Monday, July 14, 2014


The sun poked out for a brief moment, casting a warm glow on the dull, grey concrete. A little light before saying farewell.

It was the very last time that the sun would shine on the Sir John Carling Building.

For the scores of spectators on the far side of Dow's Lake, there would be no warning. No whistles, no sirens. There were mutterings of countdowns: "Ten minutes to go... five minutes to go... ." I used the clock on my smartphone, knowing the GPS would give the right time. With a video camera set on my tripod, focused and framed, and my D-SLR in my hands, I was ready to go. At 6:58 AM, I was going to start rolling.

The blast came at 6:57.

It sounded like a canon firing, and for a split second, my brain told me that I was hearing a warning signal. But a steady succession of other blasts told me that the show had begun, and I started to see the former Agriculture Canada headquarters move.

I reacted swiftly, bringing my camera to bear. The motor drive was set in a continuous-shooting mode: all I had to do was aim and keep steady. Next to me, I could hear Lori's voice raised, complaining that she was too late to turn on the other camera to begin recording.

It was over in seconds.

There was cheering. There were words of amazement, mainly in the form of "holy shit!" A few people applauded. Others complained that they weren't ready and had missed capturing any of it or hadn't seen all of it through their own eyes.

It was all over but for the weeping.

The Sir John Carling Building was gone. Nothing remained but a silent grey cloud billowing from the site. Frightened birds circled the grounds. Rain fell gently.

And spectators moved, en masse, to get on with the rest of their day.

My full series of photos will appear in Wordless Wednesday.

My apologies to the winner of Where In Ottawa. The solution will appear in The Brown Knowser tomorrow.

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