Days in Pictures

The year in pictures: days 731 — 1095

This has been a fantastic year for photography, and in the last few months I feel I’ve finally hit my groove. Maybe it’s the long seawall walks, and the lovely scenery I got exposed to? Or maybe it’s the cardio?

Morning commuters — January 9

My first morning photo of Burrard Bridge, I think? Already trying out new things just days into the new year. Nice job, me.

Fiery sunrise — January 28

Perfect magnificence!

Inukshuk and setting sun — March 28

Simple and already done, but when the shot’s right there you have to take it!

Dramatic sky over Yaletown — April 7

This might have been my first walk along the south seawall from Cambie Bridge to Granville Island, scoping out good vantage points for my eventual walking commutes. I found one.

Goðafoss — May 12

My first Icelandic waterfall, and it’s a lovely one!

Dettifoss — May 12

My second Icelandic waterfall, a bit harder to get to, but well worth the effort.

Resilience — May 12

Take a moment to appreciate the humble little things around you.

A lot of birds — May 16

Gorgeous and noisy.

Kirkjufell — May 16

Kirkjufell (“Church Mountain”) is a hella pretty mountain, dramatically standing there by itself. Interestingly, it looks very different from different points of view.

Orange and blue — May 17

A silly little photo I took on a whim, but I really like it!

I did an art — July 13

Just a one-time thing so far but hey, I’m not just about photography!

Davie & Denman — July 21

All about the golden hour with bonus rainbow flags!

Bumblebee — August 22

Overcame my twitchiness about stinging insects, with a phone that wasn’t particularly made for close-up shots.

The fuzziest caterpillar — September 5

LOOK AT THE FUZZ. Though apparently you don’t want to touch it. That fuzz is called “setae”, and they can break off in your skin if you touch them, cause allergic reactions or even contain stinging chemicals. BUT JUST LOOK AT IT

Speaker — September 28

Not my best selfie but a great milestone for me, being my first time presenting at a WordCamp.

Golden towers — October 8

I love this photo’s geometry: the stark angles of towers and shadows, the mosaic of lit and dark windows — and the soft soft clouds in the background.

Impression, morning — October 14

It feels like an impressionist painting, doesn’t it? The delicate textures of clouds and light rippling on the water, like brushstrokes. LOve it

Impression, dusk — October 17

It feels like another painting, with the moody clouds pierced by little bright spots of colour.

Frosted leaves — October 27

Chill out!

Geese flying low — October 30

There’s tons of life around False Creek, and here we see a flock of geese commuting to their hangout in Charleson Park.

Cambie Bridge lights — November 19

A bit of darkness lets you see more light.

Drizzly twilight — November 23

Yet another painting-like photo. This one feels perfect: balanced, harmonious, relaxing. I could drink it in all day.

Boats and birbs — November 24

I can’t get enough of this view.

As above so below — November 28

Just goes to show, sometimes all you need is to be in the right place at the right time. And also to look behind you sometimes.

Trout Lake — November 30

I was on my way back from Taichi class, driving along Broadway, when I saw the sky and made an impulse decision. I found my way to Trout Lake and found (a) a good vantage point, and (b) that the lake was frozen. Unexpected, but it didn’t hurt the view!

More golden towers — December 9

I love the contrast of grey and gold here, and how ground level is still in shadow.

Ferry dock — December 14

A little call-back to when I took photos of Sunset Beach every morning… except now it’s dusk, and there’s a new thing in town.

Science World and BC Place — December 20

I couldn’t make both these landmarks fit in one 16:9 shot, though I may try again from a different vantage point.

Surface tension — December 21

Not my first macro shot, and it’s a bit blurrier than I’d have liked, but look at the cute little twinned berries! Look at the surface reflection! Look at the surrounding berries reflected in the droplets!

(downtown + boats + bridges) × 2 — December 22

This view never gets old

Days in Pictures

The year in pictures: days 366 — 730

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.

Days in Pictures

The year in pictures: days 1 — 365

It’s been a year, folks. It’s been a good year. Let’s look back on it with a selection of my favourite photos.

New Year’s Day

In 2016, some friends were doing a photo-a-day challenge, and I tried to do it too. However, I couldn’t keep up the discipline. Part of it was that I’d never done this kind of thing before; in the past most of my photography had been in surges: taking a lot of photos at a time for special events, posting them, then waiting for the next big thing. Also, I think I was making it too hard for myself: my first plan was to post it to both this blog, and Flickr at the same time. But posting a photo to WordPress just takes too many steps, and the Flickr app’s UI is horrible. I needed something simple and quick.

So I decided to dust off my Instagram account, which I’d had for a while but never used. On New Year’s Day, after waking up in my brother’s apartment in Montreal, I took a picture of the street outside and posted it. Based on my history I didn’t think I’d continue, but I figured I should give it one more shot.

And here we are. One step at a time, one day at a time.

A trinket on Nelson Street, March 28

Looking back, this is the first photo I feel really happy with. Before, I was just sort of feeling my way—and yes, kept trying and got some good photos, but no great ones. None them really spoke to me.

This one did, though, and still does. The framing, the colours, the mystery of how it came to be there, it’s all a perfect package.

PS: the trinket was still there the next day, so I took it home.

Cherry blossoms, April 10

I got off the bus at Denman & Georgia and took a lot of photos waiting a while for the setting sun to hit the trees just right. I didn’t know what “just right” would look like, but I hoped I’d know when it happened. I’d say it was worth the wait.

Flying to Amsterdam, May 7

My first trip out of the country in decades! It was a big step and I was nervous, even though intellectually I knew I had no reason to be. It all turned out fine, and my family and I had a lovely time in Belgium and Amsterdam.

During those two weeks I took way more than one photo a day, of course. Here are just a few of my very favourites:

Top of the Bruges belfry, May 8

That was a fun trek (also, good cardio) and the photos were well worth the effort. Bruges is a gorgeous town, from ground level or high up.

Antwerp Cathedral, May 12

What’s unique about this cathedral was the white or very pale stone, coupled with windows whose glass largely wasn’t stained but clear, adding up to a space positively drenched in natural light. It looks like the altar received even more light from directly above.

Amsterdam’s Golden Bend, May 13

First day in Amsterdam, and I was already in love with the city. We had a few hours to kill after arriving, so we took a canal tour of Amsterdam right after checking in at the hotel. Everything was gorgeous, from the houses to the boathouses to the churches to the little pedestrian bridges. I don’t remember exactly where I took this photo, so it might not have been the actual Golden Bend. Still, this looks like a super-expensive house, so we were probably pretty close.

Zaanse Schans and Volendam, May 15

We took a day trip to visit some heritage sites north of Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans with its windmills, Edam with its cheeses, and the quaint little fishing village of Volendam. That was a lovely day. The Dutch countryside is beautiful, and I’m amazed that such a densely populated country still has so much open green space. But that’s because (a) there’s none (or almost none) of the car-centred suburban sprawl we take for granted in North America, and (b) the Netherlands have very strict rules about development and preserving green & heritage spaces like these. As they should.

Banquet at the Crossbowmen’s Guild in Celebration of the Treaty of Münster (1648) and Portrait of Marie Jeanette de Lange (1900), May 18

On our last full day in Amsterdam, we visited the Rijksmuseum. Oh, the Rijksmuseum! Full of so many amazing works of art, and not just the Golden Age masters. I took many, many pictures, most of them closeups of artwork.

Here are just two: one commemorates a treaty marking the end to the 80 Years War with Spain, as well as official international recognition of the Dutch Republic as a sovereign country. I cannot get enough of this exquisitely detailed, almost photorealistic, work. The second is a portrait of an early feminist activist, done in dots of lovely bright colours.

Tulips in front of the Rijksmuseum, May 18

Three photos from the same day? Sure, why not? This being my last #dailypic in Europe, I wanted to make it special. The tulips weren’t my first choice, but my elaborate plan to shoot the statue of Mercury at sunset fell through. Still, I’m not mad. This both screams “Holland” and commemorates one of my favourite days in the city.

Flower core, June 3

Don’t just look at the petals, folks.

According to Google this must be some kind of poppy. They all have a similar star-like structure in their centre.

Mole Hill rose, June 19

On my way to work I spied some pretty-looking roses in front of the Mole Hill houses on Bute Street; after many tries I found the perfect angle.

Summer evening, June 23

This summer I decided to quit running the Sunday afternoon dropin at Sunset Beach. Part of me felt a little bit guilty, but (a) I wasn’t on the board anymore and (b) I’d been doing it for years, so why not let somebody take over? Turns out, with VGVA also running beach vball there weren’t enough people to make it worthwhile. However, a few players owned nets and set them up in the evenings. So in addition to regular league play, I got to enjoy late evening vball several times a week.

When I took that picture I hadn’t started my new job, but already I was marveling at the amount of free time I could have, and what I could do with it. Being more social and physically active and less stressed? Bring it on.

WordPress ladybug, June 26

I was just headed to work in my WordCamp Vancouver 2015 t-shirt, minding my own business, when a ladybug landed on me. I managed to quietly turn my phone around and take a picture. A random little fun thing to brighten my day.

Gossamer Threads, July 4

The other big step this year: a new job, beginning July 4. Between being contacted by the recruiter and signing the contract, things happened very suddenly in just a few weeks. My head was still spinning at that point, and I was equal parts terrified (of this massive change and new challenges) and elated (at this massive change and new challenges).

Pride bling, August 5

The Storm Crow–both locations–are hella neat people, super-inclusive and queer-friendly. When some friends and I had lunch at the Tavern on Commercial after the Dyke March, they handed out a couple of these big square Pride buttons to each patron: classic 6-colour rainbow, trans, ace, genderqueer, and a few others. I was surprised to see the new Philadelphia Pride colours, with the additional black and brown stripes, but quite happy to wear it that weekend.

Not the trans one, though. That didn’t feel right to me. I’ve still got it, though, so maybe I could regift it?

Pride parade, August 6

Every year I wonder if maybe I wouldn’t have more fun just watching the parade—preferably somewhere in the shade with a cool drink. But every year, I march. There’s a rush that only comes from being in the parade, from being the centre of attention—yes, little introvert moi—and, dammit, call me stupid idealistic, but I believe Pride means something, commercialised and sanitised though it be, and I want to be part of it. I think it’ll mean a bit more next year when uniformed cops are banned, but that’s a whole other conversation.

Dirty tattoo, August 13

I don’t think I’m ready for a full shirtless selfie, so for now this is all you get.

Before this summer I hadn’t played beach vball in many years. I had a hard time getting used to it again—the sand was way hot, and too hard in most places. That day though, everything came together perfectly: it had rained a bit the night before, so even though the sun was out, the sand was nice and cool. So for the first time this summer I had fun diving and rolling and getting dirty.

Solar eclipse, August 21

I honestly don’t remember ever witnessing a solar eclipse before. They must have happened, right? Just maybe not where I lived? Anyway, we got a 90% or so total solar eclipse in Vancouver that day, and most of the office went up to see it, with all the rigs you’re supposed to have to avoid watching it directly. The science is absolutely fascinating, but the actual experience was a little underwhelming. It did get somewhat dimmer and cooler, but less than I expected for 90% totality. The distorted shadows were hella neat though.

Sunset on English Bay, September 21

My god this city is beautiful.

Downtown from Granville Bridge, October 4

The perfect, magical, time of day where it’s light enough for my camera to get details, but late enough that everything is a bit mysterious and golden.

Mellow yellow, October 17

Since I’ve got cherry blossoms I can’t ignore autumn, can I?

Strathcona at night, November 17

One of the last photos I took with my old Galaxy S5. It looked a bit too dark at first, but I love it. It’s got a warm, homey feel, and a chiaroscuro kind of thing going on.

Gastown steam clock, November 28

I was still getting used to my new phone, so I could not believe how well this photo turned out. Of course I took care to shoot it right (many times), waiting for the steam to drift in the most photogenic way possible… but damn. That there is a gorgeous pic, I tell ya.

Morning on Nelson Street, December 11

Good morning to you too!

Sienna Blaze and Stephen Scaccia, December 14

I knew going in that I’d be posting pictures of the VGVA Xmas party, and I figured I probably wouldn’t post just one. Here are the evening’s main entertainers spreading some Christmas cheer. I’m not used to taking photos of people so I’m quite pleased how they turned out. Also pleased to have a proper camera in my phone because my old one would not have done these fine people justice.

New Year’s Eve

And the whole thing starts again next year…