The year in pictures: days 366 — 730

Year 2 represent

Did I actually manage to keep my streak for two whole years? I sure did!

Blogging: up 62% (47 posts in 2018 vs 29 in 2017); confidence in my photographic skills: up 577.4% and I have a much better feel for what makes a good photo. Let’s check out my favourites from this year!

Burrard sunrise, January 15

HDR, baby! I really need to take more morning pictures.

Perspective Street, January 31

This was just one of several pics I took on the way to a dinner in Yaletown, and at first I didn’t really get why people loved it so much. I think I do now, though: single point perspective makes the photo perfectly balanced and harmonious, not to mention the colours are killer.

Shattered selfie, February 4

I stumbled upon this in an alley just around the corner from my place. How could I resist?

West of Denman, February 18

From the Inukshuk I spied this view: fluffy clouds and snow-covered beach, a perfect mirror image of each other.

Lost Lagoon sunset, March 6

The evening sky looked beautiful, so after work I trekked all the way to Lost Lagoon to catch the sunset. I’d say it was worth the trip!

Cooper’s Park and Yaletown, March 11

I’d planned to shoot from Cambie Bridge for a while. Though the east side was a disappointment, with no really good views of the towers or Science World, the west side offered me this gorgeous 21st century cityscape.

Two towers, May 10

Here’s a throwback to a picture I took in 2005, on Pride weekend. Don’t remember what I was doing exactly though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t anything social. Quite the suburban hermit, I was then, severely disconnected from the gay community except for playing volleyball.

Fast forward thirteen years: the exact same shot except with better resolution, better light, better atmosphere… and me in a way better place. It does get better.

Day 500, May 15

When I started this challenge 2 years ago, I honestly didn’t believe I’d last. 10 days in a row would be nice. A month would be amazing. Five hundred days? Inconceivable!

Davie Street sunset, May 28

I’ll always associate this gorgeous view with the super-challenging volleyball clinic I took at the Roundhouse in May.

Dramatic sky, June 14

The clouds matched my mood that week. I was struggling with social exhaustion and various self-doubts I let ballon in my head… doubts that turned out to be molehills after all. The sky cleared up overnight, too. Symbolism!

Underbrella, June 18

This city has lots of excellent public art, and this is just one piece. Is it actually a Pride thing? Don’t really care.

The city and the city, July 8

The last photo I took after a walk along the Seawall, and I was lucky to get it too since my phone battery was almost dead.

Fireworks, August 4

I am still gagging over how amazing my Pixel 2 is for night shots.

Smoke Lagoon, August 22

This is the new normal, I guess. I wanted to see how Lost Lagoon was doing since the smoke was a lot worse than previous years. I love this shot: the symmetry, the muted colours… I just hate what it means.

Coming in for a landing, September 1

Here’s the real kicker: this photo’s exposure time was 1 / 3906 sec, leaving the bee’s wings only a little bit blurry — according to Wikipedia, a bee’s wings beat 230 times / sec, so I captured less than 6% of a cycle.

A vegetarian spider, October 2

Shut up, I think she’s beautiful.

Towers of gold, October 17

The perfect time of day to light it all up.

A case of the Mondays, October 29

Beauty comes in all shapes and colours. Case in point: this carpet of wet rotting leaves on Thurlow Street.

Ducks and crows and a heron, November 4

That whole morning strolling through Jericho Park was magical. Beautiful sunshine, great views, crunchy orange leaves underfoot… and lots of friendly wildlife. Then I went back to the gym and managed to drop in Advanced volleyball! A nice cap to a fun photo outing.

Frosty garden, December 7

This is as cold as it’s gotten so far—we probably won’t see snow downtown this year. I don’t mind though, frost is just as pretty.

Big Island, December 21

Yet another throwback photo, this time to the last time I flew out east in the summer. From my window seat I shot lakes and rivers and little towns and loved every minute of it. This time most of the country was overcast but I did get another beautiful shot of Big Island. If I could have, that’s the one I would have picked!

Sparks StreetWellington Street and the Centennial Flame, December 28

I was meeting some friends for dinner downtown, got there early, and decided to go on a photo spree. So hey, more single-point perspective! Also a bit of tourist fun in my home town, some nice holiday colours and foggy mystery, and an homage to the province I now call home.

The traditional Christmas sushi: days 721 — 730

I’m home for the holidays, so that means a bunch of things:

  • spending my second day wimping out and taking a picture of our front yard from inside. Well, just standing outside the front door.
  • Seeing some nerdy movie with the fam. Nothing Star Wars this year, so we picked Into the Spider-Verse, which is amazing. Seriously, the music, the visuals, the story, the characters, the humour, the action, everything is on point. It is magical. It is as damn near perfection as you can get in this world of Platonic shadows.
  • Going out for Japanese food.
  • And presents, naturellement. Mostly for the nephew now, really. This year we even got out the old red sack from waaaay back when we believed in Santa. Which the nephew still does at age 5, although he’s apparently been asking awkward questions about how Santa can get to so many households in one night, the aerodynamics of reindeer, whether they need to eat and poop high up in the air, that sort of thing. He’s a smart kid, I’m sure he’ll figure it out by next year.
  • Enjoying traditions. We don’t really have a lot of those anymore. Used to be, we went to Midnight Mass and then opened presents. But only the parents go to church now, and even then I hear it’s more like 8PM Mass. Wouldn’t have quite the same magic, I feel. There’s still the tree and the creche. That creche has been in our family since forever, and it feels… nice, y’know? No matter how threadbare it looks these days.
  • Finally getting off my ass and taking a walk in the hood. It hasn’t changed much since I was around—a few new houses, but that’s it. Maybe a few new stores on Wellington Street? I don’t even remember what used to be there. Regardless, big chunks of the neighbourhood feel… alien? Different from what we get in Vancouver. It’s the style of the houses, I think: small, set quite a distance apart from each other, usually dark red brick, little walk-up stairs, optionally a patio. Even houses that have been converted to stores. And now I’m a bit curious about how old they are, how common this design is… According to this site most houses were built between 1900 and 1950, and most of those after 1935. Since we’re close to Little Italy and Chinatown, I’m guessing this whole area has been working-class-maybe-lower-middle-class residential since its beginning, when houses were way smaller. Interesting.
  • Taking a walk along Carling Avenue. I first tried to go on that pedestrian overpass at the end of Kenilworth St (which is apparently called the Harmer Footbridge), to get a nice shot of the Queensway and the setting sun… but that’s been closed for a while and nobody told me! Bah. I got some nice sunset views, but I feel this is familiar territory, y’know? Oh well, it’s the holidays. I’ll push the envelope when I get back.
  • Going downtown. I’ve blogged a few times about how I feel like a tourist in my hometown, and how it’s not a bad thing. I went to have dinner with some friends and got there early, and then figured, hey, let’s make this a photo outing too! From a foggy, snowy Sparks Street to Parliament Hill itself, right next door, I got to make with the camera like some rube from the provinces. And I am from the provinces, too: BC is my home, has been for a long time.
  • Going to Montreal to spend New Year’s Eve with my brother.

Flying Solstice: days 691 — 720

Making the most of the sun

It’s December 21st and I’m writing this in my parents’ house in Ottawa, having spent most of the day flying in from YVR via YUL. The day shouldn’t be over, but it’s three hours later here and I’m tired. But it’s also a whole month since I last blogged, and the solstice seems like a good time to write something. Only ten days to go this year!

I did not expect to have a window seat, but Yes Gawd there it was on my boarding pass, and on the port side too, which meant I wouldn’t face the sun. Absolutely awesome. I haven’t taken real photos from a plane in ages!

A shot of Richmond as we swung around. Then a couple shots of the Fraser River. Then it got super overcast and I didn’t get a good view of anything until we crossed into Ontario… but what a view! I was greeted by Big Island, a place I knew quite well. Way back in 2009, the last time I flew back east in the summer, I snapped and snapped lakes and islands and tiny towns all over this fair country of mine but Big Island was the one that stood out.

Not as green now, and the water’s not as blue. But I’d recognise that weird scraggly east half and curiously round bays anywhere. Gorgeous.

After that the clouds came back and the sun went down; still, it was good. On the connecting flight from YUL to YOW, we were right above the clouds. I saw the fluffy peaks and valleys and I would have liked to capture them… but you know what? At that time I was happy just enjoying the view. It was relaxing, almost meditative, to imagine myself flying without a plane or propellers in this deep blue fluffy twilight.

And what else have I been up to in the last month? Pulling in long hours at work, but also enjoying the holidays. With VGVA, with the Vancouver Men’s Chorus, with my nerd friends at the Storm Crow, and with the UBC Thunderbirds for another of their Pride Nights. And enjoying holiday lights around town, like some fancy new tree at Robson Square, the Lights of Hope by St. Paul’s, and a bunch of West End apartments spreading holiday cheer.

That last one… it started out as a sadly all-too-typical photoless Sunday night, but the moment I saw this building down the lane, my spirits picked up and I knew I had my picture. Thanks, Christmassy strangers!

Now days will get longer. That’s good. And on a more metaphorical level, I’ll get to relax and regroup here, finish my last blog post of the year, and start 2019 with fresh new energy!