Project 52 – Week 8: After a 20 year absence, the Ice Canoe Challenge returned to Montréal on Saturday (becoming the fifth stop on the Circuit International de Canot a Glace).
Ice canoe racing has been an event I always wanted to go and see, so I was really happy to hear that there was going to be a race held in Montreal.
The course for Montreal sounded pretty tough. The 34 teams (competing in 3 event classes – Men’s Elite, Women’s Elite and Sport) started off next to the clock tower in the old port. They then had to row (and push their canoes over the ice) up to the entrance of the Lachine canal before turning back and making their way over to Ile Sainte-Hélène (battling the strong Saint Lawrence current). The final leg had teams row back to the clock tower and repeat another 2 times.
Despite the fact the race started and ended (with various entertainment happenings) at the clock tower, I decided to go over to Ile Sainte-Hélène thinking competitors pushing their canoes over the ice with the Montreal skyline in the background would make for some good images.
The last time I was on Ile Saint-Hélène there had been quite a bit of ice, but there was no ice today and with heavy snow you could hardly see the Montreal skyline either – so much for my grand plan 🙁
Having come all this way I decided to at least wait and shoot the first set of canoes to make it across the river and then head back to the Old Port and hope the race wouldn’t be finished before I got there.
The first group to arrive were the women…
I packed up quickly and headed back to Old Montreal via the metro. Thankfully the race was far from over and so had plenty of time to shoot from a variety of locations.
The first image was shot from along the Quai de l’Horloge…
But I found the best spot was at the end of the King Edward Quay where the teams had to pull their canoes from the river and then push/slide them along the ice to the next checkpoint.
Due to the snow, I had been shooting in manual focus mode since the auto focus was struggling to fix on a subject…Although being out of focus (I would like to say it was intentional – but it wasn’t and not because of the auto focus) I kind of liked how this next image came out.
Although I really liked the bright colours of the canoes and many of the teams against the blanket white covering of snow and ice, I thought I would convert some images to black and white.
For the processing I used Topaz B&W Effects 2 which has just been released and now is a great time to pick up a copy as Topaz is offering 30% discount off the standard price of $59.99 – just use the coupon code bwfx2 before February 28 !
I really like the Platinum presets, but there are so many to try out and the usual great Topaz adjustment sliders to hone your image to just how you want.
While I was in the area I did grab a couple of shots of the Ice Fishing Village which was where the race began and ended.
Hopefully the race will return to Montréal next year and if it does I think that the Cité du Havre Park next to Habitat 67 will be an even better place to photograph the race.
To view the images in gallery format, click on one of the images below.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.