At Home – Dad

Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Fall, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Journaling, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Summer

Pontiac Memories - Manning, Alberta - Canada

The Open Road - Sunshine Ski Resort, Banff - Canada

It was a Pontiac, the car my father taught me to drive – an olive green, two-door Pontiac Parisienne built for 1969 yet available to Dad in the fall of 1968. On St. Brendan’s field, hanging out with friends, I saw Dad drive it home – colour, class, chrome and shape. It had a 350 cubic inch engine, powerful enough to pass others easily on the open road; Dad said it had ‘Pep.’ There were seat belts for us all and an a.m. radio tuned to CBC 740, CKUA 580 or CFRN 1260 on the dial … and you dialed in best sound. With Dad, I learned to drive carefully, eloquently and with ease. There were wake-up calls and near misses and other drivers who spoke with their horns. On the highway, Dad said my foot was a little heavy … he said that with a smile. The transition was from driving with Dad to driving alone the way Dad would have me drive. There were times when the tie-rod end came off, when after ten years the regulator was jammed so full with dust and sand that the alternator couldn’t keep a current running through the electrical system on a slow idle and there was that time when a lifter clanged loudly after a drive with me at the wheel. Dad knew what to do and we kept the Pontiac running. My Dad, who made time for all this, did this for me, his son.

Parker J. Palmer speaks of something similar with his father; his father gave him, “… a sense of being at home in [his] own skin and on the face of the Earth.” William Stafford’s poem ‘Father’s Voice,’ resonates in similar fashion.

Father’s Voice
by William Stafford

“No need to get home early;
the car can see in the dark.”
He wanted me to be rich
the only way we could,
easy with what we had.

And always that was his gift,
given for me ever since,
easy gift, a wind
that keeps on blowing for flowers
or birds wherever I look.

World, I am your slow guest,
one of the common things
that move in the sun and have
close, reliable friends
in the earth, in the air, in the rock.

Listening to – Brubeck’s ‘Time Out’ and for a bit more fun, ‘Bru’s Boogie Woogie’ – tunes Dad would play on a Saturday night on his Heintzman grand piano in vertical form, a very bright sounding piano.

East Side Shed

Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Flora, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Journaling, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Still Life, Weather, Winter
Granary in Fog - Dixonville, Ab - Canada i

Granary in Fog – Dixonville, Ab – Canada i

Granary in Fog - Dixonville, Ab - Canada ii

Granary in Fog – Dixonville, Ab – Canada ii

I like this grain shed image. The shed resides perhaps halfway between Dixonville and Manning, Alberta. You can see it from the highway. It’s about a kilometre in on the East side of the highway. The image works with perspective, environmental condition (fog), light, colour and texture. The image has also been about editing and finding best rendering of a High Dynamic Range (HDR) shot. The weather is curious, something not seen every day. Fog, as precursor to winter snow, hangs, waiting … holding off.

A darker image, it recalls several scenes from Sinclair Ross’ novel, ‘As For Me and My House.’ The novel was required reading in Dr. Bruce Stovel’s Canadian Literature course in his second term at the University of Alberta, a narrative that holds one rendering of the Canadian experience during the Great Depression.

“The dust clouds behind the town kept darkening and thinning and swaying, a furtive tirelessness about the way they wavered and merged with one another that reminded me of northern lights in winter…. The little town cowered close to earth as if to hide itself. The elevators stood up passive and stoical. All round me ran a hurrying little whisper through the grass. (p. 100)

This narrative has moved around the world and received acclaim for holding features of Canadian experience and culture that become what is considered Canadian identity.

Quote to Consider – “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.” – John Muir, his essay, ‘Nature Writings’

Listening to – Leem Lubany’s ‘Wild World,’ Brian Houston’s ‘Next to Me,’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.’

Miasma Cover

Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Fall, Farm, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Journaling, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Still Life, Weather
Foggy Granary - Dixonville, Ab - Canada i

Foggy Granary – Dixonville, Ab – Canada i

Foggy Granary - Dixonville, Ab - Canada ii

Foggy Granary – Dixonville, Ab – Canada ii

Foggy Granary - Dixonville, Ab - Canada iii

Foggy Granary – Dixonville, Ab – Canada iii

Foggy Granary - Dixonville, Ab - Canada iv

Foggy Granary – Dixonville, Ab – Canada iv

The return, a drive home in late October; fog hangs in the air for two hundred kilometres – from Peace River north to Keg River Cabins. I’ve had my eye on this granary within these past two years as one to investigate with my camera. I’m liking the colour, textures and miasma – all visual opportunity.

Listening to – ‘The Dignity of Difference,’ an On Being podcast with Jonathan Sacks.

“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy

Land’s Next Use

Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Fall, Farm, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Homestead, Journaling, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, The Candid Frame, Weather, Winter
Strewn Timber - Rocky Lane, Alberta - Canada iv

Strewn Timber – Rocky Lane, Alberta – Canada iv

Strewn Timber - Rocky Lane, Alberta - Canada ii

Strewn Timber – Rocky Lane, Alberta – Canada ii

Strewn Timber - Rocky Lane, Alberta - Canada iii

Strewn Timber – Rocky Lane, Alberta – Canada iii

Strewn Timber - Rocky Lane, Alberta - Canada i

Strewn Timber – Rocky Lane, Alberta – Canada i

Timber, pushed down, lies strewn throughout a farmer’s field, a first step in clearing the land. Timber has also fallen across the structure of a homestead house yet has not crushed it. The house and a water-filled dugout suggest that a previous owner, another farmer, had initiated and abandoned a similar project in an earlier era. For now, timber will be gathered for burning; a winter or spring burn will reduce these trees and this homestead house to ashes, the land becoming ready for another use.

Quote to Consider – “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” – Diane Arbus

Listening to – Ibarionex Perello’s ‘The Candid Frame’ – episode 238, an interview with Sara Jane Boyers, Jesse Cook’s ‘Ocean Blue,’ Shadowfax’s ‘Move the Clouds,’ Agnes Obel’s ‘Fivefold,’ U2’s ‘Song for Someone’ and Sigur Ros’ ‘Glosoli.’

The Place Where We Are Right
by Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the Spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plough.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.

Pathfinder Forays

Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Fall, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Journaling, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Service Station, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration

1953 Pontiac Pathfinder - Manning, Alberta - Canada i

1953 Pontiac Pathfinder - Manning, Alberta - Canada ii

1953 Pontiac Pathfinder - Manning, Alberta - Canada iii

1953 Pontiac Pathfinder - Manning, Alberta - Canada iv

1953 Pontiac Pathfinder - Manning, Alberta - Canada v

Nissan Pathfinders – my wife and I have owned and driven three of these sports utility vehicles in Northwestern Alberta. We used each to travel in and out of Wood Buffalo National Park on our bi-weekly grocery run, a distance of 200km one way. Most of the time, the Pathfinder was locked in true four wheel drive and careening forward, sliding on any angle but straight along slick, clay-mud, corduroy roads or perhaps creating a first track along snow laden roads. The joke at the time was that we could have filmed a Nissan Pathfinder commercial because of the treatment each Pathfinder received and because of the durability and handling found in its use. And, though the Pathfinder did always find its path, there were humbling times when it got stuck and had to be pulled out – six times in my last year in the park.

A few years ago, travelling with my camera among the backroads in and around Blue Hills, Alberta, I stumbled across an early fifties Pontiac, an old grey vehicle that had been parked among trees and other aging farm implements along the entrance to a Mennonite farm. I photographed the vehicle and did some research. The Pontiac was a sedan, possibly one intended only for Canadian markets – a 1953 Pontiac Pathfinder. A Pontiac buff, having driven my father’s 1969 Pontiac Parisienne through most of high school, I was surprised to find that Pontiac had had its own Pathfinder.

On Saturday, I drove past a service station two kilometres north from Manning, Alberta. An old, early fifties vehicle was displayed on the property, having sat on the site, ready for sale, through these past two years; but, the vehicle has always had a blue industrial shipping container placed next to it, something which has made it awkward to photograph from a stance of adjacent backgrounds and from sunlight never totally surrounding the entirety of the car properly. As I drove by I realized that the shipping container was no longer there and that the opportunity of a good photograph was possible. I captured these images and in researching the Pontiac found it to be another 1953 Pontiac Pathfinder. It was good to spend time photographing the car and then it’s been fun to edit the images, too – each a high dynamic range (HDR) shot.

Listening to – Walter Trout’s ‘Almost Gone,’ a voice that sounds so similar to the Who’s Roger Daltry singing ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ and ‘Baba O’Reilly;’ the song accompanies this rusting relic well.

Quotes to Consider – (1) “I’ve never taken a picture I’ve intended. They’re always better or worse.” – Diane Arbus. (2) “Some pictures are tentative forays without your even knowing it. They become methods. It’s important to take bad pictures. It’s the bad ones that have to do with what you’ve never done before. They can make you recognize something you hadn’t seen in a way that will make you recognize it when you see it again.” – Diane Arbus

Treasure, In Return

Backlight, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Combine (Farming), Fall, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Journaling, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Weather
MacKenzie River Bridge - Fort Providence, NT - Canada i

MacKenzie River Bridge – Fort Providence, NT – Canada i

MacKenzie River Bridge - Fort Providence, NT - Canada ii

MacKenzie River Bridge – Fort Providence, NT – Canada ii

MacKenzie River Bridge - Fort Providence, NT - Canada iii

MacKenzie River Bridge – Fort Providence, NT – Canada iii

Perhaps twenty years ago, Chris Short, an art specialist from Newfoundland, slowed the pace of my thought when she asserted that between High Level and Edmonton, Alberta (750km), an artist could easily spend as many as three days to gather and respond to terrain and landscape in drawing and painting (and, then, you could repeat this task/vocation seasonally, too). Another friend coined an expression Chris would understand. In response to seeing fresh landscape and terrain, that friend would interrupt travel asking to … “Stop. Let me feast my eyes.” The call was to stop in our current proceedings and to take note with awe and wonder of something beautiful, right there, in front of us.

For the Yellowknife Photo Walk getting to destination would mean focusing on the drive and returning to many photographic opportunities encountered along the way at a future date. A similar conundrum confronted me in getting to my first Photo Walk in Fort St. John, British Columbia in 2011. In both cases, while opportunities for photos were available, my eyes and imagination would only be able to scout the scene and return to them at a later date. I would know where to return for future photographs, a treasure of sorts. Travel to Fort St. John had presented incredible autumn landscapes, a morning well-lit by sun with impending, dark winter clouds moving off in the distance; farmers, at that time, were completing their harvest, some still combining fields on either side of the highway between Rycroft and Fort St. John. In the same way, travel to and from Yellowknife presented many opportunities for images – the bridge among the terrain in the Rae Edzo area in the morning’s golden hour will be something to return for as will bison feeding on the warmer, sunlit side of the highway in the afternoon. Then, there was this bridge that crosses the MacKenzie River at Fort Providence. The river, at this point, spans almost two kilometres. Driving across this two lane bridge is a breathtaking experience. I stopped and in my friend’s words, I feasted my eyes. These images are the result.

Listening to – U2’s ‘Every Breaking Wave,’ John Mayer’s ‘The Age of Worry,’ Maroon 5’s ‘Lucky Strike,’ Coldplay’s ‘Us Against the World,’ Ed Sheeran’s ‘Little Bird’ and Snow Patrol’s ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are.’

Quotes to Consider – “Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.” – Diane Arbus; “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place …. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt

An Air-nailer, Yellowknife Narrows and Camera Walk

Backlight, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Fall, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Sunset, Weather
Float Plane - Yellowknife, NT Canada iv

Float Plane – Yellowknife, NT Canada iv

Float Plane - Yellowknife, NT Canada iii

Float Plane – Yellowknife, NT Canada iii

Float Plane - Yellowknife, NT Canada ii

Float Plane – Yellowknife, NT Canada ii

Yellowknife Float Planes - The Narrows, Yellowknife WW Photo Walk - 3 Oct 2015

Yellowknife Float Planes – The Narrows, Yellowknife WW Photo Walk – 3 Oct 2015

The Narrows - Yellowknife WW Photo Walk 3 Oct 2015

The Narrows – Yellowknife WW Photo Walk 3 Oct 2015

I had wanted to be a photographer-participant in the Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk in each of the last three years. The eighth, annual Kelby Photo Walk would be held around the globe last Saturday – October 3, 2015. Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Fort St. John, Edson, and Jasper – all in previous years had photo walks that I could potentially get to. Key in such consideration was locating myself at the photo walk site with time enough for solid rest so that I could see that corner of the world with fresh eyes.

Coming to last weekend, two photo walks intrigued me. One would be held in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories and another would be held in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The Fort Smith photo walk would begin quite early to catch the morning golden hour of dusk to sunrise and then to full morning – I’d need to be there quite early. The Yellowknife photo walk would start at 5:30 p.m.; but, I would need to be up and on the road quite early on Saturday to make it to the walk site. Going did not look promising because I would need seven hours to get there. But, happenstance prevailed. A group of roofers began nailing shingles to a neighbor’s roof early on Saturday morning; starting at 8:00 a.m. they began banging in nails with an air-nailer. I got out of bed, got a coffee and looked at the photo walk website and to the Yellowknife photo walk. I also got clear on the number of kilometres I would travel in order to be part of this event. My wife came downstairs and asked me about my Saturday and saw that I was looking at the photo walk. She got me going out the door and on my way.

I arrived in Yellowknife with forty-five minutes to spare, got a hotel room at the Explorer Hotel, showered and registered for the walk using my smartphone. I punched into my GPS the walk starting point – 3513 Ingraham Drive, Yellowknife (the parking lot at the base of Pilot’s Monument) and five minutes later I was at the site. Ten minutes after that I met the Walkers of our Yellowknife photo walk group, we counted thirteen.

The image presented here is my submission to the photo walk website – a float plane in the Narrows separating Yellowknife proper from Rock Island. My gratitude goes out to this photo walk group for their camaraderie, their welcome, their interest in photography and for how each photographer has worked photography into their lives. Good, good schtuff!

Quote to Consider – “Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how,’ while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why.’ Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.” – Man Ray … sounds like a key attribute of this photo walk group.

Listening to – New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give;” seems almost to have a Mick Jagger kind of voicing to the song; a student of mine has me fretting this song with him … we’re both learning it.

Sulfur Mountain – Sunset

Backlight, Best Practices - Photography, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Light Intensity, Night, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Summer, Sunset
Banff from Sulfur Mountain - Banff, Alberta - Canada

Banff from Sulfur Mountain – Banff, Alberta – Canada

Gondola Sunset - Banff, Alberta - Canada i

Gondola Sunset – Banff, Alberta – Canada i

Gondola Sunset - Banff, Alberta - Canada ii

Gondola Sunset – Banff, Alberta – Canada ii

Sulfur Mountain looking West - Banff, Alberta - Canada

Sulfur Mountain looking West – Banff, Alberta – Canada

Sulfur Mountain Walkway - Banff, Alberta - Canada

Sulfur Mountain Walkway – Banff, Alberta – Canada

August, up behind Banff, on Sulfur Mountain, a Gondola ride ferries me, skyward, high above to a prominent mountain peak, a culling point for a cross-section of travelers and wanderlust. The sun, glimpsed behind clouds … sets – a time for a photo, a time to share with fellow mountain-top travelers what my camera captures; encouragement comes in broken, best effort English … “ten more minutes” and “beautiful [sunset].”

Quote to Consider – “To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before taking a walk.” – Edward Weston

Listening to – Of Monsters and Men’s ‘King and Lionheart,’ ‘Dirty Paws’ and ‘Slow and Steady.’

HDR – Bracketed Swath

Best Practices - Photography, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Journaling, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Summer
53 Ford - Drumheller, Alberta - Canada i

53 Ford – Drumheller, Alberta – Canada i

53 Ford - Drumheller, Alberta - Canada ii

53 Ford – Drumheller, Alberta – Canada ii

53 Ford - Drumheller, Alberta - Canada iii

53 Ford – Drumheller, Alberta – Canada iii

53 Ford - Drumheller, Alberta - Canada iv

53 Ford – Drumheller, Alberta – Canada iv

Banff Springs Hotel - Banff, Alberta - Canada

Banff Springs Hotel – Banff, Alberta – Canada

Fairview Homestead HDR i-Edit-Edit-Edit

Fairview Homestead HDR i-Edit-Edit-Edit

Fairview Homestead HDR ii-Edit-Edit-Edit-2

Fairview Homestead HDR ii-Edit-Edit-Edit-2

Grain Bins - Stettler, Alberta

Grain Bins – Stettler, Alberta

Johnson Canyon - Banff, Alberta - Canada i

Johnson Canyon – Banff, Alberta – Canada i

Johnson Canyon - Banff, Alberta - Canada ii

Johnson Canyon – Banff, Alberta – Canada ii

Kananaskis Mountains - Canada

Kananaskis Mountains – Canada

Sunshine Ski Resort Road - Banff, Alberta - Canada

Sunshine Ski Resort Road – Banff, Alberta – Canada

One of this summer’s revelations was finding that my Canon DSLR was able to move from three images in automatic exposure bracketing to seven, a potent option of possibility for use in High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography. In August, I trialed this broad swath of bracketed exposures in Southern Alberta in creating HDR images. Beyond such experimentation with camera and tripod, where I have been using Adobe CS6, Photomatix and Google’s HDR Efex for High Dynamic Range image processing, I found a free HDR program within the accompanying DVD/CD to my June 2015 issue of PhotoPlus Magazine (the Canon Magazine) – HDR Projects 2 – and was surprised to find how much more was now in my photo-editor’s control in producing an HDR image; I have since upgraded the software to HDR Projects 3 Professional. Summer’s downtime also presented opportunities to gather HDR skills. I took-in a webinar offered by RC Concepcion, ‘HDR Exposed,’ through the KelbyOne website. The webinar dealt with static and moving HDR images and dealt with all considerations in the process of creating the final HDR image (e.g. overcoming camera distortion, creating photo-stitched panoramas in portrait or landscape formats etc.). One of my new goals is to create an HDR image of a building interior – new, old, dilapidated and to utilize natural light to capture colour, textures and depth. We’ll see what happens.

Possibly an HDR Quote to Consider – “In Photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.” – August Sander

Listening to – Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Eyes on the Prize,’ Bruce Hornsby and The Range’s ‘The Valley Road,’ Don Henley’s ‘Sunset Grill,’ The Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie,’ Coldplay’s ‘Magic’ and Of Monsters and Men’s ‘Slow and Steady.’