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Scroll down for older postings.   New entries are usually works in progress…


      December 11th     There is a Santa, for sure, and she absolutely rules!

I seldom complain about not having enough wind on a light day at the beach.   Sure & Oh yeah.   Forecasts can be wrong and wind conditions can change.   Sometimes weeks go by without a 15+ windsurf session.   But, complaining does't help.

So we talk the talk about a perfect light wind board.   It would be a bit different for each one of us.   Big enough to ride through the lulls, pop up on a plane when pumped in marginal conditions, safely slog to shore when skunked, and small enough & shaped just right to motor through the near shore chop shlop at Long Beach.   Plus, when needed, the board would easily carry a 7.5m2 sail for those lighter days when the old 105L and 6.8m2 rig just can't get your tired ass up and out there planing into the deep.

So I wrote a letter to Santa asking for some thoughtful recommendations to help solve the lite day planing problem.   (Actually, maybe I kinda talk a bit in my sleep.)   And guess what appeared!   Forget the tiny sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.   Check it out below.   I'm still a bit giddy.

A thank-you just isn't enough.   But we'll start with that and go from there.

A huge, warm loving thank-you Nancie!   You're still the very best!

(signed John)


      November 27th     The only other thing you can do that's more fun while standing up is windsurfing.

Walking is second.   No question about it.

Still have some strong images both in mind and in digital from London that need to be included.   Will likely put these in Travels or Family but in the meantime maybe start here in the Journal and also try to attempt another answer to a question I was recently asked about windinight.

Around 17 years ago this website served as a morning wind report (with a photo of the lake and a few windy words) for a few fellow windsurfers.   And yes, an action windsurf memory or a dramatic Sunset Bay sunset each day.   It was soon followed by an archived and a growing collection of pictures involving sailing, windsurfing, hiking about Sunset Bay, and generally wandering about.   During my relatively short and sporadic professional career windinsight served as a resume slowly evolving into a personal, wind driven collective that seemed to fulfill some innate, personal quest.   (And yes Virginia, I also suffer from SGPD - severe gear-head photog distraction.)

Windinsight somehow has a kind of life of its own.   And it pulls me along.   It's raison d'être fits into a sort of creative need to build something that somehow elevates, exposes, and attempts to catch a few memorable moments in our experience.   It's maybe about an art form captured by and expressed through a camera that isn't just stored in an album or a box in the basement.   It's become a chance to frame our sport, friends and colleagues actively involved in doing what we so dearly love to do.   Sometimes the pics tell a story, sometimes a pic is a challenging photog capture in a more difficult dial-in exposure situation, and sometimes I just feel the pic is somehow worthy of being shown.   Sometimes there's a personal pride or gratification or maybe how lucky was that somehow creeps into the mix as well.

There's a deep satisfaction in waiting for a special moment to appear through the eyepiece, maybe sometimes getting the shot, and then sharing it.   Maybe there's a lot more to it than that.   Here goes:   Like sometimes I wish I had entered my work life as a photographer.   Or maybe the whole thing could be a bit of the baggage from a left-over teaching career.   Most everyday in here is a kind of a planned open teaching presentation.   All this might be a bit of that leftover classroom responsibility, or even that still unpublished novel - A Flat Tire On The Road To Recess…

Please keep reading.

All that said, the moments found here also include a few fun, reflective, or oddball shots of other venues, including family, friends, and privileged opportunities at times.   Or maybe more simply put into a few words - I strive to photograph well.

Cheers!

Moved the pics from London into Travels



      November 24th     Just home and thinking about Hatteras this coming spring.

Warm wind is a huge turn on.   Windsurfing in winter is best left for the younger wind junkies, say under 75.

from Rodanthe to Frisco, The Outer Banks of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, have become my immediate destination choice and response to where I vacation on this planet.   There are other beautiful locations that come to mind but my home away from home is there.

My oh my.   This sounds like an advertisement or a blockbuster commercial of sorts.   Maybe too much of a good thing can change the good thing.   But as a priority thought it's true for me.   Perhaps over a lengthy stay of several months I might change my mind because of the politics, or a hurricane, or accident/illness, whatever, but for now that's my position and I'm totally sticking with it.

We leave for Hatteras in about 4 months time.   Something wonderful about which to look forward.   A purpose that helps keep me working out, my weight down, and putting up with snow, cold, and all the winter blaws.   Like a kid awaiting Christmas morning, or summer vacation, or turning 16 and getting a Driver's Licence, whatever the anticipation, my attitude is hugely heightened and my motivation's way up.   Life is simply better just because it's there.

Giddy up.



      November 20th     Ready to head home to Niagara later this week.

The past five weeks have been an intense rush of great times.   Hugely busy and sometimes a bit overwhelming and even hectic.   That said the tour of Italy, even though it was a get up and go, go, go event was mostly the best time we've had for years.   We saw and learned a lot, and have an idea of where we like to return to stay for a month in the future.

Beth, Sean, and the boys are returning to Canada for Christmas so we'll see our grandchildren again in about 3 weeks.   Nice.


      November 11th     The iPhone can take a great still picture, but…

1.   Action shots requiring higher fixed shutter speed (to control blur) is sadly lacking on an iPhone, along with some exposure issues.   A DSLR camera, using RAW, and a speedlight, can be quickly adjusted to capably capture a photo in almost every situation.

2.   I took 2 to 3 times more pics than usual on the tour because of the need move around & about a lot getting the right capture, or ignoring a shot if the sun or light source was in the wrong place.   In the first week I took over a thousand shots on the iPhone.   The thought of sorting through this many pictures and preparing them for uploads was a bit overwhelming.

3.   At this point in time only half of the pics taken have been sorted, resized, and uploaded to windinsight.com.   The process is way too slow and time consuming, especially living in downtown London where there is so much going on with family and things to do and see.   One day at a time and prioritze.   It will all get done, eventually…

4.   Low light shots are pretty good but they can get a bit noisy/grainy and don't show that well when enlarged.   Some pics have an almost artificial appearance when they are photo-edited and normalized as seen when shot.   I did get some zoom sort of figured out but overall it's not handy and some to most of the time zooming results in a blurred or poor quality image, in my opinion.

5.   When you use the iPhone for video, Live View, or Panorama you should save and quickly delete these image captures.   As the number of large pictures files in storage increases, the daily downloads to computer become onerously slow and sometimes seem to freeze while the camera firmware labours going through the videos etc. etc. etc.   Hey, it's easy to say - store them somewhere in your computer.   But when you are on a very busy get up and go-go-go bus tour for 15 + 3 days, living out of a suitcase, and trying to also squeeze in maintaining a website, it becomes hugely hectic and frustrating at times keeping up.   In the future, on anything like this trip, I would bring an external hard drive to download everything, and then delete the daily collection of photos & videos on the iPhone.   That said, an external hard drive requires super care and is one more rather delicate accessory that doesn't travel well in my experience.   A drop, bump, or the like can permanently damage a hard drive and pics can be lost forever.   With a DSLR, and 5 - 6 memory cards, you can safely delete or store daily shots for week until they can get sorted out and when that's done simply reformat each memory card and start over.   The iPhone has one built in (memory card) that can't be taken out and reformatted to begin anew.

Today Sean let me borrow their extremely capable and very seductive, sky blue, compact, 2012 Leica 2X with a fast 24mm prime lens to get some stills of Grant at a football match later this evening.   It kinda looks like an antique single lens reflex camera from the 50s.   But it's a hugely capable digital camera that simply doesn't attract any attention to itself, (other than the cute colour Beth chose.)   It has a very harmless, touristy look about it.   Will post a few pics tomorrow.   (Aside: The automatic white balance didn't recognize and adjust the lighting in the football pitches)

What with the newest generation of smaller, lighter, way more compact, full frame mirrorless cameras like the new Sony Alphas, I think it's (maybe) time to think about trading in my Canon gear and just get on with some new compact, downsized photog equipment over the next year or two.   Along with a 125 L

Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news…


The new smaller Sony Alpha series cameras and lenses.

The Leica 2X with a 24mm f2.8 lens


When the sunlight is off or the action blurs a photo (above) the iPhone is not a great choice for serious photography.

A borrowed, hugely paparazzi capable, and highly desirable 2012 Leica X2 (below), for the football match tonight and Sunday morning…



Other than the ? lighting, shooting through a tight fence, and no zoom, the Leica X2/24mm worked well for a first time user.   (BTW ~ Grant scored twice above!)


In undercast daylight, huge crops were needed (the X2 can't zoom) and the 16MPX sensor maintained good quality!




      October 13th     Winding down here, for a while.

Will do our best to update the site periodically over the next 5 weeks or so.   The next three weeks will be sporadic and as able depending on decent WiFi connection, and having an accurate IP to connect to our WIS server. (IP - An Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication or an upload to a server).

Wandering around Italy on a bus, a ferry, whatever the transportation, and sleeping accommodation, will likely be somewhat problematic at best on a constantly changing daily basis.   Once we're back in downtown London, in November, at a single fixed address, things will improve.

We are also hoping to make a side trip to another destination in the UK.

Hopefully we will be able to keep the main page alive with a new pic or two on a regular basis.   Travelling light is our current objective.   The new iPhone will be the only photog tool available for picture taking.

Maybe be prepared for those touristy moments pushing back the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Happy Hour sunset shots with the Adriatic sunset reflecting in the wine glass Gangnam Stylin'.

Giddy up!


      October 11th     Que sera, sera.

Another new adventure awaits.   We leave for Rome in a week.   Italy for about three weeks and then to London for a stay with family before returning to Canada.   Two drifters, off to see the world, on the road again.   Finally…

We are travelling light.   Lighter than ever before.   Two bags and a carry on.   Unbelievable for two old pack rats.

An iPhone 8+ and a laptop to occasionally update this site, maybe a few times a week. Tilley endurable socks and undies and just enough whatever else to carry us through the three weeks, on the road in a big bus, seeing all the sights and doing all the touted stays around Italy.

It seems that we are survivors of a sort.   Nancie has had a few serious bouts of cancer and a nasty heart attack.   My lifetime injuries and healing sessions have been numerous and maybe even near miraculous looking back at their recoveries.     Thankfully our bodies are designed to heal, for the most part.   All that said, life has been good to us, so far.

As we count down the days to departure we are mindfully checking reminders off the list like changing the batteries in the smoke and CO2 detectors, getting extended RX refills on our meds, and packing separate whistles and mace spray water pistols in our new Travelon security anti-theft bags that we will lock to our bodies with a no peal Gorilla Glue velcro skin adhesive.   (Yup, still freakin' dangerous at 77.)

We also each have stretchy belts on our stretchy jeans to accommodate the many restaurants we have listed as a must do inclusion in our itinerary and more than enough antacid chewables to choke a small horse.

We are hoping to get our picture taken with the Pope, spend all our money, and dance knee deep in the Trevi fountain partially clothed at midnight.   (I stress the we hope part…)




      October 6th     Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door be opened, ask and it shall be given…

A timeless and understandable explanation for anyone wanting a stategy to achieve any kind of success in their day to day lives.

Seeking is easy.   The knocking and asking followups in the above verse require some extra courage and effort in the form of simple hard work.   It's in the second and third steps that we often begin to fall short of ever reaching our dream.   But why stop with humans?   Perhaps all living organisms can reach out, seek, knock and ask even though they might lack eyesight, language, and arms.   Like an earthworm that's been flourishing on this planet for the past 65 million years, or more.

Even trees are considered sentient.   They provide carbon for their offspring and seeds drop nearby for shade and moisture from their parent.   Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees, writes about how trees are sophisticated organisms that live in families, support their sick neighbors, and have the capacity to make decisions and fight off predators.   A fascinating read.   But it's their carbon and it's ultimate use in sailboard construction that first caught my serious attention.

Carbon fibre kevlar weave plays a huge role in the composition of a strong, lightweight, early planing board.   Early planing ALSO brings to mind that unsolvable wind speed and board displacement variable that eludes us that was discussed in the October 2nd entry just below.   When trying to calculate an X (whatever the unknown variable in a formula) with all of the other given variables including sailor weight, sail size, fin size, windspeed, board displacement, water salinity, board and sail shape, and whatever else might be involved in making a correct gear choice - GUESS WHAT! - it's still a bit of a crapshoot when you buy a new board or sail.

And furthermore I suspect a secret agency maybe called the WRA, (Windsurfing Regulatory Association) wants to keep it all that way no matter how you decipher the First and Second Amendment or the Canadian Bill of Rights.   Why, you ask?   Because it keeps us spending our hard earned money buying new gear year after year in the complex pursuit of achieving happiness in getting our newest board to plane up fast and still work well in light wind conditions.

But I do think that I have a cool, maybe workable, proposal in all of this murky muddle of board choice.

Let's begin.   Today, a good used, 135 L carbon fibre board can go for US$1000 - $1500.   Any of the other brand new, wide, early planing rides can easily be double that cost what with taxes in, dealer prep, environmental disposal fees, and shipping.   Mistakes can be uncomfortably costly.

What we need is an affordabley uncomplicated, wrong board replacement insurance plan to help us though all this dilemma.   A form of Socialized Windsurfing Wealth Insurance.   Drop the Socialized for consumers in the USA and maybe call it something like a shared venture risk capital offset.   Hey, it can't be all that complicated.   And others could get involved.   Like golfers who buy the wrong clubs, hockey players who end up with figure skates or a wrong-handed stick, or bowlers who get the holes drilled incorrectly in their balls and need a smaller thumb insertion.   A universal insurance return plan, regulated by the government with affordable premiums for everyone based on our constitutional right to pursue happiness.   Be, all that we can be.   You get the idea.   You get to correct up to three mistakes a year.   Just return the unwanted item for a full credit toward another choice.   It will be a beautiful thing!   Trust me.

And, for sure in Canada, it would quickly pass on the first vote.   Well, maybe for sure.

For windsurfers it goes like this - seek and ye shall find.   If it does't work return what you purchased, and pick a brand new board.   No questions, no hassle.

I'd maybe start with a carefully used, pre-owned, A/A+ rated carbon fibre 135 L Fanatic Hawk.   If it was too big and clumsy in moderate conditions, maybe I'd get a 125 L version of the same thing and see if it would pop me up on a plane and carry me more easily through the chop and waves on any given day.   On the bright side, there are a half dozen other wide board contenders in varying sizes available on the market, all designed to plane quickly and handle a larger sail if necessary.   By the way, up to three new sails a year can be exchanged.   Plus, if you start in November you get three more chances beginning on the first of January, that adds up to 6 easy returns in 3 to 4 months!   How can anyone go wrong?   One person's return item will become another person's salvation.   What with the vast internet and companies like FedEx we'd be self-actualizing with new or different gear the very next day.   Who in their right mind would be against a plan like this?

My take on all this is simple.   The whole world would become a much happier and peaceful place.   Everyone would work hard to be able to pay the 3 return insurance premiums.   As it catches on world wide productivity would improve, no one I know would want to fight or complain when they could pop up, plane, and sail way more each week, or bowl closer to 300, or take off around 10 strokes on any 18 hole golf course, all with the right gear, and no excuses.

We would still have to continue working on our game, whatever that is, the knocking and asking part involves practise, coaching, by any other name it's still going to take hard work to achieve success.   But, with the right gear we are far, far less likely to get discouraged and quit.   Failing our way to success will simply be way more doable.   The timeless words of Luke and Matthew to the faithful will still hold a strong and true message of fulfilment.

And as the plan improves with tweaking here and there it will just keep getting better and better, year after year.

(Please click on the thumbnail to enlarge the pic above)



      October 2nd     Personal goal - To optimize planing given the right sailor weight, sail size, board displacement, and wind speed.

All of the tables available for the available input data above found online are confusing and do not give reasonable feed back when you plug in the numbers for how much wind do you need to plane with (say) a 120L board, a 6.8 m2 sail, a nearly average IQ and a slightly twisted sense of humour.

It shouldn's be that difficult, what with computers, thousands and thousands of new algorithms every day, and all of the other currently available data on earth.

So far we still have to guess at and end up buying the wrong board and sail or buy the wrong board and sail and still not plane in light winds.   You probably know what I mean.

We can easily end up with too much gear with too small a van, or sit around while people with bigger sails and bigger boards dash about from wave to wave having the time of their lives.

So what's a guy to do?

My current quandary is whether or not to buy a 116 L board, or a 125 L board, or a 135 L board and maybe a 7.5 m2 sail.   Following that maybe a larger Sprinter van and look for a new home with a bigger garage door.   Following that, Following that, Shiza, Following that…

Where does it all end?

I am currently giving myself a meaningful time out and may just do all of the above when I get up from sitting here on the stairs.   Ha!   But, to add the dilemma I'm afraid to ask Nancie what she thinks about all or any of these choices.

(My T Shirt reads - We live to plane in all conditions.)






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