From photography

Photography is a big part of this site. I shoot with an Olympus OM-D E-M10 II and you will see a lot of those shots here.

Hoppy Easter

I hope your Easter weekend has been a good one.  It was quiet around here but nice.

On Thursday night, I picked Jordon up at work and dropped Mark and Oliver off at the Cineplex Odeon Theatre at The Centre Mall for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

No matter, the boys like the movie despite the fact that almost no other reviewers did.  While it wasn’t the Scotiabank Theatre, I would be somewhat concerned if I was DC that the theatre was in no way full on opening night for the guys.

On Friday, I had to work but to keep tradition around here, we went to the Draggins Rod and Custom Car Show at Prairieland Park on Friday night.  It wasn’t that busy at that point of the day and all of the displays were there.

Draggins 56th Annual Rod and Custom Car Show

I worked Good Friday so we waited until I was off work and then went to the show.  Jordon, Mark, Oliver and I all had our cameras.  All of the photos were uploaded to Flickr albums. Click on the links to see Jordon’s, Mark’s, and my shots of the show . 

Saturday Jordon had to work.  We were given two tickets for the Saskatchewan Rush lacrosse game against the Toronto Rock.  While Jordon’s right food has caused him all of the problems, he badly burnt his left ankle last fall.  It was in horrible pain on Saturday night so Oliver and Mark went and saw the Rush beat the Toronto Rock at SaskTel Centre.  Of course they loved it as the Rush put on a really good show and the energy of 13,000 fans is contagious.

We got up early today and the boys found all sorts of chocolates and treats.  The Easter Bunny somehow snuck in without waking Marley up and left some chocolate eggs and a few gifts for the boys.  Mark found a Eureka Scenic Pass 2 person tent while Oliver found a skateboard and a stainless steel beer stein that was left for him.

Eureka 3 season Scenic Pass 2 person tent

Oliver isn’t drinking yet but the beer stein will go with the camping stuff and be used as a drinking mug while camping.  Mark’s tent is a three season tent which means if we experience some bad weather in Banff or Prince Albert National Park, him and Oliver will be okay.  The vestibule will be able to hold some of the gear outside of the tent and give them some more room to maneuver. 

It’s a two person tent but has two entrances and two vestibules.  For being a small tent, it is quite roomy.

We had a nice brunch and then went for a long walk through the University of Saskatchewan.  For dinner tonight we are having some turkey and ham before chilling out as a family.

New Lens: Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II

Despite all of the bad news about Jordon’s health (and it has all been bad news lately), we are still planning to get through this and head to the mountains in July and do some hiking.  Part of heading into the mountains meant that we wanted to do some wildlife photography, especially with some plans of getting up early and heading off the beaten tracks.

Jordon has a Sigma 70-300mm lens and Mark has a Pentax 100-300mm lens but Jordon wanted something larger.  Larger for Pentax would be the Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 but they don’t make it any longer and it was never the sharpest lens.  He thought about getting a Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary and having Sigma put a Pentax mount on it.  That’s a giant lens and maybe not one that you want to bring into the mountains with you.

So Jordon started to save for the Pentax smc P-DA 14mm F/2.8 ED IF lens  while I was going to save for the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II which when mounted on my camera, gives me the same 150-600mm range that the big Sigmas and Tamron lens give you.

Then Olympus announced the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f4.0 PRO.  This gave me some options.  Not that I was going to get one, it is going to be around $3000 but I know someone who was going to get one.  I will never be the kind of wildlife shooter then Glen and Becky are but I have been in Don’s Photo enough times to hear Glen talking about much he wants this lens.  So when he put up his 75-300mm lens up for sale, Jordon emptied out my lens accout and bought his for me.

So the good news is that I got a great lens at a fantastic price.  I also have a longer lens than either Jordon and Mark (they aren’t taking it well). The bad news is that I now have to take some good wildlife photos which takes patience, skill, and practice.  That is easier said than done.

Hiking the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National Park

On Thanksgiving Weekend Jordon, Mark, Oliver, Marley and I went up to Prince Albert National Park and hiked the Treebeard Trail.  The trail is a short 1.2 km loop that takes you through one of the oldest forest of Prince Albert National Park.  You find yourself surrounded by enormous whitespruce and balsam fir trees making up the boreal forest. 

To get there, ascend the steep, winding trail through a white spruce and balsam fir forest. The trees along this path are among the oldest and largest in the park. As you descend, watch for a spur trail to the right. It leads to a small, fern-edged creek, dark and cool.

To access the trail, enter the Prince Albert National Park and then drive 17.6 km down the Narrows Road.  After you are done the hike, make sure you check out the beach at the Narrows Marina or Paighton Beach.

These were the first bunch of photos I took with the new Olympus OM-D E-M10 II from Don’s Photo.  The big difference is that I had Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens on it.  I hadn’t had a lot of time to play with the camera as of then (or now) but I am really happy with it.

Mark, Oliver, and Marley at the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkMark, Oliver, and Marley at the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkTreebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver, Jordon, Mark, and Marley on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver, Jordon, Mark, and Marley on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkTreebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkJordon and Oliver on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and his Nikon S31 camera on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and his Nikon S31 camera on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and his Nikon S31 camera on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and his Nikon S31 camera on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and his Nikon S31 camera on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkMark on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Oliver on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkThe Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver, Mark. and Marley on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National ParkOliver, Mark. Jordon and Marley on the Treebeard Trail in Prince Albert National Park

The Trailbeard Trail is close to the Narrows Marina and Paignton Beach.  After the hike we went back to Paighton Beach where we had a picnic lunch.  Jordon made a fire for the smokies while I used Mark’s stove to cook up some Knorr Sidekicks. 

The day was gorgeous so Jordon managed to talk Mark, Oliver, Marley and myself to take a quick wade into the icy cold water of Waskesiu Lake.  Jordon somehow managed to avoid wading into the lake.

Jordon, Mark, and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkOliver and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkMark and Marley at Paignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National ParkPaignton Beach on Waskesiu Lake in Prince Albert National Park

18th Anniversary

It is Jordon’s and mine 18th anniversary this morning. 

Yesterday the infection in Jordon’s leg was horrible and he was just wiped out by it all day.  After running some errands, he could barely walk and I think if we didn’t have plans, he would have gone to the hospital.  He was that sick.  Instead he went home and crawled into bed and napped for a couple of hours.  He wasn’t feeling that great but got up and we went to The Odd Couple .  For not feeling well, he made a valiant effort and it was a fun date

After dinner we had planned to go out for a drink but he was exhausted so we went home to bed.  He needed the rest and more time for the antibiotics to work.  The infectious disease specialist warned him that he would have a few days like this.  This was one of them.

I was reading that the 18th Anniversary is “bluetooth” so I gave Jordon an Jordon an Altec Lansing XL Soundblade.  Well since it is set up in the living room, all of us will be using it.  I also got him a Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW camera bag which will hold all of this camera gear, all of the gear he dreams of purchasing and then some more gear.  There is a lot of room in that bag.  Not only that but as he says, he looked like a (middle aged) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle while wearing it.  If a SWAT team had a photographer that came along with them, this is the bag that they would carry.

He gave me a Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 II ASPH. Lens which I love already.  I have some great lenses for my camera but nothing that fast or as good in low light.  He actually gave it to me early for Nuit Blanche so I was able to try it out in some really low light.  It’s a great lens.  He surprised me with a great backpacking hammock for when we go back to the mountains next year.

Woods™ Backpackers Hammock

iPod, headphones, mountain stream, and me napping in a hammock sounds about right.  Last week Jordon also found a Kickstarter for a hammock called The Bear Taco.  I’ll be thinking about that every time I start to fall asleep in it.

The Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, Saskatchewan

The Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, SaskatchewanThe Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, Saskatchewan

With Ford Canada lending us a 2015 Ford Focus and then sending us on a trip for a weekend, we went to Ogema, Saskatchewan where we took the Southern Prairie Railway for a trip to Horizon, Saskatchewan. 

It is a tourist railway and we were taken in a refurbished Pullman passenger car an hour down the track where we explored the Federal Grain Elevator.  Then it was back to Ogema where we headed back to Saskatoon.

The trip down to Ogema was fantastic and if I was in the area, I’d do it again.  The boys and I had a great time learning about the history of the area, the train we were on, and the changes in southern Saskatchewan (which is now strangely empty since the advent of industrial farming).

The elevator was another great experience.  I had never been in one and may never be in one again. Learning about how it worked and was constructed was a lot of fun.

If you are in the area and have some time on a weekend for a great adventure, make sure you check out the Southern Prairie Railway.  It’s worth the time and money to step back in history and see Saskatchewan from a different perspective.

Cruising the South Saskatchewan River of on the Prairie Lily

Cruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in SaskatoonCruising the South Saskatchewan River on the Prairie Lily in Saskatoon

On a smoke filled Friday evening in August, Jordon and I took the Prairie Lily on a river cruise up the South Saskatchewan River.   It’s a two hour return trip and a great way to spend a summer evening in Saskatoon.  Book your tickets here.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

When the new Olympus OM-D E-M10 II was released, Jordon went out and ordered me one.   The day before it arrived, I got an email that said, “Send it back, it has a problem with some lenses.”  So it was shipped back to Olympus to be repaired.  It finally arrived back yesterday.  Like the previous version, I got the silver one.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

The big update is that it has five axis stabilization, improved video, and some cool 4k timelapse features.  It is also lighter than my mark I.    I can talk about it all day but I can’t do it nearly as well as Robin Wong does.  Check his review of the camera here.

Nuit Blanche 2015

Last night was Nuit Blanche in Saskatoon.  For the second time, Jordon, Mark, Oliver and I went down and checked it out.  Jordon’s ankle is extremely sore so I wasn’t sure how long he would last.  As soon as he got a block away from the car, he said, “this was a mistake”.  It is a testament to our expectations for the night that he kept going.

As is our tradition, we take the boys down at the start and take them home around 9:30.  Then I come back down, find Jordon, and hang out with him until later.   I had my Olympus OM-D E-M10 and the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 II last night.  The 40mm focal length is great for street views and it’s wide open aperture is perfect for low light events like Nuit Blanche.  It allowed me grab a bunch of photos that I thought captured the event on 20th Street.

I was also really happy that my favorite store in Saskatoon was open.  Soul Paper is a wonderful pen and stationary store that if you haven’t checked it out, you need to.

Scenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonThis installation by the Canadian Light Source is a mini synchrotron.  The more times that you push some buttons, the more light streams are added.  People were fascinated by it all night long.Scenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonHey, it’s NDP Saskatoon West candidate, Sheri Benson who is volunteering with Nuit Blanche.  Jordon chatted with her a bit and as she walked away, he said to me, “I feel sorry for candidates who have to run in an election this long.”  I hope she had a nice night at Nuit Blanche, she deserves a night off.Scenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonThe new resident of The 525, The King and I.  Scenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in Saskatoon

Scenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonThis kind of disappointed me.  Both Mark and I checked it out by getting on the ground and rolling underneath it.  Later in the night people started shredding it which wasn’t cool or respectful to the artist.Scenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in SaskatoonScenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in Saskatoon

This was around 9:00 p.m.  Jordon was getting him a snack at Ace Food Truck and Oliver had nothing left.Scenes from Nuit Blanche 2015 in Saskatoon

Focus on Saskatchewan

Focus on Saskatchewan: Brought to you by Ford Canada

We are doing something cool this weekend.  Ford Canada is giving us a 2015 Ford Focus for review and we are taking it on a road trip to southern Saskatchewan.

First we are heading to Moose Jaw after taking a short detour to Keeler, Saskatchewan.Saskatoon to Moose Jaw

We will be taking the shorter blue route.  The grey route looks interesting but I think you need an up armored Humvee or a Ford Raptor to survive that highway.   It’s in less than stellar shape in some parts.

As for Keeler, it is an unincorporated town that is home to the Cooper’s.  It is has gone through a population boom and is now 15 people.  According to Google Street View, the bar that Jordon used to frequent when he was six years old (I’ll give you a moment to reflect on that last part…. life is different in rural Saskatchewan) and the garage that his grandfather used to run is still standing.

Once we take a few photographs and check it out, we will be staying at the Temple Garden’s Mineral Spa.  After we toss our bags into the room, we are heading to the historic Claybank Brick Factory.

Moose Jaw to Claybank Brick Plant

Here is a great documentary on the Claybank Brick Factory.  Bricks from the factory have been used for World War II warships, the Delta Bessborough, and even the Cape Canaveral launch pads for the Apollo Space Missions.   It should be interesting.

After that, we are heading backing back into Moose Jaw for dinner at the legendary Smoke’s Poutinerie and then chilling out in the mineral pool at Temple Gardens.

Sunday morning we are getting up and heading south to Rouleau, which of course is home to Dog River and Corner Gas.  From  We will pass there and head to Ogema, Saskatchewan where we will head to the Southern Prairie Railway.

Moose Jaw to Ogema

Using a renovated Pullman 1922 passenger car and refurbished GE 44 ton engine, adventurers are taken back to a time when Canada’s fortunes depended on the movement of people and goods across our great nation. The train runs west along an old CPR branch line to Horizon, and Pangman, Saskatchewan.

Then it is a long drive back to Saskatoon and the conclusion of a great trip.

Follow me here, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr.  I’ll be posting updates all weekend long.