Hike to Saint Marks Summit

I haven’t been hiking much this year, such is the life with young twins.  I look forward to the day they can join me, but for now the tougher hikes have to be without them.  Since it’s now fall, I figured this weekend was one of my last chances to get up into the mountains.  I decided to try Saint Marks Summit, which is close to Vancouver and only 11km so something I could finish before lunch.  I roped my friend Andrew into joining me, and he brought along his great awesome dog Genny. [See previous hikes in Lynn Valley, the Chief, and the Lions.] The overall route is 11km round trip, and it took us almost exactly two hours to get to the summit.  In total, it was a four hour hike with close to 30 minutes at the summit.  On a clear day, you may want to spend more time at the top, but as you will see from the photos today was not such a day.  Feel free to browse these sites for details on the hike: Trail Peak, Vancouver Trails, Live Trails.  The route to Saint Marks is just part of a longer trail called the Howe Sound Crest trail which will take you past the Lions and eventually Porteau Cove. My map of the route, it is very well marked, look for the signs and the orange trail markers. You start off in the Cypress Mountain parking lot, head to the far north of the lot and up towards the chair lifts.  You will stay to the left and look for a route marker saying “Howe Sound Crest Trail”. For the first half, the trail gains elevation but it’s well maintained (and they continue to upgrade this trail). Eventually though, the upgrades end and the trail becomes more natural.     Can you spot Genny? After two hours, you reach the summit.  From other photos I have seen the view is stunning.  For us, we were socked in with heavy cloud cover.   A panorama, iPhone vs Nikon Not the easiest descent.  On the way down we passed a yahoo wearing flip flops!  I really couldn’t believe he made it as far as he did, and I’m sure his footwear will get destroyed and he will have to complete his journey barefoot.  These are the types of people North Shore Search and Rescue have to go pull down off the mountain. Probably my favorite photo from the trip. Then the weather started to fog my lens, so I packed it in from that...

Harvest Moon 2016

On September 16, we had a full moon which was also our harvest moon.  The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the fall equinox (Sept. 22nd).  Since it was a beautiful clear night, I thought I would test out the Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 VR lens.  Here is the shot, which isn’t too bad for a relatively inexpensive lens (and Nikon...

The Art of GUY LARAMEE

A talented artist who works in several mediums.  His book carvings caught my eye, very unique and interesting.  Worth a visit to see the rest of his collection.  Visit Guy Laramee’s website....

The Best Photography Tips, Tricks, and Hacks of 2011...

LifeHacker has pulled together their top photography related tips into one post. Worth a visit to pick up some good info. Visit the LifeHacker Post.

LIFE Magazine’s Best-Ever Photos

LIFE magazine is celebrating their 75th anniversary with some interesting photo galleries. LIFE’s 37 Best-Ever Science Photos: key moments in science. The 75 Best LIFE Photos: sport, art, science, war, and more. Inspiring and interesting, worth a visit.    

‘Brinicle’ Ice Finger of Death

The BBC has the most amazing footage of the natural world.  I own several of their sets, including Blue Planet and Planet Earth. If you haven’t seen them, I recommend you do. This short video is another great sequence that few could capture.  It shows an ice ‘Brinicle’ forming under the Antarctic ice sheet, you can read more about it here. BBC prevents embedding, view the video on their site here.

Air Gap Flash & Alan Sailer’s Photostream...

I have seen a lot of good high speed photography, but Alan Sailer has some of the most interesting shots out there.  These shots are taken using some specialized equipment, including an ‘air gap flash’.  I have never heard of this device until today, and apparently it’s a DIY flash that has the potential to kill you.  Standard flashes (Canon, Nikon) have a minimum duration of 1/40,000th of a second.  It seems short, but when photographing bullets it’s an eternity.  At 1000 feet/second (not that fast in bullet terms), that bullet can travel 1/3rd of an inch so it’s more of a streak in the image than a bullet frozen in time.  This air gap flash can have a flash duration of 1/1,000,000th of a second (about 25x faster than a standard flash). You can make your own air gap flash by following the directions here.  However, if you don’t know how to work with high voltage, don’t even try.  As the author of the site says “you should not build this because this flash will kill you”.  What you essentially make is a 35,000 volt capacitor that releases a 1.5″ spark across a gap.  If you don’t know what you are doing, that voltage will be released into your body and you won’t be around to tell anyone how that felt.  So don’t build it, but do read about it, it’s an interesting device. This is what the air gap flash looks like when complete. As far as the images you can capture with it, here are a few samples. Christmas bulb filled with gelatin and shot with a marble.   Hot dog shot with a pellet gun. To see more of Alan’s great work, visit his Flickr Photostream.  He has a ton of amazing photos there and doesn’t just shoot things with a gun.  He has an air cannon that is used to shoot a lime through a piece of beef or a ping pong ball through fruit.  Definitely worth a visit....

Peter Jackson reveals the Red Epic secrets behind The Hobbit...

Looks like The Hobbit will be filmed in 3D using a whole bunch of Red Epic cameras.  Check out the link below to see the 3D rig they put together, very cool.  They are also shooting everything at 5K and 48 frames per second.  Should be a visually amazing movie. Engadget Link w/ Video

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