Last, Day-lit Images

Backlight, Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Lens, Christmas, Light Intensity, Night, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Sunset, Weather, Winter
Scotford Refinery - Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Scotford Refinery – Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

An image of the Scotford Refinery near Fort Saskatchewan, one of the last day-lit images shot at dusk looking east towards Edmonton after a good day of looking for and finding images.

Listening to – Simple Minds’ ‘Alive and Kicking.’

Quote to Inspire – “The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.” – Robert Doisneau

Blake’s Bison

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Christmas, Fauna, Light Intensity, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, Sunset, Weather, Winter
Bison - Elk Island 1

Bison – Elk Island 1

Bison - Elk Island 4

Bison – Elk Island 4

Bison - Elk Island 3

Bison – Elk Island 3

Bison - Elk Island 2

Bison – Elk Island 2

In a day that’s been bright, yet overcast, the sun shines through broken cloud as it moves towards the horizon in late afternoon, shining directly on two Bison grazing at Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park, images inspired by Sidney Blake’s discussion of animal/nature photography and by her extraordinary black and white images of Bison in winter.

Listening to – The Von Bondies with ‘C’mon C’mon’.

Quote to Inspire – “When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.” – Anonymous

Derelict House – Day’s End

Backlight, Canon 60D, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Christmas, Farm, Farmhouse, Home, Homestead, Light Intensity, Season, Vehicle, Winter
Derelict Farmhouse 1

Derelict Farmhouse 1

Derelict Farmhouse 2

Derelict Farmhouse 2

Friday, following Christmas, after time away from Edmonton at Elk Island National Park photographing bison, there, we took the backway into Edmonton, leaving the park and coming into Edmonton through Fort Saskatchewan. Near Lamont we found this derelict farmhouse. I took some shots while my son read a novel in our SUV; curiously, he may have been reading Charles Dickens’ ‘Bleak House,’ a novel sorting through the estate of someone who has passed … the clarity and speed of action within Britain’s legal system at the time is slower than a snail’s pace and those to whom the estate would benefit are in some cases reduced to poverty with the waiting … that’s gone on for what seems a generation; it’s social commentary and plot. With the image, here, the sun was moving toward the horizon and gives partial corona to the roof at each leftmost edge near the eaves trough. The textures and muted tones appeal. In looking through the image, the landscape that the house is set in seems to collect the unused, as well – day’s end for a few things.

Listening to – Cold Play’s ‘Violet Hill’, ‘Yellow’ and John Farnham with ‘The Voice’.

Quote to Inspire – “Everything shifts as you move, and different things come into focus at different points of your life, and you try to articulate that.” Chris Steele

Dodges, Pontiac and Ford – All Start

Canon 60D, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Christmas, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Still Life, Sunset, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration, Winter
38 Ford 1 - Lamont, Alberta

38 Ford 1 – Lamont, Alberta

38 Ford 2 - Lamont, Alberta

38 Ford 2 – Lamont, Alberta

38 Ford 3 - Lamont, Alberta

38 Ford 3 – Lamont, Alberta

38 Ford Grill Work - Lamont, Alberta

38 Ford Grill Work – Lamont, Alberta

My mind seems to be within the years tonight, thinking back to Ardrossan, out east from Edmonton, to Ivan’s country estate, an expansive, one-level home set on an acreage lot with a shop big enough to accommodate a semi-tractor unit (or perhaps two). Within the shop there’d be a mocha Chrysler New Yorker with black vinyl roof, a white Dodge 100 shortbox (his father’s) with a camper on top, a gold and brown Dodge Mirada and an old, old, blue Ford tractor with blade behind it to grade the snow and gravel.

On a Saturday or Sunday in the eighties I’d bring his daughter (now my wife) out to the acreage – she’d spend time with her mother in the house and I’d spend time out in the shop chatting – looking at the world with a sideways glance with Ivan. We’d reason our way through a few things. We’d work on the brakes for a motorbike for his son or replace a piston or piston ring on his skidoo. And, we talk all the way through it. He’d have an old, old Coke Machine in the corner stocked with eight or nine flats of beer … sodas, he called them … and in the course of an evening a chunk of a flat would disappear.

Outside his shop, one time, we ran oil or power steering fluid through the running carburetor of my father’s 69 Pontiac Parisienne. The engine coughed and coughed and sputtered; it may have died. And, then with some skilled cranking of the starter Ivan brought it back to life with a roar – the carburetor now clean and optimized. I’m sure he was having some fun with me … seeing where my worry and trust would lie.

A few years later he set me to work polishing a four-door, cream coloured Ford Gran Torino, a vehicle our family bought from our uncle in Rimbey. This was the four door version of the 76 Ford Gran Torino made more notable by the Starsky and Hutch television series in the late seventies. With our Ford and with a professional polisher, rubbing compound and glaze I worked on the car for four of five hours. Ivan had me wash down the engine in addition to washing the exterior. When it came time to drive home the Gran Torino wouldn’t start. And, when I went up to the house I found that while my girlfriend (now wife) and her mother were watching television, he was sleeping in his chair. Not wanting to disturb him, I went back down to the shop, hooked up some booster cables between the Ford and his Dodge Ram, not knowing anything about reversed polarities on the Dodges of the day.

Hmmh … Now two vehicles wouldn’t start.

I had to roust Ivan from his sleep and let him know that in addition to my not being able to start my vehicle, I now couldn’t start his. The language was colourful, yet mindful of not wanting to go too, too far. He seemed to know within minutes that water under the distributor cap of the Ford was the problem; we dried it with a rag. And where there’d be an electrical etching in the top of the distributor cap, he knew to take a pencil and draw two lines, one on each side of the etching, perpendicular to it; that limited the problem. We boosted the Ford … still using his Dodge, his way. The Ford started. I’m sure he was happy to get me on my way. And, he was certain that he’d have his truck running within moments after I left. Ivan was a Dodge man.

Ivan was one of the first people I’d heard refer to rust on a vehicle as it being cancered out or having cancer … something he knew how to remedy in an autobody shop. The Ford image presented here is one found a few miles from the southern gate of Elk Island National park; the nearest towns would probably be Lamont or Bruderheim. To some extent the Ford has its share of cancer; but, in totality there is more there of the car than not there, making it an excellent candidate for restoration. The vehicle has had me thinking back to Ivan and the early days of dating my wife. 🙂

Listening to – ‘The End of Illness’ by David B. Agus, MD, a book looking at a systems approach to good health … it’s about understanding your body’s system and how it works, for you.

Quote to Inspire – “Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.” – Anonymous

Summerland – Sleepless Slumber

Backlight, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Christmas, Light Intensity, Night, Winter
Summerland Boat Launch 1

Summerland Boat Launch 1

Summerland Boat Launch 2

Summerland Boat Launch 2

Summerland Day Use Area 1

Summerland Day Use Area 1

Summerland Day Use Area 2

Summerland Day Use Area 2

Sleepless after our second daylong endeavor of sorting through the personal effects and estate of my wife’s father, Ivan, prompts the opportunity for night photography in Summerland along Lake Okanagon. Quietly stealing away, I leave my wife to her slumber. With camera, tripod, cold-weather gear and Ivan’s Hyundai Tucson I tour through Summerland for image opportunities.

My drive toward Summerland’s centre begins in finding two RCMP cruisers outside the Summerland Daycare; they are responding to something. Later, I find Christmas decorations are still all aglow on many Summerland homes – houses worthy of becoming part of any city’s Candy Cane Lane; a week beyond New Years’ day people are not wanting to let go of season – Christmas stretches on into 2013. Beyond the Summerland roundabout a church designed by Italian architects reflects style in the currency of the 1920’s in its use of timber and stone – a photograph, here, will be something better in daylight … an image to postpone. Several homes interest me in terms of structure and in how they are perched on vistas that take advantage of mountain heights and view high above Lake Okanagon.

Later, I come back down to the shoreline of Lake Okanagon – there’s an S-curve of a road surrounding one side of a day-use area; the lake itself surrounding the grounds on the other side. Lighting within the park colours snow in gold and reflects across the unfrozen Okanagon Lake. A boat launch reaches out into the lake to that unseen point of embarkation – eerily, with my father-in-law’s passing the image recalls Dylan Thomas verse ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,’ … “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Listening to Peter Gabriel – ‘Come Talk to Me’, ‘Steam’, ‘Across the River’, ‘Blood of Eden’ and ‘Sledgehammer’; tonight, v-tuner’s tuned to Electronica – Radio One and “Blueless Invidia”.

Quote to Inspire – “A photo is a small voice, at best, but sometimes – just sometimes – one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into awareness. Much depends upon the viewer; in some, photographs can summon enough emotion to be a catalyst to thought.” – W. Eugene Smith

Recollecting – Molson’s Brewery

Canon 60D, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Christmas, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Winter
Molson's  Edmonton Site 1

Molson’s Edmonton Site 1

Molson's  Edmonton Site 2

Molson’s Edmonton Site 2

Molson's  Edmonton Site 3

Molson’s Edmonton Site 3

Molson's  Edmonton Site 4

Molson’s Edmonton Site 4

Molson's  Edmonton Site 5

Molson’s Edmonton Site 5

Few Edmonton buildings call to mind New York’s projects, rugged and raw, half-formed, partially dismantled buildings of a not too distant era left behind and left derelict – home to those few or many down-on-their luck. The site of Edmonton’s former Molson Brewery in its semi-dismantled, unfinished and unconcluded state reminds me of the sights and sounds, the cadences and dialects of the English being spoken as I travelled by Greyhound from Toronto to Buffalo to New York City and then to Convent Station New Jersey in August of 1989 – a trip far away it seems in time, yet surprisingly near within imagination’s recollection. The priest who’d had his tonsils taken out at the kitchen table, the orthodox Jew in black taking daughters from Buffalo to New York, the Nun who led us in chant and harmony, the writing, writing and writing, Grand Central Station, Broadway, twenty-foot sidewalks populated with policemen, train travel and a Greyhound Strike – all were part of that five day trip.

Listening to and fretting Rickie Lee Jones’ Sailor Song, finding the sound and the rhythmic rhythm of a boat’s rolling on waves.

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

Cattails – Eastern lakeshore

Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Christmas, Flora, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Still Life, Winter
Eastern Lakeshore - Cattails

Eastern Lakeshore – Cattails

A day or two after Christmas 2012, my brother and I got our families outside snowshoeing at Chickahoo Lake. In fresh air, our group got themselves tromping around the lake; I did so with my camera finding these cattails along the eastern lakeshore.

Listening to much of Jack Johnson this morning – Banana Pancakes, Sleep Through the Static, Bubble Toes and Staple It Together.

Quote to Inspire – “A photograph has picked up a fact of life, and that fact will live forever.” Raghu Rai

Winter Light’s Tone & Mood

Canon 30D, Canon Camera, Christmas, Light Intensity, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Night, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Winter

High Level Bridge - Edmonton, Alberta

On a Saturday afternoon, in late November or December, 1968, my father took me to Edmonton’s Varscona theater on the corner of 109th Street and Whyte Avenue to watch a newly created film version of a Dickens’ novel he knew well; my father took me to watch Oliver! In the film, I encountered a boy a little older than me, Oliver Twist, as he moved forward into the world without parents, moving from workhouse to funeral home and on into more (or less) corrupt hands (depending on your point of view), navigating by strength of character and goodwill through mishaps, misdeeds, abuse and neglect. Innocence and seeing the world with first eyes are key aspects in this narrative’s presentation, a child acclimating to what the world is about – good and bad.

Safety and what is right are elements of Life that Oliver perceives purely on the basis of tone. Highlighted in the novel is affectation of tone, tone used to achieve an end. Here, Oliver responds to the warmth and apparent sincerity in the charm and charisma proffered by Fagin (sly, cunning con artist) and Master Charlie Bates a.k.a. the Artful Dodger (Fagin protégé, pickpocket and derisively referred to as Master Bates). Their tone and apparent sincerity lead only so far before innocent and perhaps earnest discussion of what’s at play (picking pockets) draws both accountability and deflection of impropriety into/from the situation.

Key among things recalled from watching Oliver! at age seven is how light is used to convey tone and mood. Street scenes in the film occur when light is mistrusted as its intensity diminishes and as color and tone deepen and broaden, enhancing mood. Evening light, the cusp of sunlight declining into sunset, drawing day into night, is much of what the street scenes in Oliver are about. Perhaps director, Carol Reed, draws out broad visual metaphor, here, light’s transition into dark – wholesome Life moving to an arena of growing corruption, of that which is underhanded and unable to be truly ‘seen’. What stays with me after these forty-three odd years is the role that light’s intensity plays in establishing mood; the movie Oliver has had me attending to the tone, colour and atmosphere of winter street scenes as shadows lengthen, sunlight diminishes and we move through that range of colour taking us from day into night. Most often I’ll recognize this same tone driving west on Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue, close to Christmas as the sun draws toward the horizon … the mood is the same. The colours, light, tone and mood found in this December photograph of Edmonton’s High Level bridge are those you’ll find in Oliver!

Listening to Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain from her 21 album; other songs of the day include U2’s Bad from The Unforgettable Fire and Coldplay’s God Put a Smile Upon Your Face from their album A Rush of Blood to the Head.  In the past few days Jack White and The White Stripes have featured in my listening – 300 M.P.H Torrential Outpour Blues (Live) from Under Great White Northern Lights (Live Canadian Tour).  The Verve’s Lucky Man from the Urban Hymns album and  U2’s Love and Peace or Else from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb have also been there.

Quote to Inspire – “People think that all cameramen do is point the camera at things, but it’s a heck of a lot more complicated than that!” – Larry in Groundhog Day

Adizes Curve

Canon 30D, Canon Camera, Christmas, Light Intensity, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Winter

Edmonton's River Valley - Looking Back to Saskatchewan Drive

If you know the Adizes curve you’ll recognize what’s referred to as a learning curve being the initial part of a bell shaped curve moving you from initiation of a new practice to a point of prime where you crest the top of the curve and master practice – new practice has been worked, handled and made best practice. Optimal use of the Adizes curve has you taking on new learning curves as you crest and master prior practice. Doing so, allows you to hang on to current good practice while embracing newer needed practice.

The photograph presented, here, is one taken midway through a five-hour, solo photowalk around Edmonton’s river valley. I’m dealing with new practice.  I’m moving through a metropolitan area and recreational park area and making decisions about photographs I want, committing action to each shot and moving on – it’s a pattern I’m developing. As I start I’m shooting too quickly, not letting my eye look around the frame to see if I’m gathering all that is subject and background. Some of what I’m doing is managing state – balancing my awareness of environment (the hustle and bustle of what’s going on around me as I shoot) with good awareness of what I am seeing in the lens. I settle into the rhythm of practice – walk and find subject, move to find best angle/perspective, set the exposure (f-stop against shutter speed), focus and take the shot; then, when I’ve exhausted my seeing and possibility with a subject I move on. I’m also testing out gear at -20C.  I’m keeping one battery warm, close to my chest underneath fleece and winter jacket; every twenty-minutes or so, I’m swapping out the camera battery (the cold for the warm). I’m carrying a knapsack style camera bag and a tripod bag slung over my body, over the camera bag.  Beyond this, I’m managing comfort in terms of staying warm with fleece underneath jacket and ski pants.

At the mid-point of my walk, having come down into the river valley, I encounter this shot – a silhouette, near the 5th Street Bridge looking back up toward Saskatchewan Drive, a neat leading line of posts preventing vehicles moving where they ought not to go.  I move on. As I take pictures I’m unaware of the need to clean my lens and that snow crystals will shape what I expose. It is days later when I’ve returned home and edit the images that I see them – the result isn’t anything bad, just something that needs cleaning up with software. In this photowalk I began at the High Level Diner, moved east along Saskatchewan Drive, entered the Edmonton City Park (the River Valley), crossed the 5th street bridge, walked through the Alberta Legislature grounds and returned to the University side of the North Saskatchewan River – it has been a first view of the area with my camera, something to repeat and revise. At a pub, formerly Plato’s Pizza, I treat myself to two pints of Boddington’s Pub Ale while I wait for a ride home and I review images.

Listening to … or fretting many Stan Rogers’ tunes tonight; among them have been The Wreck of the Athens Queen, Fisherman’s Wharf and Maid on the Shore; it’s been DADGAD tuning tonight and I’ve also shifted into 9/8 time, in a manner to support a fiddler’s reel or jig – a rhythm Skew Lines‘, Kerri Brown (fiddle, guitar, percussion) helped me find and play in Parksville, British Columbia.

Quote to Inspire – “I like photographs which leave something to the imagination.” – Fay Godwin

Homestead – Donnelly, Alberta

Canon 50mm, Canon 50mm Lens, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Christmas, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Prime Lens, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Winter

Here is a black and white photograph of a homestead between Donnelly and Peace River, Alberta – an image receiving attention from bloggers; structure, design and texture attract.

My intention for this photograph initially has been the exterior; but, with photographs of homes and recollection that families inhabit homes the photograph becomes something relating to that business that William Shakespeare points to … ‘all the world [being] a stage [even those floors and rooms of home] … and all the men and women merely players:  they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts ….

Home is where we start our lives and move through our first parts … right?

Listening to Moses from Coldplay’s Live 2003 CD/DVD.

Quote to Inspire: “Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.” — Edward Steichen