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Monday, April 6, 2009

Photo walk.

a I started out on Sunday, April 5th with high hopes of catching some signs of spring. It was sunny and that fact certainly lifted my spirits. This year's Winter in Winnipeg seems to have dragged on longer than usual. But I'm no meteorologist. The weather was a lot colder and windier than I had hoped. My hope tricked me into leaving my hoodie at home, and I flirted with frostbite. But I had a glorious day, and I have some photos to post of some of the interesting things I found.

First, let me introduce to you something that you have probably had experience with at one point or another if you spend any time walking in nature. Especially if you have a dog.

As far as I have been able to narrow it down, this is called a "Common Burdock". I have dug up a few interesting things on the web about this plant. In Manitoba, it is a non-native species of biannual weed. It originally comes from Europe and Asia. Certain parts of it are edible, other parts are poisonous. The "burs" inspired the invention of Velcro. Nature did it first!

The burs, are used by the plant to spread it's seed by attaching them to animals as hitch hikers. Strangely enough however, on occasion it has been known to snare small species of birds, who get caught on the burs. As small as they are, the birds can not remove themselves, and the burs remain attached to the parent plant. The birds die of starvation unable to extricate themselves.

There were definitely some hints of spring as I walked about. I saw melt water running into the Red River, which was still quite frozen in most parts. I did see some geese eventually land in the tiny open spots on the river near me. I think they were as confused as I was about the cold. I had to stop and shoot this group of icicles shining in the sun. I watched the drips like watching a clock counting down to spring a second at a time.

I also made my way over to the Manitoba Legislature.
The river walk is closed, as it is mostly under water and ice, but I spent some time photographing and reading various placards to be found around the main building. The artistry is really quite interesting. One day I fully intend to take advantage of an internal tour of the building.

One thing that really caught my eye was the Egyptian looking sphinx perched atop the north end of the building. There are supposedly many secrets locked in the architecture of this building, and I'm sure that the sphinx have something to hide, but I don't know what. It brings to mind the adventures of Robert Langdon in "The De Vinci Code".

Secrets aside, nothing can take away from the sheer beauty of the building, and the artwork it contains. Take the golden boy for example. I drive by him every day on the way to work, but seldom take a moment to really have a look.

He is guilded in 23.75 karat gold. He weighs 1650 kg (3,640 lb). He was modeled after the Roman messenger god of trade, profit and commerce Mercury. He was purchased from French sculptor Charles Gardet, of Paris. The golden boy had an adventure in WWI. On his trip to Canada, his ship was commandiered to serve in the war. He made several trips across the Atlantic ocean before finally landing in Halifax and being placed on the building in 1919.

Just as my self guided "tour" of the legislature was wrapping up, I heard sirens from all over the place, and saw two marked police vehicles and a "ghost car" whiz by, which I figured might make a nice action shot, so I snapped up the chance. It was a spur of the moment decision, which turned out great. Not perfect, due to the unpredictability of the subject, but I am fairly happy with the outcome. I will try again if the chance ever arises again.

Thanks for reading!

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