Sunday, November 30, 2014

Razem Frazem! (Farewell To Old Film)

I could have also titled this post Doctor Strangefilm: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Red Glow. 

I still had a disposable camera lying about with shots I took from the Civic Holiday weekend in August, and had it developed this week. I hadn't had a camera on hand on Canada Day, so I ended up buying a double pack of one time use cameras. Some of the shots came out nicely, and I'll go through them in the next few days (some nice warm weather shots for those of you in the cold). Others? Well, let's just say they looked really weird....

I wasn't sure about posting this one. Though realistically, the problems with the image are merely at the sides. Namely that black edge on the left and the hint of a red glow on the right. The rest of the shot is fine. These two soldiers were standing guard at the War Memorial that weekend. The Memorial has had some additions on it since then, unveiled on Remembrance Day: below the dates of the First World War is a new inscription in metal, in both English and French: in service of Canada. Dates for the Afghan War and the South African War have also been added elsewhere on the Memorial's stone.

Sufficed to say, lesson learned: always have a proper camera close at hand.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Paper, Politics, Money, And The River

Since I've been spending the last two days speaking about Yousuf Karsh, his brother Malak Karsh was mentioned. Malak became a landscape photographer, travelling across Canada and in other places, photographing the land and the people in astonishing detail in both black and white as well as in colour. Like his brother, he worked late into life, and his skill with the camera was just as good. Wisely in choosing landscape photography, he forged his own path, professionally going by his first name. Between the two of them, they were the best photographers the country has produced.

Malak took this photograph, entitled Paper & Politics, in 1963, on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, looking out at Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier. The tugboats were involved in dealing with the breakup of a log boom upstream. This was back in the day when fleets of timber were still floated down the river.

Paper & Politics, by Malak, 1963
The two brothers had their work together on the Canadian one dollar bill for many years until it was replaced by the dollar coin in the Eighties. Many Canadians will remember it. One of Yousuf's portraits of the Queen was on the one side. Malak's image above was adapted and engraved onto the other, as you see below.

This is the view today from the same spot; I took it this past May during the Tulip Festival. A bed of tulips has been planted here where Malak took that shot of the Hill and has been named in his honour. It is a fitting tribute to a man who was instrumental in the creation of the festival, and part of the lifeblood of the city and the country.

A reminder to City Daily Photo bloggers: the theme for December 1st is Workers.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Great Man And That Smile

Yesterday's post had me look up a few things about that particular photo shoot on Parliament Hill. Yousuf Karsh remarked years later that after taking Churchill's cigar and walking back to his camera, "he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me." 

Still, the Prime Minister let him take another shot, and this one had him smiling. Churchill then told the young photographer, "You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed." 

Winston Churchill by Yousuf Karsh, 1941

Other Karsh portraits were mentioned yesterday. Three others struck my interest, and I add them on here. He was the best of the best.

Elizabeth II by Yousuf Karsh, 1951

Martin Luther King Jr. by Yousuf Karsh, 1962

John F. Kennedy by Yousuf Karsh, 1960

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Great Man And His Scowl

"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter." ~ Winston Churchill

I have shown this portrait of the great man before, but it's welcome to revisit such places and photograph again. Yousuf Karsh, whose photo studios were here in the Chateau Laurier for many years, has several portraits hanging in the lounge, including his iconic portrait of Winston Churchill. It was taken on Parliament Hill in late December 1941 during a stay in Ottawa after Churchill gave a speech in our House of Commons. The story goes that Karsh took the Prime Minister's cigar away to get the shot he wanted. Churchill didn't much care for that, hence the scowl, and yet it's the defining portrait of the man, showing his absolute determination.

A few days back the Ottawa Citizen mentioned Churchill in another way. It seems that his ghost has been seen in Laurier House, the home of Prime Ministers Laurier and Mackenzie King, where he stayed as a guest. Perhaps he's still looking for that cigar?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hound Of The Baskervilles

This post from Wolverhampton Daily Photo in the West Midlands, United Kingdom, reminded me of my father. He spent most of his working life as a letter carrier, up to retirement. It was good exercise, and he liked the work. Dad is not the sort of person who lies (he never even learned the social value of a white lie), but he is prone to exaggeration. So growing up we were used to hearing stories of near miss encounters with vicious, bloodthirsty dogs; I would ask in reply if they were ten feet long, six feet high, breathing fire, barking so loud they could be heard kilometres away. He would say "I nearly lost my leg today to a killer beast", and one of us would ask if the dog had smashed through the brick wall of the house just to get to him. I don't think he's ever read Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound Of The Baskervilles, but the way he described such dogs he would encounter on his route would remind one of the canine adversary confronting Sherlock Holmes.

For a nice counterbalance to Dad's stories of canine horror most foul, I prefer my cousin's dog Buddy. We wouldn't see him tearing around an English moor terrorizing a Baskerville to death, would we?

Though it's always the nice, sweet, cute ones you have to watch. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Whale Of A Tale

I took these shots around this time of year last year, and found a spare pair of unpublished shots among my archives. A life sized set of narwhals and beluga whale sculptures hang here in the World Exchange Plaza downtown.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Bridge

My post from the other day on the sunset over the Rideau Canal got me thinking. I've taken many shots either from on this bridge, or of the bridge and its surroundings. The Bank Street Bridge crosses the Canal, emerging from the Glebe on the north side and going into Old Ottawa South on the south side. This evening shot of the bridge is from my archives. Water in the Canal has been lowered for the season.

Many of you know Stefan from Photos from Haninge. Stefan regularly features images of a specific tree in his area, this being his most recent post. Given that I've already got quite a wealth of pics of or from this bridge, I've decided to make this location a recurring theme. The bridge offers up plenty of photo ops in any season.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


After yesterday's post, I looked for the other sculpture David Fels carved out of the Brighton Oak among my shots. This is an unpublished look at the carving; the name of the sculpture is Inclusivity. It stood for several months in the Ottawa Convention Centre in the leadup to a summit on accessibility for the disabled that was held here earlier in the year. It was to be set in a permanent location at Carleton University, where he carved this work and yesterday's sculpture; I somehow suspect that if it's already on campus, it's in one of the buildings I never go into. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014


It's been awhile since I've shown you this sculpture at Carleton University. Sailing Through Time is carved from oak by David Fels, and occupies a rather nice spot on campus. This is another angle on the work.

Fans of Shakespeare might want to check my writer's blog today- there's a film review over there for one of the Bard's comedies.

Friday, November 21, 2014


The Rideau Canal at twilight makes for good photo opportunities. I've taken photographs here on the Bank Street Bridge on numerous occasions.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


After five days of monochrome, I thought I'd go back to a splash of colours with another look at Morning Star, the Alex Janvier mural at the newly renamed Museum of History over in Gatineau. This is a work of art I'll never get tired of, whether it's seen from down on the ground level (where there are very comfortable chairs for those peering up), or ascending to the top of the Grand Hall and viewing it up close.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Wrapping up my series of colour drained shots today, I come back to where I started, at Nepean Point, downhill from the Champlain statue. Parliament Hill looms over the frozen Ottawa River in this photo from last December. This is another shot I'm considering for a winter header image.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Winter is great for a black and white mood in a photograph, particularly on those snowy days when blue skies are elusive. This photograph from March was during a snowstorm.  I was a minute's walk from my front door, in Brewer Park in Old Ottawa South. I am thinking of using this shot for a winter header in a couple of weeks or so.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Today I have two nighttime shots in a sepia mood of the Chateau Laurier, both taken in the fall a year ago. The hotel is magnificent in day and night, even in the rain, as was the case with the first shot.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lord Elgin

Carrying on, we have here a mostly monochrome shot in Confederation Park. The National Aboriginal Veterans Monument stands across from the Lord Elgin Hotel in the early evening.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Explorer

Many of you will know Gerald through Hyde Daily Photo or Stockport Daily Photo. Yesterday he tagged me for a Facebook meme, the Black And White Challenge. I thought about it, and decided I'd have a go at it for five days here in my blog. I haven't deliberately shot in black and white, but lighting conditions or weather from time to time have created black and white, sepia toned, or colour drained shots. I decided to go back through my published photos and pick out five subjects that meet the bill. There might be a dash of colour in the shot here or there, but a monochrome image dominates.

Starting off the series is this statue of the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, standing high over the Ottawa River at Nepean Point, with a great view of both Ottawa and Gatineau. This was taken on a rainy afternoon in September 2013. The scaffolding was a temporary measure for the Nuit Blanche festival, as Champlain's statue was the subject of a light show throughout the night. You can find the link for that post here. The statue normally stands unencumbered by such a scaffolding, so this was the only chance I might ever get to be at that level with Champlain. Usually I'm looking up at the great man.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Walk With A Bear

This is a favourite photo that's been passed around my extended family. I have no idea how old it is, but it's been a few years at least. My uncle Thys is out on a walk with the dog, a friendly hound by the name of Bear, on a morning with the fog lifting. This is in Wellington County, Ontario, where he and my aunt lived with one of their daughters for several years. He's quite a character, one of two surviving uncles who, along with my dad, married into my mother's side of the family (my grandparents had four daughters in all). 

I expect this photograph is taken by my aunt Winnie, who has appeared in this blog before (she's in the van pulling out of the church lot in the first pic). She is rarely without a camera, and will turn a four hour drive into a six hour drive by stopping to take pictures (this is an ideal thing- she is, as they say, good people). I like the shadows of the farm fence falling across the grass and gravel.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Her Royal Majesty

This is one of the residents in my sister-in-law's place in Guelph. She and my nephews call her Isis, a fitting name considering the Egyptians worshiped cats. She no doubt thinks of herself as Isis The Majestrix, Tormentor Of Mice, Keeper Of The Royal Catnip, And Slayer Of The Ball Of Yarn.

It's probably a good idea to let her nap. Supreme lifeforms like cats need their customary eighteen hours of sleep a day, you know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An Embassy Home

This is another view of the embassy of Armenia. I showed you the inside during Doors Open, and you can find the post here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Poppies For A Soldier

Today in many countries across the world we stop to remember veterans and those who gave their lives in service to their country. The tradition, whether it is Remembrance Day, Veteran's Day, or Armistice Day, dates back to the end of the First World War, which came to a conclusion on this date in 1918, but has also come to include wars since then, particularly the Second World War.

The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier is at the base of the War Memorial. The Canadian soldier interred here fought and died at the battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War. This shot from 2013 shows the tradition that has taken shape since this tomb was added to the Memorial: the placing of poppies on the grave. This year Princess Anne is present and will be taking part in the ceremony.

This year is particularly poignant for Canadians after the events in October. The deaths of two soldiers, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Quebec and Corporal Nathan Cirillo right here at the War Memorial, at the hands of two separate madmen within days of each other, are still with us. I was here several times while people were placing flowers and other items of condolences around the Memorial. On the Saturday after the shooting, out of the midst of the crowd came a wedding party. The bride and groom placed a wreath among the collection of flowers. On the most important day of their lives, they had the thoughtfulness to pay tribute in this place. I found that very moving.

I leave you with two selections of music for the occasion, After The War by Sarah Slean and The Warrior's Lament by Sierra Noble.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sentries At Their Post

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day, and I thought I would show one of my favourite photographs of the War Memorial, taken at night, the spotlights illuminating the statues of servicemen coming through the arch. The Memorial was unveiled by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to honour veterans of the First World War,  mere months before the start of the Second World War. It is now is a tribute for those lost in all wars Canadians have fought, and for those left behind.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

It Is Just A Matter Of Time

"There are two seasons in Scotland. June and winter." ~ Billy Connolly

"Ah, the intractable Canadian problem. Winter and finery are basically incompatible." ~ Russell Smith

"Getting an inch of snow is like winning ten cents in the lottery." ~ Bill Watterson

"Could we possibly arrange for this to be the snowiest winter in the last fifty years? I'd be ever so happy." ~ William Kendall, Canadian rascal

Regarding yesterday's post, the church can be glimpsed in the first shot at this post. Click on the image, look at where the river disappears around the bend at the left, and directly above it you should see the golden dome of the shrine. It also gives you a sense of the parallel paths between the river and the canal.

This cold and snow covered marsh in the above photograph is in Guelph in southern Ontario, taken last December. I post this because on Friday we had snow falling for the first time in the day; we might have had some snow in the night here a few days before that. Anyway, I'm always happy to see the first flakes on my coat at this time of year, and I anticipate a long, cold winter with lots of the white stuff.

If I happen to meet a bad end.... well, let's just say at this point the suspect list will be getting pretty long, but it'll include a few people who for some strange reason don't like winter.

Snow, snow, snow, snow!!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Dome Along The Canal

Down from Mooney's Bay, this stretch of the Rideau Canal passes through this area on its way to the university and beyond. The dome above the early fall trees is the top of  the St. John The Baptist Ukranian Catholic Shrine. I really should photograph that church sometime.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Taking In A View Of The Bay

This view is at Mooney's Bay, a large expanse of the Rideau River upstream from Carleton University. It is here that the river splits off into its final run to the Ottawa River as well as the last stretch of the Rideau Canal, as the river's natural course through the city is not particularly agreeable to pleasure boats.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Are You Having Any Luck Fishing?

Yesterday at her page Jennifer posted a video blog of a great blue heron. I got the idea to add a meme to a shot I took of one at Dow's Lake, about to go fishing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

And So Right Is Left And Up Is Down

There are a pair of replica 18th century cannons down at Dow's Lake, down by the office headquarters for the H.M.C.S. Carleton, which is in the process of being completely rebuilt. The royal seal of George III is on both of them. Do you prefer it right side up?

Or on its side?

This shot from last year before the construction really got going gives you a sense of the surroundings; the cannons flank a Navy monument here at the lake.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pretty Good Looking For A Centenarian

Yesterday Judy at Prescott Daily Photo showed this classic car. It reminded me of this 1914 Ford. I saw it downtown in the spring, and took several shots, showing one of them back in May. This is another take from the series. I have seen the Ford a couple of other times since then. The owner, who you can see beside it, must have a shop or business down here. 

The building in the background, incidentally, is Mercury Court. I should have gone inside for Doors Open; the place apparently has a few visual treats inside,  including the Swedish embassy. The building is topped by a sculpture of the Roman god Mercury (Hermes to those of us who prefer the Greek version). 

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Liberator: Simon Bolivar In Silhouette

Last year I showed a statue of Simon Bolivar that stands downtown. You can find that post here. This is a profile shot of the South American leader's statue. His presence in Ottawa still perplexes me, but at least he's dressed for the weather.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Warship And A World War Simulator

Today I have two archive shots from the War Museum. I'll no doubt be back up there for Remembrance Day in a few days. This is a model of a Canadian warship that was involved in the Normandy invasion.

In the Cold War section of the museum, a mockup of a military command center is set up, running simulations on what might have happened had World War Three broken out between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. There's more than one simulation, because I've sat through on a couple of occasions and watched it play itself out with different results. News headlines scroll on the screen, a casualty rate gets displayed, and military engagements and other events get highlighted as the simulation goes along.

When the casualty rates keep going higher and higher, you breathe a sigh of relief that the Cold War never got out of control. Twenty five years after that momentous fall of 1989.... a war room simulation like this still gives you chills.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

City Daily Photo Theme Day: Landmarks

The first day of each month is a theme day for members of City Daily Photo, and for November, the theme is Landmarks. You can find other interpretations of the theme at this link.

Parliament Hill, of course, is what many of us think as the pivotal landmark in a national capital region filled with landmarks. These first two spare shots are from a previous visit. I have not been up on the Hill since the events that took place here last week. This first view takes in Confederation Hall in the Centre Block from the gallery above.

And the second is from the observation deck in the Peace Tower, looking out on the Ottawa River and Gatineau on the Quebec shore. The Library of Parliament always stands out so well, and dominates this shot.

I'm adding on a favourite shot of Centre Block taken this summer through the main gate, which is used on ceremonial occasions.