Friday, December 07, 2007

Last week in photos

Well I was hoping to be able to get out there and take more pictures with my balloon cam contraption, however different circumstances and the weather have kept me from going so… and it now looks like the next flight will most likely take place in Merida.

I have however had the chance to run around town and the bush somewhat this week… so I figured I may as well share some of those photos. As you can see the subject matter varies quite a fair amount… yay for kittens and blurry photos of forests that kind of look like oil paintings (by the way that’s the way it came out, no photoshop other than cropping).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Success! Well moderate success… but success none the less

Well this morning I went out, got another couple balloons, filled them up with helium, attached them to my rig and went out for a test flight. I ended up using 3 three foot balloons at 3/4th capacity for my lift. The lift generated by these 3 balloons was sufficient but a fourth one would have really made the whole thing soar a lot more easily, although it managed to work fairly well on 3. I did my first test next to a river near a trail. The second shoot was done at a park next to a primary school… I managed to get some shots but I was asked to leave since the kids were going to be coming of for PE (and we all know how paranoid everyone is these days). I am not sure who was more disappointed, me or the kids… yay!!! everyone loves big balloons! Anyway I was hoping to get back out after 4pm when everyone would be gone, but hubris struck poor Daedalus’s Eye down… one of my balloons popped when I was trying to get it back in to the house. Anyway although the photos are not to exciting, the project worked beautifully and proved the principle that this can be done fairly easily with the setup I have designed. I am happy with the results and am looking forward to my next attempt, maybe with an actual weather balloon instead of just 3 over sized party ones. Also I will be a bit more adventurous and let it get a little more height next time… oh well we will see. Thanks for reading!

And here is a little movie... enjoy

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Daedalus’s Eye

So for a while I have been thinking a lot about aerial photography. There are a few different ways to go about this… RC airplanes, kites, blimps etc (or if you have the money, rent an actual aircraft or hot air balloon). After much consideration and toying with some pretty funky ideas, I finally decided that the most practical solution would be to simply attach a compact digital camera to a helium balloon. Since I do not have a remote control camera, the challenge was to adapt a RC servo motor to press down on the shutter, thus taking the picture remotely. After several modifications I have gotten this to work fairly reliably. I have ordered a weather balloon and am waiting for it to arrive in the mail. However today I was able to pick up a 3 foot diameter balloon (8 bucks) at a store and according to my very fuzzy mathematic calculations… this should be enough (although I am not 100% confident since the temperature has an effect on how many metric meters of helium are needed). Anyway I will be attempting my first aerial shoot tomorrow… providing that the weather allows it. I am crossing my fingers that the balloon will not pop and that my chord won’t break… *sigh* there are so many things that could go horribly wrong…so I guess all I can do is hope for the best. The whole thing weighs about 500g and cost about 80 bucks to put together (not including the camera). Anyway here are some photos of the set up… if you have any suggestions, do not agree with my math, or have experience with anything resembling this, please drop me a line. I will post the results of the first test as soon as I can.

I sure hope the “Daedalus’s Eye” does not suffer the same fate as its namesake.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

So today I went with my cousin Stephanie, her husband Ben and their little pug “Pedro” to do some hiking in the mountains of North Vancouver, so yes… more hiking pictures, I know there has been much of this lately on the blog, but I promise to get some other stuff up here soon to spice it up a bit. Anyway it was a really nice day and I managed to get a few decent pictures, here are a few of them. Is it just me, or does this forrest have a lord of the rings feel to it? With the anthropomorphic trees and everything... mmm mushrooms.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Exploring the trails of North Vancouver

Today I went out to explore the trails around the area I am currently living in North Vancouver. It was a especially nice day so I am glad I did not let the opportunity pass. I have been looking around for work quite vigorously, but I figured today would be a good day to get some down time. Anyway here are some of the pictures I took.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Downtown Vancouver

Well I have been in Vancouver a bit over a week now. As I am fairly sure I mentioned in my previous post, I have been staying with my uncle and aunt in North Vancouver. I started working almost straight away (at a restaurant, till I find something else) so I have not had to many opportunities to get outside and take photos… until today, which was my day off. Vancouver is a very pretty cosmopolitan city… probably the most cosmopolitan I have ever seen. There really are all kinds of people here and being from good old homogeneous Merida, it makes for a nice change. The city is also very modern and has a very different feel to cities like Montreal or Halifax. My only major complaint is about how expensive it is here… its really insane. Vancouverites are very proud of their city, and they should be … but I have to wonder, for how much longer can these prices keep going up? I smell a bubble about to pop. Anyway here are a few pics, hope you enjoy them.

Vancouver Art Gallery

Just some street

View of the city from the North Shore (mmm I love my telephoto)

Nice shot at Standley Park

Nifty Totem pole at Standley Park

Marina at Standley Park

Bottom of another really cool Totem

Thats all for now!

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Well, I am finally here. I arrived in Vancouver a couple nights ago and so far things are going quite well. I am staying with my aunt, uncle and cousins until I find myself a job and am able to get my own place. Everyone has been very nice and this of course has made the transition much easier. Anyway it had been raining pretty much non stop since I arrived, but since we got a break in the weather this afternoon I decided to go out and take some photos. I had forgotten how beautiful this province was, I am really amazed by how much and how big the vegetation is… what a change from the bushy flat lands of the Yucatan peninsula! In any case I am sure that this is just the first of many post of the woods around these parts. Hope you like the pics.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Vancouver or bust!

Well I am writing this from the Merida airport and enjoying the free wifi. If you are at all a frequent reader you probably know that I am now on my way to Vancouver. I am really excited about moving back to Canada and think that it’s the right thing for me right now. I am of course really going to miss my family and friends in Merida… but I am quite used to goodbyes by now, and besides I expect a bunch of visitors. Anyway I am really excited to see what British Columbia has in store for me, I can’t wait to go out for a hike and take a bunch of photos. I will try to update with some nice pics ASAP.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Independence day, fried bull entrails, bullfights, tacos and beer

So as I mentioned in my last post, last weekend was Mexican Independence Day. I was thinking about just staying in Merida and probably going out for a bit, instead I ended up going this small village about an hour out of Merida called Cansahcab with some friends. The reason we decided to go to Cansahcab was that they were having their annual “fiesta del pueblo” (a sort of big annual village fair). One thing that struck me right away was how out of place I felt (not like this does not happen to me all the time), however the people there were really friendly, so its not like it bothered me at all. We all had a good laugh because as I was finishing up my beer, Sergio took my can from me and gave it to this guy who was collecting cans, his response… not a “muchas gracias”, but rather a very friendly attempt at “thank you very much”… apparently Sergio seems to foreign to pass off as a local, so I guess that did not leave very much hope for me. Cansahcab is really small, about 4/5000 people, but they really go all out for their fair… there are tons of things to eat, mechanical rides and even a makeshift bullfighting ring made out of sticks and all sorts of things. I was pretty pleased because a friend of Sergio who is from the town got me permission to go up on to the church roof and take some pictures… hehehe this kind of thing makes me very excited. Anyway as the night went on everyone shuffled in to the city hall were a “mobie disco” had set up… there was much drinking and dancing, and at about 5am we all shuffled back to a friends house and slept in our hammock for a few hours before it was time to go back to Merida. All and all a very cool experience.

Statue of Mestiza woman in the plaza

Panoramic shot I took from ontop of the church (I figured the ring has a capacity of 5-700 what do you figure? remember it has two levels and is packed)

And ofcourse the food... tacos, fried bull entrails (called Xix), asorted meats... yummy and VERY cheap

View of the town center

Row of houses

Friends and people we stayed with, by the way... thanks again!

Shot from up on top of the church

Inside the ring

a shot of the bullring from outside

A couple friendly locals enjoying a Tecate

Señores y Señoras, I give you...The matador!

He looks quite pleased with himself, hehe he will be happy I did not post the picture of him locked in to the wall between the bulls horns... ohhh how the tides had changed

Here is one of the other matadors... I think there were about 7 in all

Anyway thats all, I have a bunch more pics, but the post is getting fairly heavy. Thats all for now.