Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Billy Connolly

I was recently watched a show featuring Billy called "Journey to the Edge of the World" where Billy travels from the east coast of Canada up the Northwest Passage all the way to Vancouver Island.

For anyone interested in seeing the farther reaches of Canada I highly recommend it and with Billy's sense of humour it makes for good entertainment.

The following few photo's were taken in Tuktoyaktuk and previously posted here, but since watching the show I realized the people who were in my pictures on top of the Pingo were Billy and his cameraman ! When I saw the episode I noticed how beautiful the tundra looked in Tuk and I realized that it didn't look like that the past two years so it must have been earlier. Well after looking at the dates I found for his show and the fact someone in Tuk said someone was in town filming a documentary the same day it all made sense.

So Billy if you ever see this post I wouldn't mind the video footage of us circling overhead :) You were probably cursing me while trying to take your own footage !


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice Eclipse 2010-12-21

Solstice Eclipse December 21, 2010 as seen from Yellowknife, NT
(disclaimer:these photo's aren't great and are my first attempt at night photo's)

 So having the following day off and recently recovering from a stomach flu which allowed me much sleep yesterday, I figured I'd better stay up and get a picture of this eclipse. The "special" circumstance for this eclipse is that it is a full eclipse (of the moon) during the winter solstice (IE the days are getting longer in Yellowknife after today!!!!!). Since moving to Yellowknife I would like to get some Aurora photos and I guess I just haven't been that motivated. Seeing as the next few years should be the best years to see them this experience taught me a few things.

First: Don't set the camera up an hour before the beginning of the eclipse when it is -20. By the time the eclipse started getting good my settings had to be adjusted due to how fast the shutter could close. Also the dimming of the moon did not help this at all. Auto focus became pretty much non existent also.

Second: This is a common sense thing...but don't bring the camera into the +20 degree house and have the lens fog up as the eclipse is at it's peak ! Hence the following shots are shot with 2 different cameras.

Third: Buy a faster, stronger lens.

So the first and last photo are from the Canon Xsi with a 55-250 cheapy lens. I can't complain it was a gift and I have wasted my money elsewhere when I should have bought a better lens. The others were on the backup camera (thank god due to lens fogging up) Canon SX10IS. Both were on a tripod.

The last photo was of the full eclipse as I chose to film it. I was cold and the camera had gone from a full battery to less than half in about 25 shots. Learned a lot about tripods, shooting in the cold and to be thankful it wasn't -45 or I doubt these pictures would have happened.

There is lots of information on this if you google JPL Eclipse and also on Flickr which I am sure has a lot of cool shots from people in warmer climates with much fancier equipment...and skill.

Merry Christmas, Happy First Day of Winter and all I can say is bring on the sun !! (Sorry to all my more northerly friends who are in darkness till mid January :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall in the North

These pictures were posted last year I believe but these are some new vantage points courtesy of my Father In-Law...Beautiful fall colours are abound and it's still about +17 when this shot was taken. Now I must say that it has cooled off somewhat but still seasonal and no -40 yet ! This is Cameron Falls about 40 minutes east of Yellowknife on the Ingram Trail.
Parking just after the falls on the way home and climbing up a large rock face...this is the outflow end of the falls at powder point. The canoe route takes you on this path and next year it would be nice to give it a go.
One of the last beautiful days to be out and about before the rain and snow... looking towards the top of the falls.
To keep with the aviation theme here is a First Air C-130 Hercules taking off for Ekati most likely ! They must get sick of that route but a job is a job ! Still haven't been anywhere new worthy of pictures but I always try and think of something to post...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Whitehorse Part Duex

Whitehorse Part Duex !
Just before sunset we headed up on Grey Mountain for a few pictures. Sadly I had my non SLR camera with me and the low light performance is sub par. But it was such a beautiful evening but cold near the top as I quickly snapped some pictures. This is looking to the northwest towards Whitehorse.
I didn't organize these too well in sequence due to the fact you can only upload 4 pictures at a time in Picasa....we have canceled the IFR and just are about to join a right base for Runway 31L. The airport is just under the cloud on the plateau with the City of Whitehorse down along the Yukon River bank.
The office building of the Whitehorse Tower staff...very friendly service here in Whitehorse. Mid morning and already the TCU's are building around the hills.
For a fairly northern city everything up here is so well done, clean and maintained. Probably due to the fact there are lots of travelers passing through on the Alaska Highway but still I really love the cleanliness of Whitehorse.

Overlooking downtown Whitehorse from the trail that circles the airport. So many trails in this town too which is perfect for someone who currently doesn't have a car ! What started out as just a walk to downtown for lunch turned into 3 hours of touring and a bit of a sun burn. I was pretty sweaty after I climbed up the hill to the airport as I couldn't seem to find the damn return trail. I knew the stairs was farther north but I decided to "save time" and go direct.

Big sink hole which nearly runs right up to the perimeter fence of the airport. Eventually they will have to deal with this.
Miles Canyon from atop the bridge..now much more tame since the hydro dam was put in but back in the day it was apparently one hell of a challenge to get through.
Miles Canyon bridge....apparently if you come here at the right time this place is covered with hundreds of German tourists. In this case it's just me...
Basically read the following picture to describe this one...we drove up beside the summit and took some more pictures but there are bike trails all over this mountain and at the top the walking is easy going (once you get there of course).

Turbine Otter being difficult and I wanted to post the next picture I took after this one where the guy with the rope was leaning back almost 60 degrees trying to hold the plane. That is one reason I kinds stayed away from float flying...I don't have sea legs and I figured I would be in the water more then in the plane. This is just south of Whitehorse on Schwatka Lake, a great place to visit with quite a few float planes.
On the way to the top of some mountain close to town which I can't remember or find (click here for the Google Map location) we noticed something that almost looked like people in trench coats from a far. But with all my 500 mm lens to it's fullest extent we ended up spotting two bald eagles. There were some babies close by and after trying to get some low light photo's this is all that turned out. It just amazes me that this is only 10 minutes from downtown Whitehorse.

Lake Laberge made famous from the Robert Service poem...."The Cremation of Sam McGee". This is atop the mountain just to the northwest of Whitehorse which we drove up a pretty crappy washed out back woods road. But it sure beat walking up the mountain considering I only had one night to see all the sights. This is looking north east towards Lake Laberge which essentially a widening of the Yukon River. Lots of farmland in that area which seems odd being North of 60.
 The climate in this area is dry and fairly warm considering it's latitude so spring comes sooner and winter isn't as cold as similar places in Canada at this latitude.
On top of the same mountain from the previous photo, looking south/east towards Whitehorse and grey mountain is to the left under the shadow of the cloud. Whitehorse only has around 21,000 people but the new subdivisions aren't made on cleared land like they are in places like Calgary, Toronto...etc. They seem to cut out neighborhoods in the trees so you don't really see it at all when you are driving by.

Fish lake also about 15 minutes from Whitehorse taken again from the same mountain top. Just a beautiful spot to see from a distance I can only imagine what it's like to be on the shore...
Looking off to the south towards Alaska...it isn't very far away from here but to go direct from here you would need a plane.
Man do I have a huge shadow....actually that would be the monster wind generator on top...looking east towards Grey mountain and Whitehorse.
For those of you considering going to Whitehorse but are worried where you will find your precious Latte's....you're in luck ! There are also many bakeries and cafe's that will suit your fancy with excellent food abound.
Looking down main street....not a high quality photo but to give a general idea. The airport is just at the end of the street up about 100 feet on the bank...
Mammatus clouds....not really but this is two developing Cumulonimbus clouds growing about 20 miles away and this picture is taken from Grey mountain. We seemed to avoid the rain everywhere we went and those close were sitting on top of the first mountain we went to visit and eventually a down pour could be seen when they started to die out.
To keep with the airplane theme here is an Eva Airways 747-400 probably out of Anchorage heading to somewhere in the USA. This was taken on top of Grey Mountain.
The Beringia tourist info parking lot. Basically talking about when the Bering Strait was emptied of water due to more water being locked in glaciers and when wooly mammoths roamed around these parts. Also when most of the first peeps came across to inhabit North America. Lots of cool pictures and maps including many fossils to look at. Also a full size mammoth skeleton too.
This is a family blog but I just couldn't resist.....

What things would have looked like for people back in the day...you can see them just in the bottom right hand of the picture.

Whitehorse is an amazing place to go visit with lots of outdoor activities and a good starting point to venture out into the Yukon. It reminds me of a Vancouver North but with a lot less people and no traffic to deal with...or HST :) Also a good spot to go to start a trip similar to going to Banff but again it is more rugged and less populated and I think you would get more from the experience. Thanks for stopping by and hopefully I will have something to blog about in the near future.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

7 Years

7 years ago this week I started out finally getting paid to do this gig. It was for less money than I made to load them but at least instead of showing up to work to load 4 of them I just was responsible for one. No this airplane wasn't flying in a 3rd world country......it was Northern Manitoba which for the most part could be considered one!. This girl had a directional gyro on the co-pilot's side and a fixed card ADF with a VFR gps. 172's had better avionics but it was a nice airplane to fly, stable and boy could she take a load. I believe we got 4 snow machines in the back for a charter once. It wasn't pretty but a sight to behold none the less. A year after this picture was taken the company went bankrupt (this is an aviation blog after all) and all the Bandeirante's were flown south into a scrap yard.

Looking back at the path I have taken things have gone about 180 degrees from where I initially set course but where I have ended up is even better then my previous supposed destination ! Here's to going with the flow and enjoying the journey every minute (or every other minute when you have to hold in places like Tadoule Lake :)

Photo courtesy of LostAv8r. He doesn't know that he has lent it to me but that's what happens when you are so poor you don't have a computer so you have to download them to your friends.
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Canada Day !!!

Happy Birthday Canada !!!

The above picture is a collage of photo's from my collection and each Province, and Territory is represented. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to travel to every area of my Country (not like Mr. Cash who has been everywhere man, but close). I have not lived in any other country but from what I have seen, I don't need to go anywhere else because we already have it all (great neighbors ta boot, you crazy Amarakins !)

Happy Birthday Canada !

Saturday, June 26, 2010


CF-CPY Douglas DC-3 Whitehorse, Yukon

If you watched Ice Pilots NWT which aired last winter on the History Channel then you will already be familiar with this WWII machine. This particular plane as you will read below on a photo of the plaque that sits just underneath of it, served in WW2 in Asia and eventually came to rest after working in the Yukon here at the Whitehorse Airport (ICAO:CYXY). Whitehorse sits on the Yukon River and the Alaska Highway runs through town on it's way to....well you guessed it...Alaska ! It reminds me of a Vancouver/Seattle North as it clean and granolaish with lots of outdoor sports.

Looking at CPY from the south east as she rests on a pedestal and weather vanes into the strong south easterly wind.

I tried to capture a shot that would have been a possible movie angle if you were to see this old girl in flight. I have a great imagination and can imagine this old bird flying all over western Canada getting people where they needed to go. Back then the flights might not have been as cheap but at least you got good old service with a meal ! (Not complaining about today's level of service considering you can go from Vancouver to Ottawa for 200 bucks !)

Really no need to describe the above photo....

Whitehorse has tons of trails that take you anywhere you need to go and today I need to get to downtown from the airport. The path I was on took me right under the approach path for the 13's and as I was walking I could see some big airplane turn final about 15 miles or so and I decided to wait to see what it was. There was a trough of low pressure sitting in the area causing some towering cumulus to form in the afternoon which made for a nice back drop to my plane watching.

Holy lederhosen it's zee cherman's ! 767 on short final for 13R as it goes over the gully towards downtown. I believe they serve Whitehorse direct from Germany 3 times per week in the summer. Apparently Germany is crowded and they like being alone so they come to Canada to get away from each other (after they get off the airplane) and enjoy the scenery. Pretty sweet sight though. If I would have shut off "display picture" I could have got a bunch more rapid fire shots but I was only able to get one more before she was on the ground about 700 feet behind me.

Condor 767 about to touchdown...later in the afternoon I was fortunate enough to go up on the mountain in the bottom frame of this picture. That will be the next post but until then fly safe and enjoy the scenery !