Archive | October, 2009

2 Paddles, 1 Canoe, a Different Perspective

22 Oct

It was 4:30am Saturday Oct 17, 2009, as I drag myself out of bed. It is at this point that I regret not getting to sleep until 1:30am, should of brought that monster energy drink along, I think to myself as we cruise south down the highway in the darkness. We’re in the Suzuki XL-7, with a 16ft fiberglass canoe hastily strapped to the roof, heading southwest of Edmonton; upstream of the North Saskatchewan River. My friend Lucas and I had this last minute idea to paddle down the river on what looked to be one of the last good weather weekends of the year, although the snow and cold earlier in the week didn’t boost our confidence.

two men and a canoe 037We push on down the secondary highway system, headed towards the Genesee Bridge, about an hour and a half drive away. When we get there it’s still dark, as we pull down the canoe from the roof and carry it down to the water’s edge, and begin loading the gear into it. Just as the sky begins to brighten, we’ve pushed off from the shore, floating through the fog, as a bright red dawn reflects off the water. It’s almost surreal as we paddle quietly past the riverbanks. “I sure hope we don’t tip” Lucas says. Thinking about how I’m wearing the only clothes I brought, and how cold the water is, I couldn’t agree more, falling in… would suck.

This was supposed to be an overnight trip, and both of us had things to do on Sunday, so we pushed hard the first day to cover some ground errr.. water. Fall is a beautiful time for a canoe trip down the river, the leaves are all turning color, and if you look carefully, you can spot bald eagles soaring above. Canadian and snow geese are all along the river. Flying in perfect V’s over the water, they are abruptly interrupted by Lucas’ attempt at a goose call, “uuuaahhhh!” he screams, as I burst out laughing, “That was terrible!”

two men and a canoe 106The river is fairly easy to navigate in this section, but with a very dry year with little rain, the water level is very low. Occasionally Lucas yells “Rock!” as I steer hard to keep us from hitting the boulders patiently waiting to rip a hole in an unsuspecting canoe. At other times, you look down into the clear waters and find yourself in only a few inches of water as you glide over a rocky sandbar hoping you don’t bottom out. By the end of the day our shoulders and backs tell us it’s time to stop, as we begin to hunt for a good place to land and make camp for the night. We find a rocky beach and push ashore, dragging the canoe up out of the water. After setting up the tent and cooking a quick meal, it doesn’t take long before we’re both fast asleep. Three hours of sleep followed with nine hours of paddling down a river is the perfect recipe for a quick pass out.

10430_305958975496_511335496_9525711_7101639_nMy sleep is only interrupted at around 2am, by the sound of rain pouring down on the tent. Lucas is up too, as I peek out of my mummy bag, “Can you imagine packing up camp and paddling the rest of the way in a down pour tomorrow?” I say, before falling back asleep. When I open my eyes in the morning, I am glad to not here the sound of raindrops on the nylon tent. I get dressed and crawl outside, Lucas sticks his head out, “Aw man, I spent so much time thinking about how I’m going to wrap myself up in garbage bags to stay dry today, and now it’s not even raining!” I chuckle as I start to pack things up. It doesn’t take long before we’re back on the water pushing towards the city.

Bridge after bridge we paddle into the city, enjoying a very unique look of the city that we both grew up in. Our arms are burning, and sitting on a hard canoe seat for 2 days is not the most comfortable. But neither of us regrets it. We get back onto dry land near the low level bridge, as we strap the canoe in the back of the truck, all 10 feet sticking out the back, “It’ll be fine!” we say, as we drive off down the road. 2 paddles, 1 canoe, a different perspective, what better way to spend a weekend in October…


Camera Decision: Canon 500D/T1i

16 Oct

For years I was served well by my point and shoot cameras, I remember spending 500 dollars to get the first 5mp camera that came out way back. My last camera was a 5mp Canon Elph, I was a big supporter of not using a camera case. I kept that thing loose in my pocket, on in my hand around town, and around the world. Afterall, you need to be ready to snap a photo at any time, far too many people have amazing cameras that stay in nice little cases tucked safely away in their house. I wasn’t afraid to let a camera take a little abuse, subsiquently dropping mine many times, in the sand, once in the water, and from pretty decent heights as I was climbing. If you want great photos, sometimes a little sacrifice is needed.

So having been camera-less for a few months, I decided it was time for a new toy. I spent the last few days in camera stores, reading reviews, and watching countless youtube videos showing peoples work with different cameras. I was determined to get a DSLR this time, and for a while I was hooked on the Canon 50D. But I just couldnt imagine myself carrying such a large camera with me on my next trip, it just wouldnt be practicle, it would end up in a case in my house, and not with me, where the good photographs are waiting to be taken.

I started to extensively look at the Canon Rebel Series, and at the time I had no interest in a video option, that was until I started to look more into the Canon T1i or as its known outside of north america, the 500D. This was a DSLR camera with not only video mode, but a 1080p full HD video mode.

I do like to dabble in the odd video, so I thought this might be the perfect option for me. After checking out what seems like millions of sample photos, and a few very amazing videos, the deal was sealed. I price shopped around town and found a great deal on one and went to pick it up last night. So here’s me opening up my new Canon 500D/T1i with EF-S 18-55mm and EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lenses.

And if you want to see some of the reasons why I bought this camera, check these out, using a 500D:

Or this clip:

Tim Burton: film maker from the dark side.

16 Oct

I believe we all have a dark side, a side that surfaces a little when we watch haunting movies and read scary literature. Fear is this human emotion that many of us suppress, but I think it’s healthy to do something that scares you once and a while. And what better time to do that than in this halloween season.

I just got my copy of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ on blu-ray, and thought I should do a little rant about Tim Burton. I’ve long been a fan of his works, although I had never seen the ‘Vincent’ short that he made in gasp…1982. Man that makes me feel old, that was damn near 30 years ago! But even then Tim Burton was doing his thing, and that thing is bringing a slightly dark side to the film industry. Breaking out of the norm with a more twisted perception on life with beautiful and touching stories, such as ‘Edward Scissorhands’ one of my personal fav’s.  

He is one of the most creative and influential story tellers of our generation in my opinion. Would you not agree?

Check out ‘Vincent’:

National Geographic/Energizer Photo Contest

14 Oct

So yesterday I was in the camera store taking a look at the Canon XSI and the 50D. Im in the market for a new camera as my old one has had one too many encounters with the ground, and a few too many grains of sand embedded inside the housing. And so I thought  I needed a little inspiration, so in true blogger style, why not share my discoveries with you all.

I was just taking a look at the six finalists from the National Geographic Energizer Ultimate Photo Contest, and they are down to six finalists for 2009. And needless to say, I thought these photos were spectacular, even though I have a slight feeling of jealousy as to why all my photos don’t turn out this good, haha. Take a look for yourself.

Paranormal Acitivity: Did you Demand it?

12 Oct

So there has been this buzz this halloween season about a particular movie, this movie is a low budget film about a young couple trying to figure out if their house is haunted.

The film, incase you havent heard, is called ‘Paranormal Activity’. And whats unique about this film is that there hasnt been an extensive advertising campaign, no tv commercials, or even formal trailers to get the word out there. Paramount which now owns the film has relied on limited screenings, word of mouth, and most important of all, social media to get people interested in this film. Between Twitter and Facebook, more and more people are learning about this film. You can read more about the movie and its journey to success here.

Their website is running with a pretty new idea to get interested viewers to ‘Demand’ it in your city. And the idea was a pretty big hit, with now over 1 000 000 demands, paramount has decided to release the film nationwide, with updated screening locations being released October 13, 2009.

I have yet to see the fim, but I am hoping that this film will come to Edmonton before halloween, so if you havent yet, Demand it in your city, and check the website tomorrow to see if it will be playing in your area. In the meantime, watch the trailer, right here:

Japan’s Hard to find Wi-fi

10 Oct

When I went to Japan this summer, I decided to bring my laptop along with me. A rare move on my part as I typically bring a minimum amount luggage with me whenever I travel. But I figured that it was a short enough trip, and Japan is the land of creativity and technology, I assumed there would be free wi-fi pretty much everywhere.

I was so horribly wrong, I soon discovered that finding a public wi-fi was near impossible, coffee shops didn’t offer it, and I was lucky to find a hostel offering the service. For being surrounded in the latest technology Japanese are surprisingly not on the wi-fi bandwagon. And now according to CNN’s Go article, it might be even harder to get connected.

Researchers at Tokyo University claim to have invented a paint that can block wireless signals. So combine that with password protection and the search for internet will become even more challenging in Japan if the technology catches on.

First Snowfall!

9 Oct


So yesterday morning, I woke up to a friend texting me on his way to school, 14 car pile-up on the whitemud was his message. I climbed out of bed and looked out the window, to find that everything was covered in snow! Winter may not truly be here yet but it sure feels like winter is well on the way.

So I thought what better way to welcome this new snow than to share the latest trailers for this years snowboard films! Because if you ski or snowboard, you know the itch that starts once the snowfalls. Unlike many around us, we don’t cringe at the thought of winter, we embrace it. When the white stuff starts to fall, all we can think about is being on the mountain, knee deep in powder.

So first up, a movie I just saw a couple days ago at the Garneau in Edmonton, its ‘Black Winter’, I couldnt find a good version on youtube so check this link:

Burton is releasing its film this year called ‘The B Movie’ here are a handful of trailers:

And one movie Im particularily excited about, due to its full HD quality, following in the footsteps of last years ‘Thats It Thats All’. A film from our friends from across the pond, ‘They Came From’:

Transworld has their movie coming out as well its called ‘Get Real’:

Another great looking film this year is Absinthe’s ‘Neverland’ which features Travis Rice:

Alterna Films is dropping their version of snowboarding goodness this year with ‘Elektro’:

‘Hard to Earn’ looks promising as well:

I missed the showing of Forums ‘Forever’ film last week, heres the trailer though:

And finally, it may not be a full snowboard film, but Warren Miller films are classic, and for the 60th year in a row comes a new film this winter, its called ‘Dynasty’:

World Press Photo Foundation Results

8 Oct

On October 6, 2009 World Press Photo Foundation gathered in Amsterdam to select winners for 10 categories from 96268 images submitted. Some pretty amazing and powerful images dot the winners list, such as this one taken in Mongolia.

You can check out the rest of the winners here:

Fall is Here

3 Oct


I apologize for not posting in a while. I had been working for roughly 2 months straight up north. But recently returned home last week. My time up north for work is very different from my life at home, its a different life that most of my friends, or family do not know much about. This summer in 2009 I experienced more of northern Canada than the 5 years I have been working up there. I am grateful for being able to travel to places in the arctic and see things that few Canadians let alone anyone else ever get a chance to see. For those who are interested, I rather crudely put together some highlights in a short video. You can watch it on my youtube channel, or watch it here:

Its raining outside, and the weather is changing, summer has left us, and fall has taken over. Icy frost on your windshield at the break of dawn, the leaves blowing in the wind across the backyard, and halloween itching closer and closer with each day. So with raindrops stuck to my window on a chilly autumn evening, I decided it was a perfect moment to update my blog.

I have been working in my basement doing long awaited project work these last few days. And trying to enjoy every evening to the best of my ability. What a difference it is to sleep in your own bed after not being able to have that luxury for so long. Some of the many simple things in life that if you take the time to notice, you truly have to appreciate. I think this is going to be a good season, with a possible canoe trip in the works, and halloween just around the corner, and even talks of another journey on the other side of the world. Your life is defined by opportunities, even the ones that pass you by.