Another warm and sunny day – so off to Fort Whyte for a quick look for some feathered friends. And, another trial of the Sony HX200.
Well, we know we will see Canada Geese at this time of the year. Thousands of them come by and stop over-night at Fort Whyte Alive. Many decide to stay here for the summer. Some just close their eyes and rest.
The marsh area is a perfect place for so many visitors.
It feels so good to see the marsh finally thawing and to know that within a few days life will burst forth again.
Just look at the simple beauty of these plants.
Waxwings are among my favourite birds. In this area we see Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings. These have to be among the most elegant of birds.
I am quite pleased with the result using the Sony.
Chickadees are very common here all year round, usually they are quite smooth, fast talkers. But this one seems to have become a little rumpled. Probably after finally getting to bathe in melt-water.
What happened to his tail?
More Bohemian Waxwings arrived and were very patient with me as I tried to find them in the screen and then get them into reasonable focus.
However, their patience wasn’t endless.
I cropped one of the photographs to show you the detail provided by the Sony. Isn’t this a magnificent bird?
But like all good things, our walking time came to an end and we waddled home.
I have shown you many images of Puerto Vallarta and the outstanding, sometimes bizarre, but always beautiful sculptures along the Malecon sea-wall walkway. I thought it time to show some from Winnipeg. All these are from the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden in Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg. Often you will come across deer in the heart of Winnipeg, sometimes, they are not live, but some of Leo Mol’s work.
The Leo Mol garden is a gem. A beautiful setting, it extends from the English Garden and is complete with water features, outside and in-door galleries and a workshop. It is a special place to walk, look, relax and think; all the time surrounded by the work of this great artist.
Walking along the pathway, with snow still lingering, I came across this small family. You feel as though you should stand still, and be very quiet, so as not to disturb them as they feed.
These two young Black Bear are eternally playing. There are many other sculptures of Black Bear throughout the garden.
I am interested in the minimalist hint of fur texture. Leo Mol leaves a real sense of the original sculpting material used to create these forms. I have an impression of the animals’ strength, the softness of their fur and the malleability of the original material in which these figures were formed. They are perfectly set amongst the trees of the garden.
This is one of my favourites. We are invited to imagine the aeroplane – perhaps a Twin Otter – so prevalent in the North. Feel the power as the man struggles to turn over the propeller. Simple lines, gritted teeth, great effort. Today’s remaining snow sets the scene so well.
One of our more famous prime ministers. I am drawn to the texture; the look off into the distance. What burdens our politicians take on, even the ones we don’t much like. Diefenbaker was before my time as a Canadian, so I have no opinion to offer or to disguise.
Manitoba, our province, has a large Ukrainian population and is enriched by Ukrainian culture. Mr. Topolnicky was one of the first to establish credit unions in Winnipeg. Judging by this image he was also an accomplished musician.
Many of Leo Mol’s nudes had similar shaped bodies and faces. I love the angles of this seated nude and the pensive expression he has captured.
This is a detail of one of the young women Mol sculpted. I find his minimalist rendering of her skin and hair enhances the sense of geometric beauty.
Leo Mol provided artistic interpretations for many churches, including stained-glass windows. To me this depiction of Moses shows great strength and rage.
Leo Mol was from the Ukraine and did much to honour other Ukrainian leaders. The great Ukrainian poet and artist Taras Shevchenko is featured in a number of his works – they can be found around the world including Washington DC and many in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.
I can imagine Leo Mol’s hands sculpting clay models as he designed this piece. Can you feel his thumbs and fingers in the shaping of Taras’s collar? What about the subtle lines of his chin and mouth?
This mother and child could easily be recent immigrants, in the early years of the last century, finding themselves in the harsh reality of winter in their new home, Winnipeg,.
It was men like Alloway, who had the vision to create the institutions and infrastructure that makes Winnipeg such a rich cultural centre today. The Leo Mol Garden is located in one such vision – the beautiful Assiniboine Park, a large graceful oases in the heart of the city. The park has been enjoyed by thousands of immigrants. A place that is free, safe, beautiful. A place that helps Winnipeg to become our home. When I emigrated from England in 1967, I sent many hours enjoying Assiniboine Park. And that was long before the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden was established.
This is the figure of a man sowing seeds in the traditional way. The land of Southern Manitoba is very fertile and stretches as far as the eye can see. The vast summer sky is like the sky in the middle of the ocean. It is daunting to think that these lands were once worked by hand by people who had to survive the harshest of winters and a fast but short growing season. They not only survived, they thrived, turning this into one of the great food-producing areas of the world.
The sower, glimpsed through the dormant branches, as the new growing season is starting way beneath the surface of the ground.
In summer, this is a nice shady shelter with many hanging plants. In early spring the pond is starting to melt. A lovely setting for Leo’s work.
Canada has its own group of artists, as familiar and precious to us as the Impressionists of France. AY Jackson was perhaps the most famous of the group. Although this piece is cast in metal, there is a sense of the softness of Jackson’s flesh. But his inner strength and artistic vision come through in his eyes and expression, so simply rendered.
And finally, a more complex grouping depicting a family. Very fitting as this garden is often full of young families; with adults and children alike enjoying the surroundings and discovering the sculptures. A place of freedom and beauty. If you can, pay a visit. It truly is a garden that delights the soul.
Summer is coming to town! It’s above 5 C (41F) for the first time since the end of October. I went for a photo walk to the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden this afternoon, but took a few images of ‘hopes of summer’ along the way.
Finally we can feel warmth from the sun, the cloud formations are changing and the sky is taking on its summer hue.
There is more activity in the underbrush, some of the buds are starting to form. The squirrels are wondering when the summer food will be available.
I was crouching down to get the shot I wanted when this grey squirrel poked his nose in.
During the winter the evergreens become much darker – it’s very encouraging to see them greening up again.
The shadows at 2 in the afternoon are still quite long. We will be glad of the shade once summer arrives.
This is the English garden in spring – here is a glimpse of it from a summer past
It’s coming soon!
Next up will be some of the images from the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.
We left Mexico to return North, much like the Canada Geese, to discover winter had decided to stay on this year. Yesterday we went for a walk in Fort Whyte Alive nature reserve and educational centre. I tried out my new Sony HX200V. It’s a point-and shoot with a 30X optical zoom and up to 60x Clear Image zoom. These are images from the walk. I needed something less heavy to carry on regular walks. So far I am pleased.
This is what it’s supposed to be like at the end of February, not the 10th of April. It’s beautiful but definitely anachronistic.
Cyril-the-Squirrel was busy collecting food from the bird feeding station. He took his lunch to the safety of the scrub-oak tree.
The HX200V takes a decent zoom photograph, these are all hand-held.
I was able to get up close and friendly with Mr. S.
With a point and shoot, in bright sunshine, it’s a little harder to get the focus point right – but I still like the dramatic feel of this.
We also walked over to the Bison enclosure. This big guy was staying away from the rest of the herd – I know how he feels at times. Or perhaps they were staying away from him…
I took this from quite some distance, but I can almost smell his fur.
Oops he noticed me and I notice he still has straw on his coat – really, you’d think he would clean up a bit with a distinguished photographer around.
So, we are glad to be home, but missing the warmth – hoping for a break in this crazy weather. In the mean-time we are pining away for margarita-ville.