Wednesday, 29 August 2012

New Sculpture (the story continues)

Yesterday, I posted pictures showing the installation of a new sculpture that I have been watching take place over a couple of days. Today, the sculpture is completely installed. There are several parts of the sculpture - one above on street level, and this part, which is on a terrace that can be reached going down some steps. I was admiring this piece on the terrace, which is really elegant.

This is the other side of this part of the sculpture (along with my shadow as I was taking the picture).

As I was admiring the sculpture, I saw my friend René, who was also checking out this new work. He had his camera (which is much fancier than mine).

While René and I were talking, this couple were admiring the sculpture and the woman sat on it while the man took pictures.

They were obviously having fun!

So then I got René to sit on the sculpture while I took some pictures, and he asked me to sit on it so he could take my picture. It is really quite comfortable.

While we were doing this, two young women arrived and asked if we would like to have a picture together. So René and I sat on the sculpture while they took a couple of pics with my camera.

Then we returned the favour and took pictures of them. René used their camera while I used mine. Honestly, it was like some sort of a photo shoot after a while, with everyone taking everyone else's pictures.

That was fun. But there were other parts of the installation to admire. On the wall behind the sculpture, where the staircase goes up to the street, the artist had created this beautiful effect with wood.

It really is gorgeous! Altogether, a really fabulous new sculpture installation for Ottawa. I recommend seeing it if you are in the area.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Installing a Sculpture

On Monday afternoon, as I was walking home from work, I noticed some activity taking place on a terrace down some steps from the sidewalk, along the route between Major's Hill Park and the Alexandria Bridge in Ottawa.

It was a crew of guys installing a sculpture on the terrace, which overlooks the Ottawa River (you can see a bit of the river and a boat in the background). The sculpture was made of hundreds of pieces of wood that had to all be fitted together, like the skeleton of some exotic extinct animal. The guys were working very hard and it looked like a lot of precision was required.

Tuesday morning, as I passed by, I checked on their progress. They were still very hard a work but it looked much closer to completion.

Meanwhile, a couple of other guys were installing another part of the sculpture up at sidewalk level. I liked the idea that some of the sculpture was up here, and the other part would be visible if you looked over the fence at the terrace below. The view here is great, with the Parliament Buildings in the background - nice place for a sculpture.

Eight hours later, I checked on the installation as I was walking home from work. They still seemed to have a lot of work to do on this part of the sculpture on the terrace. The man in this photo is the actual sculptor (I asked and one of the installation crew pointed him out).

However, the installation of the part of the sculpture up at street level seemed to be mostly complete.

I was fooling around with my camera and really like the juxtaposition of things in this shot - the shadows of the fence meeting the lines made by the pieces of wood in the sculpture, and then the feet up in the corner.

It has been interesting following the progress of the installation of this sculpture. It brings back memories of helping my husband Peter, when he installed his sculptures in public venues many years ago (mostly in the States). As soon as this sculpture is completely installed, I will take some pics of it to post. I think it will be a beautiful work.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Encounters with Critters

We humans get so busy with our day-to-day routines that we often forget we share our world with millions of smaller creatures who are also going about their daily lives. This weekend, when I went into the space under my porch where I keep my lawnmower, I encountered this rather fat and splendid spider just inside the door. I am not afraid of spiders, but I gave this one a wide berth as I was pulling out my lawnmower. It was about this size of a quarter and going about its business, capturing and killing all sorts of insects I don't like, so I nodded my respects and returned to my own chores.   

I never tire of watching the frogs in my lily pond, but this seems to have been a bad year for them and there aren't as many as usual. The level of water in the pond is really low because of the awful drought this summer and I think it has had an effect on the frogs. They probably don't have the places to hide from predators that they normally have. So I was very pleased when I saw this guy floating around today, looking relaxed, just hanging out. Very cool!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

A Remarkable Sky

I was driving along a country road in the rain recently when I saw a beautiful rainbow ahead of me. Only the left leg of the arch was visible but it was quite intense. And then I realized that it was a double rainbow. If you look carefully you can see another, paler rainbow to the left of the main rainbow. I stopped the car and got out and stood in the rain to take this pic. Oh well - it was worth it because it was such a remarkable sky.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Beautiful Fireworks

Every August, the Casino in Gatineau has a fireworks display on Wednesday nights and Saturday nights. A week ago, on Wednesday, I walked up the hill behind the National Art Gallery in Ottawa (where the statue of Champlain stands) and joined a large crowd of people who were watching the fireworks for free. Although we were across the river and at quite a distance, and despite the fact that there was a building blocking our view, nobody minded. What we got to see was still quite spectacular.  

The fireworks went on for about half an hour and people yelled and clapped whenever there were particularly dazzling ones. I have always loved watching fireworks since I was a child and these didn't disappoint. Beautiful!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Experimenting - Random Shots

I am new to the world of cell phones and got one only recently (after being convinced by various people that it would be good for safety reasons). As I explored this amazing device, which has more functions than I will ever be able to use, I decided to try its camera. I took several experimental photos, but then had to learn how to transfer them to my laptop, which was not as straightforward as I thought it would be. Today, I have finally managed to download these early experimental photos. I took this pic of my grandson, Charlie, in early July when I visited Toronto. Children are always great subjects for experimental shots.

I am still not sure what capacity my phone camera has for quality photos and what controls there are, but I have decided to just keep playing with it to see how the pics turn out. I liked these colourful hats in a window and tried a couple of shots. Aren't these hats great? So old-fashioned in a way.

These cups in a window looked like they were about to tumble over. I thought the reflections added interest - the reflection of the neon sign says "Zaks" backwards (Zaks is the name of the restaurant across the road).
Anyway, I have concluded that my phone camera takes passable pictures but so far not as good as my regular camera. It is always fun experimenting and I will keep trying. In the meantime, I will continue to be amazed by my new phone - it is incredible what this device, so small it can fit in my pocket, can do!  

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Colourful Parliament

Every summer, there is a light show on the Parliament Building in Ottawa in the evenings. The show is called Mosaika and all sorts of colourful images, lights and sounds are projected on the building, which becomes a kind of screen. I went to see it recently and tried to take a few photos. It is a very popular show and there must have been about a thousand people the night I went. Some of the colours were fabulous - as they were in this part of the show.

It is amazing to see how this usually dull grey stone building is so transformed by the lights. The show has a theme - what Canada means to people - and videos of many different Canadians talking about how they feel about their country were mixed in with animated coloured segments showing highlights of Canadian history and geography.

I really liked some of the cartoons showing animals and wilderness and railroads taking settlers across the land, but they were too difficult to photograph. Whenever the show involved really bright colours like these, it was quite dazzling. I recommend it to anyone who is in, or going to, Ottawa. Lovely to see!
(Note: the show is free every evening 9:30 pm - 10 pm until September, weather permitting)

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Inside the Cathedral

I have walked past this Cathedral every day on my way to work but have never been inside. Then last week, after visiting the Van Gogh show at the National Art Gallery (right across the street), I noticed that the front door of the Cathedral was open and people were going in, so I thought I would take a peek and see what the interior was like.

The Cathedral was quite beautiful inside, with a lovely vaulted blue ceiling and columns and religious art everywhere. Perhaps I was predisposed to see everything through an artistic lens (after going to the Van Gogh show at the National), but I was impressed by all the colours and the baroque architecture.

There were dozens of stained glass windows along the side walls. These were very bright with fabulous colours. I looked up the history of the Cathedral - which is the Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral of Ottawa - and the stain glass windows were made in the late 1800's by a company in England. What a lot of intricate detail.

Everywhere I looked there were carvings and statues and ornate decoration. As you can see in this photo, I was not the only person walking around taking pictures with a camera. There were many people, like this man in the bottom left corner, doing the same. But there were also some people sitting in the pews, praying or just resting.

I really liked all the different colours and patterns in the columns. It seemed there wasn't a dull surface anywhere.

As I was leaving, I looked up at this great window that was at the back of the cathedral, over the front door. Splendid!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Happy Results of the Rain

My poor garden has looked quite parched and sad all summer because of the terrible drought. So imagine my delight when I went home last weekend and found everything so much greener and happier as a result of all the rain we had last week. My lily pond now has more water than it had all summer. The plants look so lush in their watery home.

Most of my flowers struggled all summer, but this Phlox really picked up after the rain. I love its rich colour.

This Fuschia was covered with blooms. If we keep getting rain, perhaps it will continue blooming for another couple of weeks.

This lovely Campanula bloomed for a second time this summer. I found the plants covered with blooms on the weekend.

Until this weekend, I thought this Gerbera was dead, so I was delighted to find big blooms on it - another gift from the wonderful rain.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

More from the Scanning Project - Everyone Was Reading All the Time!

In the course of scanning more old photographs recently, I was suddenly struck by the number of pictures I have of people in my family reading. For example, this is a picture of my sister Marilyn (right) and me, taken when Marilyn was about 8 or 9 and I was about 6 or 7 years old, reading something or other. The photo is a bit grainy but I really like it - very artsy. We both have our hands in our mouths while reading - food for thought?

Reading seemed to be something people in my family did together. In this photo, I am sitting with my father while reading what appears to be a comic book. I would guess I am about 4 or 5.

In this photo, my Mother and I are also reading a comic book. It is really hard to know for sure, but it looks like Little Lulu to me. A favourite when I was a child!

My parents, like many parents, made reading a bedtime story a ritual. In this photo, my mother is reading to my sister Marilyn (left), me, and my brother Paul (right), who has a popsicle or something in his mouth. Marilyn already has her pj's on, but it looks like Paul and I still needed to change into our jammies.

This is one of my favourites. It looks like my brother Paul (left) and sister Marilyn were reading a book or magazine but then were distracted by something interesting. I love the expressiveness of their feet!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Tourist Watching

There are always a lot of tourists visiting Ottawa during the summer months, and I see many of them when I walk back and forth to work every day. It is always interesting to watch people while they visit the various public attractions. For example, these two women were visiting the Museum of Civilization in Hull and were taking pictures of the park in front of the building. I was impressed that they were dressed nearly identically - with white skirts and black tops.   

These three women were consulting a guide to the banners that are on display in Ottawa and Hull. Such a universal gesture - pointing to something they were talking about.

I don't know if these three people were together or they just happened to be at the same place at the same time. The man on the right was looking at a guide to local sights while the man on the left was taking photos of the sky over the Ottawa River. The woman in the red shirt looked like she was just very tired and wanted to rest on the bench. Not long after that, the sky clouded over and threatened rain so I left - hurrying to get home before the storm hit.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Precious, Precious Water

This summer will be remembered as one of the driest we have had here in Eastern Ontario in a long, long time. Day after day has been hot and sunny, and there has been no rain for weeks. I have been finding it quite difficult because the level of water in my well has gone down until it was nearly empty and I needed to get it filled twice this summer, which has never happened before. I got it filled first at the beginning of July and then again just this past weekend. I called a water transport company and the owner drove this big tanker truck into my back yard close to my well.

The water guy uncoiled this long hose and put it in the well. You can see water way down at the bottom but it was close to empty at this point. 

He attached a pump to the hose from the truck to the well. Then he turned it on.

The water from the truck was pumped into my well.

It didn't take long for it to fill up. The water transport guy told me he has been extremely busy this summer because so many people have needed water for their wells. Nice to know I am not alone. 

Soon the well was full. What a relief! I rejoiced when I went back in my house later and was able to fill the sink and wash dishes and have a bath and do all those things we constantly need water for but usually take for granted. What precious, precious stuff!