November: A time for remembrance - w(ar)t

November 22, 2020

During the month of November, I remember and give thanks to everyone currently serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.  My blog for today pays tribute to the Royal Canadian Navy with a series of pictures that I took of the HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sailing in the St. Lawrence River in 2017.  

The HMCS Toronto is a general-purpose warship with a particular focus on anti-submarine capabilities.  It was commissioned in her namesake city on July 29, 1993. It has a top speed of 30 knots (56 km/h), an operational displacement of 4,795 tonnes, and a length of 134 metres. With a complement of some 225 people, it includes a variety of armaments and a flight deck to support helicopter operations. This Canadian designed and built ship is also known as a Halifax-class frigate and it was one of twelve built and named after major cities across Canada from each province. Its motto is "Excellence with Vigour,” which I can totally resonate with.   

At present, it is my understanding that Canada's navy comprises some 13,000 personnel and 30 ships.   Canada and Russia are the only nation states that completely border three oceans, and I suppose we could also add the United States to that short list if we consider their territory of Alaska giving them that extra reach.  So, our men and women in service certainly have a huge role and responsibility to play in protecting and promoting our way of life at sea!     

On the topic of mottos, two of my all-time favourites that I apply in my photography work are: "the early bird gets the worm" and "luck favours the prepared.”   

On this mighty fine day, I got both by getting up at zero 300 hours to create the four images you see here.  My first photo of the HMCS Toronto FFH 333 occurred at zero 500 hours with Le Pont de Québec and Le Pont Pierre-Laporte in front of me. This spectacular perspective also benefited from a natural orange-pink glow cresting off the water from the sun rising behind my back. With patience and the support of my wife, I then waited nine hours to take the next three images.  As I took those final three images with great excitement, I could see that all the sailors standing side-by-side on the deck at perfect attention in white uniforms also showed a massive amount of patience too, as they ceremoniously sailed by the Château Frontenac and other landmarks during the Tall Ships flotilla.   

What a view for me and them, and I totally understand why they would risk it all for it, so thank you.   As an extra remembrance moment, this was also the day that my wife told me that she wanted to be a photographer alongside me, and she captured one of these images with my camera too! :)   

If I ever have the life chance to photograph our navy ships sailing into a rising sun over the ocean horizon, or slicing through the torrent waves of a massive storm, then I'd take that opportunity in a heartbeat!   No fear, and all in.

HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sailing in the St. Lawrence, Québec City.

HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sailing past the Château Frontenac

HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sailing along the St. Lawrence and past the Château Frontenac during a Tall Ships flotilla.
HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sailing in the St. Lawrence, Québec City.

HMCS Toronto FFH 333 turning near le Pont du Québec

This image was taken at zero 500 hours with the Pont du Québec in the background and the sun rising behind me.
HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sailing in the St. Lawrence, Québec City.

HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sails past two Canadian Coast Guard ships

HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sails past two Canadian Coast Guard ships docked in Québec City - The Pierre Radisson (left) and the Martha L. Black (right).
HMCS Toronto FFH 333 sailing in the St. Lawrence, Québec City.

HMCS Toronto FFH 333

The HMCS Toronto FFH 333 fires a single ceremonial canon while sailing along the St. Lawrence with the Port du Québec in the background. The birds and me loved it with great surprise! :)

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