Ice Fishing Smelt Near Shediac, New Brunswick

Yesterday Casey and I checked out the ice on Shediac Bay to see if it was ready for some ice fishing. It was a beautiful day and there was no water or snow on the ice so we headed back today for a little ice fishing to catch some for supper.

The temperature was about 2C and foggy but no wind to speak of so it was fairly comfortable sitting out on the ice. I had a big cooler to sit on. I like taking it because it allows me to just drag all my stuff out there instead of carrying it all.

Here is a picture of what it looked like yesterday.

landscape ice fishing

Today It Was A Foggy Day

ice fishing

Straight out from where these guys are ice fishing is land. I think it’s a couple of Kilometers away but quite visible on a clear day. Parts of today it was mostly visible and then in a matter of minutes it would disappear again.

A couple of times it got so foggy we could barely see the shoreline behind us. Of course we were never in any danger of getting lost.

During the fog we learned something we never knew which is the fact there is an island before the shore on the opposite side. When the fog rolled in thicker and thicker we saw the main land start to vanish but there was still a chuck of land that wasn’t fogged in. That was pretty cool.

Here is a picture of the island. If you look close you can still see the other side just a little darker than the fog.. There is also a group of seagulls sitting on the ice making plans to steal our smelt once we had enough to satisfy them all.

island

ice fishing holeWell we used Casey’s auger to drill the hole we would fish through. I drilled my about 6 feet away from his so that we could talk without yelling as sound carries for a long way across the ice. We could hear guys talking but we could barely see them outside their fish hut.

We rigged up for smelt and started fishing. Casey started with two at once and then one after the other while I was doing nothing. Had a couple of strikes but didn’t stay on. Casey gave me one of his rigs and when I checked it against mine I noticed the one I bought had hooks twice the size of those he had. Finally I caught a smelt.

smelt goldCasey already had 11 smelt before I got my first one but from that point on I was catching them too. I even caught the biggest smelt of the day.

There was a group of guys fishing a short distance away and they had so many holes drilled in the ice we half expected the whole bunch of them to drop in the drink.

Seriously though the ice was plenty thick enough for all the holes they had. They’ve been doing this for their entire lives and live right there. In a cartoon they would have gone down I’m sure.

When we got back to Moncton the fog had lifted but the taller buildings and the NBTel Tower still had their heads in the fog. I tried to get a shot of it but the way we came into Moncton there was always something in front of it.

What A Quiet Christmas Without Steve Being Home Glad We Have Skype.

christmas tree 2013Jenny has a hard time waiting for things when it comes to Christmas. Example, one night I went to bed and the next morning our Christmas tree was already standing in the living room fully decorated. She did a beautiful job.

Steve is living out in Saskatchewan and we haven’t seen him for the last couple of Christmases so it’s really quiet around here. Fortunately we have Skype and were able to open presents together and experience all the fun and laughter without being there. Miss the hugs of course.

Jenny is talking about taking the tree down already but I had to stop her talking like that. We have been used to having a real Christmas tree so we tend to get it out of the house quickly it doesn’t dry up too much and become a fire hazard. The fact we have an artificial tree now means we don’t have to worry about so we are leaving it up until after New Years day.

We didn’t get a lot of Christmas stuff between as we decided to get a new wide screen TV this year which was our entire Christmas budget for each other.

tv
We had to move our chairs back a bit and get used to the big picture. Cool.

honey the pitbullWe sent Steve and the love of his life Bri a box of Christmas present and they sent us a box of gifts which is what we opened with them Christmas morning. Even had a box just for Honey his Pitbull who had to remain here until they have a place that allows dogs.

I snapped a picture of Honey as she was trying to sleep so she looks a bit goofy. I could have taken another picture but we like to tease her when she puts on her funny face.

christmas morning before sunrise
Christmas Morning Snow

We are a couple of hours ahead of Saskatchewan time so I wasn’t sure what time Steve and Bri would be calling. I knew I was up a couple of hours before them. As I walked in the house after getting a couple hundred pictures they had just called to let us know they were up.

canon powershot SX500 is cameraLots of gifts to open but the one that I liked the most was the Canon Powershot SX500 IS camera Bri bought Steve. Without knowing it she bought the exact same camera as I have been using for the past year and have had so much fun learning to use.

I got the same kind of gifts I get every year so I was happy. Perhaps for next Christmas we will be able to head out west to visit them and bring Honey along. She so misses him as I’m sure she’s never forgotten her stay at the SPCA on death row before Steve rescued her. That’s my boy.

I used my Canon VIXIA HFR32 video camera to snap the picture of my new camera. Here is a picture of that camera taken in Casey’s truck using his side view mirror.

self portrait
Smile for Your Camera Jim

new luresI bought a couple of Mepps #5 Black Fury lures for myself and one to replace the one I lost which belonged to my fishing buddy Casey.

I kind of forgot about them and didn’t get to wrap them. Casey dropped by to wish us a Merry Christmas. That’s when I remembered I had bought them so Casey got his lure back but sadly it wasn’t wrapped.

I really like Mepps and these are great for everything I fish for so I can hardly wait for Spring to arrive to give them a try.

Now it’s back to the snow for some more photographs while all this ice covered scenery.

Sunny Christmas Day For Moncton

sunny yard
The Sun Finally Came Out Christmas Day After Two Weeks Of Clouds, Snow & Ice

rose cane in iceIt was a long hard two weeks before Christmas as it snowed until we felt we have already had enough for the entire winter. Well at least my back was thinking that.

The snow kept coming until we had more than 60cm of snow on the level and some pretty big snow drifts due to the winds. That’s when the rain started and covered everything with more than a half inch of ice.

So when the sun finally made an appearance Christmas day just before noon and what a show. Although when the clouds parted I was blinded and had to walk back to the house to get my sunglasses.

I was so excited to have the opportunity to get pictures of ice encase trees, leaves and seed heads. This is the first time I have ever been able to do this.

ice encased seed headWhat a difference snapping pictures of ice covered things when the sun is shining over the ones I took Christmas eve day. They just didn’t have any life to them without the sunlight.

Everywhere I looked would be a cool looking photograph, even looking up at the trees was amazing as the branches were covered in a half inch of ice.

The image below is one of rose bush canes. It is just about 15 high and still had a few leaves on it. I had to put my camera on a tripod and then turn the camera almost straight up. Was really hard to see in the bright sunlight.

ice covered leaves

I am hearing my wife letting me know she is making lunch and my stomach is growling so it’s time to say good bye for now.

Freezing Rain in Moncton Put Out Power For Over 3000 Homes

icy weather vaneFrom the 15th of December we have been getting a heavy snow every couple of days. It’s the deepest snow I can remember in Moncton at Christmas. It’s added up to more than two feet not counting the wind factor.

Today, December 24, 2013, everything is covered in a one inch sheet of ice that made conditions pretty dangerous for a while.

On a happier note it has given me my first opportunity to get some ice covered photographs. So I have been in and out of the house taking hundreds of pictures today and have already gone through three batteries for my camera.

Thought I would start writing this post while a couple of them charge. First time I ever used all three of my batteries in one day without taking time to recharge them. Just wasn’t thinking of charging and just stayed long enough to warm up and then right back out.

I like the look of the weather vane on our garden shed. If you look close you can see it’s layered in ice.

snowy backyard
Our backyard is looking so very cool.

Our yard is covered in two feet of snow and now has an inch of ice on top of it. The ice was almost strong enough to hold my weight this morning. It was that kind of ice you can stand on with two feet but lifting one foot to move forward caused your other foot to break through the ice.

I was able to walk on the street that have been cleared so walking wasn’t as dangerous and I kept well of the street when a car was coming so they didn’t have to think about me on the street.

When I wanted to squat for picture I had to break a circle of ice big enough for my feet and butt otherwise I would just fall over and start sliding away. Would have been a funny sight to watch me getting pictures. So here a few of the images I got today.

Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed having the opportunity to capture them.

frozen lichen
Ice Encased Lichen On A Tree Branch

ice branch
This alien serpent is actually a thin branch covered in ice and snow.

frozen balls broken frozen branch
A couple of frozen seed heads and a twig that snapped under the weight of ice

Well that’s just a few of the pictures I snapped today.

Lots of Photo Opportunities With More Than A Foot of Snow on the Ground

IMG_1960We had a dusting of snow about two weeks ago but it didn’t last long. Then a week later we had maybe two inches of snow which did stay on the ground. Always nice getting some white photos before it has a chance to get dirtied up a bit.

Then Sunday it started snowing lightly and within an hour it really starting coming down hard. A few hours later the wind picked up to 50 Km/hr and more making quite a messy day. Wasn’t long before everything started shutting down for safety reasons.

IMG_2183
The First Hour of Our Snow Storm

Of course I went out to get some photographs just as the wind was picking up. Didn’t realize how hard it can be to get photos in the wind and snow. I did manage to get some but I had to use my tripod and timer so that I could hold the tripod down so the wind wouldn’t keep moving it.

IMG_2310

Jenny shovelled a path to the street so the mail could be delivered although I don’t think they were out Monday at all, just to much cleaning up going on.

Even after the snow had stopped the wind kept blowing so the path had to be cleaned out a few times. I shovelled an area for Honey our Pitbull. I don’t mind her jumping through snow banks for fun but no so much for business.

After Jenny went to work I made the path a little wider. Now the two of us can walk to the street together. Isn’t that so mushy?

frosty windowIt was between –18 and –21 Celsius so it was cold. The outside back door window was frosted over so I blew on it until I made a clear spot and then used my sleeve to wipe the window so I could see if Honey had finished her business.

I watched her sniffing around and noticed that Jack Frost was freezing the window really fast.

Honey didn’t take long sniffing around and was back at the door in a flash.

Pretty sure summer is over so I guess I can stop watching my sunflowers.

sunflower covered in snow

Fifty Years Wishing I Could Just Point And Click A Good Photograph

jamesmannThought I would start with a photo I took of myself. It’s blurry because I have shaky hands and can’t take a picture without supporting the camera with a tripod and if my heart beat is raised that doesn’t even work unless I use a remote clicker.

I was born in the early 50s and had an interest in taking pictures by the end of the 60s but we soon found that I could take pictures that weren’t shaky. Plus it took more than a week to get the film back to learn that. So there was no picture taking for me.

Through the years I did try with other people’s camera but the results were the same. Wasted film full of shaky images. By this time I pretty much gave up the idea of picking up a camera and just snapping a picture.

Image Stabilizing Technology Is My Miracle

Half a century of waiting for cure or medication that would stop my shaking. Never actually thought the technology would come in a digital camera.

Some time in 2007 I heard about something called Image Stabilization that helps stop movement in ones from showing up in photographs which immediately peaked interest. I actually saw a glimmer of hope that some day I might just take a picture that wasn’t shaky.

The Moment That Changed My Life

yellow pansiesOnce I learned about the image stabilization technology I first checked our bank account. We had close to $300 I could spend on a camera.

So we headed to a store I like to shop at where the sales people didn’t pounce on their customers or visitors.

I started looking at the cameras within our budget but was really just confused so I asked a sales person for help.

I quickly explained my condition and asked about image stabilizing. I also told him we had a budget of $300 and then I just listened to what he had to show me.

Once he was done explaining a few things he handed me a camera and told me to just point and click. I did that and the image was just a blurry as the shot I showed in the top left corner. He could tell that I was not impressed and said that was a camera without image stabilizing technology.

Then he handed me a Sony NSC-GC1 camera in the same price range and told me once again to just point and click. That was the moment my life changed and I got a miracle.

The resulting image took my breath away and I got a huge lump in my throat. Fifty years of shaky hands and wishing for anything that would fix it. So I couldn’t talk for a minute or two which is very strange.

The Sony NSC-GC1 came home with us and was the first camera I ever took an unassisted picture with that was blurry or fuzzy.

Moved Up To A Canon Video Camera

vixiaMove forward to 2013. By this time I have tried a few other stabilizing camera and moved up to the Canon Vixia HFR32.

I’ve had so much fun with this camera and love the images and video it takes plus the zoom feature is the first camera that kept stable while zoomed.

The only negative thing I can say about this camera is that I need to use two hands to snap a photograph as the photo button is on the display screen. For this reason I bought another Canon camera the Canon Powershot SX500 IS and I use it pretty much every single day.

Beautiful Sunrise With A Rather Noisy Sunset

sunshineThe sunrise yesterday looked like a red spotlight shining straight up through the clouds. It had already started to fade by the time I got my first shot off.

I should have brought my second camera so I could use my tripod to capture some video of the sunrise while using my other camera to snap some still shots. But believe it or not I went out again this morning and left that second camera at home again.

landscape sunrise
Looking Straight Down Mountain Road Moncton

The gorgeous sunrises never last more than a few minutes but so worth getting out of bed to see if you can capture a beautiful sunrise. It can easily go from nothing to something while I wait. One minute the sky is empty of clouds or full of them without any breaks but last second it can change from boring to awesome.

Noisy Crows Last Evening

crows nest in our pine treeI get used to hearing crows around our property as we have a huge crows nest in one of our tall pine trees where crows have been hatched and raised until they could fly. But last evening about 5:00 there seemed to be a lot more than a couple of crows.

I looked out my office window where I could see about a dozen crows sitting and squawking in a tree on the next street over. I grabbed my camera and headed outside to get a few pictures.

crows

As I was standing outside taking pictures of the crows they became louder and more plentiful as more and more crows flew in from all directions. It started with a few in one tree but in just 5 minutes they had the tops of three trees filled and then started filling the maple stand in our neighbours backyard. That’s when it was the loudest.

Then one crow left that stand of trees and I actually ducked as they flew right over me and made a big circle around our garage and then off to the tree in the picture above. I did manage to hit record to see if I could get a shot of them flying.

I thought they were going to roost in those trees for the night but a few minutes later they all took off heading south east and it suddenly got really quite again.

Our Frosty & Crunchy Moncton Yard

maple leaf frozen in timeToward the end of October we had a few nights that were down to freezing in the –2 to –4 Celsius range but most of what was already left in the yard hung in just fine. Then we had that frost there was no coming back from.

That morning I came outside and saw the water on the top of the storage containers we use to collect rain water was frozen. One had a few maple leaves frozen in the water which looked pretty darn cool and worth sharing.

Mother Nature’s Cycle Continues

Every step through the yard was crunch because of the moisture that was on the lawn and all the fallen leaves which left a lot of ice crystals that got crushed with every step. Like this leaf below which had dew drops on it when the temperature dropped and now has little ice balls stuck to it.

ice balls
Icy Dew Drops On A Maple Leaf

ice crystal on edges of leavesI walked around the yard looking at the changes minus 8 Celsius made in our yard when I saw the little plant in the image on the left. Each leaf on it was smaller than the fingernail on my wife’s pinkie.

These leaves are so tiny that it makes the ice crystal look big in comparison. This little guy hugs the ground and is perhaps why it is still bright green, even after days of frost.

I know that this cute plant is a weed however it’s a great looking weed that producing tiny flowers that are so small you might miss them. To get a close look at these little flowers you almost need a magnifying glass or a zoom lens to appreciate their beauty.

I decided to bring a small sample of this plant in the house for the winter to see how it will do as an indoor plant. Maybe it will flower and I’ll get some good images showing how pretty they are.

A Windy Wet And Wild Friday

flooded gardenIt was 16 or 18 Celsius yesterday with bursts of 70 Km/Hr winds. Plenty strong enough to rip most of the leaves left on trees so there will be plenty of leaves to be raked and likely some downed branches and twigs I will be able to use next spring to help raised the south end of the veggie garden to see if I can get it to drain better so we don’t get flooded again.

Only the south half of the garden flooded so if I bring it up to the same level as the north end it should perhaps help and any extra water should just run off onto the lawn.

I was out taking pictures of the sunrise this morning. I walk up the street to an open area so I don’t have the homes in back of us blocking the sunrise. When I came back to the house I noticed the sun was reflecting off the bank on the other side of the street from out house and was bouncing off our front window and onto this pine tree next to the sidewalk.

It was like putting a spot light on the pine tree and it stayed like that for a few minutes and then was gone. Glad I had the opportunity to see it and share it.

Happy Halloween Moncton Be Safe

IMG_7709It’s been a few years since I was out trick or treating but one thing I do remember from way back then was the feel of Autumn in the air while we were out scaring up some candy with our friends.

The town I lived next to only had about a hundred homes but we would still come home with a pillow case full of teeth rotting candy which was great as we didn’t have money to buy candy for ourselves.

Back then we never thought about safety and few people used cars other than to drop kids off in town. Those who were from out of town would park their cars in the park and walk with their kids. Everyone knew everyone.

Back then Halloween was only made scary by costumes and decorations but today thoughtless people with cars on the streets are what is really scary.

So my wish for this Halloween is that kids are safe and maybe a little bit sick in the morning after eating all that candy. It was our right as kids. Smile

happy halloween image