Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Eagle and its pet rock

Was this young bald eagle pretending that this little rock was a fish, or or was it just playing king of the castle?

Who knows?  Anyway it gave me and my camera ample time to record its high jinks. In fact I was able watch from about 30 feet away for a full 5 minutes, before it decided to amble away looking for better game (pun intended) on an adjacent sandbar.

There are quite a few eagles to be seen at Rathtrevor Beach near Parksville on Vancouver Island at this time of year. They congregate here to prey on the flocks of Brant Geese which have stopped to fatten up on the herring roe as they migrate between Southern Mexico and Northern Alaska.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Pragmatic Environmentalist.

All environmentalists are nimbys to some degree, because with their heads in the clouds they are intent on preserving the status quo, or even reversing history. To greenies, progress seems to be a four letter word. Indeed the more rabid environmentalists seem to be advocating a return to a stone age life style, an ideal probably not shared by the majority of their neighbours.

I have been known to describe myself as a pragmatic environmentalist, which I have been told is an oxymoron. I know what a moron is and on occasion have been called much worse, but what in hell is an oxy? It is simply not within the realm of possibility to save all the species which still exist in our world, as many environmentalists wish. In any event we are told that more creatures have become extinct in historic and prehistoric times due to entirely natural causes, than presently exist on planet earth. Pragmatic, because I understand and concur with the necessity of protecting against uncontrolled exploitation of the world's natural resources, but also appreciate the advantages to be gained through the reasonable use of these same resources and those still to be discovered.

It is all too easy to find evidence of man's destructive tendencies in the name of progress, and it is often difficult to reconcile this with the ideal of leaving the world a better place than it was when we found it, but at least we should all consider that principle from time to time. With or without the aid of mankind, change, like death and taxes, is inevitable, but many are afraid of it.

How much of the atmospheric change currently making headlines is scientifically attributable to mankind's carbon emissions. With the notable exception of oilmen, most thinking people believe that the rapid increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that has occurred since the start of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, is to some degree caused by man. The related greenhouse effect is no longer scientifically in question. The remaining, and more important question is how to fix this problem.

I personally believe that we are in deep doodoo, but this is certainly a topic to be dealt with in blogs to come.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Nimby Battle Cry

Go to any public hearing for the rezoning of land in anticipation of a new housing development and you'll hear the same tired old litany of complaints being regurgitated ad nauseum:

All the bad things in the neighbourhood are going to get worse. Nothing is going to get better. The traffic is going to become dangerously congested; the taxes will increase because of the additional demands for sewer, water, police and fire protection services; the sky is going to fall.

Never do you hear the nimbys ask: where their own kids are going to live after they leave the comfort of their parental homes, hopefully to earn their respective livings: or where the immigrants from across the country or around the world are going to find reasonable accommodation, i.e. those people on whom the growth of the economy and frequently our own jobs will depend.

We all know about the inevitability of death, and of the almost equal inevitability of tax increases, as the politicians succumb to the real or perceived demands of their constituents, in attempts to secure their own re-elections by bribing us with our own money spent on local improvements of one sort or another.

So let's just get over it. That's life in 21st century Canada, just as it was in the previous century and will remain in the foreseeable future... unless there really truly is an armageddon.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nimbys vs Wandos

The red tape cutter bird

Many years ago, as the publisher of a commercial real estate magazine, I sponsored a contest to develop an acronym which would encourage an alternate, more positive attitude to that, too frequently demonstrated by the negative, selfish, I'm all right Jack, "Not In My Back Yard", NIMBYs of the world.

The winning word in that contest was "WONDO" - an abbreviation for "Work On New Development Opportunities". Undoubtedly, as you probably have never seen or heard of "Wondos" (which I rather assume to be the case) that campaign did not achieve its pretentious goals.

Now that I have more time on my hands, and access to the relatively new phenomenon of the bloggisphere to help in spreading the good word... perhaps the time has come to try again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Photography Takes Over from Fishing

You might say my age has overtaken my hobbies.

I was (and still am at heart) an avid fly fisher, but deteriorating parts (back, shoulder, feet, etc.) have necessitated change. So rather than getting soaked, or worse, by falling into a lake, river or the ocean I've traded in my fishing gear for a camera.

I made the change quite gradually, not cold turkey like giving up cigarettes, but it was almost as difficult to break this addiction as it was more than half a century ago to quit the nicotine habit. I must admit, though, I have retained a few my favourite rods, reels and other necessities of the gentle sport of fly fishing, just in case I have a relapse.

Among the many reasons I was always so keen on angling were: enjoyment of nature and the great outdoors. Much of this naturally continues via the new hobby because my favourite photographic subjects: water and mountain views, birds and other wildlife, oftentimes lead me back to the banks of a river or the beach where the views are open, and furry or feathered critters are likely to congregate, and to be visible.

A crimson sunrise over the Oyster Riverestuary

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flying Fish

Photographing jumping fish requires enormous patience in addition to great reflexes.

Just imagine standing on a river bank with the camera poised and your trigger finger cocked... waiting for one of these agile acrobats to pop into view for the time necessary to locate it in the viewfinder and freeze the action.

Despite the odds, I have quite a collection of these "flying fish" photos, but since this is my first ever blog I will only post one today. It's a magnificent buck coho, probably weighing in at about 10 pounds, just jumping for joy because it has successfully navigated all the hazards in the Pacific ocean while finding its way home to its natal river, the Oyster on Vancouver Island.

I used to enjoy catching (and eating) these great fighting fish but, now I satisfy myself with recording them  in mid flight with my Panasonic FZ35. Anyone who believes that angling requires too much patience  should attempt this soul torturing past time to see what being patient really means.

Stay tuned for more flying fish.