Half-Life Still Life (January 2017)


Half-life is a term used to describe the time required for a quantity to reduce half of its value, and the term is commonly used in nuclear physics to define radioactive decay.

Several years ago, my friend Elizabeth, knowing that I am fascinated with glass objects, introduced me to an interesting vase. The type of glass used to make this object is called uranium glass, because a small amount of uranium, typically in the form of an oxide, is added to the glass mix before melting. The uranium gives the glass a pale yellowish-green colouration. In the 1920s this colour led to the nickname Vaseline glass because it resembled the colour of petroleum jelly from that time.

Uranium glass is a subset of a type of glass called Depression Era Glass. Depression Era Glass, or simply Depression Glass, was popular and inexpensive during the depression period and was made into common houseware articles such as vases, cups, saucers, plates, and candy bowls. Using a sensitive Geiger counter, uranium glass would register slightly higher than normal background radiation. Most pieces of this type of glass are harmless and only slightly radioactive. When asked if ingesting uranium glass would cause radioactive poisoning, one scientist replied that the shards of glass would kill you before your body even noticed the radiation.

All very interesting – but what fascinated me was the way that the uranium in the glass fluoresces under ultraviolet light. With that bit of knowledge, Elizabeth and I, with portable UV lights in hand, haunted the antique shops in the Ottawa area looking for reasonably priced uranium glass objects. In addition to Elizabeth’s vase, we discovered a small plate, a cup and saucer, an ice cream dish and a candy bowl. I found several inexpensive UV fluorescent lights and after some experimentation, I started taking photos using the light from the fluorescing glass. Using some paints and dyes, which phosphoresces under UV light, I added some painted objects to the glass scenes.

These photos are the result of that experimentation.

I took these two photos as a comparison of a hand-painted dried rose under normal light and UV light.

Toronto, Ontario – October 2016 & September 2014


Toronto – October 2016

Toronto – September 2014

The Birds, Bees & Wakefield Covered Bridge


I recently visited a good friend at her home north of Gatineau, Québec, with the sole purpose of parking myself and my camera on her porch to see if I could capture a photo of a hummingbird feeding. This was my second attempt at trying to photograph a hummingbird, and with a few tricks I learned, the results improved. However, I still have a long way to go … need to learn some more tricks of the trade.

Hummingbird Feeding

Hummingbird Feeding

On the way back home, I decided to take a look at the covered bridge and Gatineau River just outside the town of Wakefield, Québec.

And while there, I came across this cute wee critter …

Honey Hunting

Honey Hunting

Sunday Drive – Renfrew & Burnstown (August 14, 2016)


On Sunday, August 14, 2016, my friend Elizabeth and I went for a drive through the Renfrew county countryside – she was prospecting for interesting minerals, and I wanted to take pictures. Our first stop was at the Renfrew town suspension bridge, so that we could poke among the river rocks. Because of the recent drought, we were able to walk on the large boulders in the middle of the river, and I was able to get these photos from a location, which is typically covered by water.

From Renfrew, we drove to the large rock cut just east of the bridge in Burnstown. While Elizabeth looked for minerals in the rock face, I snapped these photos of the Madawaska River.

It was one of those cool, dull and overcast days, but the day wasn’t without colour …

Thistle

Thistle

Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar


I discovered this wee beastie making its way across some concrete and gravel, and couldn’t resist taking its photo.

Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar

I later discovered that it is the caterpillar for the Spurge Hawkmoth. This moth was introduced into North America from Europe because it liked to eat spurge. Now spurge is a noxious weed that was introduced into North America from Europe.

You think we would learn to stop trying to do Mother Nature’s job?

Casino du Lac-Leamy’s Sound of Light – Estonia (August 13, 2016)


Estonia’s contribution to the 2016 Casino du Lac-Lemy’s Fireworks Competition