Four More Years

I despise lying politicians.  I know most of them are liars but Trump seems to be taking this to another level.  Seeing the work that Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale is doing trying to chronicle Donald Trump’s lies is just overwhelming.  It is three days into the Trump Administration and it is just overwhelming.

I could do nothing for the next four years other than writing about Trumps lies and delusions but to what end?  He’s not my President and it’s not my fight.  While large parts of the United States are resisting the Trump administration, I have some other things to do.

As my friend Sean tweeted today, how long can you keep your mouth open for a firehose?  It’s been an exhausting few days, how do you do it for four years?

So I decided today to just ignore the delusional psychopath today on Twitter.  He is going to lie and lie and lie some more.  Unless he takes the United States to the brink of war, I am going to move on to doing something with a net benefit to society.   I have other things to do than listen to alternative facts and how many people were at the inauguration. 

Contextless Thoughts

  • My laptop had a 32 bit version of Windows on it for some reason.  After my Adobe Photoshop Lightroom stopped working, I had to upgrade.  The upgrade took all of 20 minutes.  Perhaps the easiest I have ever done in my life.  Anyone remember the two day job installing Windows XP and all of the updates was.
  • Instead of installing Microsoft Office on it, I installed Corel Wordperfect Office.  Apparently I am doing it for one reason only and that is in case Google Docs isn’t working.
  • qsqMtlHzp5EVhnINxH4saAOliver doesn’t read my blog yet so I can write this here.  Pentax is abandoning the Pentax Q line of cameras.  I love that camera and it is still pretty good but it has such a small sensor and has no room to grow with that lens mount.  Oliver really wants two things in his life.  A video camera and a camera where he can change lenses.  So for his birthday in June, we are getting him a Lowepro  Photo Hatchback BP 150 AW II.   In it will be my Pentax Q 10, three lenses and an older video camera that I no longer use.  I know I plan a head a little too far.
  • No I don’t know what drone I am going to get yet.  I asked Yuneec for a drone to evaluate or even if there was a shop around here where I could get a demo and they said no.  I am leaning towards a DJI Phantom 3 Standard but that could change.
  • Wendy writes a bit more about our holiday plans this summer here.  Apparently she wasn’t crazy about the rattlesnakes.
  • Kevin O’Leary isn’t some sort of genius businessman.  He bought up some crappy software titles, sold them cheap to Office Depot and Staples, inflated revenue and got lucky that Mattel didn’t do a lot of due diligence on the deal.  His deals since then have been really, really unimpressive.  He’s the guy the Conservatives want as leader?  I don’t think so.

Real World Test: Capturing the Saskatoon Blades with a Nikon D750, a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and an Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

This is kind of fun.  I work with Derek Elvin and he is a great sports photographer.  He tested out a full frame Nikon D750, a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and an Olympus OM-D E-M1 II at a Saskatoon Blades game last week at SaskTel Centre.

Real World Test: Capturing the Saskatoon Blades with a Nikon D750, a Canon EOS 7D Mark II and an Olympus OM-D E-M5 II

He brought in some photos to work and a write up on all three cameras.  I edited and I think the result is a good look at three competing camera systems.  What surprised me was Derek’s conclusion that the mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M1 II out performed the Canon EOS 7D Mark II which is a camera that designed for sports photography.  If you are sports shooter, it’s worth a read.

Also, I’d like to take a moment to say that the Calgary Hitmen have one of the ugliest jerseys and logos that I have ever seen.  They are the worst in the WHL if not all of hockey.

Purchasing a Drone

I have wanted a drone for a long time.  I was going to purchase a DJI Mavic Pro drone this spring.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, check out the video below.

Wendy (and Mark) were totally supportive of my decision to get one of these.   I get questions all of the time for how we afford the gear.  It’s a weird question because people who ask me often have expensive hobbies of their own.  Photography is our hobby and it is less expensive than ATVs.  That being said, Wendy and I will sit down and figure out what gear we want to buy in a year and then save towards it.  I have a “lens fund”.  Every time I get paid, I put some money in the “lens” account and that goes towards buying a couple of lenses each year for Wendy and I.  Mark does the same thing now that he is working.

With us going to Lake O’Hara this summer, I wanted an ultra-wide angle lens for this summer.  I haven’t decided if I want the Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM lens for my Pentax or if I want an Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0 – 5.6 for my Olympus OM-D E-M5 II.  Either way that was above and beyond what I wanted to spend for my drone.

Then while out and about this Christmas, I saw the Yuneec Breeze.  It is small and portable like the DJI Mavic making it easy to take places but less capable.  While it says it shoots 4K video, it really used that 4K video to shoot 1080p video that is stabilized.  That isn’t bad because I don’t generally shoot 4K UltraHD video anyways.  What I like about it is the price and the fact that Oliver could even use it.  The trade off is speed and altitude.

Initially I wasn’t that excited about it.  The initial real world tests sucked in part because no one was doing anything cool with it and didn’t know how to fly a drone.  It was nerds talking about a drone while struggling to fly it.

The other day I saw that DJI was still selling the DJI Phantom 3 Standard for about the same money as the Yuneec Breeze.

It is way more powerful the Yuneec Breeze which is both really cool but I realized Wendy and Oliver would never use it.  Wendy likes it but as she said last night, “I would not feel comfortable using it”.  It also isn’t nearly as portable.  Both the Breeze and Mavic fold down really small.  The Yuneec Breeze is compact enough to fit in a 10 inch by 10 inch case and has the sensors to fly and hold it’s position inside.

If you have any muddled thoughts or ideas, let me know in the comments.  I am not buying until March so I will probably change my mind and then change it again many times between now and then.  Also you don’t need to point out, “You can’t use these in any Parks Canada parks and you don’t know seem to be vacationing anywhere other than a National Park in 2017”  I know, that is a big issue for me right now too.

I’m going for a long walk in 2017

Mark is turning 17 this year on Victoria Day long weekend.  I had suggested we head to Edmonton and go to the mall, grab dinner on Bourbon Street, and you know the routine.  Oliver was ecstatic and overjoyed.  Mark sat there, took everything in and said, “how about we go camping?”.  Oliver looked crushed.

We have a lot of discussions around the house that start with, “Okay, which direction do we go then?  North, south, east, or west?”  Prince Albert National Park is north.  Elk Island National Park was west.  Winnipeg was the east option.  South was Grasslands National Park.

Saskatchewan_-_Grasslands_National_Park_02

I like the idea of Prince Albert National Park but not on the long weekend.  It is both too busy and not enough stores or restaurants open yet.  Elk Island was inviting but no one was feeling it.  Winnipeg is a good idea but I didn’t feel like driving that far for the weekend.  Neither did Wendy or Mark.  So it is Grasslands National Park and a few days of hiking ahead of us.  Hopefully we don’t get charged by a bison or bit by a rattlesnake.

The next trip is going to be a more complicated one.  We are spending July 1st in Yoho National Park at Lake O’Hara exploring one of the most beautiful spots on earth.  It is restricted access and you aren’t allowed to drive into it.  The initial plan was to camp in there but after looking at what the campground is like (really, really small), we are going to stay in Lake Louise and drive into Yoho National Park for the first bus every morning and take the last one out every night.

Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park

 

If you are wondering why Wendy and I are working our butts off at the gym four days a week, it is to prepare ourselves for this trip and the climbing it will entail.

Later in August, we are planning to hit the road for a more traditional family holiday in Banff and Yoho again.  The logistics of this trip are still being worked out but right now it is a bit of a makeup trip after I got so sick last summer and almost didn’t go.  I was too weak to much of anything until our last full day there.

  • Sunday: Drive to Exshaw, Alberta and hike Jura Canyon and then push on and make camp at the Johnston Canyon campground
  • Monday: Hike up to Lake Agnes Tea House:  Order a tea, drink a tea, and the push on and climb the Big Beehive.  Feel like a bunch of bad asses for climbing two mountains.
  • Tuesday: Back to Lake Louise and head to The Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House.  Order a tea, drink a tea and then push on to see some receding glaciers and then explain to Mark and Oliver the realities of climate change is destroying the earth.
  • Wednesday: Rockbound Lake near Castle Mountain.  The tea houses are all about Wendy.  This is Mark’s hike.
  • Thursday: Get up early and head into Yoho where we will hike to Twin Falls Tea House.  This is what happens when Wendy picks the hikes.  The destinations all end in a “cup of tea”
  • Friday: Oliver and I are picking out the attraction on this day.  We want to take the A Walk in the Past hike in Yoho National Park.  It is a hike littered with old steam engines and boilers that exploded on the mountain and were tossed aside and are still there.  I told Oliver this is where the remains of Thomas the Tank Engine rest.  This is what happens in the real world when you upset Sir Toppenhat. 
  • I have no idea what Saturday will bring.  Mark and I were looking at options and all of them had large amounts of grizzly bears on the trail during the time when we are going to visit.  It may need some more work.

Finally Wendy and I are married for 20 years this fall.  We are going to spend a week in Banff with just the two of us at the Siding 29 Lodge.  We don’t have much for plans other than we are going to hike up Tunnel Mountain on our anniversary.

Tunnel Mountain in Banff

Neither one of us have hiked around Banff so we tentatively have plans to check out Lake Minnewanka and some ghost towns around Banff.  When I add all of these up, it’s about 70 kilometers in hikes.  Our most ambitious year ever.

Buyers Guide to Pentax Lenses

A Pentax Lens Buyers Guide for Pentax DSLRs

Pentax is behind Canon and Nikon when it comes to market share.  One of the things that I keep hearing while the cameras are great it doesn’t have the lens option to allow you to put together a decent photography kit.

As Pentax user I have always denied that but I decided to put together a buyers guide for lenses here back in 2013 that I felt was pretty impressive.  When I started doing social media for Don’s Photo in 2015, I moved it over to their blog but every time I looked at it, I realized that I had forgot a few lenses.  I finally got around to updating it today and I am blown away at the options that Pentax users have to put together a solid set of lenses from Pentax, Sigma, Rokinon, and Tamron.

I got asked a while ago how I pick what products I choose.  Stock levels some times play a small factor.  If I know the store can’t get a product because it is backordered for months, I generally don’t write about it because what’s the point of getting someone fired up about something that they can’t get until 2023.  Basically I need to get fired up about it or a colleague is fired about it and that gets me excited about it. 

With Pentax being a brand of camera that both and I use and love, it’s probably a little more personal then other brands that Don’s Photo sells in that each of these lenses have been heavily debated and researched by Mark and I.

Break Free

When Filmakademie student Eugen Merher created his Adidas spec ad “Break Free,” he knew he had something special on his hands. Unfortunately, Adidas’ communications department never got back to him; now they get to watch his ad take off without them.

Break Free by Eugen Merher

The spot is set in a rather unlovely care home for the elderly. One of the residents is a former marathon runner who seems broken by the daily grind of his monotonous existence.

One day, he comes across his old running shoes and decides to take them for a spin. This kind of activity is strictly “not authorized” by the home.  While the staff in the home try to crush his ongoing bids for freedom, his fellow residents are in his corner.

Watch the video up top to see a beautiful piece of visual storytelling. Hopefully it’ll inspire you to get out there and create something special.

The best wildlife photography locations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba

I sat down and wrote this a few days ago.  If you are looking for some places to do some wildlife photography in Saskatchewan (or Manitoba) check out these ideas.

The best wildlife photography locations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba

It was this post is why I bought The Photographers Guide to Saskatchewan.  I will be using it a lot in projects (and some vacation planning) over the next couple of months.

Photographer’s Guide to Saskatchewan

Photographer’s Guide to Saskatchewan

I needed this book for work which is convenient because we sell it at work.  I could have just borrowed it and gotten the information that I needed from it but that doesn’t see any money go to the authors.  I guess I could have written it off but I wanted to bring the book home and use it here.  So I did what I needed to do.  I bought it over the holidays and I am really happy I did.

After reading it, I have really enjoyed it.  It is only 208 pages long and has about 200 photos in it.  It gives one some great ideas on where to travel to and where to photograph Saskatchewan and have it looking it’s best.  It also helped me figure some things out about some trips next summer.  I want to visit Grasslands National Park but I had no idea what I want to see is not in the part of the park where I would have visited (sorry Val Marie, I’ll visit another time).

The book does talk about photography but it’s title could very well have been “Where to Find Everything Cool Looking in Saskatchewan”.  As a photographer in Saskatchewan, you need this but if you just like to travel and see our great province, you will want it as well.

You can get the book at Indigo/Chapters, McNally Robinson and as I mentioned, Don’s Photo.  I can’t recommend it enough.

In 2017 I Resolve To…

I guess it is time to post my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions.  I see Wendy posted her resolutions here which will have an impact on my life.

Hit the Gym Four Times a Week

Notice I didn’t say, “workout in the gym”.  I joined Fit4Less because I hate myself a few weeks ago. I then got really sick which was my bodies way of saying, “DON’T JOIN THE GYM.  KEEP EATING NACHOS AT 11 PM AND IT WILL ALL BE OKAY”.

I went for the first time today and did the 30 minutes workout.  My arms are so tired I can barely type.  The plan is to go with Wendy four times a week.  The weird thing is that I get free tanning as part of my gym membership.  I have not yet decided if I will tan myself orange or not.

I did go out and buy some new gym type gear for the gym.  I don’t know if that makes me sad or happy.

Carry My Camera Every Day

I am always so frustrated that I don’t do this and about a week ago I was looking for something and I found a camera bag in my closet that would be ideal to use every single day.  Umm, I hate being me some days.  I have the perfect mirrorless camera setup for some great photos, having it with me all of the time goes a long way in getting more shots in 2017.

Use Better Pens

For my entire life, I have hated Bic pens.  I don’t like Papermate pens.  I like uni-ball® Vision Rollerball Pens.  I always have.  I always will.

uni-ball® Vision Rollerball Pens

I prefer them to be blue.  Wendy likes black pens.  I prefer blue pens.  So why do I not have some of these in my go-bag?  Why do I not have them in my work bag?  Why do I not have one on my end tables for when I am inspired to write something down?  That’s unacceptable in 2017.  I will have blue uni-ball® Vision Rollerball Pens all around me at all times.  If I see notes that Wendy has written and they are in blue, well we will know what happened.

Fix Our Coffee

Something went wrong in our household in 2017.  Years after Wendy had learned how to make a good cup of coffee, she has somehow forsaken all of that knowledge and is making some disgusting cups over and over and over again.  Even the other day, we go in an get gas and she gets me a cappuccino to go.  I take a drink and I have to spit it out because it just wreaks of stale awful coffee.  I go, “It’s a machine!  How did you mess this up?”  Well she decided to modify it and make it better so she added stale coffee to a premade drink.

Not only that but so many times she will make coffee and it will taste like soap because the travel mug or the carafe never was rinsed out properly.  It’s weird, things went bad when Wendy started to drink coffee last year.  I generally make coffee but teaching Wendy how to make a good cup of coffee again will take some work in 2017.  Neither one of us is sure what went wrong.

Enjoy This Year

2015 and 2016 were write offs personally in many ways because my leg was so messed up.  I became a hermit and really became introverted.  My leg became my struggle and mine alone at times.  I got up one morning early to go to Royal University Hospital for a big meeting with some doctors.  Wendy was asking me where I was going and I hadn’t told her about the appointment.  When we would walk out, I would grab a coffee from Starbucks and not want to talk about it.

I was so tired that I would want to take in a Saskatoon Blades or Saskatchewan Rush game, take in a concert at The Bassment or the SaskTel Jazz Festival and then not go because I was tired and because I hated being out in public like this.   When I would go out with friends, often the first thing they would say to me was, “You look like —-“.  Other friends would tell me afterwards how worried they were about me.  So yeah, I found myself going out less and less and even doing less and less stuff with Wendy and the boys.

Part of it was that I was so tired last year.  Everything was hard physically and mentally.  Oh yeah this leg hurts badly.  All of the time.  For me the ideal day ended with me coming home from work, laying down on the sofa and sleeping until Wendy told me to go to bed.  No interactions and no people.  We didn’t even sit outside by the fire or have coffee on the deck last year.

So I want to enjoy 2017 more.  I want to get out and experience more.  I want to spend more time doing cool things with the kids.  My leg is screwed.  If it gets better, it could be years.  I am tired of waiting for it to heal.

Up My Fan Game

I have been a long time fan of the Notre Dame FIghting Irish, Denver Broncos, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Pistons, Calgary Flames and as much as I regret it, the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  I need to pick up some jerseys, shirts, and hats in 2017.  If I am going to live and die with these teams, I should look it.

Gary Kubiak is stepping down in Denver

You can read the story from Yahoo! Sports

In a bit of a surprising development, Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak has reportedly will step down from his post because of health concerns after Sunday’s game.

Less than two years after taking his dream job to coach for his close friend, Broncos general manager John Elway, and less than a year after beating the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl, Kubiak will pass the baton, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

In his short, brilliant run as the head coach for the team he spent the majority of his playing career, Kubiak compiled a 20-11 record heading into the season finale and won Super Bowl 50.

It’s believed that Kubiak, 55, would be stepping down following Sunday’s Week 17 game against the Oakland Raiders. Schefter reported that Kubiak would be finalizing his plans next week.

I like Gary Kubiak as a player.  I liked him as an offensive coordinator.  I liked him Houston as the head coach of the Texans and I liked him as the coach of the Denver Broncos.  I hate to see him leave as a coach but as someone wrote, he has made millions in the game and football is taking a toll on his health.  I assume he will step away for the game and become a studio analysis for a network where the hours are far less and the stress is non-existent.

I hope he enjoys his retirement, his place in Broncos lore, and his next stage in a career that will also probably pay him very well.

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