Under the current Covid stay at home orders staying close to home is what we’re doing. I’ve always enjoyed walking in our neighbourhood and this spring it’s like seeing everything for the first time.
There are quite a few abandoned railway bridges in the countryside. With the closure of many Mills, railroads were no longer needed to move goods. Some of the bridges have been reclaimed by Ospreys who build their nests and raise their young on them. When we noticed the nest on the first bridge, we stopped the car and waited to see what would happen. We didn’t have to wait long as an adult flew in to feed the young bird.
On a road trip last summer, we stopped in a small town to take a break and look around. We saw this abandoned factory just before we drove into the town centre. These forlorn looking buildings just ask to be photographed. The building in the second photo might have had an occupant, as a lace curtain hung in the bottom window.
We visited one of Ottawa’s water filtration plants at a Doors Open event last summer. The Lemieux Island Water Purification Plant opened in 1932 and is a wonderful limestone structure with fine brass work and marble galleries. I’ve visited several times and can’t help but be impressed by the beauty of a building that houses a public utility.
Looking out the window, in an older section of Montreal, you can see a mix of low rise and taller buildings surrounded by a lot of greenery. Towards the back and centre of the frame, a nine story mural of Leonard Cohen, caught my attention. The mural is one of two in Montreal commemorating the life of Leonard Cohen; Montreal born, singer-songwriter, poet and author who died in 2016.
The Chateau Laurier, an iconic hotel in Ottawa’s Parliament district was built in the Gothic Revival style between 1909 and 1912. It was commissioned by the Grand Trunk Railway and designated a national historic site in 1980. In the first photo you see it reflected in the window of the Senate of Canada (the former Union Station). The second photo provides a view of the hotel taken from a park just behind it.
Tall buildings and architectural features aren’t my usual photo subjects. But it’s nice to try new things with my photography which are as much a part of my environment as the woods I love to walk. The sky peering through the towers is still a nod to nature.
The powerful base of The Old Union Station, (now the Senate of Canada), a building I walk by often is impressive for its form and detail.
This building, an example of the Gothic Revival Style, was the former Ottawa Teachers’ College. It is now part of the Ottawa City Hall Complex. It’s an eclectic mix of styles that reminds us of our past.
I think the black and white photo complements the building’s style but I’ve included the colour version as well.
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.
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.
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.
Like many large cities, it’s the small neighbourhoods that make the city feel like home. At street level, past the glass and steel and high-rises. One such neighbourhood is a short distance from where I live. I like the mix of residential and commercial properties, often side by side. A little gritty, a little eclectic. A pleasure to walk in and always something to photograph.
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.
This building, The Aberdeen Pavilion, was the central hall of the Central Canada Exhibition, that took place in Ottawa, Canada every August between 1888-2010 with the exception of World War II. What began mainly as an agricultural fair expanded over the years to include a midway. The land around the Pavilion has been redeveloped in recent years and the fair no longer takes place but this beautiful building, designated a heritage site, is still enjoyed by the public and houses other events throughout the year. I took the photo on a sunny day this summer but I think it lends itself to black and white.
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.
This cliff side view of Canada’s Parliament Buildings is an impressive sight. The photo was taken on a brilliant spring day but I thought the Gothic Revival architecture lent itself to a black and white treatment. The Parliament Hill complex was rebuilt in 1916 after a fire raised the original to the ground, only the Library of Parliament (the building on the far right) survived the fire. After more than a century the buildings are in the process of being renovated but at this writing, you can still walk around the grounds, toss a ball on the lawn, even raise a protest sign!
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.
While exploring an unfamiliar neighbourhood we turned into a nearby laneway. I had seen this church from a distance but was unaware that it was in a perfect line of sight. For a moment I imagined myself in the warm mediterranean and not a chilly laneway in a city that has yet to see Spring.
Just off a downtown thoroughfare we came upon this quiet courtyard adjacent to a coffee shop and an apartment building. As we sat and sipped our coffee, this corner was a pleasant break from the busy street just metres away. The city offers many spaces like this, on foot and with a camera at the ready, just waiting to be discovered.
This giant inflatable jellyfish is suspended inside a glass lantern in the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, a spectacular looking building in the Gothic Revival style. The museum completed in 1912 has undergone several renovations, the latest between 2004-2010.
The contrasting architectural styles and this extraordinary creature made for an interesting afternoon and the black and white version adds a bit more drama to the photograph.
Taking a walk downtown on a rare sunny afternoon in May, I hoped to see some things of interest to photograph. I had borrowed a wide angle lens (12-24mm) and was trying to get a feel for it. The sharp lines and colour attracted me in both of these photographs.
Canada will be celebrating its 150th Birthday on July 1. There is a multi-year plan to renovate many Federal buildings in Ottawa. You can just see some scaffolding in the reflection of the Parliament Buildings in the first photo. The fencing covered in colourful posters dressed up another construction site and made for an interesting composition.
There’s a pedestrian mall in town that has a mixture of shops, restaurants and government office buildings. Many of the buildings were built after the Second World War in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. I have always liked this door and the detail of the frieze with it’s iconic Canadian scene. I think the colour version works quite well but the black and white version is more in keeping with the period in which it was built.
Spring sunshine and temperatures are slow to return this year. Green shoots are slowly pushing their way through the soil and I’ve seen a few blackbirds and robins at the reserve but no nest building yet. Instead of trudging through the snow melt on the trails, I took a walk in a neighbourhood not far from where I live. I liked the display in the shop window and took this photo. Another shot that lends itself to black and white.
A neighbourhood bike shop got creative. The bikes suspended from the colourful wall look like a wonderful piece of art. A simple idea yet full of imagination. The owner even took precautions against theft as the bikes are locked into place. I liked the vibrant colours but with all the detail and texture in the wall I thought the photo would work in black and white as well.
Although city born and bred, in the short time that I’ve been doing photography I’ve gravitated towards nature photography. I love being in the outdoors and a camera by my side has become a natural extension of that experience. A combination of factors has led me to try street photography: weather (it can get mighty cold here in winter and walking through the woods in -20C isn’t that appealing); exploring the more interesting parts of my city on foot (you see so much more than when driving by in a car); and an interest in trying something new and expanding my photography skills. So here goes…