Category Archives: Photography

Stellar’s Jay, Heron in Burnaby BC’s Fraser Foreshore Park

I spent nearly four hours “shooting” birds and scenic views in Fraser Foreshore Park  in Burnaby, BC, this afternoon. I got thoroughly chilled but the shots were worth it. Here are a couple to get this post going.

heron in tree burnaby
In my experience, herons usually appear completely disinterested in people. I did not call attention to myself in any way to get this shot. Walking around the tree a couple of times attempting to get an unobstructed view likely piqued its interest.

Stellar's Jay Burnaby BC
There were several Stellar’s Jays feeding from stumps where people had left seeds. These shy birds can be hard to photograph, but as I stood silently for over an hour in the same spot, they gradually became more comfortable with my presence.

What I just wrote brought me up short. “These shy birds…” Huh?

I have also experienced them being very aggressive in seeking food, when camping in the BC interior, so I’m not sure why the Jekyll and Hyde personality shifts.

Celebrating New Year Japanese Style in Burnaby, BC

I love celebrating New Year Japanese style.

We tape the entire Kohaku Red (Women) vs White (Men) NHK song extravaganza to our PVR, and watch it at our leisure over the course of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It’s always a bit over the top, a tish maudlin, and with few actually gripping or moving performances, but it’s a fun way to stay somewhat in touch with contemporary Japanese music and culture.

The food is great. Sushi, sashimi, chawan mushi, and a couple of bottles of choice nihonshu (sake) shared with friends.

Ringing the temple bell at midnight at Tozenji in nearby Coquitlam is always fun, too. Out with the old, in with the new.

Returning home at a crazy hour and cooking and eating toshi koshi soba for long life and prosperity.

Here’s Yumi’s Japanese-Canadian fusion tableau in our foyer:

New_Year_Tableau_2014

A Few Fave Wildlife Shots from 2014

Here are a few wildlife shots I like from my photography in 2014. I’ll add more over the year-end as I look for them:

heron flight
This is one of my most-commented-on photos posted to Facebook. A heron shot in flight yesterday at Garry Point Park in Steveston, BC

Coyote Banff AB
Coyote near Tunnel Mountain campground in Banff National Park

Deer Banff
Deer near the town bridge in Banff, Banff National Park

moose jasper
Moose in Jasper National Park

Raven Banff
Raven in Columbia Icefields parking lot

coyote banff
Coyote just off Bow Valley Parkway in Banff National Park near Castle Mountain

sockeye adams river
Male sockeye cruising up the Adams River in BC

red_winged blackbird
Red-winged blackbird, Burnaby Lake Park, Burnaby, BC

Male wood duck
Male wood duck, Burnaby Lake Park, Burnaby, BC

crow burnaby lake

spider luncheon

squirrel burnaby lake

goldfinch elgin surrey
Goldfinch, Elgin Heritage Park, South Surrey, BC

gull with clam
Gull carrying shellfish to drop and break, Birch Bay State Park, WA

heron acrobatics
Aerobatic heron, Birch Bay State Park, WA

Lighting the Fire

We don’t use our fireplace much because it’s gas-fueled, and is not very efficient. Most of the heat goes up the stack, with little going into the house. For years we’ve aimed to rectify that, but other reno priorities always win the budgetary battle.

So we light the pilot light for only a couple of weeks each year, from near Christmas to New Year’s.

Here are two of my girls, my wife and cat, enjoying the fireplace. The third girl, the turtle, was under her broad spectrum lamp.

Yumi Choco fireplace

Super Communication Contract with MS Society

I’m nearing the end of a seven-week communication contract with the MS Society of Canada, in their BC & Yukon Division office at Metrotown in Burnaby.

I’ve been freelance editing and writing from my home office for nearly 15 years, so the thought of commuting and working at “a real job” in “a real office” with a bunch of strangers was a tad intimidating. I haven’t worked in an office since my journalism days in Tokyo back in the late 1990s.

But from the first day, all those apprehensions vanished.

The office atmosphere has been congenial, with warm, friendly folks eager to show me the ropes. It helps that there are lots of volunteers rotating in and out of the office every day, so staff are accustomed  to guiding newbies.

It doesn’t hurt that it turns out that there are two other Royal Roads University grads with the MA in Professional Communication in the office :-). Another common link.

In addition to some social media and document editing work, one of my main tasks has been interviewing MS Ambassadors  — people living with MS, researchers, and volunteers — who are willing to speak to the public and media about the disease, and to get additional training in public speaking and media relations. I’ve been writing up long and short ambassador bios that the society, and the ambassadors, can use in their outreach efforts.

It’s been an educational and inspirational experience chatting with these folks, and writing stories about their relationships with MS. The human spirit is amazing.

I’ve also had the opportunity to put my photography skills to use, documenting an MS Ambassador workshop in November, and popping by the gift-wrap booth in Metrotown near Winners several times to shoot a few of the nearly 200 volunteers wrapping gifts by donation to help #endMS. Got some gifts at Metrotown? The volunteers will be there during mall hours through Dec. 24.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mssocietybcy

Searching Squamish, BC, for Salmon and Eagles

This is a great time of year to see salmon and eagles up the Sea-to-Sky highway heading north from Vancouver to Squamish.

Didn’t see that many of the magnificent raptors today, but enough for some decent photos.

eagle_paradise_valley_road_squamish_20141122Eagle soaring above the Paradise Valley road north of Squamish, BC

eagle_squamish_river__chum_20141122
Lunching on what appears to be a chum salmon on the Squamish River

eagle_squamish_river_20141122
Cruising along the Squamish River

eagles salmon squamish bc
A mass of  biomass. Lots of carcasses near the Tenderfoot hatchery off the Paradise Valley road north of Squamish. It looks gross, but salmon bring nutrients back from the ocean that enrich our coastal forests and other wildlife.

Save a Few Cents, Irritate a Customer

I ordered a SanDisk Ultra 32GB SDHC card online and got it today.

Disappointed that it came without a case. Every SDHC card I’ve ever bought previously — Kingston, ADATA, Patriot, and even some no-name ones — have always come with cases. And some SanDisk ones bought years ago.

I thought SanDisk was supposed to be a high-end product?

I’d think the difference between providing a case and just packing in flex must be on the order of a few cents.

SanDisk SDHC card no case