Canada Day 2014 – Kanata, Ontario

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.
Of course, our cameras were busy when the band did arrive on stage.



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 -:).


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)


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.


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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Canada Day’s coming – Planning for Fireworks displays

Canada Day’s coming – Planning for Fireworks displays

Today, among other things, I’m actually thinking ahead and trying to decide where to go to photograph Canada Day fireworks. I’ve decided not to go to downtown Ottawa this year for the fireworks so that leaves something closer to home. Choices include Walter Baker Park, Kanata, or Stittsville although there are probably other choices as well. I’ve often photographed the fire works at Kanata but normally from the soccer field level. This year, just for something different, I might go to the top of the toboggan hill instead. One thing is for certain though, I expect the mosquitoes to be out in force considering all of the rain that the Kanata area has had in the past few weeks!

Planning for Canada Day 2013

Fireworks tutorial – things to think about.

Ottawa RibFest

Ottawa RibFest


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.



Tomorrow the serious dragon boat activities begin in earnest.


Canada Day 2012 – Kanata Fireworks and Stage Show

Canada Day 2012 – Kanata Fireworks and Stage Show

Update: June 30, 2013

Click here for information about Kanata 2013 Canada Day Activities.


I can remember a time when getting a spot to sit on the toboggan hill to watch the Canada Day celebrations at Kanata’s Walter Baker Park was fairly easy. Since then, Kanata’s population has doubled, or more, and with perfect weather, this year’s celebration was watched by a huge crowd and every blade of grass on the hill was taken long before the fireworks began. Continue reading

Sloan – Canada Day in Kanata 2011

Sloan – Canada Day in Kanata
After surviving my trip downtown into the ‘sea of red’, I returned home, had a short rest, enjoyed a nice BBQ meal with friends and then headed over to Walter Baker Park in Kanata where Sloan was performing on the main stage.

The toboggan hill was packed with spectators enjoying the beautiful weather and this year there appeared to be fewer mosquitoes than I remember from other years.

Continue reading

What’s in the news this week? Mail Delivery Resumes, Royals Visit Canada, Fireworks, Fireworks and More Fireworks.

Some royal visitors are coming to Canada and spending Canada Day in the Nation’s capital (an understatement!). Their arrival should completely clog up the streets of downtown Ottawa on July 1st (Canada Day) and add to the party mood that normally engulfs the city. Expect a good fireworks display! Weather forecast looks very promising!

The above image was from the days of the Tulip Festival. See the other side of the artwork (the Kiss) here.


The Government has announced the details of itinerary for the visit on the govt’s website: Itinerary for 2011 Royal Tour.

For Ottawa, the details are as follows (subject to change so check the official site for any last minute changes)
Continue reading

Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings

Starting up a website., with my son, Graeme, was one of the major milestones for the year. Graeme had been prodding me to think about a blog format for my photo postings for quite some time so this was the year that it happened. I like to add text to the photos that I post. Although that works fine on Flickr for single photos, a blog format provides me with a better sense of continuity of thought and sequence of events when uploading a series of photos. In 2011, I intend to continue uploading to Flickr but will likely leave the story-telling here with my blog uploads.

Boxing Day 2010 has arrived with sunny skies and -10C temperatures a far different situation than Boxing Day 2009. Icicles on the Thule.

Rather than seeking out one “best” photos, here are some of the highlights of my year and some of the memories that keep me attached to my camera. Clicking on the thumbnail images in this annual review will take you to a larger version on my Flickr photostream or to the specific blog entry associated with that photo.

New Year's Eve Fireworks - Mont Tremblant, Quebec Photographing fireworks on the ski slopes of Mt. Tremblant in Quebec to end the old year (2009) and start the new year (2010).

With hands out they waited Kanata Badminton Club meeting on Jack Pine Trail Flickr Wakefield outing - March 16, 2010 - Unabridged Yup! Definitely tastes like Introducing complete strangers to the enjoyment of feeding the Chickadees or meeting friends out on Ottawa’s Greenbelt trails and enjoying the company of like-minded souls on outings with Ottawa’s Flickr groups

The creation of a masterpiece - Winterlude ice sculptures - Feb 2010 Crocuses in shock! +27C/81F today! Where there are dreams there is hope. Watching artists at work carving large blocks of ice into masterpieces at Ottawa’s Winterlude and then seeing another Spring arrive and being able to use my camera to help out in a small way at the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans.

A project of Mairin Peck in Oregon Stonehaven Drive Fire - Kanata, Ontario Helping students achieve their goals and being glad that not all fires take lives.

Last campground site - Obatanga Provincial Park -  Breeding Bird Survey Road to Dubreuilville, Ontario 5AM Awaking many, many mornings at 4:30AM to conduct Breeding Bird Surveys for Environment Canada.

Full Moon - VMC 50th - Vincent Massey Collegiate, Winnipeg (Fort Garry), Manitoba Participating in some of the craziness of my school’s 50th anniversary reunion under the watchful eye of a full moon.

 The group The hosts of the show - Jennifer Podemski and Don Kelly - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! 2010 - Ottawa, Ontario Kinnie Starr - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! - Ottawa, Ontario Inez - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! Grandfather William Commanda, Algonquin Elder, Keeper of the Sacred Wampum Belts readies for greetings and opening ceremonies - APTN Aboriginal Day Live! - Ottawa, Ontario David Usher - Canada Day 2010 - Kanata, Ontario Photographing local events and concerts. I don’t normally take photos of people, so this was a new challenge for me. “Sloan” and “Monkey Junk” at Ottawa’s Westfest; “The Initial Reaction” and “Insensitivity Training” and “The Duck Wife” at Ottawa’s Fringe Festival; “Jennifer Podemski”, “Don Kelly”, “Kinnie Starr”, “Inez”, “Lucie Idlout”, “Digging Roots” and Algonquin elder, Grandfather William Commanda, at the APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network) broadcast; “David Usher” and “Elliot Brood” on Canada Day: and “Blue Rodeo” later in the year.

Grand Hall - Museum of Civilization Finally taking my camera to the Museum of Civilization, a much overdue totem pole experience.

Osgoode Medieval Festival 2010 -  Am I missing something?   :-) Taking Aim - Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Fort de la Presentation - Ogdensburg, NY Land Battle  - Battle of the Thousand Islands 250th Anniversary Commemoration - Fort de la Presentation - Ogdensburg, NY From the staircase - Boldt Castle, Heart Island, NY Pump House - Boldt Castle, Heart Island, NY Taking a step back in time at medieval festivals and re-enactments and restored “castles”.

Black and Yellow Argiope Spider Christina and the butterflies Cascade Mountain in the Adirondacks Running out of light! Experiencing the excitement of finding a bug, flower, bird or animal that I haven’t seen or photographed before or successfully testing my recuperated Achilles with a nice mountain climb with my wife, or just enjoying the thrill of another beautiful sunset.

Lion cub out for a morning stroll - Serengeti, Tanzania Lion in the Serengeti Lilac-breasted Roller Licking the lips. Mmm. Good. Of course, spending two weeks in Africa looking at lions, elephants, giraffes and exotic birds with Graeme does have its benefits and plenty of high points.

Photographing lights at night is always a favourite pastime especially when winter approaches and I don’t have to stay up all night to do it!

Shades of Nudity - Sculpture Garden - City Park, New Orleans Alien Communication Device - Canada Day 2010 , Kanata, Ontario And, finally, to finish off this rather long post, there is the enjoyment that I get when wondering what people think when they search on words like “nude men” or “alien communication devices ” and arrive at my on-line offerings :-).

Fireworks - Canada Day 2010 in Kanata Not sure where I will be on New Year’s Eve but, hopefully, I will find more fireworks to photograph where ever I end up being.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Fireworks, July 1/07, Kanata, Ontario

Fireworks, July 1/07, Kanata, Ontario

Fireworks checklist before leaving home:
1) Bug spray
2) Flashlight
3) Tripod
4) Camera with fully charged battery
5) Compact flash or SD cards
6) Release cable or remote release
7) Blanket or folding chair

Checklist upon arrival:
1) Check direction of wind.
2) Take charge of your location – use blanket or chair or both to establish possession of enough space for your tripod!
3) Set up tripod and camera

The set-up process:
1) Decide on what type of shot you want – wide angle landscape, portrait view, whole fireworks, cropped fireworks.
2) Decide on the focal length of the lens to use to achieve the type of shot you want.
3) Take a test shot while light to see if there is any movement in the tripod.

That was the easy part 🙂

What to do next:
1) Switch camera settings to MANUAL.
2) Switch shutter release time to BULB.
3) Set ISO to 200.
4) Set F to f8.0 or f11.0
5) Put camera on a tripod.
6) Attach you release cable or set up your remote release (if you have one)

The rest is timing. Depress shutter when you see the shot going up in the sky. Release the shutter as soon as the display is over. Your shutter is open probably from 3-6 seconds but not critical. You are exposing for the bright light not the night sky so if the centre burst is badly overexposed, your picture is overexposed. NOTE: The overexposure is an error in the ISO/F-stop settings and has almost nothing to do with the time that the shutter is open!!! Therefore, if overexposed, reduce ISO if you can or try F16.0 and experiment.

If you get the exposure right, the centre burst point is very small and everything else works out okay :-).

If you are late in your timing (or late on purpose) your shutter opens after the burst and you end up with the void effect of no center in the shot. Useful effect if that is what you want.

Problems that occur:

1)Don’t have flashlight with you so can’t see your settings in the dark,
2) Don’t have enough memory card – 100 -200 shots per fireworks not unusual.
3) Pointing to the wrong spot in the sky,
4) Standing downwind of the fireworks – lot noisier but also smoke then gets between you and the launch area and ruins your shot (unless you really want the smoke effect.
5) Standing at 90 degree angle to the wind – interesting effects of fireworks going sideways if that is what you want but not usually as pleasing.
6) Chimping too much or not at all – if you are chimping you may be missing shots – if you don’t chimp a bit you might be getting everything overexposed or pointing in the wrong direction. – I don’t look through the viewfinder all that often once I have things set up – easier to time shots and enjoy the event if looking at bigger picture.
7) Trying to get every burst – probably miss more shots by moving the camera than you gain.
8) Thinking you need a telephoto lens. Depending on the distance from the fireworks, 25 -55 mm works well with the wider angle useful when you are trying to get some ground level infrastucture in the picture. Of course, if you are a half mile away a longer focal length likely needed.

Equipment which I used for these shots taken in Kanata on July 1, 2007:

Nikon D200 with Nikon 58mm f1.2 Noct-Nikkor lens
58mm-noct-nikkor F1.2

Manfrotto Tripod with Manfrotto Ball Head