A return visit to the St. Louis Catholic Mission in Fort Vermilion’s North Settlement (Buttertown) finds me working with a Sigma 50mm prime lens to limit lens distortion and to create three panorama images. Among upgrades this year for photo-editing have been those associated with moving to Adobe Lightroom Classic, an upgrade that moves editing possibilities from those possible in 2013 to what can now be achieved presently in December 2018. That Adobe Lightroom upgrade now includes the ability to photo merge High Dynamic Range (HDR) images as well as Panorama images – both activities that would previously have taken me to either Adobe Photoshop or to two or three other programs for HDR. These images are exercises in photo merging to create panoramas and in terms of the global edit of each image.
Quote to Consider / Inspire – ‘It’s weird that photographers spend years or even a whole lifetime, trying to capture moments that added together, don’t even amount to a couple of hours.’ – James Lalropul Keivom
Listening to – Amir Katz performing Chopin’s Nocturnes No. 14-18.
These images have been culled travelling through southern Alberta: remnants of April snow flurries in the foothills behind Nanton, Alberta; a ripening August grain field encountered on the way to Calgary; a Packard in transport, one true-to-life image and another having editing fun; teepee frames in front of the University of Lethbridge; and the train trestle in Lethbridge, Alberta.
These are images that can come alive beyond a computer screen; they are images that you can live with and come to understand more fully once they are printed. This Christmas I have enjoyed printing images to see how they look, to see what they look like in natural light, to see what they look like on different papers. And, you do see more as you see each image more often.
Quote to Consider / Inspire – ‘My Life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.’ – Steve McCurry
Listening to – Parachute Club’s ‘Rise Up’ and Paolo Nutini’s ‘New Shoes.’
A spring shot – ice break-up on the Peace River at Fort Vermilion. The river banks span almost one kilometre – the telephoto lens has compressed the distance making the river look quite skinny. Pieces of ice floating by are often as big as a half-ton truck. It should be noted (as you can see in the picture) that the ice and water came within a metre of cresting the river bank and flooding the area.
Quote to Consider / Inspire – ‘No place is boring if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.’ – Robert Adams
Listening to – Paul Gross singing a ‘Due South’ tune, ‘Ride Forever’ and his ‘Fraser / Inuit Soliloquy.’
A winter shot – the ferry that moves vehicles across the Peace River at Tompkins Landing, Alberta has been pulled from the water and rests dormant until spring. Liking how this image works in several ways.
Quote to Consider / Inspire – ‘The whole point of taking pictures is so you don’t have to explain things with words.’ – Elliott Erwitt
Listening to – a song from the ‘I Am Sam’ soundtrack, the Beatles’ ‘Nowhere Man’ as performed by Paul Westerberg.
At 6:00 a.m., my daughter’s flight was underway, I watched the jet having its wings de-iced and then taking to the air. My daughter returned south to University. I wouldn’t return to sleep. I gathered photo gear, left the hotel and got on backroads between Sexsmith and La Glace, Alberta. These morning images are from a bright, early winter’s day in November.
Then, I drove the four hours home.
Quote to Consider / Inspire – ‘One doesn’t stop seeing. One doesn’t stop framing. It doesn’t turn off and turn on. It’s on all the time.’ – Annie Liebovitz
Listening to – ‘Such Great Heights’ from The Postal Service’s album, ‘Give Up.’
I follow the photography of an Alberta Facebook group called Aurora Chasers. Close to midnight on my return from Yellowknife, the Aurora was active, significant and striking in colour, shape and brightness. I watched them dance between Enterprise, Northwest Territories and Indian Cabins, Alberta. At Indian Cabins, I pulled in and tried as many as ten shots of the Northern Lights – the one presented here worked out well. Since then, I have received encouragement to set my ISO and Aperture to accommodate a 1/800 of a second in shutter speed … a next project.
Quote to Consider / Inspire – ‘I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.’ – Diane Arbus
Listening to – the Primitives’ ‘Summer Rain,’ ‘All the Way Down,’ and ‘Thru’ the Flowers.’
On my return to High Level, Alberta I fuelled my truck at the Cherdon Enterprises truck stop at the highway corner where you can gain access to Fort Providence, Northwest Territories. I took some time to drive in to the settlement and get a sense for its size and how it was laid out. Many of my students are Dene and have Providence as their last name. It is set on the northern bank of the Mackenzie River and looks onto Providence Island and then Meridian Island behind it. The Mackenzie River is quite wide, almost twice the width of the Peace River as we find it near Fort Vermilion, Alberta. The Deh Cho Bridge that crosses the Mackenzie is impressive – I did two or three photo-stitch images of the bridge at sundown and am looking forward to printing one of the images out. Here, you’ll find images of the Deh Cho Bridge, the Our Lady of Providence Catholic Church, a look out to Providence Island and the Mackenzie River.
Quote to Inspire / Consider – ‘The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.’ – Dorothea Lange
Listening to – Roxy Music’s ‘More than This’ and Of Monsters and Men’s ‘King and Lionheart.’
I am an Ice Pilots TV series fan – what the pilots of Buffalo Airways face in terms of extremes of cold and flight reminds of bush flying as a teacher moving between fly-in communities and airports with road access; each pilot has my respect.
Sunday, following the photo walk, before returning South, to High Level and a Thanksgiving meal, I found my way to Buffalo Airways at the Yellowknife Airport. One of my bucket list goals is to fly in a Buffalo Airways DC-3 or DC-4 from Hay River to Yellowknife and to tour the Yellowknife facility. It nearly happened this past summer. Here, I was able to photograph these aircraft that were a part of my father’s travel in the early sixties. I am looking forward to what might be possible next summer.
Also, to note is that I am an Ice Road Trucker TV series fan because winter road conditions I drive upon in Northern Alberta hold many of the same perils that are encountered on bush roads. What was surprising was to find Ice Road Trucker, Art Burke, dining at the Gold Range Bistro on Saturday before the World Wide Photo Walk. Very cool.
Quote to Consider / Inspire – ‘Photographs open doors into the past but they also allow a look into the future.’ – Sally Mann
Listening to – Stan Rogers’ ‘Northwest Passage,’ ‘Canol Road,’ ‘Barrett’s Privateers’ and Sigur Ros’ ‘Glosoli.’