Thursday, July 27, 2017

On Ramsay Concession 7B and Sugar Bush Road

We went on a bit of a rural ramble on Tuesday evening, eventually finding our way along Concession 7B north of Almonte (which I mention in case any local folk chance upon this post).

Of course, I had my eyes peeled (what an odd expression) for potential photos, but I wasn't finding much of interest.

I did stop a couple of times but the results were ordinary. Following are two shots of the road. Not great, but it gives you the feel for the geography. One hopes for some clouds and not blank skies, but it was what it was.

Eventually, we stopped at the little bridge over the Indian River where I spotted some light around the bend along with reflections.

Indian River isn't much more than a creek really, but with the copious amount of recent rainfall, it looked more river-ish on this evening. In the other (more or less west) direction off the bridge, I spotted a little controlled brush burning, which added a little focal point. I left the bridge rails in the photo to act as a sort of frame.

Somehow, we left Conc 7 and found ourselves on Conc 6, which for a short section at least is also called Sugar Bush Road. The reason soon became apparent as we came across the Clarence Fulton Pure Maple Products operation.

This proved to be very near the more well-known Fulton's Pancake House and Sugar Bush, but as far as I can tell from a wee bit of internet sleuthing, it is a separate business and not part of the operation which draws tourists.

Finding Clarence Fulton's place made it seem like a worthwhile drive, not that we wouldn't have enjoyed the ramble regardless.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Gillies Grove

I heard about Gillies Grove quite a long time ago, but we finally made a special effort to visit this old growth stand of trees in Arnprior one evening.

Being old growth, the trees were quite tall although not necessarily all that wide in diameter. I could barely get them all in the frame even with a wide angle lens and pointing upward.

To give some sense of scale, Sue is in the distance in this photo. I was using a wide angle lens, so she wasn't as far away as it seems in the photo (yes, cameras do lie), but I think the photo serves to give you an idea of the height. These are very tall trees for Ontario and seemed more like British Columbia tall to me.

Photos were a little tough in the contrasting light and took some work in post processing to make half decent, but I suppose I like this next shot as well as any. I think it's the foreground element of the fallen trunk that adds interest and dimension. But, of course, you also lose the sense of scale.

There were a number of side trails, but it was extremely hot and muggy in the still forest and very buggy, so we stuck to the main trail and didn't linger overly long.

No longer in the grove but still near it, we later espied this cottage with an amazing bush.

I think I'd like to return to Gillies Grove in the cooler and less buggy autumn, but although we were very glad to visit on this evening, we were also glad to leave. At least we now know where it is and how to access it.

But before I go, some more information from the town's website: .
The Grove was originally used as a picnic ground by the Gillies and McLachlin families. The land came into David A. Gillies possession as the McLachlin family lost much of its land following the company’s bankruptcy. Following his death in 1967 and that of his wife Jessie, in 1980, it came into the possession of the Oblates. The Nature Conservancy of Canada purchased the Gillies Grove in 2001, with significant support of local fundraising from the Oblates to preserve this old-growth forest.
Uniquely situated within the town limits of Arnprior, Gillies Grove is a rare remnant of the magnificent forest that once covered this region. Gillies Grove is recognized as one of the last old-growth forests in the province.
The size and the age of many of the trees is extraordinary. Trees in the forest include Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, American Beech, Eastern Hemlock and Basswood. Most impressive is the stand of the towering ancient White Pines. Birds that inhabit the Grove include Scarlet Tangers, Pileated Woodpeckers, Red Shouldered Hawks, Barred Owls, Cooper’s Hawks and Eastern Screech Owls.
Vegetation in the Grove include Hepaticas, Spring Beauties, Violets, Red and White Trilliums, White Baneberry and Indian Pipe—not to mention Poison Ivy.

Monday, July 24, 2017


Our house backs onto a main thoroughfare, and the fence was becoming an eyesore. It was original to the subdivision about 20 years ago and wasn't holding up well. So the town decided that it needed replacing — at the owners' expense, but I will resist getting into the politics and minutia of it all.

I took a few photos of the work in progress. First, they drill the post holes.

After the drilling it takes manual labour to empty the the holes properly.

The posts are lined up and ready to be ... um ... posted? These posts, whatever they're made of, are rock solid and should withstand the elements for a long time.

The cement truck delivers its payload post by post.

And so it goes as the workers fill the holes and place the posts.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Pleasant Evening Drive

With the prodigious rain of recent months finally abating for a few days recently, we have been trying to get out and about a bit.

One evening we drove along some rural roads. Photo ops weren't exactly plenteous, but we were enjoying the drive regardless (as opposed to irregardless 😄 ).

I spotted an interesting farm pathway off to my left, did a little reversing and pulled in. Up the incline there sat an barn. Now, since I was already trespassing, I chose not to go all of the way up to the barn but took this shot looking up the path towards it, which I quite like.

We didn't linger long, but on our way out, I took this shot of just the light on the field, which was to the right in the above photo. I don't love it, but the softness has some appeal.

A little farther up the road, I saw the sun lowering behind a barn, and I managed to catch it partly obscured by the roof. If you use a smaller aperture in a case like this, you may get rays, which I did to some extent in this photo.

I also took a vertical shot, but I don't like it as much.

A little later on a different, I saw the sun even lower beyond a fence.  Since there is a Happy Fence Friday meme on Flickr, I sometimes take fences just because. Taking photos directly into the sun will most often result in flares. Sometimes, I like flares although I don't think they work all the well in this image.

So, all in all, it was a pleasant rural drive, and I got two photos that I quite like, even though neither is exactly an award winner. 😊

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Escaping the Laundromat

We had some heavy items to wash, which would have been problematic our aging washing machine, so we took them to the laundromat one morning. It was a little hot and stuffy in there with somewhat grungy, uncomfortable seating, so I took my coffee outside and began to wander.

Just around the corner I spotted a few potential photos, so I returned to the car to grab my camera. Now, I don't take my camera everywhere (although I suppose that I should), but I had grabbed it that morning.

I was intrigued by this pretty flower box under a window on a plain garage wall.

The same house had a flower box under the window facing the street. In the original photo my reflection and an uninteresting house were starring back at me, do I decided to try to change it. I don't think the result is all that good, but it's better than the original in my opinion.

The next and final photo is of a different house and shows the flag flying between two trees, so I snapped it.

Older neighbourhoods are much more interesting to me than newer ones, and people in this one had added some very nice touches that made for a fine diversion from the laundromat.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Try Try Again

After my little tour with Brian, one evening I wanted to go back to Blakeney and take some photos in different light. That I did get but there were no clouds, which are desirable for the most part. When you go out to shoot landscapes, you make do with whatever light there is and do your best.

This had been the shot I had gotten on the previous visit. It was okay on a cloudy day in subdued light, but I thought I could do better.

So, I want back in low evening light with the sun coming from the back and to the right. It's a tighter shot centering on the tree that is to the right, above. The blank sky is not the best result, but if you don't show too much of it, you can get by. The reflections were good on this calm evening.

I should go back early some morning and take a shot with front light. Maybe I'll do that when the sun gets up a little later. It's not that I don't get up early already, but the sun was already getting up when I arose at 5:30 this morning. 😎

Meanwhile, I also took this shot looking in the opposite direction and came up with some interesting reflections at a slow shutter speed. A 1.6 second exposure was enough to slow the water and catch movement. It also caught reflections that I couldn't see very well with my eye.

That above photo was pretty cropped and I wouldn't mind returning with a longer lens to focus more on the foreground at the bottom.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

An Ordinary Stroll

Summer is moving along apace, and we have scarcely spent any time in our park. Of course, we might have it were to have rained less. There's been rain almost every day, often in the form of downpours to the point where Sue has had to remove the drowned flowers from some of her planter barrels. Needless to say, we are setting records, and this just a year after an almost record drought last year.

Well anyolehow, we did go for a stroll on Saturday evening, after a rainless day, and it was lovely. We're there so often that I don't always take photos even though I almost always lug my camera, but I did take a few that evening.

The town erects a temporary dock every summer for people who want to fish or put in a light craft. There is a bigger, permanent boat launch dock farther up and two more temporary ones nearer downtown for cottagers to tie up if the want to visit downtown.

But what was shocking was the the dock was mostly submerged. I have never seen it like this as one always has had to dangle one's feet in the past.

The kids and me: sitting on the same dock five years ago. Quite a difference.

Further up, there was a lot of water lying in puddles. One has to look for interesting reflections, but I didn't find any although I tried.

On our return to the car, we spotted these two girls fishing, and one of them really got into her work. I tried to process this with a summery, vintage sort of look.

So, that was our little re-introduction to Riverside Park. Hopefully, we'll get there a little more frequently as the summer progresses.

Addendum: On the 16th (July 2017), we had rain for the hundredth day this year. This set a new record for how quickly we got to 100, beating the old record of July 31, 1983.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Little Tour with Brian

Sue's sister, Heather, and brother-in-law, Brain, usually visit for the Celtfest weekend. Before Brian went home, while Heather stayed over to do some workshops, we did manage to find a few hours to tour and shoot some photos.

Our first stop was a last-minute notion, as I detoured to Blakeney Rapids. Brian took a number of shots from the bridge, looking south down the Mississippi. I wouldn't ordinarily have taken this shot since I can be a bit of a stickler for good light in landscape photos, but I relented. It shows the profusion of green on the far bank, especially in this year of very abundant rainfall.

Then we wandered for a bit in the conservation area. We didn't get too far in due to the mud from all of that rain which I just mentioned. But I took a number of shots of Brian, and put some of them into this collage. Brian is an even more avid photographer that I.

I also have this one of some flowers and plants between the rock and the river.

Next, we stopped at the Stone Bridge in Pakenham, which I posted about fairly recently. Since I had been there so recently, I didn't take many shots, but I like this of the daylilies in front of the bridge.

Our main destination was Arnprior for Wes' Fries (see this post for previous description of these yummy fries) and a little ramble in Robert Simpson Park. These two photos are across the Ottawa River, which eventually empties into the St Lawrence River. That's the province of Quebec on the distant bank in both photos.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lake Road West

The local museum has produced several walking tours which we have attended, but we had missed the Lake Road West tour so far. So we remedied that one evening last week. There are a few fine homes of an historical significance on this street. But of course, I forget most of the details already.

We met at Market Square, near downtown, and headed west past the road construction which you can see a bit of in the second photo.

Our first stop was the Heritage Inn which is being redeveloped. This building has quite the history; before being the Heritage Inn, it was the Mississippi Hotel, and that it still the most commonly used name. It will soon become the Grand Hotel. We are standing in the courtyard in the photo. It was a popular outdoor eating spot when it was the Heritage Inn, but I don't know if it will be used that way in the newer enterprise.

In the background is one of the fine homes which were mentioned in the tour, but I tend to forget who was whom and what was what, so I won't try to retell the story.

We were able to get inside the home that is now a bridal shop.

The final walk-by was this rather grand mansion. I do remember some of the rather sad story associated with it. They had four sons and lost them all in the war. It is for sale if you're interested. The problem for many people would be location since it almost backs onto a grocery store parking lot.

In case you didn't know, the lady in white in some of these pictures is Sue.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hawthorne Mill

The Hawthorne Mill was built in the late 1800s, and despite being owned by various people and having various names, Hawthorn has stuck.

It was a woollen mill that produced serge for British army uniforms in the early 1900s and cloth for the RCAF (Royal Canadian ir Force) in WWII. However, it is said that it was never too very profitable and has lain a'moulderin as it were for any number of years.

But it has been purchased and will be turned into condos plus a restaurant in due course. There was a open house last week, and I couldn't resist showing up. People were also allowed to scavenge for a donation, and some visitors partook of that enterprise.

Me? I was just there for a few pictures. Shocking, I know.

This is the building or the main one of three. What you can't see here is that there is a river behind me, so it will make a very nice setting for condos.

One of the first things that appealed to me inside was this door.

There was no evidence to me of the earlier woollen mill, but there was evidence of activity.

There were many rickety stairs, which I did force myself to climb although my knee wasn't faring too well on that day.

On the top floor, except apparently there was another staircase to the rooftop, which I did not venture to, some windows were open. The first photo looks east, more or less toward downtown, and the second looks out on another building in the complex.

What a major conversion this will be. I trust someone has deep pockets, and I'm sure someone does.