July, 2011

New Roman/Byzantium Galleries at the Royal Ontario Museum

I had to do an errand downtown, and since I had the time I went to the Royal Ontario Museum, where I knew that they had just opened a new Ancient Rome/Byzantium gallery space. I had thought it was to be in a whole new gallery space, and was somewhat disappointed to find that they were filling in a space which previously had been set aside for temporary exhibitions. Still, in addition to items they had on display before the renovations, they also had the chance to show other things which had been in storage.

I took my camera along and took many pictures — especially of the Roman-Egyptian items as well as the new display on Nubian/Meroë culture — but was struck by the scene of a number of artists who were sketching the Imperial Roman marble busts in the middle of the new gallery. They sketched, and I shot pictures. Here’s my favourite of the bunch:

Artists Sketching Roman Marble Busts at the ROM

Artists Sketching Roman Marble Busts at the ROM

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Big Dead Dragonfly

There’s been a lot of dragonflies up here, but so far none have let me get close enough to take a decent picture of it.

Then Annie found this one, dead, down on the island. It must have been freshly dead since it still had lots of colour. Don’t know what killed it, though “old age” seemed the likely culprit, as its wings were certainly chewed up from use.

We put it up on the mantelpiece where I took some shots.

Dead Midland Clubtail Dragonfly (I think)

Dead Midland Clubtail Dragonfly (I think)

I think it is a Midland Clubtail Dragonfly (Gomphus fraternus), though there are so many similar-looking Clubtails it is hard for me to be sure.

Discovered that I had not brought along my camera battery re-charger, so was being very sparing of the pictures I took today, as my battery indicator was low when I shot this.

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Pointe au Baril Islanders’ Club 2011 Junior Regatta

Arrived yesterday, chiefly because I couldn’t miss this event: the Junior Regatta at the Ojibway Club, where Annie and Vanessa would compete in various water-based competitions. Annie had been practicing her dives, and Vanessa was all keen on tackling some canoeing events with a friend her age from another island.

Vanessa was keen to show me this year’s regatta poster, as we were both featured on it. I finally got to see it when we were there: it was taken at last year’s regatta, during the canoe tug-of-war. Vanessa’s on the dock, chearing on her team, and there I am in my bright red shirt, holding my camera and laughing at the scene. Here’s a scan I stitched together of the full poster:

Junior Regatta 2011 Poster

Junior Regatta 2011 Poster: Vanessa Can Be Seen to the Left, and I am in a Red Shirt, Holding a Camera, on the Right

I’m pretty much a weekend visitor to this region — especially this summer — but after several years there were several other parents there I knew and had the chance to chat to. Am beginning to feel like part of the larger community here. At the conclusion of the competitions I also got corralled into handing out the ribbons for the third place winners of the various events.

Vanessa came away with a second place win for the canoe crab race (where the canoe-ists use their hands rather than their paddles) and did the marathon canoe race with her friend Ana. They didn’t place but I was proud that she tried her best. Annie only won a “Participant” ribbon for her efforts, but she had lots of fun, which is the whole point. As a treat I bought Vanessa a cool-looking “OJIB” t-shirt, and Annie a neon-pink “I ♥ PauB” (Pointe au Baril) baseball cap.

A fun day was had by all. And to prove it, here are the pictures:

Here’s a link to the pics I shot at last year’s event.

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Northern Water Snake

During the Junior Regatta at the Ojibway Club, Annie spotted this fellow in the water by the docks. Managed to snap a few quick shots before this Northern Water Snake dived into deeper waters:

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Beaches International Jazz Festival 2011: Streetfest

Am heading up to the cottage tomorrow and staying for the weekend, so tonight was my one and only chance to see any of the Streetfest portion of the local Jazz Festival. The “jazz” festival is increasingly a misnomer, since the majority of the bands playing are Blues, Latin or something other than Jazz, but the music is fun, free and good, so what’s there to complain about? Unfortunately one of my favourite bands from last year — Big Rude Jake — was not making a return appearance. Oh well. :-(

The day had been the hottest so far this summer, hitting a peak at 37C, and with the humidity feeling much hotter. By the time the bands started up things had started to cool down, but it was still hotter than most people would like. So the energy of some of the bands was a bit “muted”. Diablo de Puente was particularly sedate compared to what I had seen them do last year. (Postscript: apparently the people from a local fitness place brought them cold, wet towels for cooling down, and the energy of the band picked up considerably afterwards).

This was the first time I have taken my f/2 200mm telephoto (and my trusty Olympus E-510) to the festival, and I wanted to see how it would perform in the relatively low light conditions you get after the sun goes down/the music starts up. On the whole, am happy with what I came away with, and the “Supersonic Wave Drive” makes for fast and smooth focusing when needed.

I managed to make it down to Wineva Avenue before heading back, so what you see here is only about half of the extent of the Streetfest festival. In terms of the acts there were several welcome returns by the like of the Dr. Draw, The David Rotundo Band, Fathead, and the Downtown Dixieland Band, but it was good to see a lot of fresh blood as well, including the likes of Dr. Nick and The Roller Coasters, Sambacana, K.C. Roberts and The Live Revolution, and Suzana da Camara.

Here’s a selection of photos I took while roaming Streetfest:

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Honeybee Close-up

Saw a honeybee buzzing around some flowers, and even though I didn’t have my macro lens on my camera, I thought I would give things a tree with my f2 200mm telephoto from about a meter-and-half away to see what I could get.

It turned out much better than I expected, and here’s the best pic from the lot I shot:

Honeybee Close-up

Honeybee Close-up

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Fighting Loons

Most of the time when I am up at the cottage in Georgian Bay, I feel I am lucky if I manage to get to see and photograph a single loon, usually from a great distance.

So I was thrilled to find no less than three loons had landed relatively close by in Oberlin Bay early this morning, just in view from the deck of the cottage. At first I thought maybe it was a family with a fledged chick, but from their behaviour I could tell that this was simply one round in a fight for territory by at least one of the birds.

This is the best picture I took of the trio, of what are presumably two males sizing each other up with a female watching the outcome:

A Trio of Loons Sizing Each Other Up

A Trio of Loons Sizing Each Other Up

Here’s the “fight sequence” that came immediately before it; mainly a lot of posturing with none of the birds actually taking a stab at each other.

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Daisy Heads Floating in a China Bowl

Annie had picked some daisy flower-heads found on the island, and placed them in a china bowl filled with water. Vanessa contributed a rock which sat in the center of all of this. As the sun was setting the angle of the light highlighted the texture of the flowers, and I took a few photos, of which this was my favourite:

Daisy Heads Floating in a China Bowl

Daisy Heads Floating in a China Bowl

After taking the pics I asked Vanessa what the piece of wire on the rock was for. She pointed out that it was a little figure of a person that she had made. Ooops! 😉

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Trumpeter Swans in Woodbine Park

A pair of Trumpeter Swans have taken up temporary residence in the pond at Woodbine Park. Many pictures were taken — and here are some of them.

While I was taking the pictures, I was approached by a pair of teenage girls, and one of them asked whether these swans had walked here. Not sure where she got that idea, but I set her straight. 😉

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Canada Day Fireworks @ Woodbine Beach 2011

As usual, I headed down to the bottom of Woodbine Beach to see and photograph the Canada Day fireworks.

Had my trusty Olympus E-510 set up on a tripod and took these pics. Some are shot using the built-in “Fireworks” mode (which opens the shuttle for several seconds) and others were shot in “normal” mode, just to see what would happen. They seemed to have worked out pretty well actually, appearing less “streaky” than the ones with long exposures. See for yourself.

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