I ain’t afraid of no bees: days 511 — 520

Buzzzzzzz happy Pride Month

There I was, resting outside the Roundhouse after a grueling volleyball skills clinic, when I spied a bee crawling on the ground. I used to be pretty scared of those stinging critters—only natural, right?—but I wasn’t scared at all. Mostly because I figured it was a worker honeybee that had just reached its expiration date. They only live for a few weeks, y’know.

Turns out it was a bumblebee. I didn’t peg it as such because (a) I’d never seen a bumblebee crawling on the ground, and (b) it was a lot smaller and slimmer than any other I’d seen. But apparently this is one of the first generation born in the spring; later in the summer we’d see big stocky ones like I was used to. Amazing. Live and learn!

Then on the way home, I snapped one more shot, of the sunset burning up the clouds over Davie Street. My god that’s gorgeous. I think I might include it in my 2018 retrospective.

Speaking of clouds though, the weather’s gotten more and more overcast over the last week or so. Right now I’m not enjoying it because everything’s grey and icky, but for a while, it meant a beautiful mix of clouds and blue sky.

Case in point!

And one more, Yaletown towers holding up a delicate canopy of clouds.

And then the canopy got not so delicate… It actually rained a little bit that day, though the weather did clear up later. Mind you, this was pretty good beach vball weather. Much more sun than that and the sand gets really hot. Downside: not so many hot guys taking their shirts off.

And, oh yeah: it’s Pride Month! A bit less meaningful in BC, since our Pride thing is in August, but still. I’ve had my eye on the Heart of Davie Village piece for a while, but was never quite happy with either the light or the angle. But there we go. Glad to live in this queer-friendly neighbourhood, in this queer-friendly city.

Gold and blue: days 506 — 510

That time of day

A lot of sunsets!

Sunset Beach from Burrard Bridge, at that most magical time of day. Don’t really remember what I was doing there on a Monday night… but oh well, there it is.

Tuesday was the first night of VGVA grass league at Creekside Park. I’m not in that league, but was asked to sub. So I ambled on down the Seawall, taking a few shots of Science World as I got near. I remember trying to do this from Cambie Bridge and it went nowhere. No worries, I was just too far away. Science World is really pretty, all that spherical silver grid that turns gold in the setting sun.

(My first title for this post was “Silver and gold”, until I remembered that was a Pokémon game. So, pass.)

Wednesday, first night of grass league at David Lam Park, which I’ve sorely missed. All through my games, I was looking around, anxious not to miss all these gorgeous sunset shots. But I got enough: sunlight off the towers (around 8:35PM), some pretty golden clouds (also 8:35), and some pretty orange clouds (8:50PM. I think it was in the middle of our last match, in the break between sets).

Not quite a sunset shot, just Granville Street as I came home from work. It was just another perspective-y street photo that was all the rage last fall, until I noticed the sun was low enough that the west side was all in shadow, and the east side was brightly lit. I can’t say I planned this effect, but it looks hella nice.

And we end the week with a couple of architecture shots… which, in hindsight I’m kind of meh about. It’s a nice contrast between the hard corners of 737 Dunsmuir and the curves of 1050 Smithe, but I dunno. I don’t feel like there’s a story here.

Plus, it kind of breaks the sunset streak I had going. Is that something I want to do, have themes? Ehhh… maybe? Nah, themes aren’t what I need. They can’t all be great winners.

In the neighbourhood: days 501 — 505

It’s all here

Sometime I want to push out, wander far, take in brand new sights. Sometimes I have all I need right here. So this half week is 80% me walking around, snapping pics of the West End!

On the way to Storm Crow for Wednesday quiz night, I said to myself, what could shake up the routine of taking amazing shots of False Creek, Kits and / or Granville Island? How about a shot pointing down at the waterfront? Yeah, that’ll do it. I didn’t dare point it straight down, because I was terrified of dropping my phone. As it was, it still kicked up my acrophobia a bit.

Thursday: dinner with a friend, then groceries, stopping at the Jim Deva Plaza. I started by taking pics of some pigeons wandering around, but they didn’t turn out to be so interesting. So I just sat for a second, looked over at Davie Street, and… there it was. The busy street, this little rainbow oasis, and the last light of the day.

And again. Nice way to end the week, I think! Is it lazy? Is it easy? Maybe, but who cares? I could fill a whole calendar year just with photos of Davie Village.

And a sunset from near the Inukshuk on Sunday. Out of several shots I took on that walk, I chose the meta one. And on a day like that, at that time, photographers have to duck around each other and apologise every 30 seconds because everybody wants to capture that sweet, sweet sunset.

It’s been a while since I took a picture of food, right? Actually I just checked, and it’s been less than two months, going back to our Easter tea crawl. Anyway, here’s some sushi, at the place where we usually eat after Taichi class. Never had this kind before, it’s yummy!

Never thought I’d make it to 50, but here we are: Day 500

Half a thousand

This is a hell of a milestone. On January 1st, 2017, I started my photo-a-day challenge. And 500 days later, here I am. If someone had told me I could take at least one photo a day for 500 days, without missing a single day, I probably would have laughed in their face.

I wanted something really special to mark this milestone. But special is in the eye of the beholder, and fuck it, this is special enough: a sunset over English Bay, taken after a spot of beach volleyball, and captioned with lines from one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite shows. No reason why, I just felt like it.

The sun is shining on my beautiful city: days 471 — 499

Omnia novi sub sole

After weeks of on and off rain and grey and blah, the sun came out and stayed. Not all the last month, but most of it. And I enjoyed the hell out of it.

I took a walk through the West End, something I hadn’t done in a while.

I walked up Georgia St as far as Denman. I was kinda thinking I’d walk around Stanley Park to shoot Skalsh (formerly known as Siwash Rock) at sunset. That didn’t happen, because I forgot it’s halfway around the park and I was just not up to walking for a couple of hours. I did capture some nice public art.

(Then back to rain on Friday. Meh)

But then back to sun on Sunday!

And more public art!

The clouds came back for a bit, reflecting my mood about VGVA’s indoor season ending… but hey, this is not really an ending, but a beginning!

Oh, and a few night shots too. On the way back from Quiz Night I got Venus over Kits and Granville Island. Pretty sure my old phone couldn’t have managed that!

Saturday May 5 I finally got around to Skalsh, by way of Second Beach and Third Beach. It was a lovely evening, and I even got to see a heron. And yes, I walked back the way I came. I did consider doing a full circuit around Stanley Park, but it was getting dark, I was tired, and that was just a big nope.

Sunday, the VGVA AGM. I kind of did consider running again—not for webmaster since that’s still taken and the new guy is doing a fine job—but maybe for secretary or member-at-large. Don’t want to be a division director, that’s way too far out of my comfort zone. But in the end I decided against it. Though I miss being part of the action, I don’t miss it enough to run against people who want it more than me. Plus I’d have to make a speech and everything, ugh.

It’s funny how some photos that I don’t think too highly of when I take them, end up being really popular. Case it point, this fountain at Canada Place. It was just one of several things I shot at lunchtime, but somehow it struck a chord. Looking at it again, I can see why. The sprays and droplets are full of lovely detail that I just didn’t notice when I took it. Just goes to show.

Last Wednesday was gaymes night at the Storm Crow on Commercial. Instead of taking the SkyTrain I thought, fuck it, I’ll walk! Google Maps says it’s 55 minutes, totally doable. It was a lovely and warm day, and I saw some nice sights. Strathcona is gorgeous, and I learned some history.

I remember taking this exact same shot many years ago, after (I think) a Pride parade and on my way back to the burbs. It’s a call-back to a not very happy time in my life, but I adore this shot. The composition is perfect, the light is perfect (overcast, but with a hint of morning gold). So, let’s call it redeeming a memory, shall we?

Last Saturday was busy busy. My usual Taichi class, then zooming to Abbotsford for a friend’s birthday celebration at the Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery in Abbotsford. There I learned all about BC fish, how to fish, and we got to try it outselves (with barbless hooks, purely catch-and-release). I didn’t catch anything, and honestly part of me’s relieved about that. I was a little squeamish at the thought of holding a struggling fish and pulling the hook out of their mouth.

Later that night was Mr Spiked, VGVA’s end of year beauty pageant fundraiser where a bunch of hot guys strip down to their underwear and prance around for our pleasure. They also put on formalwear and answer penetrating questions like “Which of your fellow contestants would you fuck, marry or kill?” And sorry, the underwear / swimwear photos are not going on Instagram.

Sunday I went with a friend to Horseshoe Bay. Not to take a ferry, but to photograph them. He’s writing and self-publishing a novel that takes place partly on a ferry (and partly right in Horseshoe Bay, I think), and we scoped out a few possible covers for his book. That’s the first time anybody’s asked me that, and I was deeply flattered. And happy to help, too. Artistic collaboration FTW!

Monday, a few coworkers and I picked up garbage around Habitat Island as part of Gossamer Threads’ eco-challenge month. I jumped at the call when they asked for volunteers—I want to help make the world a better place, and it was nice to hang out with these folks outside of work.

And all of this leads me to…

Phasing into another dimension: days 466 — 470

In and out, up and down and sideways

Wednesday I was getting a little desperate for good pictures—still rainy, still grey, still too dark to really make the flowers pop, the ones that are left—but walking by St. Paul’s Hospital I spied some cool old fency bits, surrounded by luxuriant green shrubby bits. So into my phone they went! Not exactly what I planned, but that’s okay. It made for a change from all those frilly colourful blossoms.

On Thursday I went to an advance screening of Indian Horse—which I absolutely recommend, though it’s not an easy story to take in. It played at Tinseltown so I ambled down there, snapping a few pics along the way. Like this one, of a super shiny building at Seymour and Dunsmuir. Or a few shots taken from near Stadium-Chinatown station: looking east towards that cluster of towers near Main Street station (plus some lovely evening clouds); looking northish towards the Sun Tower amidst some super-gentrified buildings; looking west towards downtown. Funny story: my Taiji sifu (whose main job is as a graphic artist) found the deliberate symmetry in that last photo subtly irritating. And I get it; unless it’s one of those surprisingly popular perspective-y street photos, I don’t go for the central symmetry either. This one doesn’t have perspective, or great colours… Oh well, they can’t all be winners. It felt like a good idea at the time.

Friday, a super-sad picture symbolising the end of spring. That camelia tree on my street? Not so many flowers on it anymore. On the bright side, it means longer and warmer days, it means more green leaves, and fruit… what kind of fruit do camelia trees sprout? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out. 10 years of living in this apartment and there are so many things I still don’t pay attention to.

And let’s be honest, I love this photo. The details on those flower bits, the rain beading on them… just exquisite. It was totally worth getting one knee wet.

The lesson I learned from this photo of a pillbug at Blue Mountain Park is: my fans really aren’t keen about closeup pictures of bugs. It got the fewest “likes” since I started extensively tagging my photos a month ago. Ehh, not that I really care, but it’s an interesting observation.

Sunday: again with the lack of inspiration. I played Competitive in the morning, then the weather was bad and I stayed in all afternoon, only emerging from my hole to play Intermediate. And guess what, I hadn’t taken a picture yet, it was too late to stop somewhere in Kits, so I resorted to shooting a willow tree near the gym. Which… looked all right I guess, but I decided this was just not kosher. Hadn’t I promised to take a selfie if I didn’t find anything better? This wasn’t the first time I cheated and just skated by on “ehh, this is better than nothing.” Nope, not again. So, walking back to my apt, I took a couple quick selfies. And then decided to post the blurry one, because it was way more interesting.

If comics are to be believed, going fast lets you slip into parallel universes and vibrate between atoms etc… What would going slow allow you to do? Maybe my atoms would drop to near absolute 0, so I’d become a superconductor or something. Something quantum, at least. Somebody should write a comic book about that.

But I really was tired, too. Competitive + Intermediate are hard enough, but I think I was paying off weeks or months of sleep debt. That’s what powering through the entirety of Drag Race will do to you if you don’t pace yourself! But I’m better now, especially after sleeping over 12 hours on Saturday.

Rainflower, sunflower: days 461 — 465

Sequins, bees and blue skies

No plot, no deep reflections, just a lot of flowers. Most of them in the rain, some of them in the sun.

Friday (Smithe just off Thurlow): The upside of rain, is the lovely beading effect. It’s almost like sequins! And the cherry trees were still in full bloom.

Saturday (Pacific near Burrard): Weren’t there a couple of big magnolia trees there, not that long ago? They’re gone now, replaced by one little tree—flowering! And so pretty! I didn’t even know the name of these trees until a couple of weeks ago, when a flower-loving friend filled me in.

Sunday (Point Grey Road): taking another detour on my way to volleyball, I figured the weather was too grey for nice beach shots, so I took a shot of some expensive Kits mansion. And a shot of the street itself, though I’m less happy about that since the flowers look kind of raggedy and (again) it feels too grey.

Monday (Canada Place): a lot of blossoms have fallen off the cherry trees here, but the bees are still busy. Or maybe just desperate. It seemed to me they didn’t spend any time at all in each flower, but then what do I know? Maybe this is normal speed for a worker bee. Or maybe the flowers are dry and empty of pollen + nectar. I really wish the light were better, or I had the nerve to get closer.

Tuesday (Law Courts): the sun came out! So I decided to go back to the Law Courts adjoining Robson Square. I’d already shot the magnolias there a few days before but now was the time to really explore it from different angles. The art gallery and skyline. The little elevated walkway along Hornby that I only vaguely knew was there until a short while ago. The streets with magnolias. Magnolias by themselves.

The next day it rained again. Bah. But that’s a story for another post…

Queen for a day: days 446 — 460

Practice makes better

I decided to start numbering my IG photos as well as my blog posts from the actual day 1: January 1st, 2017. This way we won’t reset every year, and I’m looking forward to day 500 (beginning of June, right?), day 1000 (end of 2019, I think), etc…

On day 446 (or day 81, according to the Old Calendar) I went in for a bit of practice before the big tournament that weekend. I knew my team was not very competitive, but I wanted any opportunity to get better. This year in VGVA I was bumped back down to Intermediate division after a year in Competitive—and I don’t like it. I get that there was a big influx of high-level players that pushed everybody down, but I want to be more than “at the cusp”. I know I can play in Competitive, and even hold my own decently in Advanced.

So I need to be more proactive. Dropping into higher divisions isn’t going to cut it if I don’t even get in half the time. Friday night at Britannia is good and shakes things up with a different mix of players, but the play level varies from week to week. What I need is to bone up on the fundamentals. I’ve signed up for a 6-week skills clinic at the Roundhouse starting at the end of May, and got a YouTube channel to look at, with lots of tutorials and matches to study.

Chop-chop. I hear evaluations are happen in June this year, instead of August. Makes sense for sorting out sponsors and jerseys and such before play starts, but it means I have less time to train.

Even though we figured we wouldn’t win any medals—or any matches, which really stings—my team did win something very special: our own VIP area thanks to the “Queen For A Day” video contest. We had comfy couches, snacks and energy drinks, a place to store our stuff, and the power to let only the coolest kids hang with us. So that was pretty sweet.

As predicted we didn’t get anywhere in playoffs but hey, there were lots of games to watch!. Lots and lots of games. Watching the big boys play is tons of fun, and definitely an inspiration. I want to tell myself I’ll be that good someday. And who knows? It might happen if I put in the work.

I also took pictures of flowers, because it’s that time of year. Even though the weather’s iffy, Mother Nature is showing off all over the place. Whether it’s pink, or green, or more pink, white, or pink and white together, or all the colours of the tea rainbow. With a nice little Easter Bunny-themed selfie, because why not?

Speaking of Mother Nature, I did visit for the first time this place called Bass Pro, in Tsawwassen Mills. It’s a… weird place, full of huntin’ and fishin’ and campin’, where everything is gendered. It’s a lifestyle that’s really alien to me, and it looks really freaking expensive. Though I guess if you’re regularly hunting for food, those big-ass freezers and duck blinds and things are worth it.

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.