:: Sunday, May 07, 2006 ::
Aylmer and Burwell
My weekly search for what this part of the province offers took me South. South because I solicited a "North South East West?" from someone as an initial course selection and I thought that would be fine.
I packed some of the new lemon lime Crystal Light and a water bottle or two and headed out. I got gas at the Husky truckstop on the 401 and then headed down Highway 74 towards Lake Erie.
I found a couple of interesting barns, slightly dulled and needing some red paint but crisp enough. A little cemetary on a rise just off the road caught my eye, and then the interesting Cheese and Taxidermy sign in the tiny intersection of a town of Mapleton. It's on a curve and if you have ever driven by it, you know what I am taking about.
Down in Alymer, I recalled seeing a couple of old mansions on my last pass through back in early April when meeting up with Mandy and Jesse (the first fur hoodie pics of Mandy). When my brother was at the Ontario Police College in 2003, which is located on the east side of Aylmer, I met him for dinner a couple of times. We ate at a diner in mid town, and another time at a Swiss Chalet. I didn't know the lay of the land anywhere as much as I do three years on,and didn't know how quaint and attractive this town of 7000 or so was.
I shot pictures of two houses, both on the main East West street. The first a Second Empire style mansion with manicured lawns and possibly a BnB. The other house was built in the mid 1870s in the Queen Anne Revival style (from the corner tower and large two sided veranda, but examples I have seen are more than one story). I shot a few pictures from the sidewalk and side driveway. This attracted the attention of the owners and we chatted for a bit. The house was being renovated and wasn't a bed and breakfast (though it had been in the past at one point) but rather a private home. I learned that the stone porch had been added around 1917 and had some excellent masonry work done when they completed the look in the past couple of years. Stones matched very well with the originals. The owner said his house had been painted and photographed many times. We exchanged cards after chatting for a bit (he has a travelling Military Pipe Organ business) and I continued on my way. After seeing the house Mandy expressed some interest in getting some pics taken there so, I see us possibly coming back if the owners are cool with it.
I grabbed some architectural shots of the downtown, but some were in shadow, but worth a return, and then headed south this time on Highway 73.
A little later, a red Case tractor encapsulated farmer - in a dust cloud tilling the field near Vienna Line and 74 grabbed me. I watched the farmer turn around and head back down the next row. It wasn't quite the same effect from a couple of vantage point down Vienna Line or on 73, so I drove back up to where I orignally spotted tractor and waited for him to finish the row, return and come into view between the farm buildings. The sun was hitting the wind pushed light brown dust cloud at a cool angle and it was overtaking the tractor just slightly as if the dust was like it was leading it. I have no idea how farmers handled a day of that in an open top International Harvester or John Deere back in the day.
My real destination the new power windmills on Lake Erie and they were not far off now. The 'Erie Shores Wind Farm' was opened only last month, and a good majority of the 66 massive wind turbine generators are up and running along a thin strip on the north Coast of Lake Erie between Elgin and Norfolk Counties in Ontario. Mainly on Nova Scotia Line around Port Burwell. A section of road I cycled on once or twice in the past couple of years.
Most of these towering structures with 125 foot blades are on private access roads and you can't get near them, but I found WTG 13 and WTG 14 (WTG being wind turbine generator, of course) approachable down Richmond road. It runs South off Nova Scotia Line between Copenhagen and Port Burwell. Heading down the road and vaguely seeming like I was trespassing a construction site - as I had to get out of the way of dump trucks and a flatbed with a huge Komatsu digger on it - I got some good looks at the big machines. Tough to tell if they are the scale of the one by the CNE in Toronto, and I can't find any specs online, but they are impressive big. And certainly out of contrast to what you normally find around here.
It was a little hazy, so some shots were not happening for me. But a few minutes East as I headed towards Port Burwell, I came across the shot I had in mind before heading out. An old barn, somewhat abandoned, and the new windmill. contrasting the 19th and 21st centuries. the old and the new. It is just off the road and so I parked on the soft shoulder and got out. This is WTG 22. I think the composition was ok, but the slight haze and wind (d'uh) was making for a tough shot. More time would have been ideal, but I shot a few frames and settled on this as the best. I think a tripod and a longer exposure on a cloudy day would be better, but OK for a first effort I think.
In Port Burwell, I walked to the end of the breakwater and back, and then drove through town and came across the 1836 Trinity Anglican Church (no pics yet posted). The drive North on Highway 19 up to Tillsonburg and the 401 is a curvy and fairly interesting one but not picture filled on this time out: I had an appointment back in London I couldn't miss - with a model that I am going to work with for some cool themed shots in the next few weeks we hope.
Nice teaser for what is to come, eh? :)
:: Mike Wood 11:32 [+] ::