July 2, 2011

America (and Canada) the Beautiful

With Independence Day, July 4th, and Canada Day (celebrating not the independence of Canda but the unification of four of the provinces in the 1800s), July 1, I thought I'd celebrate both countries with this post.

Last week while in Canada, I visited Niagra Falls. Nestled between the border of the province of Ontario and the State of New York, Niagra Falls is beyond words. Majestic, powerful, and yet peaceful. The photos are mine in the posting less the vintage photo and the paintings.

What's unusual about this natural outlet from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario? The color. What makes the color so green/vibrant? Erosion. From the Niagra Falls Canadian website: "An estimated 60 tons of dissolved minerals are swept over Niagara Falls every minute. The colour comes from the dissolved salts and "rock flour", very finely ground rock, picked up primarily from the limestone bed but probably also from the shales and sandstones under the limestone cap at the Falls." The color that most closely resembles it to my memory is Jade when I visited the mines in Alaska.

This is the Maiden of the Mist, a boat that one can take for an up-close view.
I was amazed when I saw the boat up close and then noticed
how it dwarfed when near the falls.

The day I visited, the day was slightly overcast with some rain.
The advantage is that on overcast days, colors seem to be true.
The water at the bottom of this photo is exactly
the color green described above.

Overcast, the mist is created by both the rain that day plus the
water leaping over the falls.

Alvan Fisher - A General View of the Falls of Niagara, 1820
The Smithsonian Institution

Thomas Cole - Distant View of Niagara Falls, 1830
Art Institute of Chicago

This photo is from 1911-12, when the falls froze over. Sometimes when
it was solid (which wasn't often) restaurants would serve tea or lunch
and actually have tables out on the ice. The only time the falls shut
completely down due to ice was in 1841.