Archive for the ‘Travel’ category

Niagara Falls Postcard

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

Banff Otherworldly

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


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.

Village of Holmsbu

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.

The Photographer

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.

The Pidgeon Whisperer

I could write about the wonders of the Notre Dame cathedral (it really is spectacular, though Europe has other, even more awe-inspiring monuments to men’s greed and enterprise). But what you don’t see on every trip to Paris is a man in front of the Notre Dame with pidgeons climbing all over him, clamouring for food. He was there with his family, just an ordinary man that for a few minutes could have fun entertaining the crowd by doing something out of the ordinary.

Man with four pidgeons

Jenna feeds the pidgeons too

In a mudhole

Figured I’d post this picture as well, from my trip to Senegal. It may please my readership to see me dirty, wet and humbled, crawling in the mud, hungry and forlorn, surrounded by dangerous beasts, deep in the African wilderness. Well, maybe next time. On this occasion, our vehicle got stuck in a mudhole. It was the wet season and we had passed through dozens of mudholes already, but if you only try long enough, eventually you shall get stuck. We tried to get it out (the guide and I, that is; Ben, of course, my friend and supervisor whose affinity for mud was less than mine (his fortitude, I daresay, is much diminished since taking up residence in Canada) , stayed in the vehicle the whole time) but it was late in the day and my stength abandonded me; we had to wait for a tractor to come and pull us out. I threw those socks away.