Sunday, June 5, 2011

On Nights Like Tonight

So here we were, Lori and me, without the kids for a couple of hours or so on a beautiful Saturday night. What were we to do with ourselves?

Go out on the town, of course!

We didn't have a lot of time: the kids were gathered for a play date at 6:15 and we had to go and pick them up by 10:00. With no ideas and standing in our gardening clothes, we didn't have much time to plan. It was a gorgeous, late spring evening: temperatures in the low 20s to high teens—great patio weather. The sun was still several hours from setting, but that late afternoon/early evening light is perfect for photos, so after Lori had a quick shower and dressed up, I suggested that we wander to the Hintonburg area. I've always wanted to take pictures in that area, and we could then find a place to eat.

Lori agreed to taking pictures in Hintonburg, but she wanted to go to a nicer part of town for dinner. Somewhere in the Byward Market or thereabouts. She then remembered the restaurant in the National Arts Centre, Le Café.

We looked up the restaurant online, and wouldn't you know it—two can dine for $39. That seemed like an incredible deal, so we phoned and made reservations. The earliest they could take us was 8:00, which was a little tight for picking up the kids in suburban Ottawa, but it meant that we could still do the shots in Hintonburg.

Hintonburg, at this hour, was almost like a ghost town. There was very little traffic. Few people wandered the streets. We parked in front of the deserted KFC and headed east, snapping shots of the sculptures that ran along Wellington. Marble fire hydrants, atop which were items that represented shops in front of them: a computer monitor near an authorized Apple service and reseller store; a camera near a photo studio; a tube of paint near a community centre.

We wandered as far as the church, which was brilliantly lit by the waning sun. I took as many shots as I could before Lori reminded me of the time and we headed downtown.

At Le Café, we were seated at a small table, close to the Rideau Canal and closest to the northernmost end of the patio: we had an unobstructed view of the new conference centre, the government conference centre (the old train station), the Chateau Laurier, and the bridge over Wellington Street, where the canal meets the locks that lead down to the Ottawa River. On the path that separates the restaurant from the water, joggers ran by and couples strolled hand in hand. Sightseers stopped to take pictures. Out on the canal, boaters cruised lazily by. The setting sun painted the buildings in warm tones, and between courses I couldn't help but shoot some spectacular images*.

I'm going to play with the photos some more and will add them to my Picasa Web album in the coming days.

And how was the meal? Good. Excellent value. With two, three-course meals, a glass of wine for Lori and a cocktail for me, the bill came to $57.00, plus tip and tax. We couldn't have taken the kids to Boston Pizza for that price. And we certainly wouldn't have had such a picture-perfect view.

Lori and I are going to have to go out on our own more.

* I realized that until now, I hadn't added any photos to my new blog. I was waiting for something worthwhile; I hope your not displeased.

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