Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Snowy Rock Cut

You probably drive right past them and don't notice, but I'm intrigued with rock cuts along the highways.  And a week or two ago they were decorated with lots of snow clinging to the rocks. 

This is a rock cut at the village of Woodford, halfway to Owen Sound from here.  It's the Amabel dolostone, a hard limestone that sometimes shows narrow layers, and sometimes large blocks of rock.  It forms vertical cliffs along the Niagara Escarpment.

In fact the road used to avoid the cliff by curving around the hill to get through Woodford, but a few decades back they blasted out the rock and provided a nice straight road so you don't have to slow down.

You can tell these rocks haven't been exposed for too many decades, as they're not weathered and still fairly light brown or beige in colour.

I just thought the pattern of snow catching and holding on all the little rock ledges was really interesting, and there's a nice wide shoulder to safely pull off on here..

Interesting layers,

and some big snow cornices along the top in places.  Of course this is all gone now, after the thaw late last week.  And starting tomorrow it's supposed to be above freezing again for a few days, with considerable rain on the weekend.  I expect we won't have much snow left at all by Monday.  It's the usual 'January Thaw', even though today was quite cold with a serious windchill.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Weaver's Creek Falls

For years I never knew Weaver's Creek Falls existed, but 15 years ago the city of Owen Sound added a short nature trail up the creek to the falls.  The valley is so narrow that a lot of the trail is boardwalk built right over the water, and it's a beautiful short walk starting right beside the swimming pool in Harrison Park.

This is the start of the trail.  You're seeing about 80% of it right here, so it's very short, and there's water flowing under that boardwalk.

A couple of curves of the boardwalk and a short distance of further trail and you're at the end.

Tried to capture the bedrock steps the creek flows down over here.

As you get closer the valley is tangled with fallen trees, but there's the little waterfalls.

I sometimes think a more distant view provides better context in a situation like this.

But of course I like to get as close as I can too, so I zoomed my little camera out to the max and got this shot.

But I was carrying my big Nikon with its telephoto lens (its normal lens being in the camera hospital), so leaning on that fallen tree I got even closer.

I'll leave you with what I thought was my best photo of the outing.  You can find much closer shots of the falls online if you care to look, but there's a 'No Trespassing' sign which I have so far obeyed, so this is as close as I get.

I was pleased to see that this project was actually organized by Owen Sound's Scenic City Order of Good Cheer!  That may be a group I want to find out more about' they have raised a great deal of money for community projects.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Harrison Park, Owen Sound

Harrison Park in Owen Sound is probably the nicest municipal park that I know of.  Given to the city by John and Emma Harrison in 1912, it had been John's personal project in the late 1800's, known as Harrison's Pleasure Grounds.  It appeals to me both because the Sydenham River runs through it, and all the slopes around the edge of the park are still forested.  And there's a great restaurant!

At the moment the Christmas decorations are still up.  there are a lot of lights at night,

Picnic tables waiting for spring.

One hundred years ago a 'Mile Drive' was laid circling the outer edge of the park at the bottom of the steep slopes.  I expect it was initially used by horses and carriages.  I remember driving with my grandmother around this loop when I was a young child.  Now it's a popular walking trail.

At the same time they created a secondary shallow river channel that children can wade in - which I did as a very young child!  Not at this time of year though.

The restaurant has always been a popular heart of the park, and the times I've eaten there the food has been excellent.  I highly recommend it.

Now they've added some fancy new playground equipment like these musical chimes, which were clanging gently in the breeze.

And an outdoor rink with artificial ice no less, that doubles as a basketball court in the summer.  Occasional warm days over the winter play havoc with natural outdoor ice rinks here, so this is a great improvement, though expensive.

But my favourite feature is Weaver's Creek and falls.  I'll share some pictures of that tomorrow.  I'll undoubtedly be visiting Owen Sound and walking the trails of Harrison Park regularly over the next few years, and perhaps having lunch there too occasionally!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunny Day and the Bay is Blue

When I first thought of writing a post showing the moods of Georgian Bay, I didn't live here, and only saw the bay occasionally.  Now that I live here I realize that its mood changes every day, and sometimes hour by hour.  After those angry waves two days ago, today it was a peaceful blue under our first sunny day in a long time!

Under blue skies and a gentle south-west wind, there were ripples but no significant waves.

But a wide band of ice has built up along the shoreline, which is only a few feet from the left side of the picture.  It looks solid, but I'm not sure it is.

When I was there in the fall, the water was lapping up against the line of boulders on the right.  I expect those heavy waves helped build up a lot of this ice, but there's no sign of the bay itself freezing.

The two big boulders I always look for were totally ice-covered.  I wondered to myself what these looked like in Friday's storm.

To the east long stretches of ice had built up, extending out into the bay.

To the west you could see the breakwalls and harbour light.

Some of those houses up there must have a spectacular view of the bay!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Frozen Inglis Falls

As I promised, I did get back to Inglis Falls, and this time got some great pictures of the falls, totally frozen!  The water disappears under the ice above the falls, and pops out at the base where the river begins.  Only once before have I seen the falls so totally frozen.

My first glimpse of the falls is through the Cedars on the edge of the cliff.  I was actually astonished to see it this completely white, but the temperature had been in the -20°C range for two weeks.

Stepping beyond the trees, you get a complete view of the falls, with a remnant of one of the old mill buildings at the top.  Compare this one to the very last one below if you want to see the seasonal contrast!

I love the ice formations that you can see when you zoom in, especially when I think about climbing over the rocks now buried beneath that ice, during the summer.

Looking downstream and out over the valley toward Owen Sound, you can see where the water breaks through and the river starts tumbling down toward the bay.

It would be treacherous to go exploring along the river now, as you'd never know when you'd break through into the river below you.

Little back windows into the roaring stream that's mostly out of sight.

I always stop and take a quick look upstream too, where the Sydenham River falls over the old mill dam, and in about 50 yards hits the falls.

Today it's disappearing under the ice before it ever gets to the lip of the falls.  Obviously the current is strongest along the right hand side.

Interesting chunks of ice being pushed against the rocks by the current.  Look at the very upper edge of this photo, and compare it to below....

.... a tiny pocket of slender icicles hanging and dripping over the water.

And just in case you're wondering, a summer shot from two or three years back, for comparison.  All photos (except this one), taken with my little point-and-shoot.

Friday, January 12, 2018

What a Change in the Weather!

We have gone from Arctic cold and 2+ feet of snow through a sudden mild spell that took us up to 10°C yesterday, and back down to nearly -20 tonight.  In the middle of that brief January thaw, at least half of our snow evaporated almost overnight, and snowbanks were left a dirty brown.  Today we had a flash freeze and the temperature plunged below freezing again, and then it started snowing.  The snowbanks are white again.  As you'd expect with such a sudden change, it was accompanied by lots of wind, in our case straight off the bay out of the northwest driving huge waves into shore.

I stopped by the harbour just to see what the mood of the bay was, and found it the stormiest I have ever seen!  The dirty river was just churning out into the bay, and the waves were washing that water straight back in to shore.

But a video shows it so much better than just a photo; be sure to take a look.  Make sure you enlarge it to full size too.  The white bits blowing through the air are the snow that was falling.

These are simply bigger waves than I've ever had the fun of seeing here before.  I nearly froze my hand trying to get pictures too, with the cold wind blowing in off the bay.

And I had to stand back 20 feet to avoid getting splashed!

Enjoy the storm!


I'm recovering so well I've been out twice a day recently, and for the first time in months, have a surplus of pictures for blog posts.  I'll be back to showing you frozen Inglis Falls tomorrow.  All the pictures above were taken with our little point-and-shoot, and the videos with my iphone.  That's one thing I think the iphone camera does really well.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Have You Encountered "Live" Photos Yet?

I had my first encounter with 'live' photos yesterday, and I was not impressed.  With my big camera lens sent off to the camera hospital, I tried out my new iphone camera when we stopped at Inglis Falls.  Unbeknownst to me, the iphone SE features a new gimmick called 'Live', and the default setting has it turned on.

I always start my visit to Inglis Falls by checking out the mill pond dam above the falls.  This photo turned out fine.

Ice formations on the main falls - the entire falls is frozen, the falling water underneath completely encased in ice.  I've only seen it like this once before.

Finally the water pops out in the river channel at the base of the falls, where it appears in black 'windows' in the snow.  I took 22 photos altogether, but when I got home and loaded them up on the computer, 19 of them were little videos!

This is one of those little videos, a 'Live' photo.  Apple came up with the bright idea that you could embed your photo in a few seconds of video to make it more interesting.  Of course it only works on Apple devices, and if you post it to Facebook.  I've seen these in online news sites, where you see a photo that seems to have a little we bit of movement to it.  But it seems like a stupid unnecessary distraction to me!  Be glad to hear what you think.

The other side of it is that once you load it into a photo-editing program like Lightroom, you can't edit it, and it shows up only as a video.  Luckily I figured out quickly how I could turn this useless little feature off!  And I went back today and got some 'real' photos which I'll share with you tomorrow.

Here's a 'real' video of the creek above the falls, just before it disappears under the ice to come out again at the base of the falls.