Eyes full of wonder. What is that thing you keep pointing at my face?
Here’s a portrait of Sebastian from early May. He was a little sleepy, but his blank, wet, wide open eyes reveal an amazing play of colours. The ring of deep blue that dominated his eyes when he was born is gradually being pushed out of the way by a ring of brown spreading out from his pupil. There’s no doubt he inherited his mother’s eyes, both in size and colour. Her’s, however, were were brown from she was born; here, the brown has to assert dominance over the blue in a long drawn out war of positions. It seems inevitable, though, that the brown shall win; to the blue belongs but certain defeat, though not without honour, holding out so long against the dominant brown allele.
Middlesex College at the University of Western Ontario.
Couldn’t this be a postcard? I know, a million other people have the same shot (or a close equivalent of it). This year, when my family visited from Norway, I took them on the trip “behind the falls” rather than on the Maid of the Mist. Perhaps a bit of a tourist trap, but I contend that it was still a nifty experience (the second time for me). What else is one to do as a tourist but touristy things? Plus, I really don’t mind having another excuse to take pictures (and try out my new, hand-me-down Nikon D80). The falls really do look quite impressive from underneath, on the viewing platform. As for seeing the falls from behind? Well, the tunnel itself was the interesting bit; the falls themselves just became a white veil of water, without much contrast. At least it was refreshing
Sunrise over Lake Vermillion, with Mount Rundle in the background. Scarcely four hours after being down by the water to gaze at the universe, a few of us from the workshop went back to observe the sunrise. It was crystal clear and hardly a cloud in the sky, leading to less colour and beauty in a more subtle dimension.
Stargazing in the Rockies…see the Milky Way in all its splendour. This picture was taken at 2am on a jetty on Lake Vermillion, close to Banff.
I have only brightened this picture and done some noise removal — the colours are all original, reflecting the wavelenghts that were present but too subtle to be seen with the naked eye. The orange light that floods Mount Rundle is light pollution from Banff; in this instance, it created an otherworldly effect. The stars appears as streaks because of the movement of the Earth. The bright dot reflected in the water is Venus. I didn’t have a tripod, so I rested the camera on the edge of the jetty. As people moved around, the jetty started rocking slightly, hence the stars didn’t move in a straight line.
Technical details: f/3.5 at 18mm, 146 seconds, ISO 25o
Here’s Echo Creek, a tributary that joins the Bow River in Banff. You can hire canoes and kayaks here (for a price), or if you’re lucky, other people will do the hiring and then line up for you on the river while a train is passing in front of them, with rugged mountains in the background, all beautifully framed by trees.
I was in Banff for a week on a summer school in climate engineering with a crew of graduate students, faculty and other experts in social, political and scientific issues around geoengineering (or climate engineering). We gathered to ask (answering is more difficult), with great humility and no small amount of trepidation, difficult questions and challenges around if, when and how this such technologies should be used, and to ruminate over the possible need for them as mitigation of climate gases does not proceed nearly fast enough to steer us away from a host of dangerous climatic consequences.
Even the considerable weight of these issues, however, could not dampen the delight of staying for a week in Banff National Park. Fortunately I did have some time for sightseeing. You could scarcely imagine a more beautiful setting for a town, along the Bow River, among tall and imposing peaks. Here’s a view of downtown Banff with Cascade Mountain in the background.
It’s summer, it’s Saturday, it’s the farmers’ market in St Catharines. This day there was also a classic car show downtown, so there was even more people than normal. We had tacos (authentic stuff, not texmex) for breakfast and ice cream for dessert (home made lavender ice cream for me). We like going here to eat good food and browse (and sometimes buy) interesting cheeses and breads. We’re starting to know the people that sell cheese paninis out of a trailer (eight-ten different varieties of cheese in one sandwich — yum!). We like cheese.
Øyvind, my brother, and I in the first digital picture that exists of either of us — Øyvind was just a toddler and I was wearing my favourite trousers (basically overalls). The picture was taken at a multimedia expo my parents took us to when I was little, in 1993. I loved going to expos — they were mind-blowingly huge, with megatonnes of things to explore and free stuff (pens, stickers, lanyards, etc) to be acquired. It was a boy’s dream. We went to several expos when I was that age; car expos, home expos, hobby expos. This picture became a souvenir from one such expo, printed out and given to me. I have now redigitalized it. As you can see, the quality is not great, so I would guess the camera produced pictures in the 400×300 pixels range only. It was the early days of consumer-grade digital imagery.
If you were making a shortlist of idyllic places, you could do worse than including the small village of Holmsbu, sitting in a rural and forested location almost at the tip of the Hurum peninsula. On our way to visit my sister Cecilie and her boyfriend during our trip to Norway last year, I took Jenna on a detour around the Hurum peninsula. We stopped at this exquisitely preserved example of a Norwegian sea-side village, replete with white-painted wooden houses. Today, of course, modernity and money has imported at marina for pleasure craft in the foreground, and monied classes from the larger cities not far away occupy many of houses during the summer season, where once lived fishermen and their families. It’s a lovely place to stop for a bit, have a walk and enjoy the sights.
Looking at our pictures from Norway/Paris last year, you’d think I wasn’t there. This is one of two or three pictures from the entire trip, taken in Holmsbu, a rural little village by the Drammensfjord. More in another post.