22°C

There’s nothing quite like the November sun. It’s low, it’s bright, and when you’re in the city it reflects all over the place in all sorts of unexpected ways.

I had the good fortune to be able to play hooky from work for a few hours yesterday afternoon and take advantage of the unseasonably warm (22°C vs the “normal” 7°C or so) and go on a little photowalk in downtown Ottawa.

Here’s a little of what I saw, arranged in pairs.

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L’affaire est ketchup

Went back to Québec City for a family thing last weekend and had a few hours to kill in the St-Roch district on Sunday morning; I couldn’t help myself and snapped away like a kid in a candy store.

FYI, “l’affaire est ketchup” loosely translates as “it’s all good” or “everything’s cool” from québecois joual.

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Le moins vieux Québec


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Old Québec City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason. It’s the only North American city to have preserved its fortifications and ramparts, and is second to none in terms of its architecture, historic charm and overall awesomeness. If you’ve never been, you must go.

However, there’s a whole lot of charm in Québec City outside the walls of the Old Town. The “haute ville” and the “basse ville,” particularly in the St-Jean-Baptiste, Montcalm, and St-Roch neighbourhoods (just to the west of the ramparts).

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The old buildings in these neighborhoods—not quite as old as Old Québec, but old enough—have generally been well-maintained and ooze charm. These areas are mostly residential with a dash of commercial here & there. Formerly working-class, they are gentrifying quickly and you can feel the tension between the traditional residents and the monied classes moving in. It shows in the grafitti, and it shows in the vary states of renovation.

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A natural capital

As soon as you leave the ceremonial areas of Ottawa (think: Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court etc.) and get away from the other obvious touristy areas (ByWard Market, The Canadian Museum of *.*, etc.) it’s VERY easy to forget you’re in the national capital of a G7 country.

Ottawa is easily one of the most modest capital cities you’ll ever come across, and it’s one that’s very much in touch with nature and outdoor living. We are the second-coldest capital city in the world, which means when summer comes, we enjoy it. We do everything we can to extract the most out of summer, and depending where you look, it can be easy to forget you’re smack in the center of a city!

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26,271 steps Out of Chicago

Sunday was a heck of a day for me at the Out of Chicago conference. I wound up waking up early (like 5:30AM early) and couldn’t sleep. I had nothing to do before 8:30 when my first session was set to start.

A photographer alone in a new city, unencumbered by anything other than photographic gear always has something to do.

So I headed out for a little photowalk. A black Venti Pike in my left hand, a silver X100F in my right, I hit the streets before most of Chicago was even awake.

(Please click on the images to open them in a lightbox. They’ll look a lot better!)

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Later on, it was time for a street photography photowalk with Marie Laigneau. I learned more than anything else I have a lot to learn about street photography. But I think I got a few interesting shots in, nonetheless.

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I went out for a walk at lunch (what else is there to do, really?) and headed for Millennium Park, which was totally overrun by tourists. The Bean, a must-see piece of public sculpture, is surrounded by throngs of people and is almost impossible to shoot “cleanly”. So I didn’t even bother trying. It makes for some pretty compelling abstracts, though. Rick Sammon’s closing talk at the end of the day inspired my to play around with colour, in honour of the day’s Pride festivities.

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After lunch it was time for yet another photowalk, this time with Angie McMonigal, an exceptionally talented architecture and fine art photographer. She’s really nice, too! Our walk was centred around architecture (naturally) and I think this is where I came into my element a little more.

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After all that, it was time to head back and put my tired feet up.