Ottawa street scene

There’s something about North American street scenes that I find incredibly photogenic. This particular image was taken on my recent trip to Ottawa. With the grid formation of the streets and traffic lights running into the distance, it looks typically North American. With the snow and ice on the ground plus the bi-lingual signage, however, I think this scene is unmistakably Canadian!

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A street scene in Ottawa. At first glance it simply looks very North American but the snow, ice and bi-lingual street signs make this a very Canadian scene.

I took the image when I went for an early-morning stroll through the city. Although you wouldn’t know it, it’s been taken at quite a significant spot. It was taken on Wellington Street and directly behind me was Parliament Hill where the Canadian House of Commons building is situated.

I was in Ottawa for three days to attend the #SideBySide2019 Involved Fatherhood Conference where I was taking part in a Panel session looking at what fatherhood might look like in 2030. You can read all about the conference in this blog post.

Whenever I had a spare moment, however, I braved the cold and headed out with my camera to get some pictures. When I say cold, the temperatures on some mornings were around -18c and I don’t think they got above -6c.

I apologise to any Canadians reading this, but I really struggled getting good photographs of Canada’s capital city. I didn’t find it hugely photogenic and added to that, the sunlight was very harsh. In addition to this, there was about a metre of snow on the ground, so that harsh light was reflected back into the atmosphere presenting even more challenges!

This was one of the better shots. I have edited it to bring out the colours and enhance its Canadian attributes.

I’m still playing with many of the other pictures I took. I think they may work better in black and white. Watch this space, I shall probably post a few more once they’ve been edited.

What’s your experience of taking photographs in snowy, harshly lit conditions? What tips do you have because this was a new experience for me. Also, do you like North American street scenes? Do you think they look photogenic? Please do leave a comment with your thoughts.

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4 Comments

  1. March 13, 2019 / 3:14 pm

    Hi John, I like the photo and as I’ve said before Canada is certainly a country I would like to visit, but probably in the warmer months. Your photograph actually reminds me of a scene out of one of those Hallmark Christmas films (you know the type). As for photographing in harsh snowy conditions, I have no idea, but would a polarising filter maybe help? They work wonders photographing in the harsh summer sun here.

    xx

    • John Adams
      Author
      March 15, 2019 / 6:15 am

      Polarising filter! Why did I not think of that? And I think I may have even travelled to Canada with one. Doh. Yes, my advice is to go in the warmer months. Every time I went outside it was like preparing for an expedition. It had been a very, very long time since I had experienced temperatures quite as cold as this.

  2. March 14, 2019 / 9:09 pm

    What a really beautiful place – and great image John. It reminds me a lot of San Francisco.

    • John Adams
      Author
      March 15, 2019 / 6:09 am

      Well hello Victoria! I’ll be honest, that was one of the most photogenic scenes in Ottawa. It’s very much a modern North American city with steel and glass and, oddly, a huge amount of construction work so finding good street scenes was quite a challenge. San Francisco is not a place I have visited but I can well imagine there’s a similarity.