Grand tour.

September 30 (1 of 1)

Nice night for a paddle.
Grand River, Cambridge, Ontario.

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Windows of opportunity.

“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.”

~Alan Alda

Bridges, doors, and windows. I looked through my shots over the past number of months, and a good proportion of them include these elements (also: flowers, cats, stairs, graffiti, my offspring, and a surprising number of insects). Make of that what you will.

But this week’s WordPress photo challenge is Windows, and instead of choosing just one, I decided to include a selection of pictures I’ve made over the past year. Several have been shared in previous posts, but there are a few new ones. Some are shot from the perspective of looking out, some looking in. Some aren’t real at all, but illusions. In every case, I saw an opportunity to make an image, hopefully one with some impact.

Unlike doors, those markers of separation, windows let the light in (or out). They allow observation, and reflection, and a deepening of perception: a glimpse of something beyond our sphere of experience. They can be dressed up, covered up, barred, dirtied, or cracked, but their potential to illuminate remains.

Thanks, WordPress, for the opportunity to share my growing collection of windows (should you choose “Insects” as a theme some week, I’ll be ready with another collage).

No more pencils, no more books.

While most schools are buzzing with kids this time of year, this particular educational institution sits, silent, on a hilltop in Cambridge, Ontario.

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Dickson Public School closed in 2014 due to its age and a dwindling student population. It had served the community for nearly 140 years.

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The building is beautiful, constructed of local cut limestone in a simple but pleasing design. It’s situated on the west side of the Grand River, a focal point in a neighbourhood of historic homes and architecture.

Apologies for the harsh shadows in these photos. The weather was definitely agreeable for a visit, but I wasn’t able to capture the front of the building without some interference from the sun.

I’d been hoping for some grand front doors to go along with the rest of the design. The arched front porch is lovely, but the bland, industrial entrance was a bit of a disappointment.

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The building has been empty for three years, but fortunately there are plans to redevelop the site into modern office space, along with the addition of a new 10-unit townhouse complex on the property. The developer intends to preserve both the exterior of the school and many of the unique and historic interior features.

I get a little dreamy when I wander around old buildings, wondering about times gone by. The generations of schoolkids who once roamed these empty halls, their laughter echoing over this deserted playground. Sadly, round the back, there are reminders of some of the harsh realities of today.

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Time will tell what changes are to come.

P.S.
If you’d like to look at more interesting entryways, be sure to visit Norm 2.0 for his weekly feature, Thursday Doors.

Thinly veiled.

We have a white mesh curtain, purchased years ago, hanging in our kitchen. On sunny days, its shadows make an intricate pattern on the floor. I’ve always wanted to incorporate this into a photo somehow, and this week’s WordPress photo challenge of Layered prompted me to round up my models and coax them to pose against the window.

In this shot, I wanted the dappled effect to appear on the skin, like a layer of paint or a tattoo. I must give credit where it’s due: this particular model was very patient while being persuaded to stare into bright sunlight while his mother fiddled with camera settings and fussed with the curtain. The picture ended up pretty close to what I’d been envisioning.

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My other model was a little less co-operative. I experimented with a different technique, and though it wasn’t what I’d been intending, I succeeded in making a dreamy, romantic portrait of a bored housecat.

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Should you desire to make one of your own, just hold your lacy curtain tautly a few inches in front of your camera lens while ensuring your camera’s focus is locked on your feline, who’s lying about a foot or two beyond this layer of fabric, looking at you as if to say, “You’ve GOT to be kidding me, lady.”

My subject yawned at least twice at this tedious exercise and I managed to capture her looking up, her eyes half-lidded, which only added (I thought) to the hazy, old-fashioned feel of this image.

The curtain came down, so to speak, on our photo shoot when Her Highness rose abruptly and sauntered off to the living room to lick herself.

Oh, well. You win some, you lose some.