Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings

Starting up a website. www.megapixeltravel.com, with my son, Graeme, was one of the major milestones for the year. Graeme had been prodding me to think about a blog format for my photo postings for quite some time so this was the year that it happened. I like to add text to the photos that I post. Although that works fine on Flickr for single photos, a blog format provides me with a better sense of continuity of thought and sequence of events when uploading a series of photos. In 2011, I intend to continue uploading to Flickr but will likely leave the story-telling here with my blog uploads.

Boxing Day 2010 has arrived with sunny skies and -10C temperatures a far different situation than Boxing Day 2009. Icicles on the Thule.

Rather than seeking out one “best” photos, here are some of the highlights of my year and some of the memories that keep me attached to my camera. Clicking on the thumbnail images in this annual review will take you to a larger version on my Flickr photostream or to the specific blog entry associated with that photo.

New Year's Eve Fireworks - Mont Tremblant, Quebec Photographing fireworks on the ski slopes of Mt. Tremblant in Quebec to end the old year (2009) and start the new year (2010).

With hands out they waited Kanata Badminton Club meeting on Jack Pine Trail Flickr Wakefield outing - March 16, 2010 - Unabridged Yup! Definitely tastes like Introducing complete strangers to the enjoyment of feeding the Chickadees or meeting friends out on Ottawa’s Greenbelt trails and enjoying the company of like-minded souls on outings with Ottawa’s Flickr groups

The creation of a masterpiece - Winterlude ice sculptures - Feb 2010 Crocuses in shock! +27C/81F today! Where there are dreams there is hope. Watching artists at work carving large blocks of ice into masterpieces at Ottawa’s Winterlude and then seeing another Spring arrive and being able to use my camera to help out in a small way at the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans.

A project of Mairin Peck in Oregon Stonehaven Drive Fire - Kanata, Ontario Helping students achieve their goals and being glad that not all fires take lives.

Last campground site - Obatanga Provincial Park -  Breeding Bird Survey Road to Dubreuilville, Ontario 5AM Awaking many, many mornings at 4:30AM to conduct Breeding Bird Surveys for Environment Canada.

Full Moon - VMC 50th - Vincent Massey Collegiate, Winnipeg (Fort Garry), Manitoba Participating in some of the craziness of my school’s 50th anniversary reunion under the watchful eye of a full moon.

 The group The hosts of the show - Jennifer Podemski and Don Kelly - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! 2010 - Ottawa, Ontario Kinnie Starr - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! - Ottawa, Ontario Inez - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! Grandfather William Commanda, Algonquin Elder, Keeper of the Sacred Wampum Belts readies for greetings and opening ceremonies - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! - Ottawa, Ontario David Usher - Canada Day 2010 - Kanata, Ontario Photographing local events and concerts. I don’t normally take photos of people, so this was a new challenge for me. “Sloan” and “Monkey Junk” at Ottawa’s Westfest; “The Initial Reaction” and “Insensitivity Training” and “The Duck Wife” at Ottawa’s Fringe Festival; “Jennifer Podemski”, “Don Kelly”, “Kinnie Starr”, “Inez”, “Lucie Idlout”, “Digging Roots” and Algonquin elder, Grandfather William Commanda, at the APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network) broadcast; “David Usher” and “Elliot Brood” on Canada Day: and “Blue Rodeo” later in the year.

Grand Hall - Museum of Civilization Finally taking my camera to the Museum of Civilization, a much overdue totem pole experience.

Osgoode Medieval Festival 2010 -  Am I missing something?   :-) Taking Aim - Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Fort de la Presentation - Ogdensburg, NY Land Battle  - Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Fort de la Presentation - Ogdensburg, NY From the staircase - Boldt Castle, Heart Island, NY Pump House - Boldt Castle, Heart Island, NY Taking a step back in time at medieval festivals and re-enactments and restored “castles”.

Black and Yellow Argiope Spider Christina and the butterflies Cascade Mountain in the Adirondacks Running out of light! Experiencing the excitement of finding a bug, flower, bird or animal that I haven’t seen or photographed before or successfully testing my recuperated Achilles with a nice mountain climb with my wife, or just enjoying the thrill of another beautiful sunset.

Lion cub out for a morning stroll - Serengeti, Tanzania Lion in the Serengeti Lilac-breasted Roller Licking the lips. Mmm. Good. Of course, spending two weeks in Africa looking at lions, elephants, giraffes and exotic birds with Graeme does have its benefits and plenty of high points.

Photographing lights at night is always a favourite pastime especially when winter approaches and I don’t have to stay up all night to do it!

Shades of Nudity - Sculpture Garden - City Park, New Orleans Alien Communication Device - Canada Day 2010 , Kanata, Ontario And, finally, to finish off this rather long post, there is the enjoyment that I get when wondering what people think when they search on words like “nude men” or “alien communication devices ” and arrive at my on-line offerings :-).

Fireworks - Canada Day 2010 in Kanata Not sure where I will be on New Year’s Eve but, hopefully, I will find more fireworks to photograph where ever I end up being.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Mount Jo, Trail #77, High Peaks Region, Adirondack Mountains

Mount Jo, Trail #77, High Peaks Region, Adirondack Mountains

October 12, 2006 – The day before.

October 13, 2006 I was staying at the campground maintained by ADK at the base of the trail and overnight the winds howled as the storm front which ‘surprised’ Buffalo, NY with a few feet of snow and knocked out power for 250,000 people passed rapidly through the Adirondacks. After a night of howling winds I awoke early (I didn’t sleep too much that night), shook the ice off the tent and climbed to the summit again. Only a bit of freezing rain and some granular snow had fallen where I was, so the climb in daylight, although slippery, was quite pleasant. This series of photos reflects the blue sky conditions and the beautiful views from the summit of Mt. Jo. Well worth the second climb.

The overnight high winds and rain certainly cleared the trees of their autumn leaves.

A light coating of ice in a few spots required a bit of extra caution through some sections of the trail

Spruce boughs and some of the light granular snow. Pretty insignificant compared to the 2 feet of snow that the passing cold front dropped on Buffalo before reaching the Adirondacks.

A bit tricky but lots of easy handholds .

Only the last short part of the trail required any tricky manoeuvring and even that would have been simple were it not for the photo equipment that I was carrying with me.

What a difference a blue sky makes. The puddle was well frozen but the rising sun would soon change that.

With all of this climbing and worry about howling winds toppling trees onto my tent, I was now just a shadow of my former self (grin).

More Adirondack mountains beckon in the distance. Something to think about over the winter.

Heart Lake under a blue sky.

It was certainly cool at the summit and the puddles from the overnight rain were well frozen.

In the limited visibility of the rain, fog and drizzle of the night before,I had hiked past this outcropping without even realizing it was there. In the fresh morning air everything looked different so although I was hiking the same trail twice in a 12 hour period, it felt like I was hiking two completely different trails.

A granite slab along the trail.

Adirondack Loj – Located on the North Shore of Heart Lake, this lodge is owned by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). The original builder was Melvil Dewey who was a champion of ‘simplified spelling’ thus the spelling “Loj” rather than the more familiar “lodge”. (Info: ADK Adirondack LOJ at Heart Lake)

Later the same morning I climbed Cascade Mountain.

Mount Jo, Trail #77, High Peaks Region, Adirondack Mountains

Mount Jo, Trail #77, High Peaks Region, Adirondack Mountains

Mt. Jo (2876 ft) is not one of the 46 “high peaks” but the trail is certainly a fun one to climb. It starts innocently enough close to the Adirondack Loj and Heart Lake. Two routes to the peak are well maintained. The short route rises about 700 feet in a bit over a mile of hiking distance (1.8km) while the longer trail features a more gradual climb of about 1.3 miles (2.1km).

October 12, 2006 – I chose the short route which heads up through a field of boulders and offered an interesting challenge especially since it was approaching dusk and a drizzle was falling and the temperature was hovering around zero at the summit.

An early glimpse of the boulder field yet to come.

Difficult to show the change in elevation but the trail at this point had definitely begun to tilt upward and the boulders were slippery so I tried to step around them and not on them.

Many of the trails in the mountain areas of the NE USA feature sections where one must climb through granite boulders left behind when glaciers retreated from the area many, many years ago.

Boulders, boulders, and more boulders.

Although the leaves did not present much of a problem on the way up, they certainly added to the danger on the way back down as the rain intensified and temperatures hovered around freezing making everything super slippery.

Most of the trail is in hardwood forest but does shift to conifers near the summit.

On the first time up the trail this is about the most that I saw of the surrounding mountain peaks as the weather was closing in quite quickly.

Looking back down on Heart Lake, about 700 feet or so below.

The rain was coming down quite heavily by the time that I reached the summit so I didn’t stay there too long. The view was for the most part basic grey in all directions with just a glimpse of a the surrounding peaks every so often.

Not too many other climbers in this sort of weather but I was passed by this climber who waited at the summit to make sure I made it. We headed back down together but she soon disappeared from sight. As well as moving up and down mountains faster than I do, she told me she is a sketcher and painter specializing in bob sled events and hoped to be doing so at the next Winter Olympics.

The climber I met at the summit soon disappeared into the rain and mist once we had navigated off the steeper sections of the trail.

Heart Lake in the Adirondacks. Located at the base of Mt. Jo and next to the lakeside location of the ADK LOJ.

I was staying at the campground maintained by ADK at the base of the trail and was happy that I was off the mountain trail before dark considering that weather conditions continued to deteriorate.

The next morning I climbed up Mt. Jo again to see what it looked like with blue sky overhead. Then I headed over to Cascade Mountain to climb that one before heading further east