Over last weekend Ottawa was invaded…sort of.
As a part of the Canada 150 celebrations, a street theatre company, La Machine, came to town from France to put on one very large and expansive show. Involved, were two mechanical beasts – a horse dragon (Long Ma) and a spider (Kumo), operated by a team of people controlling legs, heads and other things.
They were in the city roaming about starting Thursday. Where the show started, with Kumo perched on the basilica near the art gallery of Canada. The story goes (the very short version) that Kumo steals a sacred temple from Long Ma, and he’s come to get it back. The ensuing four days has these two machines roaming the downtown core, engaging in battles. The final battle, where Long Ma gets his temple back, occurred Sunday night.
We popped down on Sunday afternoon to see some of the event. It was pretty cool and really well done. We managed to catch up and follow Long Ma to the War Museum, where Kumo was. They had a spat that send Long Ma running away to recuperate (and later that night, finally win).
All in all some fun. Apparently over the duration of the events, there was near 750,000 people who came to see the action.
Photos taken with the Fuji X-T1 and 16-55 f2.8 lens.
Being in the suburbs, there is a lot of wildlife around. There are a couple chipmunks that live nearby and like to gather up the bird seed that falls from the feeder. Sadly, they also like my tomatoes, so its an ongoing battle to keep them out.
Now that it’s summer, I like to keep my X-T1 and new 50-140 lens close by for any bird pictures or other fauna that comes by. So I was pleased to see the little chipmunk finding a place to clean his face. I was able to snap this picture. It looks like he is saying “I can’t see you, so you can’t see me”.
So, I’m sitting outside with the Fuji X-T1 with the 50-140 by my side. I had stood up with the camera, and in comes a pair of Blue Jays to eat at the bird feeder. These have been elusive birds for me. They don’t like to stick around when humans are near and in any type of motion.
As I was standing with camera in hand, they didn’t notice me, and I didn’t need to move, so I had a great view to shoot some pictures. The lens was fantastic and I got some great pictures. The problem is, which to put online to show? Here are a few.
A few days ago was a terrific evening sky. No storm, just puffy clouds and a wonderful sunset. Being in the suburbs, seeing the sun to the horizon wasn’t going to happen, but the sky was still great.
A few planes flew over and I had my new 50-140mm f2.8 lens on the Fuji X-T1 at the ready to catch this silhouette of a jet taking travellers to some adventure.
We picked up this really neat flower on sale. One of those end-of-season things. It is a slow bloomer but the flowers that come are awesome. The other day I took to it with my X-T1 and 60mm macro lens. Here are a couple shots. Without context, it looks like something from another planet. Or a Dr. Seuss book.
Trying to keep the photography going. Again, an evening outside after work, a fly landed on the chair next to me and was eating away at something. Probably Chipmunk poop or something. Enough that it didn’t care I was there. I had the Fuji X-T1 and the 60mm lens for the birds. As a bonus, its a macro lens. So I was able to get really close.
This is a fairly extreme crop, but still, cool how close I managed it.
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.
These days, it seems photography is a distant memory. My new job is in a location that is devoid of anything to shoot , although I really should take a page out of Thomas Hawk’s way of photographing everything. Still, with a new job and all the learning and work to do, inspiration falls to the side. Recently, after work, I’ve taken to sitting in the backyard with a drink and my X-T1 with the longest lens I have (60mm) to catch anything interesting. And while Mr. Hawk desires to publish a million photos before he dies and as such (and I think his camera is sewn to his hand) I’m little more discerning. The image has to be “worthy”.
So it was the other day when sitting outside that a Chickadee flew in close to check things out. Thus is the resulting shot with the setting sun. There have been a number of little creatures showing up, including a humming bird, which I’m hoping to catch next.
Living in the suburbs presents an interesting dichotomy. While it is a bunch of humans in big boxes, there is still the ever-present wildlife, who have adapted to having people around.
Our backyard on some days, is like something out of a Disney movie: various birds and animals coming and going. From the birds at the feeder (Chickadees, Finches, Cardinals, Grackles and now Red-winged Black Birds) to other wildlife in red and black squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits.
Tonight there was a couple of visitors, one being a new little bunny. We have a couple of domestic bunnies, and to see the wild ones are fun to see and forever welcome in the backyard. I grabbed my Fuji X-T1 and affixed the 60mm (my longest lens) to get some shots. And the chipmunk also made an appearance. Both these shots have an extreme crop to “zoom in”. The 60 is my longest lens, and I’m thinking its time to invest in something longer to get some better shots.
Here in Ottawa, and in most of Ontario, it’s been pretty dry – near drought conditions. In the last couple months, there has been half as much rain as any given one month.
So today, the sky has opened up, and over the full weekend, it’s promising to be wet and grey. Sucks for those on camping trips and vacation, but it is needed.
As I was finishing up breakfast and getting dressed, it grew darker and darker. The thunder clapped and the rain came down in torrents. I love a good thunder storm, and this one didn’t disappoint. I grabbed my Fuji X-T1 and fitted with the 16-55 I went out to get some shots. Both are weather-sealed, so I wasn’t concerned about the water problems. I was a bit damp, but got some photos. All taken with a longer exposure to get the water motion.