Hamilton and Liverpool – Two Ports, Two Stories.

Image of Hamilton Waterfront and Burlington Skyway

I’m just getting back to working on my current photography project, Hamilton and Liverpool – Two Ports, Two Stories. At last! So many distractions and competing priorities in life but you always know the ones you’ll come back to.

I don’t have the official title yet but I’ll stay with Hamilton and Liverpool – Two Ports, Two Stories for the moment. The project is looking at  two cities that are over 3,000 miles apart and on different continents. Different backgrounds, different histories and yet strikingly similar in a number of ways.

Image of the six-sided clock on Victoria Tower at Salisbury Dock in Liverpool
Six-sided clock on Victoria Tower at the entrance to Salisbury Dock in Liverpool on a foggy day

I grew up in Liverpool in the UK. A city with a remarkable history that dates back more than 800 years, it thrived as an international port in its heyday, serving the transatlantic trades that developed before and as a result of the industrial revolution. Until more recent times it was in an extended period of decline due to shifts in trade and manufacturing over the past century. Now it seems to be embarking on a vibrant new life.

Image of steam clouds over Stelco in Hamilton
Steam clouds kicking off from Stelco

One of my earliest memories from when I came to Canada was on the approach to the Burlington Skyway as I headed down to Niagara Falls to see one of the great wonders of the world. As the car moved up the arch of the Skyway I glimpsed the distant skyline of Toronto off to the left, but the scene to my right drew a gasp and left me mesmerized. There I saw the iconic view of the Hamilton industrial waterfront, in all its grime and glory. I was immediately taken back to my childhood in the industrial north of England and I loved it. It didn’t just resonate, it was as if I knew the place. I often go down to Niagara and I still look enthusiastically off to the right for that inspiring view. I suspect not many people would say that.

Abstract image of hydro tower and blue sky
My view of Hamilton – natural and man-made

So, two cities, two ports that have thrived, experienced decline and are now recreating themselves. This is the story I want to tell, and from the way I see it.

Image of Banksy-Style art in Hamilton and Burlington
Banksy imitation image on the lighthouse at the end of the pier at the Burlington canal

I’ve included some initial images here, before I get into the real meat of the project, and there’s a bit of a side story.  Last weekend I was down at Hamilton beach with my husband and walked over to the pier at the Burlington canal, where we made two discoveries. The first was a Banksy-style image on the lighthouse – or more of an adaptation. The second was a live coyote trapped under the bridge above the water. That was a surprise! Poor thing was scared and apparently frozen to the wall of the pier. We alerted police and animal services and you can see the outcome here .

 

New Photography Project Launch

Image from a photography project about industrial Hamilton, Ontario

I love projects and a photography project is best of all. I can be involved in every element it from throwing about ideas, brainstorming, planning, creating, producing, promoting and everything else that goes with it. This is image is a sort of draft or sketch to kick things off. I wonder if anyone knows where it is……

Hot off the Press…. New Sales Gallery

Image of Jokulsarlon Lagoon Iceland in sales gallery

Yes, it’s an old term, but I’m sure you  get it! If you look closely you’ll see this framed artwork is now available in my very own Sales Gallery, which is finally here! You can click on the the tab at the top of this page, have a browse and feel free to send me any questions.

Life In the North

Image of Lake Nipissing in the north of Ontario in winter

I have an affinity for “the north”, as varied as it is. I hail from the north of England – Liverpool in the north-west, to be specific – and last week I was back in the north of my adopted country, Canada. Specifically, Garden Village on the edge of Sturgeon Falls in northern Ontario.

Image of sunrise over Lake Nipissing in the north of Ontario, in Winter
Winter sunrise over frozen Lake Nipissing

I will say though, as the temperature dropped to a daytime high of -13 celsius, I was only there for a few days. I may not have the stamina, or the equipment, to survive a full winter in Canada’s north but I love to visit it any time of year. On this occasion, before the temperature drop, there was a fresh snowfall covering the land in a beautiful, crisp white serene blanket, fit for any winter wonderland. You might not think it but it can be a very invigorating experience, though also harsh at times. I like to just stare at the vast expanse until the cold bites viciously at my extremities well enough to send me scurrying back indoors.

Image of two dogs playing in snow in the north of Ontario
Winter Play. Cold temperatures mean nothing to two dogs romping around in the snow.

Lake Nipissing is frozen solid enough to take the snowmobiles and the ice-huts are appearing, ready for winter ice fishing. The trees and ground are gloriously reflecting the glittering highlights of the snow as the bright sun shines down on it from early in the day. Giant dogs, made for this type of climate, bounce around playfully and strike fear in me as they come bounding over in my direction, ready to play. I’ve managed to not get knocked over by them so far.

 

We’re only just into winter but I know it can fly by quickly (I won’t be saying that by March….) so it’s good to make the most of it.

Image of West Nipissing Power Dam in Sturgeon Falls, in the north of Ontario
A view of the bridge on West Nipissing Power Dam in Sturgeon Falls

I’ll be out taking winter pics at different locations in the next few months, so please keep a look out for more postings.

Winter is Coming……

Winter in Canada

2016 has been a great year on so many fronts including the weather, but now there’s no escaping the fact that Winter is coming.

I remember when I came to Canada many years ago, the winters were long, cold and arduous. I was built for the more temperate, if cool and damp, UK climate and it was quite an adjustment. Not being a sporty person, I wasn’t out revelling in winters sports, though over time I did try skating, cross-country skiing, tobogganing and even curling! I do have vivid memories of working late into the evening and learning the art of how to coax an old Buick Century to start in minus 20 degrees.   I’m glad to say it’s been a while since I’ve had to do anything like that.

Winter snow blizzard
Farmland near Meaford, Ontario during a winter blizzard

That all said, from the beginning I loved to get out into the cold crisp winter air and tread on the crunchy fresh fallen snow to hike around street or field. Being dressed for the occasion always helps! And, it’s an excellent time get out and take some really atmospheric photographs.

Winter scene
Winter scene, in black and white

Everything looks so different from season to season and some places really excel in the winter. Niagara Falls is one of those places, to my mind. All the ice formations and the water cascading down over the partially frozen falls is beyond dramatic and so picturesque. Can’t beat it.

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls in Winter

Winter over more recent years has seemed milder, or at least not as consistently cold, but it does still get there. I wasn’t able to get out as much to do autumn shots this year but I know I was still doing them up until just a few weeks ago, well into November! Now the temperature is dropping and snow is creeping into my mind. Time to prepare, because as we know……Winter is Coming.