Christmas Lights – Just thinking

Hallowe’en is barely out of the way and now people are beginning to think about how they are going to decorate the outside of the house for the next season of festive lighting. My favorite spot to visit, if I am in Toronto in December, is 165 Benjamin Boake Trail where the DeSario family start in October each year to cover every imaginable part of their house and front yard with twinkling bulbs and animated themes. Click on the images below to go to various Christmas light blog entries (lots of images of lights).

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Another trip to Toronto, Ontario

Another trip to Toronto, Ontario

We had decided on spending a couple of days in Toronto between Christmas and New Year’s.  Weather is always a consideration at this time of the year so, right on schedule, we had a night of snow, a bit of freezing rain and some rain and all types of winter weather all rolled into one night of interesting occurrences. Our backyard was now looking like a winter postcard and out in front of the house a creature arose sometime after midnight. Continue reading

Christmas Shopping or Bird Photography – Tough Choice!

Christmas Shopping or Bird Photography – Tough Choice!

‘Tis the season, etc. I’m always a last day Christmas shopper. So, today, with my brother in town for a visit, off we went to the local shopping mall to do some last-minute shopping and give my 93 y.o. father a bit of exposure to all of the noises and activity that such malls can supply around Christmas time.

On the way though, as we were driving down Carling Ave, I noticed a number of cars pulled over on the shoulder.  At this time of the year, that can mean a number of things including police radar traps, potential breathalyser checks under the R.I.D.E program, etc.

Of course, if you happen to see a number of people standing in the ditch at the side of the road, it might mean other things, but most certainly, when you see that all of those people are carrying cameras with long lenses, you can almost always be certain that the twitter highway has been in action and that someone must have spotted a bird of interest somewhere nearby. Continue reading

It’s Snowing!

I finished off the earlier White Christmas or NO white Christmas blog with the prediction that snow would likely come as soon as I sold my snow scoops. Well I sold the scoops on Friday afternoon and presto, almost right on schedule, the snow began.

No more predictions for today. Stop while ahead!

Taffy Lane Christmas Lights 2011

Taffy Lane – Christmas Lights 2011

Its that time of year again and, as many houses are setting up Christmas lights in Ottawa, Ontario, no street is better known for it than Taffy Lane, where literally the whole street lights up for the holidays! (Location)

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Craft Sales season has begun!

Craft Sales season has begun!

With Hallowe’en out of the way it is now time to turn one’s mind to the next season of gift giving. Whether called Christmas, Xmas, Santa Claus time, or whatever, the period around December 25th is one of the busiest seasons for entertainment and gift giving in North America for sure so it is no surprise that craft sales sprout from everywhere beginning in the month of November. With offerings of home preserves to hand-knitted baby booties to everything in between, the seasonal craft sales are every bit as interesting as the farmer’s markets in the summer months. Saturday, I took the time to take a quick look around the many tables of items on display at the craft sale at Kanata’s Stonehaven Manor where my father resides. Didn’t buy anything but did enjoy looking! Continue reading

Horseheads, New York

Horseheads, New York

I had never been to Horseheads, New York and was intrigued by the name. We joined up with friends to travel to Horseheads, New York for supper at Simon’s, a Japanese-style restaurant where the meal is prepared on the griddle in front of you. The juggling of utensils was entertaining and the food was good and now I can say that I have been to Horseheads, NY.

Horseheads, NY was named in memory of the many bleached horse heads that were left at that location when, according to the Horseheads Historical Society, in September, 1779 Major-General John Sullivan found it necessary to humanely dispose of many of his troops exhausted pack horses during the campaign of the American Revolution and the battles against the Iroquois.

After our meal, I took a few minutes to photograph a few of the night images in the town.
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Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings

Starting up a website. www.megapixeltravel.com, 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!

Christmas Lights, Ottawa, Ontario

Christmas Lights, Ottawa, Ontario

A quick drive around Ottawa will show that it too has some well lit homes for the holidays. This one was found at 3839 6th Street in Ottawa South just off Bank Street.


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