Winter’s Tail-end …

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 30D, Canon 50mm, Canon 50mm Lens, Canon 60D, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon 75-300 mm, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Farm, Farmhouse, Home, Homestead, Light Intensity, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Prime Lens, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Spring, Still Life, Sunset, Winter
1 Buttertown Home - Fort Vermilion, Alberta 2

1 Buttertown Home – Fort Vermilion, Alberta 2

2 Buttertown Home - Fort Vermilion, Alberta 1

2 Buttertown Home – Fort Vermilion, Alberta 1

3 Farm Buildings - Guy, Alberta 1

3 Farm Buildings – Guy, Alberta 1

4 Farm Buildings - Guy, Alberta 3

4 Farm Buildings – Guy, Alberta 3

5 Farm Buildings - Guy, Alberta 4

5 Farm Buildings – Guy, Alberta 4

6 Farming Buildings - Nampa, Alberta 2

6 Farming Buildings – Nampa, Alberta 2

7 Farming Buildings - Nampa, Alberta 1

7 Farming Buildings – Nampa, Alberta 1

8 Ford & Mercury Trucks 1

8 Ford & Mercury Trucks 1

9 Ford & Mercury Trucks 2

9 Ford & Mercury Trucks 2

10 Icicle - Tompkins Landing 1

10 Icicle – Tompkins Landing 1

11 Icicle - Tompkins Landing 2

11 Icicle – Tompkins Landing 2

12 Icicle - Tompkins Landing 3

12 Icicle – Tompkins Landing 3

13 Icicle - Tompkins Landing 4

13 Icicle – Tompkins Landing 4

14 Icicle - Tompkins Landing 5

14 Icicle – Tompkins Landing 5

15 Icicle - Tompkins Landing 6

15 Icicle – Tompkins Landing 6

16 Black and White - Cattails, High Level, Alberta

16 Black and White – Cattails, High Level, Alberta

17 Former Highway Construction Vehicles 1

17 Former Highway Construction Vehicles 1

18 Former Highway Construction Vehicles 2

18 Former Highway Construction Vehicles 2

19 Bus Lanes at Night - High Level, Alberta

19 Bus Lanes at Night – High Level, Alberta

A cluster of B-side photos remain – Fort Vermilion’s former times Buttertown homes, winter farming scenes (equipment and buildings, deposited in their last left locations, ‘medias res’), icicle lens edits and former MacKenzie highway construction vehicles. It’s this winter’s tail-end, a time to close winter out … and get-on with spring.

Listening to – Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians’ ‘What I am,’ U2’s ‘All Because of You,’ Cat Stevens’ ‘Morning Has Broken,’ Depeche Mode’s ‘Policy of Truth,’ T. Rex’s ‘Bang a Gong,’ Wang Chung’s ‘Dance Hall Days’ and Neil Young’s ‘Cinnamon Girl.’

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

Makeshift Autoyard

Canon 30D, Canon 75-300 mm, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Farm, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Summer, Vehicle Restoration

Charles Dickens once wrote a novel about an Old Curiosity Shop, a shop much like that of current second-hand stores or thrift stores in which a store owner collects collectibles, curiosities that satisfy our need to discover things that fit the environment we wish to create for our lives. Tonight, day-long, spring snow flurries bring about a look-back through photos. This photograph surfaced as one provoking the curiosities that rusting relics are at that point before restoration in which appraisal and consideration of possibility occurs – questions stir about what needs done, what the vehicle can become, what it will be like to drive and who will drive it.  Possibility is leveraged as much by reminiscence as by future anticipation. Something of this imaginative aspect regarding a curiosity to be purchased is what Dickens explores in his novel The Olde Curiosity Shop – the nature of how we choose what we will put into our lives. Rusting relics in this rag-tag, makeshift auto-yard have me wondering about the curiosity that these older vehicles hold and highlight the necessity of imagination in investigating the possibility of what any of these vehicles can become. For me, the teal blue 1959 or 1960 Chevrolet reminds of a car that my grandfather drove when I was three or four.  I can only recall being transported in this vehicle two or three times in and around Edmonton and then back to their home on Strathearn Drive – a memory that requires some reaching back.

Listening to – Snow Patrol’s Lifeboats, Radiohead’s High and Dry, Coldplay’s Don’t Panic and Kings of Leon’s Closer; the song that’s been on my mind throughout the post has been The Tragically Hip’s As Makeshift As We Are.

Quotes to Inspire – (1) “Photography can only represent the present. Once photographed, the subject becomes part of the past.” – Bernice Abbott (2) “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” – Diane Arbus

Saturday’s Afternoon Drive

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon 75-300 mm, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Gas Station, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Prime Lens, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Winter

Wife at school, prepping; daughter at dance, dancing – this Saturday seems to be mine, a day before me to use at my discretion, and, certainly not a day to pass in front of a computer screen. A breakfast out takes me to the Flamingo Restaurant where my Photo Plus magazine becomes object of discussion between fellow Canon photographer (my cashier) and me; I point him to the Zinio iPad app as the best means to download the Photo Plus, easily, here in High Level.

Onward – my outerwear consists of several items purchased over the years from Mountain Equipment Co-op – ski pants (10 years old), Salomon winter trainers (new, this year) and a down-filled jacket with hood. Set for warmth at -22C, today, I point my GMC Sierra (without grill or driver’s side headlamp) toward Fort Vermilion and La Crete. Music is part of what this Saturday afternoon is about – Sirius Satellite Radio allows for tuning into folk music on Coffee House, news at the top of the hour from CBC and BBC, jazz music and an interview with the bass player working with Miles Davis. Comedy does not attract my attention, today. I had had thoughts of listening to Sid and Mac’s Shuttertime Podcast; but, their podcast is good to digest while out on a walk around High Level … I let the podcast wait.

In Fort Vermilion, Shirley’s Snack Shack allows for purchase of coffee and something unseen before, a Reese’s Peanut Butter chocolate bar. The truck rolls south on the Red Earth road. The first photographs are of a red, mid-sixties, FORD, three-tonne grain truck; the vehicle remains active – it has current plates and tires are full. The next photographs are of cattails, at the northeast corner of a massive field – land, newly broken and newly farmed; the wind stirs the cattails enough that Automatic Exposure Bracketing, while tried, will not allow for HDR results.

La Crete has Quality Motors to check out, a used car lot and a new Subway restaurant. Moving southward from La Crete, Buffalo Head Prairie is next.  A chain of hills loom in the distance, a blue backdrop to this settlement and extends to another thirty kilometres away called Blue Hills. Along the way, different untried back roads are taken and they return to the Blue Hills highway.  A derelict farm house is discovered.  Doubling back, a place to park the truck off the highway is found; there, two relics from the fifties are found among old disused farming machinery (Massey Harris is the emblem on a seed drill, not Massey Ferguson). With so much left scattered around, the farm seems to be left medias res (in the middle of things); has there been a family death? There’s a story of a car that drove onto the Tompkin’s Landing ferry many years ago; its brakes failed and one or all occupants of the car drowned.

The final part of the journey involves crossing the Peace River over an ice bridge at Tompkin’s landing; signs are there to direct vehicles and to advise of a maximum speed of 10 km/h for crossing the kilometre-wide river. Another forty minutes in night’s darkness with only a passenger headlight to alert oncoming highway traffic of my presence sees me home before 7:00 p.m..  Supper is grilled cheese sandwiches.

Listening to Miles Davis from his Kind of Blue album and So What; reminds that I first seriously listened to Miles Davis within the Finding Forrester soundtrack … Bill Frisell is also there with Over the Rainbow and Under a Golden Sky.

Quote to Inspire – “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

To See What’s There

Canon 60D, Canon 75-300 mm, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Night, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration, Weather, Winter

I’ve been out for a 6K walk around town tonight.  It is -35C and I’ve listened to a lecture given by John O’Donohue on Imagination. After the walk, I recalled this vehicle in the High Level industrial park, a vehicle that I’ve known about but never photographed, a 1960 Mercury M 100 long box pickup truck. It’s been on my mind for the better part of a year. I’ve never photographed it because the landscape or situation it is set in seems bleak and uninteresting.  Perhaps such context draws out beauty from the vehicle’s lines and shape or perhaps through time one acclimates to beauty, form and style.

In taking this photograph, I’m using a Canon 75-300 mm telephoto zoom lens and quite literally taking the photograph to see what is there … a rusting relic awaiting restoration when time and circumstance allow.  In terms of integrity the M 100 looks more complete and useable than not.  The photograph also demonstrates the compression that happens with a telephoto zoom as you shoot more flatly toward the subject – the distance from the first snow drift to the truck is 100 m and the posts in front of the truck are actually about 6-10 feet in front of it.

Quote to Inspire – “The duty of privilege is absolute integrity; the duty of privilege is integrity to ourselves, to our possibilities and to live to the full the life that we’d love and to animate and realize everything because the time is so short and it will be soon gone.” ~ John O’Donohue

Listening to Crash into Me from Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Live At Radio City and as fretted on my Martin Backpacker.

1960 Mercury M 100 Long Box Pickup

Only Time Will Tell … Transformation

Canon 60D, Canon 75-300 mm, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Night, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Vehicle, Winter

On November 9, 2011, I drove from High Level to Vulcan, Alberta to participate in Bill Brandley’s introductory photography workshop for Career and Technology Studies teachers in Alberta. Icey roads between Valleyview and Edmonton brought traffic to a standstill and motel rooms were not to be found. Hundreds of transport trucks lined roadsides, it being safer to stop with a valuable load than to risk loss in an accident. With several accidents (and perhaps fatalities) the department of highways closed the road until it could be sanded. I travelled through the night, a journey that should have taken me eight hours stretching to twelve with many portions of the highway being navigable only at 50 km/h. I made it to Edmonton safely at 6:00 a.m. having started at 5:45 p.m. the night before.  I got a motel room in West Edmonton, slept into the afternoon and carried on.

Along the way to Vulcan, south of Calgary I came upon what looked to be an old service station and while there were no gas pumps in the yard, there was a 1940 Plymouth, four door with ‘4 Sale’ in the front driver’s side window. I stopped in.  Our school is doing a dinner theatre production of ‘Grease’ and this vehicle when restored (by our metal worker, now shop teacher) would, no doubt, recall the film version of Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John and the era it depicts. I introduced myself to Dean, a mechanic and owner of Deanz, a vehicle restorations shop and asked if I might photograph his 1940 Plymouth as a means to interest school staff in this vehicle and dinner theatre prop. In Dean I encountered a ‘master’ of many trades, each skill allowing him great independence in taking on restoration projects. Our discussion led to a tour through his shop, a look at a mid-sixties Mercury Meteor he was in the midst of restoring, his friend’s 62 B-series Plymouth Valiant and a late 60’s Plymouth Roadrunner – his own, brown and white … in remarkable, glossy, mint condition. Our discussion next considered the possibility of a project car.  I told Dean about my father’s 1969 Pontiac Parisienne (a 2-door with a 350ci V8) and that my brother and I might be interested in halving costs of a restoration.

That was two months ago.

Well … within one twenty-four hour period (from Monday to Tuesday this week) I’ve had a call from Dean and an e-mail from Bill Brandley – Dean with photographs of a 1968 Pontiac Parisienne fastback and Bill with an invitation to participate in the follow-up, advanced, CTS Photography course. Since then, I’ve let the news of the Pontiac and the photography course sit in the back of my mind. A couple of days have gone by.  I’m letting the information ferment with regard to a decision about whether or not to dig-in to either project. With this as context, last evening, I went out to photograph a vehicle, here in High Level, that awaits restoration.

It cannot be an easy thing to appreciate the yesteryear beauty of vehicles and to own a ‘rusting relic’ and have to wait until circumstances come together to allow for its restoration. In my walks down one of the main roads of the High Level industrial park I’ve been able to capture images of trains, train engines, the lumber mill and curiosities on either side of the road. One such find has been this truck which I believe to be a 1953 Ford F-100.  It sits on an industrial lot with some of the town’s street light standards and a shed big enough to hold two or three John Deere tractors. This F-100 pickup sports a faded, retro mint green colour; some initial prep work has been completed towards its restoration.  But, the vehicle has been sitting still and minor rust has been forming.

What it will become and what will become of it … only time will tell.  But, this I know – transformations have always been something I have been interested in – often the physical transformation of ‘things’ becoming metaphor for the work of transformation in our subtle lives.

Quote to Inspire – “The more I advance, the more I regret what little I know …” Claude Monet

Listening to Born by Over the Rhine on the Drunkard’s Prayer album (another song with an element of Redemption … thank you Stocki)

recording: Drunkard’s Prayer

I was born to laugh
I learned to laugh through my tears
I was born to love
I’m gonna learn to love without fear

Pour me a glass of wine
Talk deep into the night
Who knows what we’ll find

Intuition, deja vu
The Holy Ghost haunting you
Whatever you got
I don’t mind

Put your elbows on the table
I’ll listen long as I am able
There’s nowhere I’d rather be

Secret fears, the supernatural
Thank God for this new laughter
Thank God the joke’s on me

We’ve seen the landfill rainbow
We’ve seen the junkyard of love
Baby it’s no place for you and me

I was born to laugh
I learned to laugh through my tears
I was born to love
I’m gonna learn to love without fear 

Bloggers, Image Viewers and those of you who Stumble here – thank you for stopping by; thank you for your comments and encouragement. Take care …