Mar 22, 2015

The Good Things and Our Precious Seven Month Old

  Photograph Proudest Grandparents by Jay Scott on 500px

Excuse me if I'm brief. I just completed a document that was 4400 words, 25,000 characters to take to the director of home care, to stand in my defense to have my care maintained as it is and as it has been for 13 years. Ridiculous, I know. Understandably policies change, methods and knowledge grow, but in this case it's unreasonable, they're trying to put me inside of a box which I do not fit and to accept what they are proposing would mean great illness for me. How do I know this for sure? Past experience and 17 years of intentionally educating myself about how I function now.

I may need to go further than this. At times a person just wants to roll over when they're being mistreated and deceived but there is a principle that must be stood on. I fear that should I just give in and either accept their proposed changes to my own detriment or go with private care which is not cheap, to say the least, that I would regret it the rest of my life. I have not spent the last few years delicately working on becoming more assertive and standing up for myself as a valuable person, to be kicked in the head like this.

The last thing I'll say about it is that I am absolutely dumbfounded how one little sheet of paper containing a long-standing policy, not reasonable given my circumstances, they've now decided to use, is what these people are standing behind against all of the proof, evidence and experience I am providing them with. It's completely irrational, unreasonable and unethical. As much as I derived a degree of satisfaction from hearing the waiver in their voices and seeing the tremble in their hands as they delivered the news that they knew was unjust, I suppose sleeping on a bed of over $150,000 annual salary would ease their guilt. They even disregarded a surgeon's orders. I wonder how that would look to the eyes of a higher authority.

So, negativity aside, spend your energy fighting, formulate your defense, choose who to approach next to hear reason, and focus on the good things like incredible parents, a beautiful seven-month old daughter, a pillar of support that is my wife, and an enthusiastic little dog who's always happy to give me a hug and make me smile. All of that is great but I am not unappreciative of the friends and other supporters who have lent me their offer to do what they can, if there is anything at all. Perhaps I will need to start a social media firestorm. If it comes to that I will be asking a favor that you share, whatever form that takes. But, for now, it's time to go grab a few minutes of shut eye while I can and try to focus on the good things.

I've done what I can do for now and that makes me calmer than anything.

Mar 13, 2015

Pizza and a Candle

  Photograph Pesto, Goat Cheese and Italian Sausage Pizza by Jay Scott on 500px

Take out pizza I will always be what it is. Adequate, cheesy, fast, effortless and free of dishes. That doesn't mean it's great. Every time Angie and I make pizza we always praise ourselves about how much better it is than what you order in. No, it's not health food, but we do our best to minimize the sodium, nitrates, and preservatives. The flavor is always better with our freshly prepared ingredients and, as for dishes, since we wash them while the pizza is baking, it feels like there are none because when we are done eating, we are done eating.

Like I said, it's not health food. We splurged on a package of Italian sausage at Costco last time and have been enjoying it very much in different recipes, despite the fat content. That kick of spice and the texture of the meat is something unique that we both really enjoy. We decided to go all out, inspired by the red sun-dried tomato pesto we bought a while back, and combined those ingredients with red onion, mushrooms, Italian sausage, goat cheese and a generous sprinkling of marble cheese.

The pesto made a wonderful pizza sauce substitute, not that different from the lovely prawn and pesto pizza you may have had at Earl's before. In fact, that was what I had at my first meal out I had after my injury in 1997. Still on the menu so it must be good. But, I digress. I could see us using traditional marinara pizza sauce less and less in the future as combinations like this, and our Thai pizza, always satisfy us more than traditional pizzas. It's good to be able to cook well, at home, and in control of exactly what we are eating.

Last week I decided to make my move when a piece of glass came on sale at Don's Photo. I had been keeping my eye on this tele-converter for some time, had saved almost enough money, and then the sale price showed up making that last little bit of savings unnecessary. I have been more than happy with the image quality which can often be degraded when you add a stopgap solution such as a tele-converter as opposed to buying a dedicated lens. However, to get the additional telephoto length I wanted it would have been much, much more money as well as a lot more weight which may or may not have been something I could handle. I am very happy with the compromise as the image quality is absolutely satisfactory and the price was very manageable compared to the alternative. Now I'm looking forward to the birds returning to the Forestry Farm because I will be much more ready for them this year.

In addition to more telephoto, it also doubled my macro capabilities as you see above. That is a typical slender dinner candle, less than 1 cm from the wick to the edge of the candle. I think there may be a few more water drop photos in the near future. For now, I have some excellent projects on the go, hindered by a rigmarole with home care to finish dealing with, and then I hope to get back to fully enjoying our daughter and to the other activities that fulfill me, including work on Challenging Reality.

Mar 8, 2015

Final Winter Drive and More Fiona

  Photograph Boffins Club Gazebo in Winter HDR by Jay Scott on 500px

Optimistically I included in the title of this post the word final. The last couple of days of warm weather, bright sunshine and receding snow and ice has made a lot of people feel a lot better about the eventual spring. As Angie has cautiously pointed out, we certainly could get more snow and another good dose of winter but at least the next week of highs well above zero should mostly clear off the roads and start the shrinking of the snow banks around the city.

  Photograph Innovation Place Pine Cones by Jay Scott on 500px

This last photo drive was actually a photo walk/wheel as I braved about -10°C to actually get out of the van, make some photos even with a little auxiliary light and breathe the fresh air. It felt good to be out and it didn't even take all day for my legs to warm back up. What caught my attention most of all was how absolutely quiet it was. How much time have I spent in this exact spot enjoying the scenery, the sounds and smells of this place? A lot but almost all of it was in the spring, summer and fall when many of the nice water features and wildlife sounds are consistently impacted by the running of air conditioners on the roofs of all of the big buildings around the area. It was very refreshing to get out by myself, not see a single person and just smell the smells of winter and the pine nearby.

  Photograph Innovation Place Pine Cone by Jay Scott on 500px

In past years when I've wanted to get out and do some photos during the winter I've often shied away because of the great limitations I have of where I can get by vehicle, but especially by foot/chair. After finding what I had found this year I feel a little bit braver and have a few more ideas of where might be suitable, and safe, for me to go independently next winter. I'm not certain I want to think that far ahead as I have spring on the brain but getting out and just giving it a try got my wheels turning in my head.

My good friend, Paul, and his girls made good use of the pond-turned-rink this winter. The one time they were there entirely by themselves in the evening, spotlights on the ice and classical music playing overhead. If we get a nice warm evening next winter I would really like to have a photo shoot down there, by that ice with some people having a blast skating under the gazebo and around the island. If it isn't that warm we could fire up the fire pit they always have stocked with plenty of firewood and include that as part of the shoot.

Finally, what post would be complete without yet another of our lovely daughter? Her hair is coming in so nicely, so soft and fuzzy. I knew I had to make a creative photo out of those glistening golden-red strands. So, making the most of the smiles she had available to me we made a nice creative photo of her with some purple hair. I was reminded that this photo might be enough precedent for me to not be upset if she decides to die her hair purple when she is a little bit older. All I will need to do is to remind her how in style vibrantly colored hair was when this photo was made and that should squash her idea. :-)

  Photograph Fuzzy-Haired Daughter by Jay Scott on 500px

Mar 2, 2015

Second Winter Photo Drive

My second photo drive of the winter brought me to the University campus. It was not long before I realized that nothing on the actual University campus was going to be very photogenic from my available vantage points and there certainly was nowhere to quickly pull over to make a photo. It really is a busy city of its own when in session.

So, I made my way over to Innovation Place where I knew of a few spots that I could stay comfortably safe and warm in my van. Tucked away at the back of Downey Road, I found a place that I could pull up right next to some evergreens.

I'm not saying anything I photographed that day was a masterpiece but at least I got out, got some fresh air, found a peaceful place to just do what I love to do and make a few frames.

Finally, since I was not thrilled with what I had photographed already, I decided to try a few more abstracts. Love them, hate them, it doesn't matter. At least I gave it a try.

Feb 28, 2015

Six Month Photos

  Photograph Almost Six Months - 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

I just realized that I had posted these photos to 500px but not to my site. They may have been taken little while before she actually turned six months but we are calling them her six-month photos. We were planning on the messy face photo but didn't really have anything for her to eat right around that six-month anniversary mark that would resulted in a lovely comical messy baby face. Add to that that Angie and Fiona are both currently sick and now is not the optimum time for another photo.

Oh, I have ideas and they will get done but there's plenty of time and no shortage of progress photos to look back upon during this time. Just none that were specifically set up and executed to the extent that her monthly photos have been to this point.

  Photograph Almost Six Months - 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

The last week or so has had a lot of signs of possibly teething and extensive voice exercising. By that I mean ear piercing shrieking and squealing. Oh, she's happy but making it hard on our ears and brains. Poor Kiwi. Fiona does like her attention, and we appreciate that, but the time might be coming for her to learn to be a bit more independent for just a few seconds while we have something needing to be done. I could barely believe I'm saying that because she practically refuses being spoon fed anything, yogurt being the exception, and wants to do everything herself when it comes to meal time.

Add to that how she's able to make it across the living room and almost into the kitchen in about four minutes by rolling and we have one busy girl. I know it will only get worse and by the way that she's pushing herself up she will be crawling in no time, at all.

Time certainly does fly and I'm glad there are a lot of videos and photos to look back upon during these fleeting first months.

Feb 16, 2015

Winter Photo Drive

Most of my favorite work is done in a controlled environment, with auxiliary lighting and highly preplanned. Sometimes, though, you just need to get out, photograph what you can see and enjoy the process along with the satisfaction of using the technology at your hands to create something nice.

Unfortunately, much like the arbour above, I don't get to see much at this time of year, with this much snow. Even the roads plowed at the forestry farm were a little bit deep if you got just slightly off the cleared portions. I did leave the plowed parts, in the interest of getting the best angle possible, and was very grateful that I had my winter tires on the van this year. They sure can chew through a lot of snow.

Speaking of snow, it was a nice day when I made these photos but there was something ominous in the forecast. After this little photo drive I met some friends for a meeting of the minds. It was at Moka Coffee Bar in Briarwood. Paul and I each parked in the handicapped spots in front of Shoppers Drug Mart, about a 75 meter wheel on cleared sidewalks to get to the shop. By the time we were done our meeting the snow was coming down heavy and the wind was blowing hard. The last 20 meters was blocked by deep snow banks thanks to a gap in the buildings and the wind whistling through. We plowed as far as we could, got stuck, but thankfully a nice little old lady, using a walker herself, was inside the drugstore, saw us struggling and sent the staff out to help.

Normally I'm not too concerned about getting too cold, being that close to my vehicle, but my thumb actually hurt for a few hours afterward because it got wet from pushing while we were stuck in that brisk wind for just a few minutes. I got pushed to the van and let my ramp down only to realize that it settled on yet another snow bank and, because of my wet rims, couldn't get up onto it. Once I was on my hill climbers would have made sure any progress I made was not lost. The one employee popped back out and got me onto the ramp. Otherwise I might've been a bit of a quad-sickle.

It was nice to just get out and photograph whatever I can find without too much forethought. I decided to do that again following week but, surprise, surprise, we got another huge dump of snow that started just hours after I was done shooting on my second winter photo drive.

Those photos will be coming soon. I hope spring is not too far behind because I'm feeling that ready-to-be-done feeling with this winter.

Feb 5, 2015

Aged Tenth Anniversary Roses

  Photograph Aged Roses - 1 by Jay Scott on 500px

As Angie had said before, roses just don't last as long as most other cut flowers. They certainly smelled nice and were beautiful but one week was definitely the extent of their life. The last two that looked half decent were the subject of these photos but I'm glad I took the opportunity to shoot them one more time before they were time to be disposed of.

  Photograph Aged Roses - 2 by Jay Scott on 500px

Most of the time when something starts to have areas of being less attractive it's the macro lens and close-up abstracts that tend to look the best so that is what I aimed for. Also, going against my natural tendency, I just used a few reflectors to light these photos. I have nothing against that, it's just that the sun moves quicker than you might think, especially when lighting is so precisely planned out. One five-minute delay to respond to an e-mail and you have to re-position to reflectors to get the same look you had previously.

  Photograph Aged Roses - 3 by Jay Scott on 500px

I don't think this will be the last bouquet I buy this winter. It's a pretty affordable and enjoyable thing to purchase to brighten up the home and give me something beautiful to make a photograph with.