Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Not the Perseids

I hauled myself out of a warm bed at 1:30am. The Perseid Meteor Shower reached it's peak sometime early this morning...
Not the Perseids
I saw quite a few nice meteors, but I had no luck capturing one with my camera. A wider angle lens would have helped as I was only able to photograph a tiny slice of the sky at any one moment. Consequently, I only saved one of my dozens of photos. I spent most of my time staring at Capella (part of Auriga and the brightest dot-left 1/3) and the Pleiades (or the 7 sisters-right 4/5). Perseus (where the Perseids appear to radiate from) is basically the center of the top of this photograph.

The above photo illustrates the main two contributing factors that made capturing a meteor difficult on this, my first solid attempt. Perseus is in the north-east part of the sky. It was only really dark for a few hours. At this time of year the sun doesn't get too far below the horizon. Made for a really long sunrise, though. Also, it was overcast during much of the prime darkness.

Something about lemons and lemonade... blah, blah... so...
Had a great time, but WOW! Was I ever tired this morning?

Yes, I was.

I tried a few different angles and camera settings during the sunrise. Not sure which ones to keep.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Glacier National Park, MT

We have just arrived home from our family vacation to Glacier National Park, Montana. As you have come to expect... there are pictures ;)

We didn't get too far on our first day. A friend of Wendy's was having a surprise wedding in Regina and we decided we could spare a day of our trip to attend. We booked in at the Travel Lodge because they claimed to have the largest waterslide in Regina. Anwyn had her heart set on another awesome water park like we found last year at Lost Island, but she had to settle for quite a bit less. The slide was good looking, but sucked for 13 and 14 7/8 year olds.

The wedding was low key. It was nice to see Karen so happy and I took some pictures for her. The most notable thing for me was that the external flash for my camera "popped". That's pretty much the sound it made as the bulb inside exploded. Needless to say, it somewhat limited my lighting options during the rest of the trip.

On day 2 we made a bee-line for British Columbia. Just this side of Swift Current is when the second "pop" happened. My first ever tire blow out. It was also a fine time for the van's jack to malfunction. I was able to get the tire changed, but only just barely. It was a Sunday and my options of where to buy a new tire were limited. In the end I reluctantly allowed Walmart to come to my aid.

The girls didn't mind. They took the diversion as an opportunity to mess around as I changed the tire, purchased new tires for the rear, bought a new tire jack and generally fussed around.

For this trip I had challenged the rest of the family to a photo contest and Anwyn really did her best for a couple of days to try and contribute (handily winning the first day). She is really developing an eye for story-telling.
Leo's Favourite Boots on Fence
We ran into some bad weather on the highway but, when the sun broke through the clouds for a moment, it gave me a chance to catch some really dramatic lighting in this field.
By the end of this cursed day, we made it to Fernie, BC. We stayed at a wonderful place called the Lizard Creek Lodge. Wendy and I enjoyed the outdoor hot tub with mountain view and the girls reveled in each having their own queen sized bed in their loft.
The border crossing was uneventful and after much road construction we made it to the park and our campground, Apgar. We arrived at the same time as Brad and Simona made short work of our site setup.
The first evening had a fun sunset and Wen and I walked the beach and took some great pictures.
Wendy photobombing an Ansel Adams picture
Another Quest book cover. Should probably write something then...
Our next day we went into town for coffee and headed to Big Mountain and the Whitefish Mountain Resort. There are plenty of things to do in the summer and we spent the whole day hiking and playing.

There was a gondola ride to the top of one mountain. The others rode up and I decided to put my stair training to use and run up. It was pretty ambitious and I was exhausted, but I had a great time (figuratively speaking).

Title:Danny On memorial hiking trail (2013-07-30 11:48:12AM)
Date:2013-07-30 11:48:12 AM CST
Distance:6.23 km
Time:01:10:52
Average Speed:5.3 km/h
Max Speed:12.0 km/h
Ascent:756.01 m
Min/Max Altitude:1,417.79 m, 2,056.99 m

You can download a .kml file of my route on the Danny On Memorial Trail and open it in Google Earth if you like. Or, I could save you time and post a Google map. I was on the aqua line. My competitors on the red. They beat me with time to spare for lunch and a museum tour.

View Danny On Memorial Hiking Trail in a larger map

After a 10 minute breather, I accompanied everyone on a hike back down. Wendy said I should always run up a mountain before doing something physical with others. Apparently it makes me easier to deal with ;)
The Hills Are Alive...
Leo gets all Laura Croft on the race track

Our major activity on the next day was white water rafting. None of us fell in, but there were several peaceful stretches where we were allowed to dive in for a cool down. It's a good thing it was hot out because the water was COLD!
On our last full day the girls explored Apgar village, Brad, Wendy and I relaxed around the campsite while Simona attempted to take a shuttle bus up Going to Sun Road. It was low key and much more like what Wendy prefers in her camping.

In the afternoon I discovered that I could rent a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Despite threatening clouds, I took the risk and rented it overnight so we could use it during the best times of day for the lake: evening and morning. The evening was perfect weather and we all took turns learning a new balancing skill. Everyone was very careful and managed to not fall in. I was less careful and fell in repeatedly.

We all enjoyed the SUP but, Wendy absolutely loved it. It really gets you close to the water and she felt that it was a very natural way to be on the lake. I just thought it was fun, so I did a headstand. 


It rained that night and the following morning. The SUP was just as fun in the rain. After returning it, we broke camp and drove home. It was a looong drive and we consumed awful road food. We were rewarded with a pretty awesome prairie sunset. I really miss those when I'm away.


100+ photos await the chronically bored.