Over the last few weeks blogging has sadly taken second place to work. A project I’m working on has taken me around the UK, giving me lots of opportunities to photograph some great places (photos coming soon!) but no time for anything else. So for now a return to my series of photos from last years Canadian holiday with just ten photos from Niagara Falls.
I visited Niagara Falls on the last day of my holiday; hiring a car in Toronto and driving one-and-a-half hours around Lake Ontario to spend a couple of hours exploring this natural wonder, before driving back to Toronto’s Pearson Airport and flying back to England.
The falls themselves are simply amazing, the sheer size and the roar of the water is stunning. I was hoping for clear blue skies but was confronted with a dull rainy day which doesn’t make for the best photos.
What I hadn’t realised before my visit is that the town of Niagara Falls is split in two by the Niagara River – one side in Canada and one in America. I was on the Canadian side and didn’t have the time to get over to the American side – although checking the location (geotag) information on my photographs I can see that I did technically get into America without using my passport due to the country boarder running right down the middle of the river!
The Canadian side definitely gives better views of both the Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls, but once you’re aboard a boat (Hornblower from the Canadian side, Maid of the Mist from the American side) you get the same experience.
Before you board a boat from either side you get given a waterproof poncho to wear. Obviously the falls produce a lot of mist, but I wasn’t prepared for just how close the boats go to the falling water! Despite the poncho both me and my camera got soaked – luckily I could get changed after, and my Olympus EM-1 camera is weather proofed.
After my soaking I headed back into town and I went up the Skylon Tower to get photographs looking down on the falls. The views from above didn’t disappoint, although they didn’t last for long as incoming rain obscured the view.
I didn’t have time to explore much else of the town, although what I did see looked very touristy, almost resembling a tacky British seaside town with its endless gift shops and casinos. But I’ll definitely return some time for a longer visit in the hope of getting better weather for daytime photographs and at some night-time ones too.
The scale of Niagara Falls is, quite literally, awesome. The boat gives a good idea of the size.
I wasn't expecting to get this close! Luckily you get a waterproof poncho which helps to keep the camera mostly dry.
A sea of ponchos.
The volume of water created a plume of vapour.
The American Maid of the Mist (and blue ponchos) and the Hornblower (with red ponchos).
The far less impressive American side of Niagara falls.
Both falls in one photo, looking towards America.
The Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
The American side of Niagara Falls, with the bridge that allows you to get between Canada and America.
The family of three red pandas were mostly sleeping or hiding when I arrived at Cotswold Wildlife Park. But they soon started running around to warm up and find food. They looked very suspicious when a pigeon entered their area for a walk around. It was great to see them playing together and a great opportunity for some photos.
This might be play fighting, like kittens.
My favourite photo from this ten. I commissioned an artist to paint it as a Christmas present for my mum.
Today is the summer soltace, the longest day of the year, and so it seemed a good day to escape the stresses of life for a while and head to the Weston Air Festival for a bit of daylight. I didn’t have time to spend the whole day there, so just popped along to photograph The Red Arrows.
For anyone who doesn’t know, The Red Arrows are the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team and can be found putting on amazing displays of close flying and colour at most of the main summer air shows here in the UK.
Wanting to avoid the crowds, and knowing the local roads, I aimed to position myself on a hill to the north of Weston-super-Mare so that I could almost look down on the display. Little did I know that half of Weston had the same idea. The spot I was headed for was as crowded as the fantastic beach at Weston.
I decided to zoom into the town centre and get myself to the top of one of the towns multi storey car parks, where I enjoyed the display with a few like minded folk in the sun.
It was a great show, although it’s one of the occasions I wished I had a longer lens to get closer to the action! It was the first time I’d had a real use for fast continuous shooting and continual auto focus of the Olympus OMD E-M1, and was the ideal place to play with settings.
The Red Arrows through their own smoke, looking moody.
The local wildlife didn't seem too bothered by the performance.
The Red Arrows split from vertical.
My favourite photo from the day... "look behind you!".