Monday, July 6, 2015

Where In Ottawa: XLIX

I was always good at Roman numerals.

Summer is upon us, and I love to get outdoors with my camera. And, while I'm shooting pictures of whatever catches my eye, I'm always on the lookout for the next location of my monthly contest, Where In Ottawa.

As I present the 49th installment of this contest, I have already snapped the pictures for number L (that's 50, in Roman numerals).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Where In Ottawa, here's what you need to know. Starting today, you have only five days to solve the challenge. Actually, it's four-and-a-half days. The contest runs from 9:00 today and ends at 9:00 on Friday evening.

Here are the other rules for Where In Ottawa:
  • If you think you know the location of the structure in the image, leave your guess in the Comments section of this post. Answers sent to me by Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, or any other method than by writing a guess in the Comments section do not qualify for this challenge. I will not reply to any other form of guess.
  • If you were with me when I took the photo, you may not participate in the challenge.
  • If you have won Where In Ottawa in the past, you may still participate.
  • You may leave as many guesses as you want.
  • Starting tomorrow, I will leave clues to the location in the upper-right column of this post, adding a new clue each day until the challenge is solved.
  • Clues will also be accompanied by a new photo with a new view of the location. While the clues will accumulate in the right-hand column, the photos won't. Only one photo will appear each day and will replace the previous photo.
  • If the challenge has not been solved by 17:00 EST on Friday, July 10, the challenge will end and I will reveal the location on Monday, July 13.
  • There is no prize for winning the challenge. You only come away with a feeling of pride, having proved that you know this city.
  • The winner will be announced at the first available opportunity.
Are you ready? Here's the new photo:

Think you know Ottawa? Prove it!

If you're a regular follower of The Brown Knowser, you'll know that I've already left a photo clue, but here's a reminder.

Good luck!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Photo Friday: Not a Job For Me

It must have been the greatest view.

If I didn't have a great fear of heights, I would have loved to get his vantage view. The photos I would have shot.

But I was planted firmly on the ground when I spotted him, working hard to make the great hall in the National Gallery shine.

It's not every day that you see someone at such a height, giving it no more of a thought than I had given to standing on the interlocking bricks, under Maman.

It must be nice to be so carefree.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Great Heights

I wasn't always afraid of heights.

I could climb the tallest tree until the supporting branches thinned and bent, threatened to snap and send me earthward. I would climb down apartment buildings by the balconies, would scare girlfriends by hanging over the ledges.

I don't remember when my fear of heights began. It might have been the times when I fell. The time that I slipped on my way down from that great tree out by the old train tracks, south of Borden Farm, when I hugged the trunk as I came down and the coarse bark took the layers of skin from my arms. Or the time that I lost my grip from a balcony and fell from the apartment building. I was only on the second floor when I fell, plunged only about 12 feet into deep snow, but I had started on the seventh floor.

It could have been a lot worse.

I don't fear heights when I'm behind glass in a sturdy building or on a structure that is secured with high fences and railings. I wasn't afraid when I stood at the top of a crumbling tower at Harlech Castle, on the west coast of Wales, standing close to the edge, trying to capture a photograph of the courtyard below, my wife, holding onto a railing with one hand and the belt around my waist in the other, making sure the fierce wind that blew didn't take me over the precipice.

I once climbed up onto the roof of my home, to assess some damage to some shingles after a nasty storm. I climbed out a bedroom window at the back of the house, onto the gently sloping roof that covers our family room and then used a step ladder to get onto the main roof.

From the top, I could see beyond the neighbourhood. I could see the greenbelt to the north and the northern end of Nepean. Our area is on high ground, and downtown Ottawa is below our height.

You can see fireworks displays on Parliament Hill and Lac Leamy from Barrhaven. If I had the courage, if I didn't fear heights, I could sit on the roof of my house on Canada Day and watch the fireworks. I wouldn't hear the explosions but no matter: the firework display from Clarke Fields, on the western edge of my community, would provide the soundtrack. And if I chose to watch that display, I would have an unobstructed view.

But I become petrified on my roof. The one time that I climbed it, as soon as I had reached the peak, climbing on my hands and knees, as soon as I saw the northern part of our city in the distance, I wanted to get down. I was sure that I was going to slip, and that I would roll down the front of the roof and onto our front lawn.

I slithered, slowly, feet first, belly sliding along the roof shingles, back the way I had come, without assessing any potential damage. Instead, I called professionals. Let them take all of the risk.

Sometimes, I dream that I'm standing at a great height, on a teetering structure, and I find myself falling. In other dreams, I'm driving a beater car at great speeds on steep roads, and suddenly, there is no road under the car.

I have fallen from great heights in many dreams, and all the way in my decent, the fear is overwhelming, and yet, I never wake up. They say that if you hit the ground when you dream, you die in real life. How do they know that?

And what do they know? If that's true, I've died a hundred times. Because I always land in my dreams. Always, on all fours, whether I started in a vehicle or if I am knocked over a ledge.

I always land. And I'm always all right.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

100 Strangers: The Movie

Yesterday marked the 100th day that I had given myself to approach 100 people, who I didn't know, and ask them if I could capture an image of them. And as you saw, last week, I finished my project early.

In addition to placing these wonderful folks, who somehow trusted me enough to pose for my camera, and agree to let me add their image in a Flickr album, I have decided to take my 100 photographs and assemble them into a short video.

So, without further ado, I present my 100 Strangers video. Enjoy!