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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happy Birthday, Matthew!

Happy Birthday to our dear son, Matthew Alexander, with much love, Mom and Dad and all the family. He turns one year old today! (31 July 2007)
[Photo as seen on Ottawa's A Channel.]

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Not content with mere spoon bending, Matthew levitates a spoon to feed himself Sunday dinner. Show off.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hay Bales

Hay Bales, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Got my brother to stand in front of the stacked hay bales to give a sense of proportion of their size.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Elgin Street, Ottawa.

(as linked on Cliff Pickover's Reality Carnival!)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ashleigh, Poised

Fashion model, Ashleigh, posing in front of Poised Boutique, 535 Sussex Drive in Ottawa on 27 July 2007.
"This shop is aimed at women over 30 who don’t want to dress like the girls
from the tabloids, but aren’t ready for sensible shoes, either. Beaded dresses,
vibrant sweaters and knockout jackets by Italian, French and German designers."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Big Read

Daniel Shanker, age 17, Jillian Abramson age 16, and Hannah Cohen age 16 finish the last pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in Big Ben Park, Perth Ontario on a beautiful afternoon, Monday 23 July 2007.

Daniel Shanker, age 17, finishes the last pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in Big Ben Park, Perth Ontario on a beautiful afternoon, Monday 23 July 2007.

Oyster Macro

Oyster Macro, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Trying to make an oyster look sexy is harder than it looks.

I tried flash vs. ambient light; showing the shell vs. the meat; dry vs. wet; white background vs. grey background; extreme close-up vs. the whole shell; one vs. three. etc., etc.. The resulting photo is my take on the self-assiged task. I found that to display the meat rather putrid and was like rotten snot. Not-visually-pleasing-at-all.

I bought three malpeque oysters last evening. Since one of them was opened slightly this morning I did not eat it for fear of some perilous and painful death at the worst and at the best, some alone time in the WC. The other two were delish - raw of course.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hay Bales

Hay Bales, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

I never know the difference between hay bales and straw bales. Aren't they the same thing? Anyway, these and several other monolithic bales are stacked up high at the corner of Albion Rd. and Leitrim Rd. in Ottawa. Who knows how much longer they'll be around before they get stored away.

I would love to get someone to pose in front of one to get some sort of perspective on their hugiosity. I should have done a self-portrait, but who would want to see me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Matthew Hits the Sauce Pretty Hard

I could not, for the life of me, pass up this photo op from this evening. Note to Matthew when you're older - you can owe me one big time, buddy. Matthew turns one year old next Tuesday 31 July 2007.

Strobist info:
homemade soft-box lit with one SB-800 as key light. White cupboard on camera right acts as fill. Triggered by D200 commander flash.

After the Rain

After the rain, a visit to the park is in order.


rabbit, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sharon Harris

Poet, photographer, Sharon Harris. She is the author of the recent book of poetry/visual art, Avatar, published by Mercury Press (2006). I had the pleasure of meeting her this evening at the Factory Reading Series, 19 July 2007.
Tonight, she gave us all a lesson in pataphysics complete with an overhead projector. Her poetic interpretation of the simple phrase, "I love you" is extraordinary. Do look up her website, Now, don't you wish you were there?

Sharon Harris, Pataphysician.


Somerset Street, Ottawa.

The Factory Reading Series

The Factory Reading Series tonight, Thursday 19 July 2007 at 7:00 pm
Presented by span-o (the small press action network - ottawa) & The Ottawa Art Gallery
Sharon Harris (Toronto) and Ian Roy (Ottawa)
Lovingly hosted by rob mclennan

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Beast in France

I was browsing photojournalist Mark M. Hancock's web links today. One link was to Reuters Photographers blogs. David Viggers filed a very interesting post on The Beast! A 1200-1700mm f5.6 IF-ED Nikon zoom converted to Canon. Needless to say, it's a very, very large lens.

Also see Mark's flash "beast" from a couple of years ago: a Norman P2000D studio flash system (since replaced by the Norman D24R Series 900, a 2400WS with built-in Pocket Wizard Reciever). The thing can has some serious light output - as demonstrated by a photo in the blog post. Additionally, in some circles, the Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 lens is also known as "the beast". There are a lot of beasts in photography it seems.

Also of interest is the latest series of videos on They usually post something every 3 or 4 months and it is always worth waiting for. In this latest installment: Sports Illustrated's Peter Read Miller on assignment: Mexican Wrestling.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Estrellita Karsh

Estrellita Karsh

"For 18 years, from 1980 until 1998 Fairmont Château Laurier was home to famous photographer Yousuf Karsh and his wife Estrellita. In 1998, to commemorate the Karsh's long and warm relationship with the hotel, Suite 358 was renamed the The Karsh Suite. Today, Fairmont Château Laurier's general manager Claude J. Sauvé and Mrs. Estrellita Karsh introduced nine beautiful original Yousuf Karsh photographs, which now adorn the walls of The Karsh Suite."

Estrellita Karsh stands in front of Yousuf Karsh's portrait of Barbara Ann Scott

Monday, July 16, 2007

Say Neigh

An RCMP public service ad: Say "NEIGH" to Drugs.
Alas, it just doesn't have the same homophonic wit in the accompanying French translation. The large sign is in the RCMP Rockcliffe Stables where they give free public tours. It's something else to do in Ottawa that a local resident may not think of doing.
According to their website, "The RCMP Musical Ride travels extensively between May and October. However visitors to the stables are always welcome, as there is plenty to experience even when the Musical Ride is not at home."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

rob mclennan

rob mclennan on Somerset St. W. and Booth St. - the center of Ottawa and Chinatown (in my opinion). rob the poet starts his writer-in-residence position at the University of Alberta this September. He'll be gone for the full school year but plans to be back for the OIWF in October 'cause he'll be homesick by then, and we'll all miss his presence in the local pubs. But in reality he'll be back for other bookish duties. (However, with 542 Facebook friends he will be on the Internet even more once he's planted out west.)

via the UofA website:
"Fall 2007 sees the appearance of a collection of literary essays with Toronto's ECW Press, a novella with The Mercury Press, and a title for Vancouver publisher Arsenal Pulp Press, Ottawa: The Unknown City. A new poetry collection is forthcoming in 2008 with Ireland's Salmon Publishing, and he is currently completing work on a book of essays by Andrew Suknaski for NeWest Press/writer as critic (spring 2008), an issue of the critical journal Open Letter, and Guernica Editions collections of essays on the works of George Bowering, John Newlove and Andrew Suknaski, as well as numerous other schemes and projects. His online home...(where) he often posts reviews, essays, rants and other nonsense at"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Matthew's Pout

Matthew's Pout, originally uploaded by johnwmacdonald.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ditch Digging

Bruce Crate and the city of Ottawa public works crew were digging ditches in the neighbourhood this week. They dig about a ten inch trench, then lay a fabric coated pipe, and finally, neatly backfill with some gravel over the top. This is done to prevent stagnant water and assist the flow of run-off water in the rainy seasons. They even sprinkle grass seed in any patches that need it.

(as linked on Cliff Pickover's Reality Carnival!)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Dinner is Served

A yellow crab spider eats a moth - alive... and apparently another spider, too.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Damhnait Doyle

Damhnait Doyle of the musical trio Shaye. Beautiful voice and harmonies. Drop-dead gorgeous. 'Nuff said.

Damhnait Doyle

Feist Does Ottawa

Can you believe it? Some fellow photogs shooting in the media pool with me never even heard of Feist. What the? She was one of the main reasons for my attendance for the Canada Day evening performance on the Hill. Leslie Feist sang five of her hits, including "Sealion", "I Feel it All", "Mushaboom", "My Moon My Man", and "1234". She was in Ottawa in recent months for a sold-out show at the Bronson Center. Sweet...

Snowbirds Burst Over Peace Tower

Canadian Snowbirds fly over Parliament Hill on Canada Day at 12:25.

Inspecting the Guard of Honour

The Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D. inspects the Guard of Honour on Parliament Hill.

Matthew & Mom Maples

Son Matthew and his mom sport red face-painted Maple leaves from an afternoon spent on Parliament Hill on Canada Day.

Sierra Noble

Young violinist, Sierra Noble, who specializes in Traditional Metis fiddle music, played tribute to the Vimy Memorial with the song, "The Warrior's Lament". You may remember her very poignant performance earlier this year at the 90th Anniversary Vimy Ridge ceremony in France. (See the Youtube link on her website to video of the performace.)

Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq sang at the evening show on Parliament Hill, 1 July 2007.

One word: Wow! Okay - two words: Spectacularly breathtaking. Did you catch that amazing throat singer, Tanya Tagaq on Canada Day? She performed at the noon show and again in the evening. Both times absolutely spectacular. I do admit it's difficult to capture in words the performance she gave. Be sure to check out the sampler of her in performance on her website.

Tanya Tagaq at the noon show dressed in black sequins and frills. Gorgeous.

Eva Avila in Ottawa

Eva Avila looks out to the evening audience of about 300,000 on Canada Day in Ottawa on Parliament Hill. Look out for more of Ms. Avila. She's very talented and has a huge career in front of her.

Eva Avila at the noon-day performance on center stage.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Canada Day 2007

In the second Canada Day in a row I have had the pleasure to meet up with Oni to photograph her for an impromptu portrait. This time She was in the VIP section in front of the stage on Parliament Hill when I spotted her in the crowd. She was stunningly dressed as usual.