Category Archives: photography

Top Photos of 2016: The Hike to Silverton Falls

Top Photos of 2016: The Hike to Silverton Falls

On the flank of Castle Mountain, there is a short hike to Silverton Falls.  This was found just before you head up the mountain and the stream that comes off the falls.  It’s a short but great hike with an amazing view of the falls and the Bow Valley.  Taken with my Samsung WB30F, a camera I had wished Samsung had kept making and updating.

Mark’s latest project

Last fall I saw that Mark was taking Yearbook as a class.  I kept telling him that there is no way he gets a credit for taking yearbook.  We had that conversation at home, on the walk to Bedford Road (to fix his computer generated schedule) and right into the guidance councilors office where I found out that yes, he gets a credit for it.

As part of doing this, he has been assigned to photograph the guys basketball team all season long.  You can find his shots from the game on his website.

Senior boys basketball action at Bedford Road Collegiate.  Photo by Mark Cooper

He took a lot of photos, only a few turned out and he realized he photographed the ball too much and not the players but he had fun and now has a season of both junior boys and senior boys basketball to photograph.  I guess that means I have a season of photos to help him critique. 

Some new gear

Some of you care about this more than others but I bought an Olympus OM-D E-M5 II the other day.

I don’t really need another camera but if I am going to start posting a daily video, I wanted something that would do a good job.  I have a couple of video cameras but I wanted something better with a larger sensor and a better lens.  I also wanted good sound so it needed to be able to have an external microphone.

Yes, my Pentax K3 takes video but it is compressed and doesn’t focus well at all.  It looks like the video was taken with a potato.

I looked at a Canon EOS Rebel T5i as well.  It’s cheap right now, a good camera, and Canon has the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 pancake lens.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 II takes good video, amazing stills, has a port for an external mic and has five axis image stabilization.  Perfect for video.

It’s very similar to the Olympus OM-D E-M10 II that Wendy uses but it has a flip out screen and has the external microphone port.

It is also much smaller and lighter than my Pentax  If we are going to hike at Lake O’Hara next summer in Yoho National Park, I am going to have to lose a bunch of weight.  I see no point of losing weight and then bringing all sorts of weight with me back up those peaks.  For that a lightweight kit of a mirrorless camera and lenses makes a lot of sense.

That being said, I may bring my Pentax and a Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM with me.  If I am ever going to want an ultra wide angle lens, it will be for that trip.  There is the Olympus  M. Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0 – 5.6 but it isn’t as wide (I know it looks wider but it isn’t, trust me) and it is expensive.

This means for video, I will be taking a Nikon Keymission 80.  it is a camera that is literally designed for video while hiking.  I will pick up one this spring before we go.

The Most Influential Images of All Time

Time Magazine curated and presents the 100 Most Influential Images of All Time.

Windblown Jackie by Ron Galella

From Time

People simply could not get enough of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the beautiful young widow of the slain President who married a fabulously wealthy Greek shipping tycoon. She was a public figure with a tightly guarded private life, which made her a prime target for the photographers who followed wherever she went. And none was as devoted to capturing the former First Lady as Ron Galella. One of the original freewheeling celebrity shooters, Galella created the model for today’s paparazzi with a follow-and-ambush style that ensnared everyone from Michael Jackson and Sophia Loren to Marlon Brando, who so resented Galella’s attention that he knocked out five of the photographer’s teeth. But Galella’s favorite subject was Jackie O., whom he shot to the point of obsession. It was Galella’s relentless fixation that led him to hop in a taxi and trail Onassis after he spotted her on New York City’s Upper East Side in October 1971. The driver honked his horn, and Galella clicked his shutter just as Onassis turned to look in his direction. “I don’t think she knew it was me,” he recalled. “That’s why she smiled a little.” The picture, which Galella proudly called “my Mona Lisa,” exudes the unguarded spontaneity that marks a great celebrity photo. “It was the iconic photograph of the American celebrity aristocracy, and it created a genre,” says the writer Michael Gross. The image also tested the blurry line between newsgathering and a public figure’s personal rights. Jackie, who resented the constant attention, twice dragged Galella to court and eventually got him banned from photographing her family. No shortage of others followed in his wake.

I love these kind of features (and also this photos).  There is so many amazing photographs chosen. via

A Taxi Driver’s View of New York

He had a camera and a yellow taxi, what more could he need?

It was 1980, four years after the movie “Taxi Driver” was released, and Mr. Weideman had a master’s degree in fine arts and a tenuous grasp of New York City geography. He also had a camera and the best studio he could ask for: a roomy old Checker cab that was his from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends, when traffic thinned and tips were not always something he could count on. Turning the camera on his fares was a way to displace his rage at the inequities that come with a taxi, where the customer holds all the power and the driver does all the work. Sometimes he snapped people at the beginning of a ride, sometimes after he reached their destination. He mounted a strobe light onto the cab’s sun visor using rubber bands. He wasn’t fancy. Usually he asked permission, but at least once he said simply, “Don’t move, I’m a photographer,” and started shooting.

A Taxi Driver’s View of New York

Switching to Canon (Kind of)

I’ve been a Pentax DSLR user for years and I love my Pentax K-3.  It’s a great camera.

Pentax K-3 DSLR camera with grip and 15mm f/4 lens

The problem is that I want to do more and more video shooting and I want to use a DSLR for the shallow depth of field that you can’t get with a camcorder.

Pentax autofocus for video is horrible and their lenses are really, really noisy.  It really isn’t an option.  Even if the Pentax K-3 Mark III is better (assuming that is what Pentax calls it) at video auto focusing, the lenses are still really loud.  Loud enough to ruin the video.

So my only option that is affordable is Canon.  I love Nikon cameras but they too suck at video.  Okay, let me rephrase that.  Preston Kanak can shoot great videos with a Nikon but no one else I know can do it.  Seriously.

So that means that I am thinking about either a cheap Canon EOS Rebel SL1 or a Canon EOS Rebel T5i (the video upgrade on the Canon EOS Rebel T6i/T6s isn’t enough for me to upgrade to and I am not going to shell out for a Canon EOS 70D) with the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 lens.  The video autofocusing is good (not as good as the Canon EOS 80D) but the camera is cheap but the lens is a STM lens and therefore is almost silent for video use.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 with EF-S 24mm f/2.0 STM lens

Some of you have asked why don’t I switch for Olympus which Wendy uses but I’d have to get an Olympus OM-D EM-5 II to get a mic port.  Great camera, amazing lenses with the Micro 4/3 system but I don’t want to spend that kind of money unless I am making the switch totally to Olympus and I don’t think I am going to do that.

Why not?  Well I have a lot of lenses with Pentax including some classic lenses that would be extremely expensive to replace with any other system.  You date your camera, you marry your lenses. 

The bad part about two systems is going to be heading to Lake O’Hara next summer.  I am bringing my Pentax and probably three lenses along but for a camera, I may bring a Nikon Keymission 80 along to record the trip.  Lighter, tougher and weatherproof.  I think get a deal from Nikon on it from work.  Hopefully I can get one for review sometime as well.

Finally, a few have asked about my plan to shoot and post a movie a day in 2017.  No big plan, just a chance to do something fun with Mark and Oliver that they really enjoy while working on our story telling skills.  Hopefully it will be more fun than I think it will be.

The other reason is much darker.  Twice in the last year I was so sick, I heard I was going to die.  At the time I hit publish, I haven’t died yet but I want to document what will be a great year for the family after a long year of uncertainty and loss.  Let’s see what 2017 will be like.  Plus no elections.  That is worth celebrating isn’t it?

Christmas Gift Guide for the Men in Your Life | 2016 Edition

It’s Wendy.  I’m back to do my annual Christmas Gift Guide for the men in your life, whether that be your husband/boyfriend/father or even some grown children.

Keeping Track of Time

Let’s start with watches.  Nothing quite turns a boy into a man like a good watch.  Here are some great ideas any guys, whether that are always connected or love to get away from it all.

Pebble Smart Watch

Pebble Smart Watch

It does almost everything an Apple Watch does at a fraction of the cost.  It also works with Apple iOS and Android devices.

  • Notifications at a glance: calendar events, text and emails, incoming calls, and more.
  • Includes Pebble Health, a built-in activity and sleep tracker with daily reports and weekly insights.
  • Built-in microphone for voice notes and quick replies (sending voice replies works with AT&T iPhone accounts and most Android apps including SMS, Hangouts, Gmail, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and hundreds more. iOS voice features for other carriers will be available in a future software update)
  • 9.5mm thin chassis with curved, ergonomic profile.
  • Marine Grade Stainless Steel bezel with PVD coating, matte and polished finishes.
  • Tough, 2.5D glass display
  • Tactile buttons for easy, eyes-free control.
  • Magnetic charging with cable that works in any USB port.
  • Vibrating motor for discreet alerts and alarms (wake yourself, not your loved ones).
  • Includes 22mm Silicone Strap and USB Charging Cable.
  • Battery life up to 7 days
  • Water resistant to 30 meters
  • Always on, color e-paper display with LED backlight

Another popular option is the Fitbit Blaze Smartwatch.

Invicta Men’s ‘Pro Diver’ Quartz Stainless Steel Casual Watch

Invicta Men's 'Pro Diver' Quartz Stainless Steel Casual WatchLuxury and quality don’t always have to cost a fortune. The Invicta Pro Diver men’s dive watch features a 43mm wide and 12mm thick solid stainless steel case with a unidirectional rotating blue accented silver tone bezel and textured screw down crown. Invicta is powered by Japanese TMI PC32A quartz movement. This stylish watch also features a sharp looking blue dial with white accents silver tone luminous hands and dot hour markers along with the date display function, scratch resistant flame fusion crystal and water resistant to 200 meters. The Invicta Pro-Diver watch comes in an original Invicta gift box and is backed by a 5 years limited warranty.

I bought one for Jordon for his 40th Birthday and it’s looks amazing and draws all sorts of attention whenever he goes out with it.

Timex Men’s Atlantis 100 Watch

Timex Men's Atlantis 100 WatchDiscover the sleek, streamlined design of the Timex Men’s Atlantis 100 Watch. Features include a 100-hour chronograph with lap or split in large digits, an easy-to-use 100-hour countdown timer, a 99-lap counter, a daily alarm, day and month calendar, and a two time zone setting ideal for traveling. Thanks to the Indiglo night-light system, the digital face is easy to read, even in low-light situations. A strong black resin case and stationary black resin bezel hold a durable acrylic window to protect the dial, while a black resin strap with a buckle clasp make this watch ideal for exercising. This versatile timepiece uses precise quartz movement and is water-resistant up to 165 feet (50 meters).

Both Jordon and Mark have (different versions of this) watch and it is their everyday watch which is great for work, looks good if they are going out and tough enough when they are hiking the trail or we are camping.

For even less money, check out the attractive, tough and affordable Casio Illuminator watch.

Moleskine Weekly Planner

Jordon has the 2016-2017 version and loves it.  What makes this dayplanner better than all of the other ones out there, it has your weekly calendar on one side of the page with a full page of notes on the other side.  It is a good enough planner to make Jordon give up Google Calendar and go back to pen and paper.

Mokeskine Weekly Planner

Parker Urban Rollerball Pen

Parker Urban IM Rollerball Pen

A great daytimer is nothing without a great pen.  This pen is nice and durable enough that he will always want it with him but affordable enough that he won’t be afraid to leave home with it.


Getting Personal

From there, let’s look at some personal gifts like an amazing shaving kit or as the British call them, a dopp kit.  You can spend a lot of money on a dopp kit of use an old pencil case.  Personally I find the Kenneth Cole Reaction Shaving Kit to be the perfect balance between the two and you get a bag he will use for the rest of his life while being a good value.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Shaving Kit

 Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Razor With Flexball Handle TechnologyDon’t just get him a Dopp Kitt, inside it place some essential shaving products that he will love.  The market leader is the Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Razor With Flexball Handle Technology.  It’s a razor any man would love and if he doesn’t have one, it’s a great upgrade.

Jordon has preferred the Schick Hydro 5 Power since it came out.  The blades are quite a bit less expensive then Gillette’s yet they last a long time and the shave is a great.  Schick Hydro 5 Power Razor for Men

If you are looking to save some money up front and down the road, I recommend the Magnum M5 razor.  We got one for Mark and he loves it.  5 blades, good shave and a package of blades lasts a long time.

Magnum M5 razor

 Kingsley Shave Soap Bowl with Lid Dark Wood: This will last for decades and he’ll think of you every time he uses it.

Kingsley Shave Soap Bowl with Lid Dark Wood

Henry Cavendish Himalaya Shaving Soap with Shea Butter & Coconut OilHenry Cavendish Himalaya Shaving Soap with Shea Butter & Coconut Oil: He may not admit how good this feels on his skin but he will appreciate it.

Escali 100% Pure Badger Shaving Brush: The bristles on this brush are made from genuine pure badger hair, for a soft and luxurious feeling every time he shaves.

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Eau de Toilette Spray: For when he goes out and wants to smell nice but still let the world know he is still tough enough to conquer it.

Slim Leather Wallet with ID Window

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Jordon switched to one of these a few years ago and we later gave one to Mark for his birthday.  It easily holds a bank card, a couple of credit cards, drivers license, health card, and a few others without causing your pain if you sit on it or irritate you if it is in your front pocket.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Leather Briefcase

Kenneth Cole Reaction Leather Briefcase

A great looking and affordable high quality leather briefcase.  He will take it with him everywhere.


Out for an Adventure

Victorinox Swiss Army EvoWood 14 Swiss Army Knife

Jordon’s grandfather had a wooden pocket knife that he carried with him every day for his entire life.  This is the knife that your guy will carry will carry in his pocket each and every day of his life.

Victorinox Swiss Army EvoWood 14 Swiss Army Knife

Not only that but if the fate of the world does happen to depend on him, he will be prepared with the same knife that MacGuyver had with him.  If you are looking for a classic red Swiss Army Knife, check out this version.

Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Scout Knife

Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Scout KnifeJordon and Mark aren’t big fans of Bear Grylls (they one time watched him bite the head off a large frog for no real reason) but they love this knife.  It is small enough to carry in a pocket or toss in a bag that is ready and packed for adventure.  Jordon’s knife has  been used to make kindling for a fire, cutting some branches to cook with and is what he grabbed when we a wolf came into our campsite.   He also uses it for work and carries it pretty much everywhere.  If the guy you are shopping for takes pride in being self-reliant and the one that fix any problem, he needs a good knife.  It’s one of those gifts that not only will he appreciate but when he bails everyone out because he has it, you will too.

Solo Stove & Pot Combo

Solo Stove & Pot Combo

Jordon has a Primus Classic Stove and Mark has a MSR Pocket Rocket stove but they fuel canisters.  This does not.  It burns twigs which are always around if you are camping and boils water in under 10 minutes..  It is a Gear of the Year winner from Backpacker Magazine and is ideal if the guy you are shopping for loves the outdoors.

Pentax UP 10×21 Binoculars

Pentax UP 10x21 Binoculars

Jordon gave me a pair of these for Mother’s Day and a pair for Mark for his birthday.  Jordon keeps a small pair of binoculars in this bag all of the time for when we are hiking and they are great for watching Mark’s football games at SMF Field.  The 10 times magnification is great for almost everything and they are good for almost any kind of daylight viewing.


Chilling out at Home

We live in a small house in Saskatoon.  We don’t have the room for a vast sound system or home theatre system.  So if we are entertaining at home, we want a great room filling audio system in a small package and good headphones when we want to escape into our work or a great playlist.

Let’s start with some headphones.

Bose SoundTrue II Headphones

Bose SoundTrue II Headphones

Bose Sound True around-ear headphones II were engineered with advanced Bose technologies. They feature exclusive TriPort technology so your music sounds deep, clear and full of life.  The headphones feature a softly padded headband that distributes weight evenly across your head, and memory foam creates a gentle cushion around your ears. So they stay light and comfortable whether or not you are working in a co-working space or just relaxing to a long playlist at home.

Sennheiser HD 202 II Headphones

If the cost of the Bose headphones are too much, check out a long lasting resident of these gift guides, the Sennheiser HD 202 II Headphones are a great value.

Sennheiser HD202II Headphones

The HD 202 MK II closed, dynamic hi-fi stereo headphones are the ideal partner for DJs and powerful modern music, providing great insulation against ambient noise and a vivid, crisp bass response. The rugged lightweight headphones have a secure fit and can be used for both mobile sources and home (mini) hi-fi systems. When out and about, a convenient cord take-up lets you adjust the headphone cable to the required length.

For when we want some room filling sound, we use our Bluetooth speakers.  It is discrete enough to never be noticed but has enough oomph to fill the room.

Bose Wave Music System IV

Bose Wave Music System IV

This is the sound system you have been looking for.  For almost all of us, the first time we ever heard one of these, we went, “Oh, that is what the big deal is about.”  The latest Bose Wave System IV works with your home Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth devices so you can play almost anything you can imagine. Use it to stream millions of songs from music services like Spotify and Pandora, thousands of Internet radio stations and your stored music library. There’s also a CD player and AM/FM radio tuner. So you can hear whatever you want with room-filling sound-all from an easy-to-use system that now comes in a new design.

It is the kind of gift that not only will he love but so will the entire household.

Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot

You really want an Amazon Echo

I don’t know how to best describe Amazon Echo other than comparing it to either the computer on Star Trek or Jarvis from Ironman.  It is like Siri for your home.

Setting up an Amazon Echo

It started out as a music player but it keeps getting smarter and smarter.  Check this page out for what it can do now (and it keeps getting smarter in the future).  Of course if you aren’t looking to play music, check out the Amazon Echo Dot.   At $50 you can have them all over your house.  If two of them hear you, the closest one answers.  It connects with everything to your phone to your furnace.  Again with it being cloud based, the upgrades happen online so you aren’t a slave to adding new hardware all of the time.

Anyone who owns a smartphone or tablet would probably enjoy owning a portable Bluetooth speaker. The best deliver sound quality that’s good enough for casual music listening, podcasts, and Internet radio. Portable Bluetooth speakers have a rechargeable battery that lets you easily take them all around the house or to the park or the beach. We’ve found they make hotel rooms feel more like home and long business trips much more bearable.

UE Roll 2

Here is what The Wirecutter has to say about the UE Roll 2

The original UE Roll was our unanimous pick for best portable speaker when we tested 30 new models last year, and we feel just as strongly about its replacement, the UE Roll 2. Like the original, the UE Roll 2 sounds full, with smooth reproduction of everything from bass notes tUE Roll 2 Bluetooth Speakero cymbals, and it plays loud enough to fill a hotel room or a beach blanket with sound. It’s so watertight it will survive being dunked one meter underwater for 30 minutes. Seven months of worldwide traveling with the original Roll have only confirmed our love of this design. The only real downside is that it lacks a speakerphone function.

Bose SoundLink Mini II

Bose SoundLink Mini II Bluetooth Speaker System

For those who want even better sound quality and louder volume and don’t need their portable Bluetooth speaker to be super-portable, the Bose SoundLink Mini II is worth the cost (roughly twice the price of the Roll 2). It’s shocking to hear how much better the SoundLink Mini II sounds than most of its competitors, with clearer voices and a fuller sound closer to what you’d expect to hear from a decent small stereo system. It also plays loud enough to drown out a small dinner party. At 1½ pounds the SoundLink Mini II is perfect for lugging along on family vacations or from room to room in the house but probably heavier than backpackers and business travelers will want to carry.

Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbuds Headphones with Mic/Controller

31KkJHBsooLThese are always dirt cheap and available everywhere so it’s easy to dismiss them as not that good but The Wirecutter’s blind hearing test of in ear headphones consistently rates these near the top of their rankings despite their low price.  So if you are on a budget but are looking for a great gift for a traveler, hiker, or someone who is always on the move, you can do a lot worse than a pair of these headphones.

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

A 6-inch, 20-watt downward-firing powered subwoofer. Eight 1-inch full-range transducers. Plug-and-play compatibility with virtually any multimedia device. And stunning industrial design that perfectly matches the clarity of the sound. The Harman Kardon SoundSticks III desktop sound system brings a new level of excitement to music, games and movies with a minimum of wiring and looks spectacular doing it.


Something to Watch

Acer Iconia One 7” Tablet

Looking for an affordable tablet?  The Acer Iconia One 7” Tablet is the one you are looking for.

Acer Iconia One 7” Tablet

Another slightly more expensive option is the Asus Zenpad 8” tablet.  Of course you will want a discrete case to carry it in.  I recommend this one that looks like a manila envelope.

Manila Envelope 7" Tablet Case by Boxwave

Jordon got one of these when he bought a Kindle a few years back.  They protect the tablet well and people smile whenever he pulls a tablet out of one.

Apple iPad Mini 4

If you want to go higher end, check out the Apple iPad Mini 4.

Apple iPad Mini 4

Capture the Action

Why does he wants a drone?  Why do you want a drone?  Check out this video of a New Zealand family vacation which I love.

How much fun would one of these be to document a family vacation or a long weekend away.  Our household is a big fan of Casey Neistat and his use of drones do such a great job of capturing his adventures and they are so easy to use.

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro Drone

One of the best drones one the market as well as more affordable than other options on the market.  Since it folds up, it is small enough to fit in a shoulder bag and carry with you always.  A 27 minute battery life gives you the time to capture all of the footage you want.

Yuneec  Breeze Drone

Yuneec Breeze Drone

The Yuneec Breeze is another affordable drone that is designed for social media.  If the DJI Mavic is there to capture cities and adventures, the Yuneec Breeze exists to capture you.  It’s even easier to fly, works well inside and out, and has a 4k video camera to capture everything.

It doesn’t have the performance that the DJI Mavic does but it costs about half as much.

Around the House

Survival Seed Vault

So if you are convinced the world will end in 2017 or 2018, you probably already have this.  For the rest of us, this seed vault offers a wide variety of seeds to take you guys garden to the next level.

Survival Seed Vault

These 20 fruits and vegetables provide an excellent source of nutrients you need for a well-balanced diet. Each seed variety is individually sealed to remove air and moisture and will store for five years and even longer at temperatures below 75 F.

What’s Inside the Survival Seed Vault:

  • Blue Lake Bush Beans <150 seeds
  • California Wonder Bell Pepper < 70 seeds
  • Market more Cucumber < 150 seeds
  • Scarlet Nantes Carrot < 800 seeds
  • Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce < 900 seeds
  • Golden Acre Cabbage < 530 seeds
  • Detroit Dark Red Beet < 260 seeds
  • Lincoln Sweet Pea < 100 seeds
  • Stowell’s Evergreen Sweet Corn < 260 seeds
  • Beefsteak Tomato < 180 seeds
  • Champion Radish < 320 seeds
  • Green Sprouting Broccoli < 500 seeds
  • Waltham Butternut Winter Squash < 100 seeds
  • Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach < 260 seeds
  • Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion < 145 seeds
  • Black Turtle Bean < 70 seeds
  • Hales Best Cantaloupe < 70 seeds
  • Snowball Cauliflower < 285 seeds
  • Black Beauty Zucchini < 50 seeds
  • Crimson Sweet Watermelon < 60 seeds

Manly Cookbooks

If you guy likes to cook, raise his game with one of these fun cookbooks this Christmas.  I picked a barbecue/entertaining focus because not only will this encourage him to help out around the house but he’ll have some friends over to eat all of the food he has proudly made.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Cooking with Beer CookbookGordon Ramsay's Sunday Lunch: 25 Simple Menus to Pamper Family and Friends Essential Company's Coming Guys' CookbookEat Like a Man: The Only Cookbook a Man Will Ever NeedBig Bob Gibson's BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue JointPaul Kirk's Championship Barbecue: Barbecue Your Way to Greatness With 575 Lip-Smackin' Recipes from the Baron of BarbecueSouthern Living Ultimate Book of BBQ: The Complete Year-Round Guide to Grilling and SmokingThe Hell's Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes from the KitchenGordon Ramsay's Home Cooking: Everything You Need to Know to Make Fabulous FoodGordon Ramsay's Fast Food: More Than 100 Delicious, Super-Fast, and Easy RecipesThe Dude Diet: Clean(ish) Food for People Who Like to Eat Dirty

You might us well upgrade his cooking utensil game while you are it.

Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife

Victorinox 8 Inch Fibrox Pro Chef's Knife

 

A great all-round knife that at a great price. The Fibrox Pro 8″ Chef’s Knife is optimally weighted with high-quality, lightweight European steel that reduces hand and wrist fatigue, making it feel less like a knife and more like an extension of the hand. Perfectly suited for dicing onions, mincing shallots, chopping herbs, crushing garlic, slicing meats of all varieties, and shredding cabbage, its versatility will quickly make it his go-to knife.

Cuisinart Deluxe Stainless-Steel Grill Set

Cuisinart Deluxe Stainless-Steel Grill Set

  • Grill set includes chef’s spatula, grill tongs, silicone basting brush, 4 pairs of corn holders, cleaning brush, and extra brush head
  • Also includes aluminum storage case–perfect for the on-the-go griller
  • Durable stainless-steel tool construction
  • Elongated handles; convenient handle rings for hanging
  • Spatula has built-in bottle opener

Time to Play

DMI Bristle Dartboard in Oak Finish Cabinet

DMI Bristle Dartboard in Oak Finish Cabinet

All work and no play makes for a dull guy.  How about spicing up their games room with a dartboard, darts, and oak cabinet.

Christmas & Holiday Gift Guides

Christmas-Gift-Guide2-1[13]Christmas Gifts for the Men in Your Life | Women In Your Life | In-Laws| Teens | Elementary School Aged | Explorers and Adventurers | Cooks & Foodies

Things I think I know

  • I write this guide to vlogging over at the Don’s Photo blog yesterday.  I had done one back in April based on Casey Neistat‘s setup but some of the feedback was that it was too expensive.  Of course thinking through more affordable options now has me thinking about picking up either a Canon EOS Rebel T5i or a Canon EOS Rebel SL1 and Canon’s 24mm f/2.8 lens.    That’s the problem with being given the freedom to write this stuff, I end up selling to myself.  At the price point, the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 is a great camera and with the size of that an the lens, it is not much bigger than the $1600 Fujifilm X100-T with the same sized APS-C sensor.  That and I love the 35mm focal length for almost everything.
  • Speaking of work, we are doing a fall photo walk starting at the Diefenbaker Canada Centre tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Some colleagues are joining me and then we will head to Alexander’s for some food and drink afterwards.

It's this Sunday

  • We are going to do a winter one after Christmas.  For photographers in Saskatchewan Christmas is both awesome and horrible.  We get all of this gear and then are trapped in winter for months.  So during Wintershines, we will head downtown, take some shots of people skating at the Cameco Meewasin Skating Rink @PotashCorp Plaza, head through the downtown to the Saskatoon Farmer’s Market and use some of the gear we all got for Christmas.  It should be fun.  Cold but fun.  Also I just cut and pasted the skating rink name into this post from Meewasin’s page.  I just noticed the @PotashCorp in the name.  Interesting.
  • I expected the Broncos to be 8-8 this season so the losing isn’t unexpected.  They might get to be 10-6 but since they won the Super Bowl last year, I can’t complain.
  • I love the Blue Jays but if Cleveland won the World Series in the same season they won the NBA championship, I wouldn’t be upset.

Transport Canada’s Drone Regulations Make No Sense

Let me start this out that this isn’t a Saskatoon City Council issue nor is it a provincial issue.  My beef is with Transport Canada and their ham fisted rules around drones.

Okay, I am going to purchase a DJI Mavic Pro.  Here it is.

Yet the rules Transport Canada have in place are really, really vague but have these steep penalties.  Instead of rules, they have these weak guidelines.  Some seem more important than others.

  • Operate the aircraft safely.

That makes sense.

  • Always be able to see the aircraft with your own eyes. This means that you should not use an on-board camera, first person view device or other similar devices.

Okay, some people race their drones at low altitudes using VR gear.  Does that mean that it isn’t allowed?  Even at altitudes of under 25 feet?

  • Always give way to manned aircraft (e.g. hot air balloons, gliders, ultra-light aeroplanes including powered parachutes, aeroplanes and helicopters).  

Again, makes sense.

  • Fly only during daylight and in good weather (e.g. not in clouds or fog).

Okay with this rule.

  • Avoid restricted airspace (e.g. forest fire areas, prisons  or military airspace)

This also is common sense.  No one wants their DJI Phantom to be taken out by a surface to air missile. 

  • Remain at least 9 km (5 nautical miles) from any aerodromes and heliports.

This makes no sense to me.  First of all 9kms is almost all of Saskatoon including downtown where even if I am flying lower than the east riverbank, is it still disallowed?  It seems to be under these rules… these are basically banned anywhere on the westside of Saskatoon.

Now look at this.  You can do this over New York City which is in the middle of the U.S. Eastern Flight Corridor but I can’t do anything like this without permits from Transport Canada in Saskatoon.  It makes no sense.  Plus, the DJI drones have built in restrictions when you are close to an airport so you can’t fly more than a couple of feet high if you are too close.  Same with restricted airspace.

So this is safe to do in New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco but not in Saskatoon.

  • Maintain below a safe altitude (300 feet (90 metres)) and a safe horizontal distance (minimum 100 feet (30 metres)) from people, structures or buildings.

I agree with this and I am suggesting it be allowed to do what some idiots do and take them up to 15,000 feet but up to 500 hundred feet is not a lot of altitude and in rural areas is safe.  As for the buildings, am I allowed to fly over top of them?

  • Do not fly in populated areas or overfly assemblies of people (e.g. sporting events, concerts, etc). 

What is a populated area?  Is that all of Saskatoon?  What about flying along the river valley?   What about SMF Field or Mosaic Stadium when empty?  Can I hover adjacent to the event?

  • Do not fly where or when you could interfere with any first responders (fire department, police, etc) as they conduct their duties.

Makes sense.  We saw the mess that idiots created with wildfires and drones.

  • Respect the privacy of others.

Again, what does that mean?  As a photographer, I am allowed to take a photo of anything I can as long as I am on public property.  I know this is more complicated because of the ability of a drone to look over a fence but where is the line drawn.  Personally I think Transport Canada should have said, you can’t take identifiable footage of people in private places but if they are in a public area as well, they are fair game as there is no expectation of privacy if you are walking in public.

  • Do not operate with any dangerous goods or lasers on the aircraft.

Really, having powerful lasers on board my drone is why I want a drone in the first place.

Seriously, Transport Canada’s rules are vague and confuse everyone.  I have talked to police, RCMP, and Parks Canada staff in the last couple of weeks and I get the same muddled answers of I am not sure and use “common sense”.  That makes sense unless you are talking about the kinds of fines that Transport Canada is talking about.  For that I want definitive answers.  So far no luck.