Starting off 2017 with a walk in the Wetlands

5 01 2017

After dropping Mrs Dragonspeed at the airport, I headed out to Westham Island for a nice walk around the Reifel Bird Sanctuary… in the COLD winter weather.  (Cold in Vancouver means a bit below 0C )  Some of the highlights are here

1. Juvenile Baldie – having lunch

Juvenile Bald Eagle – having lunch
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

2. Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

3. Golden-crowned Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

4. Icy Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane on ice
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

5. The Grey Ghost – Male Northern Harrier

The Grey Ghost
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

6. Sunset Hunt….

The Grey Ghost
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

and because I always love it when these guys perch at a good angle with the sky to get good polarization…

7. Posing Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

The complete set of the day can be found at:

I hope you enjoyed the birds – it’s always a good day when you can get out and shoot!

Remembrance Day – 2015

17 11 2015

Our Scout group goes down to Chinatown every year to help commemorate Remembrance Day with the Chinese community.  It’s a small ceremony that takes place at 12:30pm, after the main one down in Victory Square.  The weather was beautiful this year and made for some good pics.

1. False Creek condos from Sun Yat-Sen gardens

New and Old
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

2. Bomber Flyby

by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

3. Formation Fly-by

by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

4. Old fighters

by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

5. More old fighters

WWII Veterans
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

6. Proud vets

For their service, I am grateful!
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

7.Chinese Workers’ memorial
Chinese Worker’s Memorial by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

8. My Scouts

28th Kitsilano Scout Group
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

9. Soon there will be too few :(

Two WWII veterans
by Brian Hampson, on Flickr

The whole set can be found at:

I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Vancouver Open Judo Tournament – 2011

10 02 2011
I was out at the Vancouver open Judo tournament last weekend and did a bit of shooting.
This is the first time that ANY Judo tournament was held in the new Olympic Oval. The light was great and it was a real pleasure to get out and shoot there. So much better than so many of the dark gymnasia that many competitions occur within. I was actually able to get the ISO as low as 2500!!! The full set is on my Flickr at:

Here are a few pics from the tournament.

Like Judo, speed skating, the original design of the building, requires the human machine to be functioning at full capacity
Vancouver Open Judo Tournament 2011 by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Will he make it?
Vancouver Open Judo Tournament 2011 by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The Chess Match
Vancouver Open Judo Tournament 2011 by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Finishing it off
Vancouver Open Judo Tournament 2011 by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

Vancouver Open Judo Tournament 2011 by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

There are more available on my Flickr set:
I hope you enjoy them!

Gold! Gold! Gold!!!!!

14 02 2010

Alexandre Bilodeau wins Gold for Canada in the Men’s Moguls!!!!


Canada finally wins Gold at a games that we host!!!! 


Go Canada!!!!!!!

World Police and Fire Games Judo was great!

9 08 2009

I made it out on Saturday to watch day 2 of the World Police and Fire Games (WPFG) Judo.  The light in the BCIT gym was better than many places, but I was still stuck shooting at 2.8, ISO 3200 1/640s.

Judo WPFG BCIT Burnaby BC Canada International

The Judo was great.   There were some excellent players and some incredible Judo.    It was my first time watching international Judo. It’s really quite something to see the local fans cheer on athletes from their home country.  The russians and the Croatians had big cheering squads, but the Taiwanese and Brazilians made themselves heard (both the fans with their cheers and the athletes in their action!)  The action was on two mats, so I missed photographing some of it.  The other parts that I missed were due to people wandering in front of the shot just as the big technique occured.  It would have probably been a good idea to try to work my way over to the “official” photography side of the gym so that I wouldn’t have been blocked so often.  Sigh… you get what you can when you don’t step up I guess.

Judo WPFG BCIT Burnaby BC Canada International

I’ve separated the pictures into 3 galleries…

WPFG Judo Competition 

WPFG Judo Awards Ceremonies

WPFG Judo – People

Judo WPFG BCIT Burnaby BC Canada International

It’s in my homemade photo gallery, hosted on a private system so you’re going to have to be a bit patient. 

I hope the pictures help convey the great day that it was.

If you would like a copy of an image in higher resolution, please let me know in the comments!

Winter Camping with the Scouts – Manning Park

11 12 2007

Lightning Lake, Manning Provincial Park , BC Canada

Last weekend (Dec 7-9, 2007) we went camping with the Scouts at the Lightning Lake Winter campsite, Manning Provinical Park in BC.  We were about 30 in number, including 3 leaders and 18 Scouts and Venturers from the 40th Marpole Scouts as well as 10 Scouts and Venturers from the 28th Kitsilano Scouts.

40th Marpole and 28th Kitsilano Scout Groups at Lightning Lake

On the Friday night when we arrived it was pretty cold.  The kids set up their tents and got their things organized.  It was cold.  Very cold.  One of the scouts had his birthday so his parents had sent up a birthday cake.  By the time we got to eating the cake it was more of an ice cream cake… Just what you need at -14C 🙂  By the time we got to the point where we were boiling up “hot water bottles” for their sleeping bags it was almost midnight.  We finished boiling up the last bottle at about 0130! 

Sidebar 1:  We require our scouts to buy and use only the 1L wide mouth nalgene bottles which just so happen to be the type of bottle that MEC pulled from their shelves the other day due to fears of bisphenol A.  This allows us to pour boiling hot water into bottles without melting them or burning the hands of the holder.  The plastic is slightly insulating and makes a great slow dissipation of heat.  These bottles are tough and also can handle the duress imposed upon them as the water freezes later that next day.

Sidebar 2: The old plunger pump style of coleman stoves and lanterns:

SUCK in cold weather.  Since we do at least 2 cold weather camps a year, we’re going to start using more MSR stoves and look for lanterns that work on a similar fuel delivery system to the MSR.  At -15, the LAST thing you want is to not be able to light a stove or lantern because you can’t maintain a seal on your fuel pump 😦  If you have any suggestions for lanterns, please add them in the comments!


The next morning it was BITTERLY cold.  Turns out it had gone down to about -18C overnight.  So, on top of the usual sleepy kids, we had a bunch of kidsicles too.  They were cold.  They had to get warm energy in themselves soon, and get moving.  It’s a funny cycle though.  When you’re cold you just want to sit still – which makes you colder… and around it goes.  We got them to get their breakfast going and boil more water to have hot liquid to drink.  In the cold everything takes a long time, and this was no exception.  Breakfast finished in about 1.5 hours.

After breakfast we headed out to the parking lot area and played ball tag as well as had distance competitions for throwing “snowballs” (actually icy snow chunks).  By the time we finished everyone had warmed up a bit more, and the sun was finally coming over the mountains at about 1000.  It was time for a hike.  Lightning lake is quite a large lake with a couple of large bays which makes the lake size look deceptively small when you look at it from the “right” angle.  We headed out along the shore walking through mostly broken snow.  We were able to identify tracks of rabbits, hares, raven, squirrels and possibly a small cat (cougar/bobcat?) We could tell it was a wild carnivore of some sort since its scat had a lot of fur in it, possibly from squirrels or mice.  We walked all the way down to the rainbow bridge (which is where we took the picture you see above), and then returned back to the campsite to get lunch going.  The kids had all kinds of different things for lunch while we, the leaders, had chunky chicken noodle soup.  That warmed the soul 😀  Of course lunch and its associated machinations required about 1.5 hours again.

After lunch came the big challenge of the day:  start a small sustainable fire from natural surroundings which will continue to burn for 10 minutes with no interference from the firelighters.  There were some excellent attempts and one fire even burned for 9:50 before dying into a smoldering heap.  They had a great time with the challenge even though it was quite difficult.  Fire lighting is a skill that they need to work on still.  One that may possibly save their lives in the future.

 28th kitsilano Scouts fire lighting

The sunset was around 1430.  This is one of the joys of camping in a  mountain valley in the winter – not much sunlight.  The stars overhead were fantastic and made a beautiful blanket of white in the black moonless sky.  I don’t think too many kids noticed them though.  They were busy “being cold”.

Lessons about cold:

  1. If you keep your gloves off your hands will get cold
  2. If you keep your gloves on when they are wet your hands will get cold
  3. If you keep your gloves on and do nothing with your hands they will get cold
  4. Repeat above 3 replacing gloves with boots and hands with feet
  5. If you stand around and hope you’ll get warmer, you won’t.  MOVE.
  6. If you don’t eat enough you won’t have enough calories – COLD
  7. If you don’t drink enough you won’t have enough water to help your body metabolize your calorie intake – COLD
  8. If you listen to your Scout leaders you have a WAY better chance of staying warm.

Dinner was a massive undertaking.  By now most juices had frozen solid, olive oil had turned into olive butter, eggs were hard calcium covered rocks, and water bottles were full of ice.  It took some determination to get dinner ready and eaten without freezing or having frozen food.  They did it.   Sure, the place looked a bit like a hurricane had blown through but they did it.  After the 2+ hour affair called dinner it was time for the event to which ALL scouts were looking forward – campfire!  We piled it high!  We had a palette of old pine 2x4s and some hemlock and fir.  We built a beauty of a fire and we roasted ourselves around it.  While warming up we sang Christmas songs and talked about gifts from Christmases past – the good, the bad and the ugly. There sure are some odd gifts out there!  I reminded them that at Christmas time everyone talks about kindness and charity, but that as Scouts they should have kindness and charity in their hearts at all times – not just Christmas.  As scouts we should always be cheerful and kind, considerate and clean, looking for ways to better the world.  Christmas is when the rest of them do it.  We do it all year ’round.

At about 2100 we played a wide game that had them running around through the woods and playing and yelling like kids enjoy doing.  It was definitely warmer than it had been on Friday night.  By 2200 we had finished our game and headed over to the lakeshore to look up at the sky.  For almost all these youth this will be the most stars in the sky that they may ever see.  It was beautiful.  Orion, Ursa major, the milky way, mars.  They shone bright but were also surrounded by millions of lesser stars that you don’t see when you’re in the city.  Next, we began to boil up water bottles again for those that wished them.  After all was said and done we managed to get to sleep by 2330 on Saturday night.  It was REALLY quiet.  They were obviously tired.

Sunday morning was the mad rush to leave.  We woke at 0730 again but this time to the sound of snow falling.  It was falling pretty heavily and would likely start to cause us some problems if it continued at that rate.  The Scouts and Venturers packed up their gear in their tents and then got up and went through the breakfast game again.  One day they’ll become a well oiled team, but in the meantime we continue to be serenaded by shouts of “Hey – what ARE you doing?” and “Why are you doing that?”  Ah – teamwork.

At 1120 I drove out to the lodge to meet the school bus which was to pick us up.  He arrived a bit late (1150). Apparently the highway between Vancouver and Abbotsford had been closed due to too much black ice and over 15 cars in the ditch.  They reopened it later, but it was enough to make him late to come get us.

We finally pulled out of Manning Park at around 1300 and were back in Vancouver by 1600.  I was tired but happy that I’d had a good camp out with the Scouts again.

I hope to have one of the youths’ camp logs posted soon.


Remembrance Day 2007

12 11 2007

As usual, our Scout group joined many other scout groups and veterans at the Vancouver South Cenotaph.  The weather was dull grey, a bit cold and even a bit rainy.  Our kids were great!  They stood still and quiet “at ease” when required, and didn’t flinch when the rain started to fall upon them.  The veterans were very happy to see such dedication from our youth. 

I truly hope that kids today will have a chance to meet and talk with someone who’s been in a combat situation to understand the harsh realities of war.  It’s not a video game, and you don’t get to start over if you die.

We shall remember them!

Well… I’m older

5 11 2007

I turned 40 on the weekend.  I’m now on the downhill side of life.  Meh – big deal.  A day older than I was before.

The celebration, on the other hand, was a really nice time.  I went out for the afternoon on Saturday and hung out with my cousin and a friend…relaxed, laughed and had a generally good time.  After that we met up with my other cousin and Mrs D.  We headed out to “Joeys” on Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam.  We got there around 1900.  Wait time estimate: 45-60 minutes.  No problem.  We’ll go hang in the bar.  Apparently there was a wait list for sitting there too so we just stood around and drank bellinis while getting in the general way of the waitresses (good looking ones at that!)  We hung around for probably more like 75 minutes before we got our seats.

We ended up sitting at a table right near where the other “waitees” had to hang out.  I’m not entirely fond of people watching me while I eat.  They really need some kind of divider to separate the “haves” from the “have nots” 😉

While the food was good, the service wasn’t.  Our waiter seemed to largely ignore us during the course of the meal but I didn’t mind too much.  It was good to hang and laugh and tell stories with friends and family while enjoying good drinks and food.

After dinner I had my heart set on “Death by Chocolate”.  I had remembered the one in downtown Vancouver from about 10 years ago and the creations which they made by hand in front of your eyes.  It was a chocolate heaven.  We went over to the one located in Metrotown at the corner of Nelson and Kingsway.  DON’T.  We arrived at 10:45 (I think) and there was one person sitting in this small place.  As we entered she got up and went behind the counter with a “Oh my God – I have to work” look to her face.  I really felt she’d have been happier if we HADN’T stepped into her shop.  We left.

We then headed down to the “Death by Chocolate” located near Granville and Broadway.  This was better.  The place actually had clients and they were enjoying coffees and confections.  I didn’t see anyone handmaking anything, but I figured this would do nicely. 

“I’m sorry, we’re not seating anymore, but you can get take out”. 

They apparently were going to close in about 15 minutes too 😦

Well, we were parked already and not far from Cheescake etc. down on Granville at 5th.  We decided to head down there.  It WAS getting to be midnight and we wanted to get on with having dessert!  

Cheesecake etc, pleasantly, was still the little hole in the wall that I recalled, dimly lit with gentle jazz playing in the background.  Finally – a place that met my expectations!  We had our various cheescakes and coffees and hung out, enjoying the end of my birthday.  We didn’t stay too long though, as one of my cousins had to be on a plane in the morning.

On our drive back home, we noticed a lot of police cars on Granville St, near 20th.  Turns out there had just been another Gangland hit.  Gotta love life in the big city.

We got home at about 0100 and I finished the day off with a little Halo 3.  A good birthday day!

Sunday was good too!  Dim Sum with cousin and friends.  Nothing like the fun of taking a western person to Dim Sum for the first time!!! LOL!  Good times!

Thanks to R,S,R, Scouter E, Baggy, P and  Mrs D for the great weekend time!  Love you all!

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Scout Camp at Golden Ears Provincial Park

15 10 2007

Last weekend we camped at Golden Ears Provincial Park.  Watch this space.  Within the next week, I’ll be posting the best log of the camp as written by one of the Scouts.


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