From personal

Olympus OM-D E-M10

Last night Jordon stopped by my work and told me he picked up my Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera from Don’s Photo in Saskatoon.  This is what it looks like.

Silver Olympus OM-D E-M10

It’s an upgrade over the Olympus PEN E-PL2 that Jordon gave me for Christmas in 2013.  I love that camera but this one is faster, has better image quality, a viewfinder, wifi, and is better in low light.  I am super excited to try this out and master it.

I already have a collection of lenses from my E-PL2 so I am set there.  Now I just need to master the new camera. 

Marley

Marley

After Maggi died, we know that we would get a new dog.  After looking around at some rescue dogs (and having some weird conversations with some of them), we found a black lab at the Saskatoon SPCA.  Jordon looked at the profile and filled out an online application.

Elway, Maggi, and Hutch had all come from the SPCA so they approved our application in no time.  We went out to the SPCA on Wednesday and asked for a black lab named Civic.

Out came this dog which looks to us to be a black lab/terrier mix.  After meeting him for a minute, Jordon decided to adopt him when they told us that he was spaded.  Ummm, we thought it was a male dog.  It wasn’t.  Even some of the SPCA staff thought it was a he (which is what the online profile said).  Again, it wasn’t a big deal so we took him, err, her home.

She isn’t that socialized yet and is still a puppy.  She leads with her teeth which means that we all have bite marks all over us.  This morning she woke Jordon up by chewing on his face.  That has gotten old quickly.

She has bonded with all of us except for Oliver who is a little scared by a high energy puppy who likes to pounce.  Oh right, Hutch hates Marley.  Marley loves to romp, pounce, and play.  Hutch likes to grump a lot.  They will need some time.

It’s been an adjustment for me.  I am used to mature dogs.  Marley is a puppy with endless energy and hasn’t learned any obedience yet.  It’s been fun but her and I have a lot to learn.

Happy Birthday Jordon!

It’s Jordon’s 41st birthday today.  To celebrate I got Mark and Oliver up early and we gave him his gift which was a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Lens for his Pentax camera.

Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Lens

He will use it to shoot Mark’s football this fall with and maybe some wildlife.  I hope he likes it.  Of course Mark is super excited as it means that he gets Jordon’s older Sigma 70-210 lens.  He sees it as a win-win.

Mark gave him a new Starbucks Travel Mug

Starbucks Travel Mug

Oliver gave him Saskatoon’s Electric Transit: the Story of Saskatoon’s Streetcars and Trolley Buses by Easten Wayman

Saskatoon's Electric Transit by Easten Wayman

It’s a used book from Westgate Books.

They also ordered Jordon a 65 litre backpack for our trip to Grey Owl’s cabin.  It’s big enough that we can pack Oliver in it and have room to spare.

North 49 - 55 litre backpack

It is Jordon’s day off today.  I took it off to hang out with him.  After the boys were off to school, we went for coffee at City Perk and then grabbed lunch at the Spring Roll on 33rd.  This afternoon we are  off for a long walk as Jordon tried out his new lens and then to Broadcast House where Jordon does his 5:15 roundtable with David Kirton and Cynthia Block.

New Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10

Jordon got a great year end bonus.  Instead of spending it on himself, he decided to get me a new camera.  We looked at a variety of Olympus options from the Olympus PEN E-PL5 and E-PL7 to an older Olympus OM-D E-M5 but decided on the Olympus OM-D E-M10.  

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Camera

I ordered the Olympus OM-D E-M10 from Don’s Photo in Saskatoon and I hope to have it in a couple of weeks.  Thanks to Jordon who bought (and surprised me) with the Olympus PEN E-PL2 and two Christmases ago and surprised me with the decision to get me this camera.  I can’t wait.

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Jordon is working today but I am not.  He did get up early and gave me a new “Canada” spring jacket, a chocolate rose that I wanted and a chocolate rose (my favourite kind of rose).  He also took me down to the CP Rail Bridge in Saskatoon and put a love lock on the stairwell.  The wind was howling and it was unbelievably cold by the time that we climbed the three flights of stairs.  By the time we got back to the car our ears and faces were frozen.  I’m glad he did it.  It was a great romantic gesture.   He does this romance stuff well.

I got him a new hat by Under Armour.  His old hat was stolen out of our Mazda.  It’s not the same but it is close enough and I think he looks good in it.

Under Armour Hat

Think of it as lingerie for bald guys.  Before you comment that I am horrible at this Valentine’s Day stuff, I actually am and this is what Jordon wanted.

For tonight, we are ordering in.  We have tried to go out many times over the years and the food sucks on Valentine’s Day in so many places.  They seat us late, rush some food out, and rush us out.  Not exactly romantic.  There are better nights for us to go out and enjoy being a couple.

We aren’t sure where we are ordering in from yet but I could go for some pizza or Vietnamese food.  After the kids go to bed, we’ll chill out over some gourmet coffee and music to chill out to.  There is a reason why we have a 60 gig iTunes library.

I hope you are having a good day as well.

Gear Check

With the hike to Grey Owl’s Cabin feeling a little closer, we picked up some gear for it this week.

  • Jordon and I both got some toques to sleep in.  It will get down to 6 degrees at night so we needed some toques and glove to sleep in.  Jordon has a couple pair of lightweight gloves but I still need a pair of those.
  • We got some travel containers for liquids.  I have bio-degradable soap but I needed some bottles to carry it in.  I can also pack up some bio-degradable shampoo.  We all like clean hair.
  • Along with some containers for the liquids, Jordon picked up some pot scrubbers.  I wasn’t even thinking of those but since we are cooking out of the same pots and don’t want to carry dirty ones, the couple of ounces it weighs will be worth it.
  • Dawgs has an outlet store in Circle Centre Mall so we picked up a pair of their men’s Spirit Shoes for Mark.  Jordon and I have a pair and they will be comfortable to slip into at the end of a day of hiking.  We picked up a pair for Oliver as well.  At $8, the price can’t be beat.
  • Finally we picked up what will the start of our First Aid Kit.  It has the essentials but I am going to put them in a larger hard plastic waterproof case that will hold some Extra Strength Advil and Tylenol, some moleskin and other things that will come in helpful if we need it.

It’s freezing out, time to escape

With it being so cold this January, we couldn’t help but plan out a summer getaway.

We have two trips planned for this summer.  One is our long delayed micro adventure to Grey Owl’s Cabin.  We are doing that in June just after Mark’s 15th birthday (Jordon has the gear guide for the hike here)

The second is a summer vacation to Calgary at the end of July.  Jordon was born in Edmonton but still considers Calgary his hometown despite only living there for less than a decade as a kid.  I think it is a combination of childhood experiences and memories combined with his one way bromance with Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi.  Oh yeah, the Rocky Mountains.

When we started to think about a trip this summer, I realized that we have a lot of AirMiles accumulated.  AirMiles are the only reason why we continue to be treated poorly by the Bank of Montreal (which took a year to fix Jordon’s debit card so it would not randomly lock him out of his account).  We are using the AirMiles to pay for our hotel which makes for a really cheap trip.  

I just booked our hotel rooms at the Best Western Plus Calgary Centre Inn on Macleod Trail.  We have stayed there before and liked it.  It’s not the Delta Bessborough or anything but it’s new, clean and is in easy walking distance of a C-Train station, is just down from Chinook Centre and has a pool, hot tub, and pool for small children.  It also has an early morning breakfast buffet that the kids like.  It is the definition of a family hotel which is great for us as we are a family.

The plan is to take off in the early morning of a Friday and let the kids sleep in the back of the car.  We will take the leisurely drive to Drumheller and take some photographs of their rather scenic downtown and give the kids some time to stretch their legs.   Hopefully be in Calgary by early afternoon and book into our hotel.  As soon as we get settled in, we will grab our cameras and head downtown on the LRT and explore downtown Calgary, find the Peace Bridge, check out The Bow, and wander around downtown Calgary.  If I know us, we will be right back down there to do some night photography.

The Peace Bridge in Calgary an HDR photo

Mark Cooper in downtown Calgary

The next morning the plan is to get up early and take the scenic route to Banff and then head straight to Johnston’s Canyon Trail and walk the trail along the seven waterfalls.  Knowing us, we will have cameras in tow and I am really looking forward to doing this again and with the boys.  It’s about a two hour hike which will leave us lots of time to explore Banff later on in the day.

Lower fall johnston Canyon

After the hike, the plan is to continue up the Bow Valley Parkway to the Chateau Lake Louise where we will grab lunch and head back to Banff.  Hopefully we will see some wildlife along this section of the park.

 On the way back to Banff, we will grab lunch at a wonderful picnic spot at the start of the Sawback Trail.  It has some quiet picnic tables, a babbling brook, and amazing scenery.  The first time Jordon took me there, a large herd of elk surrounded our car and licked all of the salt off it.  It was covered in Elk saliva, even under the door handles.  Gross.  I hope that doesn’t happen again.  If it does, I’ll get the boys to open my door.

The brook in Sawback and water running off the canyon walls of Johnston’s Canyon have a rich history with Jordon.  He has drank both of them and gotten really sick from Giardia as a kid.  Hopefully he has learned something since then but it’s Jordon so expect him to be hospitalized in Calgary.

After Johnston’s Canyon, we are off to Cave and Basin National Historical Site which in all of my trips to Banff, I have never been to.  The last time we were in Banff it was being renovated and updated.  It’s now open, improved, and dirt cheap to explore.  Jordon loves it and can’t wait to take the boys and myself into the cave and see the glowing water.  It should be amazing.  Since we are there on a Saturday, we may stay late and return there for a lantern tour of the caves.

If we have time, it will be up the Banff Gondola again.  I have been up a few times in winter but never in the summer.  It will be a long day but there is always time for the Bow Falls in Banff.  July weather will mean a little more green than in this photo Jordon took in 2010.

Bow Falls in Banff

To end the day, Mark suggested we will head to the Upper Banff Hot Springs for a hot soak in the pool before heading back to Calgary.

After soaking in the hot tub that night, the next morning should find us at Heritage Park.  I have never been but it looks amazing and a lot of fun.  Jordon won’t tell me why but he says to bring some extra small change along when we go.

Finally on our last day there we will take in the Calgary Zoo.  I’m not worried about Jordon in Banff, downtown Calgary, or even in Drumheller but he has this fear of birds.  Calgary Zoo has a bird house.  Jordon kind of freaked out the last time he was there.  We’ll have our cameras out this time.

As always we will connect with some friends, family, and MEC and since it is right next door, The Camera Store.

I can’t wait.