Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Leaving Focused Behind

Ta! Da!  It's time to present my "Out & About" chart for January!  As you can see, I had blinders on to pretty much everything else except cross country skiing.  I accomplished what I set out to do, take lessons then practice and smile while doing so.  Done! As we leave January behind, it is also time to leave being focused behind.
February will be all about mixing it up and having more categories on my chart with digits under them come February 29th. Being one who loves looking to the future and enjoys anticipation, then you might know that I already have fun times planned.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Color on a Gray Day

I thought for sure, due to feeling tired, sore and depleted when I went to bed last night, that I would spend today enjoying a one on one with my sofa.   I woke raring to go though!  So I went!  I went back to Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park with intentions of testing yet even more features that my 40SX HD offers.  After 11km and almost three hours later, this is what I have to show.

Today I tried the different color options.  I didn't necessarily go for great scenery shots but picked locations along the trail where there were colorful objects that I could make pop out.  I picked different levels with the first photo here being taken so the red stands out.  
For this photo I changed the level to mid range so not only does the yellow pop, there is a bit of additional color in the yellow tone showing throughout the photo.
This feature allows me to pick full black and white except for the color which I focus on.   
I see me having lots of fun with this option.
Then I went for landscape shots and picked a color to pop.  It is obvious that I went for the yellow.  In addtion to making the yellow stand out, I also added a touch of fish eye effect to the picture.  
In this wide angle landscape photo (which was even wider but I cut of the sides to bring the photo in to where you could see the orange), the lens picked up the orange meadow and made everythig else black and gray.  
Now here is color on a gray day!  I focused the color on the pinkish orange in the sky and it added that color in a deeper tone to the surrounding landscape.  It looks like a beautiful autumn day.  This may be the option to use for sunrise and sunset photos which I am having trouble with.
When I took a photo of this structure in the summer, it showed as brown with green grass and trees.  Once again I went for a black/gray color with hints of gold here and there.  
As I turned to start the hike up out of the valley, wildlife caught my eye and I caught them!
One last photo to capture today would lead me to believe, if I didn't know any better, that we were in the middle of another season other then winter.  A couple of small sections were ice covered yet I was able to easily walk around the ice and two paths sheltered by trees were snow covered, but only by an inch or two.  
I thoroughly enjoyed this morning being out and about and especially glad to have the time to spend getting to know my camera even more so. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Backside of Banff

All day yesterday I had a plan in place to C-X Ski Louise area today, by evening that changed and I was prepared with gear and maps in place to Ski Pocaterra area.  I hit the road this morning, jockeyed for a position on the highway, went with the flow and this is where I ended up!  Not Lake Louise, nor Pocaterra!  I drove underneath this arch.....
...and found myself at the backside of Banff, behind the Banff Springs Hotel, at the Spray River trail head.  It was nice to see only three other vehicles in the lot .  It pays to get out early!  Before slipping into the tracks, I checked out the map to see what I had in store.  I  knew I was going to like this already.....
.....because the track would follow a river that wasn't frozen!  The mountain scenery was soothing and the sound of water in motion was calming.  What more could a Maritime girl transplanted to the Rockies ask for.
The further along the trail I went, the better the track conditions became.  
I made it to the picnic table, which was my destination so got my ski-stop-shot out of the way.  You, my followers, should know the meaning behind this pose! If not, check out my previous post.  Realizing it was too early for lunch, and having more fuel to burn off, I carried on down the Goat Creek Trail for another two kms.  I should say carried on "up" as it was all up hill.  Then it was time to enjoy the downhill back to the picnic table and by now it was lunch time.
You might know if there is food in sight, then there would be a whiskey jack in sight.  
This one stood guard!
I took in the view one last time then began the ski back to my car.  I reiterate, it pays to get out early.  Having the track to myself heading back, I met walkers, skiers both X-C and Skate, plus snowshoers all coming towards me and noticing too, they had been all over the trail which made it a little tougher for me to stay on track.
I was beat by the time I made it back to my car and I just wanted to head home!
I learned that the Spray River Trail in Banff connects with the Goat Creek Trail in Canmore and that it is possible to ski all the way from the beginning of one to the end of the other.  Someday I would like to do this!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Choosing an "S" !

All week I knew I would be doing something today. The only thing I was sure of was that what I would be doing would begin with an "S"!  It wasn't until this morning that I made the decision.  I wanted to ski instead of snowshoe or skate.  I was quick as a whip getting ready and out the door.  I wanted to be one of the first on the trail, as usual.  I arrived at the Pocaterra Hut at 9:15, took care of business then slide into the tracks and I was off.   I wasn't the first but pretty darn near.  
I could not have asked for a better day for my first, real, serious business, ski.  The sun felt warm, the sky was blue, the new snow sparkled and I was in my glory.  The trail signs are quite nice.  I stopped at each one to get the lay of the land and to make sure I was staying on the green easy trails (for now).
Like I mentioned in a previous X-C Ski post, I needed to work on what the signature shot will be for when I reach my cross country ski destination.  This is it and I call it my "ski-stop-shot".   This isn't just a silly pose, it has meaning as you can see in the photo under this one. 
X & O...loving life these days!
My intentions were to complete 10 kms, 5 out then return the way I came.  I was enjoying myself, time was flying and I was too, so instead of turning around at 5 I did it at 7 kms.  I was back to the Hut by 12:30, had my lunch then headed home!
I'm already looking forward to getting out again and incorporating more hill training.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lesson Learned!

Finally!  I got that big white elephant out of the way!  I had my cross-country-ski hill lesson today.  It was cancelled last Sunday so I signed up to take the lesson today.  I also signed up to go in the Van instead of driving myself.   The whole day from beginning to end went well! After learning how to attack hills, we went on a short tour to put our newly learned skills to the test.  Here's a shout out to the University of Calgary Active Living Outdoor Center and especially to the instructors I had for both lessons.   I learned what I need to know and now I can get on with my life!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It's Wednesday and I'm Wondering!
What does Parks Canada have in store for this year's Winterfest!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Courtship Cancellation

Today was the day for my X-C Skimance to grow and flourish!  Instead, the date was cancelled so there wasn't an opportunity for courting to take place.  I always hate when dates get cancelled at the last moment.  I become skeptic and wonder what the real cancellation reason is.   I am terrible for getting caught up in excitement and anticipation.  To this day, I haven't learned how not to be that way and when a date gets cancelled, I deal with a great amount of disappointment. 

Today was different!  Date Cancelled = No Disappointment! When I woke this morning, there was no excitement nor anticipation.   Rather, I was ecstatic not to have to head out onto the highway west where road conditions were rated red (poor) and temperatures hoovered around -18 Degrees Celsius with a -30 degree windchill.  A year ago today, I took the chance, hit the highway west and paid big time, the cost of a car.  

As today went on and the snow stopped and the plows plowed, I threw caution to the wind and went out to breathe in the fresh cold air and exercise my lungs and legs up on Nose Hill.  I'm not sure why there are a load of these signs on the trees up on that Hill.  A portion of the sky turned blue for a very short period and I relished in it.   
There was no rhyme or reason to the route I took.  I just went!   If you look at the tip of my left hand, that spot was the only bright spot in all of the down town core.  For those of you who are from away, in front of me stretches sky scraper after sky scraper.  
Every time I hike around Nose Hill, I come across something new.  
I covered a very tiny portion of the Hill today but it was a big enough portion to give me time to ponder and to come to terms that I have a commitment phobia. I cannot commit to just one, I need to play the field.   I need to be able to go from skates to snowshoes to X-C skis and back to my skates again, maybe even skates and skis in the same day and my snowshoes the following day.  On that note, I may not commit to a hill date with my skis for next weekend.  Call me fickle, I can handle it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Focus & Stretch

My muscles screamed at me this morning when I moved to get out of bed!  Yesterday I discovered muscles existed within me that I didn't even know were there.  It hurt to walk down the stairs,  it hurt to sit, it even hurt just standing.  I've been there before and I know what the best medicine for this is.  A good long walk to stretch and work the aching muscles.  I wasn't interested in walking just for the sake of walking so put my free pass to the Calgary Zoo to use,  and focused on practicing with my camera.  It appears I wasn't the only one focused today!  
This was the perfect day to see how good that Canon stabilizer really is!  Lately it has been very windy here in Calgary and in the Rocky Mountains.  Today in the city, gusts were reaching up to 58 km/hr.  While I wasn't actually in the Rockies today, I was in the Canadian Wilds where the wind was wild.  Looking at this photo, where I zoomed, I would say the stabilizer lived up to all the hype.
Walking around the Zoo was working wonders for my legs.  I needed to stretch my legs to get into position for some of my shots and I purposely stretched them a little further to make it more of an exercise.  I'm glad the tiger stretched its legs out from behind the tree!
After a couple of hours of walking, stretching and taking photos, I was feeling tired.  I was content with the period of time I spent at the Zoo and with what I saw and also I was curious to see the outcome of my focused practice session with my camera.  I earned a well deserved nap so headed home where I could lay my head down too!
The more I play with my camera, the happier I am with the choice I made.  There is still lots to learn and I have ear-marked a few more features to try soon.  Like I have said many times before....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Looking for Love

At the beginning of every new year lately, I get this yearning to find love and I begin the search.  This year is proving to be no different.   I do know that I need to feel good about myself and also to be in a place in my life where I have the time to work on a relationship.  Well, there is no time like the present!  To assist with the "feel good about myself" aspect, I updated my wardrobe with a fashionable pair of skinny pants and stylish ankle high booties.  What lady that is looking should be without these, these days?   I am at that place in my life where I have the time to work on a relationship so I have opened my heart and I'm putting myself out there with hopes of success!  

I never believed in love at first sight and I still don't.  I am in support of love growing over time.  Call me old fashion but I favour a courting period, spending time together, becoming comfortable, learning and growing and ultimately developing something that is wonderful.  I am happy to report that I am having some success.  I am taking baby steps, I don't want to rush things, I am slowly but surely making progress.  This is my choice to go at this pace because I don't want to get hurt.

After already spending a few occasions together, having reached a somewhat comfortable place,  I took control and decided it was time to kick it up a notch!  The place of choice to do this was where I feel at home, in my playground.  What better view then this to get into the mood!
It was time to really see if there could be a loving relationship between me and my cross country skis!  The few occasions together where I have put myself out there, it was just me and my skis trying to find our own way.  Today, it was serious business, my first official lesson!  The lesson was beneficial in strengthening the relationship.  I can't report that there is a "love" yet but I'm feeling something more then just "like".  Let's say, I am in a state of "loke!"  I realize this relationship needs more work so have set up another courting period for next weekend.

I just happened to come across this photo on another website and there I am front and center.  I had no idea my photo was being taken or who took it.  If I had known, I would have looked up and smiled, after all, one of my goals is to always be smiling when I am out and about.
OH!  By the way, these are my new fashionable skinny pants...
...and these are my stylish ankle high booties!