Category: 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.

Day 4 in Banff and Yoho National Parks

We got up early on our last day and the big news was that Jordon finally felt better.  His fever had receded and had his own energy back.  We briefly talked about hiking up to Lake Agnes Tea House but I really wanted to see Moraine Lake.

I should say that we had seen two bears so far.  We saw a Bear Jam over a Black Bear on Monday with people taking selfies and such.  Jordon said that there should be a new rule.  If you take a selfie with a bear and it mauls you, you lose your health insurance.  Then on the way to the Castle Mountain Resort’s confectionary, we saw a large grizzly bear.  After reading about it, I think it was The Boss (he later confirmed that it was on Twitter…. smarter than the average bear) but it was another total mess of a bear jam with people leaving their cars on the highway and running out to get close ups of a grizzly bear.  People are so stupid.

The day before, I finally saw a Black Bear while driving into Banff.  As we were driving along the Bow Valley Parkway, a bear poked his head up over the guard rail and I saw it up close.  We kept driving as it was on a tight corner and I couldn’t stop but I was so happy, I had my own bear sighting.  Well, Jordon and the boys saw it too but who cares about them right?  It was my bear and I was happy.

So we headed up to Moraine Lake and as we headed up the road, there was a big “Road Closed” sign.  We were going to head back but a Parks Canada dude waved us by the sign so we kept going.  I am not sure why he didn’t wave some others by but we kept driving.  We got up there, found a parking spot and it was everything I had dreamt it would be.

We hiked the entire trail to either a really quaint and peaceful waterfall or a stream that ran at a downward slant.  Either way it was fun.

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After getting back to the trailhead, Jordon took me up the Moraine Lake Lodge Gift Shop and get me a great Moraine Lake t-shirt.  Mark went up there and got me two mini black bears, one holding the letter W and the other one holding the letter C.  They are cute.  Apparently my pleasure at spotting a bear up close was well known.

After getting into the car, we drove back down the mountain to Lake Louise, dropped by Laggan’s Mountain Bakery and Delicatessen and instead of turning back east towards Banff, Jordon went west and we headed into British Columbia and Yoho National Park.

As we decended the famous Cathedral Mountain on the Trans Canada Highway, we saw the Spiral Tunnels that the Canadian Pacific Railway used to extend the run and lower the grade for trains going east and west.

The Spiral Tunnels in British Columbia's Yoho National Park

Then it was off to the Natural Bridge which Jordon was sure was in Kootenay National Park was thrilled to find it Yoho.

The Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National Park

From there we drove to Takakkaw Falls.  Jordon has never been to Yoho and neither had I.  He asked me for directions and my cell phone only worked for a moment.  Jordon glanced at it and said, “okay, let’s go” but I wasn’t sure where to go and got really stressed and anxious.  I need to trust Jordon’s ability to glance at a map and go as for me, I need to really understand it.

Either way we had the most amazing drive I have ever been on with insane switch backs, roads damaged from falling rocks from above, and some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen.  We also ran into another spiral tunnel.  Then we got to the falls.  They are the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  I’ll never forget them.

Takakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National Park

My battery was dead at this point so I will wait to Jordon edits his photos and I’ll link to them.  It was an amazing day and one I’ll never forget.  Jordon’s ability to make a plan A on family trips and then pull out a plan B or Plan C at a moments notice amazes me and makes trips so much fun.  On the way back he said, “Umm, we kind of wrecked next year’s vacation as I had planned to do some of these things then.”  I’m sure we will have lot’s of other ideas.

We headed back to Johnston Canyon Campground for some dinner and snacks and started to pack up for the drive home the next morning.  We got home late Friday night and unpacked the car.  Today is spent cleaning and putting stuff away.  Well that and editing and posting a lot of photos online.

Day 3 in Banff National Park

Wednesday started with a shock.  At 4:45 a.m. Jordon and I were sleeping soundly when we were awaken by something sniffing around.  Marley was sleeping with her head on Jordon’s shoulder (she’s a baby who manipulates us) and she woke up, sniffed, and almost buried herself in Jordon.  We then heard snarling and growling.  It was not an elk.

Wolf Warning Poster at the Johnston Canyon Campground

It was a wolf that was sniffing within inches of us.  So yeah, this warning poster that was up all over the place was pretty accurate.

That got the adrenaline going.  I saw it walk by the picnic table and then move into the campground.  So seconds after the giant wolf leaves, Jordon goes, “I need to reply to a text that Darren [Hill] sent last night”.  He then sends back a reply.

Later that day, he goes to me, “You know that if that wolf had eaten me, the last four people who I had contact other than you and the boys were all Saskatoon City Council members.  What a way to go.”  Zach Jeffries had invited Jordon and I to the Ward 10 barbecue, Pat Lorje had emailed Jordon, Darren Hill had texted, and Ann Iwanchuk had tweeted about Johnston Canyon.  It was pretty funny.  Well only funny because the wolf didn’t attack anyone.

For those of you who don’t know, the manager at Don’s Photo in Saskatoon is Glen Grambo.  His wife Becky has a book on wolves that is according to others is really good.  Jordon kept saying he needed to pick one up for a couple of months before the trip but never did.  So he is laying there after texting Darren and goes, “I really should have picked up the book and read it before now.”  I was like, “Yeah, I need to read it too.”

If I had any doubt in what I saw, that would have been laid to rest by Parks Canada staff and other campers who were all talking about the wolf.  EVERYONE saw it.

We had breakfast (this Salmon Scrambled Eggs recipe is amazing) and then rushed up Sulphur Mountain where Jordon dropped Oliver and I off to get tickets for the Banff Gondola.  It wasn’t busy but PCL is working on the Gondola so they had half of the parking lot.  Jordon and Mark parked just past the Rimrock Resort Hotel and walked up with Marley.  Yes, we brought Marley on the Gondola.

Marley made more friends in line for the Gondola.  All of the kids were running up to her for a quick pat and occasionally a lick or a wagging tail to the face.  Of course the big question was how was she going to be on the Gondola?

Jordon had Mark pick her up at the last minute and carry her on.  I am sure Marley wasn’t thrilled with that but she was fine on the way up (where she didn’t look down) and the way down where she seemed fascinated at the journey.

The view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkBanff Springs Hotel from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National ParkThe view from the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff National Park

Mark, Oliver, and I walked across the boardwalk to Sanson’s Peak.  The wind was cool and we were freezing the entire time.  Mark was near death as he forgot his hoodie.  He went ahead, took some photos and then rushed back to Marley who had made bunch of new friends, this time from Australia and Germany.  There were children to entertain and be pet by.  Of course there were more selfies with strangers.  For a dog that isn’t overly friendly, she looked like she was on a campaign trail according to Mark and Jordon.

After we got back to the car, we drove down Sulphur Mountain and went into Banff and explored Main Street.  Jordon wasn’t feeling good and his blood sugar was low and he walked into Skoki’s Waffle and Frozen Yogurt and ordered a Montreal Smoked Meat Crepe because it was the only thing close that wasn’t a McDonald’s.

Skoki’s Waffle and Frozen Yogurt's Montreal Smoked Meat Crepe

They also had some horseradish mayo for it and the combination was amazing.  Jordon immediately felt better and I ordered one for Oliver and Mark.  I also ordered a variation of it for myself but I had spinach with mine.  It was one of the best things I have ever tasted.

We did some shopping.  I bought Jordon a historical Canadian Pacific poster at Banff Mountain Art Gallery.  Mark got him some 5×7 prints of posters from About Canada.

Vintage Canadian Pacific PostersVintage Canadian Pacific PostersVintage Canadian Pacific PostersVintage Canadian Pacific Posters

We gave Oliver some money and he got a rubber band pistol and Mark bought him a Parks Canada t-shirt.  He was happy.  The guys got me some ear rings while out shopping which was great fun.

Mark wanted a t-shirt and ended up with three, including a great North Face one.  Everyone was happy.

We called it a day and had a nice dinner back at the campground.  We had planned to have dinner in Banff but with Marley and her fans in tow, it was impossible.

On the way back to the campground, Jordon took a different turn and took us up to Mount Norquay to check out some of Banff National Park’s famed red chairs.  On the way up (and down), we met his fella.

Big horned ram on Mount Noquay in Banff National ParkBig horned ram on Mount Noquay in Banff National Park

We got up there and as we were parking a car stops and yells at Jordon.  The topic?  What kind of dog is Marley?  How old is she?  Is she part pit bull? (no she isn’t as far as we know)  Can we pet her? (sure, everyone else is).  So weird.

The view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkJordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkJordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkJordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkJordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkJordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkMark and Jordon Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkWendy Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkWendy Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkOliver Cooper on Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National ParkThe view from Mount Norquay in Banff National Park

Later that night, Jordon and I finally made it into Banff and took advantage of the Banff Upper Hot Springs.  It was busy and kinda fun but nothing really worth writing home about.  There was one couple of teens who sat in a corner reading the entire time.  A bear could have jumped into the water and they would not have noticed it unless he got their books wet.

We went home, cleaned the campsite (it was clean already) and then Jordon laid a stick and our hatchet beside the door of the tent.  We never did see the wolf again but if it did come back and was aggressive, we would had a chance.

For Jordon, he wasn’t worried about us, it the dog either taking off petrified or Marley taking a stand and dying.  Either way he wanted a plan.

Day 2 in Banff National Park

Tuesday morning started pretty normal.  We got up early to beat the crowds to Lake Louise parking lots and from there were going to hike up to Lake Agnes Tea House.  We went down to the shore of the lake, fought past the tourists, and took some photos of a very overcast Lake Louise.

Lake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National ParkLake Louise in Alberta's Banff National Park

Jordon looked like crap the entire morning.  It was cool and he was running a high fever.  He walked about 100 meters up towards the tea house and said, “I’m out.”  He was covered in sweat and exhausted.  The infection in his leg wipes him out when they take him off his antibiotics.  It wasn’t his fault but he was paying the cost.  So we went back to the shore to take some more photos.  Jordon and Mark took most of them but there was a great moment when Jordon decided to leap onto a rock in the lake.  Marley hates water with a passion.  She always has but for some reason she decided to join him but slipped off and crashed into the glacier cold water below.  She then couldn’t figure out what to do next without getting even wetter.  Meanwhile all of these Asian tourists had gathered around to laugh at her and take photos.  She finally gets out and shimmies to get the water off her which brought up a roar of laughter from all of these tourists.  They then all wanted photos and selfies with Marley who seemed to ham it up.  She was a big hit with the traveling paparazzi. 

From there we went down the mountain to Laggan’s Mountain Bakery & Delicatessen.

Laggan's Mountain Bakery and Delicatessan The food was amazing.  Jordon had a massive slice of pizza, I had a Jamaican Patty.  Mark had a giant samosa and Oliver had a big pizza bagel. 

From there we drove to Banff and tooled around a bit before calling it a night and some dinner at the campground.  After dinner Jordon and I had plans to go to the Upper Banff Hot Springs but a transformer blew heading up Sulphur Mountain so it was closed.  Instead we walked around Banff and did some advance scouting for some gifts for the boys.

Day 1 in Banff National Park

Well I am back from Banff and Yoho National Parks.  Here is the trip in a nutshell.

A couple of weeks ago, Jordon went to his infectious disease specialist who declared him cured.  Like previous times Jordon has been declared cured, he almost died a few days later and had a horrible recovery from the infection spreading throughout his body.  Extremely high fevers, no energy, lots of pain and the infection spreads into his tendons and between his skin and bones.

We had planned this trip for a year but the week and even the day before we were to leave, Jordon was sweating out, dehydrated, and sick.  He finally said, “I can’t go.”  Now I panicked.  I knew Jordon was sick but to see him say he was too sick to go was overwhelming.  Jordon had Mark and I load the car to go and was too weak to do anything but sleep.

I let him sleep and he finally felt good enough to get moving but the sweat was pouring off his face and body from the fever.  He showered again, got dressed and I went and did a lunch run.  He got in and drove all the way to Banff.  My anti-depression medication make driving on the highway hard.  He just kept chugging back Gatorade G2s the entire way to keep hydrated.

We’ve been down this route before.  When the infection makes a comeback, it keeps going even when Jordon is back on these antibiotics.  Eventually the antibiotics beat back the infection but it can take days and in the meantime, he struggles with high fevers and exhaustion.

We got into our campground as the last of the light was falling.  Mark set up the tents while Jordon rested in the car.   While he was doing that, Jordon turned on the Niteize blinking light we have on Marley’s collar.  She is an all black dog and if she got off the leash, I wanted to be able to see her.  So she was sitting in the campsite and a three year old on his mom come walking by and the boy is freaking out because he has blinking shoes and Marley is a blinking dog.  He loved Marley and came by a couple of times and said, “Can you make your dog blink again?”.    It was so cute because he would dance to make his shoes blink more which got Marley more excited which got him more excited… it was a lot of fun with both of them blinking, one of the other campers said, it looked like a dance party happening.

We were staying at the Johnston Canyon Campground and had a beautiful spot that looked back on the woods.  We had no idea but we were about 100 metres from the Canadian Pacific main rail line so there were massive freight trains going by all times of the night.  At first I was like, “What is happening?” but the guys thought it was cool.  It did wake you up at night but I didn’t find it bothersome as much as I thought it was neat as well.  Some of those trains would have up to five engines on them and were over a kilometre long.  One observation, westbound trains would toot their horn going by while eastbound trains did not.  Anyone know why?

On Monday morning  we had planned to hike to the Inkpots at Johnston Canyon.  Jordon was sick with a fever (which he denied) and I was exhausted.  We slept in and didn’t leave until 10:00 a.m.  Johnston Canyon was a gong show.  Traffic was parked for over a kilometre in each way when we went and the idea of navigating that trail with that many people was not that appealing.  I didn’t know what to do but Jordon being Jordon had a backup plan and that was to hike Silverton Falls which is near Castle Mountain.

Here is the early part of the hike.

The trailhead to Silverton Falls in Banff National ParkMark and Marley at Silverton Falls in Banff National ParkA stream down from the Silverton Falls in Banff National ParkA stream down from the Silverton Falls in Banff National Park

It is a short hike but got kind of difficult.  It’s not like Johnston Canyon where you are behind enclosed fences.  It quickly started uphill.

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We were walking across a mountain ledge that has a rockslide going down it obliverating part of the trail to get to the falls.  No fences, just death if you take a wrong step.  I mentioned that Jordon’s legs weren’t doing so well that day?

Silverton Falls in Banff National ParkSilverton Falls in Banff National ParkSilverton Falls in Banff National ParkSilverton Falls in Banff National Park

We made it and it was a great hike to an amazing waterfall.  There was a total of 10 people on the trail there and back and all of them were wonderful.  The hike is under a kilometre and the first part of the trail to the stream is accessible to people with mobility issues and who had to use a crutch or canes.  It’s a great two part hike.

From there, we went down the Bow Valley Parkway to the Castle Mountain lookout.

A Canadian Pacific train heads west through Banff National Park near the base of Castle MountainA Canadian Pacific train heads west through Banff National Park near the base of Castle MountainThe Bow River near the base of Castle Mountain in Banff National ParkThe imposing and magestic Castle Mountain in Banff National Park

After this, we headed back to the Johnston Canyon campground as Jordon looked horrible and was really limping.  Jordon and Mark had set up hammocks for him and I and we both had a nap.  Curled up in a hammock was amazing on a cool summer day and I needed the nap.

Monday night after dinner Jordon said, “Let’s go” and we walked to the Johnston Canyon waterfall as the sun was setting in the canyon.  The parking lot was empty and we had the first of many weird dog experiences.  We took Marley hiking with us.  She’s not exactly a “people dog” but people kept coming up to pet her and even take her photo.  It happened several times on the trail at Johnston Canyon which foreshadowed the days to come.

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.