Friday, December 19, 2008

The Neighbourhood Lights

Just a few pictures from my neighbourhood. Some nice lights!

Also, there is a little something extra going on here in these pictures. I had to use a long exposure to capture all that light when it's so dark out. Most of the time it was about 30 seconds that the shutter was I took my giant MI flashlight and painted some light on parts of the photos to add a bit of light where I wanted to. It's a cool technique. I want to play around with it some more over the holidays.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Night Sky

For anyone who has been downtown after 4pm, you've probably seen the crane lit up over where they are building the new Duchess Park school. Good on WIC for making the effort and putting lights up on that HUGE crane. This is a picture out my bedroom window that I took one evening.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


I like this picture of my tree. I've got it all setup and have loaded it up with $35 worth of decorations from the dollar store. Everything is so sharp and sparkly. I'm thinking that I'll look for some good opportunities to take some Christmas light shots over the next little while. I went out last night to take some shots of my neighbours house and a few houses the next street over. They turned out pretty good. I think I'll post a few of them pretty soon too. I tried a bit of a new technique when taking the pictures, but I'll wait to describe what I did in the post with those pictures.

Monday, December 01, 2008


I like this little picture of one of the ornaments on my tree.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Pictures

I've decided to take a few Christmas themed pictures over the next few weeks. I just recently got my tree up and decorated, so I took a bit of time one evening taking pictures of it with my fireplace roaring and a hot cup of tea. Here is the beginning....I hope to post a couple per week starting in December.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Camera Toys

Well, for a while now I've been reading a blog about photography and lighting. The main doctrine from the blog is that you pretty much never want to have your flash on your camera. You almost always want the light that you are taking pictures with to come from off camera. So, to do this you need a few things to make this work. And then after you get your flash firing off camera, there are a whole lot of things that you can do with the light to make it better. Way more than you ever thought was possible.

First, the blog I've been reading is Strobist.

The wireless gear you need to get your flash to fire at the exact right moment is very diverse. But basically there are three main options out there for wireless:
  1. Cheap wireless triggers from Ebay: cheap=unreliable and short distance.
  2. Expensive wireless triggers from Pocket Wizard: hardcore, rugged, bulletproof, and very expensive.
  3. Somewhat expensive RadioPoppers: a bit cumbersome to attach to your camera and flash, able to transmit camera information to the flash (ie how powerful the flash should be for the picture).
There are more options out there, and there are more products that will be coming to the market soon that will change some of this.

So, as you would expect, I ordered the cheap Ebay triggers and have had them for a while. Since I'm not making any money with photography, that's pretty much what I'm stuck with for now.

But I also wanted to have multiple light sources in my pictures to add some cool effects and fill in shadows from multiple angles. So I purchased a couple more used flashes on Ebay for $75 and $129. Cheap considering what a full price flash costs.

After a while of reading Strobist, a link comes up on his site for a seminar DVD that he has produced: 8 DVD's of footage with 4 of them being the seminar and 3 of them being example location shoots for different situations. Very cool. The first DVD, however, was a separate shooting where he explains all the gear he uses. The lighting gear isn't very expensive piece by piece, except when you add it all together. $25 here, $30 there....and you're up to $400 pretty quick. That's an extra car payment for me.

Anyways, I don't really have anyone to be accountable to for spending my money, so I ordered the stuff cause it's cool and it will be fun.

I haven't been able to spend much time using it all over the past week or so, but Tyler and I played around and got a few fun shots:

Bailey is good a posing. This is shooting a flash through an umbrella on a stand to the right.

You can see the edge of the umbrella here. It makes for a nice big light source which makes the light on Bailey nice and soft.

Here's a bit of the setup. Tyler is getting ready to take a picture, but I shot this picture first. The flash really lights up that umbrella!

Tyler trying to figure out how his con-founded Nikon camera works.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Figure this one out

Tyler is exempt from putting in his two bits because I already told him how I did this.

So take a look at the photo and let me know you're thoughts on how it was done. No photoshop was used. This picture is only cropped a bit; other than that, it is directly from the camera.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Water brings death, Ebay could bring life

I'm wondering now, what I should do.

Here's the story.

I'm off in Australia, having a great time and taking a million pictures as per usual. I'm getting some great shots and having lots of fun as the end of my time in Australia is fast approaching. A few days before I'm slated to fly home, I'm gearing up to go surfing with a bunch of people from the Contiki bus tour that I'm currently on. I really want to get some great surfing shots if I can, so I take my camera down to the beach and leave it way up on shore while we go out for our surf lesson. At this time I'm thinking that I'll surf for a while and as the end of our time on the water comes up, I'll head in a bit early, grab my camera, and take a bunch of pictures before we all call it a day (morning actually...we got up at 7am or so in order to get some surfing in before the bus was scheduled to leave). And that's exactly what happened. We all went surfing. Had a great time. And at the end I went and grabbed my camera from the shore, ran out to the edge of the water, and started snapping away.

It's always a bit risky with salt water because it is ridiculously if it gets on any electronics, you're pretty much hooped. So, I was trying to be extra careful. But there was someone who decided they were done for the day who was coming in from the water, and they stumbled not far from where I was and ended up splashing me with a considerable amount of salt water from their stumble-kick of the water. A bit of water got on my camera, and I quickly wiped it off with my shirt and dry hands. What I hadn't noticed was that a few drops got in and around one of the buttons, so as I was pressing those buttons taking more pictures and adjusting settings, I was probably pushing that little bit of water inside the camera body.

I continued snapping away and everything seemed fine. I got some really fun shots thanks to my 200mm zoom lens and polarizing filter on the end. And I would even go so far as to say that my pictures are better than the "professional photographer's" pictures in terms of colour quality, framing, and capturing of great moments. Ya, I'm a pretty big deal.

But later that day I pulled my camera out and found that pretty much nothing worked. It was dead. Later that evening I investigated my camera body and pulled off the cover with some borrowed mini-screwdrivers that someone had in their glasses repair kit. Apparently, that little bit of salt water dripped in onto the exact spot where the main processor is...corroding a bunch of the connection points and pretty much frying the whole motherboard. Yes, these cameras are really just mini computers inside (other than the moving parts and mirrors and stuff).

So at some point, my travel insurance might be able to replace the camera for me. But I couldn't wait for that, so I went out searching for another camera body and found that London Drugs had an open box deal on a camera body that was the same model as my (now dead) camera. So I snapped that up for $300 which is pretty much half the price of what it was brand new when I got it.

But now, I'm looking on Ebay and seeing some Rebel XT's being sold for parts for about $50. Is it worth it for me to try and buy some camera parts and fix my old camera? The parts might not even be able to fix it...I'm not sure. I have until November 4th to decide because that is when the auction ends....but it would be great to be able to fix my old camera....we shall see.

Anyways, that's the epic story with a cliff-hanger for the end. To be continued next time....

PS: Here is a link to the last pictures that were ever taken with my Rebel XT...


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

High Altitudes

For the few days that Peter was back in BC over the summer we decided to go for a drive up to Smithers. On the way, we made a detour to Camp Morice to visit with Richard and Jackie and take a walk around the camp. I think it's been a few years since Peter has been there. But after Camp Morice we took off to Smithers to meet up with Adam and Myrica and have a quick visit. I had also heard of the waterfalls that were at the base of Smither Mountain, so we made it a priority to get there and check them out even though the weather was not stellar.

The hike up there was very interesting and had some really cool scenery because of the weather, clouds, fog, mist, etc. It made for some really cool shots as the sun started to break through the cloud and light up only parts of the trail and surrounding mountains and cliffs.

The falls were pretty great and they had quite the drop from the cliff to the landing zone, but a side effect of that is that it produces a lot of mist. So, I was a bit hesitant to pull out my camera and have it get all wet...hence no picture of the falls. I had a little bit of trouble with water and my camera over the summer, but that's another story.

Anyways, we also hiked up above the falls to try and get to the glacier above (where all the water was coming from). And there were some pretty cool mini-falls along the way. The picture to the left is a good shot of the water, mist/cloud, and rusty rocks as we were nearing the top.

Lastly, here is a picture near the top with a peek to a peak that is in the distance. It was quite the surprise to see this extra peak as we got near the glacier.

A couple other things that I remember about the hike:
  1. My camera gear and tripod are heavy
  2. I am out of shape
  3. High altitude really does affect oxygen intake.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hixon Falls

A few weeks ago, Tyler and I went out to Hixon falls to take some pictures for the morning. We got some pretty good shots over the 3 or 4 hours that we were at the falls and the chutes. There were some pretty good photo ops on the other side of the falls, so I checked it out while Tyler documented my potential demise (the pic above is one of Tyler's....thanks man). Over all, I am pretty happy with the shots that we got. Tyler got some pretty fun shots of me while I was goofing around being a bit dangerous around the rocks and cliffs, and I got some pretty cool shots of him looking intense. The new header picture of my blog is also from the falls. I might post a few of those pictures over the coming days depending on my free time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

True Canadian

I feel pretty good about being Canadian. Dad, Tony, and I went out back several years ago and decided to plant a Maple tree in our back yard. A truly Canadian thing to do. And now after a few years, the tree is doing very well and looking mighty fine in the fall as the leaves change colour. The other day, the sun was shining in just right and the tree looked pretty cool, so I grabbed my camera and took a few shots. Here is my favourite:

I have been starting to collect all my old photos from hikes in Canada that I've been on, and I was thinking that I'd eventually put together a slideshow of all the awesome scenery that I've seen. We will see if that comes together or not, but it would be pretty fun to do.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Let the fun begin

So I'm going to add some cool things that I've been doing to my blog now and then.

Here is a picture that I was playing around with for my uncle. He's doing a fund raiser called "Catch Me If You Can" which is to raise money for the Salvation Army to buy food for hungry people in Prince George. The event is basically a night of video game racing on the XBox, PS2, PS3, and Wii. There will be a bunch of prizes and fun stuff going on all night.

Here are the details before I get to the picture:
When: October 24th 2008, 7pm
Where: The Hub Ministry Centre - 1557 3rd Ave
Cost: Driver $14, Spectator $6
  • Race with Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2 and PS3
  • 5 Major Sponsored Races
  • Prizes - 1st 2nd & 3rd for each race
  • Overall Championship Prizes
  • Pizza and pop included
  • Additional Concessions Items Available

Info about the picture: In my brother's Corvette, fisheye lens on my Canon Rebel XT, Flash connected via off-camera flash cord sitting on the dash to camera right.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vote For My Video!

I just posted my video on the MEC website. They are having an outdoor video contest. One of my favourite trips that I've been on is the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. And the video slideshow that I made for the trip is probably the funnest one I've ever done.

It would be awesome if you could go and vote for me!!!!

Here is the link

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

North Central Plywood Burns

The plywood mill burned to the ground today (May 26th 2008).

Here are some pictures.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hockey Pictures

The season is over, but we had a good run and finished with a silver medal.

Take a look at these pictures that Adam and Tyler took.

Playoffs 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

2007 in Review (Part 5)

Before I continue, I need to back up a bit. I forgot to mention the Fang Caves trip that I did on Thanksgiving. A bunch of us drove out to the McGregor mountains past Purden to hike the 2.5 km’s in to the cave mouth. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so I’ll just post the slideshow I made and you’ll get the idea.

Continuing on…pretty much right after I got back from Edmonton I started to get ready for the Bahamas; we were leaving the following weekend. I must say, I was pretty excited. Warm weather, beaches, and palm trees…that’s a pretty good escape from -10'C and a snowstorm. We were actually going to the Bahamas for two reasons; the first was a Global Leadership Summit where we attended over 20 keynote presentations on leadership and the importance of having character in leadership. I learned a lot from the conference, but I’ll try and sum it up with some impactful one-liners:
  • Character is what you do when no one is looking
  • The only way to demonstrate character is through testing of character
  • The eagles don’t fly with the pigeons
  • Integrity is when the way you act, what you think, what you say, and what you do are all the same.
  • Leaders fail their way to success
  • Habits are too light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken
  • When things go wrong, don’t go with them
  • If you’re going through hell, don’t stop
  • When pursuing greatness, you don’t know your limits, so you pretend you don’t have any
  • Don’t envy people for what they have, because you don’t know what they did to get it.
  • Some people are always there when THEY need you
  • Don’t make someone a priority when they make you an option
  • You can’t see the picture if you are in the frame
  • You don’t know what you can’t do
  • You are paid according to the problem you solve
  • If you find yourself too deep in a hole, stop digging.
  • Excellence is expecting more than others think is possible
The second reason we went to the Bahamas was for a vacation, and let me tell you, a great vacation it was! I really enjoyed the Bahamas and will definitely go back. I’ve decided not to post the Bahamas slideshow on my blog for the entire world to see, but for those of you who are my friend on facebook, you can go there and see it.

Now, let’s finish up shall we.

The rest of November was a blur as I got back into the swing of things for work and began getting ready for Christmas. Then December came along and it was another whirlwind month full of eating and partying and family. But it was a fun month, good memories all around; too much to describe here though…

And that, folks, sums up 2007. All in all a pretty great year. Looking back it was even more full than I remember…and I really did make a whole lot of slideshows didn’t I? I’ll be hard pressed to do so much this year.
But then again:
  • Thinkfast is in two weeks
  • The Diocesan Youth Conference is at the end of April
  • We’ve got a trip planned for the Victoria Youth Conference in May
  • I may be going hiking in Ontario with Peter in May
  • I am going to Australia in July
  • Two Camp Morice teen camps in August
  • There are several weddings coming up…
AND I should be moving into my house in March!

Why am I always so busy?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

2007 in Review (Part 4)

The last day of camp, we broke the guys away from the girls for a gender specific session. I had a good time talking to the guys about being a guy, then we headed out to the field to do some filming with my Action Cam. Here is what we came up with:

I eluded to the Bahamas trip earlier. I’ll come back to that later. For now I will continue on reflecting about the summer months.

So, teen camp was over and it was back to work for a while. Tyler and I finished up some major parts of the Design Standards website, and I began to prepare for my next amazing adventure: The West Coast Trail.

Located on the West coast of Vancouver Island, The West Coast Trail is 75km of some of the most breathtaking and physically gruelling terrain North America has to offer. The trail is not for the faint of heart nor the inexperienced…but it is one of the most rewarding hikes I have ever done. We hiked the trail mid-August…by we, I mean Peter, Rachel, Elizabeth, Rob, Tiina, Randy, and I. I was impressed that we could have finished the trial in 5 days; to most experienced hikers that is a very good pace. We decided to take a detour on the 5th day, relax at the beach, and visit some sea caves. It was well worth it. So, after the detour, we finished the trail in 7 days. Here is a slideshow of our trip.

Now, as I said earlier, there was something else I was contemplating in June. Whether or not I could afford to go to The Bahamas in November with my family for a leadership conference and vacation. I mean, if you were going to go to a leadership conference, wouldn’t The Bahamas make it just that much better? So, as in my usual fashion, I started to crunch some numbers as to the costs of the trip and the income I would need to do it. Once I factored in airmiles and shared rooms, it didn’t seem all that bad. So, I was committed to go to the Bahamas. But, there was still plenty of work to be done before that could happen.

Firstly, the Camp Morice Annual General Meeting was coming up and I was to make a slideshow for a reflection on the past summer. By now, you must have figured out that slideshows are what I do…I’ve got them down to an art. It’s probably one of the most favourite things that I do after an event because it allows me to tell a story with pictures and music while the experience is still fresh in my mind. That way, months or years down the road I can go back and watch the slideshow and have the memories come back. For me, it is truly entertaining. I go back and watch old slideshows all the time…reminisce about the fun and excitement. To me, they are a priceless artefact.

That said, here is a slideshow I made up for the Camp Morice AGM:

So, as October rolled around Adam had already proposed to Myrica and made the decision to move back to PG at the end of the month. Adam asked me to be the best man at his wedding in one breath and asked if I could help him move back to PG in the next breath. It was a cunning and bold move on his part…buttering me up with the invitation to be best man and then playing my feelings to get me to drive to Edmonton and help him move all his junk back to PG. Well played Adam…well played. Of course, I’m just kidding…it was actually pretty fun to drive to Edmonton at the end of October to help move Adam back. I borrowed Tyler’s scoocum tripod for the trip so I could take some cool pictures along the way, and I made a point to stop at Mt Robson for a break where I got changed at the trailhead and ran a few kilometres up the trial and then back again. I must say it felt pretty good to do that…what amazing scenery and clean air! One thing that I thought was pretty funny was when I was coming back down the trail (running pretty fast and listening to some sweet techno) there was a couple walking up the trail; the guy (who was pretty overweight) looked at me as I ran by with a look that said something like “you’ve got to be friggin kidding me…”. It’s kindof hard to explain, but I can still see the look on his face and for some reason it makes me laugh. Anyways, here are some pictures I took from that trip:

I think I've got about one more post to finish off this year in stay tuned.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

2007 in Review (Part 3)

A few other things happened in May…they’re not really a big deal or anything…just worth mentioning. The lease on my Honda Civic was almost due, I hit a moose and totalled our family van, and I finalized the purchase of the other half of our house (the side my Aunty Sharon owned).

The lease coming due meant that I was looking for a new vehicle. A brand new Toyota RAV4 was my choice. For anyone who’s gone for a ride in it, you’d know that it’s a great vehicle and a monster in the snow. I’m very happy with it. It is an epic vehicle.

Hitting the moose changed my outlook on life again. I didn’t have a scratch on me and the van was totalled. I had glass in my hair and down my pants, but no cuts or bruises. God must have something else in store for me otherwise things would have been different. A few days later I heard of a lady who was driving a smaller car who hit a moose driving slower than I was…she died in the hospital.

(That’s two life changing experiences so far in 2007, for anyone who’s keeping track)

I bought the other side of our house, and my aunt moved out and bought a condo in Westgate, but I didn’t move in. I remained in the basement suite of my parent’s side of the house and began to rent out my side to some family friends who are building their own house in the Hart. So, things were working out alright. Double payments on the mortgage each month and some help to save for Australia in the summer of 2008.

As June approached I started to focus on two things: Teen Camp at Camp Morice and the feasibility of going to the Bahamas in November.

I was pretty excited to direct the teen camp at Camp Morice. There was a lot of planning to do in order to have everything ready because after all…you pretty much have to plan for every minute of the day and have contingency plans for if/when the weather is not co-operating. Not to mention the pressure of making the teen camp the same as it has always been but also make it new and exciting at the same time. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but that’s just who I am…I like to do something to the best of my abilities. So, during June I made up a short slideshow from past teen camps:

Between Adam, Roberta, and I…I think we took over 2500 pictures during the week of Teen Camp 2007. I’ve uploaded a whole bunch of them to facebook, but for all of the readers of this, I put some up on picasa web albums as well. They can be found here:

We also did a really cool skit called “The Backpack”

Much more fun to follow....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

2007 in Review (Part 2)


So, now I’m on my way back from Toronto, working on my laptop creating a small website. You see, Plank Creative gave me some specs for a small website before I left Toronto…so I began work right away. By the time I landed in Prince George later that day, I had finished the first version of the website and had, in essence, made enough money from the website to pay for my plane ticket to go there in the first place. Not to mention the fact that I can write the flights off as a business expense. Yes, I arrived back in PG feeling pretty good about myself.

Upon arriving back from PG I was presented with an opportunity to give a quote for a website for a company called AllNorth. The site was to be called Design Standards and was to function similarly to their existing site, except work all the time and provide more features. I won the contract and ended up working on the site for over 4 months along with the help of my good friend Tyler. It was a huge learning experience for both of us, and after it was all over I was happy that I got the chance to do it. But, I don’t think I’ll be looking for a contract like that again. It’s more fun to make sites that look and act cool than it is to do a whole bunch of coding (at least, that’s my preference). I like making things look pretty. So, that’s enough about Design Standards I think…it was a huge part of the year, but not all that interesting for you to read about.

April marked a new era in my life. From this point onward I started to look at the world around me in a different way. Thinking back on it now, I realize just how profound a change it was. It allowed me to see the world around me in a completely new way. You see, in April I bought a Canon Digital Rebel XT (semi-professional camera), and now everywhere I go I am looking at the world around me trying to capture its beauty. I see things I would not have seen before…I look at things you see every day and turn them into something spectacular (or at least I try). I love the way that it has transformed my life. The best investment I have ever made by far.

In April we had the ThinkFast and the DYC where I took over 1500 pictures with my new camera. Here are some DYC pics.

As May rolled around, I found myself working 3 jobs: SIS, Money Concepts, and Nata Reforestation. Nata needed my help to keep their seedling shipments on track for the upcoming tree planting season, and all that is managed through a website so I could do it from my office at the Coast Inn. This was also the month that Tyler started working for me on a contract basis. He was helping me create the Design Standards website application that I was talking about earlier. Let me tell you, I took great joy in being able to pay Tyler large amounts of money for him to do something he’s good at: programming. It was great.

(to be continued...)

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Friday, January 18, 2008

2007 in Review (Part 1)

Well…I’m thinking that another “Year in Review” is in order.

Let’s begin.

We’ll start off 2007 with a lot of new things happening in my life. For those of you who remember, I started two new jobs at the same time: 1. working for the family business keeping them going with technology, and 2. starting my own business Sonic Interactive Solutions: Specializing in Web Design and Video Editing.

Now, January and February are the busiest months for financial planners because everyone is thinking about RRSP’s and taxes and stuff and have until the beginning of March to invest in RRSP’s and get a tax break for the previous year (ie. get money back on their tax return instead of paying money on their tax return). So, I ended up working pretty much full time hours at Allan L Johnson Financial Group (even though I was only supposed to work part time…but everything works out…you’ll see).

I also got to work on making my own website for SIS. I wanted it to be an amazing website…it needed to stand out and be something that makes you say, “Merde, I want this guy to make ME a website!” (pardon my French). And so, was born. What an amazing investment of time it was. It has proven to be my single most effective advertising tool. Since then, I’ve made sites like:

And a computer application website for keeping track of engineering schematics that are custom tailored for various engineering projects. It’s called Design Standards, but I don’t have a link to it because it’s not open for the general public to access. But I’ll get a little more into Design Standards later in another post.

Now, let’s see, where was I? Oh yes, I was working full time for the family business and full time for my own business. During the first couple months though, I didn’t make much money through my own business. But as time went on and I finished my website, Peter had some ammo to let someone in Toronto know about me and my new website business. He connected me up with a graphic design and promotions company called Plank Creative and they immediately got me to start working on a website they’d been designing for The Vapor Music Group. At this time, I also found some super cheap tickets to fly to Toronto, so I booked them and made arrangements to stay with Peter in downtown Toronto for a few days in March. While in Toronto, I got to do something that I haven’t done for more than 7 years: Participate in a retreat. Yes, I finally got to be a participant and have a good time and not worry about anything. Just show up and retreat. It was lots of fun for sure, but it was also a challenge. I only knew Peter…I had no idea who the other 50 people were and I was going to spend a whole weekend with them. In some ways it was a lot of fun because it forced me to step out of my comfort zone and get to know
people because I had to. But, in other ways, it was very draining for me…I’m not an extrovert…I don’t get energy from that kind of stuff. Needless to say, I slept very well each night of that retreat, but that is to be expected at a retreat. Anyways, I got to visit the CN tower and see some things in downtown Toronto. It was grand. Here are some pictures from the retreat.

That’s it for part 1. I’ll continue with part 2 soon.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It's my Birthday

It's my birthday today, and I got to thinking about the last year. I haven't posted much on my blog.....mostly a result of that book-something-er-other website. But I've found that writing really helps to keep me focused on what's important in my life and reflect on the things that happen or are going to happen. So, I might do a little more posting for personal growth purposes. But, just out of curiosity, how many people still look at my blog?

It would be awesome if you could post a quick comment to say you look at it...just so I know. I'll give you one week to do so, then I probably won't look at the post comments again. So, you've got until January 20th 2008.

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