Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON
Ever checked out the place at 4549 Pierre de Coubertin Avenue in Montreal? It's big. It's prime real estate. It's instantly recognisable. But it ain't for sale.
The Stade Olympique (or Olympic Stadium) is not just a symbol of the city, it is also a reminder of the 1976 Olympic Games. The famously angled tower, la tour de Montreal, is 175 metres tall, the highest inclined tower in the world.
I posted this shot in my very early days as a blogger, when I was lucky to get half a dozen visitors each day, so if there is a bit a deja vu here, then you must surely have been one of the first visitors to this blog. I guess I like the shot because it makes you look twice. Yes, it's easily recognisable as the main stadium of the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, but there is also something about the image that is not quite normal.
That's because it's a reflection. So sit back and allow me to tell you the story.
I was in Montreal for a couple of days in late 2005 and tried to cover as much of the city - on foot and by car - as possible. I used to get up before the crack of dawn and I was still shooting as the clock approached midnight. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but I think I was so tired at the end of the trip that I must have switched my brain off.
Yes, there I was at Montreal airport, checking in for the next leg of my flight when I realised I had left my blazer and formal trousers in my hotel room.
Okay, if you must know, the airline rep let me use her phone and the hotel very kindly and very efficiently mailed the clothes to me so that they were waiting for me in Port Carling a couple of days later. And yes, I have since switched my brain back on again. And yes, I can hear you whispering irreverently that it's made no difference!
Anyway, the morning I visited the Olympic stadium there was some interesting cloud in the sky, so I got several moody shots of the controversial roof and the angled tower. I thought this shot (above) was about as good as I could get, because the top of the tower is not visible in the main shot - but it is clearly visible in the reflection in the window. It was an interesting way to frame it, especially with the undulation of the roof through the shot.
I shot the sight from every conceivable angle and then crossed the street to get back to the van. As I did so, I realised that I had stumbled on the best shot of all.
The stadium was reflected in the passenger window, so I lined it up to give an intriguing view. I framed it really painstakingly - so that the back-to-front lettering is visible. It's as if you're looking at a hazy shot of the Olympic landmark - then you notice the edges of the vehicle's large door and the roof rack, as well as brickwork in the background. The shot would not have worked this well in the smaller door or window of a sedan.
And the really interesting observation, in retrospect, is this - it's my favourite shot of the entire hour, but it was taken with my back to the stadium, looking away from it.
Just goes to show, never put your camera away until you've exhausted every angle, even the inconceivable.