Monday, May 31, 2010

On Tim Hortons and Massive Axes

Nova Scotia loves Tim Hortons.  Seriously.  And let me tell you...I love it too.  Where else is a 'lunch combo' a sandwich, donut, and coffee?  What kind of combination of foods is that?!  The donuts are a little Krispy Kreme,  but the sandwiches taste 100% homemade.

This has got to be the only food establishment I've come across that actually manages to have more locations in a given area than McDonalds.  I passed about 40 of them, but through a little research I've found over 100 locations in Nova Scotia, the equivalent of about one Tim Hortons for every 7,000 citizens.  Not bad.

A crappy collage of almost 40 different Tim Hortons I passed on the roads of NS

While traveling through New Brunswick, I came across yet another "World's Largest..." site, this time for the World's Largest Axe.  I was hoping to run into some locales while there so I could try to convince them that I come from a family of Lumberjacks and that I made the journey some 600 miles just to see this very axe, but for some reason there wasn't a soul there -- surely there should have been a line of cars for something as awe-inspiring as this--no?

This axe towered over the Canadian flag

I was pretty pumped to get my picture taken with this monstrosity

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy, located between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world.  While I wasn't able to shoot both extremes, you can still get an idea below of just how much changes in twelve hours.  Today's tidal range was over 30 feet, and the below shot was taken about thirty minutes shy of low tide. 

Economy, NS

While the area is ideal for swimming during high tide, during low tide it is just miles of mud.  The below picture doesn't do justice, but I was hard-pressed to even spot the body of water that had receded.

Five Islands, NS

 World's Largest Carnivorous Strawberry

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bay St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia

On the way up North today, I came across a gigantic relay race that appeared to have the entire province out in support.  Turns out it was the Cabot Trail Relay Race, a 48-hour team relay race across 185 miles of the northern coast.  Teams of 17 spend the off-shifts shuttling up the course to cheer on fellow runners.  While I wasn't able to take any real pictures of the indescribably unique form encouragement these supporters gave (let's just say it entailed overweight men in spandex body suits dancing, a gigantic mouse mascot, pirates, lobsters, and a LOT of cowbell), it created quite the scene.  Later in the day I came across Mark Cambell, an 'ultramarathoner' who attempted to run the full 185 miles on his own.  While I didn't realize it at the time I passed him, it turned out the press at the top of the hill was there because he had fallen ill and was about to give up.  He ran approx. 96 miles before being shuttled off to the hospital. 

Of course the only picture I manage to capture is of the most normal race supporters

Another day, another encounter with a "World's Largest...." site

 World's Largest Native American Holding A Torch

Friday, May 28, 2010

Nova Scotia

I'm in Nova Scotia.  It's very windy.  I'm surrounded by the ocean and rocky cliffs.  I love it.

Today was mostly a driving day (side-note: I drove 700-miles before I saw my first cop) and the weather wasn't particularly great either.  While the conditions took the beauty out of most of what my camera could capture today, it has been one heck of a gorgeous tour so far.

Crashing in the northern part of Nova tonight and then traveling along the coast down to Halifax tomorrow.  Was planning to be up for sunrise, but that is at 4am EST and I might need more than four hours of sleep.

I sat on a thorn bush while taking this shot

Everywhere I go there is a new, "World's Largest [random item]! Next Exit!"

My homework assignment when I get a chance: Research the waste disposal practices of Nova Scotia.  I don't know what is happening here, but 50% of the driveways I pass are stacked with trash.  I'm not talking bags of your normal disposable items--I'm talking like stoves, mattresses, oil furnaces (the most-common), and just about any other major appliance you would find in a kitchen or a basement.  Now, don't get me wrong--this place is very clean.  In New England, 'adopt-a-highway' means a crew of a dozen people pick up a good 50 bags of trash along a couple-mile stretch of highway.  In New Brunswick/Nova Scotia, it was one man walking down the highway with no trash bag, picking up the rare items of trash by hand.

And to think how pissed Waste Management gets in NE when you don't sort your plastics...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

So, I'm driving down the street, and I turn around to see...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ever wonder what a light-bulb filament looks like when ignited in extreme slow-motion?  Well, dozens of bulbs and one very bloody finger later:

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bomb Scare

Updated 20100507-16:00:
Okay. So, here's what actually happened on Thursday:

Someone was eavesdropping on a passenger’s phone conversation.  Despite the fact that the entire conversation was in Swahili, the eavesdropper thought he heard the word, “bomb.”  He then panicked and told the bus driver.  The bus driver panicked, slammed on his brakes (in the middle of the road), jumped off the bus (leaving everyone else to fend for themselves), quickly ripped some panels off the side, disabled the engine, and then proceeded to run away screaming, “GET AWAY! GET AWAY!!”  Witnesses to this decided it was an excellent time to panic as well, and proceeded to run in every direction, calling 9-1-1 on any phone they could get their hands on.  Once it hit dispatch, all the cops panicked.  They stuffed their arms full of weapons, and then drove as fast and dangerously as possible to the scene (only about a half-mile away).  On-site, they quickly realized there was no time to ask questions, so they set up a barricade of a good half-dozen blocks, emptied nearly two-dozen buildings, and ordered everyone to stay on the bus.  While all of this was going on, passengers on the bus were talking with family, friends, and police, and were continually assuring people that everyone on the bus was completely calm – albeit quite confused – and if anything, they were becoming more and more terrified by the response of the police alone. 

 I got screamed at by two state police officers for sneaking down a back-alley to get this shot

After two hours, the passengers were finally allowed to exit.  While no one on the bus knew what exactly was going on, they came off the bus on-by-one, hands in the air, guns aimed at every inch of their body, before being swarmed by the SWAT team, handcuffed, and dragged off for questioning.  Now, two people wanted nothing to do with this and if anything had questions of their own.  Naturally, they were immediately arrested, but not before a police officer decided to tase a 68 year-old man (that must have been one of the most intimidating walking canes he’d ever seen).  That man is still in jail, with a $200,000 bail* (the elderly are really quick on their feet—HUGE flight risks).  
*NOTE: This statistic was later removed from the online news article--likely a typo.

Now, one passenger was far too scared to get off the bus.  Visiting from Burundi, Africa, he was unable to understand a single word being said and decided to stay sheltered in the safety of the bus.  Of course, a translator was finally contacted 9-hours later, and he simply said, “Oh, you aren’t in trouble, and you won’t be harmed.  We just want you off the bus so we can inspect it.”

So, the man walked off the bus.

 Back panel removed from bus by driver, and bomb-crew with two robots to right of bus to provide video of interior

Portsmouth Police Chief David Ferland later said: "I do not know the reasons why he was nervous with police."

Good point.

Let’s see if I can put myself in the man’s shoes for a second… I’m visiting a country where I can’t speak a word of the local language.  It’s just another day and I’m traveling on public transportation, when suddenly my bus comes to a screeching halt.  I look up and see the driver—screaming—run off the bus, yank something out from the engine, and then—arms flailing—run away yelling at everyone he passes.  Confused, everyone on the bus looks around helplessly, unsure of how to proceed now that their bus driver just deserted them mid-route.  Suddenly, police officers, fire trucks, ambulances, SWAT teams, helicopters, snipers, canine units, and media start showing up on scene, while barricades are set-up to keep anyone from getting close to us.  With all this attention, we are apparently not allowed to leave the vehicle until hours later. 

One of those affected by the incident (she refused to give a name or first-hand account)

Eventually, my fellow passengers start walking off the bus.  As they do, dozens of guns are pointed directly at them, and while their hands are raised in defeat, a SWAT team suddenly tackles them, throws them in handcuffs, and drags them away.  I’m horrified to see another person stand up and volunteer to walk off into the same time of treatment only seconds later.

One-by-one everyone leaves the bus, and now I’m left alone.  After seeing sixteen passengers with whom I have shared my journey get swept away by some strange armed local militia, I decide I might be safer on the bus than off.

While I’m sitting there waiting for someone to tell me what is going on, an odd-looking robot drives up next to me, and a camera attachment follows my every step.  After a few minutes, a smaller robot pops-off that one and then drives up to the door, and inserts some strange mechanical arm inside the bus.  Meanwhile, another robot drills holes into the back of the bus.  I am completely alone, it is pitch black, I cannot understand a word being said to me, and they can’t understand a thing I say back.  I have no idea what is happening or what my fate has in store for me. 

Chief Ferland: good point, I have no idea why the man would afraid in this situation.

On a lighter note, I heard a new explanation every 30-minutes of what was happening yesterday.  The benefit of having my camera in tow was that everyone thought I was press—when I arrived on-site someone walked me all the way to the press area, and whenever I returned to it, people would move out of the way to give me a front row view.  These people stood there for hours and anytime one of them got a "tip" about what was really going on, word spread instantly.  So without further delay, the ‘official’ scoops I heard throughout the day about who this man is (and no, I am not making these up):

1) A man wanted for murder in Massachusetts
2) The Taliban (yes, all of them.)
3) A man with a bomb
4) A man with a single hostage
5) A man with a gun
6) A man with a blow-up doll that refused to 'give it up'
7) A drug-addict demanding drugs
8) A mentally-unstable individual / person with Tourette's 
9) Someone who suffered from Narcolepsy (this one drew, "ooooohs!" from the press because it explained why this was taking so long - they were simply waiting for him to fall asleep)

An identical bus was wheeled-in to allow for experimentation as to best methods to access the bus

Like I said, I was commonly mistaken for press, so simply looking at a bystander led to them regurgitating every detail of their first-hand account all over me.  They also had a lot of advice for the police it turns out; the most common solutions I was given to resolve the stand-off were:

1) Blow up the bus. Yes, even though they had snipers on this man and were using thermo-imaging goggles to track every thing he did on that bus, the best solution was to detonate an explosive device in the middle of downtown to handle the situation.

2) Shoot him.  Most people were frustrated they couldn't get into their hotel or to their car and they repeatedly assured me that there was no reason to keep wasting everyone's time and that they should 'take him out' because, 'clearly after X-hours he isn't going to come off the bus.'

3) Offer him a hamburger.  This solution was more rare, but highly recommended by the locals -- apparently the last crisis in this town was resolved when they talked a man off a bridge with the line, "Come on buddy, let's go get a hamburger."

Which brings me to….

You know you are in New Hampshire when…

        …crisis situations are resolved by simply mentioning the phrase “Double Quarter-Pounder with Cheese.”

Suspect walks off the bus, hands in the air, around 8:40.  Sorry about the bad quality but it was pitch black and I'm 500-feet from the bus to get this shot.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Watch Your Step...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Abstract

I kind of feel obligated to assure you that the below shot is not a post-production creation--this is simply a picture of a light fixture with a very high-temperature setting for the white balance.  All vignetting, shading, and colorization is from the exposure alone.
To the person always asking for more colorful posts--is this bright enough for you?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010