InstaSnap

Thank goodness our photo blogging challenge host provided a little guidance on this theme. Take or edit photos with your phone. Pretty straightforward. AND an excuse to carry just my Google Pixel 4A on some of the coldest days this month. πŸ™‚

My five for this month cover quite a range, given just one the one constraint = phone photos.

1. 360 aka Photo Sphere (Flattened)

One of my favourite phone camera features is the 360-degree/photo sphere mode. There’s a particular spot along the Three Sisters Multi-use Pathway where I stop just about every time to take a 360. Early in November, we headed out to try to catch the sunrise and I spotted another good location for a 360. This is at the confluence of Three Sisters Creek and the Bow River, in Canmore. Three Sisters Creek is frozen solid and runs down the middle of the frame – with the famous Three Sisters peaks in the distance. Because the 360 is flattened here, the Bow River shows on both sides of the frame, with Grotto Mountain on the left and Mt. Rundle lit up by the sunrise on the right. I can see doing 360s here at sunrise on a semi-regular basis.

360 degree photo of the Bow River at the confluence with Three Sisters Creek including Grotto Mountain, the Three Sisters and Mount Rundle

2. Night Mode

We took advantage of a warm(ish) evening in the city to head out for some skyline night photography. Night mode on my phone did a really good job of getting detail without blowing the highlights (although I dialed them back a bit in my favourite photo editing software).

We happened to go out on International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is why the Calgary Tower is lit in pink and blue. Note also the peace symbol and blue and yellow lighting on the Telus Sky building. And of course, there’s the old Saddledome, why many hope will soon be replaced by a new, world-class arena and concert venue.

calgary skyline

Bonus photo (header image for this post) was taken at Ramsay Community Centre, where we spotted a beautiful Christmas light display as we headed back home. Our youngest, who’s home while attending online university courses, was after some beautiful reflection shots.

3. Gluten Free

One family member is having a lot of trouble with gluten and digestive issues, so we’re going (mostly) gluten free, at least for a while. That means trying lots of new recipes and adapting some long-time family favourite recipes. Sometimes it means quite a bit of extra work.

For example, I prepared Japanese Chicken Curry for the first time. But since packaged Japanese curry roux cubes contain wheat flour, I first had to toast and grind a bunch of spices. Then constantly stir melted butter and gluten free flour over low heat for about 20 minutes. And then after blending in the spices, cool the whole thing in a foil-lined pan overnight before cutting into curry roux cubes to use when making the curry.

Despite the extra work, the taste was definitely worth it! I used a “food” filter on this one.

Other new favourites include buckwheat pancakes, gluten free shortbread cookies and pan-fried teriyaki salmon (made with tamari in place of soy sauce).

pot of japanese curry simmering with chicken, mushrooms, potatoes and carrots

4. How the Grinch (Almost) Stole Christmas my Driver’s License

The last Saturday in November, I walked to the nearby shopping center to pick-up an online order. It was a beautiful, blue sky day. On my way home I spotted a Christmas display that I simply HAD to stop to photograph. Why? Because watchin the animated Dr. Seuss classic was a family tradition growing up and I wanted to share the photo with my Dad.

Got home, took my online order out of my pack and emptied my pockets to put everything away. Oh oh! No driver’s license! Why, you ask, did I have my D/L? So I’d have photo ID when I picked up my order (and it turned out, they didn’t even check my ID).

I’m thinking to myself, where could I have lost it? Of course, it must have been when I stopped to photography the Grinch. So I walked back down the block and looked and looked. No joy. πŸ™

So, I bundled back up and walked all the way back to the shopping centre, retracing my exact route and keeping a watchful eye. I asked customer service if anyone had turned in a D/L (nope). I even accosted a guy in the parking lot who I saw tucking a D/L into his pocket (he’d had to show ID to get his flu shot). Walked home along the same route. Still no joy.

Late that afternoon, Mr. GeoK asked what my plan was, given my ID was “in the wild”. I decided to go look once more where I’d taken the photo. Failing success, I’d report my license lost on Monday. He volunteered to join my search. And it turned out he was my good luck charm! I’d opted for a grid search pattern this time around, and on my third time crossing the snow-packed (very quiet) residential street) I cried “I see it!” There was my (mostly) white D/L, sitting on the rutted snow in the middle of the street. Phew!

Was the photo worth it? You tell me! It’s straight out of the phone. And I just realized I’ve never shared it with my dad.

Grinch Who Stole Christmas yard decorations including the grinch, the dog, a tree and Cindy Lou Who

5. Envision the Shot, Take the Shot

Despite the lack of snow on the front lawn in the previous shot, we had quite a bit of snow this month! It made for some great photography. Mr. GeoK has been working on adding foreground interest this month. Here he is, having envisioned a particular shot, taking that shot of Ha Ling and Mt. Rundle covered in fresh snow. There’s a touch of a glow filter on this one.

person laying in snow to photograph mountains in Canmore

Those are my five. Head here to see what host PJ and other participants came up with this month. While you’re there, please consider joining us for December’s “Happy Holidays” theme. All you need are 5 photos. The amount of writing is entirely up to you.

6 thoughts on “InstaSnap

  1. Mandy

    LOVE your night-time shot of downtown Calgary. I think Calgary Tourism would love that one. I need to get out more and play with night mode. I will do that this coming weekend at “In Search of the Spirit of Christmas” and I will take a walk down Canmore’s Main St. at night. As usual, you have inspired me. Cheers and happy shooting in December!

    1. Thanks, Mandy. We went “In Search of the Spirit of Christmas” on December 1st, when it was pretty darn cold. Hard to enjoy photography when it’s that cold, but we did our best. There are a few changes from last year which add to the experience. Looking forward to seeing some of your pics from the evening. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks, Mike. The 360 mode is one I try to use at least once every time we’re out walking in the Canadian Rockies. I’m still figuring out how to judge the best direction to start from and how to minimize my shadow, overexposing the sun, etc.

  2. I have to admit, I thought you amost lost your driver’s license because of speeding or another offense. So glad you got it back, and I hope you sent the Grinch picture to your Dad in the meantime.
    I just realized while I have been to Calgary a few times, I’ve never seen downtown by night. Beautiful! And yes, the Flames’ stadium looks outdated. Are there actual plans to build a new arena?
    Eating a gluten free diet requires so much work and care, there’s traces of it in the most unexpected foods / ingredients!

  3. Whew! I’m glad you found your driver’s license! That would have been quite the irritation to get it replaced. As always, your landscape shots are awesome. I’m so glad “soup season” is here. I can’t wait to make all my favorite cold-weather comfort soups. Hope you’re enjoying the season. πŸ’œ

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