Saturday, February 28, 2015

Seahorses At Play Beneath The Sea

This sculpture of seahorses certainly caught my eye among the work of the solo carvers.

Tomorrow is a Theme Day for City Daily Photo bloggers, namely on Aging, so I'll be taking a break from this, but we'll be back to finish Winterlude off with several more sculptures after the theme day. And have a peek at my writer's blog today, where I'm paying tribute to Leonard Nimoy.

Friday, February 27, 2015

How Could Anyone Not Love Winter?

A portion of yesterday's sculpture turns up with this sculpture; I think this was a Canadian carver's work, playing around with the notion of winter outside the window. Yes, I know, for many of you, you've had quite enough of that word. For some peculiar reason I can't understand, not everyone loves the winter. Such people must be daft.

Or maybe I'm the one who's daft.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pay Attention To The Finest Details

This is another one of the solo carvings, something of a more impressionist look to it. I didn't note the nationalities of each solo carver, but whoever did this one had an elaborate concept in mind.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ice Sculpture In Flagrante Delicto

Today I'm moving into the solo ice sculptures at Confederation Park, starting with this work by a Malaysian sculptor. The Sisters Of Little Or No Mercy would be shocked- shocked, I say- by this one. Every single time I saw this one during Winterlude, I saw the same thing: the mermaid having her way with the fish. And from comments of others nearby, I wasn't the only one seeing it that way.

 These two need to get a room.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Looking Forward To The Games

For a look at people using an ice sculpture to pose for pictures, check out this post from last year that featured an example.

Each year at Winterlude, at least one large ice sculpture is erected by a team of carvers, at the request of a government ministry. This year a sculpture was erected for the Pan Am Games, which will be held in a few months in and around Toronto (side note: it is a great relief that a certain crack smoking incompetent drunkard former mayor of that city is no longer the mayor and thus will not be able to make an ass of the entire city on the international stage). This sculpture incorporates athletes and the CN Tower into it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ready For Your Closeup?

Aside from the large and small ice sculptures through Confederation Park set up for Winterlude, there are a number of sculptures set up for photo ops. This is one such example, where a person can stand behind with their face at the gap for photos. This year I didn't catch anyone posing, but I did want to photograph one of these sculptures. The sculpture in the background at the right is one I missed photographing, a statue of Alice In Wonderland, erected on behalf of the National Arts Centre.

A reminder to City Daily Photo bloggers: the theme for March 1st is Aging.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunlight, Ice, And Snow

Finishing up this series of the ice sculptures around the Colonel By fountain (more of Winterlude to come), I have this shot. I like it for the conditions of the light and shadow. It was a cold day, some sunlight, but also snow falling. The light hits the sculpture in just the right way.

Friday, February 20, 2015

You And What Army?

This sculpture leans more towards an abstract look, though its pose reminds me of a defiant stance... or the sculpture is giving someone the finger. Either way, I like it.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pose Of A Mermaid

This sculpture's had some of the influence of the sun give an opaque quality to the ice, but if you enlarge it, the mermaid reveals herself.

On a side note, this is directed at the antagonistic, bitter, know-it all troll and general waste of oxygen who left comments at my other blog yesterday:

I leave the question to you, whoever you really are, "Sara Miller"... just how far do you want to take this? Because I've already decided your fictional counterpart is going to meet a very bad end. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Prima Ballerina

This was one of the other shots that seemed to get a peculiar fringe. Look closely and you can see a ballerina (or is it a figure skater?) in the heart of the ice.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Karate Chop

This sculpture evokes the martial art of karate. You can see from the depleted translucency in this one what exposure to the sunlight does to the ice, whereas the larger sculptures I've been showing you are well preserved, as they are sheltered.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chilled Goat

Winterlude comes to an end today in Ottawa and Gatineau, though not in these pages, as there is more to come. Aside from the larger sculptures set out in the team and solo carver competitions, smaller sculptures are set around the Colonel By fountain here in the park. The first thing carvers do on the first weekend is carve a single block, with an hour's time, into a work of art. I took the shots around the fountain after the second weekend, and so some of these sculptures are from both weekends, as the carvers also add more on so that visitors on that second weekend can see them at work. I'm not quite sure why a dark fringe turned up along the way- a reaction to the cold from the camera? I had one other shot, to be held back for a theme day later in the year, that did this as well, as well as another I'll show you soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I was in Confederation Park yesterday afternoon, and there were carvers present on stage, taking questions about the carving process; you could hear them speak on the loudspeakers through the park. They answered one question that had been going around in these pages. In summer they practice by putting a block of ice in a refrigerated chamber, taking it out when they're ready, and then carving as quickly as possible in the heat. This explains how carvers who live in year round warm climates like the ice carvers from Iraq and Mauritius manage to keep their skills honed.

I have two takes on the same ice carving, and this one comes from a team from Latvia. This has been my favourite ice sculpture this year. It's titled Imagination.

The dragon certainly looks as impressive as you might expect a dragon to appear, but it's the inherent trust of the child, toting a toy horse- a mix of a Pegasus and a unicorn- behind her and reaching out to touch the dragon that really makes the sculpture work so well.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Musician Art

Art and music make their presence felt in this sculpture by a Canadian team.  The painter's brush and palette are mixed with music notes and the instrument (it looks like a double bass to me) into one sculpture.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Birds Of Prey

This work of a predatory bird with wings spread out comes from a pair of carvers from The Philippines. The detail work on the wings is incredible. The sculpture took second place in the competition. The title of the work is Eagle Hand Shadow; I wanted the eagle more than the hands, which can just be glimpsed at the right.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Gone Fishing

I liked this work by a Canadian team, featuring a seal (or otter) in pursuit of fish.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

All Tangled Up

This sculpture is the work of a Canadian pair of carvers, featuring a tangle of figures rising up out of a single base. It was titled Nature Rejoicing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Vantage Point

Two figures feature into this work by a Polish and French team, one the large head at the base, the other the full figure on top. I thought of photographing this from the front, but that would omit the dramatic pattern rising behind it. Choosing to photograph from a side view brings it out.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Russian Folklore

I didn't get a chance this year to photograph any of the carvers at work, but check out this post from last year to see some of them at work and get an idea of the variety of their tools in carving these masterpieces.

This particular work, by two Russian carvers, won first place in the pairs competition among ice carvers at Confederation Park. It certainly feels Russian, particularly the old man at the right.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Smooth As Glass

I stepped as far back as I could to get this shot, and even so I couldn't quite get all of the sculpture in. The tree is flanked by these two walls. The blocks of ice are put through a process in an ice facility before being brought in; I've heard of how it's done once, but it's been awhile. The result is perfectly clear ice. It just can't be done naturally. An American team put this work together.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Wait... No Girls Allowed?

This peculiar carving is by a Canadian pair of carvers, featuring an improvised rocket cart (Wile E. Coyote's go-to logistics supplier and arms dealer ACME apparently had a part in it) with flame at the back. No Girls Allowed is etched into the side, so this must be the Little Rascals world view. Boys, to borrow a phrase from Peter Falk in The Princess Bride: someday you might not mind so much. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Welcome To Winterlude

Winterlude is once again underway here in Ottawa and Gatineau, our annual celebration of winter. It began last weekend, and runs through to next weekend. And so it is time to start showing some of the ice carvings in Confederation Park. This one is done by a pair of carvers from Iraq and the Indian Ocean island republic of Mauritius (I had to look up where that was- I had no idea, but the place is quite out at sea, east of Africa). One would not think of such places as ideal for ice carvers, but as I recall last year there was a carver from the Persian Gulf area.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

An Angel Within A Tombstone

Victoria Daily Photo has been showing cemetery photographs over the last few days. It reminded me of this beautiful tombstone in Woodlawn Cemetery in Guelph.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Windmill In Riverside Park

For those who might have wondered about my absence at certain Facebook groups like City Daily Photo or City Photographers, or why I haven't acknowledged your birthday wishes the other day, let's just say I'm quite annoyed with Facebook right now, and as of last evening, I was still under an unwarranted suspension that was supposed to end last Friday. I'm on a bit of a rant about the matter in my writer's blog today, so the details can be found there.

I have something else from Guelph that some of my long term readers might remember, but newcomers haven't seen before. This windmill is set in Riverside Park along the Speed River, which you can make out at the left. There is a large Dutch population in southern Ontario, many of them having had immigrated after the Second World War. You can see their markers in windmills like this, or Dutch stores to be found in many towns and cities. Guelph has one of those shops downtown. My grandparents shopped there when they lived near this park. My father, now living in the same retirement home as they did, sees this windmill often, and drops by the shop for, among other things, those awful black licorices that for some strange reason seem very popular among Dutch Canadians. 

I'm perfectly content with the spiced Gouda cheese. I've tasted one of those licorices, and one was too many.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Open Waters On The Speed River

This is a forgotten photo from December 2013. The Speed River flows through the city of Guelph in southern Ontario, and here in the vicinity of Riverside Park, the water remains open through the winter. Ducks and a number of Canada geese (they don't all bolt south for the winter, it seems) swim about in the shallow waters, feeding off whatever vegetation happens to be there, and swindling passersby into perhaps sharing something tasty.

Monday, February 2, 2015

I Believe There Is No Such Thing As Too Much Winter

This ice fall can be found in Little Italy, down in the rock cut ravine through which the O-Train runs. It's at the Carling station, a stop I know quite well, seeing as how I'm up in the area most days getting a bite to eat up at Di Rienzo's.

There's a water source behind this wall of ice, runoff water coming through the rock that you can see the rest of the year. Ice builds up over it during the winter.

This being Groundhog Day, hopefully the prognosticating rodent sees his shadow and we have sixteen (yes, sixteen) more weeks of winter. Have a look at my writer's blog today for my annual look at the day.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

City Daily Photo Theme Day: What Would You Miss?

The first of each month is a theme day for City Daily Photo bloggers. For the first of February, the question was posed: what would you miss if you left forever the city you live in? Other interpretations of this theme can be found at this link.

I decided that this view would be what I would miss the most. The Alexandria Bridge crosses the Ottawa River between Ottawa and Gatineau, and it is this view and this bridge that does it for me. The river, the Chateau Laurier, the Rideau Canal, the Bytown Museum, and Parliament Hill are all contained in this one shot. 

Seeing this view is always coming home for me.