My fascination with trains has been apparent since getting my first train set as a kid. My dad actually built a giant table in our basement with a paper mache mountain and tunnel for me to set it up with. Countless hours were spent playing there. There's obviously a big difference between those childhood memories and seeing the real thing however.
In August of 2006 the famed Canadian Pacific 2816 Empress came through Medicine Hat, Alberta and I went along for a ride with my folks. The train is a 4-6-4 H1b Hudson built in 1930, and has become a prestige project for the Canadian Pacific Railway ever since they spent over two million dollars to restore and debut it back in 2001.
I recently stumbled upon my ticket stub from the trip and was reminded of the pictures I shot. It's a shame that traveling by rail isn't very economical in western Canada anymore as it's a really cool way to see the prairie. Someday I'd like to travel through the Rocky Mountains by rail, or who knows, maybe return to Alaska to ride the White Pass & Yukon Railway again.
Last night my friend Keith and I went for supper at Local, one of my favorite hangouts. The two of us were childhood friends who grew up on the same street and since our time out of university we've tried to meet up at least once a year to touch base. It's always a kick to be reminded of just how much time has passed.
It was fun to catch up and our conversation eventually drifted towards what life has been like back in Medicine Hat. It's the kind of topic I love because I feel there's so much I still haven't resolved about it. The fact that I'm even here and able to edit for a living still surprises me, and for as much as I feel I've accomplished I'm still quick to admit that I haven't exactly put down my roots here yet.
I really do like it here. I'm able to afford a great place, I have family here, I like my work, and yet it was never part of my plan to come back. Funny how life takes you in different directions even when you've been so meticulous in constructing the path you thought you were on. I'm happy, I'm just not content to be comfortable yet - even despite the great burger place just around the corner.
Meeting up with old friends is always a reminder that growing up is a slow process, and that for as much as we change we still manage to stay the same. While it's convenient to think that the right moment will eventually present itself and I'll pack up and move on to what I believe are bigger and better things, that's obviously not the way it works. At least I feel optimistic. I know I'll always want more, even when things are good. It's one thing that I can't seem to grow out of.
One of the big problems with digital video is the rate at which it changes. For all of the benefits that this has delivered, it's also meant that I've had to look at new ways of keeping older projects and footage archived and accessible. I recently incorporated the Pinnacle DV hub into my setup, and so far it's been a great investment.
As an editor I'm constantly working with various formats between clients (and for my own videos) - from old VHS or D8 tapes, to Mini DV or DVDs, to HD content and everything else accessed over USB. When I upgraded my computer in the fall I wasn't surprised that it didn't come with firewire ports, what surprised me was that no one seemed to carry firewire in store anymore. You can still get them online of course, but this was just another clear sign that everything has gone to USB.
In my continued search the Pinnacle hub than seemed like the perfect option. Available on the Pinnacle website, the hub plugs in through USB and allows you to connect firewire (DV), S-Video, and RCA cables. It's also an attractive little piece of equipment that can sit right on your desktop, making it easy to connect your cameras. The Pinnacle DV hub has been a useful accessory so far, and I'm happy that it's made uploading different formats simple.