End of 2012

Yesterday my parents treated some family friends to an end-of-the-year lunch.  After a satisfying meal, we all headed to Queen Elizabeth Park for a stroll.  I saw my first Steller's Jay of the year but it was too well hidden for a photo.  The weather was nice during lunch but became quite chilly when we were out walking around.

Not much wildlife was observed.

No bees, but good to see some effort put into bee conservation (although the website on the board does not seem to be functional - www.masonbeevancouver.com).

This is probably my last post of 2012.  Last night I spent some time reviewing what I had done this past year - I took two very rewarding trips to Ottawa and St. Louis to learn more about pollinator taxonomy and pollination ecology; I resumed with my project with a second field season in the Yukon (although the results weren't as rewarding as I had hoped); heavy workload in school - TAing and working on my thesis; and the year ended on a sad note with a friend passing away less than three weeks ago.

Not sure what 2013 will bring for me (probably graduation, work, applying for jobs and potential PhD positions, etc), but I think I will be ready for it...

May 2013 bring good health and fortune to everyone.  Cheers.


My Christmas present: Yongnuo WJ-60

For the longest time, my macro photography always run into the problem of not getting enough light on my subjects, especially when I am extremely close to the subjects and with shallow depth of field.  This usually results in blurry and/or noisy (ISO-wise) photos.  A proper flash would be a solution, but in macro photography, a ring flash is probably even better.  However, being a poor graduate student, I cannot afford $100+ things on my hobby and am always looking for cheaper alternatives.

I found this Chinese-made macro photography LED light on e-bay and the seller actually has an e-store here in Richmond, and so I ordered one recently and picked it up today (for less than $50) at some apartment.

Here's what the light looks on my camera.  It takes 3 AAA batteries and has a plastic mount for you to put on the flash hotshoe or you can use the provided rings (comes in 58 and 62 mm sizes) that allows you screw directly in front of your lens.

When I "hang" the light in front of my 40-150 lens with Raynox 250 (because Raynox 250 is 49 mm, not 58mm) - the left photo is without the light and right photo with the light.  The extra light allows for a faster shutter speed and thus a much clearer photo.

Photos taken with the light properly screwed onto my 70-300 lens.  Left: without light; right: with light.  Once again, the extra light significantly improves the shutter speed and the overall image quality.

Since it is winter, I am forced to test the light on a plastic small car I found in my drawer rather than testing it on actual insects or flowers.  I can't wait for the summer to start to try it outside.

Hope everyone else had a pleasant Christmas.


Rare sunny break = bike to south dyke

The sun made a brief appearance this afternoon, and I used this opportunity to go out and exercise for a bit by biking to the dyke.

 Golden Sunset
Sun was getting to set as I arrived (just after 3 pm).


But now no more...

Drove my mom to the library today to get some books.  Afterwards we went to Terra Nova for a walk.



After learning about the passing of my friend, I just can't stop thinking about it.  I kept thinking that this is all just a bad joke or a dream, but then I would realize it's the truth and I need to accept that.  I would then think about her family and friends, and how happy they probably were when they know she was going back home early for Christmas, but now no more.

My friend loved all forms of life and was very passionate about conservation and sustainability.  She was definitely someone who was going to make positive impacts in others' lives, but now no more.

A sad day

My friend, now no more.

My heart now also goes out to the families of the victims of the Newtown shooting.  The world is feeling very grim lately.


RIP, Sarah.

Dear all,

I apologize for not posting yet this month.  Life has been incredibly busy leading up to today when I flew back to BC for the holiday season.  However, shortly after I landed, I received an e-mail from my school saying that a fellow labmate and friend has passed away in a car accident while driving home from Ontario to South Dakota for her birthday and Christmas break.  She was someone I shared trips with during our field courses in Ottawa and St. Louis.  Her project involved studying raspberry pollination in Algonquin and given her interest in entomology, she was someone I can share my insect collection stories with, as well as our common interests in animals, graphic novels, fictional novels, and movies.  She is definitely someone I have a lot of admiration for, and someone that I will miss a lot.

Rest in peace, Sarah.

I wish everyone safe travels during the holiday season.

With a heavy heart,

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