Between Terms – Hybrid Trail

MIrrored Building - Edmonton, Alberta 1
MIrrored Building – Edmonton, Alberta 1

We were in Edmonton and only days into our summer break when I seized the opportunity to cycle along Edmonton’s River Valley Bike trails. These trails were ones I road between terms at University thirty years ago. Then, I road a Kuwahara, chromoly steel-framed mountain bike. I bought it after my 1986 convocation and completion of my first degree. Now I road a new, Giant Hybrid Roam I. It replaced my weathered, well-ridden, fifteen-year-old, yellow Specialized HR (HardRock) Comp mountain bike. I donated it to Goodwill and bought the Giant Roam I.

The trail I remember had been a quick-paced, two-hour ride. The route covered upwards of forty kilometres. Now, I encountered the River Valley’s up and down on each side of the North Saskatchewan River. It passed by the Riverside Golf Course, through Rundle Park, out to the Strathcona Science Centre, then back along Ada Boulevard to Concordia College. From there, it moved past the Dawson Bridge, under the City Centre, past the Alberta Legislature, across the High Level Bridge, alongside the Pitch-and Putt behind the Kinsmen Field House, under Saskatchewan Drive toward the James MacDonald Bridge, then the Low Level Bridge and finally up a rigorous climb from under the St. Joseph Seminary out of the River Valley and then through Forest Heights Park to McNally High School where my truck waited.

Where I had completed this trek in two hours, thirty years ago, this well-worn path was taking me upwards of three and a half hours to complete. Sections of the once familiar route now suffered neglect – cracks and frost-heaves made the trail uneven. Hard-core, cycle-til-you-drop Edmonton cyclists had taken to spray painting cracks with bright paint to remind and to warn other cyclists of bumps along the trail. Other parts of the cycling trail were being restored. In one case a cycling bridge beneath the Shaw Centre was being dismantled and replaced. A detour was needed around this construction site – a ten minute, hard climb out of the valley with travel along the edge of the city centre core. Cycling time extended. Detours added delay.

Stopping to gather photographs slowed my cycling circuit. I was searching-out images associating to memories of early morning cycling in the Edmonton River Valley. Other images took-in and experimented with Edmonton architecture. Composition in some photographs now seems hasty. Cycling’s faster pace has seemed, at this later editing date, to have limited my awareness of all (or other) composition choices. Images that I photograph while walking hold different consideration. Walking into the scene gathers perception for what an image can become. Good consideration for how to frame a shot can occur. Three days of early summer cycling gathered these images.

Listening to – Keith Jarrett’s concert album, ‘The Köln Concert’ from 24 January 1975 – enjoying this as a former piano player.

Quote to Consider / Inspire: “Adequate photographers use their sight, good photographers use their senses, and great photographers use their souls.” – A. J. Compton

Summer Look-back

Summer images remind of other photos yet to edit and look back through. With our Ford F-150 we pulled our Tracer Ultra-lite southward from High Level, camping around Alberta – Edmonton, Pigeon Lake, Gull Lake, Hinton, Jasper, Banff, Nanton and Red Deer. We saw cousins and family. We enjoyed an afternoon, with my father in assistive care – out among the flower gardens. We explored the regions we camped in in a more settled way, always having a familiar, yet temporary, home to return to at day’s end. We got out to the Calgary Stampede and my daughter got me on a sky-lift tram – a first for us both. My daughter attended dance camp. I cycled in Jasper National park along highways and upon cycling / hiking trails – the Maligne Lake canyon and trails 4 & 7. I cycled in Banff National park and up to the Johnson Canyon. I attended a conference with our trailer.

Quote to Consider – “It is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph.” – Robert Frank

Listening to – The Candid Frame podcast and an interview with Andrea Francolini, an Australian sport yachting / sailing photographer and his charitable work in Northern Pakistan setting up and supporting a school – ‘My First School.’


Drawn to Edit

Grain Trucks - Rimbey, Alberta 1
Grain Trucks – Rimbey, Alberta 1
Grain Trucks - Rimbey, Alberta 2
Grain Trucks – Rimbey, Alberta 2
Grain Trucks - Rimbey, Alberta 3
Grain Trucks – Rimbey, Alberta 3
Grain Trucks - Rimbey, Alberta 4
Grain Trucks – Rimbey, Alberta 4

My computer has sat dormant through six weeks. Now, summer’s hiatus concludes. The computer’s card reader accepts an SD card and I upload a first batch of images into Lightroom. I attend to those images pulling me to edit them. I begin work with new and old editing tools and wander the path of image creation, a kind of play, a kind of exploration – seeing what can happen with each edit. Colour, structure, light and shadow – four images, vintage grain trucks, images from a farming heritage museum in central Alberta.

Quote to Consider/Inspire – “If you want to learn what someone fears losing, watch what they photograph.” – Anonymous

Listening to Sigur Ros, their live concert performance entitled ‘Inni’ – Svefn-g-englar, Glósóli, Ný batterí, Fljótavík, Við spilum endalaust, Hoppípolla, Með blóðnasir, Inní mér syngur vitleysingur, and, E-Bow.

Morning Images

Morning Images - High Level, Alberta - Canada 1

Morning Images - High Level, Alberta - Canada 2

Morning Images - High Level, Alberta - Canada 3

Morning Images - High Level, Alberta - Canada 4

Morning Images - High Level, Alberta - Canada 5

Morning Images - High Level, Alberta - Canada 6

Morning Images - High Level, Alberta - Canada 7

Morning Images - High Level, Alberta - Canada 8

Morning Images - High Level, Alberta - Canada 9

Morning Images - High Level, Alberta - Canada 10

Enjoying spring’s weather and colour in these morning images along 20 kilometres from High Level to our airport and back.

Quote to Consider/Inspire – “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

Listening to – Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the U.S.A. (Live Acoustic Version)’ from The Bridge School Concerts – 25th Anniversary Edition,’ Peter Gabriel’s ‘Shaking the Tree’ and Jason Isbell’s ‘Speed Trap Town.’

Tech Stillness

Rusting Relic - GMC - Nampa, Alberta
Rusting Relic – GMC – Nampa, Alberta
Rusting Relics - Nampa, Alberta 3
Rusting Relics – Nampa, Alberta 3
Rusting Relic - GMC - Nampa, Alberta 2
Rusting Relic – GMC – Nampa, Alberta 2
Rusting Relics - Greencourt, Alberta 1
Rusting Relics – Greencourt, Alberta 1
Rusting Relics - Nampa, Alberta 4
Rusting Relics – Nampa, Alberta 4
Rusting Relics - Greencourt, Alberta 2
Rusting Relics – Greencourt, Alberta 2
Rusting Relics - Nampa, Alberta 5
Rusting Relics – Nampa, Alberta 5

I returned to my computer late last evening. I confirmed that one of two family iPod Touch operating system updates was complete. My daughter returned home from an evening with friends – I had been waiting up for her. My day had held some writing – a proofread of my son’s resumé. An afternoon’s work would set him up for the world of work in a summer break between university terms.

Completing the proofread, I started on the iPod updates in late afternoon. I needed to allow time for download and installation. The wait recalled the conceptualization and practice of a technology sabbath. In the practice you would turn off all devices for a full day. You would power down all iPods, smartphones, computers, televisions from sundown on Saturday. On Sunday you would power them up after sundown on Sunday.

Sabbath is about this – gathering stillness, taking rest, gratitude for blessings, encountering others without interruption. Connection with family and friends occurs – seeing them, hearing them, enjoying them.

Without sabbath from technology we multi-task on several fronts. We occupy our waiting with other tasks or pursuits made possible by technology. The person on the computer looks from computer screen to smartphone and back again. Breaks at work, while taken with others, can become periods of silence among co-workers, all who stare into their smart phone. Life fills with tech busy-ness. So, for me, I ought to engage in and lead my family in a technology Sabbath … then I return to the computer and the iPods. The update is complete. On the computer I find image edits I have yet to post – rusting relics, images from a month ago in my return drive from Edmonton to High Level.

Listening to – Pico Ayer’s ‘The Art of Stillness’ and Krista Tippett’s ‘Becoming Wise – An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living.’

Quote to Consider – “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” – Henry Thoreau

Surface and Stir

Valleyview Vehicles - Valleyview, 1

Valleyview Vehicles - Valleyview, 1a

Valleyview Vehicles - Valleyview, 2

Valleyview Vehicles - Valleyview, 3

Valleyview Vehicles - Valleyview, 4

Valleyview Vehicles - Valleyview, 6

Valleyview Vehicles - Valleyview, 7

Today, my daughter dances refining skills at a dance workshop. My wife has my truck and gathers bottles in a Church-youth bottle-drive. Our week’s sermon explored the intricacy and direct assertion of faith being tied to works – within my week there has been my action and my shortfall. Much of Northern Alberta burns, consumed in wildfire; we’ve donated money to the Red Cross and gently-used clothing to the 80,000 Fort McMurray evacuees. Today, I am chauffeur, more behind the scenes and needed, as needed. Time in-waiting provides opportunity to edit images and is welcome respite … the activity fits the day. Images – a farmer’s field alongside a highway north from Valleyview serves as resting site for older vehicles, those from a few generations ago … used parts, ready for use – for structure or as donor car. For me, each vehicle associates to former lives in memory. What memories stir and surface for you?

Listening to – Dream Academy’s ‘The Love Parade,’ The Beatles’ ‘Twist and Shout,’ Brian Houston’s ‘Next to Me,’ Nilsson’s ‘Jump into the Fire,’ Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Radio Nowhere,’ Link Wray and the Wraymen’s ‘Rumble’ and Tim Armstrong’s ‘Into Action.’

Quote to Consider/Inspire – “I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure the same as Life itself and felt that their individual feelings were worth expressing. To me, that makes photography more exciting.” – Harry Callahan

Wildfire Held

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 2

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 3

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 4

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 5

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 6

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 7

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 8

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 9

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 9b

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 9c

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 10

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 11

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 11a

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 12

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 13

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 14

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 15

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 16

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 17

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 18

Wildfire - High Level, Ab - 4 May 2016 - 19

Leaving school at day’s end yesterday, billows of white and tan smoke filled the blue sky south from High Level. Product at the Norbord strand-board plant burned. An order for evacuation of residents nearest the plant saw RCMP moving home to home asking people to leave the area. Residents were able to return home at noon today. They were to remain on immediate alert in case the currently held 3 hectare wildfire threatened with a change in weather conditions. Firefighters, slinging-helicopters and a water-bomber team all fought yesterday’s blaze from late afternoon until late in the evening.

Listening to – Sleeping At Last’s version of ‘The Safety Dance,’ Chris Garneau’s ‘The Leaving Song,’ Matthew Perryman-Jones’ ‘O Theo,’ Peter Bradley Adams’ ‘Be Still My Heart,’ One Republic’s ‘Ordinary Human,’ Lily and Madeleine’s ‘Things I’ll Later Lose’ and Ross Copperman’s ‘Holding On and Letting Go.’

Quote to Consider – ‘All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.’ – Richard Avedon