Among other things, this month’s photo blogging challenge theme motivated me to find a good viewpoint to take in Canmore’s Canada Day fireworks, bike to the Canmore Nordic Centre to photograph the giant Canada flag and get a bit more creative in the kitchen. And while we were in Iceland for the last half of the month, the theme prompted me to try to understand what’s important in terms of Iceland’s national identity.
In chronological order, here are the five photographs I made in response to the prompt patriotic.
1. Canada Day Pie – The day before Canada Day, we bought a big bag of cherries at the grocery store. You’d think I’d know better by now; the odds of arriving home with juicy, flavourful cherries is much higher when they’re purchased from a fruit stand or farmers’ market. But the price is much higher, too, so I continue to try the ones from the grocery store at least once every cherry season. Anyhow, the ones we got were not great – kind of woody with not much flavour. So I opted to wash, stem and pit them, throw in a bunch of frozen berries, at bit of sugar and some corn starch, cook all of that up and then make a cherry-berry pie. In honour of Canada Day, I used a maple leaf cookie cutter on the top crust. It turned out well and we enjoyed the cherries a lot more in the pie filling!
2. Canada Day Fireworks – I usually try to photograph the Canmore Canada Day and New Year’s Eve fireworks from our front deck. But this challenge prompted me to find a better vantage point. It also forced me to try the live composite mode on my new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. The results were pretty good, but the visible camera shake resulting from the one press to start / one press to stop procedure has since prodded me to install the Olympus Image Share app on my phone so that I can remotely trigger the shutter. My next time to try that with fireworks will probably be New Year’s Eve.
3. Canada Flag – A huge Canada flag flies at the Canmore Nordic Centre, one of the official venues for the 1988 Olympics hosted by Calgary. Hoping for enough wind to make the flag stand proud of the pole, Mr. GeoK and I rode our bikes over to the Nordic Centre one morning. The flag was hanging limp when we arrived, but by the time we checked out some of the Big Bear Challenge disc golf tournament action, there was enough wind that the big red maple leaf was visible, with Mount Rundle in the background.
4. Hiking in Iceland – We spent the last two weeks of July in Iceland where we observed first-hand that Icelanders love and respect the outdoors and are generally avid hikers, skiers and all-around outdoor enthusiasts. Since we also like to hike, we joined tourists and Icelander on several routes across the country. This photo is from our first hiking day, in Þórsmörk National Park. We did a short, warm-up hike at Mount Valahnúkur where we enjoyed a 360° scenic view of Þórsmörk including the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, river Króssá, river Markarfjót and a range of massive mountains with the Tindfjallajökull glacier in the distance. We also found a geocache up top! This photo shows the end of the trail, as our boys were returning to the hut and campground used by overnight visitors to the area, with the Icelandic flag flying above the trailhead.
5. Þingvellir (Thingvellir) – Þingvellir was near the top of our “must see” list for Iceland. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site on account of the fact that it’s the site of the first parliament in the world. Established in 930 and continuing to meet until 1798, the Althing was an open-air assembly representing the whole of Iceland that met two weeks a year. The assembly set laws and settled disputes. Sentences were carried out there and then. The Althing has deep historical and symbolic associations for the people of Iceland and we noticed that visitors were a bit more respectful and introspective at this site than they were at many others in Iceland. A major bonus consideration for us is that Þingvellir is also a great spot to observe the mid-Atlantic Ridge (i.e. where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are slow separating). This photo shows the modern Icelandic flag flying above the location of the Althing with typical lava rock formations surrounding it.
That’s it from me this month. Click here for a peek at American photo blogging challenge host PJ’s interpretation of all things patriotic. Other participants this month are listed in the link up at the bottom of that PJ’s post.
The August theme will be posted at A ‘lil HooHaa on August 2. New participants are welcome to start the photo blogging challenge any time, and with so many daylight hours this month, it’s a perfect time to join in and practice photography!