Rainy, Fall Day in the Country

My daughter has taken up horseback riding which requires us to be at the stable by 10:15 Saturday morning every weekend. Normally, running kids to lessons – especially ones a drive away – is an onerous task almost every parent endures. This lesson, however, has turned into delightful activity for both of us. She rides. I photograph.

I’ve become quickly recognized around the farm for photographing just about everything. It is fascinating for me to find beauty in every day things and that’s normally what I search for. This past weekend, however, nature just handed me a cornucopia of colour and beauty that I could not resist. The rain brought out already brilliant colours and the grey skies served as a soft and mottled background.

I stopped multiple times along the highway to capture various shots of fields and forest. I also, to my great joy, found a path – a section of the Russell-Prescott Recreation Trail – only minutes from the horse farm. And what a stunning canopy and carpet of coloured leaves it displayed! Please enjoy the photos below!

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A Little Fresh Air

I’m normally not a cranky person. Sure, I can have my moments but getting up in the morning doesn’t usually make me lose my bubbly. This morning, however, I got a little whiny. I was up all night with a sick child and the morning seemed tougher than usual. I went to work looking like a Picasso and planned on bailing early to go home for a nap.

Lunch time came around I was still feeling like my right eye was the size of my ear and my nose was a little left of centre when I heard someone say, “It’s beautiful out!”. I decided right then and there that I needed some fresh air.

There’s a neighbourhood behind the business park where I work where I love to walk. There aren’t super fancy houses but pleasant ones with large lots and mature trees. After the big snowfall we’d had the day before, everything was covered in a clean, crisp white blanket. As soon as I stepped onto a snow-filled side street, my heart felt lighter and my facial features seemed to dance back into place.

I heard a Pileated Woodpecker in some tall trees and walked over to see if I could find it. I didn’t see him but that’s when I notice how lovely these bent branches looked trimmed in snow.

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After about a 40 minute walk, I made my way back to the office and felt much happier and more energized for the rest of the afternoon. Nothing like a little fresh air to set things straight.

I See Spring

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Ottawa today. After work I sat on the back deck, sipped a beer, and soaked up the sun. It was so wonderful after such a horrible winter. Sadly, the weekend will be a bit nippy but I got some photos today that will remind me that, despite the set back over the next day or so, spring and warmer weather are definitely on their way.

Signs of life in the garden.

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Until next time…enjoy the little things. They’re often a sign of bigger and better things. 🙂

Sublime Photography

I appreciate the art of digital photography very much. I also enjoy taking pictures for which I think I have a good eye but I don’t have the greatest equipment. I do what I can with what I have but I really admire those who can create gorgeous imagery. There are a lot of photos online these days and it takes a while to sort through them all to find the sites of those who have risen above the sea of mediocrity. I follow a handful of amazing photographers on their blogs or Facebook and I thought I would mention them here in a post so that you, too, can enjoy their work.

Leanne Cole from Australia who creates the most stunning black and white images.

Waves Crashing on Rocks - Leanne Cole Photography
Waves Crashing on Rocks – Leanne Cole Photography

Willie Ford (Balrath Photography) in Ireland whose HDR photos are both dynamic and serene at the same time.

Foggy Morning at the Boathouse - Willie Forde
Foggy Morning at the Boathouse – Willie Forde

Sven Fennema from Germany whose architectural shots (both interior and exterior) are exquisite.

Monumental - Sven Fennema
Monumental – Sven Fennema

Olga Viarenich whose images can only be described as exquisitely luminous.

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Olga Viarenich

Aren’t they amazing?

Until next time… Seek out the gems.

Pictures from a Year Ago

We Canadians here in Ottawa were celebrating joyfully these past few days as the temperatures rose above 0C (32F) for the first time in a long time. It has been years (20, to be precise) since we’ve had such cold temperatures and for such a length of time. In Ottawa, February was the coldest ever recorded! As Brackenreid (from one of my favourite shows, Murdoch Mysteries) would scoff “BLOODY HELL!”.

Occasionally, I’ll look back at my photos from the same day a year ago (or more) just to see what I was up to or compare weather, etc. Interestingly, I discovered my photos from March 8, 2014 revealed a scene not unlike that of yesterday. I remember taking those photos and how thrilled I was to see the results of the thawing snow forming large puddles on the walking path. I took a similar delight this year…and probably have every year of my life!

It will likely be a bit of a temperature roller-coaster until May, going above 0 and then dipping below again but I won’t be surprised to see most of my compatriots running around in T-shirts by the time it hits PLUS 10C (50F). We’re a hardy and slightly “off the rocker” bunch…and we LIKE it that way!

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Until next time…be sure to dress appropriately for the weather! 😉

Oot and Aboot in Ottawa

Although it’s been fairly cold here in the capital, winter’s so bloody long that you might as well pull on your mukluks and throw on your parka and get outside anyway. Otherwise you’re facing some pretty severe cabin fever…RUDRUM anyone? I mean, what’s a little frostbite amongst friends? It’s a little war wound you brag about and compare severity. I’d rather that than starting to talk to the wall…especially since the wall doesn’t answer. I know. Don’t ask…just know that I know.

Anyhoo…

skatingOn Tuesday it was beautifully sunny so I grabbed my skates and headed off to the Rideau Canal Skateway. Now, if you’re not familiar with this world renowned skating rink, it is the largest in the world and a UNESCO heritage site. It is 7.8km long and a beautiful place for some winter outdoor exercise and enjoyment. The skateway is actually part of the man-made Rideau Canal Waterway which extends 202 km from Ottawa to Kingston. You can boat the entire length through a system of locks in the summer.

I don’t skate as often as I would like. It’s some effort to drive in from the burbs and get down to the canal, but when I do, it’s always a pleasure…once my shins have warmed up. Oh! The pain when I started! I decided to skate against the wind first and went toward downtown from Dow’s Lake for about 2.5 km. By the time I turned around, my nose was frozen but I was sweating under my coat. Luckily my shins had loosened up and the return skate, with the wind at my back, was wonderful! It also wasn’t busy so I had lots of room to toddle along.

I stopped to take a photo of the Bank Street Bridge. I love this bridge and the beautiful church you can see to the left of it. Whenever I drive along the canal I always want to stop to take a picture but there’s no way to pull off to the side where I would need to. I took advantage of being on the ice to capture it and also the beautiful, clear day.

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Today a friend invited me to go for a walk at Hog’s Back. I grabbed my bag of peanuts for feeding the birds and headed off. Now, if you’ve read this blog off and on over the years, you will have seen several of my posts on feeding the chickadees. It’s always a treat to have the wee things land on your hand and then flutter off with their food. Today, I couldn’t have my hand exposed for too long but I did manage to feed a few. The real treat today was spotting a Pileated Woodpecker. We heard him hammering away before we actually saw him. He was just magnificent. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my good camera with me and had to use my cell phone to try to capture him. The phone camera isn’t so good at long distant zooms but you can clearly see his red crest and black body in amongst the branches.

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My friend and I walked for a good hour and a half through the snow-covered pathways. She enjoys being oot and aboot as much as I do and it was a perfect morning for it. Now it has started to snow and I’m happy to be comfy inside. I guess you need a little of both to truly enjoy the winter.

Until next time…look for balance and enjoy being oot and aboot! 🙂 (and, by the way, Canadians don’t really say “oot and aboot”…I’ve never heard anyone, anyway…but we enjoy laughing aboot it)

Black and White Challenge

Back in early December I was invited to join in on a 5 day Black and White photography challenge on Facebook. The challenge involved posting one black and white photo every day for 5 days and each day inviting a new friend to join the challenge. It was great fun and very inspiring to see what my friends would come up with each day. I had planned to post the photos I used for the challenge here sooner, but today seems to be the day. So here they are!

Day 1 - My cat, Merkley
Day 1 – My cat, Merkley
Day 2 - Mists on Lac D'argile
Day 2 – Mists on Lac D’argile
Day 3 - Sun and leaf
Day 3 – Sun and leaf
Day 4 - Snow and Lamp
Day 4 – Snow and Lamp
Day 5 - Window Seat
Day 5 – Window Seat

Which one do you like best?

Until next time, hope you’re having some fun.