I had a go at photographing remnants of long ago creatures, fossilized and in many cases fully intact, displayed to be discovered again by the would-be archeologist at The Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology. The challenge then became that of presenting images that focused solely on the creature; that was accomplished with editing.
Quote to Consider/Inspire – “I began to realize that the camera sees the world differently than the human eye and that sometimes those differences can make a photograph more powerful than what you actually observed.” – Galen Rowell
Listening to – Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,’ Over the Rhine’s ‘White Horse’ and ‘New Redemption Song,’ The Steep Mountain Rangers’ ‘Atheists Don’t Have No Songs,’ Martyn Joseph’s recently released ‘Bobby,’ ‘The Luxury of Despair,’ ‘Are You Ready’ and ‘Sanctuary,’ Deacon Blue’s ‘Bethlehem Begins,’ The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York,’ Dustin Kensrue’s ‘This is War’ and Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Cry of a Tiny Babe.’
Merry Christmas, all – Take good care of your good selves.
La Glace Homestead II – La Glace, Alberta – Canada 1
La Glace Homestead II – La Glace, Alberta – Canada 2
La Glace Homestead II – La Glace, Alberta – Canada 3
La Glace Homestead II – La Glace, Alberta – Canada 4
Saturday’s bounty, a week ago, was found at sundown near La Glace – this homestead image; it followed six shots in which a moose and its calf trotted behind this homestead, a speedy blur of movement from left to right in my viewfinder, all amid this static landscape and sunset.
Listening to – Coldplay’s ‘Magic,’ U2’s ‘Every Breaking Wave,’ One Republic’s ‘I Lived,’ Of Monsters and Men’s ‘King and Lionheart (live),’ John Mayer’s ‘Age of Worry,’ Maroon 5’s ‘Lucky Strike,’ Snow Patrol’s ‘Crack the Shutters,’ Coldplay’s ‘Us Against the World,’ U2’s ‘Song for Someone,’ Ed Sheeran’s ‘Little Bird,’ and John Mayer’s ‘Queen of California.’
Quote to Consider – “To me, photography is an art of observations. 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, 1928
On the long drive home to High Level from Southern Alberta I chanced upon a hawk, sitting on an aged farm fence post alongside the highway north, the hawk gazing out to the road – resting and surveying. I drove further, doubled back and parked my truck twenty metres from the hawk. Outside my truck, I was able to get several shots. Because the hawk had not moved and was not disturbed by me snapping photos at the truck I took a few steps toward the hawk, aiming for close-up. At five steps in, the hawk lifted from its perch and flew by me and across the road. These images were taken perhaps ten minutes north from Valleyview, Alberta near the old Valleyview road.
Listening to – the Imagine Dragons’ song ‘Radioactive’ with my daughter, driving her to her dance workshop this morning.
Quote to Inspire – “The cliché comes not in what you shoot but in how you shoot it.” ― David duChemin, Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision
A bird, high above on a transmission line, looks on. Perhaps resting, this bird recalls exhortation about living Life – “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them (Matthew 6:25-34).” The second day of summer, school almost done and enjoying summer’s warmth and light.
Listening to – Chris Whitley’s ‘Dust Radio,’ Robbie Robertson’s ‘Sweet Fire of Love’ and Lucinda Williams’ ‘Concrete and Barbed Wire.’
Quote to Inspire – “There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.” -Ansel Adams
At sunset, on a lake north from Dixonville, Alberta, on the west side of a highway’s curve, a beaver has swum towards me to determine whether or not I’m animate, part of the setting or active within its setting. When my movement becomes large and noticeable, the beaver slaps its tail on the water and dives, swimming from what had been its present location to another where line of sight on me, the potential predator, can be had.
Listening to – much of Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds’ Live at Radio City Music Hall; the songs standing out this morning have been ‘Bartender’ (as possible prayer), ‘Save Me’ (for its allusion), ‘Crash into Me’ (intimate lovers’ dialogue), ‘Sister’ (I have a sister-in-law) and ‘Lie in Our Graves’ (for its shared fun).
Quote to Inspire – “A photographer is an acrobat treading the high wire of chance, trying to capture shooting stars.” – Guy Le Querrec
I am able to recall my first year of school and one of those Life-changing events, that of taking my father to the Edmonton International Airport – Mom, Grandma and me. Something new for me and my brothers, this same event was rejoinder for my father – he was getting back to the globetrotting that was so much of his career prior to the arrival of my two brothers and me. Business trips took Dad often to the United Kingdom to stay current with practices/methods in plastics development/technologies. Beyond the United Kingdom, Dad moved around the globe in a chemist’s technician’s capacity dealing with the technical side of plastics use; the customer was always right – if the plastic produced didn’t work for the customer, the company Dad worked for always solved the problem and worked to create the plastic needed by each customer-manufacturer. Dad’s globetrotting in the sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties had the ceremony of preparation and departure; and, homecoming also became ceremony – gifts for the family let us know that we were thought of even when he was away from us.
Horses – the images of horses, here, were photographed just north of Fairview, Alberta. Their shapes remind of a British cartoonist who drew so many cartoons of the British countryside – Norman Thelwell often drew images of ponies … cartoons that these photographs recall. Check out Norman Thelwell at http://www.thelwell.org.uk/ . One of the gifts my father brought back for me when I was twelve was a small paperback of Thelwell’s pony cartoons – something I can remember reading in my room on a rainy day in June in Edmonton.
Listening to – Los Lobos and ‘Two Janes.’
Quote to Inspire – “Ultimately photography is about who you are. It’s the truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.” – Leonard Freed
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
Are you someone who does this? Do you keep an idea file for photographs you’d like to try? I’ve found myself doing this at times when travel cannot afford the time to stop and snap a few photos. At other times, I will realize that the subject of a shot works but that the conditions may not work ideally. And, if I’m lucky I’ll be able to ask my daughter to write down a note in a moleskin notebook while we drive about location and subject and particulars; the moleskin stays in the vehicle and I can refer back to it. Wildlife photographer, Moose Peterson in an interview on Shutter Time with Sid and Mac (Sidney Blake and Maciek Sokulski) spoke of being encouraged to keep an idea file for photographs and to revisit the file and plan for opportunities to make the shot or shots happen. The bison at Elk Island National Park (east of Edmonton, Alberta) are subject for one set of photographs found here. The bison have been a part of my idea file since I’ve been listening to Sid and Mac’s exploits in repeated and regular photo sessions at the park. For me, in terms of the camera work the learning is about shutter speed. Within the golden hour of sunlight and with the continual movement of the bison in their grazing there is a need for a faster shutter speed in terms of capturing crisp images.
The issue I am grappling with when traveling is that I will often be days or weeks from my photos before I can edit and see images. I am still considering the value of a laptop from the perspective of allowing greater immediacy of editing while traveling. There is learning to be derived from the editing process and it may be that working with a laptop with different subjects will foster good results in second or third visits/photo sessions.
The remaining pictures are catch-all – images that have been kicking around, interesting to look at; the vintage late 30’s sedan, the T-bird and the late sixties Dodge Dart were parked outside Ricky’s All Day Grill and are the work of one person. Imagine being able to say to two of your best buddies, “Hey let’s take a few of my cars for a spin,” and then take them out to breakfast. Cool! Beyond these, there are other renderings of the fifties one-ton truck, a rusting relic.
Listening to – John Mayer’s Queen of California, a song reminding of the Doobie Brothers back in the seventies.
Quote to Inspire – “All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely be slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time relentless melt.” – Susan Sontag
Water – within the past week I’ve slipped and nearly tumbled on water that’s oozed and frozen into globs of ice on High Level sidewalks during my morning walks. Water has met with gravitational pull and been transported as precipitation from clouds through a distance of kilometres to earth, sprinkling erratically. Water that’s changed state from snow or ice has in its melting been responsible for transport of dust and dirt from sidewalks to drains and through sewage systems. Water has been the key ingredient in transforming dirt into mud and curiously the removal of soil from our bodies is best accomplished with … water. And, within this photo water that is not in motion becomes mirror, an enigma catching my attention as I’m able to focus through its surface to the detail in my subject, the cattails. The water mirror allows cattails to become foreground to the backdrop of clouds of pink sunset, a feat that would not have been possible without this water mirror.
Listening to – Ray Lamontagne’s I Still Care For You, Ryan Adams’ Come Pick Me Up and David Gray’s Fugitive. The David Gray tune from yesterday that’s stuck in my head is We’re Not Right; the other is Shawn Colvin’s take on We All Fall Down. Today, David Gray’s My Oh My plays out to the end of this post.
Quote to Inspire – “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” – Alfred Stieglitz
A cube or a box – the physical structure of the spaces we tend to inhabit for the majority of our days are cubes or boxes. There’s the cube or box of home. There’s the cube or box of work. As human beings it’s important that we find the third and fourth cubes beyond our work environment and beyond the home, the third and fourth elements of our day that balance out contact with work and withdrawal from endeavor. The analogy works forward in terms of thinking outside the box, breaking from routine and locating yourself in activities in the world to gain perspective on your world. Add a camera to the equation and the analogy drills down a step – you’re gaining perspective on the world you live in in much more concrete terms. Photography allows for that look at your broader context. Photography orients you to the beauty you’ll find that’s only minutes away. In fifteen minutes, I’d driven east and found these cattails at day’s end on a warmer spring day well into melt.
Listening to – The Five Blind Boys of Alabama and their rendition of Run On For A Long Time, Feed A Man by Billy Bragg & Wilco, Shakedown on 9th Street by Ryan Adams, Buffalo by Kathleen Edwards, Fully Completely by The Tragically Hip, Wonderwall by Ryan Adams, Eh Hee by Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, You Might Die Trying by the Dave Matthews Band, U2’s Wake Up Dead Man and Jack Johnson’s Rodeo Clowns.
Quote to Inspire – “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” – Ansel Adams