Photography ~ Natural Wonders

It’s been two months since I got my DSLR Canon Rebel T3i 600D, and I can’t seem to put it down. One of my absolute favourite subjects in grade nine was biology, and had things gone a little differently, there’s a good chance I would have pursued a career in science. It’s true what they say — that a teacher can totally affect a student’s life, in either a negative, or positive manner. In my case it was disappointingly so.

In the 1970s it was common in the remote community of Timmins for foreign teachers to spend a year or two in one of the schools at the beginning of their teaching careers. Being in the French Catholic system, I had two Haitian teachers (a married couple) in grades seven and eight, whom I absolutely adored, and on the flip side… there was this muscle-bound, blond and bearded uber-French Adonis-type who liked to strut and torture kids. I’m serious… he would sneak up from behind and whack students’ hands on their desks with a wooden yard stick. But the thing he got the most sadistic pleasure out of was in giving what we called “Indian Sunburns.” This consisted of him wringing and twisting someone’s wrist like a dish rag until the skin turned red. He was known as Hercules on school grounds, and I have no idea why he was not arrested, or at the very least, fired.

Anyway… as I was saying… biology was my favourite subject in grade nine, and I signed up for grade ten biology for the following year with great anticipation. Before I go on, it’s important to understand that the French spoken in northern Ontario is very colloquial and particular to that region of Canada. There are accents, and then there are accents. The first day of grade ten biology, we all filed into the classroom to find our seats as we whispered amongst ourselves about the new, and very sombre face sitting behind the teacher’s desk. This guy was tight-lipped, high-strung, and dead serious. I don’t remember him ever coming out from behind his desk. I knew immediately that this was going to be nothing like the lively, inquisitive atmosphere with our bubbly and enthusiastic teacher of the previous year, but nothing could have prepared me for what ultimately happened.

Mr. X began the class, and a number of students shot nervous looks at each other. I think we were all thinking the same thing — we could barely understand a word he was saying. He spoke in a rapid-fire, possibly Franco-African accent (completely foreign to our young northern Ontario ears), and when asked a question, or for him to repeat anything, the response was more rapid-fire patois, only with an annoyed edge to it. I tried really hard to hack it through the first week, but didn’t make it. I just couldn’t understand what the man was saying. I dropped out of the course with a heavy heart, one thing lead to another, and here I am today giving my friends the heebie-jeebies with random [scientific] photos of whatever creepy-crawlies happen to cross my path. Above is a small selection, but if you’re into bugs, you can see some awesome flies and spiders in my Bugs and Stuff Facebook Album. Enjoy!


Orchids, etc.

It was a shock returning from Moosonee where all that mud, ice, freezing rain, and violent river breakup action was happening. By the time I got back to North Bay, it was a sweaty 27C, and everything was GREEN. I just couldn’t get over how extreme the difference was.

Then I headed even further south to my son’s place in Cambridge, and well… it was like entering the Garden of Eden. In addition to the green, flowers were blooming absolutely everywhere! There were the usual tulips, daffodils, and other assorted marvels, but the most breathtaking were the magnolia trees and cherry blossoms on almost every street. Coco and I went for a lot of walks, and I took a lot of photos with my iPhone. What a high!

By the end of the week I was in Detroit for a family reunion on my father’s side, and that’s where the orchids really came into focus. My cousin Dana has orchids all over the house–big ones, tiny ones, pink ones, yellow ones, white ones. I couldn’t resist getting my camera out! I have an orchid at home that I’ve photographed before, but these new photos definitely nudged things to a new level.

Now of all things, and by sheer coincidence, when I got back to my son’s place on Mother’s Day, there was a lovely gift sitting in my bedroom by the window–a huge purple orchid plant. I couldn’t believe it! Sometimes certain themes have a way of throwing themselves at you… like the little store I found around the corner where a lovely Chinese woman sold beautiful orchids that she propagated herself. I’ve never been one to swoon over flowers, but everything just seems to have led to this:

Visit my Facebook page to view the Abstract Orchid and Orchids (and other flowers) albums.

(The square photos were created using the Hipstamatic photography app on the iPhone, and the rectangular photos are captured screenshots of magnified sections of the flowers.)

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