Thursday, March 31, 2016

TBT - The Great Wall of China

A throwback to our first trip together, to China, nearly 10 years ago. We took some random bus to the middle of nowhere, 2 hours away from Beijing, then bravely (or perhaps foolishly) hopped into some random sketchy dude's unlicensed cab and asked him to drive us to the Great Wall, hoping he would wait around as we hiked for 4 hours. In retrospect, despite having no money, or smartphones with google maps and instant directions, we were pretty fearless in our 20's. I'm not so sure I'd hop that same 'cab' now, if given the same circumstances.

These shots were from Mutianyu, a section of the wall in a more remote area than the most touristed section, and so we had kilometres of the wall to ourselves. For the travel bugs, this is definitely a place worth seeing.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Grotto Canyon Ice Walk

Our big plan to scramble a mountain yesterday was foiled by some icy conditions up the steep trails. I blame Jesus. Thanks JC, you ruined Easter. That's what Easter's all about right? Pointing fingers, laying blame, and hearing about how Jesus rises from the dead to become the original zombie, two millennia before zombies were cool... but I digress.

By the time we bought an extra set of crampons to navigate the icy trails, it was getting late, so we opted for a short ice walk up Grotto Canyon instead, to scope out the last vestiges of the rapidly melting frozen waterfalls, some Native American pictographs inscribed along the canyon walls, and also to witness two ladies crying when they foolishly ascended a very steep 35 foot embankment, without thinking about how they were going to descend. Fortunately, a nice bystander spent a solid 20 minutes coaching them on how to get down, otherwise me and my crippled back would've been forced to help them descend, and that would've been a comical sight.

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Trekking along the dry creek bed, the canyon walls soar 50 feet on either side of you.

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If this was earlier in the season, this would have been an ice walk up the frozen creek. As it was, much of the creek had melted and dried up.

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The upper falls, which are much easier to see when the lower part of the falls are frozen, enabling you to climb up them.

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Easter Egg Hunt failed, but I did find this beauty!

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These are pictographs drawn on the canyon walls using ochre, by visiting Hopi Native Americans, dating between 500 - 1300 years ago.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Photographing the Pupils - Part X

Last night my shoulder was screaming bloody murder, so I went to bed, in hopes of escaping the inexplicable pain. But the slightest movement trying to find a comfortable sleeping position would hurt, and then when I finally fell asleep, I'd have recurring nightmares of suffering from an injured shoulder, which would jolt me back awake... to more pain. DAMMIT JIM! Being 90 sucks. Someone prescribe me some powerful narcs, stat.

Anyways, here's my latest group of students that graciously sat for a quick portrait. Sadly, this is the first and only roll of film I've shot this year, thus far. Motivation and inspiration has been severely difficult to come by as of late. Shot with the Hasselblad + Zeiss Planar 80mm, on Kodak Tri-X 400. Souped in Ilfosol 3, 1+9 @ 68 deg. F for 7.5 min.

Photographing the Pupils, Part X

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Photographing the Pupils, part X-1

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Photographing the Pupils, part X-5

Photographing the Pupils, part X-2

Photographing the Pupils, part X-4

Sunday, March 20, 2016

_Finally... Freedom... AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!_

After two months of dog-sitting while the in-laws were away, we finally brought Tubby back to his rightful home this week. Anita remarks to me this weekend, "Finally... Freedom... AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"

And so we rang in spring and our newly returned life of complete freedom from adult responsibility by kicking more tires at the condos in East Village. Can someone lend me $700,000?

I picked out another bunch of random photos from Berlin, Munich, and Salzburg to show you. Enjoy.

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Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria

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City views from the top of Salzburg Castle, in Austria.

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The old town in Salzburg.

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City views of Munich from above.

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Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam.

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Atop the rooftop terrace of the wedged shaped building, Panorama Punkt, in Berlin.

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Atypical Tourist - Berlin in photos

We've been toying with the idea of moving to the downtown core for a few years now, and every hour long bus commute to work in the morning and evening just strengthens that desire. One would think that in this economy, the prices would be dropping in lock step with rising unemployment in the oil patch. So you'll excuse my 'spitting out coffee' level surprise when we were informed that prices were going up, and that a 1200 sq. ft condo in the East Village was just shy of $900,000. Double U, TEE, FAACKK?! This makes less sense than Trump leading the Republican race. Who are you 'more money than brains' people snapping up overpriced units? STOP IT. George needs to get out of suburbia, and you're not helping!

Anyways... how about some photos. Rather than bore you with just shots of touristy Berlin, I picked a random bunch that I thought were just neat things, shapes, patterns, and scenes from our week there. And beer. Because GERMANY! Enjoy.

Atypical Tourist - Berlin-1
Sunset on museum island.

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A bunch of knobs. Which, fittingly, is what I think of you folks snapping up all the places I want to live in downtown... EFF YOU very much.

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The East Gallery, featuring remaining sections of the Berlin Wall.

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Sprinkled throughout Berlin are these old school analog photo booths. Pure MAGIC.

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Atypical Tourist - Berlin-8

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Atypical Tourist - Berlin-15
Beautiful sunset colours... as seen from inside the depressing barracks of Dachau concentration camp...

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Surf and Turf burger. A most literal interpretation.

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Weissbier! Delicious nectar of the gods.

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The imposing and beautiful blue walls of the Ishtar Gate, built by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.