“Pumpkin People in the Park” – Kate Gould Park, Chatham, Cape Cod

We were not in Chatham for their Octoberfest Festival but many of the pumpkin people displays were still in pretty good shape so I decided to photograph most of them for this blog.  Lots of good ideas to consider for some other time. Continue reading

August Birthday Party – Forest Hill, Kanata

August Birthday Party – Forest Hill, Kanata

My father turned 94 y.o. this month and we had a family birthday party for him on the patio of Forest Hill Long Term Care Facility. My father enjoyed large piece of ice cream cake!

Then an hour later, he and I went inside off of the patio and he joined with the other residents in celebrating with others who had had birthdays in the month of August. My father enjoyed another piece of cake! Continue reading

Kingdom of Osgoode 2012

Kingdom of Osgoode 2012

Well, it’s July of another year and once again Graeme and I were able to travel to a mystical place (location) to enjoy the dancing, the sword fighting, the jousting and the many other things that were happening this weekend (July 6-8, 2012) at the Kingdom of Osgoode.

The King was there and was kind enough to inform me that some of his normal entourage were unfortunately detained and not yet present. Some mention was made of a dungeon but I cannot divulge more. Continue reading

Ice Carving – Winterlude 2012 – Confederation Park, Ottawa, Ontario

– February 3rd, 2012 – Ice Carving – Winterlude 2012 (Bal de Neige) – Confederation Park, Ottawa, Ontario

After standing on Parliament Hill watching the Winterlude opening fireworks display, we headed over to Confederation Park (location) to see how the ice carvers were doing with their large blocks of ice.  A number of ice carvings had already been completed before the official opening of the Winterlude events and there were a number of illuminated smaller carvings around the fountain area.

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Medieval Times, Toronto, Ontario

Medieval Times, Toronto, Ontario

Our original plans for the evening had to be changed when we found out that the evening’s performance of Cirque du Soleil had been sold out. A bit of phoning around and we found that we could still get tickets for the evening meal at the Medieval Times, so off we went for a meal and a bit of jousting action at the Toronto castle location of the Medieval Times chain. Whenever I am purchasing tickets, I tend to like to speak to a human (I’m rather old-fashioned that way). The conversation usually starts with something like, “I would like your best price.” Of, course, I know that in the tourism industry, in particular, the ‘best price’ is a moving target what with a variety of coupon offers, association affiliations such as CAA/AAA pricing, ‘deal of the week’, seniors discounts and, of course, all of the various on-line discounters. However, more often than not, I find that the human I’m speaking to is much better at wading through the options than I am, and, in the end, once they know that I have no interest in paying the full sticker price, they usually can find some obscure discounted price that I would likely have overlooked if I had been relying solely on the on-line search approach. Such is not always the case, but on this occasion, the woman at the Medieval Times central ticket sales office was very patient and very helpful and, before long, we had a ticket confirmation number and were heading out to our dinner and a jousting tournament.

The Toronto location, referred to as a ‘castle’ in keeping with the medieval times theme, is located in a building on the Toronto exhibition grounds. Inside, there is a general hall or gathering area which is surrounded by a number of booths offering almost anything that you might imagine every good medieval lord or lady might desire; from swords to mugs to just about anything. Everyone gets to wear their own personal paper crown to get you in the mood.  Since they are color-coded, the crowns also serve as an easy way to later identify who sits in which section in the arena when it comes time to head into the arena area for meal and the tournament events.

There is one area in the hall set aside for a staff photographer to take photos, if you so desire. Looked like a pretty simple job, sort of like the Santa Claus picture process without Santa. Fun to observe though, as the photographer faced the last minute challenge of getting a large group into place just in time to get finished with photos before announcement time.

With the photography process completed, it was time for last minute instructions, a bit of friendly banter about behaving or ending up in the dungeon, and off we all headed into the arena area.

With the color-coded crowns still sitting atop our heads, the whole process of moving a large crowd of people to their proper places around the area worked out really well. As far as I know, the dungeon keeper was not required to detain anyone unduly :-).

Every good bit of entertainment requires a hero and a heroine or some such thing, so for this night’s entertainment, we began with a hero tied tight at the center of the ring and, as smoke enveloped him, he disappeared from the area, not to be heard from until much later in the show.

Tech: Light was rather dim so I upped the ISO to the 1250 – 2500 range and shot most images wide open or close to it. I was primarily using my vintage Nikon 105mm f2.5 manual focus lens. Although I have other auto focus lenses in this range, I find that this lens’ smaller size and weight works well for me in somewhat crowded environments and doesn’t draw as much attention. Because it was a fairly common lens in it’s time, it is another one of those high quality Nikon lenses from the manual focus days that is readily available at a reasonable price on auction sites such as EBay.

Our MC was now on horseback and proceeding to give advice to the audience as we were served our meal of soup and chicken and potatoes – copious quantities of everything.

Our seats at the end of the arena were not the best place from which to photograph some of the entertainment, so I often just put down the camera and sat back with my piece of chicken in hand and watched the show. The costumes of both the horses and the riders were certainly colorful and the overall choreography flowed along nicely with the pace of the meal.

I personally lost track who was doing what to whom, but, in the end, after a show of various displays of skill at horseback riding and swordsmanship and jousting, the hero returned to be victorious, the desert was served, and we all headed back out into the cool Toronto air and the world of modern lights and tall buildings.


If you like images of jousting and medieval events, take a peek at our postings for the Kingdom of Osgoode events  held in Osgoode, Ontario each summer.

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.

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The big bang theory of fireworks watching!

If you stand downwind from a fireworks display you get smoke in your eyes and the sound is louder. There are other words of advice and things to think about in our on-line Fireworks Tutorial but let’s just say that we don’t always follow our own advice.

We arrived late on the scene and didn’t have much time to pick our locations, so I suggested to Graeme that he cross over Carling Avenue and stand on the other side of the street closer to where we thought that the launch site would be. The gusting wind was coming straight at our faces!

The shot below gives an idea of how close he was. Graeme was one of the folks standing on the other side of the street. Bits of falling fireworks debris was landing all around him. A movie will follow once he has time to process the file.

Fireworks and Smoke.

As mentioned in my other post for the May 23rd fireworks on Carling Avenue, Graeme and I arrived late and ended up being downwind from the fireworks launch point. Not ideal for photography but an interesting experience especially when the smoke came across at ground level. I started off pointing the camera at the higher level burst but then decided to focus on the lower level action especially when the smoke rolled across Carling Avenue.

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Ferris Wheels and Carnivals – Night Lights in Motion

Graeme and I went out tonight to photograph a fireworks display and ended up photographing ferris wheels and carnival rides as well. We will be posting more images from the outing as soon as time permits.

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Sirens and Pirates Show, Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Sirens and Pirates Show, Treaure Island Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

People line up early to see each night’s performance in front of the Treasure Island Casino. The plot is simple. Someone gets captured! Oh, what a fate! Someone gets rescued by his comrades! Oh, what a pity! Enjoy!
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