Ok, this isn’t actually a contest between these two cameras … the D700 would embarrass the F70EXR in any light, although factoring size into the equation would give the F70EXR the win …
Karen and I had planned to see the crystal gardens, where they keep the ice sculptures, last week on Wednesday the 10th. And by some kind of fluke, I ended up downtown at lunch because my youngest had an exam and got up late, so I played emergency taxi.
While I was there, I realized that I was driving right beside Confederation Park on the way home, so I might as well park and walk over to grab some daylight images. I had the F70EXR with me so I did just that. I had to park illegally, since I had no change for the meter, but I managed to avoid a ticket so all turned out well.
Later that evening, Karen and I met at her office and then walked over to The Works, a spectacular burger joint that is famous for making burgers with really weird stuff on them … peanut butter, pineapple … that kind of thing.
I went for a simple peppercorn burger (set my mouth on fire) and a small premium poutine, one with chunks of onion ring on it at the waiter’s recommendation … that was one amazing meal.
And then we went off and toured the crystal gardens at night. I shot the D700 hand held with the Tamron 28-75 all night, which means that I had no stabilization available. Thus, I set the cam to 3200ISO the whole night.
I have decided to intermingle the images from the two cams to align the day and night images that I have in common. Should be interesting.
Before we get started, I will mention that I have uploaded all of these images to my gallery at 800px and sorted in order of shooting and by day and night so you can follow each shoot separately if you wish and see them in the larger sizes.
The entrance leaves little to the imagination … you are entering the Crystal Gardens and Rogers is the major sponsor.
Now, I didn’t have the time or patience to read the titles of these sculptures, not do I know the names of the carvers or their countries or origin, except in a few circumstances. So most of them are titled “ice” :-)
The first carving is pretty big, and looks nice with the sunshine running through it.
This carving was set up with some really nice lighting that changes colors …
The next carving is rather large and consists of two figures. I shot the whole thing, but it’s pretty hard to tell what is going on, so I also shot the seated figure.
A strange mermaid-like carving comes next. The Fuji’s inability to isolate the subject when wide forced me to shoot close-ups sometimes when I would have liked a wider view. But here I got both, and the background on the Fuji shot does not intrude all that much.
The dragon slayer comes next.
Then what looks to me like a pair of butterflies.
There was something that might have been a transformer … it was not well lit at night, so I can only show the day time view.
Then a very large sculpture showing two figures … a Sasquatch and a noy waiting at a bus stop. Unfortunately, by night time, the bus stop itself had been lost – broken off about a foot from the ground.
The three-headed serpent was pretty interesting, if difficult to pick out from teh background. It was also in an area that was more difficult to get to (the wind was blowing and it was late when we were there at night so I don’t have night images for some of the following images.)
This one looks like a stylized Statue of Liberty head.
There was an area off to the side where I shot some carvings that were in fact made of steel frames and the plastic that is used often for flowers for floats. Interesting, but much less so than the ice carvings. Poorly lit at night, so no shots.
There is a big fountain in the middle of the park with a stone ledge on which smaller carvings competed for prizes.
The winner is an intricate carving of an archer. Same logo as the Ottawa Senators use … I wonder if that helped him win :-)
The fish is a nice carving, although not all that intricate. Intricate seems to win here.
I did not understand what I was looking at during the day with the Atlas carving, but at night I got it and I think it is one of the better delicate carvings.
Who doesn’t love Unicorns?
And then there is this weird thing. I forget the name of this creature …
A mermaid holding the globe? Or perhaps playing a water sport … but this is the winter Olympics’ time :-)
This bird only appears in the night time images.
Some of the competitors protected their carvings from the sun, which was surprisingly strong this day. These serpents are the best example.
The barriers were made of solid ice. Nicely done.
It turns out that, at this point, I popped over to the fountain again for a moment. You can see the modified Inukshuk in the background of this shot. Not sure what this is but it’s nice.
Several nice carvings here …
I saw this nice Moose carving in the day time walk, but missed it at night. I think this was in the area that was poorly accessible and not that well lit.
A second Unicorn there too.
A troll hiding behind some trees.
And again near the fountain as I saw things back-lit by the sun from a distance.
And what would an outdoor event be without the facilities :-)
In the transition area between the fountain et al and the covered areas, where Rogers had their own display and where there was competition for really large carvings, there was an exhibit that the sign said was from our Navy. This was a work in progress …
As we enter the competition area, we cannot help but know where we are, at least at night.
On the left, we can grab food. The ubiquitous Beavertail is the pastry of choice.
Moving to the right, though, we see the competition area. The first triple tear drop carving is one of my favorites of the competition.
I must have been a little selective as I shot these, as I don’t have equivalent images of all the carvings. This one was the #2 placed carving.
This seat was intended for pictures. I shot it empty during the day, but Karen posed in the evening.
I used the flash on some of these shots as it lent a but of fill that was helpful.
I love this one of two fish leaping at the same lure with treble hooks … reminds me of my younger days fishing with my dad.
The next carving is huge … a Mexican warrior of some sort and a cactus. The sword is lost by night time. The joint above the handle is obviously too narrow in retrospect.
The spider is wicked, with two huge legs up in the air.
And then you enter the Rogers exhibit, which is kind of modeled after one of their stores. This two-sided couch was neat.
Pretty kiosks of ice with phones frozen inside complete the effect.
Karen again agreed to be my lovely assistant in the second half of the exhibit …
And the final area of the exhibit for large sculptures had the winner and #3 in it. The Chimera is 3rd …
And the winner, from Japan.
I kind of liked this massive Octopus … perhaps with Poseidon?
Not sure what this is …
A close up of Poseidon(?) from the other side.
And that’s it for the night time images. On the way out, I caught a few more day time images.
There is a pit area that no doubt has a fire to help keep warm, but we were there much too late at night to see it lit.
And the Beavertails again … I really wanted one, but it is a cash-only business. Sheesh …
I’m not sure where this big cross was, but I did not picture it anywhere else, so here it is.
And looking back as I exit, there is a nice ice sign introducing the gardens.
So if you are ever in Ottawa in mid-February, consider visiting Winterlude, the Bal de Neige. There are many events and the ice gardens aree pretty special.