The Elphin is an iconic 1960s apartment building in Ottawa. The building had all the amenities of the day, including a darkroom for camera enthusiasts. The Elphin with its namesake elf and look retains a charm lost by the modern glass towers nearby.
I used to walk past this yard quite frequently. Although not exactly in my neighbourhood, certainly close enough in normal times. I like the wall art on the old brick wall that borders the garden. A bit of the old and new. I hope to return sometime this summer.
It’s fun to wander down some of the laneways in town. They often run several city blocks. I sometimes catch a glimpse of a garden, back stoop or garage and there’s always plenty of sun and greenery. The dogs in the backyards are friendly too, they rarely bark as I pass by.
This building once housed a tavern built in 1909, it’s now a fine restaurant. Over a side door, it has retained a sign from a time when women required an escort to enter a bar. Another find on a walk through the city.
A toy shop in Montreal. Walking along a street with not a chain store in sight, I stopped to admire the window and smiled as I took the photograph.
As I was leaving a store, this sight greeted me across the street. This lot was pretty relaxed but I still was impressed at the way the dog walker handled all the dogs at once.
I grew up with a West Highland Terrier and can never resist stopping to have a look at one or take a photo if my camera is handy.
These photos were taken on a recent walk through town. Both scenes were colourful given the fall colours but I thought the weathered fence and old house in the second photo were at their best in black and white.
Like most urban centres, Ottawa is going through a transformation. The old wooden house is flush against a modern apartment unit. The new structure is not a high-rise like some buildings going up and is quite attractive but it changes the feel of the neighbourhood and with it raises the question of what we’re losing as a result.
There is a lot of wall art in Ottawa on both commercial and residential buildings. I came across this piece on a recent walk and liked the whimsy of it. As I’ve written before, you never know what you’re going to come across when you’re out and about. Some days can be pretty rewarding.
Recent photos from a walk in town. It’s been very hot lately and the mosquitoes are biting, so we’ve been taking some city walks. You’re never far from some shade and a cold drink and no shortage of things to photograph if you keep your eyes open.
The old Chrysler was parked on the grass at a local festival. It wasn’t in great condition and I wished it had been looked after better but it was still a handsome car. If you look carefully you can see some reflections from the surrounding trees on its body.
I liked this solitary bike leaning up against the fire escape of the old house. I kept walking around on the sidewalk until I got it and the house at an interesting angle. As much as I like the colour in the photo, I think the black and white version is better suited to the image.
More scenes close to home. The cool weather persists. Our local birding areas are closed due to flood conditions or are difficult to navigate. With interesting neighbourhoods to walk through there is no shortage of photo opportunities. Even a humble dandelion can make for a decent subject😊.
What first caught my attention was Bob Marley’s portrait in the window. But stepping back I liked the appearance of the whole house; the pitch of the roof, the contrast of colour and construction material and the green of the spruce tree. More going on here than at first glance.
A few blocks from the Parliament Buildings and steel office towers are neighbourhoods like this one. We spend a lot of time exploring these streets; walking, shopping, trying out new places to eat and taking photographs. New places open up all the time but the atmosphere of these streets doesn’t change too much. Something to appreciate.
Circumstances have limited my chances for photography this spring but I did take these scenes mid April. I liked the colours and textures in the scene and the bit of new growth pushing through the hardscrabble soil. The weather is still quite cold and many parts of the country are experiencing severe flooding, so our favourite reserve close to the water is inaccessible.
This pre-school in our downtown neighbourhood has a welcoming mural and is bordered by a small garden maintained by the local business community. The garden contains native plants and attracts a variety of insects all summer long. City and nature photography, all within a few metres of each other.
Walking down a city laneway I wasn’t expecting to see this tin man on someone’s back stoop and stopped to take a picture. It seemed rather out of place and yet where wouldn’t it be. The art cube was one of several photographs I took last spring of similar art work. I think it’s probably disguising some city maintenance work, an attractive idea and use of artistic talent.
Late Fall. The playground is silent, the trees are bare, too cold for the kids and the birds! Most of the colour comes from man-made materials, until the temperature dips and the sun comes out. Then there is no bluer a sky or a white so brilliant as the new snow. These are the colours of Winter.
Two street scenes that couldn’t be more different. Both were taken in Montreal last summer, when we walked the city from east to west and back. I spotted Mary Poppins as we approached a crosswalk. It was an unusual location for this character and I imagine the artist had fun with that. The second photo was taken several blocks away in a quiet residential area and is an example of the fine stone homes that continue to line many of Montreal’s streets.
This part of the street has an interesting blend of old and new styles of architecture. I like the contrast in the lines, angles and materials of the two buildings. Different yet complementary, injecting some vibrancy into an otherwise ordinary city block. The young tree adds a bit more interest to the scene.
Montreal’s Metro or subway was built for Expo ’67, The 1967 International and Universal Exposition which the city hosted marking Canada’s centenary. Over the years the system has been expanded and is a quick and efficient way to get around town. As we descended into the station a train had just pulled in and so was my interest, attracted by the lines and colours and shadows. I rather like it in black and white as well. Something different for a change.
Walking along in the Ottawa market area, a crowd was gathered around a very small convertible. As we approached we could see why. This wonderful Great Dane sat calmly in the front seat waiting for his owner to finish his shopping. The dog was riding in style on this pleasant November day. Once the snow arrives he’ll have to hit the pavement again, being way too big to fit in this tiny car.
The cat was a perfect advertisement for this animal groomer. It sat so still that at first I wasn’t certain if it was a figurine or real. It was staring straight ahead and ignored me completely as I set up the shot, a very cooperative subject. As the weather cools off and many birds head south I plan to do more street photography. I get to practice using my Fuji and there’s always a warm coffee shop close by!
When I first saw the scene above I thought I was looking at a mural and not live trees. I think the natural and man made elements complement each other very well here. I liked the shapes, colour and lighting and most of all the feeling of surprise and delight the scene initially evoked.
In the second photo, the wonderful shape and colour of the railing also inspired the title of this post.
A storefront in an older section of town captures the mood of the street. Nothing slick here just a nod to the past. The old brick facade and the reflection of the modern building provide additional interest.
You don’t have to look very far to find examples of public art. I saw the first piece on the campus of a Montreal university. I liked its vibrance and its nod to diversity. In the second photo, the influence of my talented mate is rubbing off – in that I noticed the play of light and shadow before I even saw the ironwork on display.
When I feature more than one photo per post, they usually share a common theme. Although these are two very different subjects, I think they both evoke a feeling of quiet watchfulness. The brick wall backs onto a vacant lot, it’s been empty for years. So far developers have shown no interest, just the wildflowers.
Every couple of months the wall art changes at this construction site. Passing by the other day I was struck by this vibrant painting. It’s fun to see the locals (two and four legged) walk by. The man was intent on checking his phone, maybe the mural was no longer a novelty for him but I loved it.
We took a walk through the entertainment section of Gatineau, Quebec this summer and came upon these umbrellas. It was a brilliant sunny day and the umbrellas provided a perfect awning. As colourful as they are I preferred the photograph in black and white, as it emphasized shape, form and contrast.
The “musical trio” struck my fancy for their enduring and endearing nature. They appear to have weathered many seasons, yet the band plays on.
As I’ve mentioned before, birds have been rather scarce this year so we’ve been doing quite a bit of street photography. In the first photo, a Victorian bird cage in the window of a local business had some lovely elements to it. In the second, I thought the red of the brick wall as well as the bird theme made for a nice pairing of the two photos.
The colour and texture of this weathered looking house caught my eye and when I saw the sign I smiled and took the shot. Taking an alternate route in a familiar neighbourhood can be an adventure. The second photo was the result of a similar walk. These houses were ordinary but the city laneway reminded me more of one in the countryside and was well worth some attention.
The first time I passed by this mural, a truck was parked directly in front of it. When I went back the other day I was able to take a couple of shots before the space was occupied again. It’s a fun bit of wall art. The second photo was taken on a busy block of commercial and residential buildings. The truck was a standout and I found the photo quite effective in black and white. Both taken with my Fuji XT-1.
I’m thinking of buying a walkaround camera for street photography and landscapes. I want something lightweight and relatively easy to use and borrowed my spouse’s Fuji XT-1 with 23mm lens. We headed towards a commercial street full of small shops and restaurants. Waiting for the light to change I looked up and saw this spectacular example of wall art.
The camera is tempting – it’s lightweight, handles well and the viewfinder is terrific with excellent magnification. And with interesting subjects for the taking a good pairing.
These photos were taken in early spring. You can still see a few snow patches on the ground in the first one. An empty playground on the weekend, always feels a bit off, eerily quiet. Closer to the market district I found a series of these painted cubes in the centre median of a roadway. They were an interesting counterpoint to the old buildings surrounding them.
Walking by this exterior wall I thought at first that someone had decided not to finish up the plastering. On giving it a second look I saw a skyline emerging from the surface. I’ll have to return to photograph the rest of the wall as the story continues along the brick. A hidden gem in an older part of town.
There’s something very appealing about these back porches. You get a feel for the people who live in these houses, from the flowers to the statuary to the pet’s water bowl. They reveal more about their occupants than the street view implies.
Montreal is a very walkable city and I love exploring its streets. These photos were taken in the east end, where commercial and residential buildings share the same space. It’s alive with colour, activity and fine old architecture. And you’re never far from a cafe that serves good coffee.
Spring hadn’t quite arrived in this laneway yet. The homeowner was prepared for what ever came his way as you can see by the traffic cones, snow shovels and garden tools propped up again his shed. I liked the textures of the wood and plaster and worked in Tonality Pro to bring them out.
The shape and colour of these old fashioned hats reminded me of the fondant candy I enjoyed as a kid. There was nothing sweeter or better tasting I thought.
The antique market was below street level and the illumination was low. I raised my ISO to get some speed but still only shot at 1/80th of a second. I think the lighting added to the mood and worked quite well.