Sometimes, when I take photographs, I have a specific purpose in mind. There is some sort of event or place that I set out to photograph. Sometimes, a subject will speak to me; it will demand that I photograph it. Mostly because it is bathed in awesome light and has some incredible shadows. Sometimes, I haven’t photographed anything for a while and my addiction can no longer fight the urge to photograph something. The other day my craving to photograph something had reached it’s boiling point. Just at that moment a leaf on a vine growing on my fence spoke to me. It was back-lit by the early evening sun. The light had created some interesting shadows along the veins of the leaf. It was literally begging me to photograph it. So I grabbed my camera and off I went to the back yard to photograph this insistent leaf. As I took some photos of the leaf, I heard the pleas of some of the other plants. They too wished to be photographed. Not wanting to offend my other plants, I photographed them as well. My plants and my cravings were satisfied, for now.
After a nice drive from Toronto in our cute little red Canadian rental car, my wife Robbie and I arrived at the “A Moment in Time” B&B in Niagara Falls, Canada. The B&B is an amazing turn of the century, pretty much original, Victorian home. Being a photographer I consider a photograph to be “a moment in time.” In fact, I have used amomntntime for an email address for many years. So when I came across the “A Moment in Time” B&B while looking for a place to stay in Niagara, well, it was fate.
David and Doddy are the owners and hosts. Doddy prepares the amazing breakfasts and takes care of the beautiful gardens. Breakfasts were delicious and the presentation was beautiful! We were there in mid-May and the tulips were in full bloom. We found Doddy in the garden on several occasions caring for his tulips. As each variety came into perfect bloom he would photograph it. David is quite the fixer upper. They own several other B&Bs in Niagara and David has done all of the work on them himself. He was telling me about the front entrance to the B&B we stayed at. Now there is a really nice blue arched front door. Originally there were two front doors. One door for the main floor and one door for the upstairs. The cold Canadian winds blew into the doors when you opened them. David had a friend who was removing the neat blue arched door from his building. David acquired the door and created a nice mud room to protect the original entries. It looks great and is very practical. I was looking at the B&B web site and noticed there is a photo of the front of the house from before David added the blue door. I copied it and added it for comparison.
I noticed that some of the reviews said that the house was dilapidated. That’s just not true! These people must be accustomed to 5 star resorts or have no idea what a 120 plus year old home is like. If that’s you, you should stay at the Casino. We found the B&B to be very quaint, nostalgic and lovely. It brought back memories of when my grandparents would take me to visit one of the church ladies in her Victorian home after church.
The B&B is in a nice, old part of town. There is free parking at the B&B. So if you are not opposed to walking and you would like to save on the high parking fees, it’s not a bad walk to the falls. We walked to Horseshoe Falls and then down to the Rainbow bridge and back to the B&B. It was about a 7 mile round trip (including walking through two attractions). You don’t need to do it all at one time, there is a lot of stopping and doing things along the way. Be advised though, there is a fairly large and steep hill down to the river gorge. It’s not bad going down but remember, what goes down must come back up!
We stayed in the Shirriff’s Tower Suite on the second floor. The bathroom, complete with Jacuzzi, was in the cool turret in the front of the building. Francis Shirriff who owned a Toronto marmalade and desert topping company had the home built in 1894. Shirriff was like the Canadian Smucker’s, in fact Smucker’s is now making some of their products. We enjoyed our stay at the “A Moment in Time” B&B while we were in Niagara.
For the past few months I’ve been in somewhat of a creative slump. Sort of a photographer’s block. I didn’t feel creative enough to take photos. The photos I did take didn’t end up looking the way I wanted them to. When I take a photo I get a vision in my mind of how I want it to look. My vision and my camera somehow become one. Lately though, my vision and my camera have been disconnected.
Creativity is like a muscle. You need to exercise it or it will get weak. My creative muscle was getting weak. This is the time of year when we get some nice fog in the mornings. I like taking photos on those foggy mornings. There were a couple foggy mornings that snuck up on me and I missed them all together. There was one I was ready for; I woke up early, and it was nice and foggy. I decided to go across the river to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. Big mistake, there was no fog on that side of the river. I took a few photos, but nothing I was real happy with. My creativity and my camera were disconnected still.
I kept my eye on the weather for more fog. The other day there was a chance of fog. I woke up early and looked outside, I didn’t see any fog. I went back to bed, and when I woke again there was fog. I guess I checked too early and the fog hadn’t formed yet. It was too late to get to where I wanted to photograph; I was very discouraged. I expected the next day to be foggy too. I decided to get out early and take some photos, fog or no fog. I needed to exercise my muscle. There was some fog, but it was very spotty. I drove over to the wildlife refuge. The first thing I came across were some black skimmers. They were skimming over the mirror smooth water. The sun was still below the horizon, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity. I took a few good images, and LOTS of bad ones. As the skimmers moved on I was treated to a beautiful sunrise. I moved back across the river to the marina. I found a few nice images on the way to the marina. Once at the marina I found another one of my favorite subjects: reflections.
All in all, I think I was able to give my creative muscle a decent workout. My creativity is feeling stronger and I hope that my creative slump is waning!
Spring has sprung with an explosion of color, like fireworks on the 4th of July!
I needed to get a good photo of a red shoulder hawk. I was at the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management area a few weeks ago and I saw a nice one. The hawk was hunting in a location that would make it easy to get a good photo. So when I needed to get a red shoulder, I thought I would return to the TWMA. Hopefully my friend, the red shoulder hawk, would still be there. I knew it was a long shot; things rarely work out the way we want them to. I arrived at the Tosohatchee in the morning to take advantage of the morning light. I drove to the place where the he had been hunting on my previous trip. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be seen. I drove deeper into the TWMA to maybe find another hawk. I did see a kestrel, but he was too far away to get a good photo. I thought this may be a good time to go back and check on my red shoulder friend. I drove back to his hunting grounds and still no hawk. I still had lots of time, so I thought I would drive around and see what else I might find. I only got a few yards and I saw a pretty swallowtail butterfly on a thistle. I got out of the car and started to photograph the butterfly.
I took quite a few photos when I finally looked around me. There was not just the one butterfly; there were 15 – 20 of them on thistles all around me.
I was having fun with the butterflies when I heard my hawk calling close by. For the longest time I could only hear it calling to its mate. Then I saw it flying over the trees. The hawk was heading toward the area that I had seen him in before. I followed his flight through the trees. I was looking through the trees and I saw him. He landed in a dead tree. The tree that he landed on, although it was in plain sight, it was way too far away to get a good photo. We sat and watched each other for the longest time.
He looked at me and I looked at him. He must not have been totally looking at me. He jumped off of his tree and down to the ground, as if he found something to pounce on. I watched for the longest time, but I never saw him again that day. I failed on this trip to get my hawk photo, but just because you fail at your main objective, that doesn’t mean the whole trip needs to be a failure. Even though I wasn’t able to take any great photos, I still saw lots of cool things and had a great time in the field!
We have this strange plant in our yard that a friend gave us. I was not sure what it was called, I had to look it up. It was really small when she gave it to us, it had long thin leaves with little balls on them. It turns out that the little balls create a new plant when the fall off, so we now have many more plants than we started with. The plants that we started with have gotten really tall, they are 3-4 feet tall now. They have started blooming now too. They’ve got these very pretty red bell shaped blossoms on them. So of course I wanted to photograph them, so now that I have photographed them, I thought that I better check to see what they are. I did a quick Google search and found that they are called Chandelier plants among other names. So I thought I would share my Chandelier plants with you.