A week or so ago, I was going through box and box of old photos in the collection of my late mother, Catherine Rowland (nee Hill). Almost all of the images are people photos, my mother, her brother, parents and friends from 1914, when she was born, until the Second World.
I was surprised to find among all those photos two small shots of the Canadian War Memorial at Vimy Ridge in France.
It commemorates the battle where the Canadian Corps assaulted German lines at Vimy Ridge during the offensive of the Battles of Arras in 1917.
The memorial was planned in the early 1920s to mark the Canadian contribution in the horrors of the First World War. It was built on a foundation 11,000 tonnes of steel reinforced concrete with 6,000 tonnes of Seget limestone brought from Crotia to create the twin pylons.
Now here is the mystery, as far as I know my mother had no known connection to Canada until our family moved to Canada in 1951. It is likely that either my mother, or her brother, John Hill, took the photos on a trip to France, perhaps soon after the memorial’s completion in late 1935 and before the official opening by King Edward VIII, French President Albert Lebrun and Prince Arthur of Connaught on July 26, 1936 (which also would have been my mother’s 22nd birthday).
The original photos were small, probably direct prints from the (lost?) original negatives, about two inches on the longest side. The original prints were enlarged, enhanced and restored in PhotoShop. Restoration copyright 2023 by Robin Rowland.
The cloudy day creates an interesting atmopshere to the shots of the twin pylons.
A visitor to my backyard mountain ash tree the past couple of days (February 9 and 10, 2023) a Townsend’s Solitaire (myadestes townsendi). It is a thrush, usually found further inland along the Pacific Northwest but rare on the coast, especially in winter.
UPDATE: February 13, 2023. The Townsend’s solitaire back on Monday afternoon.
And two bald eagles over MK Bay on February 11.
Early summer is often a great time to photograph birds in the Kitimat Valley.
The Haisla Bridge Replacement Project, Girder Launching Ceremony, June 14. 2022. Pylons anchored deep into bedrock of the Kitimat River will soon be mounted with giant steel girders. The new bridge project is expected to be completed by spring, 2023, then the old bridge from 1953 with its familiar humming vibration on the old deck will be demolished.
It was a cool, over cast Saturday afternoon when I accompanied birders from the Kitimat Valley Naturalists on the monthly shorebird count.
Just after we arrived at our first stop, the Kitamaat Village seawall and beach in Haisla traditional territory, I (and the others) saw something out of the corner of my eye, a flash of black with a tail scampering along a driftwood log on the beach. A few minutes later the animal appeared again, coming up from another log. So while the birders put up their scopes and scanned the shoreline, I walked up on a pile of dirt and kept watch for the mammal.
I kept watch. It was dashing along the logs and under others. Had the camera on high speed burst mode and missed it about twenty or so times.
Then the mink decided to pause (or to do me a favour) and stopped on one log, looked up and I captured this portrait. It looked around and then dashed into a hollow log and disappeared.
Cloudy day. Sony RX10M3, Iso Auto shooting at 2000 ASA. 1/1000 at F4.
A lot of other usual shots, even at low tide the beach is far off so it’s often hard to get good shots.
Then I spotted a bald eagle high over Douglas Channel.
Then I got lucky again, the eagle flew right toward the beach, coming in for a landing.
And then perched on a driftwood stump.
On Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, a student at Kitimat’s Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School wore traditional regalia for picture day. At that time a teacher allegedly asked the student “What’s the costume.” This led to a protest against racism the following day by indigenous and non-indigenous students supported by members of the Haisla Nation and Kitimat residents on Nov. 2.
Video: Story I shot for Global News.‘It’s not a costume’: B.C. teacher’s alleged mocking of student’s Indigenous regalia sparks protest
Statement from the Haisla Nation (on the school board site)