The Pioneer Dreams series

This series was taken on Northern Ontario's Manitoulin Island, one of the places I have family. These abandoned farm buildings, all on separate properties, are visible from Highway 6 when one travels between Little Current and South Baymouth. I find the fourth picture particularly poignant.

The Sunset series

Also taken in Northern Ontario, between Espanola (on the mainland) and South Baymouth (Manitoulin Island) in 2006 and 2007.

close to South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island
a wildlife refuge south of Espanola

Ten-Mile Point (that is, 10 miles from Little Current), near Sheguiandah, Manitoulin Island

More Sunsets...

The Jasper and Agate series
(from my collection)

One of my favourite agates is Polka Dot Agate, from Oregon. ("They're stars! They're flying whatsits!")

This specimen has a great sense-of-wonder, outer-space feeling to it. I'm so there. Plus it's outstandingly beautiful. The things Mother Nature can create, huh?

On the right is Deschutes Picture Jasper, also from Oregon. The Owyhee Mountain Range, shared by Oregon and Idaho, produces exceptional semi-precious minerals, in particular "picture jaspers."

Here's an Owyhee Picture Jasper cabochon I call "The Nose." (You can see "The Eye" near the top of my About Me page. It's Owyhee Picture Jasper as well.)

On the right is what looks like a beacon. The jasper is called Mookaite, and it's from Australia.

Also from Australia is Noreena Jasper, something discovered in the last few years. (One of the problems with being a jasper collector is that you can never finish collecting every variety; new ones come along all the time: Sock Knocker Wonderstone [fabulous name!], Prudent Man Agate, Royal Sahara Jasper...) On the unpolished slab of Noreena Jasper (below right) is what looks like a bridge (perhaps built by long-gone aliens on a now-waterless planet?).

Left: Why is only one hill red? Dunno. This is Willow Creek Jasper, from Idaho.

At right we have a jasper (more properly a rhyolite) that goes by at least six names: Apache Sage Jasper, Apache Jasper, Apache Junction, Apache Sage Rhyolite, Apache Rhyolite, and Mimbres Valley Picture Rock. It's from New Mexico. Whatever the hell it's called, I love the "magnetic field" + landscape combination it sports. There's also something called Apache Agate, but it's quite different. And it's from Mexico.

UFOs, yes? Come on. This is a gimme. And it's not even on Earth (the pink sky is a giveway)! It's Owyhee Sunset Jasper, from Oregon.

This UFO has a force field that absorbs light. Oooooh. (Owyhee Painted Sunset Jasper, also from Oregon.)

Ready for something spooky? How about this ghostly agate, from a Priday thunderegg found on Richardson Ranch, Oregon?

The difference between agate and jasper—although the terms are often used interchangeably—is that jasper is opaque.

Even spookier is this skull (not a human one) that's lying on a planet without an atmosphere. But is that a "magnetic field" I see behind it?
I took the first photo with the camera flash off—which is closer to the natural appearance of the jasper—and the second one (at right) with the flash on. The material is Blue Biggs Jasper, from Oregon.

Left: Hoodoo Canyon Picture Jasper, Oregon. "It's a lake! It's a zeppelin!"

To the right we have a ... fir tree that is (a) suffering from indigestion, (b) juggling pumpkins, or (c) celebrating Coniferous Independence Day. (Polka Dot Agate, Oregon.)

Okay, who let the ... bulging jaw in here? And where's the upper half of its head, for Pete's sake? And why does it have a tail? (Royal Imperial Jasper, Mexico.)

A recent discovery: Royal Sahara Jasper, Africa.

(D'you think this green-and-yellow alien is eyeing the pink alien that I so inconsiderately placed nearby?)

To the right is one-half of a Succor Creek thunderegg (containing agate) from Oregon. ("It's a hurricane! It's a spiral galaxy! It's a comma!")

More Jaspers and Agates...

The Toronto series

See also Hawks.html for the series of Red-Tailed Hawk photos, taken in Toronto at Queen's Park, where the hawks were nesting. I've also taken a large set of pictures of the inside and outside of Queen's Park; one is on the Fantastic Toronto survey page in the "Thematic Index" section.

looking west from Queen's Park, Toronto

I picked out a detail from this photo, taken in 2006 from a fifth-floor window of the West Wing in Queen's Park, to make the graphic on the Fantastic Toronto page. At lower left is Convocation Hall with its copper-sheathed roof. The grey bulk rising behind it is the smokestack of the University of Toronto power plant, visible in all its glory below.

Okay, the sunset was glorious.

still looking west from Queen's Park; the U of T smokestack
One of the required credits for my journalism B.A. at Ryerson was a one-semester photography course. For my final project, I went to the Toronto Islands on a miserable weekend in November 1982. It was cold and it was wet, but I learned that I had an eye for composition, and henceforth photography became a way of expressing some of my creativity.

On that weekend, I took a lot of photos that expressed a tension between the city and the more relaxed Island lifestyle. And between Mother Nature and man's creations. (The pictures were taken using black-and-white film, which enabled such contrasts to show up even more clearly. B_W was also more "forgiving" than colour film, the instructor told me. Huh.)

looking north from the Toronto Islands
What can that tall object in the background possibly be?

a Toronto Islands home. Photo: Karen Bennett.The private houses remaining on Ward's Island were pretty scruffy-looking, but I sympathized with the fight of their owners to stay. (The city of Toronto, which owned the land, was trying to evict the residents so all the Islands could be a park.) There's a special apart-from-Toronto feeling one gets on the Islands, and I liked it a lot.

I'd been doing a lot of dinghy sailing a few years before this Weekend Away, so taking this picture was as inevitable as the tree/CN Tower one, above. (Intervention alert: I "dodged in" the boat so it would appear brighter against the background. "Dodging in": It's called masking nowadays.)

I especially enjoy the gnarliness of the willow tree below and its appearance of looming menacingly over the puny buildings on the mainland. But then, I'm partial to trees, as you may have noticed from the Sunset series, earlier on this page. You may also have noticed my ambivalent feelings about Toronto.






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