Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hawk Cliff

© Ken Wightman
There is a place, overlooking Lake Erie south of London, known by locals as Hawk Cliff. Each fall migrating raptors are sighted here in the tens of thousands as the raptors migrate south ahead of the approaching cold winter weather.

Some of the birds are lured into a net at Hawk Cliff and banded before being released to continue the flight south. On at least two weekends every fall local birders are allowed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to put on display to instruct interested people in the ways of raptors.

This Kestrel Falcon, captured this morning, was banded and then shown to a small group gathered to learn a little about these wonderful birds. At the end of the talk, the Kestrel was released.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Another greenhouse, another picture

I love greenhouses. The plants make such great subjects.

With the summer season coming rapidly to an end, the local London greenhouses are now stocked with houseplants. I passed on the purchase and contented myself with a photo. The plants should thank me. Under my care, they wouldn't have lived till Christmas.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Minimalist photography makes my day

My wife and I had to head off to the garden centre today. My wife needed tulip bulbs. Unfortunately, tulip bulbs don't make a picture. That said, I discovered lots of plants that do. Especially when one is looking for a photo in the minimal photography style.

I loved the image I was able to coax out of a close-up of a succulent.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Another look at London's southern gateway

I have featured shots from the Wonderland Road South entry into London, Ontario, in the past. Today I am featuring yet another shot. It is not a bad stretch of road, lots of stores and a couple of small apartment towers, but it is certainly not a wonderland.

The London city council likes to talk about this stretch of roadway, which brings traffic into the city from highways 401 and 402, as the city's new gateway. Talk about putting your dullest foot forward. This stretch of road could be in any one of at least a dozen other communities. Rows of box stores, acres of parking and apartment towers visible behind the commercial development.

Being critical is not enough. There is no shortage of local folk to bad mouth this development. To be a successful critic, one must supply an alternative. Think of the The Market Common Clarendon.

The Common is not just another power node. This development in Arlington, Virginia, is an urban village of retail, apartment living and townhouses presented in an imaginative mix.

If you have a car, not to worry. The Market Common has 1,420 parking spaces.

Sadly, London has more developments like the Wonderland gateway waiting in the wings.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cotton candy a fall fair pleasure

It's big, it's blue, it's sweet -- but it isn't as bad for you as you might think. There are approximately 200 calories in this spun bundle of cotton candy. An hour of running from ride to ride, of climbing rope ladders, and struggling up climbing walls, and kids can have this fall fair indulgence burned away.

When it comes to junk food, there is no place better than a fall fair. I have to confess that I love fair food. I think Bubba's Butterfly Chips are among my favourite sinful fair treats. When I googled these I was mildly surprised to learn these are popular across North America. Hmmm.

Weight Watchers would not be pleased.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Old homes showing their age

Took in the fair the other day. It was fun. The fair association does all right and it is not because of the fair. That's only about a one week affair. No, the fair association does just fine thanks to being home to the OLG Slots in London. The fair folk call it gaming income, others tag it gambling. When I was a boy it was called illegal. Funny how things change.

The area around the fairgrounds has not done as well over the passing years. These three homes, once examples of the very nice housing available to working class Londoners, are all showing their age today.

East London, where these homes are located was a manufacturing hub decades ago. I imagine many of the workers who originally lived in this area walked to work. Others would have taken the nearby streetcar. Today the streetcar service is gone but little matter. The jobs are gone too.

It is sad to see a row of three such lovely little homes in such questionable condition.

Monday, September 9, 2013

It's fall fair time in southwestern Ontario

It is fall fair time and Western Fair in London, Ontario, is open for business. For ten days every September the fair grounds, so quiet for most of the year, come alive. There are rides for young kids, rides for teenagers. There's gloriously high-calorie fair food: bloomin' onions, fresh made potato chips, back-bacon on a bun, pizza, Belgium waffles, fish and chips and much more.

For instance, there's entertainment. The high-wire family, the famous Flying Wallendas, are one of the acts appearing this year. And of course there are lots of farm animals for city kids to see. Some things haven't changed.

(Note: This was shot with a point and shoot. I blurred the background to lessen the incredible, and very distracting, depth of field.)