We had our first real snowfall of 2021, and winter really. Its a testament to climate change that here in Ottawa we can get to mid-January before any significant snow and still not be very cold. When I moved here 30 years ago, it was snowing and on the ground in November and stayed until late March/early April; the temperatures were easily -20 celcius or colder throughout January. Here we are January 18, and its the first really cold day at -6 celcius, and the lowest it’ll go is -8.
I don’t mind as much, as the older I get, the less I like the cold.
So after a snowfall of officially 21cm, the sun came out for a spell. As it went down, I was surprised to see the solar lights come on. It was cloudy most of the day, and a good layer of snow covered the solar panels that charge the batteries. Good panels!
The charge only lasted about a half hour though, but it gave me a chance to snap a few light beams from the lamp projected onto the snow.
I have a bird feeder in the backyard. I like to see the birds come and hang out and get something to eat, especially in the winter. In the summer there are lots of songbirds, blue jays and cardinals. In the winter, the jays and cardinals stick around, and juncos show up too.
This year there are a lot more birds. It started with just a dozen or so, and I would need to fill the feeder every day or two. Now there have to be about 30 or more and the feeder empties daily.
They sit in the tree and take turns at the feeder or congregate on the ground for any fallen seed.
I got out my telephoto lens and got some pictures through the patio window. They don’t stick around if I’m outside. They stay around and wait for me to leave.
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.
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.
A Christmas tradition of sorts is going to visit family in my home town of Dundas, Ontario a week or so before Christmas. This is a way to visit, do the Christmas thing and avoid the typical bad weather (or try to) that hits around the end of December.
If I can, I like to find time to go up the “hill” to where the main line of the CN Dundas sub runs. When I was younger, on Saturdays I would ride my bike up to this location to watch trains in the morning, returning around noon. There used to be a station there, which by then was a whistle stop, but it has a washroom (if one could call it that) and a place to hide out from the weather if needed. That station is long gone, burned down by vandals in the mid 90s.
Access to the area is now by foot only. A bit of a walk, but no big deal. The line up to Copetown is uphill, so the trains are struggling to make the grade, and you can hear them coming. There is also signal lights to help know if there is something coming. On the opposite direction, you can see the headlights long before the train passes.
So I went up. I stayed for about an hour, and nothing came, even though there was a green light. Still, I wandered and took a few photos with my X-Pro1.
I believe I’ve mentioned before about the lack of railroading in Ottawa. Let me iterate; there is very little in Ottawa for a railfan/train person to see beyond VIA trains, which are very typical. In fact, most trains in Ottawa are typical and predictable. So one must make the most of what little there is.
I live near the main track that VIARail uses, and passenger trains just don’t do it for me. I like freight trains. Again, there is very little in Ottawa as I mentioned here. Where I work, I do have a limited vantage of the track going up to Arnprior. There is a weekly local that takes some tank cars up there and that really is the only thing to see. From my cubicle, I can hear the train coming and watch it trundle up the line. Its about a five hour turn to come back, and if its a later train, I can make a stop after work and wait for its return. Of course, the camera comes with me every Wednesday, just in case.
Such was my luck last week. It was a late one going up, meaning I could get to a spot to see its return. Being winter and all, I kept to a spot that I knew I could access easily with all the snow (although, not as easy as I’d imagined). After a short wait, I heard the tell-tale horn and got ready for some shots.
I brought my Fuji X100T. Not the best for variable shots, but I like the camera, and I can learn to make do. As it approached the level crossings, the bells and lights went off. As it came around the corner it blew its horn. As it went under the highway bridge, the echoes made it very loud.
And shortly thereafter it came by. It goes at a fairly slow pace, so there is time to get ready for the picture.
The consist is typically three to four tank cars from (and to) the Nylene plant. Again, very predictable. Even the engine is typically the same. Sometimes there is two locomotives, which I suspect is only because one has had some repairs, and it is sent up the line with the other as a backup should the “fixed” one fail.
And within 30 seconds, the train has passed, and I wait another week to possibly see it again.
Fleeting as it is, I look forward to potentially seeing this train each week. As the warmer temperatures approach, I hope to catch it in a few different locations and scenery.
Happy New Year!
January in Ottawa always brings some crazy weather. Storms, rain, snow, warm and cold. In this first week of 2017, we had a nice bout of freezing rain followed by 10 cms of snow. It made for crappy driving, but the ice on the trees looked magical.
This shot is from my office. I was hoping to catch some sun before it became to warm and everything melted away. As expected, the sun came out, it got above zero and the wind picked up, shaking off the icy designs on the trees.
And believe it or not, this is a colour image.
Taken with my Fuji X100T.
It’s a regular event, possibly a tradition, that I go down to visit my family in Dundas the weekend before Christmas. This year was no different. We took some time to go into town and do some shopping.
Downtown Dundas is a classic small town with a main street full of small shops. Rarely do we not come away having found something interesting or new treasure. Its the way I like it, unlike in Ottawa in the suburbs where there is no central location like this.
I few shots of the town, all decked out for the holidays. All shot with my Fuji X100T.
Last week in Ottawa, we had a record snowfall for one day at just over 50cm, or 20 inches. It made for a commuting nightmare going home from work, and knee-deep snow to clear up from the driveway. However, the next day was bright and clear, showing the results of the previous day’s storm. On the way to work, I took some shots of the snow with my X100T.
For me, the best part about the new year is the days, or at least the daylight, lasts longer. I’m not a fan of it being dark by 5pm. Once the winter solstice hits, then Christmas, its all about getting more daylight! I especially like it when its cloudy for a few days. When then becomes clear, the extra daylight is like a little present.
This was my view tonight on the way home. I sometimes catch a bus that will drop me about 10 minutes walk away. The sun sets by this time, but the resulting deep blue in the sky with the silhouettes looks awesome.
This was shot with the Fuji X100T with the Classic Chrome film simulation. Its straight from the camera. No post processing other than a little crop to take out an unwanted element. The camera is awesome.