Monday, July 21, 2014

A Summer Walk

Lily

I love to go to Parc-des-Rapides. There is something about the rush of the water, the many birds and flowers and the feeling that you are away from the city, even though you are not that always brings a sense of peace. And the breeze off the water takes away some of the summer heat.

Heron 2

I've been testing out my new 55-300 mm zoom lens along with my monopod. It's a little heavier to carry, but I like having that extra distance.

Heron 3

This heron co-operated giving me lots of time to shoot as it slowly meandered across the pond.

Lily

It felt odd shooting flowers with the large lens, but I couldn't resist the light.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Outdoor Breakfast

Café au Lait

A beautiful summer morning, an outdoor "terrasse", a friend with whom to enjoy it all - breakfast at Duc de Lorraine. Our days of outdoor eating are numbered in Montreal, so we all try to take advantage of them.

Breakfast at a café

Time to linger a little longer than in the busy days the rest of the year. Ah summer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

CAMMAC Early Music Week

Studio in the Woods

I've been rather silent lately - a week at CAMMAC and some time to recover. And to celebrate a birthday.

Each year I write about CAMMAC and each year I extol the wonders of a week there - friendship, incredible teachers, lots of playing music and wonderful concerts - all in a little piece of heaven. Mix this all with a lot of humour and nature and the stress level goes way down. It is like a mental reset.


Alone on the Raft

For many more pictures of my week go to Flickr

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Local Produce

Local Berries

The local strawberries have started. They are not quite at their peak sweetness, but this week's hot weather should sweeten them up. We have been enjoying Quebec asparagus. They will soon be over, but with new strains of strawberries, I'll be enjoying them all summer.

Hibiscus

This time of year, no visit to Atwater Market is complete without gawking at the multitude of flowers for sale - both cut flowers and for flowers for planting in gardens. Now that I just have a couple of pots on a balcony, I linger longer.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Montreal Baroque Festival

Horn Player

A highlight of my year is the Montreal Baroque Festival. Until last year the artistic director was Susie Napper. Now she shares the job with Matthias Maute. I have finally learned that one can't get to every concert without being sleep deprived. In addition, the concerts start to blur. So this year I was a bit more judicious - not more than about 2 concerts per day over the four days of the festival. Add a few informal events and it was still a bit of sensory overload but great fun and wonderful music.

Outdoor Concert

Outdoor concerts can be a challenge. This one by Passiflore was accompanied by sirens, car horns and a rally for a fundraiser that was happening down the street. I have heard this group in a more intimate setting without the microphones which were necessary here and it was a delightful experience. Despite the cacophony around them, they still managed to share some wonderful music and it was nice to see the passersby stop for a while to enjoy.

Les Voix Humaines

One evening a musical scategories game was played in a local cafe. Each round was followed by a musical interlude featuring one of the many early music ensembles from Montreal. Les Voix humaines, seen here, have been on the scene for a long time. Others are just starting out. There is so much talent and such a variety of groups. Montreal is a haven for those, like me, who enjoy early music. Susie Napper and Margaret Little are the core and founders of the group. They were joined by four other viola da gamba players for a concert of music by Lupo as part of the festival.

La Petite Harmonie


La Petite Harmonie (you can see the horn player from the photo at the top) consists of wind instruments. I'll be watching for their concerts. They also played in the orchestra for the final concert of the festival - Ensemble Caprice presented an all Beethoven evening with a piano concerto played by Tom Beghin (he also played a solo concert of Beethoven sonatas - I find his playing very moving) as well as Beethoven's Pastorale Symphonie. Beethoven is outside what is normally thought of as early music, but it was interesting to hear on the kind of instruments Beethoven would have composed for. Modern instruments have a different timbre.

Flûte Alors! at the café

I always enjoy hearing Flûte Alors! - all recorder players. Of course - I am a little biased, being a recorder player myself. These young musicians  form a wonderful quartet. Their ensemble playing is tight and beautifully in tune.

Concerts of high quality - mingling of audience and musicians, - the audience feels invested in the festival. May it continue for many years!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fabergé at the Museum

Faberge at MBAM - egg

A long hiatus - my daughter moved (lots of packing, boxes and carrying) and then visitors and the Festival Montréal Baroque (more about the in another post) - I am slowly getting back to my blog.

With friends in town for the baroque festival, we all decided to visit the museum to see the Fabulous Fabergé exhibit. I so appreciate that the museum allows photography. The objects in the exhibit were beyond belief - ornate, elaborate, intricate. I did not photograph the tiny eggs which were absolutely exquisite - each one a testimony to incredible craftsmanship. You can see some for sale at Fabergé - but they are not as spectacular as seeing the older ones well lit in the display.

Looking at the opulence of the exhibit and thinking of the lives of most Russians at the time of the Czars, it is not hard to imagine why the revolution happened.

Faberge at MBAM

Everything from icons to china to photo frames to decorative pieces were highly decorated and often covered in gold and/or encrusted with jewels.

Faberge at MBAM - egg2

It was interesting to see, to gawk at the excesses, to marvel at the skill and aesthetic of the jewellers, and to imagine the lives of the people who surrounded themselves with these items.

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Here are some links where you can learn more about Fabergé and the eggs
From the museum site: http://faberge.mbam.qc.ca/en/
http://www.faberge.com/news/49-imperialeggs.aspx
http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/a_nav/faberge_nav/main_fabfrm.html

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Back to Parc-des-Rapides

Red Winged Blackbird

Today I was prepared - my new telephoto 55-300 mm, a monopod and my new little camera. The red winged blackbirds are all over the park. Their calls seem to predominate. They fly close to people, unperturbed unless you get very close.

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They particularly like to be near water.

Flowering

I have no idea what these flowers are but there were many. The air was scented with a mix of floral blooms.

Egret in the Grass

This egret was standing absolutely still in the shallow water. Someone who had been there before reported that it had already caught a frog. The naturalists in the park told me that the red winged blackbirds sometimes harass the herons and egrets. I don't think I would like to get too near that beak!