Sunday, December 27, 2009

Banff Over-nighter

I went to Banff on Saturday (boxing day) for an overnight stay at the Douglas Fir resort with Clare and Conor. It was a last minute idea and although I was a bit tentative about going I'm glad that I was able do it. We packed our tobaggons, skates, warm winter clothing and our swimsuits because the hotel has a water slide and a swimming pool. Of course I brought my camera with me.

Last year - after hiking around Grotto Canyon we'd gone into Banff for dinner and I remember stopping at Vermillion lakes to see if there was any photo opportunities and I saw a bunch of people skating on the lake.  The memory stuck and I had this vision that we would go out there and skate on Vermillion lakes. A couple of summers ago we kayaked on the lakes and I was excited to see it in the winter on skates.

No skating here !.. keep trying.

We left Calgary just after 11 o'clock.  I drove the new ring road from our place round to the TransCanada on the other side of the city. It took about 25 minutes to get from here to there. Normally I'd go McKnight to John Laurie and down Stoney to the TransCanada which could take anywhere from 45min to an hour. I think the ring road will work out well for scooting around the city. There are still some traffic lights on the NorthWest side though, and I hit all the red lights. Another thing to consider is that there isn`t anywhere to stop and get coffee when going this way. I'll have to remember to get coffee before leaving the NorthEast.

An hour into the drive we were almost at Lac-Des-Arcs which I thought was pretty good. We do a bit of hiking there at Heart Creek, and to get there in an hour will be cool. As I approached Canmore it was close to lunch time and I was thinking that if we stopped to eat we could be at Vermillion lakes by two, a couple of hours of skating, some nice sunset pics of Mt Rundle before checking in to the hotel by four. Sunset at this time of year is around 4:30pm, but I figured that any light would be gone earlier because of the mountains.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Portraits.

Melanie and her boys were going to over to do some Christmas baking and I was asked if I could take some pictures of her kids. Jodie heard that I was taking pics and asked if she could come over and bring her kids too.

I have a large backdrop - it's a 10x20' sheet of heavy white cotton - that came with some stands and a cross bar. I set it up in the basement after clearing out an area to give some room. Because it had been folded up into a small bundle it has some pretty serious wrinkles and creases in it. I tried to iron it, but my ironing board isn't 10' long. It was very frustrating. I did about 1/3rd of the length before giving up, the part that was ironed would be hanging from the stand, and most of the larger creases were gone, so it didn't look too bad. I read on the internet that some people use hand held steamers to de-crease their backdrops. I my look into it that to see if it's something that I'd like to try.

Nathaniel jumping around.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

PSA Hockey Tournament Championship game.

The championship game was played on Sunday afternoon. Again I was able to shoot from the players bench which was a pretty good vantage point. Sometimes when shooting the net at the far end players at the blue line would drift in front of the action blocking my view but there wasn't much I could do about that.

For some reason, I got colder at this game than I was at the first one. By the third period I was shivering quite a bit. Perhaps I should have worn my toque to keep the heat in.

Players get ready to take to the ice

Saturday, December 19, 2009

PSA Hockey

Tonight I went to the Sportsplex to shoot my nephew Matthew`s hockey game. He was playing in a tournament and this was the last game of the tournament. Although, I`m told they`re playing in a game tomorrow, and I`m planning to attend to take more pictures so obviously this wasn`t the last game. I think I heard something about the game tomorrow being a championship game.  Maybe I should pay more attention to the details if I`m going to be writing about them. :-)

Matthew Hoffarth - Number 15, playing for PSA 
Click on the picture to see the gallery.

Read more after the link.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More snow..

Saturday morning - it wasn't snowing any more, but it had drifted around over night. I had to push the door open to move the snow out of the way. I was able to trudge out to the front of the house and survey the driveway.

Snow drifts block the front door.

The drive way in front of the van was full of snow - the street behind my car was full of snow. There was a lot of shoveling to do. I started shoveling, the whole time thinking about how the first snow fall usually leads to news reports of people dropping dead from a heart attack due to the exertion, so I made sure to take it easy and rest often :-)

Snow drifts in front of the house.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow !

It snowed !! We've not really had much of the white stuff this year. There was a few days last week, but it didn't last long, just enough to make the drive home interesting. This time the snow may go all weekend with temperatures plunging to -20c by Monday. There is a lot of wind right now and it's drifting all over the place.

Clare in her snow cave.

We haven't been tobogganing since last spring. I asked the kids if they wanted to go while they were eating dinner and they both became very excited. So excited, in fact, that they almost forgot about eating. ( this isn't really anything new, they're easily distracted when eating and prone to wondering between bites ) after dinner was finally finished the hunt began for toques, scarves, mitts, boots, long underwear, snow pants and coats. All the gear had to be found and put on. Next the toboggan's had to be brought out of summer hiatus. Conor and I had to dig them out of the shed - literally!