Day 13 – 15 of Europe 2012 Trip: Geocaching in Newent & Gloucester

For a while, Pete and I have been talking about doing this crazy geocache where it involves a kayak (or some floatation device) and going down a long dark tunnel. I guess today was the day to do it! We met up with his folks in a little town called Newent. We walked around a bit and picked up a few caches.

We got near the cache site, and we had to wait for Pete’s buddy to meet us here. So once he arrived, Pete’s folks took off to do other things, and off we went to the cache site (cache is called “Hippos Below”).

I still love the countryside! Soooo nice!

After getting everything/everyone through a barbwire fence and down a steep hill, we were finally at the entrance of Hippos Below!

Time to get this thing inflated!

Mark (was that his name? I can’t remember) and I went first, but after a little ways in, we didn’t feel 100% safe. The kayak thinger seemed to sag a bit, so we decided to turn around just to be on the safe side of things. Long story short, we were reading the air gauge wrong, so the whole thing wasn’t inflated enough. Afterwards, Pete and Shannon went. It was about a 40 minute round trip.

After they came back, it was our turn to go! Headlamps were on, and off we went! It was definitely weird going down a dark tunnel on a kayak. We had no sense of reference as to where we were or how far we’ve gone. We eventually hit a dead end, then decided to turn around… I guess we floated past the cache by a little! We were distracted by all the calcification on the walls. We turned around and luckily we spotted the cache! Were we ever relieved. After signing the logbook and taking a few pictures, we headed back to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Next adventure was just checking out a local park near Pete’s place, Barnwood Park. We did a Whereigo geocache which gave us a tour around the park. Super interesting! Here are our discoveries.

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Day 9 – 11 of Europe Trip 2012: Chepstow and Cheltenham

So here we are… Checking out a little town called Chepstow. It’s right on the border of Wales and England. The main attraction is the Chepstow Castle. It was built around late 1000’s? And later on it was expanded. It’s really crazy to see so much history around here. Everywhere you go, there’s really interesting history behind these things. So Shannon and I did some wandering around before we went to the castle.

Streets of Chepstow!

At the pub with some fish n chips.

Sweet lookin’ beetle parked just outside of Chepstow Castle.

Here we go!

Back to the pub for some…. Ice cream?

I love train rides…

Wandering around the streets of Cheltenham.

Yay telephone booths!

Chad Proposes To Rotha @ Bernard Park

I was in Europe from July 14 – Aug 5 (I will continue my blog posts about it after this… Because this is pretty important). I got a message from my friend Chad on Aug 3rd saying he needed my help on something. He said it was a secret so he wasn’t able to talk about it over the interwebs. I had no idea what this “secret” was because he always has some crazy idea brewing. So I got back from Europe, spent a day or two recovering, and then we went met up…. Long story short, Chad was going to propose to his girlfriend, Rotha on their 4th year anniversay – exciting!!!

Yesterday (Aug 13) was the big day! Here was the plan:

  1. have everyone show up at Bernard Park (that’s where Chad and Rotha took the dog) by 8:00pm (near sunset)
  2. Chad & Rotha walks down the path (which would be lit by candles) to the park with the dog
  3. Chad & Rotha shows up at the park and sees a bunch of friends/family
  4. show a slideshow of memories of Chad & Rotha
  5. give Rotha a present that Chad made (the decoy)
  6. BAM! Propose!
  7. hopes Rotha says yes
  8. happy!

So here’s the pictures:

Chad and I met up at 12:30pm to set up the chairs, projector, computer, sound system, cameras, everything. Then at 5:30pm – 7 whatever ish, other people showed up to set up the candles on the path and more cameras and finish up the loose ends.

Here’s the place at around 7:30pm. We were just finishing everything while people started showing up. It looked ace.

The pathway that was lined with candles.

Here they come!

Watching the slideshow.

Shoot! Someone noticed me taking pictures of candid people!

The lamp that Chad made for Rotha

The proposal!

She said yes!!!

Sorry, wasn’t able to focus properly on the diamond… Pretty close though.

A toast to Chad and Rotha!

Sorry that a bunch of pictures didn’t turn out alright. But at least Chad and Rotha are super happy! Congrats to the two of you, and thanks for letting me be a part of such an amazing event.

The ring was custom designed by local jewelry business, Vanessa Jewellers. Check out their website here: http://www.vanessajeweller.com

We Are The City @ Jubilee Park

A bunch of us went to the Jam in Jubilee concert series in Abbotsford to check out We Are The City. The whole setting made me feel really old and made me realize why I didn’t check out a lot of these concerts anymore – lots of young kids! So Shannon and I just kinda hung around on the side of the stage instead of being front and centre…

The first band: Cale Stanage.

They played folk/acoustic music. Two guitarists and occasionally a harmonica. I didn’t really get too into them probably because I was super tired that night already. They sang some ridiculous songs, but it was good to see they’re just up there having fun.

During the intermission there were weird dancers. I was pretty confused by it all. I guess this is what happens in these kinda festivals? But anyways, the next performer were The Kodiak Nightlife.

A pop/rock band from Vancouver. I guess this festival showcases local artists. The music started to grab my interest, but it wasn’t quite there yet. They played a bunch of songs. They were enjoyable. They were able to warm up the crowd some more before We Are The City came on stage.

[Intermission…. More weird dancing?? Seriously? And no, I did not take any pictures]

Headling act: We Are The City (Indie rock band)
It’s what everyone’s been waiting for. The sky is dark, the stage is lit up, kids rushing the stage to get front row while us older people linger around the edges.

Once they played their first notes, you knew it was going to be good. They’re such a dynamic group, and they sure know how to put on a show… Lots and lots of energy… And very loud. When a band like this comes along, it’s just really hard to describe their sound. Their sounds from their instruments are really creative, and their energy is just great on stage. They are such a fun band to photograph. Every time I put down the camera, I end up bringing back my camera out to take more pictures! Ok, I’m just going to stop writing and let the pictures tell the story for you

Great night. Great music… You can check out the following bands’ websites here:

Cale Stanage

The Kodiak Nightlife

We Are The City

And if you have time, check out We Are The City’s video series for their latest EP: High School. It’s really well done and I recommend you watching it.

Week 19 – Gonzales Bay Observatory

I have no idea what’s going on with Victoria, but the weather has been pretty cold especially for July!! Anyways, I went to the Gonzales Bay observatory a while ago and tried an HDR picture, but failed miserably. Today I thought I’d give it another try except this time instead of taking a picture of the bay, I took a picture of the observatory. I’m still trying to figure these weird halo effects I’ve been getting. But I edited most of it without making the picture look stupid. In my opinion, I kind of like the sky. It definitely wasn’t that dark when I took it, but with some post-processing, it turned out like this…. Kinda cool! But I wasn’t able to get rid of the glow by the rocks…. Sigh…. Still have LOTS to learn…

11mm, ISO 200, F14

Week 12 – Goldstream Park

Sorry for the late update… Things just got a bit busy (as usual). Anyways, John and I decided to go hike up Mt Finlayson at Goldstream Park on Saturday, and so I was pretty determined to snap an HDR picture. We decided to warm up our legs by checking out Niagara Falls. It’s a 47.5m waterfall. Even though it’s not as epic as the Niagara Falls in Ontario, it’s still a cool waterfall!

11mm, ISO 200, F14

Afterwards, we hiked up Mt Finlayson. It’s 419m (1,375 ft) high. So it’s a pretty good warm up hike… Hopefully I’ll be able to conquer some mountains in Strathcona Park soon!

10mm, ISO 200, F16

Whatcom Falls, Washington

Week 8 of HDR photo project… The 2 Shannons and I decided to do some shopping in Bellingham, and obviously, geocaching. So Shannon started planning the geocaching route, and I started looking around Bellingham to see if there were any places where I could take an HDR picture while caching. The result, Whatcom Falls Park.

10mm, ISO 200, F22

It always amazes me seeing waterfalls and hearing the amount of noise these things make. As we kept walking around, there was another waterfall and a bunch of places where you can walk up to the water. It was pretty awesome, so I had no choice but to take more HDR pics. I also needed some backup pictures in case the first HDR picture didn’t work.

11mm, ISO 200, F20

14mm, ISO 200, F25

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