<![CDATA[Everything Else Is Gravy - Photo Blog]]>Tue, 08 Aug 2017 06:06:22 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Both Sides, Now]]>Tue, 09 May 2017 07:57:26 GMThttp://cpjanes.com/photo-blog/both-sides-nowPicture
Hello from China! The other side of my world.

I started this post before leaving home and am just now getting around to figuring out how to finish it in Beijing. Which is okay at the end of the day because I have a few new photos to add.

​But to start with...Icebergs from Newfoundland and Labrador!

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It is hard to imagine bergs are still a reality back home because it was 40 degrees here a few days back and I almost melted! But Newfoundland and Labrador is still in the midst of iceberg season...and some occasional below zero temperatures...and some occasional snow. Sigh.

The photos above are of the Ferryland iceberg. It was grounded for a bit and, in the month of April, drew lots of visitors, including your's truly.

Interestingly, both of these photos are of the same iceberg, taken from two different vantage points.

Kinda neat to see how different it looks, depending on where you stand.

A good thing to consider as we wander through life; at the time it reminded me of the song 'Both Sides, Now'. 

And now I find myself in China, singing along with Joni Mitchell again, where I managed to get some interesting pictures of a marvelous thing: The Great Wall. 

As we were preparing to land in Beijing I snuck over to a window and snapped a few shots of the beautiful mountains; I happened to capture The Great Wall in a few of them. And a few days later we were wandering around on The Great Wall ourselves, where I managed to get a few shots from 'another side'. 

It would seem to me that you never really know how things are going to be from the other side. Until you go there.  

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<![CDATA[Pack It In]]>Wed, 12 Apr 2017 11:32:33 GMThttp://cpjanes.com/photo-blog/pack-it-inPicture
This is definitely the last of winter. For sure. ​No doubt about it.

Well, maybe by May two-four we'll see the last of it. For sure. No doubt about it.

But it doesn't matter either way, because spring has really sprung!

I saw a robin and there is a crocus pushing through last year's grass remnants!  Yes.

There is still pack ice in some of the harbours around here, and our lawn has yet to give up all of its snow. But it won't be there long. 

This is predicted to be a great year for icebergs. If the pack ice is any indicator, those predictions should be correct; there was more pack ice here this spring then I have seen for many years.

The pack ice was peppered with seals basking in the sun out in Portugal Cove the day I got out there with my camera. It reminded me of the Caribbean beaches I've seen filled with us "Snow Birds", hove off in the sun for hours at a time, taking an occasional break to sashay up to the closest bar. Good times. 

And now that it is spring it is time to start hunting icebergs. The bergs are dotting the coast already. I saw my first one this week down near Ferryland- it was quite large!

Should you be iceberg hunting yourself, check out Iceberg Finder. They map 'active' icebergs, including longitude, latitude, shape and size. A very useful tool for a photographer!


In the meantime, while I do hope to post some iceberg shots in the coming months, I am quite confident I won't be posting any more pictures of snow and pack ice for a long time. For sure. No doubt about it. 
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<![CDATA[Spring Has Sprung!]]>Thu, 30 Mar 2017 18:30:48 GMThttp://cpjanes.com/photo-blog/spring-has-sprungPicture
About that.

Maybe not so much 'sprung' as 'poured' or 'enveloped'.

Depending on which part of Newfoundland and Labrador you live.

Or what time of day it is today.  

Mother Nature! You go girl!

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While friends from around the world are beginning to share pictures of blooming tulips, we are hunkered down for another blast of "hard-to-say"...trying not to go blooming nuts. Ryan told us that this one was unpredictable. ​ And he was right.  

​Freezing rain, snow, rain, ice pellets and fog. 


And 'freezing fog'. Yes, it is a thing. Welcome to The Rock!

One of the few places on earth where you can get freezing fog.

And it too can go sideways, like the rest of the precipitation we generate here.

​Every place has its charm- ours is sideways precipitation. 


​Although the photo to the right reveals the current state of affairs with the precipitation on the Avalon Peninsula, I added a few snaps from our last snow storm. Much prettier!

Maybe they will inspire Mother Nature to give up on this sideways freezing/pouring/fogging stuff she is so fond of here, and switch over to the enveloping, fluffy stuff that the rest of the Island is getting?

I can hear the groaning from here; a contentious issue for sure, but I see a few more charms in that fluffy stuff when compared to the sideways freezing rain, despite the fact that it is more work.

I certainly wouldn't go so far as to hope Mother Nature will bless us with sunshine and blooming flowers and the like. It is only March after all! There are another 3 months of 'misery' before we really see spring. In June. For 2 days. Sigh. 

#LoveNewfoundlandWeather #NoSuchThingAsBadWeatherJustBadClothes
#StopShakingYourEyes #StopSawingTheTable  #EEEEEEE #PassTheWine

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<![CDATA[Macarons]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:03:33 GMThttp://cpjanes.com/photo-blog/macaronsPicture
I would love to tell you that I made these macarons, but alas, dear reader, I did not. (Note: I am currently reading Jane Eyre and feel compelled to add 'dear reader' to...almost everything. This could get weird.) 

These little macarons weigh about 10 grams each and contain about 15 grams of fat and sugar; yes, I am aware that, in a world were 'old fashioned' gravity is the order of the day, this kind of math is not permitted. But these little puppies are French...and are a testament to the miracle of French cooking- a veritable 'black hole' of calories. Just ask my hips. I can't explain it; you'll have to take it up with Einstein.

Macarons (French macaroons) are essentially meringue halves held together with buttercream. As well you know, dear reader, anything that contains butter is a good thing.

I first tasted macarons in Paris many years ago. I was dubious when I first saw them. I thought they may be all looks and no substance. I was wrong; they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. 

We visited Paris in the mid-90s. We had two small kids and I was back at university careening towards a Master's degree. The semester ended abruptly, with my organic chemistry final exam at 6 pm followed by a flight to Europe at 10 pm.

If you absolutely insist on doing organic chemistry in your early 30s, while you have two energetic young boys, I highly recommend you finish it off by tagging along with your Sherpa Guide on his business trip to Paris.

And have room service deliver your cafe-au-lait and baguette to your room.

And wander around the streets looking for pastries...and interesting cultural things...and pastries.

Very memorable.

​I am sure you have heard it all before, dear reader, but Paris truly is delicious. To be sure, I would go back just for the pastries!
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<![CDATA[Ice, Ice Baby]]>Thu, 12 Jan 2017 20:41:39 GMThttp://cpjanes.com/photo-blog/ice-ice-babyPicture
​Happy New Year!

January is the time of year when I am reminded that we live on a rock that protrudes farther into the Atlantic Ocean than can be reasonably justified.

​And I am also reminded that our forefathers had a stellar amount of tenacity. And possibly cleated feet. 

The ice! My sweet lord, it is everywhere! It's a job to get from the house to the car without slipping. I am not sure if I should be wearing boots or skates. Brutal.

Precipitation is the name of the game in St. John's.

In fact, we are the Canadian city that gets the most precipitation. Environment Canada reports an average of over 1500 mm a year, with 215 days of the year qualifying as 'wet days'. (I don't think 'wet days' includes foggy days, so I am guessing that leaves us with 140 days of fog and 1 day of sunshine...a conversation for another day!)

Annually, it appears St. John's gets an average of 1188 mm of rain and 322 cm of snow. (I remember a year with 650 cm of snow; anyone who lived here then remembers that one!)
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The long and the short of all the stats is: we get a whack of rain and snow.

What the stats don't reveal, is that we can get both rain and snow on the same day, in the same hour, and even in the same moment. And we can have snowfall turn to rain, followed by a drop in temperature that sees the entirety of it freeze. Or any combination thereof.

And that is what is going on this year in spades- lots of combinations! Snow, rain, freeze, rain, snow, freeze... 

We had lots of gorgeous snow during December; Christmas saw beautiful scenes filled with fluffy snow. Just like a Christmas card. Made us all fuzzy inside, and saw us wanting to do some fluff-'n-stuff-frolicking followed up with hot-chocolate-sipping by the fireplace. Sigh.

And then it rained. And then it froze. And then it snowed again. And then it rained. And then it froze. Again and again and again. 

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What remains now is an ice rink engulfing the entire city, save a few splotches here and there with a generous pot hole poking through.

​This, in a city which doesn't clear its sidewalks. A city where people routinely walk in the streets, in traffic, because of the fact that the sidewalks are not cleared. In a good year, this is a challenge. This year with the layer of ice lasting as long as it has, without much of a break, it is an even bigger challenge! 


At the end of the day, I guess it is not too far off situation normal; we've seen it before, we'll see it again. But it does cause me to pause, from time to time, and wonder- what kind of crazy people would have settled here back in the day? And then I look in the mirror. 

All I can say is, bring on the snow!

Honk If You Want Me Off The Road is a documentary about the struggles of walkers in the city of St. John's. It is about 20 minutes long and is directed by Elizabeth Yeoman and Sharon Roseman
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<![CDATA[Next Time]]>Mon, 31 Oct 2016 07:00:00 GMThttp://cpjanes.com/photo-blog/next-timePicture
Doesn't get much better than a road trip with your sister and one of your best friends!

​I am just back from a week away that saw us go from St. John's to Stephenville, with a few stops in between, and a slight detour up the Northern Peninsula. 

The trip would have been two weeks had I stopped at all the places I wanted; apparently, you can't do it all.

We started out at Max Simms Camp just outside Bishop Falls for an event called BOW- Becoming an Outdoors Woman. 

According to their website: "The Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) Program is a workshop for women who wish to learn new outdoor recreation skills or enhance their knowledge of fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities". There were sessions in fly fishing, outdoor survival, archery, rifle shooting, and kayaking, just to name a few. I delivered a Nature Photography course. The camp was well run, educational, and loads of fun.  

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​After camp, we headed west to visit with relatives in Stephenville.

Ordinarily, when we head west, we don't make it as far as Stephenville; Bonne Bay, on the Northern Penninsula, pulls us north when we hit Deer Lake, leaving Stephenville on our "Next Time" list. Most of our family tends to gather in Bonne Bay over the summer, so we are fortunate enough to see our Stephenville clan on an annual basis, but always in Bonne Bay.

It was a treat, this time, to tick a few things off our "Next Time" list.

We popped in to Anne’s and Joe's in Noel's Pond; took a run to Jesse's farm in Cold Brook where we spent a scant 5 minutes in awe of the 11 horses on her land; spent the night with Lisa and Larry in Kippens where we had a late night singing a few tunes; had a morning visit with Jerry and Stella; and had lunch at Joanne’s and Rick's just before leaving town. All of that in 24 hours. Not too shabby.

It would appear that I can now tick An Overnighter In Stephenville off the "Next Time" list. And there is a certain amount of satisfaction in that. But when we left, I did find myself wishing we could have stayed longer. Soooo...I am adding A Longer Overnighter In Stephenville to the "Next Time" list! Done.

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<![CDATA[Mistaken Point, Portugal Cove South]]>Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:57:34 GMThttp://cpjanes.com/photo-blog/mistaken-point-portugal-cove-southPicture
I took these pictures almost two months ago and am just now getting around to processing them. It has been that kind of summer.

Mistaken Point. According to the NL Wilderness and Ecological Reserves website: "Embedded in the planes of Mistaken Point's tilted and cleaved mudstone and sandstone, exposed by the pounding of the Atlantic waves, are fossils of the oldest creatures—in fact, the oldest complex life forms—found anywhere on Earth. Known to scientists as the Ediacara biota, they are creatures that lived 575 to 542 million years ago, when all life was in the sea". I couldn't have said that any better myself.

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​Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

My brother was in town this summer and my Sherpa guide and I thought he might enjoy the Edge of Avalon guided tour of Mistaken Point. Despite having been to Mistaken Point previously, we had never taken the guided tour ourselves, and with all the summer's buzz about UNESCO World Heritage status I thought it was high time to have a look. Impressive!

What made it so impressive for me was that we were permitted to scramble on the fossils. I really didn't expect to get to do that; I was sure it would be roped off and we would be pointing at it from afar. I even left my macro lens at home, and opted for my zoom lens, to increase my chance of getting a decent shot. Surprise. We had special booties and were permitted to walk all over that history.

Adding to the impressiveness of the site was the fact that it was not unreasonable to imagine me rolling into the ocean should I take a false step. No joking. When you are as clumsy as me you notice these things straight away.

There is a significant tilt on that slab of ocean floor that got hove up so long ago. I am guessing 30 degrees or so. Once again this summer, I found myself on a hike where I figured I could use a few rappelling ropes. Pretty sure it's just me though. 

You access the Edge of Avalon tour from the community of Portugal Cove South. The drive from St. John's takes about 90 minutes. There is an additional 30 minute drive in to the start of the hike. The hike itself is about 45 minutes each way. A bit of a trek to get there, but well worth it. 

I took a few pictures along the hike to the actual fossil site. All that haze is au-natural; it was a pretty mauzy day which made for some snaps that I am quite partial to.

​I plan to go there again, when it is not so foggy, so I can actually see what the coastline looks like. Wish me luck figuring what day that will be! And I am going to bring my macro lens next time. Possibly a rappelling rope. Newfoundland. You gotta love it! 

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<![CDATA[Burnt Head Loop, Cupids]]>Tue, 13 Sep 2016 07:59:16 GMThttp://cpjanes.com/photo-blog/burnt-head-loop-in-cupids-nlPicture
Burnt Head Loop is a beautiful coastal hike in Cupids, NL. According to Trail Peak "...great for all ages, passes by fine coastal scenery and should take no more than 1 - 1.5 hours". The trail has ample signage and, in September, there are oodles of blueberries and butterflies. 

The first time I hiked Burnt Head Loop was for a wedding. It is not a challenging trail, but I definitely wouldn't recommend hiking it in heels. Thanks to the bride and groom, we were wise to the footwear requirement and all went well. And when the groom finally showed up (after getting waylaid coming from town) the ceremony went off without a hitch. It was very special. But then, would you expect any less from a wedding taking place in a community named Cupids?

​​Cupids. The name is adorable, and the place itself is downright beautiful.

But not just another pretty face, Cupids is also historically significant. It was the first English colony in Canada! The original 1610 Cupids Cove Plantation has been named a Provincial Historic Site and a National Historic Site

And today, Cupids Cove Plantation is an active archaeological dig site. Cupids Legacy Centre has a wealth of information about the dig site, which is a short five-minute hike from the centre. The dig has revealed that "...by 1613, the colonists had built at least sixteen structures, including a fort, a sawmill, gristmill and a brew house". Solid set of priorities in my books. 

In the summer, Cupids is home to Perchance Theatrean open-air theater. The last hike we did there had us toddling alongside the theatre troop as they were just beginning their production, all decked out in period costumes, alongside Cupids Haven Bed & Breakfast. It was a delight! This summer saw the the theater company do everything from Romeo and Juliette to Macbeth.

Yup. Not just another pretty face. Safe to say there is a lot going on in Cupids, especially when you consider that the population is a mere 790 souls! If you have never been there I would highly recommend a visit. And if you ever want a lovely place to get married, Burnt Head Loop is a great choice. Note- rubber boots may be required.
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<![CDATA[East Coast Trail #1: Deadman's Bay Path]]>Mon, 22 Aug 2016 11:28:52 GMThttp://cpjanes.com/photo-blog/east-coast-trail-1-deadmans-bay-pathPicture
Pretty darn good name for that bay, I am thinking. Had we gone all the way to Deadman's Bay I am pretty sure I would have been a corpse!

The guide indicates the trail will take 4-7 hours and is "moderate to difficult". I have done enough of the East Coast Trail to know that I am on the high end of hiking times. This may be because I stop every 5 minutes to take a picture, or it may be because I am getting a bit long in the tooth and wide in the chassis...hard to say, and pointless to question, but I am always mindful of it when I go on a hike.

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We didn't intend to traverse the entire trail, but simply to go in for a couple of hours and then backtrack to where we started. It was a great afternoon with some great views.

I often hike the Signal Hill trail, which is across the harbour from the start point of Deadman's Bay Path in Fort Amherst; it was fantastic to see Signal Hill from a new perspective. 


When we began our ascent I was joking with my Sherpa Guide that we should have brought some ascending rappel ropes for help in a few spots, because it was quite steep.

​By the time we got to the top, and took a look around at the others that had reached the peak before us, I felt a strong desire to eat my words; many were berry picking and a few of them had young kids with them. Me nerves! I figured they must have a mountain goat parked nearby somewhere, to help ferry their berries back down the rock face.

​When we began our descent it became evident that these weren't 'ordinary' people. A young girl named Emily proved my point as she skipped past us at one point. I believe she was actually the result of that project they have on the go in Australia where they are splicing kangaroo genes into human embryos in an attempt to develop a bouncier human. Oh yeah...it's a thing. Don't question it. 

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Signal Hill Trail from sea level.
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Cape Spear in the distance.
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The Atlantic Ocean with Cape Spear in the distance.
All kidding aside, it is a great hike with some of the nicest views I have seen on the East Coast Trail. I highly recommend it. I also highly recommend taking a couple of good hips, knees and ankles, and that way you should still be in the land of the living when you reach Deadman's Bay.

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<![CDATA[The Shed]]>Thu, 07 Jul 2016 10:38:53 GMThttp://cpjanes.com/photo-blog/the-shedPicture
I was in the shed a few days back waiting for the Keg to do its thing, and I decided to take a few snaps of some of the things that surrounded me.

My guitar- a Washburn, purchased for me by my Sherpa guide in Ottawa circa 1992. Not too expensive, we affectionately refer to it as a nice 'beater' guitar; always keeps its tune and I don't have to worry about giving it a few dings at a cabin party.

​In fact, it had a full-blown hole in it at one point- a souvenir of our trip to Florida in 2009 to visit Dad and Ros- but it is hardly visible thanks to a handy young fella at Long and McQuade. A character guitar.

​My mandolin- technically not 'my' mandolin, but let's not get too hung up on semantics; it belongs to my Sherpa guide. But I have adopted it. I gave it to him for Christmas many years ago. He has since given me a mandola, but I haven't made the switch from the mandolin just yet. Chances are he gave me the mandola in hopes of getting his mandolin back. Nice try. Maybe tomorrow.

My banjo- also technically not 'my' banjo. It was my Dad's and he gave it to my Sherpa guide several years ago. And, technically, I don't 'play' it. At least not yet! But I have been banjo-curious for awhile, and have begun the process of learning; doesn't sound quite like music yet! 

Hmmmmm. As I am writing this I am realizing that my Sherpa guide is also my music store; he can help carry camera gear on hikes AND is a source of musical instruments. Useful, that one! I wonder what will be in the shed the next time I am waiting for the Keg to do its thing? I hear Long and McQuade has a sale on bagpipes...ha.
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Banjo bridge.
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Banjo picks.

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My favourite part of the shed- the floor. It used to be our fence when the boys were young. It tells a lot of stories.

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