An American Holiday in Montréal

For the long Memorial Day weekend, Carline, Foxxy, Sam and I took a trip up to Montreal; just a five hour drive from Boston. Originally meant to be a “mini-vacay” for just the humans, it turned into an opportunity to catch up with family and friends, so my original idea of street photography turned into family snapshots, which was fine with me. When I travel more than 100 miles from home, I usually carry a two camera bodies and at least two lens (see “Seattle’s Best”), but this time around, I challenged myself to carry one camera and one lens, so, naturally, I chose to take the Leica and the 50mm Summilux, thinking that I would casually take some photos. I wound up shooting over 100 frames per day. That may not seem like a lot, but casual, to me, is the equivalent of no more than two rolls of film per day, instead of five. I need to work on that discipline. 🙂

Day One

One of Carline’s friends was generous enough to let us stay at her house, so we save beaucoup hotel dollars. An added bonus were the meals we ate for free! 🙂 We visited Carline’s sister, Charlotte, and met Carline’s new found, um, “grand niece” and “grand nephew”. They are a handsome pair of kids, so I decided to take their portrait in Charlotte’s home office which provided nice light from a large window. Sam was bored and Foxxy walked around the apartment in a diaper to prevent any “little doggie accidents”. We then ran some errands and met Charlotte at her radio station where I really had to stretch my imagination in photographing her since her booth was quite small and I needed either a 24mm or, at most, 35mm to get a “normal” shot. I had to choose angles that I wouldn’t usually use. After the radio station, we headed out to another friend’s house.

We arrived at Evelyn and Evan’s house, who were babysitting their four grand-children. I often get asked by amateaur photographers which camera has the fastest auto focus (at a reasonable price) that will allow them to capture their “fast moving kids”. With this in mind, I set out to disprove the “I need fast auto focus for moving kids” argument. Since the Leica lens is manual focus, it follows that I should wind up with most of my images out of focus. Once you’ve come to terms with manual focusing, catching fast moving kids becomes easy. In fact, one could argue that fast moving kids are not a modern fact of life and that photographers in the pre-auto focus era were able to catch these whippersnappers/rug rats without a problem. I think we modern photographers have become lazy.

Day Two

On day two, we visited a few museums downtown. This day, the city of Montreal offered free admittance to the exhibits. We saw the Horst exhibit and we attended a concert of Italian Baroque music (which included a Beethoven piece). Afterwards, we visited one of Carline’s old friend; Dominique. This was the first time we’ve been to her house in the summer. All other times we went during winter. Sam chilled with everybody while Foxxy was demanding BBQ. I confess to participating in a communal Sheesha sharing with flavored tobacco. It was quite relaxing. Not as string as smoking a pipe.

Memorial Day

This was truly a memorial day. Carline and I visited the church we got married in. The presiding minister was now living and preaching in Toronto. The church hasn’t changed. We then made our way to St. Joseph’s Basilica. Twenty-six years ago, I thought this place was huge, ma dopo visitato le duomi d’Italia, it pales in comparison. It’s still impressive, though. Later on, we picked up Charlotte and drove to a section of the Rivière des Prairies, where, after nine years, Carline finally fulfills her promise of spreading their mother’s ashes. As her ashes follow along the river, Charlotte realizes where we are and recants how much their mother loved the view from her bedroom window that overlooks the very spot of her final resting place.