Happy Hour 19 July 2014 - 03

Happy hour

A lazy late Saturday afternoon in the capital. All of these are uncropped and shown as shot with the camera in black and white mode.


Demolition party

Here’s a little set of pictures I took to occupy myself while waiting for the implosion of the Sir John Carling Building, near Dow’s Lake in Ottawa. I almost decided not to go when I woke up early Sunday (13 July 2014) and saw it looked like rain. I really don’t need much of an excuse to not get out of bed at 5 in the morning. I had enough of that when I was in the military years ago. In the end though, having missed the implosion of the South stands at Lansdowne Park a couple of years ago by about 5 minutes, I forced myself to get ready and hop on the bike. Since the demolition was scheduled for sometime between 6 and 7:30 a.m., I left home at about 5:30. It’s not really a long ride from Centretown, but I didn’t want to pedal hard that early in the morning. As it turned out, I had plenty of time. The first crack of TNT went off at 6:57.

P.S. These are the first pictures I took with my Fujifilm XF1 after getting it back from warranty service. It took almost exactly 8 weeks. Works just like new.



Instax 210 - June_July 2014 - 01

Instax 210 - June_July 2014 - 03

I love the colours of Instax, even if I can’t quite tell what they are. I did risk life and limb with the first one, so I just had to use it. Since the Instax 210 is a fairly wide angle camera, getting close enough for that shot required standing in the middle of the eastbound lane nearest the building. Fortunately, traffic wasn’t too heavy at the time… but it wasn’t non-existent.

World Cup mania

If you watched CNN or CBC News all day or you only went to sports bars that the local media choose to feature on the 6 o’clock news, you might be misled into thinking that World Cup soccer (or football if you prefer) is really hot here. Two bars full of suitably-imbibed people in every major city, one for each of the nationalities playing that day. Pretty exciting.

Nothing new about this. I remember World Cups from the 70‘s and 80‘s, when some of my more pretentious colleagues loved to display their worldly sophistication by referring to it as the Mundial – the Italian appellation. Mondial wasn’t exotic enough, because since they were French-speaking, it was just an ordinary word in everyday language.

- I’m leaving early today to watch the Moon-dee-al.

Public servants, you know.

I wonder if Italians watched the Mondial in return? Of course, the Mundial was always forgotten as quickly as it had become a fad for a month. Yeah, we had overhyped fads even before social media on the internet.

Look, I used to play soccer as a kid, and later with some deadly serious Little Italy guys every week when I was in my twenties. We played on a high school field not far from the Ottawa St. Anthony Italia Soccer Club. I loved it, and not only for the quarts of beer at the nearby Prescott Hotel afterwards. Soccer is wonderful as a playing sport. But next to golf, it’s right up there in the list of spectator sports I would rather ignore in favour of watching the flowers on my balcony absorb the moisture from their morning watering.

As I’m writing this, I’m half listening to Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen trying to make stage 4 of the Tour de France sound exciting. That’s right, the Mundial isn’t over yet, but it’s Tour de France time in July. In my younger days, I used to love watching highlights from the Tour on Saturday afternoons. Pantani and Ullrich on the Col du Galibier in the ‘98 Tour comes to mind. You can’t get much more exciting than that.

We never had full, live coverage of the Tour de France in those days, and I used to think how great that would be. Unfortunately, there was a reason they only showed a few highlights on Saturday afternoons. It’s because watching the rest of it is comparable to watching Word Cup soccer at home without the pitchers of beer and the trumped up nationalism. The only nice thing about it is that’s it’s in France, and it’s always interesting to watch the geography go by.

Here’s a couple of Instax Wides to mark the occasion. I mean, you can’t very well have a photo blog without the photos, can you? I took them while not watching the World Cup. To be honest, I do find it a little harder to ignore the Tour de France when it’s on in the morning. I don’t play soccer anymore, but I do still ride my road bike… mind you, not quite as fast as I used to.


Instax 210 - June_July 2014 - 04

Instax 210 - June_July 2014 - 07



Two for the show

It’s close to show time for the Canada Day fireworks display behind Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I don’t have a camera suitable for night photography. Nothing but a tiny phone sensor. I try to make the best of it, with a camera that can’t be controlled in any way. The resulting images are 100% uncropped and unmanipulated, except for conversion to black and white… because the camera doesn’t even have a monochrome mode. Nothing special, just convert to grayscale in a free image viewer/editor and adjust curves or levels to optimize contrast a little. You have to do that with black and white, otherwise the pictures tend to be a little flat because there’s no colour to provide contrast.

Oh, I guess I should mention the pictures are not about the fireworks.