Sunday, January 29, 2012


Rosemary Umetsu with stylist Cameron Shahbazi and two models wearing her creations
Rosemary Umetsu, a fashion designer and an old friend of Gail's, hosted a fabulous event at the Glenn Gould Studio this afternoon, called Fashionista!, combining music by the Amici Chamber Ensemble with a showing of her latest creations. Rosemary specializes in gorgeous gowns for opera singers and other stage performers.
modeling an Umetsu gown
Lara St.John wearing Umetsu

Wearing one of her gowns was violin soloist Lara St. John, performing Chausson's Concerto in D with the Ensemble to a standing ovation.

Lara and my daughter Heather became friends when we were both artistic presenters at ideaCity in 2003.

I was charmed by the ladies, enthralled with Rosemary's creations and swept away by the music!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Little Chickadees

Yesterday was a good day to visit Hendrie Valley with some bird seed in hand. Unfortunately I had pretty well run out when a flock of chickadees found me on the boardwalk. I held my outstretched hand in front of my camera for over a minute while the birds took turns checking it out. Amazing! Watch the short video by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birch Trees

While reading Wade Davis' The Clouded Leopard this afternoon, I lay back on the living room sofa to give my eyes a rest. I gazed out the window upon these birch trees that grow in front of our home and suddenly saw them in a different way. They were dazzling in the sunlight, shaggy and wild, like pulsing veins that connect the earth and sky. Sometimes when we see something familiar in a whole new way, it's good to have a camera nearby to capture the momentary inspiration!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beautiful Day for Exploring

I took my friend Alex Gadamer for a photo hike in the Hendrie Valley yesterday,  an area he hadn't visited before. It's always fun to see a place familiar to you through another person's eyes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waste Water Treatment

An tenacious tree grips the shore of Lake Ontario

an aeration tank in action

While walking along the lake today, we stopped to visit our local waste water treatment plant. It's a fascinating place and a vital but little known part of our recycling system. They've just completed a $55 million upgrade to expand capacity and improve treatment.

Sewage from a large part of Oakville flows here to be cleaned by bacteria and ultraviolet radiation before being released again 600 meters offshore. The water is tested regularly for a variety of elements and pathogens.

Gail & I were given a grand tour of the facility by Alvin, a technician pictured below in the testing lab. Thanks, Alvin! Now if they could just figure out how to handle the goose poop that's everywhere underfoot...

Alvin in 3-D in the testing lab

Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter Birds

 Gail & I took an afternoon stroll through Hendrie Park in Burlington yesterday. The weather was clear and cool and hundreds of others had the same idea. Everyone was trying to feed the birds by hand so I took the opportunity to snap a few close ups. (Click on a photo to enlarge.) I'll have to go back and shoot some more when it's a little less crowded.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Grace Kelly

Attended the Grace Kelly exhibition at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this evening. Beyond her luminous natural beauty, I was impressed by how 'graceful' she was with her calm, down-to-earth, demeanor. She appeared to be someone easy to like and trust. Her high-society lifestyle didn't seem to change her and she didn't go off the deep end as so many celebrities do. She had a simple elegant style that was reflected in her clothes, and she stuck to it. Overt sexuality was not part of her persona. She moved easily from playing royalty on the screen to royalty in real life. By dying in a car accident at age 53, our image of her as young and glamorous is preserved forever.

The show runs to January 22nd.