apollo

The Strangford Apollo, British Museum: Taken on my recent trip to England.

dundurn kitchen sink

Another shot of the kitchen at Dundurn Castle. Maybe Macnab provided amenable conditions for his downstairs staff because good help was often hard to get. Many of these he employed were new immigrants and these folks would have come to Canada with dreams of fortune not of serving the well-to-do. So maybe they worked in service to get seed money so they could set out on their own. With that in mind, I wonder who worked at this table all those years ago, what dreams they held in their heat, what things they went on to achieve.

dundurn kitchen

This is another shot from my Dundurn Castle series. Although Macnab’s politics were regressive and even oppressive (or in the words of Charles Dickens, 'rabid'), the employment conditions he provided for his staff were relatively good for those days. He gave his house staff steady work, good pay and the best in-service working conditions in Canada at the time. This picture is of the kitchen with gas lighting, running water and modern drains - no other home in Canada had these things let alone extend them to sections of the building where the servants lived and worked. This progressive thinking in no way excuses the regressive policies he often pursued, but it does make understanding the man and his politics more complex.

rescued robins

Yesterday I opened my front door and accidentally startled the baby Robins. They jumped from their nest but could not fly properly, immediately after takeoff they made a bumpy landing on the road and began running all over the street trying to take cover. I sounded the alarm and soon family, friends and neighbors were dashing after them and without too much fuss both Robins were captured and placed carefully back in the nest. Their mother has resumed feeding them and for the moment all is well.

corridor of power

After dinner MacNab and his male business associates would leave the ladies in the drawing room and pass through this doorway to the smoking room where they would plot. Their plot was simple, to preserve at all cost the absolute control they wielded over the Canadian government. MacNab and his elite friends called themselves the ‘Family Compact’ and dedicated themselves to policies that Charles Dickens described during his visit to North America as 'rabid Toryism,' policies that kept everyone in their place and the Family Compact in control.

But the Family Compact had a problem, the control they wielded was under threat, not least because of rebellion and reforms led by William Lyon Mackenzie. Several times careful plans laid in this hallway against Makenzie suceeded in having him thrown from the Canadian Assembly, but each time he was elected back by the public. Eventually all of the strategies developed in these shadows failed and when MacNab himself was finally forced from government the days of the Family Compact were over. Yet even though this extreme form of conservatism was done, it would still be a long time before the ladies were allowed out of the drawing room!

day in the sun

This clock has had its day in the sun! Standing in the hallway of Hamiton’s Dundurn Castle the clock marked time and listened to conversations that shaped the continent in the mid-1800s when Allan Napier Macnab lived here as Prime Minister. Now, however, its hands stand still and all it hears is the chatter of visitors like me passing by and wondering what this house tuned museum is all about.

3pm

Being English, I always have to stop at 3pm for tea.

tea at three

Being English, I always have to stop at 3pm for tea.

puddle

A rather large puddle in the Bronte Creek woods. This is another shot with the new Sigma 10-20 ultra wide angle zoom. If you look at the image closely, as well as yesterdays, you will see that they are ‘soft’ and slightly out of focus. This softness is even more apparent when looking at the original high resolution copies of these images and so I returned the lens today for a refund (Henery’s Cameras in Ancaster are good about returns). So no more ultra wide angles shots for me, not until I can afford the Nikkor 12-24 which is a far superior lens, but as the Nikkor is twice the price of the Sigma it may be a long wait!

tractor

An old tractor at Bronte Creek taken with the new ultra wide angle lens. I am very happy with the colour and angle, but there is softness in the picture even though I use in-camera sharpening and I used some photoshop sharpening on the foreground grass and front wheel.

broken tree

I brought a new lens, a SIGMA 10-20MM 4-5.6 EX DC NIKON HSM, which means it takes pictures with a very wide angle so one can get a lot n the picture. I was keen to try it out as soon as possible but all I could find to take a photo of was this old tree.

flower power

Today I attended a conference in Toronto on ‘just therapy.’ In the breaks I stepped outside, not to smoke, but to take photos of course!

weaver’s cottage

A shot from my recent trip to England, this is a weaver’s cottage in Essex with a very odd looking sky.

keeping watch

The bird who owns the nest is camera shy, so the only way to get a picture is to quietly sneak up from the side and get a shot like this!

nest

A bird has made a next on top of one of my front porch lights: I await what happens with interest.

blue door

I was walking through the West End of London with my sister and I noticed this door and bike - truly everything in this trendy district is colour coordinated!
where in the world

flower

This is shot I am happiest with from my recent trip to the RBC in Hamilton (Ontario). The image is sharp, the white is not overexposed, and I managed to darken the background with Photoshop without loosing the definition around the petals. Now all I need is someone to tell me what kind of flower it is — to me it is simply a flower with white petals and a yellow middle that looks so nice!

where is jason silver?

I was exploring an old church in England with my mom and we found this piano in a dark corner. A Steinway with real ivory keys! I played a few chords and the church resonated with sound. I said to my mom, 'I wish Jason was here to play it.' My mom, who met Jason on her last visit to Canada, agreed.

railroad

Hamilton railways tracks curving alongside highway 403

princess point

I see Princess Point from the highway as I drive into work and some days before the wind is up the trees reflect perfectly in the lakes stillness. This morning was such a day and so I made a detour to take this photo.

crumpled shirt

Another picture from the Royal Botanical Gardens: These flowers remind me of the way my shirt came out of my suitcase last week when I traveled to Halifax to do a presentation - except my shirt was not such a nice colour.

rbc

The Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton where as you can see, Spring has sprung!

cottage and pond

Another shot from my recent trip to England.

rice lake

Evening at my cousin's cottage.