On Saturday, September 30, 2017, I attended a photo scavenger hunt in the Ottawa downtown area. There was no prize for your efforts and I used the time just to explore parts of the Ottawa area around the National Gallery of Canada. These are some of the photos that I took during my 3 or 4 hours of exploration.
This morning I met up at 7:00 am with some of the members of the Camera Club of Ottawa so that we could explore the Mud Lake area in the morning light and when there are fewer people around. The wild life was a wee bit scarce and apart from the constant territorial disagreements between the Canadian geese, there wasn’t a lot of action. I did manage to get a few photos that I thought were worth keeping.
After a while, I decided to break away from the group and head out on my own to explore the swampy areas of Mud Lake. I’m glad I did – although not a great photo, I managed to capture three woodland ducks (one female and two males) having a ménage à trois in the bushes.
I resisted telling them to get a room. Not often you have a chance to see the wildlife in action.
Mud Lake is one of the most ecologically important natural habitats in the urban part of Canada’s Capital Region. It is identified as a Provincially Significant Wetland and an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest by the government of Ontario and is classified a Protected Area management Category IV (habitat and species management area).
This 60-hectare natural environment is a complex of wetlands along the Ottawa River, the majority of which is made up of deciduous swamp forest. The driest part, to the west, contains a mature forest stand which is made up predominantly of white, red and burr oak, as well as white pine.
Mud Lake is a habitat for a wide diversity of animal species. Located within the Lac Deschênes area and in a major migratory corridor, it specifically serves as an important environment for bird conservation and is recognized as one of the most popular urban sites for birdwatching in Canada. 269 species of birds have been recorded, as well as numerous species of amphibians, reptiles and fish that are not commonly found either regionally or nationally. It also hosts diverse plant life, with 44 rare and 15 uncommon plant species as well as several fauna species-at-risk.
Several species of invasive non-native plants threaten the biodiversity of the Mud Lake habitat. Eleven of these species have been recorded, covering about 29 percent of the total area of this natural habitat.
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.
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.
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 …