Playing at the Waterpark

I made arrangements ahead of time and was a little worried when it was cloudy and cold yesterday but today warmed up 10 degrees and was sunny-a perfect day for the waterpark which was the plan I had made with my friends. I took my camera and experimented with slow and fast shutter speeds and aperture priority and shutter priority, both for images of the water and people at play.

I pulled myself away from the camera and ran through the water a number of times and climbed on the equipment and slid down the slides-we all had a lot of fun. Lots of adults partook as well as the children. I was very impressed with the toddlers who would go under the buckets, get dumped on and it didn’t bother them a bit. In fact, they were delighted, even went back for more! There ‘s a steering wheel on one of the “toys” that you can turn back and forth that makes the water arc in interesting lines, so I asked a girl to turn the wheel back and forth for me while I took some photos.

I did not do well with slowing the shutter speed . It would have worked better with an neutral density filter but I did my best with a UV filter.Being very bright out, I did not quite get the effect that I wanted, some images were blown out and I threw them away. I am happy with a few of my experiments.

IMG_0027-2Timing the run through the sprinklers.

IMG_0014-2Ducking and dodging through the course or just standing under to get soaked.

IMG_0035-2Here’s one that turned out using a slower shutter speed to get the silky effect.

IMG_0041-2Here I played with the motion.

IMG_0056-2Going for a good spin.

IMG_0058-2Whoah-h  dizzy!

IMG_0064-2.jpg   The adults got into the fun, too.

IMG_0080-2    This is when I asked the girl to turn the wheel back and forth, at the top left, creating some nice lines.

Like I said, I left the camera alone and took quite a few runs through the water myself, got soaked and even got my photo taken on my friend’s phone. Great fun!

 

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Just Ducky!

Ducks of all ages were at the lake, from recently hatched to the “teens,” with a bit of downy feathers still apparent. These were all Mallards, with Mom in the lead.

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IMG_0004-2Bottoms Up! These are dabbling Ducks because they rarely dive, but tip up and eat the stuff that is underwater.

IMG_0059-2Female Mallard Duck sunning herself on the rock.

IMG_0178-2She looks rather proud of herself, don’t you think?

IMG_0212-2One of the younger ones, you can see the downy feathers sticking up.

IMG_0202-2Two little ducks in a big pond. I heard their “peeping” before I saw them.

IMG_0206-2So vulnerable.

Flying

Sometimes the American White Pelican looks so ungainly with its big pouch, but to watch a pod soar in a circle around a bay as they descend to land in the water is an amazing sight full of grace. Watching them transition from sitting in the water to a hop, skip and jump into the air is  mesmerizing and something that I do not tire of capturing with my camera. I like watching these gentle giants maneuver their way around many other water fowl without bothering anyone, unless , of course it is a territorial Red-Winged Blackbird!

Here are some photos of Pelicans in flight or near-flight. It can be a challenge to pan the camera as I follow them, hoping that everything will be in the viewfinder and in focus.

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Side-lit Pelicans Eating and Drinking

I liked the detail I could see in their pouches as they fed. Whether there are any fish in this storm-run-off lake is not known, definitely a lot of weeds and probably leeches, maybe small aquatic creatures. Every year they come back, but this is the first year I have seen males in breeding plumage and wonder if this is a pair.

I usually do not like to merge two birds but like how the lines in their necks are repeated in the one photo or how the light catches the water as it drains out of the bill. The reflections in the water always intrigue me, as well..

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Not Welcome Here

This was a busy blackbird defending his territory. He had no sooner chased after another much bigger bird when he found a new victim to go after. Here are some shots of him attacking a Pelican and the defense is successful in driving the Pelican away. Here the American White Pelican is just landing in the water after a short flight across the lake.

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The hyper-vigilant Red-Winged Blackbird is right on him.

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He attacks again, and barely landing,  the pelican takes off.

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Blackbird Taking on a Pelican

Recently I read a blog post by a blog friend about a gutsy Red-winged Blackbird going after a Bald Eagle. See  https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/14413906/posts/24940

There was a nesting female in the vicinity  and the male was defending his territory. This big Pelican wasn’t even in the reeds, it was out in the water but the male Red-winged Blackbird went on the defensive. I caught not one, but two of these interactions  this day. Here is one:

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After this point the pelican took off for a short flight and landed further away just to get some peace and do some more fishing.

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Wait Until You See these Chicks!

I have not seen baby American Coots this young before, and this was a special treat for me to see. I did find the state of the water disturbing as this location is a storm run-off lake and it is grossly dirty but the birds seem to be well and I come here because the bird population is plentiful.

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Big Feet and bald heads  and tiny, tiny wings, they are quite the colourful characters! They are ugly or cute, depending on how you see them. Two doting parents were busy feeding 5-6 chicks.

 

About the Grocery Stores

I went to one grocery store and instead of  travelling to one or two more, got smart and checked out the flyers in the recycle bin in my building. Sometimes I think it is a case of what my parents used to call “cherry-picking”, meaning watch the flyers  for the best buys and get those items at whatever store has them, usually relatively close to home. When I am done, I can toss the flyers back into the recycle bin.

Overall I saw a wide discrepancy in prices, especially after the sales from last week were over. Some American dry goods were on sale, but along the lines of “buy 3, get the fourth free.” I do not shop that way. I am going to buy the same way as usual, where I get the best buy except I will access the flyers more than I have been doing. I was sitting beside a gentleman on the bus today and he told me where a thrift store was nearby, one of my favourites in my old neighbourhood,  that I was not previously aware of. There are good buys there, especially produce.We are very dependent on American produce here in the north but now we are coming into our harvest season and I am going for fresh and tasty.

Can you stand it if I talk about licorice again? Obviously I am not alone in my love of licorice because it is often displayed front and center. At this one  grocery store that I went to, the licorice was on sale for $3.50, regular $3.99 so that is a dollar more than at the other place last week.

The answer is to check the flyers and just go for what is the best buy.

I am happy to report that, after a couple of days of rain and thunder, and subsequently window shopping, I went birding  today and enjoyed the playing with my camera. It feels so good to be back to the nature photography, which is where I most like to be and probably where I belong.

Are the Prices Changing? Let’s See

When Canada’ s retaliatory tariffs came into effect on July 1st, I spent much more time checking prices and origins of products than I usually do in a local drug store yesterday. Tariffs at 10% are not a big deal but so many items at 10% will add up (16.6 billion apparently). I am talking about the products from the United States that will be charged a 10% tariff crossing the border into Canada matching Mr. Trump’s 25% tariff on steel and aluminum. All of this is going to hit both countries because as with automobiles, products go back and forth across the borders during production and yes, will pay tariffs every time they cross a border.

I remember when the NAFTA first came into being , a lot of Canadian companies moved south of the border or went out of business. Many Canadian companies were sold and are now American. Large numbers of people were laid off, and it is starting to happen again in the steel companies. If the auto industry is attacked , economists fear  we could go into recession.

Yesterday I went to one drug store that gets products from both countries and saw, as always , a big gap between prices. For instance, am I going to pay $3 or $8 for 3 bars of soap? No contest there. I saw high-end bath lotion for as much as $33.00, the average was  $8.99 but I bought the cheap stuff for $2.99. My priority? It smells good and will make bubbles. I last bought an American brand of deodorant that cost 3.99 but now it is 5.99 so switched back to a previous  Canadian product on sale for 2.49. Almost all the higher prices are American products but I have a low income and almost always buy what is cheaper.

One item that has cost a lot of ruckus is Ketchup.There was an American company in Ontario, Canada that made ketchup with local produce, but  pulled out and went south leaving the local farmers in a lurch. Next a  Canadian company opened in that spot and buys locally from those same farmers, so yes there is a call out to Canadians to buy that product and support the local farmers.

I bought a bag of Twizzlers for the sale price of $2.99 but today it will go up to $3.99. In the past year, I have bought them for $1.50. In Alberta add 5% gst (government sales tax) to that price. In the past year, all prices have gone up , tariffs or not, Twizzlers or not. I really don’t eat licorice THAT much, or do I?

Here is a list of products that will have a tariff of 10% as they cross into Canada:

  • Kentucky Bourbon
  • lawnmowers
  • maple syrup
  • cast iron grills
  • ketchup
  • yoghurt
  • prepared meals of spent fowl
  • prepared meals of bovines
  • licorice, candy, toffee
  • chocolate (slab or bars, filled or plain),
  • pizza, quiche
  • cucumbers, gherkins
  • strawberry jam
  • orange juice (not frozen)
  • mayonnaise
  • salad dressings
  • mixed condiments, mixed seasonings
  • sauces, soups, broths,
  • shaving preparations,
  • room deodorizers,
  • pillows,
  • odourizers including  for religious rituals,
  • organic liquid or cream for crème for skin wash,
  • automatic dishwasher detergents
  • candles
  • glues or adhesives
  • sacks or bags
  • tableware and kitchenware
  • insecticides, fungicides ,herbicides
  • household articles
  • hygienic or toilet articles
  • plywood (6 mm or less)
  • some paper products
  • toilet paper, handkerchiefs, cleansing or facial tissues, facial towels
  • tablecloths , serviettes
  • printed or illustrated postcards
  • combined refrigerator/freezer
  • recreational vehicle
  • household dishwashers
  • washing machines
  • inflatable boats, sailboats, motorboats
  • upholstered wooden furniture
  • mattresses, sleeping bags
  • ballpoint pens, felt-tipped pens
  • sweetened waters, mineral waters and aerated water
  • soya sauce
  • bobbins, spools, caps and similar supports

I don’t know why there are tariffs on soft lumber or dairy, which has been a bone of contention for years but my guess it is for the sake of survival for the farmers and lumberyards in Canada and possibly local sustainability.

I think all countries can benefit a lot from free trade if all stay employed at good wages and can produce locally and even across the border.

This is by no means a thorough investigation, I am simply writing from my very limited viewpoint. I am curious what prices are like where my fellow bloggers live, if you like free trade and/or if buying local is more appealing to you.

There will be one more diversional blog when I will go to the grocery store and see if there are any changes. We are all caught up in these political moves,  and I want to share what I see.

After that, I am back to birding, thank-you.

 

 

Water

There is a spray park near where I live and I always hear the delighted screams of children as they play in a thousand different ways with these streams pouring down on them or bursting up from the ground. I went over when there weren’t too many kids and I wouldn’t be looked at suspiciously as a threat, as I aimed my lens on the water.

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We are so blessed with an abundance of water to drink and even play in. Water is essential to life and it has a way of bringing joy to us as we play in it. I  am aware that not all have enough but am merely enjoying water here for what it is in this situation. Cooling! Fun! Fascinating! Wet! Add some balloons or buckets, sprayers  and you are in for a good time! Always lots of laughter here.

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The kids can turn this on and spin it.
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Ready, Aim  and fire!
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This series of buckets fill up then tip-lots of guesswork getting close and getting drenched!
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These are drops in the air from fountains, catching the light.
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One of the fountains that burst from the ground. Surprise!

I definitely want to go back and experiment with slowing my shutter speed and seeing the effects I can achieve with a filter and a tripod. Oh, and come for relief on a hot day with a couple of  young friends and their parents just to play. So much fun!