Prima vera: days 436 — 445

Blooming all over

It’s that time of year. The days are longer, the sky is blue (most of the time), the sun is shining, posters and banners for the Cherry Blossom Festival have gone up, we’re seeing hints of green and pink on the trees. More than hints, actually. Between the time I started this post and now, Vancouver’s been serving some gorgeous spring realness. And we’re only getting started!

Some lovely trees just getting dressed, and some bushes getting their new crops of leaves. A colourful umbrella on a day when I desperately needed some colour.

Some blooms making an early entrance, and some that are still a bit shy. Some deliberately planted flowers brightening your day, and some giving you a bit of shade (the good kind). And some just hanging around by their lonesome, all delicate and pretty.

And on our first day practicing Taichi outside, we saw some old friends. My Sifu thinks they’re attracted by our moves… kind of like Arrakis’ sandworms, I guess? I’m not convinced, but whatevs. I mean, it could be true, or it could be that we notice them just because they’re nearby. In any case, I’m careful to pick them up and throw them away so I don’t accidentally step on them.

It’s not just flowers, though. It’s sunsets from the water and more sunsets from high above and artsy reflections of old buildings in new ones.

It’s a good season, is what I’m saying. It’s warmer. I’ve got a cute new hoodie. Red and vivid, a sharp departure from my usual greys and drab greens. Maybe I need to take a page from the trees and show off for a while.

Livin’ in the city: days 431 — 435

Where the grass is green and the towers are pretty

Again with Granville Bridge, walking to the Storm Crow on Broadway? Shut up, I love it and there’s always something fun and new to see. For instance, Bridges on Granville Island, standing out in the twilight blue. And Island Park Walk on the south side of False Creek. I’ve only been there a couple times, I should get some close-up photos one of these days.

Maybe at night? Because goddamn does my phone take some good night pictures. And Vancouver gives great face, all twinkly and gold like that.

Friday I went for a short walk on the east side of Burrard Bridge after work—which I’d done a couple of times, but always at night, and I wasn’t that happy with the results. But I gave it another go, and this time we clicked. I’m especially jazzed with this shot of Beach Avenue, with Granville Bridge in the distance. It may look claustrophobic but it really isn’t. It’s quiet, there’s plenty of space down there, and the Seawall is just a block away. The only spots that feel oppressive to me are right under the bridges. Vancouver is a very pedestrian- and bike-friendly city, at least around downtown. Sunsets aren’t too bad either.

And Saturday, in the burbs. Como Lake Park, to be precise, not too far from where I practice Taichi. It’s a pretty little lake, with ducks, which I’ve driven past many times, but only stopped to visit… once? Maybe twice? I honestly don’t remember, but either way it’s been a really long time.

On Sunday I had a hankering to check out Cambie Bridge and see what the view was like. I’d gotten the idea a while ago when I drove up it, and got what looked like a nice view of Yaletown and False Creek… so in the afternoon I put on my walking shoes and first checked out the east side (towards Science World), then the west (towards the rest of False Creek). East side was disappointing. Science World was too far away, and there was too much other stuff to the sides. I just couldn’t see a way to make an interesting photo out of it.

To the west, though… I had an amazing view of Coopers’ Park and the towers of Yaletown, all green and pretty and filled with people enjoying this warm pre-spring day. This is one of the best shots of Vancouver I’ve taken so far, embodying the best of the city for me, and I am absolutely in love with it.

Sunsets sunsets sunsets: days 426 — 430

In which I watch it all go down

I’d swung by Robson Square a few times over several days, trying to get a good view of the skating rink and / or that seagull statue thing on the steps. Tried from a few angles, and finally decided to post this one. And… it’s good. I fretted and experimented and shot from all sorts of angles, and here’s a simple, beautiful twilight shot of the rink, gorgeously framed by downtown buildings. What more could I ask for? At the time I wasn’t sure, but now I’m sold. I’m still learning to get out of my own head, see my subjects as something new, not as something I’ve passed by a million times already.

Food for thought, for sure. I think that’s the goal of any artist: art is communication, so I need to learn how strangers see what I put out.

Saturday, I planned to stop around Commercial Drive on the way back from Taichi and see what I could see. It’s a nice neighbourhood, criminally underviewed by my camera. My eye ended up being caught by the mountains, all wreathed in lovely white clouds, but it was the train yard that really sealed the deal.

Sunday was a bit of a blah day. I spent most of it inside, then hauled ass to volleyball too late to enjoy the best of the sunset. I ended up with a kind of abstract experimental piece just outside the gym… which is pretty nice? I dunno. Part of me can’t help thinking I could have done better, even though that’s never any help. Except if it makes me plan to actually do better.

But hey, everything is forgiven because of the next two days. Monday I went to the Storm Crow on Commercial for a bit of gayming, and stopped at Science World. Not the first time I did that, but I figured it was time to revisit the area. I ended up with a gorgeous and satisfying shot of BC Place and downtown. Next time I’ll try for Cambie Bridge?

And on Tuesday I felt like shooting Lost Lagoon. Why? No particular reason I can think of. Maybe deep down I wanted to make amends for Sunday’s not-so-great shot, or maybe I realised I hadn’t visited Lost Lagoon in a while (since I stopped working at TEI?). I was worried the light would be gone by the time I got there, but no, I was granted a perfect, perfectly symmetrical photo of dying light and a soft pink arrow of cloud, leading me to more mystery.

The snowman’s view: days 421 — 425

In which I look through their eyes

I was not feeling well on Sunday, day 56. It might have been something I ate (I have a theory, which involves libelling a major brand, so I’ll stay quiet), and / or motion sickness from the SkyTrain ride home from Coquitlam. I made the mistake of not facing directly ahead and talking to my friends for a bit, which is when it started.

I got home safe without throwing up, but I was not up for anything, especially volleyball. Come sundown, though, I was feeling okay enough to get some fresh air, so I headed down to the Seawall. My vague plan was to shoot the setting sun over the water… but then I saw something better.

A snowman. A real, honest-to-gosh snowman with three snowy globes, carrot nose, leafy scarf, stick arms, and… maybe coal for eyes? Some amazing person had scraped together most of the snow in Sunset Beach to create this short-lived monument to the recent cold snap. I love it.

And hey, we got a sunset pic after all.

This was the week I helped out two charities, in ways that involved food. Two of my coworkers are dog owners and, with the help of another couple of coworkers they put together a cool little cupcake display for Cupcake Day, encouraging people to eat and donate to the BC SPCA.

I ate way too much. I need to get back to the gym, but I keep getting hit by these colds so I never have the energy.

Thursday I was invited to attend the annual Red Ribbon Breakfast fundraiser, in support of Positive Living. It was my first time but I plan to make it a regular thing, because they do amazing work.

That week I also went on some aimless walks and took pictures of the city

Evergreen: days 416 — 420

In which I go to the end of the line

Ever since they completed the Evergreen line a couple years ago, I told myself someday I’d go to the end, way the hell over in downtown Coquitlam.

But first: get myself some new shoes!

I’m really loving this photo’s composition, though I can’t quite put it into words. It’s just the right balance of blue sky and buildings, and everything is very sharply vertical, emphasising the tall and narrow alley (though it’s not really that narrow in real life). It’s all about the cropping: on the left you can just about see a corner, leading into a side alley. Including that bit would have ruined the effect.

I still don’t get the thing about shoes on power lines, though. Why do people do that? Is it a good luck thing? Is it a juvenile delinquent thing?

I don’t know, but here’s what I do know: the days are getting longer (please ignore the snow). Getting out of work I walked up Hastings Street, eyeing the highrises both old and new outlined in the fading light, from up high and down on the ground. I’m learning the importance of getting low, to either capture the street with its interesting details, or really amp up the perspective when looking up.

My real target was the Marine Building, but it was too tall and I just couldn’t get it all in one photo. So I wandered towards Canada Place, to The Drop. That was too tall to capture in its entirety, but I think I still made it look good.

Friday I just wasn’t inspired. In hindsight it’s not bad, though. Interesting composition, but I’m just not feeling it, you know? Still, they can’t all be winners.

Saturday was busy. I spent the afternoon in an excellent and challenging workshop on talking at WordPress meetups or WordCamps. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but only got the nerve to do once, very briefly. This workshop energised me, gave me both confidence and good tips, and… I think it’s happening this time! I’m in the list for speaking at either the next meetup, or the one after. I’ve got my topic, too, that’s one of the things we worked on.

Afterwards I sped off to the suburbs. Specifically, the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam, at the very end of the Evergreen SkyTrain line, to see a weird and amazing bit of theatre. And hey, I’ve wanted to go on the Evergreen Line ever since it opened, so that was nice. Nothing I saw was especially new—I’ve taken the Canada Line many many times when working at Webtech, though only as far as Brentwood, and of course I used to live in that neck of the woods. For a while between Port Moody and Coquitlam Central, the Skytrain ran parallel to the (ground) train tracks, and I semi-fondly reminisced about taking the West Coast Express from the deep ‘burbs. I remembered one little pond, just west of Coquitlam Station, that was still there! That was a fun little detail I didn’t expect.

I had been to Lafarge Lake, the actual end of the line, but not for a long time. It’s a nice little place, seriously developed now and, thanks to the new SkyTrain line, not too far from downtown! It would have been nice to have better transit when I lived out there… though it still doesn’t reach as far as Port Coquitlam and probably won’t for a long time. Oh well.

And the lake itself? It’s quite nice. It’s got this fountain thingy, same as Lost Lagoon. Does it serve the same function? I remember reading somewhere that Lost Lagoon used to be an actual lagoon, i.e.: connected to the open water, until they built Highway 99 and the bridge. Now I guess the fountain is to keep the water circulating. Is that what they’re doing here? Lafarge is a long way from the Fraser or the Indian Arm, but it must be fed by creeks, right? Are those gone? Now I’m curious.

Curious about these flowers too. They were just sitting there on a bench, with no one around. What’s the story? A botched proposal? A memorial? Something?

The play was amazing, as I expected; they’re coming back to Vancouver with a sequel some time in May, and I am totally there!