Back in Black (and White)

One can not begin to explain how excited one is now the hellish cold of winter has thawed and the promise of summer is heating our frozen souls…. So why not celebrate with all the photoshoots around the beautiful city of Ottawa! I am very lucky to have a great model friend to join me on my escapades, so big thanks to Adriana for your stunning face and patience of a saint.

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Perhaps one of my favourite parts of the city now is just behind the Chateau, above the locks due to the big sky, the Gatineau hills in the background and of course the consistency of the lines and style.

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Something I wanted to try out was playing with a figure on stairs. After being constantly inspired by Rodchenko’s work from the age of 15, it is time for me to actually try it out for myself. In this case using the organic lines of my model in contrast to the consistent solid lines that are created with the architecture of the stairs.

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Another thing about spring and summer is the warmth of light and the depth of shadows that are created.

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Safe to say I’ll be using the lines the city has to offer a lot more this season, as there are so many opportunities I can not say no too.

Stay tuned for more!

Normal Canadian Things I Find Weird #2

After getting positive feedback on my potty post, I thought I would continue my series of awkward britishness abroad and bring you the second of the series…..
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Normal Canadian Things I Find Weird #2 Precipitants

So I found a definition of precipitants on the Met Office website and now am slightly alarmed: 

The definition of precipitation is any form of water – liquid or solid – falling from the sky. It includes rain, sleet, snow, hail and drizzle plus a few less common occurrences such as ice pellets, diamond dust and freezing rain.

Weather is weather right? Wrong. From my experience as a seasoned British person I can confirm the weather stereotypes are true. Having issues with engaging conversation? Talk about the weather. Need something to complain about? Talk about the weather. Need an excuse for something? The weather. See the unfurling trend?

The average annual rainfall is apparently around 133 days for the whole of the UK which amounts to around 36% of days are rainy. But this indeed varies from area to area, for instance Wales sees 167 days (45%) of rain, and that is when the sea doesn’t want to be part of our world.

I can safely say I know rain, hail, sleet and snow as the staple precipitants. And sea water if you want to talk about coastal living, but again that is a different kettle of fish. So why do I find Canadian precipitants weird? Well. Buckle up because I just experienced my first Canadian Winter. And survived. (edit: I apparently it’s not over yet…)

Snow

The most magical of precipitants. We all know the drill in the UK that a small white dot falls from the sky masquerading as snow and the whole country gets its knickers in a twist and literally shuts down. Panic Stations everyone, its started again. Bring on more snow and it’s just a mess. There are bread shortages and crisis after crisis, people put milk in their tea before the water; generally not a good thing.
As a younger human I did enjoy the idea of snow and doing the snow things as school would be cancelled, like tobogganing and snowball fights. A snow day was a magical thing that came out of the blue. Well the grey.

BUT snow is not the same in Canada and people just carry on with their lives as they muscle their way through 20 ft of snow on the sidewalk as they need their Timmy’s as its roll up the rim season. I should also mention that when it snows here in Ottawa, it is not bad as other places in Canada.

My issue with snow is that it is deceiving and tricky. After settling being all nice and fresh and dusty the temperature will drop, freeze your eyelashes together and turn the snow into a nightmarish hell. It looks so innocent, being all untouched and bright but do not be deceived by its siren like appearance as that sh*t hurts when you do the slip and land in it. AND the snowbanks. Yes the Canada is efficient at clearing the roads and sorting out the sidewalks and doing the grit thing but it mounts up to a wall between cars and people. Crossing the road doesn’t get tougher than this.

Then there’s the snow removal. Just overnight teams just clear up the snow into big trucks and it disappears. Where does it go? Is it recycled as icebergs? Do they sacrifice it for a milder winter? I am sure there is a rational explanation that I am not asking the right people for…

One last thing about snow. When it goes to the blue sky sunny days the snow blinds you. If you don’t have sunglasses you might as well be staring into the abyss of hell as it freezes over.

Freezing Rain

I was warned about freezing rain and I merely laughed it off. My relationship with rain and complaining about the rain made me believe I could handle anything rainlike coming out the sky. Until I got caught in freezing rain. At first it was just like rain, refreshing, wet and very much rainlike. And then it changed. It disguises itself as normal raindrops until it lands. Then it reveals its true icy form as it changes roads and paths into skating rinks and physically freezes your clothes in place.

The best way to describe freezing rain to people who have never had the horror of experiencing it, would be to say it’s backwards hail. Hail comes down as ice and melts when it hits the ground. It does sting a bit but it just leaves places damp. Freezing rain is the opposite. It comes down damp and freezes everything it touches.

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What is the best bit about freezing rain? It ruins lives. That may seem a dramatic response, but it does form icicles in a blink of an eye weighing down trees and plants and powerlines. Something that can be potentially dangerous. And it doesn’t runoff like water. Once it hits the ground, it sits there. And as its ice and not snow, plowing does little to tame the behaviour of it.

I thought I had a good understanding and relationship with rain, but now I doubt going outside when the heavens have opened. What if it’s that fake rain malarky again?

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I could quite happily talk about the weather for another 1000 words. Maybe I should have gone in meteorology…
Until next time friends, make sure you make the most of the sunshine!

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Toronto in Blue

Over the weekend I went to Toronto for the weekend. Being a short 4ish hour drive form Ottawa, what’s not to lose?

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I’ve been trying to stylise my pictures for a unique look and the G7 lets me play with colour so much more than my Canon 6d. All the edits are made in Lightroom on RAW files and exported as Jpegs.

2 Months in

To be truthful it’s been very hard to put into words the transition of Europe to North America, so apologies for the delay, and enjoy this rambling read…
As a Brit moving to Canada didn’t seem that much of a move from the U.K. Oh how I was proven wrong. Of course the normal things of knowing that the British accent is loved were expected but a few things have thrown me slightly.

The best way to describe Ottawa is that someone has taken my memories of England and France and shifted them to the left a couple of inches. Pieces of Architecture from both cultures entwined with the modern city scape make living here easier than I expected.

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Language barriers

Unlike the conventional language barriers that are common in Europe, the Canadian Language barrier is more like a language hurdle that you can definitely have a laugh about. My usual experience with language barriers is with the complete inability to understand the noises someone is making. Over here it is as if someone wanted to make life more interesting and  just took a few words in the dictionary and switched the definitions and watch the chaos unfurl. As a Brit you could imagine my horror when I was told to come into work with no pants, as pants in Britain are underpants, not what the North Americans refer to as trousers. Again just small changes of words from mobile to cell, pavement to sidewalk and my favorite, courgette to zucchini. One of my favourite phrases of the UKadian night out that I definitely know not to ask is “Can I bum a fag?” This harmless whimsical slang of politely asking to borrow a smoke can be considered  as a bit unruly and may be seen as homophobic and not politically correct.  Many of my british english speaking friends also have encountered awkward language borders, a fun favorite is during classes; “Can I borrow a rubber?” which of course makes sense. a rubber to rub out your pencil. But alas, this does mean condom in the North Americas hence the perplexity and shock one receives from this statement.

“That’s a great British accent you have, how long have you been practicing?”
Oh my dear, if you didn’t figure out I was British from my accent I think we have an issue. My accent accentuates every little consonant to the extent that you may start to feel sorry for the letters being attacked and I have a habit of elision. However I have noticed something horrifying in the way I talk now that would make any elocution teacher shiver. My British Ts have digressed into Ds. (Send BBC Radio 4 care packages.)

But I notice some words I say are definitely different to the majority of people around me.(*Trigger Warning*)
Here is a list of words that I shall no longer say in fear of my own sanity, well being and integrity:

Aluminium
Vitamin
Schedule
Aubergine
Garage
Basil
Oregano
Corriander
Tuna
Yoghurt
Fillet
Route

One day we will be able to talk about you again.

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Shops, Pubs and Public Convenience

Shops are shops wherever you go, like you can buy your groceries in shops and markets all over the world and there is not much of  difference as the idea is ubiquitous. But lets look at our friend Ontario the province that I find myself in. Alcohol is not necessarily sold in supermarkets. There is no chance of going to the corner store to score yourself a bevvy. After living in Wales for the last 4ish years it is a bit of a surprise when you have to plan a trek to the local beer store or LCBO to buy the booze and not just pop down the road to replenish your liquor stocks. Okay, I see the pros for the government of monitoring alcoholism and things but also where is the equivalent meal for one deal you can get from M&S with microwave dauphinois potatoes and a bottle of prosecco?! I don’t think Canada has a M&S or Waitrose equivalent. (Why am I here again?!)

Lets move onto the purchasing of your groceries. I’m not sure If I am just an awkward or a rude person but in my experience of the Great British Shop, you don’t communicate unless its essential. This goes for retail and restaurants as well; there is no idle chatter. In my Canadian experience,  around 98% of the time, no matter the establishment, you’ll get someone saying “Hi” and engaging in conversation. *Panic stations* There is no way I would be prepared for this in the U.K. and usually would result in my abrupt walk away as it is an unspoken rule that this interaction is frowned upon in British society.

I would love to say Pubs are Pubs wherever you go. However, this would be a lie. Although, A bar is a bar wherever you go. If something claims to be a pub outside of Europe then I be prepared to have your idea of pub reformatted. Pubs are restaurants, and everything is on a tab. Pubs serve food always. And you usually pay at the table at the end of the night. And you tip. You tip a lot. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

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The City, The Town and Suburbia

I can’t really compare cities across the world only ones I’ve been to, so the majority European, the likes of London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Paris, Lyon, Caen, Geneva, Salzburg, Riga, Brussels, Eindhoven and many other European Cities, and of course a smattering of cities in North America. And there is definitely a stark contrast between European Cityscape and North American.
I can’t say I hate the differences as they are just that different.

North American cities and towns seem to operate on a grid system. This is super handy to navigate and get around. It makes sense. The roads don’t have weird windy one way systems that make you want to drive off a bridge or lead you to somewhere miles away from where you need to be. The newer towns and cities seem to understand that roadways and sidewalks need to be wider for the regulation of road and foot traffic so there isn’t fear of death. *cough oxford street*.
However. There is a significant road feature that I miss. The humble roundabout. Europeans love it, the Americans don’t know how to use it, the roundabout wins hearts and eases traffic. Okay the last one was a lie, lets look at Milton Keynes and Swindon here for killing the roundabout. Yes, the roundabout is not a feature commonly use in Canada and well, it’s not exactly needed as most interactions are one road crossing another, not a knotty mess of 6+ plus roads crossing each other that seems to be a recurring feature throughout the European countries.

Onto the Suburbs. The place for commuting? I’m not quite sure why suburbs exist and how they exist and quite frankly they frighten me. Subdivisions are like council house estates in the UKadia but they seem to lack the integrated public conveniences and park space, just a twisted residential lattice with shopping centres located around it. It is definitely something I have not come across before in the Europes and something I’m not keen on trying out. I think I’ve watched too many suburban horror films.

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That’s what I make of my moving experience so far – Thanks for the read, leave me a star, a comment or a share and I’ll repay the favour.

 

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Ottawa Photo Post

I haven’t been driven enough to write loads recently, and being back in an education that seems almost full time (except the strike) means that I haven’t had a spare moment to create a post that gives justice to my absence… So here are some photos instead of Ottawa just before the dark sets in.

 

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All taken on a Lumix G7.
Can not recommend this little camera enough.