Recently I was in Montréal and my first destination was the Palais des congrès. A stroll down Avenue Viger led me to this convention centre and the beautiful façade of colorful glass windows that drew me there. I crossed the street to frame the windows behind the fountain in the park there. La Joute is the name of the sculpture fountain and it breathes fire! I didn’t know that when I arrived though. Standing at the edge of the fountain’s pool, I overheard a boy ask his brother when the fire would start so I decided to wait and see what would come next.
A few minutes later, a thick haze started to roll over the water and soon covered the pool and rose up towards the bronze sculptures of animal and human figures. The presentation was impressive and had a gentle flow as it moved from water into fog.
A few people had gathered and were enthralled, as I was, when the first flickers of flame began to appear around the central statue. These flames connected into a complete ring of fire and rose a foot or two off of the water.
The backdrop of the Palais made for a lovely atmosphere and a great scene to photograph throughout the sequence.
We had another play with night shooting the other night. This time we were under a highway overpass with cameras on a service road and the fire spinner up the concrete support that angles up to the bridge. A good spot as there was only concrete and muddy road, offering stray sparks very little opportunity. Click the picture for a small gallery of images from the shoot.
It was a great time thanks to my friends who joined me in shooting and spinning.
We were invited by Alvise and Paola to enjoy New Year’s Eve at their home on a corner of their Folk Tree Lodge property last night. Very glad that we took them up on the invitation as we joined a small, wonderful group of people for a delicious potluck dinner, skating on a pond with a bonfire in the middle and a steady stream of good conversations.
Paola and Alvise have a very beautiful property just west of Bragg Creek in Priddis and it looked amazing as I wandered the path between the house and the pond. I had to take a few photographs away from the evening.
Thank you to our hosts and the other guests for ending last year on a great note. For those of you who might be looking for a retreat in the Bragg Creek area on the edge of Kananaskis Country in Alberta, Folk Tree is a special place run by a very special family.
2010 rolled up and down like a boat on the ocean and I enjoyed most of the ride. I’m excited to move into a new year. Here’s to a great 2011.
All the best to you and yours in the new year.
Bobbi and I had an amazing weekend on a retreat at a riverside paradise near Golden in British Columbia. Quantum Leaps is run by Annette Boelman and Brian Olynek and is a retreat centre in the Blaeberry Valley. Annette and Brian have created a haven for inner and outer reflection and discovery. They are generous, caring people and it was very special to share time with them. Our small group came together guided by Amarin on a series of explorations. On Saturday night, we built a huge fire collectively and then we walked on the coals in a Fire Walking Ceremony. It was one of those experiences that I am still thinking about a couple of days later and feels like a profound step towards a great part of the journey.
Note: Please click any image to open much larger on its own page.
Here our group is preparing for the fire walk as the fire burns down. I am so happy to have shared this experience with my Bobbi, looking over her shoulder in the photograph above.
Annette begins raking the fire
Sparks stream upwards while the flames profile Brian.
Boards we wrote on ignite over the embers
The fire, the tipi and a man
These are the coals we walked over!
Bobbi walking over the coals and then enjoying the feeling afterwards
That’s me staying focused…
… And then playing in the moment
The night sky beyond the fire
If you make the opportunity to walk on fire, you may find it very worthwhile. For the record, none of us had any burns and all enjoyed the night and the sharing. As far as the retreat, if you want to find time for yourself and those you want around you, Quantum Leaps is very highly recommended. When we left, the Kokanee salmon were just starting to run and will be driving upriver for the next month. Bald eagles were beginning to arrive, I saw a different one each morning perched in trees along the banks. A black bear didn’t find me but was out by one of the cabins and has been a regular visitor over the past few days joining deer and the occasional elk which also enjoy the grounds.