Friday, May 03, 2013

Spring has Sprung at last!

I have a bunch of new pictures, so I thought I'd get this post up. Heading into Toronto today. Spring has finally sprung, though: to my friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin, chin up: it'll get to you eventually! I had lunch al fresco yesterday!

A lot of people up here are still under water. I feel for them and I hope that the Government and insurance companies come through. That's why we pay them all that money!

Working on the Dam

Parks Canada was working on the dam at the South end of 12-Mile Lake (the water flows into Mountain Lake, the headwaters for the Gull River. The Gull is the waterway for the Minden Wildwater Preserve, then the Hydro Dam, then Minden, then all the way down to the Trent-Severn Canal).

Remember, you can click on any picture to see a bigger version of it.

They were blocking off the West half of the dam (nearest the camera) but leaving the overall flow the same. You can see that there are 3 or 4 logs in the back not going in. The purpose was to retrieve a dock which the floods had driven under the dam by forcing it through the East channel. 

The old-fashioned mechanism still works. Step 1 is to remove the boards blocking the opening, then winch a log into position (it's 12" x 12" by whatever length). The guy in the middle has a hook that looks like a gaff to hold the log in place while they release the winch cables. When he lets it go, the log falls into place on top of the stack in the water. Then they do the next one. Once they're prepared, it takes them about 2 minutes to drop one in. Retrieving it is a similar operation, although I'm not sure how they get the winch cable attached when it's down under water.

The lad on the left seems to be the group leader. He was coordinating the operation. I must be getting old, but I swear he's too young to shave yet... 

Here they are actually operating the winch. Note the flotation vests around each of their necks. The fellow with the blue one (his name is Mike) is actually from the Peterborough detachment, on loan up here during the flood crisis. The young lad's name is Ryan.

I talked for a while with these guys about what caused the flooding in Minden and elsewhere. Their basic response was that it was due to the heavy rains that fell in a one or two day period before the ground defrosted enough to absorb it, coupled with the snow melt the very next day. They couldn't hold any more of it back because the lakes upstream were overflowing their shorelines and around the dams that were in place. The lowering of the lake levels in late summer has two purposes: to maintain the levels in the Trent-Severn and to prevent just such an occurrence by making room to accommodate the anticipated spring runoff. This year was just too much, in fact in my experience, the August lake levels were lower than I'd ever seen them.

See? You learned something!

First ATV Ride
I took my ATV out on the trail off Pleasant Point Road the other day, for the first time not on a road or on the ice. At first I was nervous, especially about what the clearance was like and for some reason, it feels like it falls off to the right. But I got a bit more used to it after a while and the clearance is awesome. I can put pretty big rocks in between the wheels instead of going around them.

I plan to be on this trail through the summer. I'm going to try to document the way the forest changes from month to month by taking pictures at the same spot on the trail. Here are a few images:

Looking South along the trail from the high point. The white spots are NOT flowers, they're dead leaves (beech, I think) 

Here's where my ATV was parked. It's an HDR, then I used Topaz Adjust "Glamor Glow" on the trees.  

Another shot of the bike. I like the high-key effect on the trees and may try to take some more like that. I had shot this as part of an HDR burst but didn't combine it. 

This is at the South end of the trail as I'm about to go back in. I was concerned about getting stuck in the mud but there wasn't even a hint of a problem. 

On the way back, I handheld my Point-and-Shoot camera and took a video while riding with one hand (there's one spot where I blip the throttle because my thumb slipped, riding one-handed!). Here's the link to the video on YouTube. The 6-minute video was 400Mb in size! I found a utility to reduce it and it ended up around 50Mb. Remember, this was my first time and I was being cautious. I didn't go through the mud/water because I was wearing sneakers and didn't want to get them all wet.

At the end of the video, you can see the level of the lake water over the road where Point Pleasant Road meets Red Umbrella Road. Normally there's a boat launch there that's at least 2-3 feet high, down into the water which is normally about 20 feet away from the shore.

Crispy Car HDR's

Credit Michael White (an HDR photographer from Florida who specializes in car images, see his work here) with the phrase "Crispy Cars", which he posted in a message on the TIF forum.

So when I got back from my ATV ride, I noticed this car in the Red Umbrella Inn parking lot. It had been quietly sitting there for at least a year, then apparently on Sunday, while I was in Toronto, it turned into a toasted auto. No discernible reason: it was wet from heavy rains and the Fire Marshall even said there was no trace of accelerants that would point to it being torched: a mystery! Anyway, HDR's of crispy cars are cool. Here are some.

This last one is also a "Paintograph" since I applied the Oil Paint filter to the HDR. Actually it's not; that would imply that I actually digitally painted it but all I did was click and move a few sliders around.  

Lots of pictures today: I'll stop here until next time!

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