Telescopes in the desert

Flashback-Friday to that time I went for a job interview… May 2003.

I first visited the Very Large Array (VLA) in 1996 and immediately fell in love with the desert. Fast forward a few years and I found myself in Socorro interviewing for a job that – unfortunately – disappeared in the time between arranging the travel for the interview and turning up at the door of the NRAO building. In the days before the ubiquity of cell phones, my would-be interviewers could only leave voicemail on my work phone while I was away on holiday (exploring the National Parks of the Sierra Nevada), so it was only when I read my work email just before I left for Albuquerque that I found out. Disappointed, I still went if only to meet the folks there and catch up with one of my colleagues about a project we were working on.

Of course, given a few days there, I couldn’t resist driving out to see the telescope array itself. It’s a fun drive and I remember seeing pronghorn along the way. On arrival, I checked in with the operators and let them know I’d be wandering around taking photos. Thankfully, the array was in one of its more compact configurations so I was able to size up this shot with multiple telescopes in the frame. Looking back at the photos I got that day (with our first distinctly-crappy digital camera, too), I think this is the best of the bunch.

If I remember rightly I enjoyed some good pizza and fine local beer that night!

Long exposure

Alpenglow. Flashback Friday to a Thanksgiving 2012 backpacking trip to Garibaldi Lake.

I couldn’t think what to post today, but I have had this photo in mind for a while now. It didn’t feel like a floral-Friday so I went with “flashback” instead. The summer of 2012 was a good one for us when it came to camping. I think we spent over 20 nights in our new tent as the backpacking season lasted until Thanksgiving in October. For the weekend, we called out a hike through Wanderung and headed up to Garibaldi Lake with a couple of fellow hikers.

The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed two lovely evenings by the lake watching the daylight fade. I was even inspired to take some long exposure photos of the lake to smooth out the ripples and get this nice reflection of the distant glaciers catching the last light of the day. Alas I totally missed the superb auroral display that graced the skies on the night we drove home…

Snow in the city

White out. Is it really a Flashback Friday if it was only last week? After a few days of very welcome sunshine, we’re back to views like this, even in the city!

It’s been a couple of years since we had snow in the city, and I must admit I haven’t missed it one bit! Still, it was kinda nice to watch the snow fall in great big flakes, and pile up in soft layers on our patio table and in the trees. It was even fun to walk out in it for a while, although it did get a bit wet later in the day. So I figured that this photo from last Friday when Brenda and I went snowshoeing up at Mt Seymour was quite appropriate, as the view in the city was very similar to this!

Brandywine Glacier

Another angle on the Brandywine Glacier from last Friday.

I’ve been following the progress of photographer Quentin Lake as he hikes the entire coastline of Britain, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing his photographs and what he makes of the landscape (and seascape) around him. His ability to find interesting shapes and patterns has inspired me to look for similar things when I’m outdoors. In particular he frequently manages to find angles and intersecting lines that make for visually striking photos. This photo of the edge of Brandywine Mountain and the glacier below is my attempt to mimic this style. It’s not perfect (the shadows are a bit distracting in my view), but I’m still pretty happy with it.

Who goes there?

Who goes there? Bear! Prelude to probably the best bear encounter we’ve had. It was quite something to be stopped on the road and have a mother bear wander back and forth between the cars to find tastier berries.

I don’t know how long we were stopped for, but it felt like an age as we sat in the car and watched this mother bear and her three cubs feeding by the roadside. Traffic was at a complete standstill, and the road was completely blocked by cars (including a tour bus); people had just stopped in the road to watch. It was a mesmerizing experience, but I worry about the cubs in situations like this as they are likely to grow up thinking that cars stop for them.

Eventually a gap opened up in front of us and we moved on to Maligne Lake for our boat tour (see the previous entry).

Needle Peak

Needle Peak as seen from the area commonly known as the Flatiron. Flashback-Friday to the second hike on which we took our shiny new digital SLR, back in July 2009. As soon as we’d taken it on a couple of hikes we found ourselves wondering why we hadn’t bought one sooner… We’re still using it too 🙂 📷

It took me two attempts to finally get to the summit of Needle Peak, with either a short scramble blocking my way or the weather turning against us. This photo was taken on our first visit to the area and we didn’t really know enough about the route to make it safely to the summit. But that was fine: the area we did get to explore was quite fantastic and much more mellow and enjoyable terrain, plus we got great views of Needle Peak itself!

Top to bottom

Della Falls more or less from top to bottom, roughly 440 m (over quarter of a mile). Flashback-Friday to my first backpacking trip to the interior of Vancouver Island in July 2006.

Another shot of Della Falls, this time from the trail up to Love Lake which offers this more-or-less complete view of the drop of the waterfall. I’d like to go back again to see Love Lake melted out (it was still mostly frozen on our visit), and to explore the area some more.