That Lens & Getting South

Backlight, Barn, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, Farm, Farmhouse, Fog, Homestead, Journaling, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Spring, Still Life, Weather, Winter

Wind Turbines – Wind Farm

– Wind Turbines, Southern Alberta

3 – Homestead, Southern Alberta

4 – Homestead, Southern Alberta

5 – Homestead, Southern Alberta

6 – Homestead, Southern Alberta

7 – St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church, Twin Butte, Alberta

8 – St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church, Twin Butte, Alberta

9 – St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church, Twin Butte, Alberta

10 – Twin Butte, Foothills, Front Range Moutains

11 – Twin Butte, Foothills, Front Range Moutains

12 – Foothills Homestead

13 – Foothills Homestead

14 – Foothills Cloud Work

15 – Foothills Homestead

16 – Foothills Cloud Work

17 – Waterton Lakes National Park

18 – Waterton Lakes National Park

19 – Waterton Lakes National Park

20 – Waterton Lakes National Park

Getting south – it began with a camera lens. While I was required to be in Edmonton for our annual, mid-year teacher conference, I would have three days to myself prior to this conference. I could work on finding a used 28mm Zeiss Biogon lens, a rangefinder lens that while wide-angle is rumoured not to offer any distortion. It had just been advertised. And, I had been looking. One 28mm Zeiss Biogon lens was on offer in Calgary. It would be a used lens, but it would be half the price of buying one new. The seller was unloading gear – trading away and aiming toward new and better. From Calgary, I could then head south into the Pincher Creek, Waterton and Lethbridge areas and follow my eye’s curiosity and gather images with my camera.

Locking in this plan, I began my drive late on a Sunday afternoon in February. The drive would be under overcast skies. The temperature would be close to 0C throughout the drive. I would use ten hours to get to my destination. I could manage it. I would pass through Edmonton near 11:00 p.m., proceed to Red Deer and stay the night at a hotel there. The drive to Edmonton was uneventful. The drive beyond Edmonton was not ideal. Temperatures through the day had been warmer. I was driving a car, not my truck. I began my drive toward Red Deer. I got on to the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Highway (between Edmonton and Calgary). With temperatures close to 0C through the day and with a recent snowfall, the QEII was slushy, sloppy and slippery. I passed the Wetaskiwin turn-off and then encountered a brightly lit, highway alert road sign indicating that travel was treacherous. The drive became a matter of keeping a safe speed and working through the road’s slushy, ever-hardening, icy mess. I made it to Red Deer, got a hotel room, showered and got to sleep.

The next morning was sunny. I messaged the lens seller advising that I could meet today and provided a location in downtown Calgary for us to meet. The lens seller indicated that meeting at lunch was possible. All was in the works. I breakfasted across the way from the hotel at Red Deer’s Donut Mill. Then, the seller messaged back. The seller could not meet. The seller would need a day or two in order to meet. I am not sure how best to have managed this situation. But, the time frame would not work for this trip. And, the seller was deviating from his first communication. A red flag went up, for me. Many things could have been at play for the seller. And, perhaps aiming to meet in the same day as my indicating interest was problematic. I halted things and asked the seller to disregard my interest in the lens. All this occurred within and hour and a half of first messaging the seller.

I moved on.

With that done I found myself in Central Alberta, still with an intention to travel further south and to explore with my camera. Travel would take me to Calgary and to The Camera Store. I would look around at books, at new cameras (Nikon and Fuji), at used cameras, at used lenses, at new lenses, at camera bags. I would have two good chats with sales people – warm, educating, engaging conversations, conversations in which my curiosity was able to lead some of the way. Good. I left at the end of store hours aiming to return to the store as I came back through Calgary.

Onward to Lethbridge – my intention was to get settled in Lethbridge and work from there to look around southern Alberta. Later that evening, I got a hotel room, washed my car and got a meal.

The next day, after a good breakfast at the hotel, I started out. The day began as one overcast with heavy, grey cloud. But, weather in this part of Alberta is quite changeable in terms of how it interacts with the Rocky Mountains. Mountain weather is something intriguing, especially for my northern Alberta eyes – something I remember from times hiking along mountain trails on out-trips in the Crowsnest Pass and when camping in Banff and Jasper. Almost as soon as I moved south and west from Lethbridge I encountered windfarms – rows and rows of gigantic, white wind turbines used to gather / produce electricity. I would drive south from Fort MacLeod and on my route to Pincher Creek I would find other wind farms. In posting wind farm images on Facebook, earlier this year, I would find that many people in southern Alberta no longer see their value, are concerned about their impact on the environment and find themselves rejecting how they have altered the landscape they live within. Along the drive I would find last areas of prairie within foothills. I would find homesteads as the only structures seen on the land for miles and miles, the land being that allocated for grain farming. From Pincher Creek to Waterton Lake National Park I moved further into the undulation of foothills and the mountains; the weather was mountain weather, weather that can shift rapidly. Sunshine and bright blue sky would be there one minute, the next I was driving through or standing in a cloud. Cloud work so close to land has immensity and is something to take in. Light and shadow are always moving with these clouds revealing a shifting contour, shape and relief. The highway south from Pincher Creek becomes the path along which foothills meet the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Homesteads are a part of this landscape as well – grain farms and cattle ranches. Again, changeable mountain weather, mountain and foothill landscape, farms and roads – all would catch my eye, my curiosity, my imagination.

I took a chance on a historic site. I drove from the highway out and up to Twin Butte upon which St. Henry’s Catholic Church sits; to the east it looks out to the prairies; to the west it looks from the butte over a valley of foothills and to the front range of the Canadian Rockies. To look out over all this, immensity is there … and it would be appropriate to use the term majestic. I rounded out my day’s picture-taking with a small look into Waterton Lake National Park before returning to Lethbridge. I paid the day’s entrance fee and took a slow drive into the park to gather a couple of images – the Prince of Wales Hotel is subject of two of these images. A good day out with my camera, it was. The next day I would return to Edmonton, to colleagues, to a conference. The Zeiss Biogon 28mm lens remains a lens I am still hunting for.

Quote to Inspire / Consider – “To the complaint, ‘There are no people in these photographs,’ I respond, there are always two people: the photographer and the viewer (Ansel Adams).”

Listening to – a cover of John Prine’s ‘Summer’s End’ by Sierra Hull; a song that’s so big and full of grace; Sierra does John proud with it. Good, good.

Seeing It, Naming It – There

Homestead, Journaling, Podcast, Prime Lens, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Spring, Still Life, Summer, The Candid Frame, Vehicle

Dunvegan 1

Dunvegan 2

Dunvegan 3

Dunvegan 4

Dunvegan 5

Dunvegan 6

Dunvegan 7

Dunvegan 8

Dunvegan 9

Dunvegan 10

Dunvegan 11

Dunvegan 12

Dunvegan 13

Dunvegan Bridge

In Alberta’s northwest my family and I have lived in Fox Lake, Garden River, La Crete and High Level. The roads are long and distances travelled influence our cost of living. It can be cost effective to travel south for supplies if you are buying in bulk and stocking up. Yet, buying local permits piecemeal buying as needed and supports local business. We buy groceries here at home. And, I will travel south in the year.

Dunvegan – it is a place I travel through on my way south to Grande Prairie; with the suspension bridge crossing the Peace River, it is a place I know by sight; it became a place I would investigate. Fifteen years would pass before indigenous Art, Alberta history and site use would coalesce with it being a fixed name in my mind – Dunvegan. Like other points along the Peace River you descend into this river valley. A road cuts a long two-kilometre gradient into each valley wall, north and south, to ease the braking efforts of heavy-laden transport trucks. At the lowest point, you cross the kilometre-wide Peace River on a yellow and brown suspension bridge. Then you accelerate moving up and out of the river valley – south towards Rycroft, north towards Fairview. Dunvegan is the name given to the plateau area under and surrounding the north side of the bridge.

Seeing Dunvegan – I would see Dunvegan in indigenous paintings at Grande Prairie Art galleries. The contour of the land folding down from a high river bank to plateau holds the eye. With skilled use of colour and light, the painter could draw attention to sacred place and practices. Longing for old ways was found in such Art. Still though, I was not recognizing these paintings as the area I travelled through a couple of times a year.

Dunvegan took hold in my classroom with my students. Each day, along with our school, students and staff read for 15 minutes. ‘Drop Everything And Read’ (DEAR) saw my students return to one book for regular reading, ‘Alberta Ghost Stories.’ One tale in the book told of a ghost sighting in an upper room in one of the old Dunvegan historical buildings. From what I recall, as with most ghost stories, light dwindles well past dusk. A living and breathing mortal is walking outside the house. He feels compelled to look up and sees someone or something looking at him. There is surprise, impact and connection in seeing and in being seen. The tale’s impact is greater finding out that the house has been shut-up for decades with no way in. Readers in my class always discussed what they thought was going on … offering speculation. The story became real to them. Like me, my students and their parents traveled through Dunvegan on their way to Grande Prairie. Often, they would stop at Dunvegan for lunch or a smoke break. The Dunvegan story held their imagination and during a travel break they would investigate as far as they dared. My students’ stories of being in Dunvegan would return with them to class every few months.

Still, haste in my travels got the better of me. I was not yet stopping at Dunvegan in my travels southward. And, it was only a few years ago that I first stopped in at Dunvegan. My wife had spoken about a nursery for spring bedding plants that she and a friend would go to hours south from High Level. She had been talking about Dunvegan Gardens, one of the best nurseries in Alberta. You find it at/on the eastern-most section of the Dunvegan plateau. Located between Fairview and Rycroft, the Dunvegan Gardens serves residents of Grande Prairie and from as far north as High Level.

One time, as she and I came upon the Dunvegan turn-off my wife pointed out the Dunvegan Gardens to me. It was the place she and her friend had been. And, my wife got me to slow down, turn-in and stop at Dunvegan to look around. I was finally connecting the dots – this was Dunvegan. Since that time, perhaps for the last six or seven years, I have been making time to stop and look around with my camera. Good. The Dunvegan site is a beautiful and worthy landscape in all seasons. One of these times I am hoping to pass through the area in late October or early November when the Dunvegan valley is sometimes shrouded in mists.

Dunvegan has been one of the prominent fur trading areas in Alberta. Fort Dunvegan was a trading post. Established by the Northwest Company, the Hudson’s Bay Company would later take over the trading post. A Factor’s house still stands. The site would evolve to hold two Churches, a Roman Catholic mission – St. Charles, and, an Anglican mission later – St. Saviour’s. Behind the Factor’s house is the plateau area upon which are four or five Tipis with poles raised waiting for hide or canvas covers. The site is older than Canadian history, the site being a meeting point or assembly area for indigenous peoples.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy (Henri Cartier-Bresson).”

Listening to – The Candid Frame: Conversations about Photography podcast and Ibarionex Perello’s time in Japan in December, 2019; being present to situation, setting, light. Good, good.

Surface and Stir

Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, Farm, Home, Homestead, Journaling, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Spring, Still Life, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration

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

Barn, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Farm, Farmhouse, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Homestead, Journaling, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Weather, 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

Barn, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, Combine (Farming), Farm, Home, Homestead, Journaling, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Still Life, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration, Weather, Winter
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

Land’s Next Use

Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Fall, Farm, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Homestead, Journaling, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, The Candid Frame, Weather, Winter
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.

Reflecting, Road Thought Work

Backlight, Best Practices - Photography, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Farm, Farmhouse, Flora, Fog, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Home, Homestead, Journaling, Light Intensity, Night, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Summer, Sunset, Weather
Homestead - La Glace, Alberta, Canada

Homestead – La Glace, Alberta, Canada

Homestead - La Glace, Alberta, Canada

Homestead – La Glace, Alberta, Canada

Stop Ahead Turnoff - NW Alberta

Stop Ahead Turnoff – NW Alberta

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 1

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 1

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 2

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 2

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 3

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 3

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 4

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 4

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 5

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 5

Sunset - Warrensville, Alberta Canada 5

Sunset – Warrensville, Alberta Canada 5

“We never see another person’s experience; all we see is their behaviour (R.D. Lang).”

I have had some alone time travelling in the past few weeks and been able to engage in uninterrupted thought work – some intersecting of ideas has occurred. I’ve listened to a 2007 John O’Donohue lecture on the creative force of the imagination and key ideas as starting points about our inner lives – in his words, “I always think that behind every face there is a secret life and that humanoids are the strangest creatures that you’d ever meet because so much is contained within the human body. A human face is one of the most unusual things in the world. On such a small canvas such a variety of presence can appear. And, behind every face there is a secret, hidden inner life … if friendship means anything it means in the presence of the other you begin to see who you are in how they reflect you back to you.”

Within this same time frame I took in a photography workshop offered by Joe McNally – ‘The Moment It Clicks.’ As I listened and watched Joe work to produce different portraits there was recognition that the photographer does what John O’Donohue proposes; ultimately, the photographer reflects the subject back to him- or herself. I have wondered, though, if portrait photography is really a dance of interrogation; I have wondered if shared vulnerabilities result in trust and a richer portrait. And, is it the photographer’s leading interrogation about the subject’s narrative that produces the best photograph? Or, is it something more mutual that does so? I am wondering if the good portrait photographer leads the subject in the relationship that produces the portrait? It is possible that subject and photographer would share a context of silence in portrait making.

John O’Donohue’s words highlight some of this – “No two humans inhabit the same world, internally. We all inhabit the same world physically. But, internally, each world is completely different.” On the side of the photographer and on the side of the subject, what follows is starting point. “… No one else sees the world the way you do. No one else sees it from the perspective that you do. In no one else is the same narrative building as there is within you. And even though similar things have happened to you as with other people the context that they find in your heart and mind and narrative is different from everyone else. Your inner world is completely hidden from other humans.” So, within portrait photography interrogation has the opportunity to work on both sides co-creating a reality – that of photographer and that of subject. Relationship and moment are captured and recorded as the shutter button is pressed.

As the week rounded out, I found myself among this theme, again, being explored and brought to life in Ben Stiller’s film of James Thurber’s story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Images from the Road – a derelict church in Woking, a La Glace homestead, the road at night and sunsets.

Quote to Consider – “If you’re having difficulty finding a natural or intuitive expression in a portrait session or having trouble identifying with the person you’re photographing, look into their eyes carefully and see if you can find your own reflection there. Discover yourself looking at you. Then, ask your subject to look into your camera lens and find their own reflection, and be prepared to make the portrait.” – Shelby Lee Adams, ‘Find Your Reflection’ … seems follow-up from the aphorism, “The more I know me, the more I know thee.” – Buber-esque and good, good schtuff!

Listening to – Jose Gonzalez’ ‘Stay Alive’ and Thomas Merton’s ‘The Seven Storey Mountain.’

Winter Light Work

Backlight, Best Practices - Photography, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Home, Homestead, Journaling, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Winter
Walterdale House White 2 HDR-Edit-Edit-Edit-3

Walterdale House White 2 HDR-Edit-Edit-Edit-3

An early-hours image from February in Edmonton, one of three surviving homestead structures in Edmonton’s Walterdale community from 1900 or so. The light work in the trees, upon the snow and that reflected to the white walls of the house attracts my attention. The homestead glows in a way you might anticipate when encountering a home within a ghost story, the narrative placing a character too many hours into night and the happenings that occur.

Quote to Consider – “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” – Alfred Stieglitz

Listening to – Casting Crowns’ ‘City on a Hill.’

The Practical – Practically

Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Homestead, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Spring, Still Life
Gull Lake Homestead - Up Close, Fort Vermilion, Alberta Canada 1

Gull Lake Homestead – Up Close, Fort Vermilion, Alberta Canada 1

Gull Lake Homestead - Up Close, Fort Vermilion, Alberta Canada 2

Gull Lake Homestead – Up Close, Fort Vermilion, Alberta Canada 2

Gull Lake Homestead - Up Close, Fort Vermilion, Alberta Canada 3

Gull Lake Homestead – Up Close, Fort Vermilion, Alberta Canada 3

Dave Brosha offered a photography workshop last spring in Fort Vermilion, Alberta. One day was devoted to portrait photography; another was about landscape photography. The workshop allowed for many practical demonstrations (talked through practically) and for us to review and critique our photographs together as a group. There was also the encouragement to get together and get out as a shooting group. We had opportunities to watch Dave edit using Adobe Lightroom and one of the surprises that I’ve held onto was that the erase function (a circle area that you direct within the image to eliminate things like dust spots could be dragged instead of only clicked on much like an eraser to erase areas of the image). The images presented here are from our landscape work and in the Gull Lake homestead picture I’ve been able to remove a person from the photo with the erase function.

Gratitude – thank you, Dave. It was good to meet you and to witness your energy and approach as a photographer. It was good to take you into Buttertown to the St. Louis Catholic mission, a place that had been part of distant childhood memories for you with your Dad. Take good care of your good self.

Listening to – the Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony,’ U2’s ‘In God’s Country,’ Coldplay’s ‘Life in Technicolor’ and Depeche Mode’s ‘Policy of Truth.’

Quote to Consider – “There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” – Ernst Haas (1921-1986)

Cloud Cord Work

Backlight, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Farm, Farmhouse, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Home, Homestead, Journaling, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Spring, Still Life, Sunset, Weather
La Glace Homestead  - Sunset, La Glace, Alberta - Canada 1

La Glace Homestead – Sunset, La Glace, Alberta – Canada 1

La Glace Homestead  - Sunset, La Glace, Alberta - Canada 3

La Glace Homestead – Sunset, La Glace, Alberta – Canada 3

Day’s end, dabbling with high dynamic range edits in Adobe Photoshop CS6, shots from a La Glace golden hour at day’s end from two Sundays back. Very near the Rocky Mountains, the curiosity is the cloud work splaying out, unwinding cords of cloud above rolling foothills – not quite cirrus clouds, but clouds that hold line and shape against darkening night sky as back drop.

Quote to Consider – “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” – Dorothea Lange

Listening to – Jesse Cook’ ‘Ocean Blue,’ Clannad’s ‘Harry’s Game’ and Snow Patrol’s ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are’ and ‘Those Distant Bells.’