Photo of the Month 4

Today I give you a study of shadows from an early spring walk in Edmonton, before anything had greened up too much. Although everything looks pretty dead, it’s actually quite shadow-enhancing! Enjoy, and next month I will post some rad photos from my travels in Kananaskis Country.

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You can also look at all my photos on my new flickr page, for live updates.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer!

SarNas

Road Trip Trilogy 2: Rain of Pain

Have you ever seen a Dodge Ram 2500? Perhaps you have, on the highway during your travels. This happening in your life would have gone without note, for the highway is the only place this vehicle truly looks normal. Amid the vast and expansive landscape around it, with several lanes of buffer room, the Dodge Ram 2500 (which I keep delightfully misspelling “the Doge Ram 2500”) looks like any other truck. BUT if you put a 5’1” girl in it and then place that whole situation on a one-way street in the downtown core area of a major city during rush hour, you have a whole different story. Read More

Road Trip Trilogy 1: Hound of Grey

Recently, my boss enlisted me to perform an extensive trip across Alberta and Saskatchewan. Personally, I love road trips and I was pretty, how the kids say, “stoked” to do this one. However, the optimistic pearly-eyed Sarah who set out two days ago is not the weathered, barely recognizable, hardened pirate-like character who enters every room hunchbacked and silhouetted by lightning I present to you today. Read More

Elevator Conversations

Soooo, I haven’t written anything for this blog in many a month. What have I been doing? Writing an Honours dissertation, finishing a degree, trying to set up the next phase of my life…and having conversations in elevators. What follows is a slice of my life in lifts. With slight artistic embellishment. And lots of kind of pretentious half-a-sentence/not-really-a-sentences.

Read More

Photo of the Smonth 3

Remember those glory days of optimism, when I used the phrase “biweekly blogging” as if it were an attainable dream? Lucky for all of you, I’m a practical lady and I don’t commit to things I can’t do. I just commit to things the average person ought to be able to do, and then aim slightly above that so that I can “exceed expectations” sometimes. Sadly my friends, I have failed to even achieve mediocrity, as we will all note that it’s been literally over a month since I last posted. Like, literally. And that besmirches the good name of the Photo of the Month, thus I have named this post Photo of the Smonth to avoid any confusion. A smonth, as we all know, is kinda-sorta-around the same length as a month but it has leeway in either direction. I often employ the smonth when people tell me “hey, you said you’d get that done in a month!” and I’m all like “whoa dude, pretty sure I said smonth.” Gets ’em every time.

So, are you here for some photos? Well, I am. Here’s a branch.

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I’ll admit I punched up the red a bit in that one. Looks cool though right! Even though it’s all a lie. (the branch tells me it’s suing for defamation. We’ll see how that goes for it, I’ve got a crack team of lawyers and it doesn’t even have leaves. I’m pretty much sure a branch is supposed to have leaves)

Also, even though the blog has featured a lot of birds lately, I’d like to give you one more backyard waxwing. Just ’cause it was posing all coy and sexy like that.

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Ooh. Yeah. Work it.

Tbh, my camera has been causing me some angst lately. I’m having major issues getting my mom and dad’s old lenses to work reasonably on my camera. Most of my pics come out blurry as shiiiiit, and I’ve tried everything I can think of to fix it. Alas, my next step is to confer with experts. My hope is that the solution will be quick, easy, and obvious, and I’m just being an idiot. I’d rather look like I think cameras are mystical objects that steal your soul than find out that the problem is deep-rooted, cryptic, and requiring my mental muscles to rectify it. My mental muscles are reserved for getting buff on science, not this camera hooplah.

You all can look forward to scenic photos from Kananaskis in the Rocky Mountains next month, as I depart for my next field season on April 25th! Possibly also adorable close-ups of Columbian ground squirrels, the animals I will be working on. If not, equally adorable close-ups of my own face (because you probably felt like you were lacking selfies of 20something girls in your life). I will give you a face to die for next month, whether it’s a squirrel or myself. I swear by this.

❤ Super Adorbs Sarah

Photo of the Month 2TWO2!

I would make some exciting comment that suggests my life is fast-paced and full of so many other bustling commitments that this blog hardly tops the priority list, like “wow! Has it already been a month?” or “can’t believe I need to write another post here already!” or “guess I’ve gotta take a break from NASCAR at some point huh?” But the truth is, it feels like aaaages since I last put something up here. I took more photos than I thought I would in a month, snappin’ dem shots rapid fire. Maybe this monthly thing is a little too infrequent, but who does biweekly blogging? So complicated, I won’t be able to remember if it’s an “on” week or an “off” week. It sounds like a whole lot of memory and critical thinking skills that I’m not prepared to commit to right now. It’s not you, biweekly blog, it’s me.

Well, now that I’ve painstakingly reasoned out that extremely adrenaline-charged material I bet you’re all just on the edges of your seats. As you should be! For I recently acquired a super zoomy thing that the pros, and people who hear things, call a telephoto lens. It’s actually my mom’s old lens that I handily retrofitted to my modern flashy (no pun intended – actually seriously not, it doesn’t have a flip-up flash. I would have been a LIAR to use such a joke) X-A1 by ordering a lens adapter via the Internet, from some fellow with the clever eBay handle “wayee2010” (you’ll all delight to know that when I first tried to remember that, I thought it was simply “weewoo”. Which honestly is better). Was 2010 a special year for you, wayee? Or was it the year you decided to stride confidently into the lovely mercantile exchange of eBay? If so, I must say that you have amassed a rather expansive collection of ultra-specific camera supplies in only 4 years. I’m impressed, wayee, I’m impressed. (My entire rant about wayee sounds decidedly suspicious and accusatory. For the record, I would like to say I think wayee is probably a totally legitimate, nice guy, or at least I really don’t care if they’re not legit and super mean.) Okay let’s move on.

Telephoto pictures tell you a lot more than a normal photo, because they are so detailed and zoomy. I can only assume this is where the name comes from. Since the excellent telephoto lens is the latest enriching element in my camera life, I would like to showcase to you some extremely close-up photos that I took. I couldn’t decide on just one photo after all my highly zoomed-in adventures, so I have selected a few! Also note that you can click on these bad boys to see the full size photo.

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So I guess it’s worth mentioning that I was on reading break from university last week and Dormant Charlotte plus some other friendos went to Lake Louise for the ski and the fun and la scenic view! Therefore, more mountain photos. Sometimes it’s pretty great living in ‘Berta since you can visit such lovely rocky escarpments with relative ease. This is my first successful telephoto shot! Also possibly worth mentioning that using lens adapters and old lenses means one has to manually set one’s own aperture and shutter speed, like a true photography fiend. So I was pretty happy to get something this good after some uneducated fiddling! See,anyone can do it!

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These are some cedar waxwings in my backyard. Big flocks of these birds can always be expected in Edmonton, but usually nearer to real springtime! Some harsh weather conditions await these unsuspecting little chirpers. But I think it’s quite a nice photo, with their fronts outlined in sunshine. Only thing is, maybe my glass has a chip in it or somesuch, since an odd mark has reared its unbidden head in the top corner there. Also a little blurred, but what can ya do when your hands are trembling with waxwing jitters!

I also took a few pictures without the aid of telephoto technology. These photos will tell you less, therefore they are not as valuable what with that whole “pictures say a thousand words” adage keeping them down. But I hope you will embrace them, even though they exist on a lower tier of photo society.

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Waxwings in flight! I managed to get the right moment when they all fluttered out of the trees at once, so again I was quite self-satisfied. Soon, my ego will inflate to previously unheard of size and I shall be carried away on an ego hot air balloon of sorts, if you will. But then I shall be flying among my waxwing friends and thus, in a way, more free than I have ever been. And they will never have heard of this thing called “ego” and will accept me, not as one of their kind, but as some freaky constant structure in their lives that they simply have to deal with. Akin to a sudden gust of air throwing them off course, or that top-hatted man in the park who is always trying to capture them for his circus.

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This last one was taken on a hike nearby Banff, in an area in odd limbo between an unattractive construction site and untamed wilderness. Luckily there was bright red tape dividing the two so it was easy to tell which side was the pretty nature part. My mom has threatened to paint this, therefore I deem it artistically inspiring (to people in my immediate family). It also looks like it would be a huge headache to try to paint and I would probably give up on that.

And I conclude my photo update! Stay tuned for next month, which will probably feature less exotic locations and scenic inclusions. Shit that’s not how you’re supposed to keep people reading, do the thing where they want to come back for the next even better thing! Next month’s photo(s) will definitely be vivacious, zealous, and tantalizing. So come back for that! Yeah. Buzz words.

From the SarNas!

Photo of the MONTH. No. 1

Yo my cheezits!
First words I thought of. The beauty of blogging is that, unlike writing an essay or scientific paper or professional email, you can actually just leave that first, shitty sentence that comes to mind and never edit it, delete it or otherwise purge it from existence! My co-contributor Charlotte (yes, she still exists, she is merely in her dormant phase) and I have discussed this in convos past, how the first step of an english essay is to write several trash sentences just so that they are no longer haunting your brain and you can move on to your true brilliance. After a few of those “everyone can relate to _____”, “who has not felt the sway of _____ in their life?” or “______: a transcendent and magnificent idea” (insert the main theme/point of your essay in the blank) type sentences are actually written down on the page and you can see just how painful they are, THEN you can write a real essay.
But lucky for you guys, I’m not obligated to write anything real, inspiring or even sort-of-good-quality on this blog! I guess you can be thankful that I’m not using this awesome power for evil, although I’m not sure how writing my most impulsive and senseless thoughts on here could ever be a directed power for anything. Anyways, done that tangent! On to the real reason why you and I are here today: another blog revamp! After a solid ten editions of weekly photo blogging (well, perhaps semi-solid. More like…emulsive? Emulsive weeks? Sounds like a dope band name. I can imagine some punky girl with a pink pixie cut and rad knee socks being like “WE. ARE. EMULSIVE WEEEEEEEKS!!! and then commencing to play music I am not at all interested in hearing), I have decided that you guys don’t deserve my paltry, sad, last-minute efforts at getting a photo up on the weekly. This regime of the Weekly Photo has given us such gems as: a picture of my cat! that time Charlotte and I wore onesies! and various other times you didn’t give a shit!

As a result, I give you: the Monthly Photo. Weekly Photo sits ashamed in the corner, clad in a dunce cap and laughed at by his colleagues, while Monthly Photo steps up to the home plate confidently shouldering his shiny cool baseball bat (analogy would be helped by knowing some baseball brands) and swings a handy home run. With the Monthly Photo, you get quality, you get swagger, you get the cream of the crop. Normally I will probably post stuff at the end of the month, such that I can review all my amazing SENapshots (guess how much time I spent trying to come up with an instagram account name? THAT much time) and give you the true winner, the creme de la creme, if you will. Apparently cream is a great descriptor of quality. Anyways, since the idea hit me recently and I hadn’t posted anything since that pretty cool philosophical Jasper special (whooooaaa, might you click that? might you end up on a blog spiral, clicking and clicking until you have viewed all of our posts? a veritable wikipedia syndrome experience?? I challenge you. You may find greatly confusing material), I thought I’d start now!

Erego, January’s photo:

This is actually an oldie from one of my previous night stumbles, taken of the Mormon temple at the edge of my neighbourhood. I punched up the saturation, cranked that baby to 11 even, and that made the street and fence look super deep red. Which I actually just love, because with the stark contrast against the temple, it immediately makes me think of bloodshed and sacrifice in the name of the church. Not implicating the Mormons of my neighbourhood in anything in particular of course (concerning that I even feel the need to cover my butt on that), or even the Mormon religion of anything since I honestly know nothing of their ways. It’s just what the image brings to my mind, and I like the bleak effect. Plus I myself am not at ALL religious and in fact if I’d be honest about it, religion totally creeps me out. Just one of those feelings I can never shake; I think Douglas Adams put it best when he wrote (regarding sharing a plane ride with a group of missionaries):

“The atmosphere on board the plane, on the other hand, was so claustrophobically nice it made you want to spit. Everyone was nice, everyone smiled, everyone laughed that terribly benign fading away kind of laugh which sets your teeth on edge.”

Why in the name of (someone who is not god) do they have to be so creepily nice?! Am I so jaded that I can’t stand someone being equally nice and forgiving to everyone? It just seems insincere and staged, like they’re trying to follow some set of rules that dictates how they have to act – oh wait. Anyways, this post was not meant to get on a rant like that, but apparently I felt the need to defend myself using evidence that I clearly put too much effort into obtaining. Hopefully you dogs catch my drift!
Ok, til February, when I will have yet another stunning and amazing photo to wow the socks off of you with!
SENapshot
aka trendiest intagrammer ever

Photo of the Week #10

Jasper Special

I know, I know. I have been a terrible photo blogger. Some weeks: photos. Other weeks: no photos. It just doesn’t seem right. Let me make it up to you by showing you many photos of a cool place I got to go to that you didn’t! Jasper is a super town, the kind of place I’d love to live if my funds were unlimited and I could just throw my cash bundles at people and say HA! GIVE ME THAT! then twirl my moustache and saunter off. Alas, I lack the cash bundles and the facial hair for such a life.
 
I bring to you today a slightly different version of this small, charming mountain town than I thought I would. At the end of my trip I realized I had a collection of photos that said something a little melancholy about Jasper, but I hope you’ll take the message with a grain of salt.
 
Jasper: going the wrong way? Ok, kind of a pretentious question to ask. I only started thinking about this question because of this chance photo. I was trying to only get the raven, but before I could zoom in it started to fly off so I just snapped the picture and the sign ended up being in the frame. I only noticed what the sign said later, but altogether the photo got me thinking. What direction is the town headed? It gets more and more popular as a tourist destination every year, and while the town seems to remain small which I’m glad of, the landscape is undeniably changed as tourism increases.
This is a view of a river that runs nearby the Jasper Park Lodge (no I didn’t stay there, don’t have the mad cash for JPL!) taken through the frame of a bridge built across the river to access the hotel and golf course. It was actually so difficult to see the mountain range without the bridge getting in the way that I chose just to take a shot straight through it. The experience definitely made me think about how intrusive manmade structures can be, and how much we often struggle to take pictures that appear natural and far from the influence of cityscapes. I know that I took my fair share of pains to try to crop roads, cars and people out of my photos while I was in Jasper. Although this landscape looks infinitely better without the bridge overlaying it, sometimes maybe it’s worth acknowledging our presence and influence, rather than trying to ignore it or crop it out.
Here was a bit of a sad scene we came by on the way home. A herd of bighorn sheep trying to cross the highway was intercepted by an equally large herd of cars that stopped to observe them, many pulling over unknowingly in the way of many sheep that had yet to come down the cliffs and join the rest of the group. This little one shuffled down the rock face, saw all the vehicles and people poised with their camera phones and dashed haphazardly across, only calming down once it had rejoined its herd. The poor guy just seemed so afraid, and although this event can hardly be said to have a significant impact on the sheep’s wellbeing, it makes you think about how we change the lives of animals just by being in a certain time and space.
But these small moments of pause are just that – small. These landscapes and animals remain beautiful, and for the most part, undisturbed. I think it’s worth taking the pause, for sure. But it’s also worth thinking about why all these manmade structures are present: because we appreciate this place. People care about the wilderness and they don’t want to see it go away, they want to be able to visit it and revisit it intact. Jasper is still a gorgeous place and I think people try to disturb it as little as they can. I was lucky to spend some of my winter break there and I’m sure I’ll be back next year!




















Photo of the Week #9

These are some lights in my backyard. Because I basically only take pictures of my backyard. They are very pretty and nice and I like them and look there’s sparkles in the snow! And that is nice too. Clearly this is written post-final exam period because I can only process very small ideas.

Til Next Time.
SarahHH

Photo of the Week #8

Oh boy, this is shameful. I missed a week and now I’m late, too. You know what that means? You’re about to be lavished with TWO PHOTOS. A photo blog daily double, if you will. (aside: I would like to just put it out there that “if you will” is possibly one of the most painful things to say if you aren’t doing it ironically. For example, an excerpt from my developmental biology textbook: “…the anterior end of the embryo is more advanced in its development (having a “head start,” if you will)…” Oh ho ho. Can’t you just imagine the writer’s chuckle. I do tend to use a lot of bad puns so maybe I’m not qualified to make fun, but that one sure got a tired eye-roll from me. Possibly because trying to understand embryonic development is hard enough to put you in a cynical mood to start with.)
I took some more nighttime shots this week ’cause I’m out on the street slinging rocks anyways, might as well take some pics while I rake in the illegal dough. I also really love nighttime during the winter, which is a good thing since those two conditions are on the haps for most of your lifetime if you live in Edmonton. The city is starting to do this thing where we just put lights on everything to try to make the perma-darkness more enjoyable, which I am super down for. For instance, the high level bridge across the river now lights up at night, and the trees on the  U of A quad are all covered in lights this year. Definitely makes you appreciate the sparkly dreamy nighttime of winter months more!
So here are some dreamy sparkly winter night shots of my own. I got a little distracted by street lamps.
Luv winter 4ever,
❤ SNASON