Through Camera & Lens

Project 365 - Photo-a-day

Enjoying this – getting out and seeing the world through a camera and lens.  But, what do you do?  Are you in the predicament of wanting to trial different cameras.  I have used Canon cameras mainly. I have an Olympus EM-5 Mk II and a Fuji X-100F.  My question is how do you go about selling or trading off your older camera(s). What is your experience?  There is KEH that I have worked with. But, I have never traded my cameras toward newer ones.

These images are associated with southern Alberta back in February, 2020.

Quote to Inspire / Consider – ‘While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see (Dorothea Lange).’

Listening to: ‘Beachcombing,’ ‘I Dug Up a Diamond’ and ‘This Is Us’ from the ‘All the Roadrunning’ album from Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris.

A Sunday Afternoon Image – Before the Snow Flies

Project 365 - Photo-a-day

One of the first images with a fifty-year-old rangefinder 90mm prime lens. A Sunday afternoon image found out near Fort Vermilion’s north settlement in colder October days before snow.

Quote to Inspire / Consider – ‘Always seeing something, never seeing nothing, being a photographer (Walter De Mulder).

Listening to:  John Prine lifting his voice with ‘When I Get to Heaven.’

Summer’s End & Fort MacLeod

Project 365 - Photo-a-day

A too-long drive finds me having travelled 1200 km one-way, southward on a Labour Day weekend.  I am taking my daughter’s car down to her, at University in Lethbridge.  She and her mother are travelling together in my truck with boxes of personal effects and are ahead of me by a couple of hours.  I have stopped at Fort MacLeod to ease body stiffness and to look around.  I have my range finder camera and a 28mm wide angle prime lens to gather practice with.  I stop at the North West Mounted Police barracks which in non-COVID times would be a tourist site; today it’s closed.  It looks to be an interesting site from outside its walls.

From the barracks, I scan the horizon and find this Alberta Wheat Pool grain elevator. I find my way to it and enjoy an hour of stop and start composition finding. I work through different exposures from all sides of the elevator; my daughter and wife have given me the gift of time that is at my leisure. Good. I have the other 1400 km to travel back home in the next two days. The fun will be in the editing of these images in the months that follow.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – ‘A photograph is usually looked at – seldom looked into (Ansel Adams).’

Listening to: John Prine’s ‘Summer’s End’ (again), ‘Caravan of Fools,’ ‘Lonesome Friends of Science’ and ‘No Ordinary Blue’ from ‘The Tree of Forgiveness’ album.

Caress and Collide

Project 365 - Photo-a-day

Land, cloud, light and colour – in juxtaposition they caress and collide yielding immensity in southern Alberta prairie and among foothills and mountains.

Quote to Consider/Inspire – ‘To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy (Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers).’

Listening to: Bob Dylan’s ‘False Prophet,’ ‘My Own Version of You’ and ‘I’ve made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You’ from his ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ album.


Project 365 - Photo-a-day

Immensities – southern Alberta prairie that stretches out unending, wind and cloud moving in the sky above and these four-story tall wind turbines. Each immensity is a necessary component of what are termed ‘wind-farms,’ an alternate means of creating electricity that does not require coal or the damming of a river system.  Again, these are images from February’s road trip between Lethbridge and Waterton Lake National park.

Quote to Inspire –  ‘The Earth is Art, the photographer is only a witness (Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Earth from Above).’

Listening to: Bob Dylan’s ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways.’

Azure – Return-to

Project 365 - Photo-a-day

The Azure grain elevator has been an intended, return-to location for my camera and me.  The last time I shot this grain elevator, I did so in the early afternoon and was looking into the sun. Doing so, produced more of a silhouette and the harsh light did not yield colour well. These images are taken more than a kilometre from the elevator. The telephoto lens does well compressing distance between tractor, grain elevator and mountains – all seem quite close to each other when, in fact, a sizable distances separate them.

Quote to Inspire – ‘Photography takes an instant out of time, altering Life by holding it still (Dorothea Lange).’

Listening to: ‘Blue Moon,’ ‘Unforgiven,’ ‘Wave’ and ‘Don’t Let It Go’ from Beck’s ‘Morning Phase’ album.

Nanton Grain Elevators

Project 365 - Photo-a-day

A few Nanton, Alberta moments, perhaps an hour’s worth of stop and start in collecting these grain elevator images with an older rangefinder camera, the camera slowing me down … allowing me to think through exposure settings, the gather of composition, the finding of what works and the back and forth zoom only accomplished by foot.

Quote to Inspire: ‘I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph (Leon Levinstein).’

Listening to: ‘Naima,’ ‘Libra,’ ‘Capella,’ and ‘Ad Te Levavi’ from Tommy Smith’s ‘Into Silence.’

That Truck

Project 365 - Photo-a-day

A two-tonne grain truck sits on the north side of the highway connecting Lethbridge with Fort MacLeod.  The truck and the landscape it sits within intrigue. On the southern side of the highway are coulees and then further south is the Blood Reserve.

Quote to Inspire – ‘The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things in words (Elliott Erwitt).’

Listening to: Tommy Smith’s 2002 Jazz album, ‘Into the Silence.’

That Lens & Getting South

Backlight, Barn, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, Farm, Farmhouse, Fog, Homestead, Journaling, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Spring, Still Life, Weather, Winter

Wind Turbines – Wind Farm

– Wind Turbines, Southern Alberta

3 – Homestead, Southern Alberta

4 – Homestead, Southern Alberta

5 – Homestead, Southern Alberta

6 – Homestead, Southern Alberta

7 – St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church, Twin Butte, Alberta

8 – St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church, Twin Butte, Alberta

9 – St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church, Twin Butte, Alberta

10 – Twin Butte, Foothills, Front Range Moutains

11 – Twin Butte, Foothills, Front Range Moutains

12 – Foothills Homestead

13 – Foothills Homestead

14 – Foothills Cloud Work

15 – Foothills Homestead

16 – Foothills Cloud Work

17 – Waterton Lakes National Park

18 – Waterton Lakes National Park

19 – Waterton Lakes National Park

20 – Waterton Lakes National Park

Getting south – it began with a camera lens. While I was required to be in Edmonton for our annual, mid-year teacher conference, I would have three days to myself prior to this conference. I could work on finding a used 28mm Zeiss Biogon lens, a rangefinder lens that while wide-angle is rumoured not to offer any distortion. It had just been advertised. And, I had been looking. One 28mm Zeiss Biogon lens was on offer in Calgary. It would be a used lens, but it would be half the price of buying one new. The seller was unloading gear – trading away and aiming toward new and better. From Calgary, I could then head south into the Pincher Creek, Waterton and Lethbridge areas and follow my eye’s curiosity and gather images with my camera.

Locking in this plan, I began my drive late on a Sunday afternoon in February. The drive would be under overcast skies. The temperature would be close to 0C throughout the drive. I would use ten hours to get to my destination. I could manage it. I would pass through Edmonton near 11:00 p.m., proceed to Red Deer and stay the night at a hotel there. The drive to Edmonton was uneventful. The drive beyond Edmonton was not ideal. Temperatures through the day had been warmer. I was driving a car, not my truck. I began my drive toward Red Deer. I got on to the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Highway (between Edmonton and Calgary). With temperatures close to 0C through the day and with a recent snowfall, the QEII was slushy, sloppy and slippery. I passed the Wetaskiwin turn-off and then encountered a brightly lit, highway alert road sign indicating that travel was treacherous. The drive became a matter of keeping a safe speed and working through the road’s slushy, ever-hardening, icy mess. I made it to Red Deer, got a hotel room, showered and got to sleep.

The next morning was sunny. I messaged the lens seller advising that I could meet today and provided a location in downtown Calgary for us to meet. The lens seller indicated that meeting at lunch was possible. All was in the works. I breakfasted across the way from the hotel at Red Deer’s Donut Mill. Then, the seller messaged back. The seller could not meet. The seller would need a day or two in order to meet. I am not sure how best to have managed this situation. But, the time frame would not work for this trip. And, the seller was deviating from his first communication. A red flag went up, for me. Many things could have been at play for the seller. And, perhaps aiming to meet in the same day as my indicating interest was problematic. I halted things and asked the seller to disregard my interest in the lens. All this occurred within and hour and a half of first messaging the seller.

I moved on.

With that done I found myself in Central Alberta, still with an intention to travel further south and to explore with my camera. Travel would take me to Calgary and to The Camera Store. I would look around at books, at new cameras (Nikon and Fuji), at used cameras, at used lenses, at new lenses, at camera bags. I would have two good chats with sales people – warm, educating, engaging conversations, conversations in which my curiosity was able to lead some of the way. Good. I left at the end of store hours aiming to return to the store as I came back through Calgary.

Onward to Lethbridge – my intention was to get settled in Lethbridge and work from there to look around southern Alberta. Later that evening, I got a hotel room, washed my car and got a meal.

The next day, after a good breakfast at the hotel, I started out. The day began as one overcast with heavy, grey cloud. But, weather in this part of Alberta is quite changeable in terms of how it interacts with the Rocky Mountains. Mountain weather is something intriguing, especially for my northern Alberta eyes – something I remember from times hiking along mountain trails on out-trips in the Crowsnest Pass and when camping in Banff and Jasper. Almost as soon as I moved south and west from Lethbridge I encountered windfarms – rows and rows of gigantic, white wind turbines used to gather / produce electricity. I would drive south from Fort MacLeod and on my route to Pincher Creek I would find other wind farms. In posting wind farm images on Facebook, earlier this year, I would find that many people in southern Alberta no longer see their value, are concerned about their impact on the environment and find themselves rejecting how they have altered the landscape they live within. Along the drive I would find last areas of prairie within foothills. I would find homesteads as the only structures seen on the land for miles and miles, the land being that allocated for grain farming. From Pincher Creek to Waterton Lake National Park I moved further into the undulation of foothills and the mountains; the weather was mountain weather, weather that can shift rapidly. Sunshine and bright blue sky would be there one minute, the next I was driving through or standing in a cloud. Cloud work so close to land has immensity and is something to take in. Light and shadow are always moving with these clouds revealing a shifting contour, shape and relief. The highway south from Pincher Creek becomes the path along which foothills meet the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Homesteads are a part of this landscape as well – grain farms and cattle ranches. Again, changeable mountain weather, mountain and foothill landscape, farms and roads – all would catch my eye, my curiosity, my imagination.

I took a chance on a historic site. I drove from the highway out and up to Twin Butte upon which St. Henry’s Catholic Church sits; to the east it looks out to the prairies; to the west it looks from the butte over a valley of foothills and to the front range of the Canadian Rockies. To look out over all this, immensity is there … and it would be appropriate to use the term majestic. I rounded out my day’s picture-taking with a small look into Waterton Lake National Park before returning to Lethbridge. I paid the day’s entrance fee and took a slow drive into the park to gather a couple of images – the Prince of Wales Hotel is subject of two of these images. A good day out with my camera, it was. The next day I would return to Edmonton, to colleagues, to a conference. The Zeiss Biogon 28mm lens remains a lens I am still hunting for.

Quote to Inspire / Consider – “To the complaint, ‘There are no people in these photographs,’ I respond, there are always two people: the photographer and the viewer (Ansel Adams).”

Listening to – a cover of John Prine’s ‘Summer’s End’ by Sierra Hull; a song that’s so big and full of grace; Sierra does John proud with it. Good, good.