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Kanata Badminton Club 2014 AGM

July 25th, 2014 No comments

Kanata Badminton Club 2014 AGM

Traditionally, the Kanata Badminton Club’s Annual General Meeting has been held in Tommy’s restaurant at the old town center. This year, the meeting had to be delayed a couple of months while renovations at the restaurant were underway. Happily, the renovations were finally completed and we could have our meeting.

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As a club with about 140 members, the club operates during the winter months utilizing the facilities of two local schools in Kanata, Ontario. Since the City of Kanata amalgamated into the City of Ottawa a few things changed but the Kanata Badminton Club still operates much the same as it did many years ago when I first became a member. Over the years, my ability to see the bird has diminished somewhat and, with each passing year, the entry players seem to be a bit younger :-).  It’s a community based recreational club and it’s still a fun way to survive the winter months.

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Kanata Badminton Club Executive 2014 – 2015

This year’s executive should have an easy year as usual even though it will once again be a year with some changes :-). Maybe, my play will improve and I’ll be moved back to the competitive red level again!

Sir John Carling Building Demolition – Ottawa, Canada

July 13th, 2014 No comments

P1070802.MOV.Still001July 13,2014 – Sir John Carling Building Demolition – Ottawa, Canada

It was a dull, dreary, overcast morning with lots of rain threatening from the south but, after 2 1/2 years of planning and preparation work, the planned implosion demolition of the 11 story Sir John Carling Building went ahead as scheduled and in only about 14 seconds the 11 story building became a contained pile of rubble. I was happy to have the opportunity to be there for the event and to assist Front Page Media Group in the documenting of this event. Unmanned GoPro cameras were stationed at various locations to capture the event from as many angles as possible.

The above high resolution video was taken with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 4K Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera from a prime location offering direct line of sight of the whole building. I left the camera filming after the explosions to capture not only the initial explosions that started the demolition process but also to capture the billowing cloud of dust that moved across the field toward our position a safe distance from the explosions. A pretty unique experience and the first of its kind in Ottawa, Canada. If you view this high resolution video at full screen size, you can see an employee scurrying to get to the safety of the cab of his truck before the billowing dust quickly closes in around him.

Haunted Walk Ottawa – Time Traveler Trail

July 6th, 2014 No comments

The Haunted walk has a new trail for the time-travelers among us, its called the Time Traveler Trail and it focuses on Ottawa’s past when Ottawa was Bytown and riots and pistol fights in the market were more common than Beavertails. Guided by Steampunk attired guides prepare to set off on an adventure in time.

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The new walk has already gathered the attention of the Whovians in Ottawa, as the Society of Doctor Who made an appearance to take the walk through time.P1070732 P1070738Our guide was quick to take us back in time with the help of their timely-whimey device.

P1070748- ShunkThe tour was full of great historical stories about a time when Ottawa wasn’t as tame as it is now, in fact traveller’s beware, time travel can be hazardous to your health and you could end up finding yourself in a duel as a way of solving slanders and slights!

A duel was the way to settle disagreements in the past, although what these two had against eachother we will never know.

A duel was the way to settle disagreements in the past, although what these two had against eachother we will never know.

Also this might be a cleverly disguised Dalek, just saying…

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Along the route we had a chance to seem some clearly historical signs, some on purpose and others by time traveler luck?P1070761 - Cropped

P1070751-CroppedP1070764 - Cropped Finally as the night drew dark (7:30pm tour rather than the weekend matinee 11:00am tour) our Time Travel energy grew low with the fading light and we got to see some of Ottawa’s premier buildings in their evening glory.

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In the end, all by Steve (poor Steve) made it back to our present time alive and well about 2 hours after we headed off on our adventures through time and walking distance.

Canada Day 2014 – Kanata, Ontario

July 1st, 2014 No comments

Canada Day 2014 – Kanata, Ontario

Graeme and I took a short walk around the Kanata Canada Day 2014 activities, met some people whom we have known from past events and activities and met some new people. Lots of things happening during the day and, if the threat of blustery weather passes by (appears to be heading off north of the city), it should be a great night for the fireworks. (Kanata weather)

When we arrived at the base of the toboggan hill, the Holy Trinity Catholic High School Rhythm and Blues Band were setting up on stage under the direction of Neil Bateman, so, while waiting for their performance, we just wandered around.
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Of course, our cameras were busy when the band did arrive on stage.

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We did consider stopping at the Lemonade stand but Dan Robidoux and his group had a better offer. It was pretty tough to walk past a free draw for a bike and also get a free bottle of cold water and a free carabiner, all from the same booth. So, of course, we stopped; filled in a ballot; got some water; and ended up with a green carabiner and a red carabiner. Now, I’ll have something green for next St. Patrick’s Day (LOL)

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Although I would love to win a bike, it would have been even nicer if the vehicles on the other side of the pathway had been up for grabs. Each Spring, for the past few years, I have traveled hundreds of kilometers of rather rough gravel forestry roads in Northern Ontario while conducting breeding bird surveys and other surveys. For that, a big, high clearance muscle truck would have been awesome (gas economy notwithstanding).

014_0940-Ballot-Box 014_0939-big-truck 014_0938.Prowler-jpgWhen the temperature outside is above 30C who could possibly be thinking about curling but, there, right in the middle of the heat, was the Huntley Curling Club of Carp, Ontario tent complete with brooms and a bit of black ice to show the next generation how to sweep -:).

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I wanted to see how the USA would do in the World Cup match on television today so had to head home pretty quickly but not before stopping at the large soccer ball that marked the display promoting the FIFA World Cup Soccer Event which will be coming to Canada (and Ottawa) in June/July 2015. (FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP website)

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IMG_66401-EVA2EVA should be ready to compete after another year of practice !!!

(see EVA, the Cockapoo, in training for FIFA)

For those reading this blog on Canada Day who might still have time to get to Kanata for the evening activities, there is plenty scheduled

(see official Canada Day in Kanata website)

If attending fireworks, take a moment to review our on-line fireworks photography tutorial before heading out with camera in hand.

HAPPY CANADA DAY EVERYBODY

Ron & Graeme Hay.

Returned late in the evening to listen to the stage group “Amos the Transparent” which is a Canadian rock band from Ottawa, Ontario, featuring Jon Chandler, Chris Wilson, Dan Hay, James Nicol, and Olenka Reshitnyk.

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Westfest 2014, Westboro, Ottawa, Ontario

June 14th, 2014 No comments

Westfest 2014, Westboro, Ottawa, Ontario – Today was the first of three days of Westfest entertainment in the Westboro area of Ottawa. (Official Westfest festival site: http://www.westfest.ca/) All of the Mainstage performances are FREE! thanks to the generous sponsorship support that the event receives.

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Tonight, I was able to enjoy the performance of George Leach  whose album “Surrender” won the 2014 Juno Award for Aboriginal Album of the Year sponsored by APTN. (George Leach offic1al site)

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I do enjoy photographing performers doing things other than playing music

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Two more days of entertainment. Click on schedule image to enlarge.

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A Spring Outing

March 24th, 2014 No comments

A Spring Outing

Graeme wanted to get out on the trail to obtain some high speed shots of birds in flight with his Sony NEX-FS700 with SELP18200 lens.The easiest place to do that is on the many trails in the National Capital Commission’s Greenbelt where the Chickadees and Nuthatches are quite happy to come in close and personal to obtain a sunflower seed or two from outstretched hands. Graeme was shooting at 1080p and either 240fps or 480fps. I on the other hand was shooting with my Nikon D300 and a 70-300 f2.8 lens. I restricted myself to 1 frame at a time. My finger can’t click at 480fps LOL. I hadn’t been out on the trails much this winter, so was a willing participant and offered him a hand – actually offered to hold out my hand with an offering of sunflower seeds.  The temperature has continued to be rather chilly so winter clothing was a necessity and outstretched hands can become uncomfortably cold rather quickly.

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It was a Sunday, so the birds had already seen plenty of outstretched hands offering all sorts of bird seed. All along the trails, there were small piles of seed left behind by hikers and skiiers sharing the trails with the birds and the squirrels. After leaving a few seeds scattered among the snow-covered branches of the cedars alongside one portion of the trail, so that Graeme would have plenty of winged visitors to photograph, I headed further along the Sarsaparilla Trail to see if there was anything else that might catch my attention.

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There had been reports of a Barred Owl in the area and others had seen a Porcupine sleeping in the higher branches of the trees, but I saw neither. Often, when I walk along this trail, I will be greeted by a Blue Jay or two, but this particular day, the Chickadees were my only companions. There were signs that a Pileated Woodpecker had recently been hard at work, but as this large woodpecker tends to be a bit wary of humans. I suspect that this particular woodpecker had taken a few days off from its labours to avoid the weekend crowds of humans.

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014_9218-Pileated-holesWhen we arrived back at the parking lot, we found that someone had left a copious supply of seeds and peanuts at that spot, so we stopped again to watch the Chickadees and Red Squirrels return time after time for another bit of food to add to their cache. As we were about to leave, a Red-Breasted Nuthatch joined in and returned a few times.

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014_9224-r-b--nuthatchOur next stop was the Bird Rescue center.  Although the sunshine was sufficient to melt some of the snow on the roof, it was still quite chilly when not in the sunshine.

014_9231Icicles-After that stop, we headed over to the Old Quarry Trail, hoping to see a White-tailed Deer or two. We saw only one doe this time around, and she was a bit skittish and raised her tail in alarm as the X/C skiiers passed by. The Chickadees and Red Squirrels were happy to entertain us, though, and in addition to a few Red-breasted Nuthatches, our more common feathered friends were also joined by one White-breasted Nuthatch. The sky was blue and the sun angle was warming, so I was able to tolerate standing with my hand out for quite a lengthy period of time, as about 20 Chickadees swooped in, one after another, to pick out their favourite seeds. Red Squirrels watched on waiting for their opportunity to run in and get something to eat.

014_9245-w-b-nuthatch  014_9253-red-squirrel 014_9256-Red-SquirrelTwo years earlier, the temperature was significantly warmer and snow had all melted away.  Not this year, though!!!  Nice to be able to interact with the birds and mammals we find along the trails and provide them with a few more seeds to help them get through the winter.

The Grand Canyon beckons

January 23rd, 2014 No comments

Three Ottawa, Ontario area kayakers won the lottery for a time slot on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Small problem. Their kayaks were in Vancouver, BC, 2200 kms away from the launch point. They needed someone to transport the kayaks to Las Vegas, Nevada. I volunteered for the task and so, here I was at 5:30 AM waking up to get to the airport for an early morning flight to Vancouver. This time around, I was flying Air Canada, but plenty were also there at that time of the morning to board the Westjet flight boarding at an adjacent gate.

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I was flying with point redemption so, as is normal, the only spots that tend to be available are the flights that leave early in the morning or arrive very late at night (or have multiple stops along the way). Since flying from Ottawa to Vancouver takes about 6 hours non-stop, it was the non-stop flight that I wanted to be on. Not interested in extending that part of the trip by stopping for a chat or plane change in Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg or Calgary which made up all of the other options and would have added another hour or two to the travel time.

Before we could take-off, our pilot had to taxi the jet to the deicing area so that a solution  could be sprayed onto the wings.  While waiting for the deicing process to be completed, the couple sitting next to me began a discussion of the costs of the deicing process both in terms of the cost of time as well as the cost of the deicing fluids and the manpower and machinery needed to apply the stuff and clean up the excess fluids. That led to discussion of how coatings based on nanotechnology might some day eliminate the need for deicing altogether.

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I was looking forward to visiting with my brother in Vancouver before loading the kayaks and heading south to Las Vegas. The slight difference in temperature between Ottawa and Vancouver was an added bonus of flying to Vancouver. When we were boarding the plane in Ottawa, the outside temperature was hovering around -25C while the forecast temperature in Vancouver was +8C and sunny.

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The flight with Air Canada went well with just a touch of turbulence as we approached the foothills of the Rockies near Lethbridge, Alberta. I was lucky to have a young couple sitting beside me on the plane who were involved in the mining industry in Peru. Although they had lived in places that I might only wish to visit some day (Chile and Peru), their Canadian roots in Squamish and Whitehorse (two places that I have visited) were locations of which we could share some knowledge and stories. Who knows, in this small world, my middle son’s career in Geophysics might some day lead him across their path on some flight in the future. Having interesting flying partners can certainly make the flight seem shorter.

As we flew along the 49th parallel, I could look south to see all sorts of mountains and patterns whenever the cloud cover thinned to allow a glimpse or two at was below.  Soon we were back on the ground at Vancouver International Airport .

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After my brother met me at the airport, we did a quick tour of Vancouver’s Gastown (cobblestone as demarcation from nearby Chinatown) The steam clock was an interesting piece of engineering.
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As we walked from place to place a number of different signs caught my attention as did Vancouver’s Flat Iron building which is a backdrop in many of the large number of films produced in Vancouver.
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Plenty of food establishments in the Gastown are but we finally decided on one with an interesting wall 🙂
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After my brother headed back to work, I wandered around Vancouver’s Gastown and Chinatown area. Overhead the skies were clear blue and the sun shone brightly. Rather an uncommon sight in Vancouver in the winter.

Ottawa RibFest

June 21st, 2013 No comments

Ottawa RibFest

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It would be a busy weekend with both the ribfest and the dragonboat festival vying for my attention. On Wednesday I was at the final tune-up practice of the CFUW – Ottawa dragonboat team and now on Thursday we had friends visiting from the USA who were looking forward to a rack of ribs on Ottawa’s Sparks Street. We met up at one end of Sparks Street and meandered along the street looking at the many offerings. Each of the participants had tall display boards promoting their ribs and chicken and sauces and anything else they had brought along for sale to the supportive customers who were standing patiently in lines all along Sparks Street just waiting for their order of ribs or chicken to be cooked to perfection. We eventually came to a stop at in front of the “Boss Hoggs” grills and decided that that was where we would settle in line for our turn to wait. The line moved along fairly well and it wasn’t too long before we had our styrofoam containers with their tasty ribs .

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When you eat that many ribs you need to get a bit of exercise to balance the caloric intake, so having licked the fingers (handi-wipes for some :-)), we were off for a walk down Wellington Avenue.

RON_3696-ReflectionsThe lawns in front of the Parliament Buildings were already showing signs of the preparation for the Canada Day celebrations. As I stood by the peace flame and looked around the open spaces with the large stage and all of the portable fencing, I was reminded of the last time that I had been in downtown Ottawa for Canada Day, William and Kate had been the prime attraction.

For this year’s event, a number of performers have been lined up and it should be a good day if the weather cooperates (not too hot, not too cool).

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We were then off to look quickly at Ottawa’s World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal and Locks, before heading over to the Byward Market, where in February 2009, newly elected US President Barrack Obama had caused quite a stir by stopping at a local bakery outlet to purchase some cookies. I wonder what John By would have thought about all of this fuss over cookies considering the history  of US relations during his time.

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Tasty cookies after  a few ribs and then we were off to introduce our US guests to Ottawa’s ‘Beavertail” delicacy before heading back to our cars as the sun set over downtown Ottawa.

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Tomorrow the serious dragon boat activities begin in earnest.

 

CFUW, Ottawa – Dragon Boat Race Preparations

June 19th, 2013 2 comments

CFUW-Ottawa – Dragonboat Race Preparations

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My wife is a member of this year’s entry into the Ottawa Dragonboat Festival weekend events and Wednesday was their last practice day on the water at the Rideau Canoe Club. Since the weather was beautiful and it is unlikely that I will be able to get very close to the actual boats on the day of the races (June 21 -23rd, 2013), I decided to head down to the docks of the canoe club and enjoy the weather, the activity and opportunity to take some relaxed photos of the CFUW-Ottawa group at their final practice session. (Online donations form)

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After a short discussion and review of some seating arrangements, the group headed off into the open waters of Mooney’s Bay (Location).  No one got wet during this practice session but, on the day of the races, I expect that more than one of the many participating boats will run afoul of bad steering or rough waters. The weather forecast looks good for the morning races but thundershowers are forecast for later in the day so the afternoon racers might encounter some swirling winds and choppy waters. I’m sure that all of the participants hope that they stay dry!

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For today’s preparations, the participants spent an hour on the water working on timing and final tweaking of technique and making sure that instructions from the bow were fully audible and understood.  In the hectic moments of actual race day, with numerous commands from various boats intermingling with plenty of splashing, there is always the possibility of some misunderstandings 🙂 but on this last day of preparations for the CFUW – Ottawa team everyone arrived back at the dock in good spirits.

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Parking a dragon boat can sometimes be a bit tricky, but as video clip shows, it can be done :-).
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About the festival:

Admission for spectators is FREE to the Tim Horton’s Dragon Boat Festival – Ottawa so the beach of Mooney’s Bay is guaranteed to be well-populated with spectators over the three days of the event. For anyone, who might tire of watching the on-water racing, the organizers have plenty of on-land activities to fill in any spaces in the on-water activities.

CFUW and the race day events (FRIDAY images) (SATURDAY images)

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival Location

Dragon Boat Festival website

Online donations form

CFUW – Ottawa Website

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Awaiting the unwary. Paddlers beware 🙂
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Ottawa Rock Lottery

May 19th, 2013 No comments

The Ottawa Rock Lottery is an annual event in Ottawa where 25 random local musicians are placed into 5 new bands and given 24 hours to create a new set (4-5 songs) which they perform at the next evening live!

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But I Don’t want to be a Pirate
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Read more…

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