2013 In Photos

1 01 2014

I took a bit of time and made a "2013 in Review"

The Year 2013 in Photos by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

If you click the link, you can see the larger size.





Anniversary Hike to Yellow Aster Butte

8 08 2013

My wife and I headed out last weekend for an overnight backpacking trip to Yellow Aster Butte meadows as our 13th anniversary of the trip we took for our honeymoon in 2000.  I trekked the 7D up with me using the Cotton carrier (which, I might add, was quite comfortable)

The whole set is at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157634968454038

Here are some samplings of the photographic fruits of our labour:

1. Some lovely little purple wildflowers

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

2. Some of the beautiful wildflowers in bloom with Shuksan in the background

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

3. American and Canadian Border Peaks

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

4. Tarns of Yellow Aster Butte

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

5. Pristine Alpine Tarn

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

6. Our own patch of paradise

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

7. Mount Baker in the distance

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

8. Mount Baker, from Artist’s Point – end of Mount Baker Highway

Anniversary Weekend at Mount Baker by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

I hope you enjoyed your virtual alpine visit!  Comments welcome!





Tanzanian Zebras

28 05 2013

Some more shots from our Safari in 2009! 

1. Dopplegangers

Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

2. Zebra foal

Zebra foal by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

3. Funny?

Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

4. Bonding

Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

5. Standing proud

Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

You can find more of the Zebras at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157633724758082/with/8847231301/
The whole Africa adventure is here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157621906615382

Comments and Critique always welcome and appreciated.





Catching up on some Tanzania 2009 editing

29 04 2013

Yes, I’m STILL ediing photos from our trip to Africa in 2009… Here’s some of Zanzibar…. not just a map in Halo :)

1. The World’s game

The World’s game by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

2. A helping hand

A Helping Hand by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

3. Sunset

Sunset on Zanzibar by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

4. Mrs Dragonspeed with two kids happy to ham it up for the camera

Mrs Dragonspeed and a couple of local kids by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

5. Zanzibar door

Zanzibar Door by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

6. Sunset

Sunset on Zanzibar by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

7. Mrs Dragonspeed dwarfed by a Giant Aldabra Tortoise.

The Giant Aldabra Tortoise Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Oh my, there are just so many amazing memories. Please feel free to browse the Flickr set at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157633384611500/with/8685991911/

Enjoy the tropical visit!





More Yukon Landscapes

4 04 2013

We took a trip down to Skagway from Whitehorse while visiting. The drive was nice, and the part through "White Pass" was appropriately named.. crazy! Here are some of the shots from the outing.

1. Along the shores of Tagish Lake
[IMG]
Heading down to Skagway by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

2. Lonely Border post
[IMG]
Border Outpost by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

3. On the flats of Dyea, Alaska
[IMG]
On the flats in Dyea, AK by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

4. The ice planet "Hoth"?
[IMG]
Hoth? by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

5. Spectacular sun on the mountains, near the border
[IMG]
Sun on the mountains by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

6. Welcome to the Yukon (with a little photoshop help)
[IMG]
Welcome to the Yukon! by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

I hope you enjoyed this little winter visit… more available at my flickr set:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157633081420715/with/8619057091/





Skagway Alaska – offseason

4 04 2013

We took a day trip down from Whitehorse to Skagway to check it out. The drive through White Pass was "interesting" to put it mildly, but the town of Skagway was almost a ghost town on that Sunday in the off-season.
 
1. A cold Welcome

Welcome to the USA by DragonSpeed, on Flickr
 
2. What do you do with a hundred tour buses in the off season?

The fleet at rest by DragonSpeed, on Flickr
 
3. The only place open on a Sunday morning.

The only open place on a Sunday in Skagway by DragonSpeed, on Flickr
 
4. The historic White Pass railway and old buildings of Skagway under the mountains that surround it.

All aboard! by DragonSpeed, on Flickr
 
5. Probably the most photographed building in town

The Arctic Brotherhood Hall by DragonSpeed, on Flickr
 
6. Tumbleweeds anyone?

All we need is some tumbleweeds by DragonSpeed, on Flickr
 
Apparently 10,000 tourists/day come through from May to September, but the 900 inhabitants weren’t really visible when we were there. I think we saw about 10-20 people the whole time we were there. Very strange.





The King of the Beasts

5 02 2013

While the Lion may be "The King of the Beasts" it was pretty obvious that it was the LIONESS that did the real work in the kingdom. Here are the top shots from our Tanzania Safari in 2009

1. Looks like someone outlasted Mom this time

Play time! by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

2. Your very own pet lioness?

Your very own pet lioness? by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

3. "Hey — anyone see Fred recently?"

"Hey – Where’s Fred?" by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

4. On the Lookout

Nursing Cubs is a Community Effort by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

5. A lioness passes VERY near by

Nursing Cubs is a Community Effort by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

6. Lion cubs so close you had to move back to focus!

Nursing Cubs is a Community Effort by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

7. A pair of young (5yr old) males

Young Brothers by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

8. Adult Male in Ngorongoro

Adult Male Lion by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The full set of Lions is at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragons…th/8448680466/

The whole Africa trip: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragons…th/8448680466/

I hope you enjoy seeing the photos as much we enjoyed taking them!





Sunny but Cold Canmore…

14 01 2013

I spent three days visiting my cousin Sarah in Canmore.  The first two days were cloudy and socked in, with some snow falling. The third day, when the sun came out and the air was clear, the mountains were spectacular:

Some shots from a short visit to Canmore, Alberta last week:


Canadian Rocky Mountains by DragonSpeed, on Flickr


Canadian Rocky Mountains by DragonSpeed, on Flickr


Canadian Rocky Mountains by DragonSpeed, on Flickr


Canadian Rocky Mountains by DragonSpeed, on Flickr


Canadian Rocky Mountains by DragonSpeed, on Flickr


Canadian Rocky Mountains by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Stay warm!

The whole set of mountain shots can be found at:
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragons…th/8379030762/





Goodbye 2012 – Here comes 2013

31 12 2012

Just a short note to all of you that read my blog… Thank you for letting me share my experiences, travels and a bit of life with you over the past year.  I met SO many new people in 2012 in countries from Ecuador to Cambodia.  You all had a positive effect on my life.  I strive to be better, but often fall short. It’s the presence and love of my dear wife that keeps me going even when I fall down.  This past year has seen a LOT of travel… almost too much.  I hope that in 2013 I’ll be home more often to share more of the joys of life with the people I love.

Happy 2013 to all of you!  May God bless and keep you always!





Finally got our Ecuador Photobook done!

30 12 2012

We sent our Ecuador Photobook off to be printed at Picaboo the other day. It definitely took a lot of editorial “discussion” between myself and Mrs Dragonspeed until we came up with the right mix of landscape/animals/people.

To view our project, click the following link: http://app.picaboo.com/WebView/Project.aspx?clientID=6f2b34d4602f3c671193b0877abb8658&version=295980&siteID=ViaPreview

 





2012-11-22 A walk around “The Peak”

3 12 2012

We decided to head up to Victoria Peak with Mrs Dragonspeed’s mom and Lorna and Claire.  We took a cab up and wandered around the Peak shops and checked out the goodies they offered – all at ridiculous “tourist marked up” pricing.  This one sign, however caught my eye

That’s what we need in Canada!  And the price is right… about $7CAD.  Well – it was a bit too early for that, so we kept looking about. Next thing you know, we run into Bruce Lee!  With this group of helpers, he was sure to win, even if he WAS wax Winking smile

We went for a walk around the “Morning Trail” which led us around the Northwest corner of the Peak.  It opened into lovely vistas of Kowloon, unfortunately the sun and fog were challenging bug we got a few pictures of Hong Kong’s tallest building, ICC and the ships in the Kowloon Western harbour.

After the walk around the peak, we took a cab part way down the hill to the Wan Chai Gap park.  Mrs Dragonspeed’s dad used to take the kids here when they were little. They walked UP and down the hill to Aberdeen when they were young.  We were going to walk down.  ALL the way down the Aberdeen!  We came across a tonne of pretty butterflies. It must be butterfly season as this was the second time in a week that I have seen so many together.

We even saw a couple of new birds (for me). Here’s the Japanese White-eye:

It was a good day of exercise and the clouds kept it from getting too hot, but didn’t help the shooting.  Well – I guess it’s a compromise!

The whole set of shots from the peak can be seen at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157632167122072/

Thanks for reading and dropping in to check out the photos!





2012-11-20 A nice relaxing day

21 11 2012

We didn’t do too much during the day on the 20th, but we did head over to Mong Kok in the evening to have dinner at a friend’s place.  It was my first time being in a regular Hong Kong apartment.  It was lovely, albeit a bit small.  Apparently the thick concrete walls means that you don’t hear your neighbours, which is good, because everyone lives pretty close to one another!

Our friend has two dogs, which made a significant part of the evening fun – trying to photograph people with dogs 😉

Here are some of my successes:

The Pomeranian – Cookie

The Chocolate Lab – Choco

Mrs Dragonspeed with Cookie

Claire with Choco

and then there are the “Fun trying to shoot dogs” shot:

Between the dogs, the good company and the great food, it was a fun evening!

On the way home, the requisite night shots:

Mong Kok lights:

Night food

The full set of photos is at my flickr set:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157632067410173/

Next Blog entry will be Ocean Park!





2012-11-19 A day on Cheung Chau

19 11 2012

We headed over to Cheung Chau on the 19th for a bit of a walk, fish balls, gai dan zai and a big family dinner… It’s a great island to visit with always SOMETHING good to shoot.

1. IFC II reaches up into the clouds in Central District, Hong Kong

Build up until you reach the Gods! by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

2) Wedding announcements!

Marriage announcements! by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

3) Yue Dan, or Fish balls on a stick – a Cheung Chau fave

Yue Dan – Fish Balls! by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Yue Dan – Fish Balls! by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

4) The old fashioned way

The good old way by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

5) 
Workhorses by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

6) The Dragon

Dragon by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

7) The Ghost King at the Cheung Chau temple

Scene from the Cheung Chau Temple by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The whole day of fun can be found in the flickr set:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragons…57632051784735

I hope you enjoy them!





2012-11-08 Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre

12 11 2012

The itinerary for today, thankfully only included two temples and a bit of driving to get to them.

On our way to get to the first, Banteay Srei, we stopped at a little village where the local people were making palm sugar. It was very interesting to see how similar the process was to the way we make maple sugar in Canada. The molds for the sugar, however were made from palm leaves not little maple leaf shaped tins.

The resulting discs look a lot like dried scallops (strangely) and the texture is identical to that of our maple sugar.  The taste was not of plain sugar but a bit different.  It was quite good!

Banteay Srei was our first stop.  The temple is a lovely, one level (Thank God – no stairs) temple.  The core foundation stones were made from lava rock as were most other temples but the sandstone in this one was all ORANGE/RED, resulting in a lovely coloured temple.

The carvings were very ornate and the depictions of Vishnu going into battle as well as various other Hindi tales were emblazoned on the various piedements.

One particular door frame held an extra surprise for us

That’s right!  A leopard gecko with a head about the size of a lemon was hiding in a crack between the wall and the door frame.  It was an amazing addition of natural beauty to this man-made marvel.

Even Muk Muk and Boxer Duck enjoyed the beauty of this unique temple

Our next stop was Banteay Samre.  This seems to be the poor step-child of the “Angkor Wat Temples”  It was nearly deserted when we arrived. That meant we were able to spend a little more time enjoying the amazing things that the temple had to offer.

The two temples were just enough for our last full day of temple watching.  We were beginning to get a bit “Templed Out”  We headed home after lunch at a countryside restaurant, enjoying views like this on the way home:

A lovely way to end the day’s outing.

We came back to our hotel to find the usual, lovely water flower arrangement, reminding you of the more delicate things than rocks and stones.

To enjoy the whole set of pictures from today, please visit the flickr set at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157631989183097/

Our entire Cambodian trip is in the collection at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/collections/72157631926458473/

Take your time, enjoy the pictures and get lost in a world that time left behind.





2012-11-06 Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat

7 11 2012

We got up at the ungodly hour of 0430 to catch a 0730 plane out out of Phnom Penh.  The hotel doesn’t have any food at that time, so no breakfast for us 😦

Getting to Siem Reap was generally uneventful, highlighted only by the fact that you walk of the wonderfully air-conditioned plane onto the tarmac what was just missing a bit of oil for frying eggs!  At 0900, it was already 28C!

Our guide, a nice fellow, met us and we were whisked away to start the tour.  “What about breakfast"?” I asked, trying not to sound like Samwise Gamgee. 

“The hotel should provide breakfast, we don’t” was the answer…

“Oh”

We motored directly to the Angkor complex and got our picture ID tickets to have for our three days admission to the complex.  More heat.  A short drive later we hop out and start the sauna.  We took some great pictures of the South Gate of Angkor Thom.

We then proceeded over to the Bayon Temple of Angkor Thom.  Our guide explained the may bas-relief around the temples, as well as the carvings. 

Mrs D nose to nose with the Buddha!

Wow – I am now totally confused regarding the different Hindu Gods. Perhaps one day, my friend Hiren can explain more fully.  I have visions of multi armed, multi eyed guys swimming in my brain.  Also multiheaded snakes and half naked dancing women… Wow… So much in one day.  

After going through the Bayon temple, we decided to try an elephant ride.  Sort of a “bucket list” kind of thing.  Well – scratch that off, and don’t expect me to do it very often in the future.. What a BUMPY ride! 

We did, however, get some good angles for some of our best pictures of the Bayon temple.   We continued to see various other temples of the Angkor Thom complex,but damned if I can remember what they were!  We had a brief downpour, but it let up, leaving just dark clouds around.  Like I wasn’t wet enough from the heat already!

Seriously sweating by now, and weak from lack of food, we headed over to a restaurant near Angkor Wat for lunch.  It was neat – you could actually see the towers of Angkor Wat from the restaurant.  I think I had 4 Sprites in an attempt to rehydrate and sugar up!  The food was good, but I think our 2nd day lunch in Phnom Penh outshone this stuff.

We proceeded to the temple of Angkor Wat next.

Angkor Wat is a “Mountain Temple” which means there are a crapload of stairs to climb to get to the top, most holy area.  Wow.. STEEP STEPS! 

We took lots of interesting pictures of the temple and from the temple before heading home.

Mrs D – the Dancer 🙂

Dinner was out at a restaurant that included dancing entertainment and a “Typical Cambodian” buffet.  The food was pretty bland.  Apparently “Tourist version” of “Typical Cambodian” is not as good as the Real Thing.

The evening's entertainment

The evening's entertainment

The dancers were good and the the whole evening went well. We got back to our room around 2100 after stopping to get some beer at the supermarket ($0.65/can!) rather than have to pay $2 down at the hotel lobby bar.

Then it was off to bed – more temples to tour on the 7th!

I put up 54 photos from the day at my flickr page:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157631951737846/





2012-11-05 The Killing Fields

5 11 2012

Today was another hot, humid day, with the temperature hovering around 30C at 0900, you knew it was going to be hot! 

After breakfast, we headed out to see Tuol Sleng, the interrogation centre where the Khmer Rouge tortured confessions out of anyone suspected of being more than a simple peasant. Once they had the confession they wanted, they shipped them off to the killing fields to be executed. A brutal, horrid system.

While there, prisoners were shackled at the feet and bound with their hands behind their back. They were force to stay in small stalls and given only an ammo box to use as their toilet.  Torture happened everyday for prisoners, sometimes more often.  The “interrogation” continued until the victim died or confessed to being an American or Russian agent, in which case they were then sent off to be killed.

After Tuol Sleng, we headed over to Choeung Ek, about 15km out of Phnom Penh. It was here that the Khmer Rouge did their nastiest work.  Everyone here was killed as they arrived.  About 300 people per day.  Babies were tossed in the air and shot at for target practice.  Small children were held by their legs and their head swung against a tree to kill them. It was gruesome.  It really was a crime against humanity.

The remains of the victims are now kept in what amounts a large ossuary. A shrine to their suffering.  It stands so tall, and is so full, it chokes you up to see it

Inside:

Layer upon layer of skulls

The visit was a sobering reminder of the brutality of mankind.  It was both saddening and overwhelming to think of the horrors that happened only 35 years ago.

There are other pictures from the day (not all from the Killing Fields, some happy things too!) on my Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157631935036662/

Tomorrow we fly to Siem Reap, so we are leaving our hotel at 0530. Time to sleep!





2012-11-04 First Day in Cambodia

4 11 2012

Wow – after 20 hours of travelling, we finally arrived in Phnom Penh.  Exhausting.

But!  we can’t let that stop us, can we?  We then headed out to our hotel, had a quick shower before going out to Khmer Surin for lunch.  Lunch was tasty and the environment was really nice. Post lunch, we hit the Royal Museum and Royal Palace.   The Palace was not originally planned,but we did it today since with the recent passing of the former king, the palace grounds could be closed at any time without notice.

Wow – it was probably about 38C today and the sun baked like an oven.  Now, 23:23  and I’m FINALLY getting a short blog entry. The set of photos from today is up on Flickr at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157631926911120/

Tomorrow promises more heat and this time the killing fields. Should be a sombre experience.

The Royal Palace

The Silver Pagoda at the Royal Palace

Lunch!

See you tomorrow!





Ecuador Pictures done!

2 09 2012

Finally, our entire Ecuador trip – edited, distilled down to its essence and uploaded to Flickr.

· 21 days of travelling
· 5 of us together from 2 separate continents
· 10 different cities/towns and villages from the Metropolis of Quito to the tiny mountain village of Chugchilan
· paved roads, dirt roads, roads of questionable status
· Tortoises, goats, hummingbirds, llamas, iguanas, sealions and everything seemingly in between.
· sea level to 4800m
· Baking Sun to chilling mountain fog.
· Crammed taxis, comfortable private ride, “cruise boat”, zodiac… feet.

Irene and I took over 6000 photos combined.

All this, we managed to distill down to the best 791 photos of the trip… Sit back, grab a snack and enjoy the slideshow!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157629476591628/show/

You might want to put on some pan flute music in the background as well to get that authentic South American feeling 😉

Thanks for taking the trip with us to Ecuador. Who knows where our next trip will take us but the world is big and there are many interesting parts that call us to see them!





Baños de Agua Santa

5 08 2012

Hanging out at La Casa Verde The Hostel "La Casa Verde" was hard to find, but a nice place to stay.

April 10th, 2012 found us in the town of Baños, Ecuador The place comes complete with its own Volcano, a bunch of cool waterfalls and zipline opportunities!

All the photos can be found here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157630916351882/

Volcan Tungurahua

Tungurahua Volcano spitting out some steam and ash. About 4 times a day, there’s a nice loud booming sound as it vents a bit more. Nothing to worry about, they tell us! Hah!

Baños de Agua Santa

The town of Baños de Agua Santa aka. Baños. Nestled in the valley below Tungurahua, it looks idyllic but that whole Volcano thing is a bit creepy.

Casa Del Arbol

Our host at the "Tree house" explains the whole Tungurahua history and his volunteer efforts to monitor the Volcano. Nice guy, but I don’t know if hanging around in the shadow of an angry volcano is how I’d want to spend my days.

Casa Del Arbol

The group of us with the nice, crazy guy that watches over the Volcan Tungurahua.

Fresh Milk – RIGHT from the Cow!

Hidi tries some of the fresh milk, straight from the cow. Warm, and full of natural good fats! Of course I ended up giving the guy $2 … probably more than he makes from 5 LITRES of milk. Touristas!

Everybody loves boobies!

There’s nothing quite like having nice boobies in your hands! 😉

Hanging out at La Casa Verde

The Hostel "La Casa Verde" was hard to find, but a nice place to stay.





Hiking up Cotopaxi! April 9, 2012

30 07 2012

We met our driver, Lincoln at some ungodly early time in the morning and headed out from our hotel to start out on the “Avenue of the Volcanos” The idea was that if we left early enough, we might actually SEE some of them before the afternoon clouds came in.  We headed south from Quito and sure enough, the clouds had already covered the tops of many of the volcanos. That’s OK, the drive wasn’t too bad anyway.  We arrived at the base of the Cotopaxi National Park, and Lincoln registered the vehicle as entering.

Parque Nacional Cotopaxi

We drove up to a small building where we had a lot of the background of the volcano explained and a last chance to get some snacks, coca tea or water.   Our next stop was Laguna Limpiopungo.  There were some andean gulls flying around, but none of them close enough for a good picture.   We did see this one little lonely bird around 4200m though… Not sure what he is (Stout Billed Cincoldes, Cinclodes excelsior)

A lonely bird.

The parking area was at 4500m and the wind was whipping up a good chill.  It was NOT warm.  We got our gear on and began the hike up the side of the volcano.  Not much switchback stuff, just UP.  It was on loose, gravelly moraine so you basically gained 2 steps for every 3.   The going was tough.  It was my personal goal to hike 25 steps before stopping and sucking wind.   There were a couple of times that I just thought “Forget it.  I’ll meet them when they come down!”  But we all made it eventually!  4810m was the height of the shelter.

4810m Wow! We made it.

The Views, when the clouds lifted briefly were lovely!

Volcanic plains of Cotopaxi

It was a real surprise to run into a couple of nuns hiking up while we were heading down.

Hiking nuns

We did all make it down eventually, as the fog settled in and shortly before the hail started

Descending in the fog

After hiking the volcano, we headed towards Banos for the night.  We stopped at a lovely Hacienda for lunch

An old Hacienda turned guesthouse

The day’s pictures can all be found at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonspeed/sets/72157630823818268/with/7677997520/








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