Out to the Road

54 Ford Crestline - Manning, Alberta 1
54 Ford Crestline – Manning, Alberta 1
54 Ford Crestline - Manning, Alberta 2
54 Ford Crestline – Manning, Alberta 2
54 Ford Crestline - Manning, Alberta 3
54 Ford Crestline – Manning, Alberta 3
54 Ford Crestline - Manning, Alberta 4
54 Ford Crestline – Manning, Alberta 4
54 Ford Crestline - Manning, Alberta 5
54 Ford Crestline – Manning, Alberta 5

It is on the Mackenzie Highway fifteen kilometres south from Manning, Alberta. A green and white, four-door, 1954 Ford Crestline sedan sits there. It’s on the west side where a township road intersects the highway. It is there to attract a buyer interested in restoring this Crestline. It has a straight-six 223 CID engine – it does not hold V8 nor Fordomatic insignia. Its chrome jet hood ornament is missing. Its front passenger door has been dented. Making this Crestline roadworthy will involve work.

I like this Crestline’s green and white colours. They bring out a nostalgia associated with a former era – from the decade before I was born.

This Crestline holds the narrative of families who have been driven in it. There were things a family could do with this vehicle; vacations, trips to town, grocery-getting, banking, doctor’s appointments – day to day things all occurred driving this Crestline. There were things dreamt of but never attempted with this vehicle – destination dreams. This Crestline’s weight, suspension and Armstrong steering gave it a forgiving kind of movement in acceleration and cornering. It had a range you could drive with one tank of gas. It had a feel in how you looked out to the road. And, not only the driver looked out to the road. Others, passengers, would have looked upon the land going by as they travelled.

I would like to drive this Ford Crestline, in the same way I would like to drive former cars I’ve owned – to return to a sense for how it handled and perhaps a sense for who had driven and ridden in it (the story of this Ford). Here, it is noted that in the following year (1955), the Ford Crestline would be replaced by another well-known Ford, the Fairlane.

In terms of the photographs, I am happy with where each edit has brought me.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “Developing a composition is a continuous flow of ideas, where the artist combines, adds, reduces, adapts and discards the various elements in an unending discovery of the new possibilities (Alessandra Bitelli).”

Listening to – Tommy Emmanuel and Billy Strings’ ‘Guitar Boogie,’ Bill Kirchen and Redd Vokaert’s ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’ and Molly Tuttle and Billy Strings’ ‘Sittin On Top Of The World.’

Narrative – From a Distance

La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 1
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 1
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 2
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 2
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 3
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 3
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 4
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 4
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 5
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 5
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 6
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 6
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 7
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 7
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 8
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 8
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 9
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 9
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 10
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 10
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 11
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 11

A cold, winter Sunday in February last year found me on a drive and taking these photos. The afternoon saw me drive a circuit through a large swath of Alberta’s Mackenzie county. From High Level, I traveled south and then east. I crossed the Peace River at the Tompkin’s landing ice bridge near Blue Hills. From Blue Hills I drove east and around the Buffalo Head Prairie corner up to La Crete. Next, I rounded the seven-mile corner moving northward past Blumenort and Fort Vermilion. Finally I would drive west past Rocky Lane and return to High Level.

On a range road south and west from La Crete I found my way to the La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village. At 2:30 p.m., winter sun had begun its arc toward the horizon. In the space of an hour I was able to look, see and find these photos. Each piece of machinery was well taken care of. Each house and farm building remains solid – each might still be used, if needed. 1950 seems a date records show Mennonite membership in the La Crete area – 130 people in the area, then. Now, after seventy years, these buildings and this equipment hold many family narratives – the how, the who, the where, the what … the tough times and the good. Each photograph is from a distance – from the range road outside the La Crete Heritage Village site. I have used a tripod with a zoom lens for each image.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “I usually have an immediate recognition of the potential image, and I have found that too much concern about matters such as conventional composition may take the edge off the first inclusive reaction (Ansel Adams).”

Listening to CKUA – East Pointers’ ‘Ken the Hen,’ Garnet Rogers’ ‘Threshold,’ Paul Brady’s ‘Help Me to Believe,’ Andy Irvine’s ‘My Hearts Tonight in Ireland,’ The Casts’ ‘Lullaby for a Very New Baby’ and Jackie Leven’s ‘The Garden.’

Lamp Post Light

Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 1
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 1
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 2
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 2
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 3
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 3
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 4
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 4
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 5
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 5
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 6
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 6
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 7
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 7
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 8
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 8
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 9
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 9
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 10
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 10
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 11
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 11

A pair of running shoes became troublesome. Hardening foam soles were causing knee pain following treadmill use. It was early January, 2020 and I longed to be moving. I chose to get outdoors for early morning walks. With my camera in my jacket pocket I trekked the six kilometre loop around High Level. At a meandering pace, my walks were ideal for the stop and start of recognizing a photograph.

Those were cold mornings. At -30C I took care to dress for outdoors, for northern winter cold. I layered my clothes adding solid outer gear – balaclava and toque, mitts, jacket, pants and trail boots. A dark, overcast night sky was backdrop to my walks. The feel of the walk was something close. Chimney steam hung low in the air, wraiths, not moving. It was cold if you didn’t keep moving. It was cold to use the camera. Along each of these walks lamp post lights glowed. A sight only seen in coldest winter.

The shoes – it took a week to recognize that new running shoes would solve the treadmill and knee problem.

Self-separating self-isolation – I hope each of you are well. I am eight days in to staying at home and hope to return to the regular run of a day’s routine soon.

‘Reprieve’ – You who are landscape photographers … make sure you check-out Adam Gibbs’ YouTube offering of ‘Reprieve.’ It is a photographer’s look at the world, something soulful and meditative. It reveals the photographer’s invitation to viewers to see the world around you. It is an extraordinary offering from Adam.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “I put in my pictures everything I like. So much the worse for the things; they have to get along with each other (Pablo Picasso).”

Listening to – Tami Neilson’s ‘Queenie, Queenie,’ Lori McKenna’s ‘A Mother Never Rests’ and ‘The Fixer,’ Ben Howard’s ‘Keep Your Head Up,’ Pharis & Jason Romero’s ‘Sally Goodin’ from their ‘Long Gone Out West Blues,’ Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia,’ and Motorhead’s version of Bowie’s ‘Heroes.’