Friday, August 22, 2014

Environmental Concerns - Protect the Waters

Industry or the Environment?

Since oil companies can't promise they can contain and clean up a spill (in a volatile moving source like rivers, inlets and oceans), why was the approval given to Northern Gateway pipeline in June? That set the stage for a contest of wills.

Our lands, waterways and coastal areas in British Columbia will suffer the aftermath of any problem resulting from 'accidents', not the companies or provinces wanting a corridor to the shipping facilities. Spills and leaks happen. Cleanup and dealing with the aftermath can take a long, long time. Finding someone to take responsibility for the problem involves much finger pointing and shifting of blame.

Harbour Waters, Vancouver, BC, by DG Hudson

Whose water is it?

There are some who care what an oil spill might do to a community of people who depend on the waters and its cleanliness. The Nak'azdli First Nation is one of the groups that would be at risk. A battle will ensue between the industry and those who believe we should protect the resources from government and development intervention.

The climate is already changing. Do we want to hasten it by giving industry the chance to further pollute the waters we and other species depend upon? Shipping containers and tankers have developed leaks for various reasons. Does anyone inspect them other than their owners?  'Oops, mea culpa' is not good enough.

Note: The inspiration for this post came from the Vancouver Sun newspaper reference shown below.


The Stuart River

Located in central British Columbia west of Prince George, the Stuart River flows over 110 km from Stuart Lake to its junction with the Nechako River. The river drains off a portion of the Nechako Plateau.

This area is a wildlife habitat with deer, moose, elk, and trumpeter swans. In the river are sturgeon and high-quality sockeye salmon. This is also an area rich in history and archaeological sites of First Nations Carrier people. An ancient village exists near the joining of the Nechako and Stuart rivers.

Historically, the Stuart River was the route used by explorer Simon Fraser and the New Caledonia fur traders. Paddlewheelers plied the rivers in the early 1900s to supply the nearby Fort St. James and other fur trading outposts. It is also the home of the Nak'azdli First Nation.

Freighter in the Harbour, taken from Ferry, by DG Hudson

What do you think about it? Is the prevailing attitude to let the following generations worry about it?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by!


The Stuart River

Newspaper article
The Vancouver Sun, front page news, Saturday, August 16, 2014.  Centre of Gateway resistance, The Nak'azdli First Nation is part of the Alliance opposed to Enbridge's Northern Gateway oil pipeline. Also: There will be no pipeline, section A10, by Gord Hoekstra, also in The Vancouver Sun. British Columbia Heritage Rivers Program


Monday, August 4, 2014

Location in Photography - What does it tell us?

Places can suggest story ideas or speculate on the people who inhabit these areas.

Up in these heights. . .wildlife roams and humans on the run hide in the heavily treed crevasses. Hunters and trackers know these mountains.

Winter Landscape near Merritt, BC, Canada, by DG Hudson

The color image above of British Columbia interior mountains looks as if it's black and white or Monochrome. As for the weather, it was a very grey day sapping the skies of the sun that would highlight the color of the evergreens.


A Bridge runs above this scene

Steam is the only thing moving in the railway yard image below.

Steam Engine, New Westminster, under Queensborough Bridge by Green Eye

Railcars on the left side appear to be either left for hook-and-haul rail companies OR it's rolling at a slow pace. Imagine the hissing of the steam and the huge steam engine motors amping up as the traffic roars across on the bridge above this scene.

What you don't show can be just as telling as what you choose to highlight.

Meet me at the General Store. . .

The equivalent of a corner store in the interior of British Columbia. That rectangular box looking thing is a telephone booth on the right side of the building, for those not recognizing such an entity. This is a combination gas pump, grocery and general store. A welcome site to the weary traveler or the locals coming for gas.

Winter at the General Store, Interior BC, by DG Hudson

What if there were a murder close to this location? What if the owner is the perpetrator? Or does the tracking team meet here to go into the mountains to look for the murderer in his hideout? That's what isolated locations suggest to me. . .maybe I've read too many suspense tales.


How much importance do you give to location?  Is setting or location important in your story? Do you photograph interesting sites for future use as inspiration or 'just in case'.

As a blogger, I always consider that I might want to use an image for a post.

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here. I'll respond!
I'm slow blogging and still trying to visit other blogs for August, as I tend to personal matters close to home. Also, a BIG thanks to those who have been so supportive regarding hubs. It helps.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

History - Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas

An isolated fort 70 miles away from nearest land, a place where everything had to be brought by ship. This fort was established to be a guardian for the young USA.

Fort Jefferson
The Dry Tortugas

Lower Archways of  Ft. Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, by DG Hudson

The cannon slots in the end wall are narrowed to keep out the enemy's cannonballs, but the range of the cannons firing was limited from those locations. Wide areas such as those above were more suited to moving of military equipment and supplies within the structure.

Parade Ground and Courtyard
circa 2006
Fort Jefferson marching grounds, black Lighthouse on right, by DG Hudson


Two level archways in the rainy mist overlook deserted grounds at Fort Jefferson. Park employees live here for several weeks at a time to assist with tour information and oversee repairs and restoration. Hurricanes and storms have caused damage to the fort as recently as 2004.

Fort Jefferson, The Dry Tortugas, by DG Hudson

Fort Jefferson Moat

From this point of view, the fort does look like the prison that it was. High walls, small windows and a place for security guards to observe on the upper level. But where would any escapees go without a boat?

Fort Jefferson Moat, Dry Tortugas Nat'l Park by DG Hudson


Do you like to explore historical locations? Have you ever 'motored' south of Miami to Key West? Do you take adventure tours to offshore spots like the Dry Tortugas?

Please leave a comment to let me know you dropped by, and I'll respond. I'm blogging slower through the month of August, but I will post when I can.



Wiki on the Dry Tortugas

For more blog information on Fort Jefferson refer to a previous post
Key West, Florida - A Vacation to Remember

More Fort Jefferson,_Florida


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Photography - Capturing Animal and Bird Images

Frame, check focus and click. That's it. Take another image at a different angle, repeat. Before digital, photo bracketing helped ensure the photographer had several different light levels and poses. Taking several images of the subject will give you better photos if you change position or lighting in each. There are some things to be aware of while photographing--background, positioning of the subject, and point of view or angle of the camera. Here are some examples.



This stallion's portrait was taken for the owner of the horse. He was in the process of training Scrape, since the young horse had a knack of getting himself into scrapes. . .  He's relaxed in this photo, because he's at home in his own corral, that's part of the fencing you see in the background. The natural setting keeps the image uncluttered.

'Scrape', Willie's horse, by DG Hudson



Viewpoint can present an entirely different look, so try an overhead shot of the subjects. In this case, ducks indigenous to the Lower Mainland are feeding. Feather patterns and coloring become prominent. Centering the ducks is a great way to frame a motley group. Click quick as these subjects are very mobile.

Ducks by Neens; printed by permission 2014, DGH

Ducks are sociable, especially when food is being shared. These mallards and females stop long enough to pose. Framing this shot close to the action (duck-level) gives an immediacy to the viewer. The effusive color of the heads, bills and feet brightens the image. For professional use, you may want to crop out the human element, highlighting the main subject.

Mallards and Friends, by Neens; printed by permission 2014. DGH


In the photo shown below, the bird has been framed slightly off-center so the Sandhill Crane is prominent and the mallard is in the background. This photo is landscape oriented; use the portrait orientation if the subject is tall. Be quick when photographing nature. Try not to disturb them if they are feeding.  

I accidentally created a fantastic 'ducks in flight shot' by opening an automatic umbrella at our local lake, also a city bird sanctuary. A beautiful-to-humans, heart-stopping-to-ducks flutter arose at that end of the lake. I felt guilty scaring the ducks as the umbrella opened with a Whoosh! I felt even worse that I was holding the umbrella instead of my camera.

The images of waterfowl in the last three photos were taken by photographer Neens at a bird sanctuary in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, B.C. Information follows.

Sandhill Crane, by Neens; printed by permission 2014, DGH

George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, is a protected area in Delta, British Columbia, Canada. This is a suburb of Vancouver and part of the estuary of the Fraser River. It is also a Site of Hemispheric Importance as designated by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. (Wiki)


Do you visit bird sanctuary or animal preserves? Are there any in the area where you live? Do you look for nature shots on your runs/walks? Have you had your vacation time?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and thanks for dropping by! I'll respond.



Photo credit: Waterfowl photos printed by permission of Neens, the owner of these images.
Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary Wiki 


Monday, June 23, 2014

VANCOUVER - Grouse Mountain and Carved Animals

Look North in Vancouver to see the nearby mountain lights hanging in the evening sky. Grouse Mountain is one set of lights in North Vancouver, located on the other side of the inlet.

Grouse Mountain

Exceeding 4000 ft. (1200 meters) in altitude at its peak, Grouse Mountain offers alpine skiing in the winter and hiking trails and other activities in summer and autumn. A breathtaking view awaits you. An occasional high-flyer is deposited via helicopter on the top of Grouse. Four chairlifts and 26 runs are approximately half an hour away from the city of Vancouver. The Grouse Grind is a popular trail for fitness enthusiasts, which runs directly up the fall line paralleling the gondola towers. Be sure to come prepared.

Grouse Mountain Tram, Vancouver's North Shore, by DG Hudson

Grouse Mountain had its first lodge built by hand by Scandinavians in the 1920s with wood they carted up themselves. In 1976, a second aerial tramway was built by 'Garaventa', which became known as the Super Skyride. This is now the main tramway, using much larger gondola cars and depositing passengers at a separate terminal. The main lodge is only accessible by tram, hiking trail or helicopter from the parking lot midway up the mountain.


Chainsaw Wood Carving
Grouse Mountain
Lining the pathways between various activities

Wood carving of Bear with Salmon, Grouse Mtn., by DG Hudson

A picturesque location, Grouse Mountain has been used in several productions:

- 1994 The X-Files episode of 'Ascension'.  Actor Duchovny dangled from a gondola in one scene. 
- The ski lodge and facilities were used in filming the cartoon, Mr. Magoo.
- Nelly Furtado, singer-songwriter, filmed the video for Spirit Indestructible at Grouse Mountain.

Regal Eagle with Fish, Grouse Mtn, North Vancouver by DG Hudson

Always check the website to plan your visit to Grouse Mountain.

Carved Bear, Grouse Mountain, N. Vancouver, by DG Hudson


Have you seen or visited Grouse Mountain? Do you like aerial views or are they vertigo-inducing?
Do you remember the story of Paul Bunyan, a giant lumberjack in American folk tales? (Before chainsaws) OR Have you heard of 'Monty Python' lumberjacks?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and thanks for stopping by. I'll respond!



A Monty Python skit of The Lumberjack song: Youtube 

Wiki of the song 

Wiki for Grouse Mountain 

The website 


Friday, June 13, 2014

PARIS - The Man Who Walked through Walls

The Passer-Through-Walls Or, the Wall-Passer
(Fr.=Le Passe-muraille)

The Wall-Passer Statue, story character, Montmartre, by DG Hudson

Caught in an element he heretofore could pass through, Dutilleul, is forever left to ponder his mistake. It all started when. . .

The Man Who Walked through Walls or The Walker-through-Walls, (various translations) is a short story published by Marcel Aymé in 1943. It inspired a few film adaptations as well.

The character, Dutilleul lived in Montmartre and had just turned 43, when he discovered a strange talent - the ability to pass effortlessly through walls. He asks a doctor about it, and receives pills guaranteed to fix the problem. They are never taken and are soon forgotten, as Dutilleul instead goes to Egypt where he meets and falls in love with a married woman. Cherchez la femme**? He comes and goes as he pleases when the woman's husband is away. He becomes complacent in his ability.

On the fateful occasion, he took a pill for his headache, the wrong pill. The medicine the doctor had given him suddenly took effect as he was passing through the outer wall. Dutilleul was trapped in the wall, where he remains to this day.

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
This is a summarized version. check wiki link under references for the complete story.


The Wall-Passer, Place Marcel Aymé, Montmartre, DG Hudson

The location of The Wall-Passer or Le Passe-muraille is at Rue Norvins/Place Marcel Aymé. We heard the story from our tour guide, an young American (ex-pat?) from St. Louis who now lived in Paris, because guess what - 'Cherchez la femme'. He had met a  French girl and decided to stay.


Have you heard the story of the Wall-Passer? Would you like this ability? Wouldn't it be great to have one of your characters made into a public commemorative statue? AND, What do you think of the use of the phrase, 'cherchez la femme' ?

**Interesting Definition

'Cherchez la femme' is a French phrase which literally means 'look for the woman'. This is used as an excuse for why a man acts out of character or in an otherwise strange manner. He is usually trying to hide an affair, trying to impress or gain favor with a woman. This expression comes from the 1854 novel and was used in the 1864 theatrical adaptation of The Mohicans of Paris, by Alexander Dumas. The phrase is repeated several times to emphasize the point.

'Cherchez la femme' has become a cliché of detective pulp fiction. It becomes easy to name this as the root cause of whatever problem or situation the male protagonist has at any given moment.
Note: This cliché appears a lot in literature and in real life.

Paris stories - original mention of The Wall-Passer Wiki Definition of this phrase


Sunday, June 1, 2014

French Historical Interiors - Art Moulding at Versailles

To have beauty in art and design where one cannot fully see it is a pity. The purpose was to impress in a setting of luxury. The following images are all from Versailles.

Ceiling Detail at Versailles, France, by DG Hudson

Plaster used for moldings is formed by mixing dry powder with water to form a paste. It can then be worked and shaped with metal tools and sandpaper to a specific shape. Plaster can refer to gypsum plaster (plaster of Paris), lime plaster, or cement plaster.

Ceiling Detail Closeup at Versailles, France, by DG Hudson

A large gypsum deposit in Montmartre in Paris led gypsum plaster to be commonly known as 'plaster of Paris'. Many great murals in Europe, such as the Sistine Chapel ceiling are painted in fresco, or the paint is applied to a thin layer of wet plaster. The pigments then merge with the plaster layer to form a very durable surface.

 The Louvre Museum also has extensive mouldings since it too was a palace.

These two images above and below show the intricate detail that can be carved or molded to fit the shape or size required. Plaster can be worked easier than stone or wood, and is lighter. Seeing the detail in the construction of such a grand palace helps us understand why the French treasury was drained in part by this project.

Versailles Ceiling Art and Mouldings, by DG Hudson

Click to see more Ceiling Art at Versailles


Are you interested in information about historical places? Do you get curious about how things are done? Have you visited Versailles? Any other castles or churches you have visited with interesting architecture and ceilings?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and thanks for dropping by! I'll respond.



Basic Plaster Wiki

A post on Ceiling art at Versailles and the Louvre Museum