Thursday, December 30, 2010

Flare out

Just outside of Edmonton is an oil refinery.  Like all oil refineries, it has a flaring stack.  The lights of the refinery are visible from much of our city, including our downtown balcony.  Depending on the size of the flame and the weather, we can usually see the flare itself, or at least a cloud.

Today is somewhat different.

I happened to be watching the news, which I normally never do, hoping to catch a friend of mine in another province being interviewed, when I caught a story about the flare being unusually large.  Emergency services have been getting calls about it all day.  The station's helicopter was over the area, filming the blaze and smoke, and we were assured that the refinery was doing this on purpose.  Then they moved on to other things.  Eventually I change the channel to another news program where I was hoping to see my friend while working on a scarf I was crocheting.

Now, picture this scene.  In the living room, I've got the tv on.  My husband is playing WoW with headphones.  My friend's son, who is living with us right now, is on his laptop with an earbud in one ear loud enough that I can hear him playing WoW, too.  There's also conversation and a very loud cat to add to the volume level.

Through all this, I'm noticing a strange, pulsing noise, just barely auditory.  It was loud enough, however, that my husband took off his headphones, wondering what was making it.  I had been wondering that myself and got the impression that it was coming from outside.  I muted the tv and we listened for a while.  Then I realized what it might be.  Grabbing a pair of slippers, I headed outside and saw this.


We grabbed the tripod and tried for a few shots, but they mostly didn't turn out.  Since it's -20C with a wind chill, I didn't try too hard, either.  I did, however, switch from the 18-55mm lens to the 70-200mm.


It's kinda got this whole Mordor look to it, don't you think?


This is as far as I could zoom in, with the ISO at 1600.  I missed a lot of potential shots, as the flames would occasionally spurt high up, but with the long exposures, it was rather difficult to catch them.

This was, indeed, the source of the noise.  In fact, I could still hear it when I started this post, though it seems to have stopped for now.  Though this refinery is visible from our balcony, it's not anywhere near us.  It must have been quite the thing to hear in the neighbourhoods at the outskirts of the city!

I can certainly understand why so many people were phoning emergency services about this!

Oh, and while I was freezing outside, getting these shots, I think I missed seeing my friend on tv!  Oops.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a joyous Christmas, and may 2011 be a year of peace, happiness and prosperity for you and your loved ones.

See you next year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse
Originally uploaded by amkb

Anna: Dec. 21, 2010. The first time in almost 400 years that a lunar eclipse has fallen on a solstice.

These photos were taken by my daughter. They are 30% of the original size, but I have done no other adjusting to any of these images. Any blurring or double images you see are due to the movement of the moon and starts during long exposures.

Click on the image to be taken to my flickr page and see the rest of the set.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Valley Snow

Valley Snow
Originally uploaded by amkb

Step one: look outside the window and notice how lovely and fog-like the falling snow looks. Decide it's worth going outside to take a picture. Grab grandpa slippers and camera, check the settings, move the draft stopper and open the door to the balcony.

Step two: put away the camera. Grab hat and neckwarmer. Grab shovel.

Step three: shovel off nearly two feet of snow. Maybe we should do this more often. Think about how putting on a jacket probably would have been a good idea, too. Sure it's only -12C, but it *is* snowing, and the wind is blowing clouds of it off our roof. Onto me.

Step four: track snow across the house while returning the snow shovel to the front door. Return for camera. Quickly run out and snap several pictures and hope at least one of them looks all right.

Step five: stop to remove grandpa slippers before tracking snow across the house again. Replace draft stopper. Remove wet hat and neckwarmer. Upload pictures to computer.

Step six: look at photos and realize my shoulders are rather wet from melted snow.

Step seven: choose photo, resize in PSPX2, write blog post. Shiver. Time to go change into something dry!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sun Fog

This is a six picture stitch of the morning sun on the river valley.