Sunday, April 27, 2008

Returning home...!

Its time to return! After staying for almost 7 months here, after experiencing one of the worst winters in the history of Ottawa and after witnessing the sprout of green all around, its time for me to say good bye to Ottawa! 

The time I spent here was memorable both on official and personal front. Lot of learnings in both. Made some very good friends and enjoyed the stay as well. 
 Going back home with some good memories to cherish. 

The spring is in the air here. Today it rained quite heavily! The woods are turning green faster. Soon it will be lush green everywhere...... and I am going to the land where the deciduous forests have shed their leaves and have got ready for a hot summer!! Quite an interesting contrast for me! I am eagerly looking forward for it!

Hoping for a safe journey.... 

Bye Ottawa,


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Life is emerging....slowly!!

As I have told in my last post, the spring is slowly replacing the winter and the snow is melting very rapidly. As the dead cold of the winter is now being replaced by some fresh warm air, the life here has started slowly emerging. I am seeing activities everywhere! 

  When I had been to Andrew Hayden Park on Sunday evening, though it was pretty cold for a spring evening (around 2deg) but it was full of life! 

   The nuthatches have started hunting the insects and the woodpeckers have started searching the suitable place for their nests! I saw two species of woodpeckers that evening and was very much delighted. Because of some lack of luck I just missed an image of the most colorful bird that I have seen here:Northern Cardinal. As I was cursing my luck, I saw an opportunity to photograph the ever active nuthatch which was posing very beautifully by clinging upside down on a tree trunk and curiously looking for some feed. Then it was joined by another one and then another one and then..... another one!! Within minutes there were 4 of them! I never knew that they are found in groups as well!! 

  When I was busy photographing them a cute little fella flew just above my head and sat very near to me!! I think he didnt realize that I was a human as I was amidst the shrubs and was motionless for sometime! He sat very near to me and bestowed with his images of some cute poses. When all the nuthatches finished their search and slowly went into deeper shrubs where I could not enter with my equipments it was time for woodpeckers! I was utterly surprised! Even though did not get really a good quality image of it as it was totally against the sun but enjoyed their sighting and observation a lot. 
 As the activities in that place slowly slowed down I went on exploring some other parts of the park. Found a bird similar to our Iora in color (bright yellow) from a distance. The beaver was very busy picking something out from ground for its dinner! As it saw me initially it hesitated to continue then when it knew that I was not there for him then he continued his digging and then after some time he just stepped into the water and happily swam to the other shore!
 The wind started slowly getting speed and the chill in the air slowly started troubling me. Before my hands and toes started feeling numb I decided that it was my time to leave. Even though the sun hasn't set for the day  was forced to leave as it was cloudy and windy! 

All n all a nice Sunday for me with some good images and wonderful sightings. 

The life here has started again!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

A lucky evening!

The spring is around.... :)
After all the winter storms and the dead cold shiny days finally some good time is here. Even though it is not yet green here but the snow has started melting and the migratory birds have started arriving. I was overjoyed when I saw the first pair of Canadian Geese coming back to their place near my office! The trees have start budding and the days are getting longer! All are indications of the Spring! :)

 Made a couple of evening visits to the nearby Andrew Hayden Park and had some good time over there. Tried some compositions and enjoyed photographing the Red Winged Blackbirds by standing in the knee deep snow for about 30min! 

  The Ottawa River is slowly melting and hoping to see it flowing before I leave Ottawa! 

 Today the weather was bad and it was drizzling throughout the day! Hoping for a sunny tomorrow! 


Monday, April 7, 2008

Niagara! - Nature at its best.... Man at his worst!!

  I had been to Niagara couple of weekends back. For the people who come to US and Canada visiting Niagara is like a must do activity! I was also curious to see the Nature's marvel as many of my friends had praised the place a lot and had told me to visit it without fail. Because of all their description and because of the fame of the place I joined the team of my friends and decided to visit Toronto and Niagara on a long weekend.

Whenever I saw the pictures of Niagara, I was amazed by the Nature's marvel and the beauty of the place. But had heard from some of my friends that it is very commercialized. But I never gave a serious thought about that... until I landed there!!

  When we started from Toronto after watching the bird's eye view of the town from the top of the tallest tower in the world -the C N Tower, it was almost 6.00. By the time I opened my eyes our van was in Niagara city! After dumping all our luggage we decided to go to view the lights on the Niagara. 

    To reach the view point from the Hotel where we stayed we have to walk for around 2Kms through the center of the town. I never imagined that such a busy commercial center exists near the falls. While I was walking in the streets I felt that I am in some busy commercial city. All around the streets there were Bars, Casinos, Dance clubs, Night clubs, Some horror museums, Flashy Giant Wheels, and lots and lots of crowd.

  I started wondering how much more we have to walk to see the falls! According to my guess (and experience till then!) this much busy streets cannot exist near the falls. I was thinking man cannot spoil this much the surroundings of the falls! But I was proved completely wrong!! As we walked just down the streets, we could see the colors that are getting reflected from the mist of the falls. A few more steps ahead... and there it was.... falling through the magnificent rocks in enormous volume, which is hard to even imagine!! The lights on the falls was adding to its glory. Just as I was enjoying the falls when I turned back all the flashy lights of the town was lighting up the whole night. If I face towards the city I could not believe that there is a Nature's wonder just behind me as I was not feeling any essence of Nature there! The whole place is exploited for the commercial purpose so much that if you are a true lover of Nature you feel suffocated and deeply hurt by witnessing that tragedy there!

As the night passed, it was the time to view the falls in the morning. I was already down as I had witnessed the miserable state of the mother Nature last night! So decided to make some images of that perspective to show the ugly face of man and and his dirty deeds at that place!

 After viewing the falls from the bottom, my friends decided that they will spend some time in the commercial place, visiting Reply's Believe It or Not Museum and all other stuffs. I decided to stay back near the falls. I spent almost one and a half hours near the falls. Sometimes it felt that the volume of the water that flows and falls at that place was actually the tears of Mother Nature which is crying after seeing the state of the place!! There is no surprise even if you feel that the falls is also 'made by man' to build this commercial place called 'Niagara'!!  I would have convinced if the city was built at a distance from the falls, say at 5 or 8 Kms from the location of the falls. There was no necessity to build such a commercial place just on the banks of the falls. It is nothing but utter foolishness of man and his arrogance towards Nature! In this respect the falls in India are much lucky! Wherever you go you will feel atleast little of essence of Nature. Even though there may be some plastic litter around the place but as a whole the feeling is worth experiencing and far far far better than the feel of the 'Place Niagara'!

We left the place in the afternoon to reach Ottawa by night. When I closed my eyes in the bed there was only one thought in my mind which said:

Niagara - Nature's Wonder.... Man's Blunder!!