Train watching in Ottawa is, to be kind, limited. This city is definitely not blue collar or industrial in any way. As such, there is very little in the way of rail traffic other than passenger trains. For the railfan, it is a wasteland. Basically, the only freight is local 589 that services a couple of industries, and this is on a weekly basis. Oh, and not on a particular schedule, so to see something is pure luck.
So double-bonus for me! My new job has a view to the railway up to Almonte. The once-a-week delivery to the Nylon plant up there. The window behind my cubicle looks that way, and if I’m at my desk, I hear the horn of the train approaching the level crossing. If I see/hear it, I know six hours later (at the end of the work day) it returns, and I can potentially catch it.
Such was last week. I heard the horn, and looked to see two locomotives pulling five tank cars up the line. I looked at the time, and knew when they would be coming back. The time is random, but the day is not, so I had my X-Pro1 with me to hopefully catch the return. Luckily, I did.
I knew where I wanted to be, so I hung out there a bit early to make sure I’d catch it. When it did come, I got some shots. When I came home and looked, I saw that in my excitement to see the train (remember, nothing much happens here) some shots were not very crisp. The one below looked better with a black and white treatment.
The other shot, though not much better, worked in colour.
As a bonus, this Sunday while I was sweeping up the walkway, I heard a train coming. I’m just across the street from the tracks served mostly by Via Rail. The train sounded different and when I looked, it was the local delivering lumber to the nearby lumber yard. I immediately grabbed my camera and made for the tracks. There is a bike/walk path along the tracks on either side. It was a quick job, and I caught it on its return to Walkley yard.
What the photos don’t show is motion. The locomotive is pushing the box car. As I saw it coming down the tracks, I could see the flashing red light of the End of Train device coming towards me.
I’ll leave out the train-geek reasons for this. But suffice to say, for a very barren train location of Ottawa, I had a pretty good week.
The theme of the month on a Facebook group is “down low”, or “pet perspective”. I placed my Fuji X-Pro1 right on the rail, shooting somewhat blindly as I couldn’t look through the viewfinder or the LCD at the back.
Now, I’m a big train fan. I like trains. I don’t believe in hanging out on the railway tracks, or shooting photos around them. Safety first. I believe in the mantra “anytime is train time”. Even though mostly scheduled trains run through here, there are the odd freight train can come by. I will also point out that this photo was made at a level crossing, which is right behind me. So there was little risk of getting hit by a train. The bells and lights would have alerted me. And even this shot was very quickly done and I moved on.
Anytime is Train Time.
Spring is arriving and temperatures are above the freezing mark. It makes for a lot of melting, water and slush. But, it also drives one to be outside in the fresh air again.
Yesterday I went out with my X-Pro1 for a walk. I haven’t used it in a long time, as the X100T has become my go-to carry around camera. But, with all the recent activity about the X-Pro2, I decided to reacquaint myself with this camera. While waiting for a train to come by, I spotted a fence that has been there a while, and took a few shots.
Its still a fine camera. The only thing really desirable to me with the “2” version, is the weather sealing and the newer film simulations. Not worth the upgrade though, as between my X100T and X-T1, I have all I need. Sadly, I waited a bit long to sell it on ebay or online locally. I suspect now that the “2” variant is out, there will be a glut of “1s” on the market. However, it is still fun to use, so its not all that bad to have some choice.
Every once in a while, one needs a project to keep the creative juices going. I’ve been in a wee bit of a slump lately. Partially because I’ve been busy in other avenues to focus on making pictures.
The last post I put up, the reflection of the Laurier bridge over the Rideau Canal, coupled with a “missed shot” (I didn’t have a camera with me and the picture showed up) has me inspired to do a project of reflections. Specifically, but not limited to, water reflections. Each lunch time, I walk down the Rideau Canal and see the reflections of the buildings in the water, or the boats in the water, and think what a neat shot that would be. So hey, why not do a series on reflections!
Take this shot to the left. It is the Department of National Defence headquarters. I’ve seen its reflection a number of times but today as I saw this. I had my Fuji X-Pro1 with me with the 18mm f2. I had to back up a few steps (a few times) to get it all in.
Yesterday was not the best day as a bit of a wind rustled the waters. I would prefer a calm water like the bridge shot. But, there were still some opportunities for some shots.
This one for example, of the trees in the water, and some runners along the pathway. Surely better with a still water. Also with the X-Pro1 and the 18mm f2.
I’ll keep trying. I found some great Lightroom presets from Thomas Fitzgerald. Check them out. They are pretty cool.
At the end of a long day a Disney, we had dinner in Epcot in the UK pavilion area. We were heading back to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks, and came across the sphere that greets you when you arrive, all lit up.
Shot with the Fuji X-Pro1 with the 18mm f2.
We were in Florida a week or so ago to take in a Rush concert. Well, I was. we went to Disney on the Friday, and that evening while exiting the Epcot Centre, a storm was approaching during sunset.
The sky was brilliant. I managed to snap a shot as we headed to the monorail to head to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks.
Shot with the Fuji X-Pro1 and 18mm f2.
As Spring arrives, so does the honour guard at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa. This tradition starts April 9 (the anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge) and continues until November 10. It was initially instilled a number of events from youth with no respect for those who fought for their freedoms. From Wikipedia:
Dr. Michael Pilon, a retired Canadian Forces major, observed and photographed a group of young men urinating on the war memorial on the evening of Canada Day 2006. Two teenagers later issued apologies and undertook community service, while another man, Stephen Fernandes, 23, of Montreal was charged with mischief by the Ottawa Police Service…The incident, along with the common sight of persons skateboarding and riding bicycles on the memorial’s podium, prompted the posting of sentries at the site, though they are only present between 9 am and 5 pm from 9 April to 10 November.
The guards are there continually, except for that day in October, when another loser shot a sentry in the back, then made an attempt to storm Parliament Hill.
It was a short-lived halt. You see, we Canadians are tough and stubborn, and don’t let such idiocy and slow us down.
Now that Spring is here, the guards are back. Each lunch, I walk by the memorial, and when timed right, I hear the bagpipes as the change of the guard occurs. On this occasion, I was front and centre for the change.
This year they have included the huts as well, as you can see in the back. I learned this is to prevent any other loser…er…person from getting up behind the guards.
I have been to the Arlington cemetery as well, where they have an honour guard.
It it a great tribute to those who keep us safe.
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.
One of the things I really don’t like about winter is the dark. Its dark when I get up in the morning, and its dark, or getting there, at 4pm in the afternoon. I really look forward to December 21st. Because that’s the day with the least light, and from there on, it gets brighter. Slowly, but it gets brighter, roughly two minutes more a day. Its really nice when its cloudy for a number of days, and then its sunny and the sunset is that little bit later in the evening.
Today on the way home, the sunset was brilliant and orange. As I got off the bus to head to the train, I saw a sun pillar and had to grab a picture. Its one of those times I’m glad I tote a camera around with me. The reds and oranges were spectacular. I couldn’t quite position myself such that the pillar was right behind the building (looking like a beam coming out of the middle of it).