Vimy 101

Throwback Thursday is a thing on the webs and social media.

This isn’t.

One hundred and one years ago, on April 9th, 1917, in a small snow storm, the Canadian army acted as one unit, not under British rule, to take Vimy Ridge. A German stronghold that earlier attempts by the British and French were failures.

It was a true Canadian moment, and shows the tenacity that is Canada to this day. When some loser shot and killed an honour guard at the War Memorial in Ottawa and stormed Parliament Hill (and killed by security), I thought, “fuck you. Canadians took Vimy, you can’t do that shit to us”, and went about my day as usual. You don’t mess with Canadians. Yeah, we are super nice and stupidly polite; just don’t push it.

So last year, in 2017, I went to the 100th anniversary of the battle, where the Canadians not only took the ridge, but held it for the rest of the war. Took it with the “fuck you, it’s ours now, you’ve done enough and we will keep it right” kind of attitude. See, most immigrants to Canada, not only left their country to avoid hardship, persecution and look for a better life, they also had to endure the hardships of an untamed wilderness, brutal climate (winters can be rough, even in the 21st century). They put up with all that, so nothing much more can phase them.

Proud Canadian? Yeah.

But I digress. I was there at Vimy for the 100th anniversary. It was the warmest, most clear day of the 10 days I spent in Belgium/France. There were a lot of logistical issues, and problems. But *I* was there. And to look out over the area where the four Canadian divisions came together and made such a monumental success, make me proud.

These are a few shots from the day. I had only my Fuji X100T and teleconverter. I would have liked something more zoomy for the Vimy Flight flypast, but, hey, what are you going to do.

As the 101st anniversary comes, I look at these photos and remember the soldiers who volunteered for a truly worthy cause, the ceremonies and the trip in general.

Still chasing trains

Today at work, I heard the the train heading up to the Nylene plant. I noted the time and determined a return in five hours, putting it back around 4:30. That is around the time I’m done for the day, so I was hoping to catch the train.

As I was heading to the car, I heard the train hitting the level crossings. I hoped to meet up with it along the way. As it happened, as I came to the crossing at Herzberg road, it was slowly approaching. The speed limit is 10 mph, so it’s not exactly zipping along. As I crossed the tracks, I made a quick left hand turn down Bayfield Avenue to meet it at another level crossing.

I stopped just short of Carling at the crossing and waited for the approach and took a few quick shots.

As it went passed, I thought, since it is going slow, I’d try to meet it at Corkstown Road. From my location, it was about seven minutes away. I had a similar meet before (without camera) and figured I could make it. I doubled back to Carling to Herzberg and over to Corkstown Road. No train in sight, I check the tracks. In the flangways at the crossing, there was still snow. If the train had come, it would have been compressed or gone. A moment later, my suspicions were answered as I saw headlights. A second run-by!

I considered a third attempt down the line, but it was not to be. Still, I was happy to see the same train twice.

As an aside, when giving a title to this post, I considered “Chasing Trains”, but a quick search revealed that I had used this title last year, and the photos were only just a little ways down the tracks from the one above. Just to the left in fact. Same camera too – my Fuji X100T

A little Acros

Its been a pretty cold and blustery winter. Since getting my new X-Pro2, I’ve had little opportunity to get outside and take some shots. A little while ago, the weather was (relatively) quite warm, and I took the opportunity to get out and get a quick walk in before it rained. I brought along the new camera, and threw it into the Acros film simulation. I’m not much of a fan of black and white photography, but there has been a lot of good comments on this simulation. Given that this time of year is pretty monochrome, what better time to try it out.

I’m still not convinced that black and white photography is the best, but I had a good time, and the photos here are decent enough. Enough to try again for sure.

Arriving UFO

I gave myself a Christmas present… a Fuji X-Pro2 Graphite edition. It’s an X-Pro2 with a cool look to it. Through some searching and a few other discounts, I got it at a really good deal. I’ve been looking at it for a while and while the weather sealing and wifi were definite draws, the 24 megapixel size was holding me off. It’s just a stupid amount of pixels for what I do with the camera. In the end, the deal/price I came up with was worth it.

So this is one of my first pictures with it. I find I have a tendency to purchase new gear in the winter when it’s too cold, too dark and just not feasible to get out and use the new stuff. Huh. This shot was from my back door in -20 temperatures. The sun was going down and the blue in the sky made for a neat picture. I was shooting other things in silhouette when an airplane was taking off. I grabbed this shot.

Its important to note that this is straight from the camera as shot with an ISO of 3200, not post processing other than a slight crop. The colours and rendering are awesome. Looks like I made a good choice!

Not the Tardis

While visiting my old train watching haunt, I walked up a path and saw an old, abandoned signal box.

Normally, in the summer months I wouldn’t have seen this as it would have been obscured by foliage. But it stood out now. I ventured over to check it out. On approach, it looked kind of like Dr. Who’s Tardis; but of course it wasn’t. It had been well taken over by graffiti and rust. I took a few shots of it to add to my graffiti collection.

Shot with my Fuji X-Pro1.