Astrophoto Bucket List

After the eclipse on August 21st, I took a deep breath.  I spent a year focussed on photographing the eclipse, and with that goal complete, what was next?  I was in the plateau of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, a couple dozen miles from Yellowstone, and had three days to enjoy with my fiancee.  As luck would have it, those days were absent of any clouds, giving me two perfect evenings in clear, dark, dry skies to do some of the best astrophotography of my life.  Here’s what I shot. The milky way shot for me is a...

Motivation Monday: Tree Branches of Choice

A tree is a good way to represent a series of decisions.  Start at the trunk and move to smaller and smaller branches, each branch tip representing one o the many possibilities.  A tree representing a persons life would be immense, far larger than any tree on Earth.  There are an incredible number of possibilities that arise due to a persons choices, and every waking moment we move along a path.  But there is one stark difference between this tree and a real tree.  With the decision tree, you can cross back over to other paths. I started thinking about this...

Motivation Monday (on Tuesday): A Week Off

Most of my motivation posts this year have been about the workout goal I set myself for the year, and for good reason.  It has kept me on track, motivating me if no one else.  After six months in the gym, I am certainly happy with how I’ve done, but for some reason I expected it to get easier with time.  If anything, it’s become more difficult, and so I did something a stubborn perfectionist like myself really hates: I took a week off. My week off meant no gym time, no careful measuring of eating habits, and a later...

Motivation Monday: Six Months of Workout Wisdom

After hitting the gym hard this year as my main goal for 2016, I’ve learned a heck of a lot about fitness, nutrition, and motivation.  Just over 6 months has passed and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned, especially about motivation and the expectation vs reality aspect. When I started the year, my main goal was to be consistent.  I went to the gym no matter how I felt.  Even if I sat there and stretched or walked on a treadmill, I would consider it a win.  With nutrition the goal was to eat cleanly (I’ll...

Motivation Monday (on Tuesday): Rest and Recovery

When I was younger, I could get away with pulling an all-nighter, eating like garbage, and never taking a break.  As I get older, I find it’s much easier to burn out.  I feel the effects of a poor diet or a late night, and I need the extra time to recover at the end of a long week. Over the past few months, I’ve been getting used to waking up at 5am, going to the gym, and then going to work for the day.  I watch what I eat, generally avoid alcohol, and enjoy a few cups of delicious coffee...

The Next Canadian Astronaut

This guy is everything you expect in an astronaut.  At least that was my first thought when I was looking at his biography.  David St. Jacques was one of only two candidates (along with Jeremy Hansen) chosen in the 2008 Canadian Astronaut draft, the third in our nation’s history. He has a degree in Engineering Physics, a Ph.D. in Astrophysics, and is a medical doctor.  And that’s just his formal education.  He’s an avid mountaineer, cyclist, skier, and sailor.  Not to mention his advanced certification as a scuba diver, his commercial pilot’s license, and his ability to converse in Russian, Spanish, and Japanese. And so...

Motivation Monday: Consistency or Change?

You’ve heard the advice before.  Be consistent to be successful over the long term.  Do the same basic things, eat less, move more, and don’t expect quick results.  It takes time to lose fat and gain muscle, and you won’t see the quick progress that you expect. On the flip side, it’s important to change it up to keep yourself interested.  Vary your exercises to keep your muscles guessing.  Your body gets used to a routine and doesn’t need to adjust after awhile, so keep changing it up and shock your system. Be consistent but change it up –  Two completely contradictory pieces of...

Motivation Monday: Start Now!

Now! Right now! Forget about reading this post, go out and do that thing that you should be doing to make your life better. Go! Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about why starting now is better than starting later.  There are so many excuses you can make when there’s something you want to do.  “There’s not enough time,” “I need to learn more or build a skill first,” “That just isn’t possible for me,” “I have to give up everything I have now.” It’s hard to start something new and work toward something different...

Motivation Monday: Forms of Distraction

What distracts you from doing the things you need to do? What keeps you from moving forward? We all know the common distractions – TV, games, alcohol, social media, etc.  But when you’re working on a particular goal, things that can seem positive can actually prevent you from achieving it.  You may not realize it, but there are plenty of counterintuitive forms of distraction. Let’s say that, like myself, you are working out at the gym, and you’re built up a pretty solid routine.  You go in the morning, go to work, and have your evenings free for other pursuits.  Now...

Motivation Monday: Uncertainty

In the world of science, there is no definite measurement.  In any quantity, there is what we call an uncertainty.  In a simple example, let’s say you were using a ruler to measure the length of a rope.  You line up the rope along the ruler, and take a reading.  But how sure are you that the rope was perfectly lined up with the end of the ruler? How certain are you that your reading was correct? There is always uncertainty.  It extends more broadly in life. I’m at a point in my life where I’ve been in the working...