Wednesday, December 13, 2017
It's here. After a small snowfall on Sunday, yesterday brought over 18 cm of snow (about 7"). As it was cold, it was light snow, not the heavy wet snow that falls when the temperature hovers nearer to 0°C (32 F). I quite enjoyed walking through white - so much brighter than the greyness that permeates cloudy days before the snow arrives.
While this "dog" sits motionless letting the snow accumulate on its shaggy fur, its living friends were cavorting in the dog park - rolling in the snow, chasing each other, enjoying the novelty of the first real snowfall of the season.
Snow is silent - it falls without sound, unlike rain or sleet and it muffles the city sounds.
I did not stop to sit. I would not want to spoil the sculpted seats that nature had created. Snow brings its own kind of beauty.
Saturday, December 2, 2017
I have never been a great fan of November. It is a time when darkness starts to close in, when grey days and dampness permeates the landscape and the skin. Occasional snow brightens momentarily and then all settles back into moody November. And then the holiday lights start to appear, dispelling the darkness.
Whimsy starts to take over bringing smiles. As I don't take part in the frenetic and serious seasonal shopping, I am free to stroll and just enjoy the festive atmosphere.
The market has begun to fill up with trees and their holiday friends. The scent of the season is everywhere. As the days get shorter, the number of lights increases. And in only three weeks the slow creep to more daylight begins again.
Monday, October 23, 2017
Photographing has taught me to find beauty everywhere. I went for a walk with a friend in a park that we like - unfortunately our photographic opportunities were curtailed by renovation being done in the park. A wooden walkway across the swamp has been demolished to be replaced by a more solid one. so we had to get back in the car and enter the park from the other side.
Autumn has certainly taken hold with dried out flowers and coloured leaves.
There is delicacy even in decay.
While some trees have already lost leaves, others are holding on to theirs. Flashes of red stand out against the green of the plants that remain.
Back at home I walked through the park. This is truly a glorious season.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
I was challenged recently to post black and white photographs for seven days running. I started to think about what would look good in black and white - or more precisely - black white and greys. I grew up with black and white photographs and they highlight different aspects of an image. The keyboard was too obviously black and white and I needed to find something to photograph that would work in grey tones.
A church nearby provided the next photograph. I think this allows us to see a bit more of the texture of the stonework.
Day 3 - I looked for strong lines. No need for colour when the emphasis is on the geometry of the photograph.
What else would look good in black and white - these reflections caught my eye - they were less about colour than form.
I found myself testing out the black and white transformation on my phone or in my camera to see if an image would work. You need a fair amount of contrast and not too much texture around the image. For that reason I felt this photograph did not work as well. The busy background texture-wise took away from the main part of the composition. I took a number of photos on my walk that day - it helped me understand the need for contrast and simplicity when shooting black and white.
While I like the look of the buildings, I am less happy with the composition. I took this while on a walk and did not take enough time to get the balance of buildings and sky right. But they will be there for another attempt. Also - a cloud-filled sky might have added interest - the weather was not cooperative in that respect!
This was a tough one. I wanted to focus on the texture - the bark and the squirrel but the squirrel was positioned in a way that he was against a dark background, but there was also a bright background near its tail. As a result the white is clipped.
I'll stick to colour for a while - but this has made me think about when and how I want to try more black and white shooting.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
The city's leaves are also changing. Their display is never quite as intense as in the country but I still find myself stopping to admire.
This splash of colour begged to be noticed.
Gardens, too are in a state of change. Some flowers show signs of retreat while others are still at their peak of glory.
Each tree in its time - while some stay green, others lose their green pigments faster.
No walk up to Summit Park should be without a stop to look over the city.
Autumn, like spring, is a time of constant change - all the more reason to get outside so as not to miss these glorious moments.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
(From October 6) One path leads behind houses, the other up the mountain. We chose the path on the right - perhaps the road less travelled.
The trick is to find the marks on the trees. As you approach each mark, you should be able to see the next one.
But don't just look ahead. There are many treasures hiding down low.
This ghost of a leaf clung to the moss.
The trail markers were not always easy to spot. Especially when mushrooms almost obscured them...
I loved the way this moss laden old tree trunk snaked along the forest floor.
From a distance this huge boulder looked like a small house. We couldn't imagine why it had been built in the middle of the woods only to discover its true identity.
It's hard to imagine a bluer sky or more colourful leaves. We often had to stop to gawk.
And what do you see here? I pictured a nerve cell with its dendrites reaching out to make connections.
The colours change each year and each year I am enchanted by their transition.
These large fungi looked like an art installation. I loved their rhythm.
Back down at the lake the next morning we took a last look before heading home.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Autumn is a glorious season with leaves flaunting their changing colours. Reds and oranges, yellows and the remaining greens. Each day brings new changes to the palette.
Change creeps in. Bits of leaves with dabs of paint - not yet fully transformed.
The reds are often among the first to appear.
The forest is home to many deer - silent, watching, aware.
We walked along the Parc Linéaire - le P'tit Train du Nord. Admiring. Breathing in the smells of autumn.
Monday, October 2, 2017
On a clear day, flying over Greenland is astounding. My spouse took a couple of these photos as he had the window seat, but then I got my better camera and took a few more.
It is easy to know when you are flying over mountains that they are mountains - but was that a frozen river?
I wondered how thick the snow and ice is. The mountains led me to believe that this was not yet the huge glacier that covers so much of Greenland.
Although there are parts of Greenland along the coast that are inhabited, this looked quite inhospitable - but magnificent nonetheless.
Even from this height it was possible to see the patterns created in the ice and snow. An awe inspiring sight.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
We spent the last couple of days of our trip in Reykyavik, capital of Iceland and area with almost 2/3 of the population of Iceland. We walked past Tjörnin Pond admiring the city reflected in its water. Reykjavik is a human sized city - no tall buildings and very walkable.
There are many birds in the pond's waters and feeding them does not seem to be discouraged. I was intrigued by the swans with their black trimmed beaks.
Icelanders are not afraid to laugh at themselves. This sculpture, The Unknown Bureaucrat, proudly stands near the pond.
Virtually all Icelanders speak English and in the capital there are English signs on most stores. I did not go into this one but did wonder about what records they were selling.
Although there were (too) many tourists - there is not the same sense of hustle and bustle you get in larger cities. Walking past this sculpture I felt a sense of peace. There is a lot of public art in the city.
While much of Reykjavik feels new, there is also the old. The two spires - on the left one of the older churches - on the right, the spire of Hallgrímskirkja
The church was designed by the late Guðjón Samúelsson. He took his inspiration from the basalt columns that sometimes form when lava cools. Construction began in 1945 and only completely ended in 1986. It towers above the city both because of its height and the fact that it sits atop a hill.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallgr%C3%ADmskirkja
There is an impressive organ inside made by Johannes Klais, an organ builder from Bonn
As the church is Lutheran, there is very little interior decoration. Light streams in and there is real sense of calm inside the church.
Leif Eriksson stands outside - the Icelandic explorer who "discovered" North America. He has a much more massive feel than the statue of him we saw in Newfoundland near where he probably landed.
Many of the older homes are painted or covered with corrugated, coloured siding. I'm sure it adds colour to the long grey winters. Iceland in summer is vibrantly green and colourful. I am not sure I would feel the same about the short days of winter. Although Iceland is just south of the Arctic Circle, its climate is more temperate than Montreal. Although it is never very hot there, in winter the average temperature in Reykjavik is 0°C (32°F).
These Fjallraven backpacks caught my eye - I could just picture a class of students, each with a different colour!
These public bikes are decked out in WOW's colour. We flew from Dublin to Reykjavik with WOW and enjoyed their sense of humour (Our call button was labelled: Honk if you're hungry - each button had something different).
If I have any negatives about Iceland it is only that hotels, B&Bs etc. are very costly. While flights are cheap, once in Iceland your money will disappear quickly, hence these words of warning at the airport. Despite that, I would go back. I love the open spaces, the clean air, the jaw-dropping beauty, the variety of landscapes... The cities and towns are at a human scale - while the countryside is immense and full of wonders.