On Wednesday last week, Montreal experienced the coldest day so far this year when an arctic blast caused the temperature to plummet to below minus 30 degrees Celcius (-36 with windchill).
I was a wimp and didn’t venture out with my camera that day but saw a beautiful image taken by Mathieu Dupuis posted on Facebook of the Montreal skyline which he took in the early morning light. Mathieu has some great images over on his website and I was glad I came across his work – I’ve added his info over on the Landscape Photographer page together with the image he posted !
Well, having seen Mathieu’s and some other images published in the papers the next day of the steam fog (I looked it up and that is apparently the correct term) rising off the warmer Saint Lawrence river (which was pretty damn cold itself), I had to brave the bitterly cold weather Thursday and head on over to Ile Sainte Hélène to see if I could get some nice images myself.
I was glad it was only minus 30 (although at times with the wind blowing it felt a lot colder) and I ended up shooting until past midday. I would have probably stayed out all afternoon if my battery hadn’t died and I hadn’t lost pretty much all feeling in my fingers. Despite the numb chilling cold, it really was a magnificent sight to see the clouds of steam fog rising and blowing off the Saint Lawrence.
I hadn’t shot the old lighthouse (known as the Ile Ronde Rear Range Light) before that stands below the Ile Sainte Hélène Fort (which incorporates the Stewart Museum), but even being abandoned and not looking at its best (despite having been repainted in 2007), with the fog rising from the river and the Montreal skyline in the background, it seemed like a good opportunity to get a shot.
The lighthouse was built in 1912 and is the only lighthouse in downtown Montreal. I’ve not been able to find out much concerning the lighthouse history and when it was abandoned, but if you are into lighthouses, I found this page on Lighthouses of Canada that may be of interest. Hopefully the City of Montreal who own the light will ensure it remains and undertake further restoration if required.
Although I’ve taken many shots of the Jacques Cartier bridge, this was the first time I had captured the large building which sits below the on and off ramps to Ile Sainte Hélène.
The elegant art deco design was likely due to the fact it was originally going to house a casino but the Catholic Church was against this idea and so for a few years after it was built (around 1930) it was used as a reception hall by the Government. I read somewhere that during WWII it was also used to intern Japanese and Italians.
It is in my view a building that is worthy of a lot more attention than it seems to receive. It would be great to see it opened to the public one day rather than it’s current use of being a maintenance storage area for the bridge. I would love to get the opportunity to take some shots from inside 😉
Despite the cold starting to chill me from head to toe (I had pretty much lost the feeling in my fingers after 3 hours in the cold), I decided I would shoot a few short timelapse segments of the steam fog rising from the river and put together the following short movie combining the timelapse segments with some of the still images.
To view images in gallery format, simply click on one of the images below.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.