Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Memories with Ornaments 2014

A little whimsy goes a long way in preserving the magic of Christmas, a time when we can suspend our disbelief. This is a short post to wish you happy memories of the season.

A Moose, to represent the cool, cool north rests against a Merry Christmas sign.

Christmas Moose collectible, photo by DG Hudson
 
 
 
Shepherds guard their flocks from wolves and other predators. The Santa Shepherd below guards his 'motley' crew of sheep as well, made by four different crafters.
 
 
Santa Shepherd and Sheep, by DG Hudson
 
 
A mantel Santa gathers with Norwegian wood Santas, a Santa toy that moves, a fancy gift box from Paris, France and a handmade sign, North Pole.
 
 
Shelf Santa with other Collectibles, by DG Hudson
 
 
 
The flexible Santa below keeps company with a felt mouse on the same mantel. All these little Santas remind me to smile and look forward to another year. I collect angels too, since we always had one at the top of our tree during my childhood.
 
Soft Santa for the Mantel, by DG Hudson

 
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!
May you enjoy your time with family and friends.
 
 
***
 
Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for visiting and always count your blessings. You know what they are.
 
Also, these items were purchases or gifts, crafted by other people.  Photos by DG Hudson, 2014.
 
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hospital Life, Paramedics and Advocacy - One Viewpoint

What if you or someone you loved ended up in one of these? This is a typical hospital bed.


Creative Commons Image, Public Domain use*


Do Not Assume

Illness or injury could affect you or your loved ones at any time. Being informed is one step in the process of getting quality care. The information in this post is specific to Canadian hospitals, in particular in transition units, but is generally applicable in the US as well, and concerns dealing with staff in hospital care and advocacy for the patient. This does not refer to independently funded, private hospitals, which have different guidelines and rate scales.

Know Your Rights and Advocate for the Patient

Incompetent and autocratic nurses may try to order you out of the room, OR use old practices such as mixing old food with new food for patients on liquid feed solutions. This practice was changed once it was questioned. You have a right to stay in the patient's room if you want to, so state your intention. Some staff do not like being observed in the care they provide, hence they ask the family or loved ones to leave. Your not being there can result in undue roughness, unsuitable comments to or about the patient, or mistreatment of the patient (with no explanations).

Do not be intimidated by doctors or nurses. Shoddy care can result in the spreading of hospital-incubated illnesses. I've seen the result of poor sanitation and not reading a patient's chart. Ask questions. Ask for upgrades in food given to patient - swallowing tests, dietary considerations, OR request more physio, doctors to check ailments, more training for patient, and progress) Keep a journal of patient's progress if stay is prolonged. Record names so you can be specific when making a complaint.

Be Aware

Find out what resources are available when you have a problem with how your patient is being treated. Demand proper treatment by contacting the appropriate personnel. Meet the Nurse practitioner who works with the patients. Social workers are available at hospital locations. They act a liaisons for the patients, family members and the hospital. This is specific to the health industry. Be wary of nurses or care aides trying to teach the patient  (dementia, brain trauma or injury patients) when they aren't qualified. They can cause confusion on the part of patient.

Advocate for the patient, speak up directly to the staff and when that is ignored, go above their level of  responsibility. Some doctors have made inappropriate comments to worried family members, and some senior nurses in particular remember the days when nursing staff ruled the corridors secondly after doctors. They do not like the fact that family can now be in attendance nearly all the time and observe firsthand the care given. 

Finally, if all options are exhausted, there is the formal complaint process. Dealing directly with the specific unit in the care location is preferable.

The Good Guys

Paramedics and emergency personnel save the day, IMO, as do the attentive care aides and nurses who show compassion and will discuss the care of the patient, without just wanting to check off 'done' on their patient charts.  Many times when the vocally 'short-staffed' nurses ignored the patient's call bell, it was the care aides that saved the day and treated the patient with more respect. Having a family member there to translate from the patient to the staff what is needed is most valuable in these situations.

In these days of cuts to hospital funding, the family is drawn more and more into doing the job (or assisting) nursing staff at rehab places and in hospital transit units. Waiting for the nurses for assistance with basic requests usually means inattentive care for the patient's most basic needs. Be prepared to devote a certain amount of time to the person in hospital care. Side issues to consider are parking fees, and your own health during a stressful and demanding time. You may have to deal with administration issues concerning the family member, adding to the stress

I saw the difference in how a patient is cared for when no family members were around, as I was in attendance for 5-8 hours a day, all days of the week. I gathered a complete image of care except for the wee hours of the morning. There seems to be little awareness that the aging population is a coming trend.


The Bare Facts: Examples of the Bad


Nurses not reading reports, but asking family members

Too much sedation given without consulting family or family doctor

Suggestions not appropriate'The patient could have had a stroke' after too much sedation, OR 'some just let them go-regarding feeding processes

Staff Demands for family to leave the room for any procedures during normal care

Care Aides who try to teach patients and confuse them

Restraints too tight which leave 'embossing on skin', which are used for 'safety'

Staff ignoring the call bells of patients, while they chat or update records at nursing station

Lack of attention to patients at risk, resulting in falls, then blaming the family member

Staff speaking inappropriately to family members or arguing re-requests for patient care

***

Have you observed behavior that isn't appropriate in a hospital setting for yourself or a loved one? Do you know who to contact? Have you had an incident with a careless health professional? Do you think our health care industry is in trouble yet? Will health care be adequate to handle the aging population we hear so much about?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll reply. Thanks for dropping by. In this post, I'm referring to the treatments of ailments other than the high profile cancer units, or children's hospitals which seem to do a better job and get more funding. 

***

References

* Hospital Bed Image: Creative Commons, Public Domain  This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

***

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween 2014 - Gothic South Tales

On All Hallows Eve,
Don't look Up, or Within. . .



Abandoned House, USA, WC-PD*

The house in this reminiscing isn't the one above, but was built in the mid-1870s or sometimes after the Civil War in the US. I lived there at one time, when the paint was fresh, and repairs were kept up. Grandmother saw to it with her four young sons. 

Thanks, all you elders of the southern clans, emigrated from Scotland, for continuing the practice of trying to scare each other with tall tales (or were they?). . .The stories that make me think of ghosts and spirits who wander in the night, but seldom in the day. They secret themselves in closets I avoid opening, walk across deserted verandahs and sit in the porch swings after everyone has gone to bed. The tales told by our grandparents on hot summer nights rocking on the front porch were eagerly listened to by the wee children sitting nearby, tired from play.

There are currents that emanate from certain parts of the old house I remember. Some places in that house felt like portals to another realm. The landing is one of the strong places, the under-stairs closet is another, and that one back room with the window always locked. I can't go into the room next to the under-stairs closet. The belongings of a dear member of the family were stored in that room before my family moved into a different house. Spirits that pass unsettled tend to hang around locations familiar to them.

But back to the landing and the stairs. There was a family story about a man, one of the previous owners, who hung himself in the landing halfway up to the second floor. He was devastated by the death of his beloved brother, killed by a rogue lightning strike. He was the last of their family. No other relatives, if there were any, ever came to check into his demise.

Why do I think of these things when I must pass by that very place? I duck my head so I won't imagine the body swinging there, the shoe grazing my shoulder. I dare not look up, the light is too dim. 

At the time of the supposed hanging, a beam ran along the upper ceiling, fifteen feet above the landing, but there was no evidence of how he managed it.  His body was found dangling a couple of days later when a neighbor came to check why the house was so quiet and dark. The police crawled all over the place, but could find no evidence of foul play.

What's worse, it's Halloween and that's when the veils thin between this world and the other realms, when spirits become able to visit those they left behind. I hear my cat's meow and pick her up and cuddle her. That helps somewhat, but she seems apprehensive too. I'm sure cats sense those from the other side. I close the curtains and the blinds, so I won't see anything in the windows and I don't look at mirrors on this night, especially in this house.

All Hallows' Eve is not remembered at it once was, but it still owns power. This house structure still stands, but it's been renovated, so most wouldn't recognize it. But, I can tell and it's over the same plot of ground.  I wonder if the new owners have cleansed the spirits from the place, or if they can. . .

Partly based on true events, partly not.  I won't say which. . .

***
How about you? Visited any haunted houses? Or remembered stories told by our parents and grandparents? Do you have a costume for Halloween? What was your favorite costume?

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

***

For more ghostly tales, see The Rainforest Writing Blog for the monthly challenge of WEP, aka Write...Edit...Publish.

Last year's Halloween offering - http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2013_10_01_archive.html

***

*WC-PD NOTE:
http://abnf.co/Ohio.htm Photo credit, free use image, used to set the mood. Not the actual house, as the real place on which this story is based has been renovated extensively and has a new owner.

For a Canadian flavor in haunting, peruse this list:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_reportedly_haunted_locations_in_Canada

***

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Louvre - Sculpture Confirms An Era


Bigger than life and meant to impress. . ..at the Louvre Museum, Paris.



Antiquities, Louvre Museum, by DG Hudson


Sculpture and massive stone monuments confirm man has existed for centuries, even perhaps many thousands of years. Just as some museums feature bones of reptilian dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures to show Earth inhabitants long ago, it gives man a sense of security to know that even though dynasties and empires thrived and fell, their art survived.  Proof of existence.

Why so large? Monolithic size could be seen from a distance and implied greatness on the part of the person who commissioned the sculpture. Perhaps the image above was to adorn an entrance to a temple, tomb or royal building.

***


Sentinels on Guard
Sphinx styled




Sentries in the Louvre, by DG Hudson


Repetitive patterns such as the sentries imply order and make for interesting images. The work would have been done with ancient techniques yet they achieved such regularity. The workers were probably many and had no choice in assisting. In modern times, we speculate and study records to learn how such art came to be.

***


A Parade of Man and Horse



An Antiquity Globe with Circular Pattern, The Louvre, Paris, by DG Hudson


All images were found in the Antiquities section of the Louvre Museum. I didn't specify which historical areas as displays may change and my purpose was to see as much as I could of such a treasure trove of history and art.
 
***

Art with Inscriptions





These creations of Antiquity document a time when objects were made to last. When man destroys these icons of existence, what do they prove except their own destructive tendencies and lack of understanding of history and its consequences. Museums protect our history and keep it alive for future generations.  To see it firsthand is to learn.  To learn is to broaden your mind.

****

Do you enjoy history or museums whether anthropology or art? Do you like sculpture? Modern (Picasso or Zadkine) or Antiquity or all sculpture? If you're not a fan of sculpture or 'old' art, you can say that, too.

Hope you enjoyed this peek into the Antiquities at the Louvre Museum. Please leave a comment to let me know you were here. I'll respond, and thanks for dropping by!

****

Additional Posts

The Louvre Museum from the A to Z Blog Challenge
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/04/l-louvre-museum-to-z-blog-challenge.html

Paris Posts (a page of links to posts and images)
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/p/paris-posts.html 

More Louvre Museum statuary
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/03/statuary-at-louvre-study-in-stone.html

PARIS - Antiquities and Bastet at the Louvre
http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2014/01/paris-antiquities-at-louvre.html

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

PARIS - Outtakes and Museum Art

So much to see, so little time. . .
 
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
 
A boulevard in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées runs from the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles De Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is located. Along the way many interesting and unique sights are visible. In the image below  an entrance gate with detailed styling catches the attention of passers-by. Paris excels in wrought iron work.
  
 
A Parisian Gate along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, by DG Hudson


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Versailles

Back Garden, Long View


Versailles, France - the back gardens, by DG Hudson



The gardens at Versailles are magnificent, but don't step on the grass, as the security guards are always attentive. That's what I heard from someone else who had been there and was reprimanded with French fervour. Considering how many tourists visit and how many may or may not be considerate, it is likely a requirement to preserve the beauty. The walk is long, but this was entertainment for the royals and the court.

***


Designer Mini-Display
from the 20th Century


 
Lanvin miniature display at the Carnavalet Musee, by DG Hudson
 
 
There were not so many 'designers' as there are today when the label, Lanvin, was in its heyday. The display above was shown at the Carnavalet Musee, Paris. Fashion is another byword in France, thanks to Coco Chanel, Lanvin, Dior, etc.
 
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Carnavalet Musee, top of the stairs, by DG Hudson



A wall Mural graces the top of the stairs in the museum. How many of the faces in the painting were of guests at the house or the owners? It's interesting to speculate, but murals were intended to reduce blank spaces and add interest for guests.


***

What have you seen lately by walking around your neighborhood? Or cruising the internet? How great would it be to have murals on the walls of your residence?

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

***
References:

Carnavalet Musee, an 'a to z' post
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/04/c-carnavalet-museum-z-blog-challenge.html

Versailles, also 'a to z' post
http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/04/v-versailles-palace-to-z-challenge.html

***

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pick Up Sticks, Hand-carved - A Photo Study

There are many uses for sticks, something any child and any dog can relate to.  Sticks appeal to anyone who needs the help of a walking stick, or likes one for hiking. Think Gandalf and wooden swords.

Hand carving produced these sticks shown here, a hobby that hubs just started doing in the summer of 2013 when we picked up a few branches that had fallen. After that, we acquired some more branches from a vacant lot next to a friend's house, and trimmings left near some of our walks. The wood used for these sticks was 'found' wood, not purchased.


A sampling of the Collection


Hand-Carved Wooden Swords, and Walking Sticks, photo by DG Hudson



There are three wooden swords in the first photo, and hubs has also fashioned a few wooden knives, suitable for use as props perhaps. There were drumsticks for a musician friend, and magic wands for those who needed one. (we are Harry Potter fans. . .) He liked the creation process and everything was hand done, carefully hand-sanded, stained with tea stain or for the dark areas, a purchased stain. Each is protected with a varnish finish to protect the stain and provide some weatherproofing.


***

Details

Detail of carved sticks, photo by DG Hudson


The yellow stain on some of the tops of the sticks, in the photo below, was created by soaking a few threads of saffron in water and using that as a stain. Depending on the amount of tea stain applied, nice shadowing results on the natural air-dried wood. Some effects result from leaving the layer underneath the outer bark in place, as it will retain the stain differently.



Carved wood collection, prop of DG Hudson
 
 
 
 
More Detail 

Basic Staffs and Walking sticks, photo by DG Hudson


These photos illustrate something you can do to occupy idle hands or just for the thrill of hand-carving something that is pleasant to look at and possibly useful. I had planned to show these prior to hubs' illness, as he agreed. We are not taking orders or selling anything, this is simply a sharing of hobby ideas. I am the recipient of two walking sticks and one French style sword. The time may come when I need them. . .

***
Do you have a hobby or skill that you use to produce gifts or interesting things? Do you like walking sticks or a staff (like Gandalf used)? 

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

***

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

PARIS - Aerial Street Views and the Étoile


From the Arc de Triomphe and the Étoile, the pattern of the streets radiate outward and buildings must adapt. The trimmed chestnut trees lining the boulevards soften the effect until winter comes.


Paris - Streets and Architecture from the Arc de Triomphe by DG Hudson


The Étoile (renamed the Place Charles de Gaulle*) forms the center with the Arc de Triomphe rising majestically above. Architectural conformity creates pie-shaped wedges, altogether a pleasing pattern from above, and not as noticeable at ground level. In the top horizon on the left of the photo above is the hill of Montmartre and the outline of Sacre Coeur.

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The Long View




The straight line effect was intentional to allow a free flow of military parades and were part of the Haussmann plan for fixing some of Paris' major convoluted streets. Georges-Eugène Haussmann, commonly known as Baron Haussmann was appointed by Napoleon III to renovate the older streets. 

Wide boulevards allowed the military good line of sight and eradicated unwanted elements of society along with decaying buildings and impassable winding streets. Originally these accommodated carriages and later vehicles as seen in the images.

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A sense of order





On the left in the image above, you see the stone edges of the Arc de Triomphe top level as I needed to photograph between the restraining bars on the top level of the monument.


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At ground level

Back on the street, this is what it looks as you circle the Arc de Triomphe on left. Round and round they go, with up to ten lanes of determined drivers. This is an orderly version shown below. (One driver told us, you must be somewhat aggressive, and pretend you don't see the other drivers. That sounds like a lot of places. . .)






NotePlace Charles de Gaulle came into existence as the Étoile, translated as 'Square of the Star' and includes the Champs-Élysées. It was renamed in 1970 after the death of General and President Charles de Gaulle. It is still referred to by many using it's original name, and a nearby metro station shows 'Charles de Gaulle - Étoile'. The historical axis of the monuments (Axe historique) cuts through the center of the Arc de Triomphe.


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Do you like aerial views? Are you interested in the layout of various cities, and how architecture can emphasize the design? Would you climb the 300 plus steps to get to the top for these views?

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

***
References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Place_Charles_de_Gaulle Place Charles de Gaulle or Étoile

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges-Eug%C3%A8ne_Haussmann Details on Haussmann

***

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!
 
***

References:

The Stuart River
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/heritage_rivers_program/bc_rivers/stuart_river.html

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.

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/heritage_rivers_program/ 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.

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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.

***

References:

Wiki on the Dry Tortugas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_Tortugas

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

More Fort Jefferson
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.

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Scrape

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


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Waterfowl

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)

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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.

***

References:

Photo credit: Waterfowl photos printed by permission of Neens, the owner of these images.
 
Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary Wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_C._Reifel_Migratory_Bird_Sanctuary 

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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.


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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


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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!

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References

A Monty Python skit of The Lumberjack song: Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zey8567bcg&feature=kp 

Wiki of the song
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lumberjack_Song 

Wiki for Grouse Mountain
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grouse_Mountain 

The website
https://www.grousemountain.com/ 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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References:

http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2011/12/paris-walks.html 
Paris stories - original mention of The Wall-Passer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_passer-through-walls Wiki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherchez_la_femme Definition of this phrase

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