Dyrhólaey Arch – Lighthouse

Beginning Southward - Iceland 1
Beginning Southward – Iceland 1
Beginning Southward - Iceland 2
Beginning Southward – Iceland 2
Beginning Southward - Iceland 3
Beginning Southward – Iceland 3
Beginning Southward - Iceland 4
Beginning Southward – Iceland 4
Cloudwork, Þjóðvegur, Southern Region - Iceland 1
Cloudwork, Þjóðvegur, Southern Region – Iceland 1
Cloudwork, Þjóðvegur, Southern Region - Iceland 2
Cloudwork, Þjóðvegur, Southern Region – Iceland 2
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 1
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 1
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 2
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 2
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 3
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 3
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 4
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 4
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 5
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 5
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 6
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 6
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 7
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 7
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 8
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 8
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 9
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 9
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 10
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 10
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 11
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 11
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 12
Lighthouse at Dyrhólaey Arch, Iceland 12

I was in Iceland a year ago. The time was opportunity to move within and over unexplored terrain, alone. I would respond to it all, feasting my eyes through my camera lens, always working to understand the visual narrative of the land, its weather and people.

The windward-leeward interaction of mountain weather is a visible dynamic in Iceland. Atlantic clouds push into mountains producing rainy, spitting drizzle along their path. On the lee side they roll down, over mountains becoming a moving cloud blanket that dissipates, evaporating in its encounter with sunlight. Iceland’s cloud-work is extraordinary in its shift and shape, its play of light and shadow, its depths and in its interaction with the island. It is mountain weather, weather that can change radically within the space of a few moments. What was seen is revealed, here, as high dynamic range HDR images.

The lighthouse grounds at the Dyrhólaey Arch serve as orienting point for most images. From this crag black, volcanic sand beaches are visible. The Atlantic Ocean shimmers and rolls in. Mist and rain shroud distant islands. And, rays of sunlight stream through cloud and reflect upon the ocean. Inland, mountain snow melts exposing rock, sand and dirt. Lighthouse access is found driving up the side of this mountain outcrop along a steep, muddy, one-track gravel road, a series of switchbacks without road barriers. Poor weather needs a careful driver’s eye to prevent an unfortunate tumble off this crag. With my smaller SUV (a 2006 Ford Escape), the climb and descent were exhilarating as was greeting opposing traffic.

Quote to Consider / Inspire: “I never tried to revolutionize photography; I just do what I do and keep my fingers crossed that people will like it.” – David Bailey

Listening to – two ‘On Being with Krista Tippett’ interviews/podcasts: ‘Carlo Rovelli – All Reality Is Interaction’ and ‘Pádraig Ó Tuama – Belonging Creates and Undoes Us Both;’ ‘The Candid Frame podcast with Ursula Tocik;’ and, Ólafur Arnalds, Atli Örvarsson & SinfoniaNord perform ‘Öldurót,’ a remembrance in music, recalling Iceland.

Afternoon Drive – Late Winter

Aquamarine Ford F-150 - Tompkin's Landing, Ab Canada 1
Aquamarine Ford F-150 – Tompkin’s Landing, Ab Canada 1
Aquamarine Ford F-150 - Tompkin's Landing, Ab Canada 2
Aquamarine Ford F-150 – Tompkin’s Landing, Ab Canada 2
Buttertown Buildings - Fort Vermilion, Ab Canada
Buttertown Buildings – Fort Vermilion, Ab Canada
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 1
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 1
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 2
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 2
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 3
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 3
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 4
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 4
Old Tompkin's Landing Ferry 1
Old Tompkin’s Landing Ferry 1
Old Tompkin's Landing Ferry 2
Old Tompkin’s Landing Ferry 2
Stuck in Snow - Buttertown, Fort Vermilion, AB Canada
Stuck in Snow – Buttertown, Fort Vermilion, AB Canada

I got out for an afternoon drive on a Saturday late in February. I gathered my cameras and set off for a look around within Alberta’s MacKenzie Municipal District.

From High Level I traveled south. I would cross the Peace River ice bridge through slushy water at Tompkin’s Landing, traveling no more than 10km/h. Before I got there, on the hill descending toward the ice bridge a blue, aquamarine colour caught my eye. The colour belonged to a seventies Ford F-150. Someone had dragged it a ways into the trees. It, like the 1970 Buick GS next to it, had served a purpose and was left there – a rusting relic. Tromping into knee deep snow I gathered photos.

Driving past Blue Hills, farms held livestock, the occasional horse and derelict farming implements. I detoured along back roads behind Buffalo Head Prairie. There, second and third generation families are operating farms that have grown in size through the years. Many families are moving from original homestead homes built in the forties into new homes. The older homesteads stand holding memory’s residue. Next, I drove behind La Crete to the Heritage museum. The museum site holds old buildings from the La Crete area, old farming implements and machinery. The old Tompkin’s Landing ferry that transferred people and vehicles across the Peace River is there. The museum is one I want to return to for photos. And, people are invited to arrange a tour of the site. It might be something to see in early June.

Later, in moving past Fort Vermilion and into Buttertown, I managed to get my truck stuck in snow. I had seen some Buttertown buildings built with Swedish log cut corners. They were likely more than a hundred years old and I had been meaning to photograph them for a while. In parking my truck on a snowy road shoulder, I got too close to the shoulder’s edge and my truck and I slid sideways into the ditch. I did not have to wait too long for help though. A young Mennonite farmer out for a drive with his date stopped. He took some time (an hour or so) and was able to pull my truck back onto the road. And, he didn’t want anything for his trouble. He was just being neighborly. Good on him!

I stayed in Buttertown for another hour or so before sundown and my return home with pictures, better for being out of the house, better for being away from town, grateful for all that my afternoon had held.

Quote to Consider – “Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” – Ansel Adams

Listening to – Martyn Joseph’s ‘Strange Way,’ Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Wondering Where the Lions Are,’ David Gray’s ‘My Oh My’ and James Taylor’s ‘Country Road.’

Watt Mountain Weather

Watt Mountain Weather - High Level, Ab Canada 1
Watt Mountain Weather – High Level, Ab Canada 1
Watt Mountain Weather - High Level, Ab Canada 2
Watt Mountain Weather – High Level, Ab Canada 2
Watt Mountain Weather - High Level, Ab Canada 3
Watt Mountain Weather – High Level, Ab Canada 3

After a late winter snow, my truck brought me up the 12 kilometre climb to the top of Watt Mountain and its weather.

Listening to – Agnes Obel’s ‘Fivefold,’ Junip’s ‘Don’t Let It Pass,’ Coldplay’s ‘Another’s Arms’ and U2’s ‘Song for Someone.’

Quote to Consider – “Photography is for me, a spontaneous impulse that comes from an ever-attentive eye, which captures the moment and its eternity.” – Henri Cartier Bresson

Borrowed Rendering

Edmonton Skyline from Connor's Hill - Edmonton, Ab Canada 2
Edmonton Skyline from Connor’s Hill – Edmonton, Ab Canada 2
Edmonton Skyline from Connor's Hill - Edmonton, Ab Canada 1
Edmonton Skyline from Connor’s Hill – Edmonton, Ab Canada 1

My first look with my camera is technical – ‘Will this vantage point work to create an image?’ I try it out. I gather an Edmonton image, one of several in climbing Connor’s hill. The hour is late on a Monday evening in February. Editing provides second look at the image, back home days later. There, I work through High Dynamic Range (HDR) image creation. Rendering holds choices – sharpening, colour, black and white, cropping. I try them out. Almost a month later, my look at this image is more settled and recalls memory – events and people through time. A fight and a chase occurred in this landscape. Among friends, before I was a teen an altercation occurred. We had ridden bikes perhaps five miles further than we should have, without parents knowing. We stumbled onto turf, that of someone older than us. We came out okay. But, that was way back in time. Connor’s hill, the part seen here is just below Edmonton’s Strathearn Drive. It is close to my grandparent’s home. My grandfather, my brothers and I hiked trails in the treed ravine in front of this part of Connor’s hill. Through the sixties, seventies and eighties Connor’s hill was Edmonton’s ski hill. The Edmonton Folk Festival occurs on this site, now. I have seen and listened to Fred Eaglesmith, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Martyn Joseph and Great Big Sea play on this hill. Five or six musical offerings are easily undertaken all at any one time. For me, the festival has been a place to reconnect with friends, a place to enjoy a glass of wine or beer through a warm August weekend. The festival has become a place to catch-up, settle-in and enjoy.

Listening to – Fred Eaglesmith’s ‘Wilder than Her,’ the Blind Boys of Alabama’s ‘Way Down the Hole,’ Martyn Joseph’s version of Springsteen’s ‘The River’ and Great Big Sea’s ‘General Taylor.’ Then, it’s Cat Stevens’ ‘Pop Star,’ Peter Gabriel’s ‘The Family and Fishing Net,’ then Joan Baez & Dirk Powell’s take on ‘House of the Rising Sun’and finally Billy Bragg with Wilco’s ‘Hot Rod Hotel.’ David Gray’s ‘First Chance’ is up, then it’s Cat Steven’s ‘Bitterblue,’ Gillian Welch with ‘Revelator’ and ‘The Way It Goes’ from Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings Machine.

Quote to Consider – “You don’t take a photograph. You ask quietly to borrow it.” – Unknown

Flatiron Dreamcatcher

Gibson Block Building - Edmonton, Ab - Canada 1
Gibson Block Building – Edmonton, Ab – Canada 1
https://lumensborealis.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/gibson-block-building-edmonton-ab-canada-4.jpg?w=924
https://lumensborealis.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/gibson-block-building-edmonton-ab-canada-4.jpg
Gibson Block Building - Edmonton, Ab - Canada 3
Gibson Block Building – Edmonton, Ab – Canada 3
Gibson Block Building - Edmonton, Ab - Canada 2
Gibson Block Building – Edmonton, Ab – Canada 2

This building is likely the only building in Edmonton in the Flatiron architectural style – triangular in shape with curved windows at its toe. One would find this building in the twentieth century and it would reflect Edmonton opulence. The Gibson Block building, built in 1913, precedes many things. It precedes Canada’s involvement in World War I. It precedes the roaring twenties. It precedes the era of Al Capone, the American prohibition and a Canadian connection. It precedes the Great Depression. The Gibson Block building associates Edmonton to being Metropolitan. One would find a similar building in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. Its Canadian, older metropolitan style works well as possible landscape to Morley Callaghan’s novel ‘Such is My Beloved.’ One can imagine the Great Depression and the lives of Father Dowling, Ronnie and Midge intersecting in such a building, a building with ground level retail space, apartments upstairs and Turkish baths below. Neglected, the Gibson Block building faced possible destruction in the 1990’s. The Edmonton City Centre Church Corporation recognized possibility and repurposed the building. The Gibson Block building is now home to the Women’s Emergency Accommodation Centre and provides refuge to those in need – homeless and transient women. At Christmas, the building’s curved glass toe held a huge dreamcatcher, one, in size, able to encompass a person.

Listening to – Bruce Springsteen’s ‘One Step Up’ and ‘If I Should Fall Behind,’ The Black Crowes’ ‘Twice as Hard,’ Neil Young’s ‘The Needle and the Damage Done,’ Alison Krauss’ ‘Lay My Burden Down,’ Hank Williams’ ‘My Heart Would Know,’ Willie Nelson’s version of Coldplay’s ‘Scientist,’ Lucinda Williams’ ‘East Side of Town,’ Shawn Colvin’s ‘All Fall Down,’ Peter Himmelman’s ‘Impermanent Things’ and Ryan Adams’ ‘Chains of Love.’

Quote to Consider – “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

At Home – Dad

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

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.’