Month: September 2013

Four-be-Ford

1947 Ford  4 x 4 - Sangudo, Alberta 1

1947 Ford 4 x 4 – Sangudo, Alberta 1

1947 Ford  4 x 4 - Sangudo, Alberta 2

1947 Ford 4 x 4 – Sangudo, Alberta 2

1947 Ford  4 x 4 - Sangudo, Alberta 3

1947 Ford 4 x 4 – Sangudo, Alberta 3

Again, at the Alaska Highway Construction Equipment Museum, another truck, a 1947 Ford captivates – perhaps a three-ton truck and a truck with original four-wheel drive produced by the Ford Motor Company.

Listening to – Luka Bloom’s version of a U2 tune, ‘Bad.’

Quote to Inspire – “I only know how to approach a place by walking. For what does a street photographer do but walk and watch and wait and talk, and then watch and wait some more, trying to remain confident that the unexpected, the unknown, or the secret heat of the known awaits just around the corner.” – Alex Webb

Bales – Harvest II

Round Bales - Sangudo, Alberta 1

Round Bales – Sangudo, Alberta 1

Round Bales - Sangudo, Alberta 2

Round Bales – Sangudo, Alberta 2

Round Bales - Sangudo, Alberta 3

Round Bales – Sangudo, Alberta 3

Round Bales - Sangudo, Alberta 4

Round Bales – Sangudo, Alberta 4

Round Bales - Sangudo, Alberta 5

Round Bales – Sangudo, Alberta 5

Round Bales - Sangudo, Alberta 6

Round Bales – Sangudo, Alberta 6

More round bales indicate that grains have been taken off a field in harvest and that hay is ready to be gathered for winter cattle feed. These images remind of my cousin baling this summer and his waiting for the right equation of temperature and humidity to produce useful, nutrient rich bales for cattle feed. In the north, where we’ve had a lot of rain some fields’ bales are blackened with hay that been damp either while on the ground or at the time of gathering. Such bales often do not hold shape and erode while still on the field. Bright mustard-copper coloured bales signal perhaps the healthiest bales – the brightest I’ve seen have been on the north approach to the Dunvegan bridge (west side of the highway) in the fields preceding the descent to the bridge that crosses the Peace River. What captivates in these images is bale-within-field colour, the quantity of bales that one field produces and the irregular and, at times, patterned placement of bales within a field.

Listening to – Robbie Robertson’s ‘Sweet Fire of Love,’ Shawn Colvin’s ‘I Don’t Know Why’ and Peter Himmelman’s ‘Impermanent Things.’

Quote to Inspire – “When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.” – Anonymous

Under the Shed

Open-Air Shed - Sangudo, Alberta

Open-Air Shed – Sangudo, Alberta

In the week prior to their auction, several old-time pick-ups and cab and chassis reside beneath an open-air shed at Sangudo’s Alaska Highway Construction Equipment Museum, a favourite place to photograph within the last year. These vehicles were auctioned off on September 7th and 8th; doing so, made way for a land sale. Quite possibly had I been at the auction I could have brought home one of these vehicles for as little as $3000 – $4000. Then, it would have been about gathering friends to help restore and add Life to one of these well-kept vintage vehicles.

Listening to – several songs my daughter has downloaded: Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ ‘Too-Rye-Ay’ and ‘Come On Eileen,’ Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball,’ Jack Johnson’s ‘Banana Pancakes,’ Ed Sheeran’s ‘Drunk’ and Emblem 3’s ‘Chloe.’ There is also The Fray’s ‘You Found Me.’

Quote to Inspire – “Ultimately photography is about who you are. It’s the truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.” – Leonard Freed

Wet, Grey, Bleak – Fun

ATS Customs - Mud Bogger - High Level, Alberta 1

ATS Customs – Mud Bogger – High Level, Alberta 1

ATS Customs - Mud Bogger - High Level, Alberta 4

ATS Customs – Mud Bogger – High Level, Alberta 4

ATS Customs - Mud Bogger - High Level, Alberta 3

ATS Customs – Mud Bogger – High Level, Alberta 3

ATS Customs - Mud Bogger - High Level, Alberta 2

ATS Customs – Mud Bogger – High Level, Alberta 2

Moving from fall into winter’s weather the world becomes wet and grey and bleak, weather similar to that which you’ll find on the leeward side of mountains at altitude with its drizzle and snow. For many, the sensible thing is to remain indoors. But, others find it difficult to sit still and you’ll find them active within our northern environment, beyond road’s end carving paths with tow ropes and winches through mud and water, a texture not of soup, but stew, in a vehicle set up for the activity of ‘mud-bogging.’ Here, a seventies Toyota Land Cruiser has in its customization been lifted and engineered by ATS Customs – a vehicle set up for mud-bogging. Had I had this vehicle in Wood Buffalo National park (years ago), the weekly grocery runs in June and September would have been more expedient … accomplishing the two-hundred kilometre trek in several instances took more than eight hours one way; in one trek we needed to create our own bridge over a culvert that had washed out.

Listening to – Dar William’s ‘The Beauty of the Rain’ and ‘Let’s Go Fishing in the Morning.’

Quote to Inspire – “I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed.” – Garry Winogrand

Sharing the Field

Field Shared - Greencourt, Alberta 1

Field Shared – Greencourt, Alberta 1

Field Shared - Greencourt, Alberta 2

Field Shared – Greencourt, Alberta 2

On the drive between Fort Vermilion and High Level, Alberta the clean, stubble-free fields were noteworthy … more indications that harvest is nearing completion. In addition to grain being gathered and hay bales being removed, the fields did look like someone had vacuumed each field, leaving no trace of the summer’s activity. In this image from a few weeks back, at Greencourt, Alberta alongside the highway north farming implements – a Mercury, two Chevrolets, a Massey Ferguson and John Deere – share a field with round hay bales waiting to be cleared off and stored. The older farming implements are on display … perhaps even for sale … perhaps memorial to farming years.

Listening to – Tyrone Wells’ ‘Time of Our Lives.’

Quote to Inspire – “All the technique in the world doesn’t compensate for the inability to notice.” – Elliott Erwitt

Harvest

Harvest - Nampa, Alberta 1

Harvest – Nampa, Alberta 1

Harvest - Nampa, Alberta 2

Harvest – Nampa, Alberta 2

Harvesting Implement - Nampa, Alberta 2

Harvesting Implement – Nampa, Alberta 2

Farmers are harvesting in northern Alberta. A season’s few warm months, with regular rainfall, have allowed northern farmland to produce and this year’s harvest holds promise … something extraordinary in terms of quality and quantity. In the year, we are at that point where the concept of harvest illustrates something of life and lives. Here, the ‘parable of the weeds’ being used to describe the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43 stands out; what captivates is that while the farmer has sown good seed and while he and his family sleep, an enemy intentionally sows weeds among the farmer’s wheat – a premeditated, vicious act aimed at dismantling a farmer’s livelihood. For the farmer, the end-state of harvesting the wheat he’s sown presents challenge because doing so will require that he allow the weeds to grow alongside the wheat until harvest, the weeds sharing the land’s nutrients, the weeds sharing the rain, and, the weeds sharing the sun. At harvest, this careful and patient farmer gathers each weed first, burns the weeds together and then harvests the wheat. This parable is used to describe the kingdom of heaven. That kingdom, the world we presently live in, contains those moving along in Life committed to God’s purposes and those opposing God’s purposes. This kingdom parable becomes example of the lives that live alongside each other, the reality of the good and evil that is at play and the farmer’s careful harvesting hands. It points to each Life being lived out and the farmer discerning what each life has been about as each reaches the harvest.

Listening to – the Tragically Hip’s ‘Wheat Kings,’ Murray McLaughlin’s ‘Farmer’s Song’ and Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow.’

Quote to Inspire – “I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.” – Trent Parke

Other Years

Grain Field - Donnelly, Alberta

Grain Field – Donnelly, Alberta

Grain Field - Valleyview, Alberta

Grain Field – Valleyview, Alberta

In other years, the mounting harvest of grain and canola, as seen from our vehicle’s window has revealed a field’s failure and a farmer’s disappointment. Summer drought in other years has been something limiting a field’s growth; a field of grain that started off well will grow only to a certain point, and, without moisture remain stunted, something we’ve seen on our return journey from summer holidays. In drought, Canola becomes patchy, dying off, growing here and there … nothing that would yield income or return on investment. Such crops at summer’s end would likely be disked, the soil turned over in readiness for next year’s planting. There would be no harvest. In contrast, and perhaps in the second or third year running, northern crops are bountiful. Fields are heavy with grain. And, tracks through fields reveal farmers’ care for their crops; insecticides have been sprayed against grasshopper inundation.

Listening to – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s ‘In Like the Rose’ and the Eagles’ ‘Seven Bridges Road.’

Quote to Inspire – “Ultimately photography is about who you are. It’s the truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.” – Leonard Freed

Buttertown Moon

Buttertown Moon, Fort Vermilion, Alberta

Buttertown Moon, Fort Vermilion, Alberta

Colourful streams of cloud cluster around the moon framed by Buttertown trees – a good end to a long day, a reward for taking a couple of extraordinary tasks through their next steps. The work of the evening was to move my thoughts away from an expedient drive and to a relaxed and searching drive investigating all that was happening around me. This photo was the result of seeing what else was around me in my 360 degree survey of the landscape following a photo of a Fort Vermilion homestead cabin. The colours have been amplified somewhat and the image is an HDR image. I’m liking the result.

Listening to – U2’s Bad … and a lecture on U2’s ‘Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,’ an enigmatic idea on many levels.

Quote to Inspire – “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough” – Robert Capa

Valleyview Farm Buildings

Derelict Farm Buildings - Valleyview, Alberta

Derelict Farm Buildings – Valleyview, Alberta

Derelict farm buildings and an unused field on the road home, near Valleyview, Alberta.

Listening to – Concrete Blonde and ‘I Don’t Need a Hero.’

Quote to Inspire – “I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed.” – Garry Winogrand

Shed RAM

Store Shed - Smoky River, Alberta

Store Shed – Smoky River, Alberta

At our house, we have needed a shed, or so I think, for a couple of years. We’re needing a place, separate from our home and garage to store and organize things we use seasonally and non-regularly so the squeeze of their possession does not limit action, nor become obstacles to intention. We have space to reclaim because the state of our space is beginning to shape our actions (and quite possibly is limiting possibility).

David Allen, in his book ‘Getting Things Done,’ calls what our awareness has before it our psychic RAM (Random Access Memory drawing from computers as analogy). And, cluttered psychic RAM slows us down because it becomes more and more difficult to take-on new information, ideas and actions – a limitation to imagination and possibility. So, in a sense a shed would allow us a place for long-term storage (like a hard drive) and allow us to direct psychic RAM to its contents on an as needed basis.

Perhaps there is still time for this to happen – build and locate a storage shed on our property to handle those things in our way from snow tires, bicycles, lawn care machines and tools; furniture and unused fitness equipment could be stored until needed. The exercise would be about de-cluttering, about organizing and about determining what needs keeping and what can be given or thrown away. It does seem worth it. But, in three or four weeks snow will be on the ground. We’ll have to get to it.

Another Shed – Along the road home, travelling north, homeward from Edmonton, I looked in on these two sheds just beyond Valleyview on the last bit of farmland crammed atop the Smoky River valley that cuts into the land, the road descending to the Smoky River and the bridge crossing it. Retro-teal, a bright energizing colour from Canada’s fifties and sixties draws the eye to the shed door’s post and lintel, reminding of another post and lintel painted in lamb’s blood as protection from an Egyptian death all those years ago. This shed, now in dis-use, has once been a structure thought-of and to be built, then a building allowing a farmer to store and shelter equipment and supplies, and, it’s been a place people have worked in, a place allowing possibility.

Listening to – a song from last year first heard of the Sirius Coffee House station on a Sunday morning, Shawn Colvin’s ‘All Fall Down,’ a song about many things including humility’s stumbles and tumbles and the grace involved in picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and taking next steps.

Quote to Inspire – “The idea of photography seemed to come together with the idea that this is how I could be – someone who could have one step in the world while at the same time being one step removed from it.” – Donovan Wylie

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