Saskatchewan Drive – Edmonton, Alberta
Edmonton – a cold sunrise, winter lingering on into spring, colours buildings and fog haze in muted and rich tones reminding of Russian narratives.
Bartholomew Scott Blair misses a trade show for book publishers. Boozy Barley Blair, life on a tangent, haphazardly and unwittingly finds himself in possession of serious, sobering prose; the film of this narrative takes you from Lisbon to London to Moscow and to Boris Pasternak’s grave and Dacha in which Dr. Zhivago was written. That world is presented in much the same colours as this Edmonton image. The narrative explores the rambling of Barley’s unanchored heart navigating forward recklessly in hope and unchallenged belief at a time of life when legacy is what should concern him. Barley’s life becomes entangled – verifying story source and author, working within prescribed tradecraft and pursuing relationship. That relationship and possibility change the course of this narrative – hope and promise are honoured.
This Edmonton image looking out to Saskatchewan Drive high above the North Saskatchewan River surprises me in perspective, time of year and colour. These are the familiar tones and colours and climate of my childhood and youth cycling Edmonton city streets or walking and talking with friends. Likewise Moscow’s tones, colour and climate as featured in the film of John Le Carre’s ‘Russia House’ also surprise me because they are so strikingly familiar.
Listening to – Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast.’
Quote to Inspire – “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” ― Dorothea Lange
Boats in Woods – Hay River 1
Boats in Woods – Hay River 2
Stowed away among the brush, the husks of two boats dragged from the water, now uncared for, left to the elements.
Listening to – Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ and ‘Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes’ (only now realizing that these were recorded in South Africa at a time when Artists Against Apartheid were sanctioning the Arts, there … in addition to all other sanction; a bold, bold move on Paul Simon’s part).
Quote to Inspire – “I am not an artist. I am an image maker.” – Thomas Hoepker
Canola Homestead – Fort Vermilion, Alberta
Elektra Water Bomber 1
Elektra Water Bomber 2
Winter Snow 1
Winter Snow 2
At -39C steam hangs in the air almost failing to dissipate, resolving into a fog residue – vehicle exhaust, factory steam, breath from your own mouth. Cold cranking car batteries fail and must be boosted. January into February, in the North we’re rounding the cold portion of the orbital arc, pulling January’s cold with us into February. To look back, to rework and to resurrect in new ways – former photographs become blessing. Blown, compacted, heated and crusted snow is the subject of two images. Summer images include a homestead house within a field of canola as well as the Elektra water bomber from July.
Listening to – Stompin’ Tom Connors’ ‘Sudbury Saturday Night,’ Ray Wylie Hubbard’s ‘Mother Blues,’ Gurf Morlix’s ‘Gasoline’ and Buddy Miller’s ‘Does My Ring Burn Your Finger.’
Quote to Inspire – “I have to shoot three cassettes of film a day, even when not ‘photographing’, in order to keep the eye in practice.” – Josef Koudelka
Woodsmoke Wisps – Fort Vermilion Alberta
Late on a November Saturday afternoon, wraith-like, wisps of wood smoke drift over winter’s fallow field near Fort Vermilion. A homestead’s woodstove produces an intense dry heat, welcome warmth in the midst of a cold, Alberta winter. The day, a first opportunity to work with a new prime lens, a Canon 50mm – f/1.4 lens; my wife has encouraged me to begin my work with it. The image is one of the first images with the lens.
Listening to – Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto, In My Place, Major Minus and Yellow.
Quote to Inspire – “The photograph is completely abstracted from life, yet it looks like life. That is what has always excited me about photography.” – Richard Kalvar
Cold Winter Night - High Level, Alberta
- Versatile Blogger Award – 29 April 2012
Totally an interesting day, yesterday – to post and then to return later and have not just Gina from The Regina Chronicles nominate my photoblog for an award, but also to receive nomination from Jeremy of 365 photos by Jeremy for the Versatile blogger award. Thank you Jeremy for this nomination and for the intrigue and interest you present the In My Back Pocket – Photography photoblog. More than you know the tribute/nomination hits home well. I am grateful.
The weblink above is an animoto of images posted on In My Back Pocket – Photography; have a look.
The Fifteen Blogs to Recommend and Explore
- Teklanika Photography Field Journal
- To A Dusty Shelf We Aspire
- A Traveller’s Tale
- The Regina Chronicles
- Leanne Cole’s Blog
- Niltsi’s Spirit
- Blue Line
- Not Yet There
- Not Yet There
- Greenford 365
- Mars Black Vintage
Seven Things About Me
- An audiobook listener since 1981 – Emma by Jane Austen was first, Shakespeare’s Hamlet was second, then Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Castorbridge; all were audiocassettes put out by Listen for Pleasure and used on a variety of Sony Walkmans.
- I’ve completed two half-marathons – the first in two hours, fifty-one minutes and the second at age forty-nine in two hours, fourteen minutes.
- My middle brother introduced me to the Canon T70 SLR camera I bought somewhere around 1985-87 and I’ve two framed pictures of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia on our kitchen wall, twins to the pair my father has hanging on his bedroom wall in his retirement home.
- I was made a school administrator, one-hundred and forty days into teaching. My teaching has all been north of Latitude 54.
- In terms of my love for vehicles, I aspire one-day to help in the beginning-to-end, front-to-back restoration of a rusting relic – just to be a part of the transformation.
- In terms of vehicles and vehicles I feel safe in – we’ve owned three Nissan Pathfinders (same series 1991-1995), a Dodge Dakota, a Dodge Colt, a Dodge Spirit, a Jeep Grande Cherokee, two Toyota Camrys (1991 – 2010), an Aries K-Car, a Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Altima; all are good vehicles. In terms of handling muck, cold, snow and ice, I’d go with the Nissan Pathfinder (with manual transmission and good tires, SE if possible).
- Our Dogs – we’ve had a wolf-Lab cross (Chrissy), a Siberian Husky (Katya) and currently have a Cocker-spaniel (Shadow).
Listening to – John Cougar Mellencamp’s Rumbleseat and You’ve Got to Stand for Something, Dire Straits’ the Bug and U2′s When Love Comes to Town.
Quote to Inspire – “I always thought good photographs were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it isn’t that good.” – Anonymous
Wisconsin Locomotive – High Level Canadian National Rail Yards 1
Wisconsin Locomotive – High Level Canadian National Rail Yards 2
Wisconsin Locomotive – High Level Canadian National Rail Yards 3
Wisconsin Locomotive – High Level Canadian National Rail Yards 4
I am including four other photographs of the Wisconsin locomotive engine within the High Level Canadian National rail yard.
My interest in locomotive engines probably began with the matter of watching them pass by at railroad crossings, as a youngster, sitting among family in our 1969, silver-green Pontiac Parisienne; the big thing was to wave to the engineer and pull our arms down as if we were tugging on a rope above us – to our gesture we were sometimes rewarded with the engineer blowing the train’s air horn in our presence, something that would thrill us, creating big smiles on the faces of everyone. Later, during summers while in university, I served as spotter and brakeman moving hopper cars around rail yards in southern Edmonton. And, now, I still have an interest in trains and locomotives. I wonder how much of my current interest has been shaped by time enjoyably shared with my son reading Thomas the Tank Engine stories each night or watching the animated VHS video stories or in building different wooden track configurations and moving different engines around my son’s Thomas the Tank Engine track – Thomas, Percy, Rusty et al. Here, in Reverend Wilbert Awdry’s stories, it’s the everyday advice on the practicalities of living and the allegorical component of his stories that continues to hold my attention … there’s value and values there. My son is now eighteen and in university – many good facets of what life is about have been embedded in his character through these stories; these stories have been an enjoyable investment in my son’s future. And, still trains and what they accomplish capture my interest.
Listening to Billy Bragg and Wilco perform Stetson Kennedy from the Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2 album; then it’s been Black Rebel Motorcycle Club … who would have thought four seminary graduates would minister through music … like this in Ha Ha High Babe.
Quote to Inspire – “I began to realize that the camera sees the world differently than the human eye and that sometimes those differences can make a photograph more powerful than what you actually observed.” – Galen Rowell
Bus Lanes & Fog 1
Bus Lanes & Fog 2
Bus Lanes & Fog 3
Bus Lanes & Fog 4
HLPS Cafeteria Entrance
Playground Equipment – Winter
Hoarfrosted Tree – Parking Lot
HLPS Gymnasium Entrance
HLPS Main Entrance 1
HLPS Main Entrance 2
On Thursday evening, the temperature in High Level, Alberta dropped from -10C to -20C+. The moisture in the air transitioned to noticeable fog and then crystallized on physical objects producing a beautiful array of hoarfrost on trees, buildings and fences throughout the town. I went for my evening walk, walking a counter clockwise, reverse 6 km circuit through High Level, returning home to collect my Canon 60D and Manfrotto Tripod. The variation in subjects is limited – bus lane light standards between High Level Public School and Florence MacDougall Community School (showing the play of light against fog), a hoarfrosted tree in parking lot to the west, three entrance images to High Level Public School and the school’s playground equipment. In all images, a change in the weather has altered the landscape, creating new possibilities for photographs.
Composition for photographs has been on my mind and while there are many rules or principles to guide angle of view, subject and lighting, the thing I’ve been reminded of is that composition is about ‘finding’ the strongest way of seeing the subject. Here, Angela Patterson of the Ditch Divas would remind me that while there are technical considerations, it is also important to get to the point of taking the picture … not to over-think the opportunity in front of you … likely because it’s impermanent.
Listening to Impermanent Things by Peter Himmelman from his Stage Diving album; (thank you to Stocki for this Rhythms of Redemption recommendation … all those years ago).
Quote to Inspire – “Photographs really are experience captured, and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness in its acquisitive mood.” ~ Susan Sontag, On Photography
Bloggers and image viewers – Thank you for stopping by and recommending this site to friends and colleagues. Cheers!