Thursday, December 30, 2010

December Catch-up

This is the final catch-up to bring me up to date with photo-moments between December 4th and last evening, December 29th.

First, a thank you to Max and Felix, two international high school students from Germany. I met them last evening in Stanley Park, as I was standing by the lagoon trying to photograph the Christmas tree. That tree has been a favourite with me for a long time, but without a tripod, and still lacking sufficient knowledge of my camera to get a decent night shot, I really wasn't doing well. They approached and began shooting the tree. "That doesn't happen to be a Nikon, does it?" I asked, never expecting them to say that it was. They spent the better part of 15 minutes after that helping me figure out how to get a better shot. Felix shot this one with my camera - not bad, considering that he was working in the dark to read the dial. I'm really happy with it, especially since one of my goals had been to show the reflections.

Max, in the mean time, was experimenting with his own camera, and promised to send me his results. Both boys had skiing injuries, Felix with a dislocated shoulder and Max with his arm in a cast. Both will return to Germany at the end of January. I won't forget them or their kindness.

Now, to backtrack to Saturday, December 5th, the day after we watched the eagles.

We walked with Black Jack at Jericho, the first time I had been there in several months. I took this to show the pond and the ocean behind it.

Did this tree die? Interesting orange colour. This year, it feels as though the Fall colours in Vancouver have extended into the winter season.

One of Black Jack's favourite places (and my shadow). She loves to inspect some logs that lie at the far corner of the fence. I like the pastel-painted sky here.

This rabbit was hanging out by the restaurant that Bill and I enjoy on warm summer evenings. It's called The Galley. (Another of Black Jack's favourite spots - I wonder why.)

We met this beautiful dog on the path as we were leaving the park. He was apparently the runt of a litter, and did not have the lung capacity to run hours every day as he was bred to do. The breeder was going to put him down.

This is his saviour, and as you can see, they are very much bonded.

Saturday, December 12th: A late afternoon walk along the seawall near my apartment.

That day, the sky seemed to change from minute to minute.

A corner of the seawall caught the sun,

as did windows of high-rises.

Drama in the sky continued,

and I watched the changes from my window after arriving home.

Wednesday, December 15th. An American Coot by Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park.

Sunday, December 19th, a neighbourhood walk. Can't resist that cormorant perch.

This fellow called out a friendly greeting and joked about my lens. He called it a canon, but I replied, "No, it's a Nikon." Second time (or maybe third) that a stranger has made that joke.

I walked by Lookout on Marinaside Crescent, and focused on two of the images. Love the pencil behind the ear,

and the old-style phone.

Then, I checked out the Equestrian Monument by David Robinson. Bill loves the horse but finds the human disturbing. I am drawn to this piece over and over again.

Later the same day, this finch in David Lam Park worked hard to gain nourishment.

I wonder if I keep photographing the same cormorant . S/he doesn't seem to mind.

Lots of colour that afternoon.

This seagull landed on the roof of the aquabus,

and then soared in front of constantly changing light.

On the way home, the moon was up.

This was two nights before the eclipse and the winter solstice.

Monday, December 20th, a late afternoon walk by the seawall.

I hadn't seen these ducks before, and haven't seen them since. Poor picture and difficult to identify. Scaups, perhaps?

This seagull seemed like a sculpture.

These Hooded Mergansers were diving over and over again. I have looked for them again, but I guess they were just stopping by. The female is shown first.

Tuesday, December 21st. We walked along the seawall as far as English Bay.

A seagull,


Barrow's Goldeneyes,

and a blue heart were some of the sights.

It was a long walk. We turned up Denman to Davie, and continued all the way back along Davie, with a stop to look at Equestrian Monument again. I can't put together a reasonable explanation for the short tail.

Bill says that it is stylized art, and it is that contrast with reality that disturbs him about the human. For him, the human is just too lifelike.

For me, the horse doesn't feel stylized. I reach out to touch the velvety nose, and though the surface is cold and hard, warm breath seems to come from it.

Almost home, I took this picture of a pile driver that was driving me crazy. Construction at Elsie Roy School has been ongoing throughout the Christmas holiday but fortunately, the last of the piles have been driven into what must have been very, very hard ground. I cannot imagine a more painful sound. I teach band, and have learned to shut out some of the more unpleasant beginner squeaks, blasts, and squawks, but nothing I have experienced prepared me for pile driving torture.

Can you feel it?

That evening, Bill and I went to the MacMillan Space Centre and really enjoyed the experience. We couldn't see the eclipse except on computer screens, as there was too much cloud cover, but I loved listening to the astronomers talk about their passion. And, I touched a piece of moon rock. Awesome:)

Saturday, December 25th. (A late Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!)

I prepared a meal for Bill! (Sorry, no photo.) Yams and coconut milk and quinoa formed the base of a recipe that morphed so much from the original intent, it is impossible to name. Not exactly turkey and stuffing, but given my lack of culinary skills, and blessed with the most encouraging of guests, it was really a happy meal.

Black Jack and I also went for a walk as far as English Bay, meeting many friendly people, some of whom wanted to ask about my lens (what is it about a large lens that attracts so much attention?) and others who wanted to play with Black Jack. A family visiting from Korea had so much fun with her, it was heartwarming to watch. Black Jack is good with children, but she didn't have to be tolerant with these toddlers. They pet her and touched her face softly and won her heart.

This Harlequin didn't come very close, and the weather was grey, but I was happy to record the moment.

We stopped by another of my favourite Christmas trees (shown at the end of the post) and I learned that Vancouver Park Board, the Friends for Life Society, people living with challenging illnesses, Joe Average artist, and Noma Lights have been responsible since 1995 for keeping the tree so beautifully lit. Every year, when the lights go on, I am filled with a sense of well-being - I know that sounds hokey, but there you go. I'm not sure why the little stuffed dog was on the plaque, but somehow, it seemed to fit.

At Beach and Denman, I looked west and noticed the pigeons lined up on this beautiful building.

As with our last walk, we chose Davie for the return home. I love this street. There is a little community garden at the corner of Burrard - there are not so many plants at this time of year, but lots of small birds were finding nourishment, and these green stones were beautiful.

Flower pots,

a cat,

and a frog waited for the return of their caretakers.

Sunday, December 26th, "my" cormorant said, "Hi!" and..

I discovered this beautiful head in Yaletown Park at the corner of Nelson and Mainland.

I took a photo of the plaque, and you can find more information at this site.

This train is parked at the corner. I had managed to walk by it, as well as "Eros Bendato Scrippalato" several times without seeing them. I find that shocking, but am happy to have discovered them now. I hope to find some information about the train later.

On the way home, I took a close-up of BC Place retractable roof.

It looked rather neat, framed by a portion of RIng Gear - (see #5 of the link)

I took this tree through a window in a high-rise lobby, and enjoyed the connection to trees reflected in the background.

This CPR train 374 is in the window at the front of The Roundhouse. It has been decorated for Christmas but taking pictures through the window at night doesn't make for great photos. Still, it is rather fun. I hope to stop by one day and spend a little time getting to know the train better.

On Monday, December 27th, Black Jack and I walked up to JJBean and I took some photos of one of the friendliest barristas you could ever ask to meet as he prepared beautiful lattes. (A latte post coming one of these days.) Many of the trees on Davie are lit with these blue lights.

There are also some interesting lights around the street lamp poles.

We also took a minute to look through Ring Gear,

and passed yet again by Lookout. I wonder what exactly buckers and swampers did.

I had my small lens this time, so took a couple of pictures with more of a view of the surroundings.

I love the idea that going out to play saves energy.

The small lens also did a better job of completing the story of Terra Nova, although I still wonder about that shoulderless arm - sort of like the short tail - it bothers me:)

On Tuesday, the 28th, I had fun showing Bill some of my favourite haunts. After ten+ years in Vancouver, it still amazes me to see flowers in December. I couldn't decide if this shot,

or an even more cropped version worked better as a photograph.

Bill liked my beautiful head, but Black Jack thought he could be doing more interesting things like giving her treats.

I still haven't found out much about the train on the corner, but am fascinated by the red wheel.

We walked up Hamilton (I think) and while waiting for the light to change, the geometrical shapes of this building were fun to contemplate.

A pastel blue brush-stroked sky was a nice background for yet another shot of the roof.

I like Cooper's Park, and always think of Neville and Jen's Cooper. There is exciting news on that front, with Cooper expecting a little sister very soon. I have been terrible about keeping in touch, but think of them a lot, and if you are at all into children and the joys of raising them, Jen's blog is a must-read.

This is another of those pieces of art that I walked by several times without seeing, but now that I've taken some time to look at it, really enjoy. It's called TIme Top and is by Jerry Pethick, who died in 2003.

A plant reaching over a wall, concluded a very pleasant walk.

Yesterday, I spent a few more minutes with "Equestrian Monument" before heading to school to do some work.

On the way home, I met Max and Felix and so this post has finally come full circle, beginning and ending with Christmas tree lights. The ones at the beginning were a result of our meeting, and this one, of a second favourite tree (actually six trees joined by the lights) was taken on Beach Avenue after I left them and headed home. I used the same settings Felix had set up for me, but the flash kept coming on, not a good thing. Getting a decent shot of that tree could take a while.
That's it! That's all! I did it! I'm caught up! Thank you for reading!


  1. Wonderful Carol, I don't know what to begin with as a favorite photo as you sure have a way of capturing the beauty and excitment of whatever you encounter. I love it all. You seem to be enjoying your new neighborhood so much and it gives me such a warm feeling to see and read all about it.

  2. Beautiful photos as always, Carol. I also enjoyed the geometric Christmas tree and its reflection taken by the student from Germany. The moon pictures are simply amazing and remind me of a full moon photo you took several months ago. Touching a moon rock is awesome! Objects can easily be overlooked but you managed to capture many interesting items along your way. The equestrian statue is fascinating, particularly since you could almost feel the warmth of the horse’s breath. From the large hollow human head to the Time Top there were many interesting things to see. But I was most struck by the last photo since I, too, was at that tree and took very similar photos during the holidays. :)

  3. I can't say that I much like the equestrian sculpture: mostly because the horse looks so unhappy! The website talks about the rider looking off towards the future, while the horse is focused on the work at had, but I'm not sure understand it, especially with the ropes--is the rider dreaming of the future but "stuck" to the here and now? Many of the sculptor's other horse sculptures have the same agonized look about them-and most are letting the rider know they're not happy with their lot. The "bobbed tail" and accompanying lack of mane and forelock were not uncommon with workhorses of the past--it prevented entanglement with the harness. Not sure how that connects to the artist's interpretation of classic equestrian sculptures (think warhorse and general in the town square, an image the artist referred to on his site).

    On a cheerier note, the 12/19 sequence of "your" cormorant looks like he's wondering when the parade will arrive for his entertainment!

    As always, your bird shots are beautiful, as well as the first Christmas tree and the reflections of the seawall.

    And that sweet puppy! What breed is she? Seems too lanky for an Aussie (tho she reminds me of our Chewy), or a BC as far as that goes...

    I'm glad you're caught up--not only for your sake, but because there's just way too much to see and comment on in these long retrospective posts!

  4. Wonderful! I have enjoyed reading about the last four months! The horse and bound rider is very disturbing because the man is roped so securely and will never escape. Why? Who tied him on his horse? Does the sculpture have a name?
    I love all the pictures of birds, flowers, Bill and Blackjack!
    Prospero ano nuevo!

  5. Hey Carol,
    its Felix and Max, the german students.
    Nice blog with pretty pictures. By the way thank you for the nice text about us.
    Here are some pictures I, Felix, have taken with my Camera that day before we have had met you and the image of the tree i promised you to send. Enjoy :-) :

    It was nice to meet you and if you want to join us when we ll go for our next photographytour we would be more than happy to take some nice images together.

    Keep on going with your great work and best whishes,
    Felix and Max

  6. Hello Carol and Bill,
    saw you two today at Kilby Park. Spent alot adult years in Vancouver. Thanks for the memories.
    I think the horse and rider are reminiscent of the BC tax payers and the Olympics, Skytrain, and Expo monsters we will be paying for from here to the unknown future. :)
    Lovely journal you keep. Glad I met you both. Happy Trails

  7. Thank you, Felix and Max! Great to hear from you. I've just looked at your pictures, Felix. They're truly wonderful! I've never been able to capture the city lights so beautifully. I'd love to know what settings you used. It was so nice to see the picture of the two of you - let me know if you are doing another tour. I'll be back at school tomorrow. We have only one German student, but I know she would love to meet you before you return home. Stay in touch and have a very Happy New Year.

  8. Thanks for the comments and encouragement, everyone!

    Dianne, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.

    Penelope, I would love to see your pictures of the tree. I've never done it justice.

    EvenSong, I'm not sure what breed the dog was. He did tell us, but when I'm taking pictures, my focus is elsewhere:) I think he may be a Blue Merle Collie. I know the man who adopted him (I am so grateful that he did) said the dog's thin frame has something to do with his being the runt, and not having a normal chest/lung capacity. (I also appreciated and was interested in your comments about Equestrian Monument.)

    Phyllis, there was not a lot of information about the sculpture, Equestrian Monument. What I did read left me with some of the same questions you ask. I guess if art disturbs us, it has in some ways been successful. Have a wonderful new year and very enjoyable trip!

    Shirley, it was great to meet you! I've shown your beautiful dogs in a separate post, but was in such a rush to get them out to you, I realized afterwards that I forgot to express how much I enjoyed hearing about your biking and past times in Vancouver. Take care and have a Happy New Year!