Category: Canon 50mm Lens

HDR – Image Subjects, Revisited

HDR - 1947 Ford One Tonne Tow Truck, McLure, British Columbia

HDR – 1947 Ford One Tonne Tow Truck, McLure, British Columbia

HDR - North of 60 Bus Shelter Seats, Valleyview, Alberta

HDR – North of 60 Bus Shelter Seats, Valleyview, Alberta

I have had a go at creating two High Dynamic Range (HDR) images in the last while. In landscape images my practice is to shoot with Automatic Exposure Bracketing (creating 3 images in succession -1, 0 & +1) and explore how the images will turn out in HDR. The images are of subjects I have shot before; but, they are not the original image shots included in previous posts. They are ‘also-ran’ images of the 1947 Ford One-tonne Tow Truck from McLure, British Columbia and the ‘would-be’ bus shelter seat, North of 60 style. In both the detail, lines and range of light are enhanced (or at least different).

Listening to – today it’s been the conclusion of Ken Follett’s ‘Pillars of the Earth’ on the long drive home from Edmonton to High Level. The narrative provides glimpse of Monarchy, Ecclesiastical ambition and all that was behind building cathedrals and parishes; the story moves from Life at the local/village level all the way to Thomas Beckett and King Henry and those who contested the throne.

Quote to Inspire – “Vision is that original spark that was ignited within you and made you pick up a camera to capture whatever it is you saw, that made you turn to shout “Did you see that!” only to find no one there–so you created an image to do the telling.” ― David duChemin, Vision & Voice: Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Firebird – Pontiac’s

1970 Pontiac Firebird - High Level, Alberta 1

1970 Pontiac Firebird – High Level, Alberta 1

1970 Pontiac Firebird - High Level, Alberta 2

1970 Pontiac Firebird – High Level, Alberta 2

1970 Pontiac Firebird - High Level, Alberta 3

1970 Pontiac Firebird – High Level, Alberta 3

1970 Pontiac Firebird - High Level, Alberta 4

1970 Pontiac Firebird – High Level, Alberta 4

At last week’s Show and Shine, in drizzling and spitting rain, my son stuck with me as my wife and daughter left for the warmth of home and school. As I scope out my next photo, Liam nudges me – “This one here is the one I’d go with, Dad.” The car he’s pointing me towards is low key, a General Motors vehicle, best thought of as companion or cousin to the silver and green 1967 Camaro SS Sport Coupes that sit at this Show and Shine. A 1970 Pontiac Firebird nestles between the silver, 1967 Camaro SS and the newer (by fifty years) green rendering of the Chevrolet Camaro SS … Transformers edition. Brown, the styling element that distinguishes this Firebird from all others is the hood scoop meant to drive air toward the filtered air intake of a 350 ci V8 engine, the same engine my father had in our green, 1969 Canadian-built Pontiac Parisienne … I know something about this engine. Moreover, this same car was the vehicle of my neighbor’s son, Derrick, who handy with tools and engines worked the mechanical elements of a 400 ci V8 and drive train to perfection before taking his Pontiac Firebird into the paint shop to add Turquoise colour to the body. Through two years (in my middle teen years) I was able to mark the transformation of his vehicle from my parent’s living room window in Edmonton … awestruck to see the vehicle in its final rendering. Understatement and power, my son is telling me about flying under the radar … enjoyably … with a muscle car. It’s the first time he’s told me about a car he’d like to own. Good schtuff!

Listening to – John Mayer’s ‘Route 66,’ Erick Morillo & Sacha Baren Cohen’s ‘I Like to Move It,’ Sheryl Crow’s ‘Steve McQueen,’ and Jason Mraz’ ‘Sleeping to Dream.’

Quote to Inspire – “I fell in love with taking pictures, with wandering around finding things. To me it feels like a kind of performance. The picture is a document of that performance.” Alec Soth

Hopping Mesh – Forward

1969-73 GMC Camper Special - High Level, Alberta 2

1969-73 GMC Camper Special – High Level, Alberta 2

69-73 GMC Camper Special - High Level, Alberta

69-73 GMC Camper Special – High Level, Alberta

This blue GMC (1969-73) recalls a grey, overcast November winter weekend in Rimbey, Alberta and an orange GMC plain Jane half-ton, farm work truck of similar age. Starting in a pasture and working our way onto farm roads, my cousin taught me to drive in his orange GMC, a truck with a three-in-the-tree standard transmission having to be understood and engaged, letting out the clutch, adding gas and listening to and feeling where gears meshed, my cousin coaching in a truck that hopped forward occasionally as we set it in motion, movement becoming smoother in each drive between my cousin and uncle’s farms. I was twelve and away from home – good memories recalled to Life by this blue, GMC Camper Special,; it’s likely that this vehicle could have had a two-tone paint job in a previous Life (perhaps forest green and white). With the even beading of water droplets on the entire truck, it is evident that its owner knows how to detail a vehicle; it’s well preserved.

Listening to – Ray Lamontagne’s ‘Trouble’ and ‘All the Wild Horses,’ Radiohead’s ‘All I Need’ and Arcade Fire’s ‘Wake Up.’

Quote to Inspire – “Which of my photographs is my favourite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” – Imogen Cunningham

Rain – Opportunities

Ford & Challenger - High Level, Alberta 1

Ford & Challenger – High Level, Alberta 1

Ford & Challenger - High Level, Alberta 2

Ford & Challenger – High Level, Alberta 2

Ford & Challenger - High Level, Alberta 3

Ford & Challenger – High Level, Alberta 3

Ford & Challenger - High Level, Alberta 4

Ford & Challenger – High Level, Alberta 4

Ford & Challenger - High Level, Alberta 5

Ford & Challenger – High Level, Alberta 5

A 1948 Ford F-100 and my neighbor’s mid-seventies Dodge Challenger sit side-by-each in the Northstar Chrysler car lot – room has been made for them. I’m interested in this Ford. With previous image edits of this truck, I have grown familiar with shape and colour – I know this vehicle visually, a modified Ford, artfully and skilfully crafted by someone who understands possibilities for shape, line and colour, someone who has been able to bring about what he envisioned accurately to a pleasing end state. This Ford is one that could easily find a home among California cars. For me, the Show and Shine has presented the opportunity to meet the owner again, even if briefly, an interaction in which I am able to direct him to older images of his truck on this blog.

Rain is the challenge for photography at this show in shine – my point of learning; rain falls and as the shutter opens and closes however briefly the result is that I’m capturing droplets of rain as they fall – the image looks excessively grainy. I’ll be thinking through how to work with rain in photography. Perhaps precision and detail are not to be aimed at in rain. Or, perhaps the learning is to recognize that rain will present white bits of contrast against darker colours in such images. Wind also featured with the rain, water droplets blowing onto the lens filter creating points of blur within images.

Listening to – U2’s ‘With or Without You’ and ‘Point of Surrender.’

Quote to Inspire – “Success is what happens when 10,000 hours of preparation meet with one moment of opportunity.” – Anonymous

Pilgrimage Church

Roman Catholic Church - Buttertown, Alberta

Roman Catholic Church – Buttertown, Alberta

Woking Church - Woking, Alberta

Woking Church – Woking, Alberta

Church, a place and time of whole-hearted, meaning-crammed communion, is something each of us encounters in different venues that captivate us – the camaraderie found in others’ company, the transcendence found in the out-of-doors, the intersection of our Life with lyrics and melody in song. That place to encounter (perhaps share or confess) truth safely, in safety, that place to come to terms with tough times and the good, Church is both a social and familial entity, a place in which you can grow and mature. Not movement forward, independent of others, not alone in thought, not only within our own priority, Church is that sacred entity of relationship carried forward by two or more people in Life’s pilgrimage connecting each to something bigger than self (selves), that thing that drives ethics in action and purpose in Life, that thing realized when we realize we are here for more than ourselves, having something to contribute to the Lives of others.

Church as pilgrimage has been on my mind as I’ve watched a film by Emilio Estevez – ‘The Way.’ Martin Sheen, as father makes pilgrimage from France to the Church of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, a trek following ‘The Way of St. James.’ Tom (Sheen) takes up this eight-hundred kilometre trek, a trek his son had begun and makes it on behalf of his son who, recently deceased, is ever-present throughout the trek task. The pilgrimage becomes Church as three ‘peregrinnos,’ pilgrims, cluster with and around Tom; each carrying forward a Life task that’s brought them to a cross-road in their Lives. It’s not so much that disclosure of Life’s challenge needs to occur among the peregrinnos, but that each comes to understand that their shared company and good understanding of what’s at play in each other’s lives makes the road easier – something that Church is about, an entity of relationship carried forward that associates to Life’s pilgrimage, direction and purposes.

Images – The Roman Catholic Church of St. Louis in Buttertown (across the Peace River from Fort Vermilion, Alberta) and the Woking Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Woking, Alberta).

Listening to – much of the soundtrack to ‘The Way,’ containing two songs that intrigue, David Gray’s ‘My Oh My’ (from Rhythm and Soul broadcasts) and Alanis Morissettes’ ‘Thank U’. James Taylor’s ‘Country Road’ also features in the film.

Quote to Inspire – “Imagine a world without photography, one could only imagine.” – Berenice Abbott

What Else?

Valleyview Bench Seats 1

Valleyview Bench Seats 1

Valleyview Bench Seats 2

Valleyview Bench Seats 2

Valleyview Bench Seats 3

Valleyview Bench Seats 3

More than a passing glance, photography has you stop and see the subject, consider context and best perspective and then expose the image. Editing takes you one further step with the image; you encounter more of what comprises the image and more of what is possible for the image in its rendering. Here, are the Valleyview bench seats again, exposed in the full morning sun of a sunny, Sunday morning. Two weeks on from the exposure, I’m seeing more of the light and shadow-play in the image. I’m coming back to it to see what else it can become. The image reveals someone’s attempt to make the bench seats something more permanent with the anchoring of the base on the right. The image has me consider the weathering of the seats through yet another winter season. And, at the time of exposure I had no idea that I would be tinting the image toward red or blue, or, that I would be working the image through in black and white.

Listening to – Johnny Cash’s rendering of “God’s Going to Cut You Down.”

Quote to Inspire – “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams

Winter’s Tail-end …

1 Buttertown Home - Fort Vermilion, Alberta 2

Winter’s Wraith-like Wisps

Woodsmoke Wisps - Fort Vermilion Alberta

Woodsmoke Wisps – Fort Vermilion Alberta

Late on a November Saturday afternoon, wraith-like, wisps of wood smoke drift over winter’s fallow field near Fort Vermilion. A homestead’s woodstove produces an intense dry heat, welcome warmth in the midst of a cold, Alberta winter. The day, a first opportunity to work with a new prime lens, a Canon 50mm – f/1.4 lens; my wife has encouraged me to begin my work with it. The image is one of the first images with the lens.

Listening to – Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto, In My Place, Major Minus and Yellow.

Quote to Inspire – “The photograph is completely abstracted from life, yet it looks like life. That is what has always excited me about photography.” – Richard Kalvar


A vase and a serving dish, both glass, both transparent yet holding colour, both with shape and form and both reflecting light are subjects in the images presented here. Both glass structures are lenses, the vase, a lens revealing entire beauty of the flower held, the serving dish, a lens to the manna that soon will be eaten. The polished surface’s shape and form reflects light. So too does the interior of the glass.  There’s that place where the glass in being shaped curves or twists receiving form. From that point within there’s reflection, a glint of light from within shining back. Analogy extends forward … what structures hold us that allow us to be seen? Would this be a home?  Would this be a marriage? A vase holds the still-life flower, a living thing of beauty while beautiful. Moving past prime, dying, it is discarded. For us, we each have a rich, subtle life, one that few others really know well.  Is friendship the vase-lens structure allowing for revelation of one’s subtle life? Something in this analogy is truth my mother understood.  Her memory via her paintings prods me forward toward unraveling it.

Listening to Bruce Springsteen from the Tunnel of Love album – One Step Up; Bryan Ferry sings Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues from Dylanesque.  Amiina from the album Kurr provides a tonal, music box sound in Rugla.  Rugla reminds of another ambient mix by Sigur Ros from the Takk album – Glosoli.  Later, I’m listening to Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie, thoughts Bob Dylan offers – The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 (Rare and Unreleased) 1961-1991.

Quote to Inspire – “Photography is only intuition, a perpetual interrogation – everything except a stage set.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson – Photography Year 1975 – Life Library of Photography, page: 216

What Happened Here ….

Early Fifties Two-door Sedan - Blue Hills

Car photography especially of early fifties vehicles, for me, derives from my learning to steer a car and then to drive one sitting next to a favourite, older cousin in his copper brown and white 1951 Mercury four-door.  Strong-arm steering meant that effort was needed to guide the Mercury down dusty gravel roads. These drives usually followed Sunday get-togethers of my family from Edmonton with his in Rimbey, Alberta. The event, recalled to memory is that of a late spring or early summer drive, following an evening meal and Walt Disney.  I might have been nine or ten years old when I first took the wheel for some good, adventure-filled times before saying our goodbyes, parting company and returning home in an hour-long drive to Edmonton.  Always, my aunt, uncle and three cousins would wave to us from their porch as we left. Our families might see each other again in a month or two. Those were good times.

My starting point for this photograph is curious. I am unable to determine the make of this early fifties two-door sedan. Given that this Blue Hills’ farm and its woods have seemingly been left as if in the middle of things, its abandonment indicates something unfinished in not just one life but in the lives of a few. Here, what is sacred is often about the conception of ‘what-has-happened-here.’  It associates to memory that will not fade and cannot be left. With this image, just as in no-trace camping the art is to pass through an area without disturbing it, this photograph presents the necessity of capturing something seemingly sacred without disturbance – reverence and respect are needed.

Listening to the Dave Matthews Band from the album Stand Up and the childhood/teen reminiscences of Old Dirt Hill, a song that recalls my go-cart, our garage and back alley … and friends at Easter break in Edmonton in grade 5 – 1972 … what a week (and to be grounded part-way through).

Quote to Inspire – “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” —Diane Arbus


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