Museum of Anthropology

Whether you are a resident or a visitor to Vancouver, a must see is the Museum of Anthropology. Located on the UBC campus on Point Grey, the museum houses the finest collection of West Coast Canadian First Nations artifacts and art. If the content doesn’t ‘wow’ you, the architecture is outstanding.

In addition to the Canadian content, there are numerous artifacts and exhibits from other indigenous cultures circling the Pacific Ocean, and definitely worth taking some extra time to view.

Count on spending at least 1/2 day on site, and possibly longer. Definitely worth the drive!

Vancouver’s Gas Town

Standing at the intersection of Carrall and Water street, in downtown Vancouver, we stare up at the  statue of “Gassy” Jack Deighton, the owner of the first saloon in an area we now call ‘Gastown’.

Following the Great Vancouver Fire in 1886, the area was rebuilt and thrived as the centre of the cities produce distribution area, and also the cities drinking life. Within a 12 block area there were 300 licensed saloons, bars and clubs, and catered to the transient maritime crowd, in addition to locals from the area.

When the Great Depression occurred in the 1930’s, this colourful area of the city declined and soon became a largely forgotten area of the city for several decades.

In the 1960’s this area was selected for a possible route for a major highway into the core of the city. Luckily concerned citizens started a campaign to save the historical value of this area, and the plan to build the freeway was scrapped and a restoration effort started to restore many of the buildings.

Within a few decades, ‘Gastown’ became a trendy area  with many boutique shops, clubs and restaurants that continues to attract an ever growing number of international visitors and locals as well.

To dispel any rumours, we were only there for the stories and images we recorded.

Prairie Sentinels

It's hard not to notice them, they stand out like sentinels on the flat prairie, a beacon to farmers, to residents and visitors alike.

They are a meeting place for local farmers and a hub of information. Business deals are done at the shake of a hand, or a pat on the shoulder, and a promise to be out at a particular field to help the following morning.

Morning coffee time is quite often earlier than what you and I are use to. There’s work to be done and as long as there’s light, there’s work. 

There is a good chance that you will find a number of farmers congregating at the grain elevators early in the morning, just about the time the sun is creeping up over the horizon. 

It’s an opportunity to exchange news, stories and make plans for the day or week. Priorities and schedules are discussed, maybe the latest grain prices are hotly debated, and equipment and manpower availability are sorted out. 

There’s probably a few other topics discussed as well, these are families we are talking about, so a marriage, death, and birth are sure to enter into the discussion.

There was a time when you could measure a communities prosperity by the number of grain elevators that were nearby.

They were part of the community, your neighbour worked there, and they had a direct line into the community. If you wanted to know something, or get the word out, just stop by the elevator and talk to your neighbour or friend who worked there. It was a hub of commerce and local gossip or information, depending on how you looked at it.

Things are done a little differently now, the grain elevators are still there, but often they aren’t a beacon for a community, and can’t be spotted by standing on Main street.

Most likely they are situated near a main road, or secondary highway, always on a rail line and don’t have a communities name printed on the side of them.

For the sake of efficiency and cost, they generally service a larger area and employ fewer people. Decisions on how they are run and who runs them are generally made by head office. The ‘who’ is most likely the name that sits high up on the side of the elevator silos, and doesn’t reflect any association to a nearby community.

For those of you who have fond memories of what the grain elevators were like when you were a kid, or a young farmer trying to make a go of it, try to keep those memories alive by sharing them, or writing them down.

Remember, memories fade with time.  These prairie sentinels are a reminder of a bygone age, when we were kids, parents or just visitors who were lucky enough to share a moment in time.

Heartland Project

A Photo & 3D Graphics Merge

This was one of the more challenging projects we were involved in and one of the longest.

AltaLink, an electrical utility company that manages the electrical grid through much of the province of Alberta, in Canada, approached us to provide photo and 3D graphic composite images of the proposed route of a transmission line through Central Alberta.

They were looking at two different routes for the project, which meant that our work was extended over a huge area surrounding the capital city of Edmonton. 

The project had several different requirements that the client wanted accomplished:

  • Computer generated 3D models of all the proposed tower styles had to be built to exacting detail and scale.
  • Panoramic photos that would be stitched together showing key areas of the proposed right of way had to be captured and digitally constructed on a computer.. Each of the panoramic photos were located and geo-tagged using GPS coordinates.
  • With many of the panoramic image, computer alterations were done to the images to clear forests, and fill ponds, etc. to represent what the right of way will look like.
  • Tower locations were then located on the photos using GPS coordinates. 
  • From the tower coordinates and location of camera, distances from camera to towers, as well as elevations were calculated.
  • Using the plotted distances from camera, towers were placed on the panoramic images and sized using calculated size, relative to elevations and distance from camera.
  • Once all the towers were placed, sized and rotated to the correct orientation, power lines were digitally added between each tower and visually enhanced with lighting affects and weight factors.
  • This was done at a number of locations through the proposed right of ways.
  • Final images would be a composite of the computer rendered 3D tower images, complete with wires, and the panoramic photos of the different locations. 

This project extended over the better part of a year, and added some other elements to the task at hand, namely the weather. There were a number of days on-site that had us out in the elements in sub-zero temperatures. We were mostly concerned about the digital cameras we were using. The Hasselblad cameras, lenses and PhaseOne digital backs never failed us, a tribute to their construction.

These images are representative of some of the final images we produced for our client. At one of our meetings with the client we overheard the project lead engineer comment that the illustrations we provided were the best he has ever seen.

Our hard work and attention to detail paid off!

Here are some samples of the challenges and images we produced.

We were also faced with another challenge as a result of the scope and time frame of this project – how do you stay on top of the other work coming in from other clients?

This was probably one of the busiest years of our working lives, but also one of the most fulfilling. We would do it again in a heartbeat!

A Love / Hate Relationship

We are not talking about a marriage, or your job, we’re talking about the RODEO!

This is something that’s been going on for many generations and doesn’t look like it’s going to disappear any time soon. The animal activists are all up in arms over it, and the avid rodeo fans can’t wait to do it again. Some people even argue that some of the animals love the competition too, but we’re wondering which animal spoke up and told them this. 

From early spring to late fall, you can find a rodeo happening somewhere without having to look too hard. For some it’s a passion and they make a living at it, but it comes with some hard knocks. There’s not too many ‘old, bold rodeo riders’ that don’t have some damage to show for it. Getting onto an 800kg bull who’s sole purpose in life in the next few moments, is to get rid of you, preferably with a few reminders, takes some guts, or maybe blissful ignorance. 

Whatever it may be, the cowboys and cowgirls keep coming back year after year to compete, and they seem to love it. Did we mention that the ladies love it too?

Find a seat close to the corral and watch some of the cowgirls ride hard around those barrels and tell me that doesn’t take some guts. One small slip-up and that rider could be in a world of pain, and possibly a life altering injury. 

After taking in our fair share of rodeos, it’s hard to imagine that some of these rodeo animals, the bucking horses, the bulls and broncos, don’t look forward to it also. The amount of energy and focus that they seem to display, sort of suggests a bit of a passion for it as well.

Maybe there is some truth to the stories and rumours, somebody does talk to the animals and gets their side of the story too. 

Worth it’s Weight in Gold

In the not so distant future, fresh water might just be worth it’s weight in gold. 

The availability of fresh water is declining, and consumable water is almost non-existent, without first being treated. In some areas of the planet, people are literally dying of thirst, or having to relocate closer to a water source. 

We’ve taken on a long term project that is about the issues surrounding drinking water and it’s availability. Our images and footage will illustrate the obstacles that we face to maintain an adequate supply and accessibility to water for plants and animals alike.

Our woody and fibrous friends need fresh water as well, and this reinforces how interdependent our world really is. 


Armchair Pilot

Want to soar, want to fly, but still keep your feet on the ground? look no further than the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

It’s no surprise that the museum is the brainchild of the Boeing Corporation, who has their head office in Seattle, Washington, and is built near their Everett, Washington assembly plant.

Step into the foyer and be transported back to the days of the Wright brothers at KittyHawk, or jump forward to what NASA has planned for future space flight. It’s all here at the largest private aviation museum in the world.

Count on spending at least half a day to a full day to take in all the exhibits and interactive displays. Whether you are 7 or 70 years old, there is a variety of exhibits, displays and events that cater to all ages.



Forest Therapy

It’s a proven fact that spending time in the great outdoors is good for us in almost all respects, unless of course you happen to run into a hungry bear. The chances of that happening are almost as good as winning the lottery, but if it does happen, go and immediately buy a lottery ticket, assuming you survive.

For us, we have a special affinity to trees, and the bigger the better. On our recent assignment in Vancouver, we took some time to surround ourselves with some very big trees in The Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver. We were like kids at the playground, it really was pure therapy. I hope our photos will give some sense of the mood we felt, and what we saw.

Walking through an old growth forest, surrounded by huge Cedar, Hemlock and Douglas Fir trees that towered over us made us feel a bit insignificant, and in awe of mother nature. Pretty cool! We would recommend it.