Saturday, March 25, 2017

Crashing A Capital

I have one more post from the Crashed Ice event. The area around the Ottawa Locks were brightly lit and well attended that night.

I did shoot a couple of short videos that evening, here and here. You'll want to turn the volume down though.

I can't recall ever seeing the Bytown Museum lit up like this. The place is reputed to be haunted; I wonder what the ghosts thought of Crashed Ice.

Leaving the event, I came up past Plaza Bridge and took another shot of the Chateau Laurier from a different perspective. Taking in this event was a whole lot of fun, and a lot of people came out for it. I hope we see it again here.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Just Slightly Crazy

This is a view from Plaza Bridge of the Crashed Ice course on the 3rd of March, a few hours before the first evening's events were due to start. The course was ready at this point.

A few hours later, I approached to attend the event on what turned out to be a bitterly cold night. Today and tomorrow we have a look at it, including some video tomorrow. The Chateau Laurier was well lit up as I came along from Parliament Hill. Below, there was already a large crowd on site- more than twenty thousand people attended the event on each of the two nights. Large video screens were strategically placed to give one a view of the races, with cameras rigged to overhead lines that followed the action. While the crowds were there, things seemed fluid with people moving about; I had no problem finding spots for photography while I was there.

It helped that I was able to actually pass under the course- a staircase walkway was added into the scaffolding in at least one spot, granting access to both sides of the course. I paused to photographed the underside. The water you see is the water running naturally at the base of the Canal locks this time of year. If I was in this precise spot in the summer, I'd be over my head in water.

The skaters themselves were engaged in two different runs- group runs of four skaters in heats to mark their speeds down the course, as well as solo runs down the course with marks from judges for technique. They ended up appearing as blurs with the camera setting I was using, reaching speeds of seventy kilometres an hour at times. I say this as a rock climber: you have to be bonkers to do this.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Prepping Insanity

While I was down at the Ottawa Locks for what I showed you in yesterday's post, I looked up the slope of Parliament Hill and decided to take a shot. 

I also decided to photograph the Bytown Museum here, which was open that day. It originally served as a commissariat during the building of the Canal from 1826-32, and has served in its current role as a local history museum since 1951. I've shown you the interior before.

One more glance from that day of the course.

These are from two later dates, one more bleak than the other, showing progress around the site. The course had coolers set up around and below the runway- these coolers allow the ice to remain frozen in outside temperatures up to 20C. As it turns out, that wasn't needed, since the two nights of the event were very cold. Tomorrow we'll have a look at the first night of Crashed Ice.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Setting A Stage

A reminder to members of City Daily Photo: the theme day for April is Wet.

Back during my Winterlude series, I mentioned Crashed Ice, an event that was held here in Ottawa on the first weekend of March. Today I'm starting a four day series about it. This was the first time this event was held in Ottawa. Red Bull came up with the idea in 2001 as a gimmick of sorts: ice cross downhill skating by hockey players at high speeds. It's taken off since, with a series of these events each winter in various places- often in Quebec City, but also over the years in places around Europe and North America- check the previous events here. This year the final event of the season was here. A course was set up over the Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal in the weeks leading up to the event, with a total drop of 35 metres from the top to the finish, and a total length of 375 metres. Nestled right between Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier, with a look out to the Ottawa River and Gatineau, it was a good setting for the event. I photographed the process of building the course several times. It was said in an article about the event that when you combine the work crew's hours on setting up, staging, and taking down this whole thing, ten thousand hours would have been spent on it.

These shots, from a few days after the previous ones, date to February 20th, a clear and sunny day. I happened to come up to Parliament Hill, took some shots up there I'll show you in a few days, and took the chance to get a view down to the course below.

Leaving Parliament Hill, I came down towards the Ottawa Locks to get a different point of view, heading along the course. I was surprised by the heavy machinery on the snow, but its purpose made sense the first night of the event- it was smoothing out the surface area so that people could stand up there and watch.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Memorial

These shots are from February, on a day when I was down by the National Arts Centre taking shots for the last update. I looked up from the Canal level to Plaza Bridge, catching this view of Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial.

The Memorial is maintained through the winter- paths are kept clear, though not all of the snow is removed. This includes wheelchair ramps that have been incorporated into the design in the decades following its unveiling. This is so that any veteran can come up to the Memorial and pay their respects, as well as anyone else. The crews handle the work pretty well during winter storms. The Memorial, with its views around of major landmarks, including the Parliamentary precinct, the NAC, and the Chateau Laurier, looks particularly pretty on winter days with blue skies. I have added this post to Tom's Tuesday Treasures.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Gallery

After returning to Ottawa over the bridge in yesterday's post, I came up to the National Gallery of Canada for some shots around the exterior. On the south side of the building, between it and Major's Hill Park, there is a substantial part of the property that's been landscaped, with trees and bushes growing, as well as a space that can best be described as an amphitheatre. Through winter, this area is quite snowy, but rather photogenic. I was back here last week to have a stroll around the permanent galleries and another look at the Alex Janvier exhibit, which for those of you in the area, closes April 17th.

A view south looks towards the park, with the American embassy and the Connaught Building east of the park.

A view west takes in the familiar view of Parliament Hill, rising beyond the amphitheatre. Looking south from here takes in the aforementioned buildings, as well as the Chateau Laurier.

Heading south along MacKenzie Avenue, I paused for a shot of the snowbanks. Major's Hill Park is beyond them, while the embassy is behind me. I believe somewhere under all that are benches.