Group Outcome

Last weekend we went camping at Rathtrevor with a large group of our friends. It was the first time in 3 years that we had gone with them. The last time we went it was such a disaster (Amy was only a few months old and not sleeping) that we went home after the first night.

This year was much different.

The kids slept very well, once they got to sleep. They had a great time playing with friends, and for the most part were pretty hands free. The singalong was lots of fun with them too.

One thing Elliot was looking forward to for a long time was during the camping trip he wanted the training wheel taken off his bike. We talked a bit about what might happen (falling), and how we would teach him to ride (start by coasting down a hill with no pedals on the bike). After a couple coasting runs he was game to try pedalling. The video below shows the outcome.

It was pretty amazing to see him take off like that. He did three or four laps like this, then suddenly he wanted the training wheels back on. He can’t start riding on his own yet, and I think that he likes the freedom of being to just get on his bike and ride. We also need to work on stopping and dismounting, but that will come later.

The rest of the camping trip was great. It was a lot of fun to catch up with friends I haven’t talked to in a while. Drinking beer, standing around the campfire is always a good time too. When Sunday rolled around I was a little sad that we had to pack up and head home.

Fireworks Focus

After everything else I did on Canada day, I also went out to watch the fireworks. I got a new vantage point this year as a friend took us onto the military base that was directly across the bay from where they were firing them off from. This was awesome to not have any trees or houses in the way. Sometimes having those in the shot can add some depth to the images, I wanted to see what I could do without them.

Some tips for shooting images of fireworks.

  • use a tripod
  • use a cable release
  • go full manual (set the aperture, use the bulb setting, manual focus)
  • take a flashlight
  • get to the sight early (at least 20 minutes I would say)
  • take a few sample shots to test exposure using the cable release and guessing the exposure time, but also look very closely at your focus and make sure everything is sharp

When all of this is done, you are ready to watch the show. When using the cable release you can still watch the show and snap shots while doing that. If your camera is setup as I mentioned, there isn’t anything it needs to do other than open the aperture. It doesn’t need to focus, or adjust any settings.

Play around while taking pictures. Vary the exposure length. Re-compose the scene every once in a while, zoom in, zoom out, rotate the camera 90 degrees. If you watch carefully you can see the rockets firing up into the air. When you see this you can start your exposure before the burst and get some lovely light trails. Try to predict what is going to happen.

Take your luck to the shoot, but most importantly enjoy yourself since this is supposed to be fun. When it is all over, expect to throw away a lot of shots. Try cropping them to make them more dramatic.

Here are my shots from last night.

Forfeited Chemistry

Last night’s ulti game was awesome. We actually forfeited since only myself and two others showed up. We managed to scramble a bit and get a line on the field. The other four players had just played a game so weren’t exactly fresh.

Right off the bat this new line had some chemistry. We flowed the disk up the field making crisp precise passes. I struck for the endzone all alone, and almost got snubbed by the handler. He was looking to throw it elsewhere, and it wasn’t until his girlfriend yelled that he tossed it to me.

The sun was pretty low making vision difficult, but we perservered and the team made some excellent defensive moves. There were several hand blocks by our team throughout the game.

I was amazed at how I felt the entire game. I had wheels. I could break free of anyone last night. As such I was able to cut to the endzone and catch for many points. Also, since I had wheels, we did a semi zone so I was in line to mark one of the handlers. Each time we pulled I had to boot it down the field to try and cut off the throws.

One offensive play that stands out for me was when I was striking for the end zone, and my check had a better position than I to catch a high floater. I knew I was beat so I stayed back a bit. He actually didn’t catch it, but swatted it. The disk didn’t drop as he planned, but instead wobbled and floated a bit. Seeing my chance I raced at it, dove, and got lucky grabbing the disk shortly before it hit the grass. Did I mention we were in the end zone? I dove and made the point. Sweet.

Another stellar play we did was when we had the disk right on the end zone line. Mike called for the moses play with me set to receive the throw. Everyone stacks up in the end zone clogging everything up. When the disk is in play, suddenly everyone peels for a sideline, each person a different direction than the person in front. The last person back then has a clear run at the disk. Just like moses splitting the red sea. It worked for the second time this season.

Anyway, everyone I played with was appreciative of the energy and drive I had. For me it was a perfect night. It wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t windy, I felt like running, and I was having a great game. Can’t wait for the next one.

Canada Fun

Yesterday was an excellent Canada Day. We started off by going for breakfast at our favorite breakfast restaurant, then headed out to Fort Rodd Hill for their celebration. Lots to see and do there, not that we ventured far from our blanket. For Rodd Hill is a beautiful venue and perfect for lots of people to run around and have fun.

They had a small medieval village set up there, and this guy was just getting his armour on. Looked like a complicated process.

We got there early enough to get a good parking spot, and to get a great place to spread out in the shade.

This watershed model is a great way for kids to learn about how our polluting actions can affect our surroundings. The demonstrators show how oil, herbicides, and fertilizers can make their way into out oceans. The kids have fun too by using the bottles to make it rain.

Here is my pirate daughter practicing her scowl. Very convincing!

Here is a happy pirate.

Then the big gun show was on.

The military people got ready, and so did we. We knew from last year that it was going to be loud.

I set the camera to some good fast settings and let rapid fire do its thing.

In this shot you can see the flame erupting from the barrel, and by the next one it had turned to smoke.

This sequence is the last shot of the day, and for some reason (maybe on purpose), the gun blew a perfect smoke ring.

Fireworks Release

Tuesday night I zipped out to Macaulay Point Park to watch the fireworks and to take a few pictures. It was a little windy and tiny bit chilly standing out in the dark near the water as I anxiously waited for the show to start.

Shooting fireworks can be easy and fun provided you have the right equipment. Start with a camera that has a bulb setting (ie the shutter stays open as long as you press the shutter button). Must, must, must have a sturdy tripod, and a cable release is pretty handy too.

With the camera pointed in the right direction, fix the aperture and focus then get ready to shoot. Try to anticipate when the big bursts are going to happen and mash the cable release button. Vary how long you keep the shutter open. Take lots of pictures.

I’m very happy with a number of my images, but of course I had over 75 to pick and choose from.

Can’t wait for next year.  Hopefully I can make it out again.

Canada Camping

The Canada Day camping trip has been an awesome tradition amongst my group of friends. I don’t remember the exact details about how it got started, but I am thankful it did.

This year was an interesting year. Sprout was definitely coming with us, but Gramma made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Sprout stayed over at Gramma’s house which gave Sox and I time to set up camp without him.

This turned out to be a great luxury since we had to set up camp in the rain.

Camping pics are here.

It was a strange experience not having Sprout with us. Sox and I were able to enjoy a dinner out Thursday night, sleep in on Friday, pack the car, and drive to Parksville on our own schedule. I missed him, but it was great to spend some alone time with Sox .

Camping was very fun. I have lots of memories of camping when I was young, and I definitely want Sprout to have something similar.

Sprout seemed to enjoy his time in the campsite too. He played with the golf set, the trike, the scooters, balls, dogs, walking Yoshi, and pretty much any other toy he could get his hands on.

The only issues we had were some minor sleeping issues. Sprout went to bed with ease, but one morning he woke at 2 am and was unhappy until we brought him to bed. We think he was cold. Another morning he woke up early (around 5:30am I think). The last morning he slept until a reasonable time (6:30).

We had some fun on the beach too. Sprout had fun playing in the sand, and I had fun making sand castles for the other kids to destroy. I did get busted for having Yoshi on the beach though. Sox and Sprout were playing on the beach, and I had headed out towards the water with Yoshi. I saw Sox running out towards me so I headed in. A warden had come by, and Sox saved her the trouble of heading out. I forgot that he wasn’t allowed out there. I thought he was allowed there, but on leash only (he was off leash too). Apparently the warden was very nice, and I had no problem removing Yoshi from the beach.

The first day we were there, before I picked up Sprout, Sox and I took Yoshi for a walk on the trails. We came across a large field, and I quickly grabbed Yoshi since I saw a few deer in the field. At first I saw 4, but then more raised their heads until there was 7 visible. Pretty cool.

The big thing we kept an eye on for the weekend was the weather. Thunderstorms and rain were predicted for the weekend, so everyone came prepared with rain gear, tarps, and ropes. Sox and I, along with KaptainK and JJ put up a tarp over our cooking area and that was it. We sat back and enjoyed the show as the rest of the guys spent hours tarping almost every square inch of our campsite. It was quite the show. Tree climbing to get the ropes up high, complicated rope schemes, bungy cords, and the biggest dams tarps I have ever seen.

We also had camp fires every night. Nothing says camping like a good camp fire.

Dogs, kids, good friends, good food, good times. Those are the makings of the best kind of a celebration.

Monday was time to pack up. I did the majority of it while Sox played with Sprout and some of the other kids. I like the challenge of packing. I got everything in its spot, except for one table. I had to pull out half a dozen things to get that in. The scary incident I had was when I was trying to close the Yakima. I was on the roof of the car and managed to get the pod closed with a lot of effort. Then I lost my balance, and almost fell off the roof into a bramble bush. I caught myself with my foot and was able to right myself before falling. Close, but scary. I think I scared a couple other people too.

The last part of this story is the drive home. Sox and I stopped at Starbucks in Nanaimo before hitting the road for home. The first sip I took, I was disgusted. It tasted like coffee mixed with cherries. It was the most disgusting concoction I have ever tasted. I could smell the syrup when I brought the cup to my mouth, and could not stomach another sip. We had already started the drive home, and going back was not an option. We ended up stopping in Duncan, and the shop there fixed the mistake. It was a very disappointing discovery, but I was happy when it got fixed.

The camping trip was great. I can’t wait for next year.

Canada Fidgeting

Canada Day Camping trip. Always tons of fun. This year was no exception, but it was mighty different. In past years Sox and I helped out more around camp, and helped entertain/mind children. With our own child to attend to, our perspective was might different.

The weekend was awesome though. Rathtrevor Beach has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I can remember going to the store with my father or mom to get ice cream cones. I can remember countless afternoons at the beach, playing in the water, building sand castles, and flying kites. Such a wonderful place.

The weather was spectacular. Thankfully though, we were still allowed camp fires. What goes good around campfires? Singalongs. There were two guitarists in attendance, and the adult songs were one night, and the kiddie songs another.

Around camp there was lots of playing, and a bit of fidgeting on our part. Sox and I had to be careful to keep Sprout out of the sun. Hard to do sometimes. We went for a walk once, and had to make it quick. Not only was it hot (high 20’s), but the sun was up high, so there was no hiding from the suns rays for Sprout. Soon the sunscreen can be slathered on. That will be good.

Yummy food, relaxing with good friends, playing with dogs, a good book. What more could you want from a long weekend?

Pics are here.