Cold, Hard Water

This week’s photos are brought to you by the letter “I”, for “ice”.
(Weekly Photo – Week #09, February 26, 2014)

Last week a friend asked me what I was going to post on my blog this week and she wondered if it would be “igloos” for the letter “I”. Close guess, but no cigar! This week it is about ice.

For what seemed like a brief moment this past weekend, we came out of the winter deep freeze to experience about 20mm of rain and above freezing temperatures. Then we were once again plunged into the winter deep freeze. So, I believe it is only appropriate that ice would be a great photo topic for this week.

Let us start with a few recent photos taken at the Rideau Falls here in Ottawa. This past Saturday a close friend asked me if we could go for a drive, I asked where, and she asked if we could go see the Rideau Falls. There were two interesting sights to see there:  the frozen waterfalls where the Rideau River flows into the Ottawa River, and ‚ the cutting of the ice on the Rideau River to help manage the water flow, especially after heavy rains and snow melt.

The remainder of these photos were taken at different times and all have an ice theme.

Now for a piece of trivia regarding water and ice. Have you ever wondered why lakes do not freeze solid to the bottom of the lake? It is because water has a unique property in that water is most dense at the temperature of 4° Centigrade. That means that water at the freezing point of 0° will always be above the denser and slightly warmer water sitting at the bottom of the lake.

Beauty in Motion … and Sometimes Standing Still

This week’s photos are brought to you by the letter “H” for “horse”.
(Weekly Photo – Week #08, February 19, 2014)

I have a confession to make – I have been terrified of horses since I was in my early teens.

At that time, I was involved in quite a bad accident while riding a horse. Now the accident probably had more to do with the fact that I had no experience or training in horseback riding, but nonetheless, the accident left a mental scar – as much as I thought horses were magnificent animals, I would not go near them. In August 2012, I came across a photo of me riding a horse when I was in my late teens. I had totally forgotten about this (no, it wasn’t a mental block, just a lousy memory) and it made me wonder if there was yet hope for me to get back on a horse.

So in late 2013 I did! And I am glad I did because now I am falling in love with these wonderful animals. Here are some photos, past and present, of horses in my photo collection.

Also, some inanimate horses …

And this cutie is not a horse but he is so cute I couldn’t resist adding him to this blog …

Picture of the Week 2014 – Round 1-H-DSC_1845_

And last, but certainly not least, meet Fanny. She is the horse I have been learning to ride at TROtt, and she is an absolute sweetie, with a bit of a mischievous streak in her friendly personality.

Picture of the Week 2014 – Round 1-H-_DSC4153_

Silicon Beauty

This week’s photos are brought to you by the letter “G” for “glass”.
(Weekly Photo – Week #07, February 12, 2014)

Saying that a glass is half‑full or half‑empty is another way of stating the positive or negative, or the difference between optimism and pessimism. A cynical person might refer to these sayings as irresponsible hopefulness or practical reasonableness. As for me, I search for the person who sees an empty glass lying in the dry sand of a desert, and states, “That glass has a lot of potential to hold water.”

Last week’s photos focused (no pun intended) on Fresnel lenses, yet another use of glass. In this week’s photos I present a few photos of glass items that I have had an opportunity to photograph. For as long as I remember, I have been fascinated with glass and glass objects. As a young child, and without my parents’ knowledge, I would melt glass tubes with the heat of our gas stove and then stretch and bend the glass – just to see what I could do with this fascinating material. I went a step further and took a three‑day course on glass blowing (to discover that this was certainly not my forte, but fun all the same).

In the past, I have had a large collection of glass bottles and other glass objects, and eventually gave up much of these as collectors of dust – yet I still have a few pieces, which I cherish.

Several years ago, I started taking photographs of glass objects only to discover that these are among the most difficult objects to photograph! The properties of glass objects that make them so wonderful to look at, are also the properties that are the most difficult to photograph. If the scene is not set up properly, the glass objects reflect everything, including the lights, camera and photographer. Unless the lighting is correct, the glass objects look flat in the final images.

One of my goals is to master the art of taking photographs of glass objects. Another goal, not related to photography, is to visit the world’s largest glass museum in Corning, New York. That should make for a great motor biking trip next summer.

Guiding Light

This week’s photos are brought to you by the letter “F” for “Fresnel”.
(Weekly Photo – Week #06, February 5, 2014)

Lighthouse Lighting Equipment

Lighthouse Lighting Equipment

About this time last year, I visited the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse, situated at the Ponce de Leon Inlet on the Atlantic coast of Florida. It is one of the few working lighthouses in the United States and this was the first time in my life that I had an opportunity to visit a lighthouse up close, so close that I climbed the stairs to the top. Although fascinated by the lighthouse, I was drawn to the lighting system used at the top of the lighthouse. (Lighthouse – light – lens – photography – see the connection?)

Fresnel Lens Close Up

Fresnel Lens Close Up

Most lighthouses, past and present, use a nifty piece of technology called the Fresnel lens, first used in 1823 and developed specifically for lighthouses by the French physicist Augustin‑Jean Fresnel. The lens design permits the construction of large aperture lenses with a short focal length, and without the mass and volume that would be required with a conventional lens design. This makes them ideal for capturing a light source, which can then be made visible over a great distance. The Fresnel lens is divided into one of six orders, based on the size and focal length.

In addition to the Fresnel lens in the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse, a museum on the property depicts the history of Fresnel lenses, some of which I have displayed through my photos in this blog posting.

Here is some background on the actual lighthouse and property for anyone visiting the area.

Lighthouse Shadow from Top of Lighthouse

Lighthouse Shadow from Top of Lighthouse

Work started on the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse in 1884 and on November 1, 1887, the lighthouse was activated for the first time with a first order fixed Fresnel lens illuminated by a kerosene lantern. In 1933, the service was electrified and a rotating third order Fresnel lens was installed. By 1970, the US Coast Guard abandoned the lighthouse, replacing it with a beacon on the south side of the Ponce Inlet. In 1972, the Town of Ponce Inlet acquired the deed to the lighthouse and surrounding property and the complete facility was restored as a museum. In late 1982, the Coast Guard installed a modern beacon in the tower and the lighthouse was officially reactivated as an aid to marine navigation.

The Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station is now a National Historic Landmark and they have a web site at and you can take a virtual tour of the Fresnel lens museum at

Stairs to the Top of the Lighthouse

Stairs to the Top of the Lighthouse