Tag Archives: Winter

Early Morning Frost

Here’s a sampling of early morning shots taken at the Williams Farm after a good frost. These come from either side of the 2015/16 winter season. I shot the first two on boxing day, 2015. I shot the second two on the first day of spring 2016. On both occasions, I was inadequately dressed and inadequately coffee’d. Note that none of the images would have been possible without a tripod, an alarm clock, and a good pair of boots.

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Under The Millwood Road Bridge

I think our neighbour has killed himself. Nobody who knows will talk about it, but it seems likely.

We drive home around dinner time and have trouble getting into our building. Police cars block the entrance. An ambulance sits on the sidewalk by a stretch of yellow tape. Our building superintendent is talking to the police. The building manager sends an email message advising us of a police investigation on the premises, but we aren’t to be alarmed; there’s no danger. Later, we leave to go out for the evening and three police officers exit the unit across the hall from us. It belongs to an elderly man who has always struck me as lonely and reclusive. Seeing the police, we know what to think. When we return home from dinner, the night concierge is already on the desk. He isn’t allowed to say anything, but they sent the evening concierge home, told him to take some time off.

There must be something in the air. It’s been a long dull winter without the fluffy decorative cheer that snow brings. We hear in the news how a woman stabs the concierge at a nearby building as he helps her move some boxes. She flees and ends up on the balcony of a 27th floor apartment in another building. Police rappel from the balcony above to capture (rescue?) her. The media identify her as an “internationally renowned architect and philanthropist.” It is implied that her outburst is the result of a mental health issue. The woman is held on a suicide watch. The media interview a friend (she’s a “remarkable woman”), a man who, it turns out, designed the Luminous Veil, the Bloor Street Viaduct’s suicide prevention barrier. The woman in question was instrumental in promoting the barrier and raising funds for it.

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Skating at Nathan Philips Square

Today, the temperature is supposed to top out at 17 degrees Celcius and most of the snow will be gone. Thought I’d better post some winterish photos before spring officially arrives. Here is a handful of skating related photos from Nathan Philips Square shot throughout the winter. It includes a Zamboni which in my estimation is one of the most important, yet underrated, facets of the Canadian winter experience. I can’t imagine where we’d be as a nation without the Zamboni.

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Splashing through Nathan Phillips Square

What a difference seven weeks makes! After February’s Icefest 2015, I walked south to City Hall and shot people skating on the ice rink in Nathan Phillips Square.

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Seven weeks later, I caught a little girl splashing in the water that remains after all the snow and ice has melted. City workers were cleaning things up before they set up the fountains and fill it with water. In the spring, they fill a rink with water. In the winter, they freeze a pool for skating.

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Frozen Playground

This is (I hope) my farewell to winter for this year. I took these shots a couple weeks ago, but haven’t got around to posting them until now when the snow and ice are thoroughly melted. I took these shots early one morning in East Riverdale. I liked the way the colours of the play equipment reflected on the ice. The ice isn’t as solid as it looks and I got a good soaker trying to shoot from just the right angle. Ah, the sacrifices one must make for the sake of the shot!

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Yes You Can Break A Carbon Fiber Tripod

Another gear mishap. The last time was a lens dropped on gravel with a scratch that rendered it unusable. This time, it was a broken tripod. On Monday, I was up to my wazoo in snow as I tramped through the sugar bush at Williams Farm (see yesterday’s photos). I was trying to get early morning shots of sap lines through the trees. The problem with setting up a tripod in snow is that it’s hard to find a stable base. That problem is compounded late in the season by the fact that the snow is dense and compacted. I was ramming my tripod through the crusty layers to find the ground. But once I hit the ground, I couldn’t open the legs. So I tried ramming the tripod into the snow with the legs slightly apart. The idea was that, as I shoved the tripod down, the legs would splay further into an open position. Seemed like a good idea. I shoved down and heard a loud crack like a branch or a bone breaking, but the only pain I felt was in my hip near my wallet. One of the legs had cracked lengthwise along the grain of the fiber.

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A couple takeaways from this experience:

1) When the salesperson tells you your carbon fiber tripod will be the last tripod you buy, don’t believe them (unless you’re really dainty with your gear).

2) When shooting in snow, don’t be impatient. Spend some time tamping the snow down with your boots before setting up your tripod.

3) Always have some duct tape on hand. I could still have gotten a few shots if I’d had some duct tape in my pack.

And, in case you were wondering, yes, I replaced it the next day with the same tripod – a Manfrotto O55. It’s an awesome piece of gear.

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Maple Syrup @ Williams Farm

The sap is running at Williams Farm in Wyebridge, ON. March offers a sweet spot (so to speak) when the temperature rises above freezing during the day and dips below freezing at night. If the timing works, then the sap flows each day without pouring out all at once and overwhelming the operation. I went up to Williams Farm last week while John was scrambling to get everything in place. I went up again yesterday to watch as another syrup season gears up. I tried to take photos of each stage in the process, though I didn’t get to witness the bottling (or selling) this year.

Sap lines running from tree to tree in the sugar bush.

Sap lines running from tree to tree in the sugar bush.

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Ice On Yellow Creek

There’s been a lot of fuss in the news about how cold it is in southern Ontario this winter. It’s so cold, in fact, that portions of Niagara Falls have frozen. Surely, if the Niagara River is freezing at the Falls, a piddly little creek in Toronto would freeze solid. Seems logical. So why do many of the creeks in Toronto’s ravines continue to flow? Does the Public Works Department add anti-freeze somewhere upstream?

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Why do they call it Yellow Creek? It doesn’t look yellow at all.

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Under The Glen St. Bridge in Winter

In August, I posted photos from under the Glen St. Bridge which passes over Toronto’s Beltline Trail and Yellow Creek. But it’s worth posting new photos of the same locale. What with all the trees losing their leaves, and the lower angle of incidence for morning light, and snowfall acting as a natural reflector, things look very different at the opposite end of the year.

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Canadian Drinking Fountains

In the middle of winter, public drinking fountains are pretty much useless.

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Forget about a drink of water in Nathan Phillips Square.

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The Brickworks drinking fountain is dry … or at least chilly.

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Drinking fountain in Barbara Hall Park.

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