By Paul Gessell
Come see Gatineau Park as never before. I am referring to Adrienne Herron’s photo exhibition of forest scenes at Les Saisons coffee shop in Old Chelsea, a favourite stop for cross-country skiers going to and from Gatineau Park.
The park’s forests, as Herron captures them, are ghostly affairs, like images seen in a dream. These are, indeed, enchanted forests.
The photos of the forest scenes are found on the ground floor of Les Saisons. Upstairs are splendid portraits of wild turkeys. Many of the photos were taken within walking distance of Herron’s Chelsea home.
Wild turkeys have a reputation for being vicious. But not with Herron. Perhaps it’s because Herron feeds them. Even wild turkeys know not to bite the hand that feeds them.
Those wishing to spend a day looking at art, rather than skiing, can visit two art galleries close to Les Saisons.
Le Fab, in an old rectory, is located at 212 Chemin Old Chelsea, right beside St. Stephen’s Catholic Church. The gallery regularly shows artists from the Outaouais.
A little further away is Galerie Old Chelsea, at 783 Route 105, on the second floor of the building housing Les Fougeres restaurant. From Jan. 13 until Feb. 13, the gallery will be showing photographs by Sandy Sharkey, the veteran Ottawa radio personality. Then, from Feb. 13 to March 6, the gallery will be showing paintings by Paula Zoubek.
But first, check out Adrienne Herron’s work. Herron revealed some of her trade secrets in an interview with the Artful Blogger.
ARTFUL BLOGGER: What technique do you use to create those ghostly, blurred images of forests?
ADRIENNE HERRON: I use camera motion to create these images of the forest. I set the shutter at a slow speed and pull the camera during the period the shutter opens and closes.
AB: I find these forest scenes melancholy yet very inviting. What is your own emotional response to these images?
AH: This technique tends to blur the image somewhat thereby eliminating some details and softening others which gives the image a sort of impressionistic effect. I find this helps to portray the forest as the fragile and vulnerable resource it is.
AB: Do you have a favourite area of Gatineau Park or somewhere else to shoot these forest scenes?
AH: Although I tend to work mostly in the areas of Gatineau Park that are closest to my home (and within walking distance), I do explore many other trails at different times of the year. Usually, I drive to a location before sunrise and then start out on a trail at dawn. I like to catch the early morning sunlight, but I occasionally shoot at sunset too, and less often after dark.
AB: Some of your wild turkey photos are extreme close-ups of their heads. Wild turkeys are known to be vicious at times so how close do you dare get to the turkeys?
AH: At times I am able to walk among the turkeys as I put out food for them. Some scamper away, but some seem to accept me. I have never felt threatened by them. In some of the close-ups of the turkey’s heads in the exhibition I am about three to five feet from the turkeys.
AB: Is there a regular spot where you find the wild turkeys or do you just find them by chance?
AH: There has been a flock of 12-15 wild turkeys passing through my garden almost every day since September 2012. They are a constant source of entertainment. They often roost in nearby trees for the night. They took a liking to the shelled peanuts and sunflower seeds that I put out on my deck railing for the birds. However, they gobbled up the bird food so quickly, I began to buy 50-pound bags of wild turkey feed. This is much less expensive and they seem to like it. It is a mixture of corn, wheat and sunflower seeds.
Adrienne Herron’s exhibition continues at Les Saisons, 232 Chemin Old Chelsea, until Feb. 28.