Writing Retreat 2019, Day 1

Milky Way above a bluff of trees


  • wrote 1,000 words in the morn­ing,
  • went for a 11-km bike ride,
  • vis­it­ed with my land­lords for the week,
  • went on a scout­ing dri­ve for the astropho­tog­ra­phy,
  • snapped some pho­tos in the coun­try­side (below),
  • wrote anoth­er 1,000 words after sup­per,
  • fin­ished read­ing Prove­nance (review com­ing),
  • went back out into the coun­try­side and took some dark­er pho­tos (above) till the moon rose and washed out the Galaxy,
  • drove back to the cab­in, and
  • crawled into bed about 2 AM.

So far so good.

Top pho­to: tak­en about 11:45 PM or so. 12mm, 44 sec­onds, f/2.8, ISO 3200 (I think).

Series: Writing Retreat 2019

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2019; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 1; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 2; Writ­ing Retreat: Days 3 through 5; Writ­ing Retreat, Day 6.

Writing Retreat 2019

Reading Provenance and sipping Writer's Tears whiskey

Last night I arrived at Minnedosa, to start the 2019 edi­tion of my annu­al week-long writ­ing retreat.

Goals this year:

  • 2,000 words a day, or about 15,000 words, in the first draft of Trans­la­tions.
    • Sub-goal: Get to the end­ing.
  • Pho­tos of the Milky Way.
  • Pho­tos, gen­er­al­ly; there are a few spots I’d like to get to. The Cana­di­an prairie is pho­to­genic, and I want to cap­ture that.
  • Ride my bike a lot, and also go kayak­ing a few times. The weath­er fore­cast seems to agree with this plan.
  • Read at least a cou­ple of the books I brought: Prove­nance by Ann Leck­ie (I’m about ¾ of the way through, so that should work out); The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishig­uro; Drey­er’s Eng­lish by Ben­jamin Drey­er; and The Knight by Gene Wolfe (because it’s a tra­di­tion, appar­ent­ly, that I read Wolfe while I’m at the cab­in).

I’m also due in Win­nipeg for my nephew’s birth­day par­ty, which means I’ll be able to pick up the copy of Michael Swan­wick­’s The Iron Drag­on’s Moth­er that I pre-ordered in (checks notes) (…these notes are illeg­i­ble) Feb­ru­ary? maybe. And a friend is camp­ing at Clear Lake start­ing mid-week, so I’ll prob­a­bly go both­er him for an after­noon or some­thing.

As my dar­ling wife is wont to say, “Write faster, Johan­neson.”

Head­er image: last night, read­ing Prove­nance on the deck with a glass of Writer’s Tears.

Series: Writing Retreat 2019

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2019; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 1; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 2; Writ­ing Retreat: Days 3 through 5; Writ­ing Retreat, Day 6.

Bike ride

Panorama on Grand Valley Road

On the week­end I rode a bit over 20km. I did­n’t have my Canon with me, but my phone’s cam­era is pret­ty decent. I real­ly liked how the bas­ket­ball hoop turned out; I have some­thing of a thing for entropy and aban­doned spaces, and this shot made my ride for me.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Bike ride”


Jupiter and some of its moons

Last week­end, as Jupiter approached oppo­si­tion, I went out into the back­yard with my cam­era and tri­pod to see if I could get a pho­to of it.

Behold, Jupiter and the four Galilean moons. As near as I can work it (thanks to this handy cal­cu­la­tor), we’ve got (bot­tom-left to top-right) Io, Europa, Ganymede, and (way off to the side) Cal­lis­to. The pho­to was tak­en June 7, 2019, just before 11:15PM Cen­tral Day­light Time, if you want to check my cal­cu­la­tions.

Pho­to info: 1 sec­ond expo­sure, 250mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6. Pho­to tak­en in RAW for­mat, processed with Dark­table. Cropped from a larg­er image to show the detail.

Another Parallel Prairies review

The cover of Parallel Prairies

Update: I’m feel­ing a lit­tle slow, eh, because I only just now noticed that it’s Amaz­ing Sto­ries that reviewed Par­al­lel Prairies. Amaz­ing Sto­ries just reviewed my writ­ing.

Dar­ren Rid­g­ley, one of the edi­tor of Par­al­lel Prairies, just tweet­ed a link to a new review of the anthol­o­gy. It appears the review­er enjoyed my lit­tle tale of demen­tia and alien vis­i­ta­tion:

What makes this sto­ry fun to read is Vincent’s deter­mi­na­tion to pro­tect Char­lie from the agents. […] Amus­ing. With a tinge of sad­ness.

R. Graeme Cameron

He also liked the anthol­o­gy as a whole:

This anthol­o­gy fea­tures a col­lec­tion of sto­ries rang­ing far wider than I antic­i­pat­ed. There is, per­haps, a Cana­da-wide ten­den­cy to under­es­ti­mate Man­i­to­ba. […] Amaz­ing what sto­ries the con­trib­u­tors wrest­ed from its soil. I con­fess this book exceed­ed my expec­ta­tions. Well worth read­ing.

R. Graeme Cameron

If you’d like a copy of Par­al­lel Prairies, you can get it from McNal­ly Robin­son.

The Milky Way

Night shot of the Milky Way

I’m still learn­ing how to process RAW images using Dark­table on Lin­ux. I think I’ve found a few good tuto­ri­als, but I need more prac­tice. I’d like to learn how to remove noise with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the sharp­ness, for exam­ple. (Maybe I need to shoot at low­er ISO and then stack and align the pho­tos?)

Any­way, I shot this south of Bran­don on the evening of May 31st (or maybe real­ly ear­ly on the morn­ing of June 1st). Enjoy!