FALL CRUISE

I participated in a fall cruise from Montreal to Boston with stops along the St. Lawrence, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New England. 

MS ROTTERDAM

Our ship was the MS Rotterdam of the Holland America Line.

VIEW OF MONTREAL FROM THE GRAND QUAI

RAINBOW OVER THE PORT OF MONTREAL

We’re off to a propitious start as we pull out into the mighty St. Lawrence!!

ST. LAWRENCE RIVER TRAFFIC

VIEW OF THE PORT OF QUEBEC FROM THE CITADELLE

Our ship the Rotterdam is docked behind the Queen Mary 2 and is seemingly dwarfed by the bigger ship.

QUEEN MARY 2

The Queen Mary 2 seems to be in for a rather too warm welcome front of Quebec City’s original fortifications!

QUEBEC CITY FORTIFICATIONS

FORTUNATELY THE NATIVES ARE FRIENDLY!!

UMBRELLA COVER IN THE LOWER TOWN

CASSE-COU STAIRS IN QUEBEC CITY’S LOWER TOWN

SUNSET ON THE ST. LAWRENCE OFF THE GASPE

Departing Quebec for the Maritimes.

 

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THE GREEN MONSTER

Today is the start of the American League Championship series between the Boston Red Sox  and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park.

Last weekend while visiting Boston, I was fortunate to take a tour of  historic Fenway, the oldest park in major league baseball.  On the brief walk from the Harvard Club to Fenway, I encounter the “Big Papi” bridge. Must be getting close!!

DAVID ORTIZ BRIDGE

BOSTON FROM THE DAVID ORTIZ BRIDGE

DAVID ORTIZ DRIVE

Does David Ortiz own this town or what??

LANSDOWNE STREET

Finally I arrive! Welcome to Fenway Park!!  The  rear end of the “Green Monster” can be seen in the middle of the picture. Balls hit out of the park over the Green Monster land in Lansdowne Street. 

FENWAY WALL MURAL

VIEW OF DOWNTOWN BOSTON

 

THE GREEN MONSTER

So called “monster” because it takes a monster of a drive to clear the wall’s 37 foot height. Season tickets cannot be obtained for seating atop the Green Monster. All tickets are sold on a lottery basis for each game day. Good luck with your application!!

GREEN MONSTER SIGN

GREEN MONSTER SEATING

 GOING FOR GLORY…….. OR JUST LIVING DANGEROUSLY??

Young Red Sox fan sits precariously atop the Green Monster. Don’t lean back!!

FENWAY FARMS

Vegetables atop the stadium!! In the background can be seen the Vineyards where the more upscale fan can enjoy his cheese and chardonnay rather than rub shoulders with the beer and hot dog crowd. “Diversity is our strength!!”

BASEBALL’S OLDEST SEATS

In one historic section of the park they still use wooden seats (the only ones in Major League Baseball) dating from the 1930’s.

TED WILLIAM’S RED SEAT

Landing spot of Ted William’s famous 502 foot blast. Game day tickets for this seat can only be obtained by lottery. 

BOSOX TEAMMATES

Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky and Joe Dimaggio

I certainly enjoyed my tour of Fenway Park. Great value for the money. Check it out the next time you’re in Boston.

GO RED SOX!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AERO GATINEAU-OTTAWA

I attended the AERO Gatineau-Ottawa Airshow on Saturday, September 15. Great event to photograph iconic aircraft from the last two world wars.

CANADIAN ASTRONAUT CHRIS HADFIELD ON HAND TO MEET THE PUBLIC

Re-enactor Jean Phillipe welcomes you to the airshow in front of a Supermarine Spitfire.

Airshow starts with sky divers

HARVARD TRAINER

Harvard aircraft with Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield in the rear seat.

CORSAIR

TAKE OFF OF A P-51 MUSTANG

SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE

WORLD WAR TWO FLY BY OF A CORSAIR, SPITFIRE AND P-51 MUSTANG

GREAT WAR DOG FIGHT

The Red Baron is pursued by a Nieuport!!

SOPWITH CAMEL

FAIREY SWORDFISH

The lowly Fairey Swordfish struck a fatal blow to the BISMARK by damaging her rudder with a torpedo which condemned the German raider to the artillery of the Royal Navy.

 

 

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TO BEE….

…or not to be? That is the question! 

 Shakespeare in the back garden!!.

The acquisition of the new Nikon D850 has rekindled my interest in macro photography. Amazing what life and death struggles are going on in my   own garden!! Who needs to go to Africa??

CRAB SPIDER

The eponymous Crab Spider. Note the perfect colour match  of the chamelion like body stripe with my patio rose-coloured Mandevilla.

CRAB SPIDER WITH HONEY BEE

Crab spiders are a formidable predator relying on patience and stealth to take down much larger victims without the aid of a web. Prey are quickly  dispatched with venom. 

SPIDER ENTOMBS FLY

FLYING ANT

HEMARIS THYSBE

Almost the size of a small  hummingbird, I spotted this creature while visiting a friend’s garden tour. I have seen them before in southern Ontario, but this was the first I had seen in the Ottawa area. 

 

 

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RUBY THROATED HUMMINGBIRD

A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird has a nest in Mud Lake, Ottawa.

HUMMING BIRD NEST

There are two chicks in the nest. Here, one has its beek pointed skyward.

TWO CHICKS PEER OUT

MOM’S ARRIVAL

FEEDING TIME

Chicks are fed every 15-20 minutes.

JUNIOR TRIES HIS WINGS

HOME SWEET HOME

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ISRAELI BIRDS

While far from a birding trip per se, I did manage to snap a few photos of some birds seen along the way. 

SPUR-WINGED PLOVER

This handsome fellow with the glaring red eye was snapped on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

LAUGHING DOVE

Photographed at Tiberias.

TRISTAM’S STARLING

A specialty of the desert area around the ancient hill fort of Masada. 

HOODED CROW

This species can be seen just about everywhere in Israel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DOWNED PILOT EXTRACTION

As part of the airshow, the Israeli Air Force put on an impressive demonstration of a downed pilot rescue mission. 

FIREWALL

A firewall is placed between the downed pilot and the “unfriendlies”.

ARRIVAL OF TWO AH-64 ATTACK HELICOPTERS

 

COVERING FIRE

The attack helicopters provide covering fire for the rescue operaton. NB: Note the smoke and falling spent casings of the heavy machine gun.

BLACKHAWK RESCUE HELICOPTER

Finally, a Blackhawk helicopter complete with SWAT team swoops in to retrieve the downed pilot. 

 

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STATIC DISPLAY

Prior to the air show we availed ourselves of the opportunity to peruse the impressive static display featuring both operational and historic aircraft. 

STATIC DISPLAY

ATTACK HELICOPTER

C-130 MILITARY TRANSPORT

C-130 IMPROVED VERSION

IRON DOME MISSILE POD

SPITFIRE AND ALPHA JET

A-4 SKYHAWK

BLACKHAWK HELICOPTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ISRAELI AIR SHOW

As part of the Air Force Graduation ceremony, the IDF put on a spectacular airshow for the visitors.

BLACKHAWK HELICOPTERS

Blackhawk helicopters start the show with a flypast of the flag of Israel and the flag of the Israel Defence Forces. 

 

STEARMAN AIRCRAFT

NORTH AMERICAN HARVARD TRAINING AIRCRAFT

The Harvard was the standard fighter training aircraft for Allied Forces in WWII. As a result of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada, abandoned yellow Harvards could be seen on many a rural Canadian farm property in the decades immediately after the war. 

HARVARD HIGH SPEED TURN

AH-64 ATTACK HELICOPTER

C-130 PREPARES FOR AN AIR DROP

C-130 AIR DROP

UP, UP AND AWAY!

An F-15 roars into the sky.

F-15 IN HIGH SPEED PASS

ACROBATIC TEAM

KC-135 REFUELING F-16s

F-35

To the enthusiastic response of the audience an F-35 stealth fighter roars above the crowd in a grand finale. Israel claims to be the first nation to have flown the F-35 in anger. Most probably took part in the destruction of an Iranian weapons dump in south Lebanon a couple of weeks ago. 

 

POSTSCRIPT:

The Times of Israel published the following image of an F-35 flying with complete indifference and impunity  over Beirut a couple of days ago.

A Russian Sukhoi jet from Syria flew into Israeli airspace over the Golan Heights  today and was shot down by a Patriot missile.

 

 

 

 

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ISRAEL AIR FORCE GRADUATION CEREMONY

One of the highlights of my trip was the visit to the Israel Air Force Centre for the graduation ceremony for new pilots of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) on the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Air Force. In a country of compulsory National Service, this is a day of national celebration and televised throughout the nation. The Israel Air Force Centre is located in the Negev desert, near the biblical city of Beersheba.

HEAVY SECURITY AT THE ENTRANCE

P-51 MUSTANG

P-51 Mustang, one of the iconic aircraft of WWII, on permanent display at the Centre’s entrance.

FRENCH VAUTOUR BOMBER

 

SIKORSKY HELICOPTER

Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu arrives from his offices in Jerusalem.

ARRIVAL OF HONOUR GUARD

 

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU ADDRESSES THE GRADUATING CLASS

 

DRUZE

Although dwarfed by other, larger communities, the Druze community played an important role in shaping the history of the Levant, and continues to play a large political role there. As a religious Arab minority in every country they live in, they have frequently experienced persecution, except in Lebanon and Israel where Druze judges, parliamentarians, diplomats, and doctors occupy the highest echelons of society. Male members of the Druze community, complete with their traditional over-sized mustaches, are here to witness the graduation of one of their own into the ranks of the Israeli Air Force. 

GIRL POWER

A young flight cadet graduates top of her class and receives her cherished wings directly from the Defence Minister.  (Note: I have blacked out the faces of the pilots for reasons of  security).

PROUD FAMILY MEMBERS

The audience of several thousand is made up largely of boisterous and enthusiastic family members who come prepared  with signs and posters to cheer on their heroes as each is called forward individually  to receive their wings. Above, a tearful family member, overcome by the moment,  nearly collapses in a paroxysm  of pride and emotion. As Netanyahu said in his address” We’re not just pining wings on you today,  but also on your families who have brought you to this point of your lives, the cream of Israeli society”. 

 

INSTRUCTOR FLYPAST

Former instructors give a final salute to their young charges in a crowd pleasing fly past of the aircraft types on which they have qualified. 

 

HAT TOSS

Official ceremonies over, the  newly minted pilots race forward to participate in the traditional hat toss.

 

PM SECURITY DETAIL

PM’s security detail waits patiently for  departure as Bibi Netanyahu is mobbed by the new graduates for photo ops. 

A MOTHER’S LOVE

Show is over and the graduates flock to the grandstand where they are almost literally swallowed up in the adulation of their adoring friends and families.

 

POSTSCRIPT: Our guide, a gnarly veteran of the 6 day war and fellow University of Toronto graduate, was in tears throughout this prestigious and moving ceremony. How he got us into this event remains a mystery but I remain eternally grateful for the opportunity and am left with heart felt thanks and gratitude.

 

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