Category: Farm

Studebaker Summer Saturation

Studebaker Farm Truck - Alberta 2

Studebaker Farm Truck – Alberta 2

Studebaker Farm Truck - Alberta 1

Studebaker Farm Truck – Alberta 1

A Studebaker farm truck, a shot found, photographed on a drive from Lake Miquelon into Edmonton on an early August, summer afternoon in Alberta. I got low with a 70-200 mm lens shooting upwards to the truck on a knoll in the highway corner of a fallow field. A Canadian flag celebrates Canada being a nation of 150 years (1 July 2017). From this vantage point the flag hides a RE/Max billboard advertising sale of farm land along the flat deck of the passenger side of the truck. The first edit plays with saturation of summer colours. The second edit is more literal, one true to the scene, true to Central Alberta summer weather and the mix of blue sky and clouds.

Quote to Consider/Inspire – “Don’t pack up your camera until you’ve left the location.” – Joe McNally

Listening to: Bruce Hornsby’s ‘Mandolin Rain,’ ‘Look out Any Window,’ and recognizing that his ‘Go Back to Your Woods’ is a song also done by Robbie Robertson. I’m further along in Sebastion Barry’s ‘The Secret Scripture;’ a fascinating set of narratives revolving around one, one-hundred year old character – Roseanne McNulty – told linking to one shared narrative gathered within this novel; among other things it holds a family ghost story that will give you the willies.

Watching: Visual Flow: Mastering the Art of Composition with Ian Plant (from B&H on Youtube) – a sensibility and set of conceptualizations that meets me well. Another is ‘Star Trails Photography Tutorial: Free Software’ offered by Serge Ramelli. A final one, just watched, is ‘Mentors,’ a photo project giving homage to people who have mentored photographer Sean Tucker as a young man – totally interesting to find the term two phrases in the talk – ‘grieved humanity’ and Eugene Peterson’s book title referenced, ‘A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.’

Loosening Memory

Foothill's Wheat - Rimbey, Alberta 1

Foothill’s Wheat – Rimbey, Alberta 1

Foothill's Wheat - Rimbey, Alberta 2

Foothill’s Wheat – Rimbey, Alberta 2

Foothill's Wheat - Rimbey, Alberta 3

Foothill’s Wheat – Rimbey, Alberta 3

Foothill's Wheat - Rimbey, Alberta 4

Foothill’s Wheat – Rimbey, Alberta 4

Manning - Canola

Manning – Canola

Nampa - Grain Truck 1

Nampa – Grain Truck 1

Nampa - Grain Truck 2

Nampa – Grain Truck 2

Spruce Grove - Canola

Spruce Grove – Canola

A few days drive from home, I stop my truck … my eyes have found something. I walk this scene, allowing my eyes to question ‘What is it that is here?’ I set camera upon tripod. I look and frame what I see – ‘click.’ Light’s point of origin directs golden light to and around the landscape it is falling upon – ‘click.’ Light’s absence, its shade and shadow and depth – at sunset, shadows are growing long – ‘click.’ My eyes are finding passage of time – ‘click.’ I’ve recognized something in the landscape and quality of light. I am recalling something – ‘click.’ I manage the machine, my camera, working aperture, shutter speed and ISO – ‘click.’ I am exposure bracketing to seven shots at one-step intervals – ‘click, click, click, click, click, click and click.’ HDR shots are possible – ‘click.’ My intent is not only to capture and hold this moment in memory – ‘click.’ It is to recast reality with the image produced – ‘click.’ Wheat fields that blanket rolling foothills are drawing my imagination to this scene – ‘click.’ Appreciation for what I see builds – ‘click.’ A long-ago memory loosens, … ‘click’ … connecting me to what I now see for the first time as an adult – ‘click.’ A sense of something familiar grows – ‘click.’ My mind resides and works equally in another place – ‘click.’ It anticipates the other side of download, edit and image production, ‘Can I bring the edited image produced close to what I now see?’ ‘Click.’ Weeks pass. I make time to edit images. I remove the SD card from my camera and download it onto an external hard drive. A Lightroom edit begins. In the edit, the surprise of the extraordinary occurs; what my eyes and camera captured weeks ago is now re-seen and more fully seen in the image that has been created. Good.

Images – Foothills Wheat Crop, Manning Canola, Nampa Grain Truck and Spruce Grove Canola.

Quote to Consider/Inspire: “Look for LEICA patterns; Look for lines, edges, intersections, contrast and angles in the shapes, light and shadows of the global and local elements of a photo to create a harmonious composition,” John Kosmopoulos.

Listening to: Molly Tuttle & John Mailander’s ‘Another Side, Tell Me,’ ‘Morning Morgantown,’ ‘Moonshiner,’ ‘I’m Over You’ and ‘Red Prairie Dawn;’ Spencer Elliot’s ‘Torque.’

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.

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

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.’

Looking Up & Forward

Fifties Ford - Fort Vermilion, Ab - Canada

Fifties Ford – Fort Vermilion, Ab – Canada

The day held a meeting and rather than a team of colleagues going, I would attend the meeting alone. I took camera gear with me. I hoped that the day would yield photographs, that I would find myself within the situation of a photograph. Having left early enough, I could scout out possible images; there was no need for haste through the morning’s seventy-eight kilometre drive.

The day held different gifts.

A year ago, a friend related an experience. He’d needed to take a call and had parked his service truck in a farmer’s farm entrance to be off the highway. He’d needed to turn his vehicle around, backing it onto the highway. Before he moved too far, he looked up, forward to find an old truck, perhaps a Ford, from the fifties or sixties. He captured the image with his smartphone. On this day, traveling to a meeting, I was in his neck of the woods, perhaps no more than three or four kilometres from Fort Vermilion and I saw the vehicle he was referring to from the highway. At day’s end, I would return and see if a photograph was possible. With less than an hour of daylight left I was able stop and take a series of shots.

The image above was the image photographed.

Shed - Buttertown, Ab - Canada 1

Shed – Buttertown, Ab – Canada 1

Shed - Buttertown, Ab - Canada 2

Shed – Buttertown, Ab – Canada 2

Shed - Buttertown, Ab - Canada 3

Shed – Buttertown, Ab – Canada 3

Windrow - Buttertown, Ab - Canada

Windrow – Buttertown, Ab – Canada

Combine - Buttertown, Ab - Canada

Combine – Buttertown, Ab – Canada

I intended to travel from Fort Vermilion to the north settlement after the meeting. At the meeting I asked a friend and colleague about the north settlement. “Would I be able to access or walk in to the St. Louis Catholic Mission church?” She didn’t know. But, the revelation was to find that she lived in the north settlement. Her and her husband’s families had lived in the north settlement through generations. She is someone who knows the stories of the north settlement, of Buttertown. That’s something.

These images are Buttertown, north settlement images.

Listening to – Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill,’ Peter Gabriel’s ‘Mercy Street’ and Roxy Music’s ‘More Than This.’

Quote to Consider – “The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.” Scott Lorenzo

Miasma Cover

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

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.

Rainbow Re-edit

Wind Turbines and Rainbow - Oahu 1

Wind Turbines and Rainbow – Oahu 1

Plantation Fire - Haleiwa, Oahu

Plantation Fire – Haleiwa, Oahu

Wind Turbines and Rainbow - Oahu 5

Wind Turbines and Rainbow – Oahu 5

Wind Turbines and Rainbow - Oahu 4

Wind Turbines and Rainbow – Oahu 4

Wind Turbines and Rainbow - Oahu 3

Wind Turbines and Rainbow – Oahu 3

Two summers ago, my wife, daughter and I enjoyed two weeks on Oahu. We rented a car, a Ford Fusion, for the time and used it to take us on day trips exploring Oahu. In the second week we returned for perhaps the fourth time to Haleiwa, part of Oahu’s North Shore. Exploring, shopping and photo gathering were elements of that day. We’d each finished an ice cream cone and were buying t-shirts for my son when sirens of fire engines moved through town – one, then, five minutes later another.

To the north, a plantation, perhaps a mile away was burning and dark black smoke was billowing in the air.

When traffic had returned to its steady flow we got into the car with the intention of returning to Honolulu for the evening. Traffic had slowed, returning to an ambling pace. As we headed away from Haleiwa the idea to see the site of the fire attracted my curiosity. I took a right from the main road and followed a one-lane backroad toward the fire. I thought better of it; the backroad to the plantation was narrow and blocking traffic would be a problem.

I stopped our vehicle, got out and looked back over my right shoulder to see these wind turbines with a rainbow coming down in the midst of them – an opportunity for a photograph had presented itself. I attached my 70-200mm lens to my Canon 60D, zoomed in and captured these images. I posted the image on this blog maybe eighteen months ago, an image edited on my laptop while waiting for clothes to dry in the laundry room of the Marriott Hotel in Honolulu. The original posted is the third image above. Yesterday, I explored this sequence of images and found a few others to share. My thanks to Mark Kurtz for drawing my attention back to these images.

Listening to – Parov Stelar’s ‘Room Service,’ Nitin Sawhney’s ‘Firmament,’ the Gotan Project’s ‘Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)’ and Quantic & Tempo’s ‘Sabor.’

Quote to Consider – “In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.” – August Sander

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