Its that time of year – freezing cold, snow and ice, and…Winterlude! An annual festival to get people out of their warm houses and into the fresh air and take in the beauty of winter.
Over three weekends in February, events take place outdoors. Skating on the canal, snow slides, snow sculptures, various wintery demonstrations and the highlight, the ice sculpture competition. This is where teams from around the globe (yes even warm locales) come to Ottawa to create works of art in ice.
Being downtown, I was able to go check the ice sculptures at lunch time, and avoid the throngs of weekend crowds. Some highlights are below.
Ice is a difficult thing to photograph. A lot of detail is lost in its translucency, and really, each piece could garner a dozen shots each to show the detail. Night time is the best viewing, as LED lights add an extra dimension to the work.
All photos were taken with the Fuji X-T1 and the 10-24 f4 lens.
Here in Ottawa, one thing in winter that everyone looks forward to it the opening of the Rideau canal for skating. Touted as the world’s longest skating rink (yeah, there are a few others, but not as practical), its eight kilometres (almost 5 miles) of skating on the canal. Its a prelude to Winterlude, the annual winter festival.
Cold temperatures arrived and were sustained, and finally, the canal was open. I endeavoured on Friday to skate the length of it. I did it, pitifully being out of shape and practice, in about 45 minutes. The ice was in fine shape, and kudos to those who make it usable (there is a team that floods and cleans off the snow).
During my efforts, I took a number of breaks. This one I took the time to take out my X-Pro1 and grab a shot of the Pretoria bridge. The lighting on it was fantastic.
This weekend saw a wintry blast of snow, followed by a few hours of freezing rain, followed by a flash freeze as the temperatures dropped to -15 Celsius overnight. Ottawa is in the grip of winter with the promise of an overnight temperature of -30 Celsius on Wednesday.
The snow is great, but the freezing rain followed by a deep freeze means tough going for cars and people as everything turns to ice, and salt not doing a good enough job of melting the ice away.
The upshot is the trees and everything else is coated with ice. On a sunny, but cold, day like today, I braved the -22 windchill to venture out and get a few photos with my X100, which held up well in the cold. I can’t say as much for my fingers and face.
The good news is that with all this cold, the Rideau canal skateway will be on its way to opening soon. Now it just needs to warm up a wee bit, or at least drop the wind so lunchtime skating can begin.