Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cannons, Bells, And Chutes

I'm a bit photo heavy over the next three days, but it was well worth it.

Every year on Parliament Hill, for one weekend usually in the latter half of July, there is an event called Fortissimo. This is a Beat Retreat ceremony, something that goes back to the days of walled cities when the gates would be shut at the end of the day. Today the practice survives as a military ritual, a coming together of massed military bands in performance. Each year the Ceremonial Guard are joined by other Canadian military groups and even a foreign unit or two (this year it was a German unit, hence the presence of a German flag on the premises) for a ceremony that takes a couple of hours, involves cannons and the Peace Tower carillon, and the lowering of a flag by sunset. Here the field artillery were being set up on the east side of the Hill, with the Chateau Laurier as a backdrop.


There was also a truck parked outside the Peace Tower bearing a mobile set of carillon bells, which were playing various tunes during the time leading up to the beginning of the evening. This truck pulled out at that point, and later in the evening, the carillons of the Tower itself were incorporated into the occasion.


This event has been going on for years, and is quite popular with the locals. I took up a position at the west side of the lawn.


There was something new this year. In the half hour before the arrival of the bands, members of the Canadian Forces did a skydiving demonstration. These are active members from each branch- army, navy, air force, and special forces- who do this routinely for their regular work, as well as a number of demonstrations for the public through the year. They are called the Skyhawks, and their plane did a number of pass overs, dropping jumpers, many of whom were bearing smoke signals, and all of whom had parachutes in the Canadian flag patterns. All of them made flawless landings on the west lawn. 


I have absolutely no idea why the ground seemed to curve in this one particular shot, but I liked the effect.

35 comments:

  1. I also like the effect of the curved ground, William.

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  2. I wonder if those bells were made in London at the Whitechapel Bell foundry

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  3. That looks like quite an event. Loved your shots - the last one of the skydiver suspended on the top of the tower was particularly effective! Joking aside, I could not have got such clear shots. And the curved ground is curious - do you have a flexible camera lens?!

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  4. Looks like a great event t attend, lots of people and photo opps. Yes, I too like that curved ground. I wonder why it happened. Enjoy your day William!

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  5. That is quite an event to watch, exciting view of the Skyhawks.

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  6. What an impressive event. I'm struck by the advertisement for "chime master".

    Janis
    GDP

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  7. I imagine that field looks mighty small when seen by a paraglider from a plane. :-)

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  8. @Linda: it reminds me of a fish eye lens.

    @Mo: whoever did them, they're well made.

    @Mike: I don't, actually, so I remain baffled.

    @Bill: I took over two hundred shots that evening, and that's the only one that did that.

    @Marianne: they made for quite a show.

    @Janis: yes, I gave them some free advertising. They came a long way.

    @Revrunner: oh yes!

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  9. the skyjumpers are neat. so are the bells.

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  10. Love the skyjumpers. They are easy to recognize as Canadian!

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  11. Looks like a spectacular event. Can't imagine why anyone would jump out of a plane wearing some silly little silk harness, though!

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  12. Impressive series with those Skyhawks, William !

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  13. Great variety of pictures. All interesting. Love the clouds.

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  14. Looks like quite a crowd gathered for these events. The aerial displays would have caught my attention, although I agree with an early comment on WHY? would anyone jump out of a perfectly good aircraft.

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  15. @Tex: it's quite a way to make an entrance.

    @Halcyon: that flag is recognizable anywhere.

    @Lowell: I'd love to have a go at skydiving.

    @Karl: thanks!

    @Carolann: thank you.

    @Beatrice: I would enjoy doing it. These men (and some women) do this sort of thing regularly, not just for show, so they're quite expert at it.

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  16. Lots to enjoy here. I have never seen a set of mobile bells like that. Quite interesting.

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  17. I always enjoy hearing a carillon playing.

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  18. Great shots of the event. I would love to hear the carillon bells playing.

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  19. Even the grounds were excited! I like that shot too, William. Great post

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  20. Now that must have been fun to see. Always enjoy your photos William, thank you :)

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  21. Wonderful pics of the event, William!

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  22. Looks like a wonderful celebration. The sound of carillon bells always has magic appeal for me.

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  23. wow wee, what a full post today, William. love the bells. love the architecture, and the planes leaving spaces and all. very very cool! been camping and just got back and playing major catch up. i will comment soon on the others. you have a great week! ( :

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  24. @Sharon: it was a first for me, seeing bells like that. I wonder how they keep them still when the truck moves.

    @Marleen: you'll hear the Peace Tower ones playing in a video clip I have for the last of this series.

    @Nancy: very soon! I recorded two elements of music.

    @Cloudia: thank you!

    @Denise: it was fun. I love this event- it's such a pleasant way to spend an evening. Though this time for a few minutes I had to step out of the crowd and take a walk... had a strange reaction that felt like I was closed in.

    @RedPat: and more to come.

    @Gemma: me as well. It's a lovely sound. I should record the carillon bells when they're being played on their own.

    @Beth: thank you!

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  25. Lots of pomp, ceremony and history. My son was in the reserves for 7 years and I got to see some of the ceremonies he was in.

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  26. Nice shots of what seems to be a wonderful demonstration at the start of that well visited event.

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  27. I would have liked to have heard the bells. That curved shot of the green is weird when you look at the other photos.

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  28. The sky divers are something you don't see every day. What a nice addition to the ceremony. And the carillon bells...always a treat. I didn't know they had mobile units of bells.

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  29. That is really fun! I have to be photo-heavy, so hubby can see photos of our trips!
    I remember having dinner with my daughter downtown one year, we saw prat of Fortissimo. I had forgotten! Thanks for the reminder.

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  30. @Red: it's a wonderful ceremony to watch.

    @Jan: it was quite a sight.

    @Mari: you'll hear the bells in my post for tomorrow.

    @Kay: I didn't either, and wondered at first if they were a fill-in for the Tower, but that wasn't the case.

    @Jennifer: they had it two out of the three nights. One night got rained out.

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  31. What a great event to see! I'd not heard of it before. Great photos.

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  32. I think maybe the walls and gates could back any time now to keep out rift raft.
    Nice event. I did like that bowed ground in the one shot. Perhaps to catch the people in shoots?
    I've seen these events, and seen the planes fly overhead where I live. I once saw the stealth bomber, one year when it came to town--and yes. You do not hear it. I just happened to be driving along, looked up and there the thing was. WOW. So, these guys who fly we owe much to, where ever we live.

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  33. Wow, the smoke trails are cool!

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  34. This reminds me of a Scottish tattoo. The parachuting is always the exciting part.

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