, that – it’s so good, it’s so good, it’s so good our relationship was great, was great, was great, you were so good, so generous, so good I’m sorry, sorry, sorry, so sorry I went to your work looking for you isn’t the Okanagan great? it’s so great, so great, so great things aren’t going as well as I thought for me the weather is great so great it’s great it’s all great may I darken your door again? when I think about it we had a great situation it was a great situation great situation, so comfortable so comfortable let’s meet for coffee.

See where that went???

My response: Harry. I’m sorry to hear that things are not going well for you right now. I’m not in the Okanagan. I am in the middle of moving to Winnipeg (fabrication) to start a research project at the university there (fabrication). I’ve bought a house there (fabrication). I wish you well.

Staying calm in the face of narcissistic yammering is a good thing. (Skaha Lake, Okanagan Valley.)

I quickly ended the call after making the point that I was (really) unavailable. Then I immediately changed my phone number. I had blocked his previous number but he had changed it – the only thing to do was to change mine.

I think I was lucky. I had warnings. The people he contacted didn’t give him any information. I actually wasn’t in the Okanagan while he was looking for me there. And lastly, I don’t think he was overtly looking for vengeance.

In the end, he was probably only looking for a place to hang his hat and was just running through a list of possibles. I don’t know how far down the list I was and it doesn’t matter.

But this event says a couple of things. One is that like the cat who keeps coming back, you never know when or where your old narcissist is going to materialise. Which reminds me – be sure to keep careful track of your online presence. That’s how Harry had firstly attempted to find me again – through an online reference. When it comes to the internet, you can’t be too cautious.

And the other is that you should never leave home without your camera. Who knows; you might need to photograph the Aurora Borealis.

Have you ever been bitten by the complacency bug?

 

Bison on the Horizon

Last week M and I drove to Yellowknife for a conference. Six hours of driving through some pretty spectacular scenery – the best the Canadian Shield has to offer.

Near Yellowknife

Yellowknife has a sort of rugged prettiness about it. Sitting as it does on the edge of the world’s 10thlargest lake, there is every kind of boat and float plane.

A Slice of Yellowknife

Great Slave Lake is large enough to actually have a vanishing point.

Yellowknife and Great Slave Lake

On the way back, we saw woodland bison. Lots of woodland bison. They look very similar to the plains bison that were almost extinguished by over-hunting and a serious attempt to starve the indigenous peoples who depended on them.

A Bison Herd

M became a little concerned when a rather large and truculent-looking bull stood in the road and stared at us – might he charge??? – so we kept a respectful distance.

The white marks that you see in the photo are bug residues. There are lots of those, too. The mosquitos have been known to carry away small dogs. Well, not really, but I’m sure they could!

Stay tuned for more northern pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

Views Near Great Slave Lake

I was driving to another community in the Northwest Territories on Saturday when I saw this young bear. She (or he) was completely unfazed by my presence and idling engine. After a cursory look, she returned to eating some sort of tasty plant.

This bear is probably about a year old.

I wanted to get a better picture but I wasn’t going to get out of my truck to do that. Bears can run fast and have really big teeth. So, I was reduced to reaching across from the driver’s side to get these shots with my cell phone. This the sixth bear that I’ve seen since the beginning of May.

Yum – not me, whatever she’s eating.

On the way back, it was drizzling. Since the air is now warmer than the ground or any body of water – thanks to our almost 24 hours of daylight – the formation of fog is very common. There was quite a layer of it above Little Buffalo River.

There are many deep rivers here.

The fog produced some very moody scenes.

An iconic Canadian view.

It has suddenly become very warm here with temperatures around 25C. This will increase to about 30C as the period ย of the midnight sun increases to its zenith. Then everything will start to cool once more and the bears will be looking for a place to sleep …

Great Slave Lake Yields to Spring

At 60 degrees latitude, I am very far north here, but spring has now definitely arrived.

The icing is disappearing from this cake.

The sky is clear and so is the lake, achingly pristine …

Like MacArthur Park, it’s melting in the dark.

… very different from the frozen majesty of two months ago.

Beautiful … and burrrrr.

I am learning to appreciate the call of this northern land.

Spring Is on Its Way


It’s still January but about two weeks ago, the weather turned. The temperature crept up, the bit of snow we had started to melt, and the ducks started squawking and flapping. Every day now it’s a little warmer and a little sunnier.

This morning I was out walking and took this photo of Skaha Lake. I’m lucky enough to live across from it and have been watching its moody winter changes this year.

It’s still got some ice over the shallows near the shore, but I don’t think that will last long.

 

Skaha Lake is melting.
Skaha Lake is melting.

Spring is coming. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Few of the Blogs I Follow

Happy New Year! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope 2017 is off to a good start for you!

To begin the year with the right winter flavour (Yup. I know. Some of you are in much warmer climes, and yes, I’m jealous), here’s a seasonal winter picture that I took in my former hometown:

A Canadian Winter Scene - Ice Fog on the Prairies A Canadian Winter Scene – Ice Fog on the Prairies

Since becoming a pilot many years ago, I have (obviously) had a big interest in weather and have developed a serious appreciation for its nuances. In this picture, I love the muted, gauzy, exaggerated light of the sun trying to break through a temperature inversion. Later that day, the sun did break through and the frost quickly disappeared.

But that’s not what I want to write about. Really.

I’ve lately been thinking that in blog years, I’ve been around WP for quite some time – four years! – and have been following and reading some of the same blogs for about that long. So today, I thought I would pass on the names of a few of those blogs. They are fascinating and interesting and have stood the test of time. In blog terms, that is. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, to those who have stuck to it and kept blogging, despite all kinds of life stuff and no doubt the occasional temptation to just stop, you have my most sincere appreciation.

There’s no award involved and no questions to answer.

I just want to say thank you.

I just want wish you good luck and continued happy posting:

  • Ursula at anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com. Ursula is a fantastic writer who will make you think, laugh and cry. She’s had a big impact on how I look at the narcissistic interactions I’ve had in my life, but her writing is about so much more than that. I’ve also learned as much, if not more, from the comment sections of her posts. Drop by for a visit.
  • Jenny at http://charactersfromthekitchen.wordpress.com. I love Jenny’s museum visits and travels and her witty humour and great photos. She’s taken me along on some really wonderful day trips. Stop and say hi.
  • Nelson at http://oneoldsage.wordpress.com. Right now, my neighbour Nelson (he lives close-by in the Okanagan) is working on a novel-length piece of fiction, but he has shared trips to Europe and his thoughts about surviving cancer, among many other things. He really is “one old sage.”
  • Jenny at http://ramblingsfromamum.wordpress.com. Jenny doesn’t publish as much as she used to because she’s been very busy with her elderly parents and she’s also just become a grandmother! ๐Ÿ™‚ Her heartfelt poetry is touching and genuine – have a little browse.
  • Jill at http://jillweatherholt.com. Jill has just published a book! ๐Ÿ™‚ For a long time now I have enjoyed her kind, thoughtful, compassionate posts and comments.
  • Caitlin at http://broadsideblog.wordpress.com. Caitlyn is a journalist, traveller, teacher, liver of life and fellow Canadian who lives and works in the US. She writes about many and varied topics and they are always interesting, well researched and well done. Take a look through her archives.
  • Ross at http://rossmurray1.wordpress.com. Another fellow Canadian, Ross is a humourist who lives in Quebec. Until recently, he was a regular contributor to CBC’s Breakaway (http://www.cbc.ca/breakaway). Like Caitlyn, he writes about many topics, and he’s always enjoyable, acerbic and witty. He’s also published a book!
  • Ned at http://nedhickson.com Ned lives in Oregon and is a very busy man. Take a look at his blog and you will see what I mean, but you will also enjoy his gentle and self-deprecating humour and commentary. Ned was also one of the very first bloggers I followed.
  • Mark at http://exileonpainstreet.com. Mark’s posts are eclectic, varied and genuine. He shares his visits to New York’s museums along with journal entries from his callow youth and other observations about life and such. He’s always a fantastic read.
  • Christopher Martin at http://christophermartinphotography.com. Christopher is a truly gifted photographer whose nature and wildlife pictures are amazing. He takes many of his photos in the Alberta foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Right now he’s doing a series on the snowy owl; last spring I spotted one of his photographs (it shows an elk being hunted by wolves) in The Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com). You can find the wolf series of photos on his blog, but be aware that they also show wolves doing what wolves do best.

So, if you aren’t already familiar with these blogs, go by for a little visit – you won’t be disappointed.

Do you have some long-time follows that you would like to share?

More Autumn Views

As the Okanagan descends gently into winter, here are a few more views.

On a recent sunny day, M. and I went up to Chute Lake. It almost felt like spring except for that sharp autumn-air quality.

Water-laden clouds arise more suddenly at this time of year.
Water-laden clouds arise more suddenly at this time of year.

While hiking along a back trail, M. and I found this sign.

The sign says, "See the Ponderosa Pine - 4.5 m Circumference."
The sign says, “See the Ponderosa Pine – 4.5 m Circumference.”

If you’re metrically challenged, 4.5 metres is 14.76 feet.

This is a very big tree.
This is ย one big tree.

Here’s another view. I had to strain my neck to get this tree in the frame.

There's a formula for figuring out the age of a pine. This one's about the same age as the U.S.
There’s a formula for figuring out the age of a pine. This one’s about the same age as the U.S.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “We are all poets when we are in the pine woods.” There are lots of pine forests in this area.

A couple of days ago, M. and I went to the small mountain town of Rossland, BC. It has produced four Olympian skiers including Nancy Green; two NHL hockey players and a prime minister, John Turner. Pretty good for a town of 4000.

A shrouded valley.
Rossland is under all that mist.

And finally, another yellow tree.

Beautiful.
Beautiful.

I’ve really been enjoying this autumnal bounty. ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s fall like where you live?