Day: February 28, 2012

-23C, Leaning North

Saturday – a new treasure of a car, a 2006 Nissan Altima with 35000 km, a vehicle barely finished being broken in, a definite upgrade from my 2000 GMC half-ton, a vehicle that is clean, well maintained and somewhat regal. The opportunity was there to test out the vehicle and to use the day to travel and to look around at the world through my camera lens. The choice leaned heavily toward going south to the Dunvegan Bridge and Grande Prairie; undiscovered landscapes in and around Peace River were to be considered. The choice could also lean into an eastward drive to Fort Vermilion and La Crete; but, I had been in La Crete twice in the previous month.  The choice could also bend westward to Rainbow Lake and Chateh; but, doing so would really require truck or skidoo. Early in the morning, as I steered the Altima toward the highway … the choice became … north.

From High Level, Alberta to Enterprise and then Hay River in the Northwest Territories has you using one highway, highway 35 in Alberta which becomes highway 1 in the Northwest Territories, their route south to Edmonton. On Saturday, I made the -23C drive from High Level to Hay River and back stopping wherever my camera lens found interesting opportunities for image capture. On the Alberta side of the drive, a train trestle on the highway’s west side was the first image. A quarter of an hour later, I arrived at Steen River where a cabin along ancestral land of a Dene Tha’ trap line was the next image. Another hour passed, looking right, left, forward and back into the landscape along the road; often I turned the car around to revisit an area and to find photographs. I got to Alexandra Falls and clouds broke to reveal sun shining into trees, onto the highway and onto the Alexandra Falls. Midday’s light was bright and harsh, but for photographs along my ninety minute walk along a snow trampled path in forest atop the west side of the Hay River gorge below the falls; the walk to me from the first falls lookout to the second and third lookouts. Early afternoon found me in Hay River scouting out potential shots for later. After a bite to eat, in late afternoon the sun worked its way into sunset;  several colourful photographs became possible – Buffalo Air’s DC-3s at the Hay River Airport, ships frozen in ice in the west channel below the Great Slave Lake and then photos at the Northern Transportation Company Limited (NTCL) shipyard. The day was colourful and cold, but a good opportunity to see winter’s north by day – one of my never dones.

Listening to – what’s been interesting in the past few days is to listen to CDs; where my 2000 GMC half-ton had a cassette deck and am/fm stereo, the Altima has a CD player.  And, instead of listening to satellite radio which would require some hooking up, I’ve opted to listen to full albums on CD, a significant change from iPod playlists and satellite radio.  Literally, there have been CDs I haven’t referred back to in more than a decade.  Today’s listening has been to a Brian Houston album Mea Culpa and the songs standing out are Hard Man, Dancing with You and Standing Here.  I’ve thought of these songs while thinking of another Brian Houston song – We Don’t Need Religion … a good enlightening tune.

Quotes to Inspire – (1)“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” – Ansel Adams; (2) “I take photographs with love, so I try to make them art objects. But I make them for myself first and foremost – that is important.” – Jacque-Henri Lartique

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