So, it was the beginning of the 2012 Ottawa Tulip Festival this weekend past. I made plans with a friend to go to two venues, both Major's Hill Park and Dow's Lake (Commissioner Park) to take some shots of the tulips in bloom. Adding to the weekend was Super Moon 2012, the one day of the year that the moon is closer to the earth than it will be for the rest of the year.
I took some exposures of Super Moon on Saturday evening, but unless you see it in the context of other objects, the standard moon shot doesn't really show how it appears to look larger. The next morning, we had a really early start, and driving into Ottawa from the west end area, I noticed in my rear view mirror that the setting moon was immense, and seemed to be taking up the whole of the hill top of the Queensway highway in Kanata. Pulling over, I got out and noted that the moon was setting so rapidly that it was visibly moving below the horizon. Had I been 90 seconds earlier on these shots, it would have shown the moon as it appeared to sit dead centre on the westbound lanes. As it was, I missed that and the result is less than spectacular, but you can still see the effect of how large it appeared on the horizon.
Next, we hit Major's Hill Park around 05:50 A.M., and began taking shots of the tulips and area. In addition to some nice macro shots of the blooms, I broke out my Infra Red (IR) filter to take some exposures. I love the effect of IR filter work. Its often referred to as "Stygian", meaning it relates to the River Styx in Greek mythology, the river which the dead would have to cross in their journey into the afterlife. I don't feel that IR shots are therefore morbid or have the taint of death about them but rather, they seem pleasingly surreal to me. Since IR filters are so opaque, it takes about 2-3 minutes, even in broad daylight, to take one exposure. So, if the clouds are moving, they are blurred in the shot since the shutter is open for such a long time. The blurring adds to the surreal feel, and these shots of Major's Hill Park and the National Gallery show that.
We then took some shots around Parliament Hill before heading out to Dow's Lake (Commissioner Park), where by 10:00 A.M., the crowds had grown quite large. Using my fish eye lens, wide angle lens and telephoto zoom, I was able to get some decent results. I was also using my preferred set up of Singh-Ray warming polarizing filter with Singh-Ray slit neutral density filters to tame the brightening sky.
Overall, it was a good day, finished off with a very pleasant lunch courtesy of my camera buddy. The Tulip Festival runs for 2 weeks I believe, so if you can, get out and enjoy the May weather and bring your camera along.
Chris Kiez, a hardcore photographer since the 80's, learned to take a picture before the age of selfies and cell phone photography, training on mechanical cameras and film. After years of taking photos of all manner of subjects and people, he did over a 10 year stint as a crime scene photographer on two continents. Now, he does portrait and landscape photos, and is currently distressing the world with his relentlessly, excruciatingly boring blogging. To buy what you see on this site, click here!