Category: Backlight

Cold Mist

January Mists - High Level, Alberta 1

January Mists – High Level, Alberta 1

January Mists - High Level, Alberta 2

January Mists – High Level, Alberta 2

January Mists - High Level, Alberta 3

January Mists – High Level, Alberta 3

January Mists - High Level, Alberta 4

January Mists – High Level, Alberta 4

High Level, Alberta images consider the cold of January – mist reflects light from main street, street lights (-18C); dense, early morning mist surrounds the high school (-42C).

Quote to Consider / Inspire: “Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future (Sally Mann).”

Listening to: an audiobook of Sebastion Barry’s ‘The Secret Scripture;’ and, U2’s ‘Lights of Home.’

Long Solstice Shadow

Colder Moments Around Edmonton - 1

Colder Moments Around Edmonton – 1

Colder Moments Around Edmonton - 2

Colder Moments Around Edmonton – 2

Colder Moments Around Edmonton - 3

Colder Moments Around Edmonton – 3

Colder Moments Around Edmonton - 4

Colder Moments Around Edmonton – 4

Colder Moments Around Edmonton - 5

Colder Moments Around Edmonton – 5

Colder Moments Around Edmonton - 6

Colder Moments Around Edmonton – 6

Colder Moments Around Edmonton - 7

Colder Moments Around Edmonton – 7

Colder Moments Around Edmonton - 8

Colder Moments Around Edmonton – 8

Colder Moments Around Edmonton - 9

Colder Moments Around Edmonton – 9

Colder Moments Around Edmonton - 10

Colder Moments Around Edmonton – 10

The sky is blue. Long, thin wisps of cloud move at higher altitude in the atmosphere – we could have cloud cover in a day’s time. Following winter solstice, the sun perches low over the horizon in the afternoon. At 2:00 p.m. shadows run long over unimpeded surfaces. Buildings on either side of Edmonton city streets become canyons holding solstice shadow. Without a cloud blanket, the sun’s radiant heat will continue to escape and our part of the world will grow colder in coming days. In daylight, it is -32C … it is a colder day for some photos. Steam, a by-product from buildings maintaining heat, drizzles upwards into the atmosphere. Colder images from a colder Edmonton afternoon during Christmas break.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “The most important thing about photography is who you are, and I can go into depth about the psychology of that, but there’s no way you can take a photograph and not leave your imprint on it. Every time you hit the shutter it’s based on who you are, that’s what makes you different from everybody else. My style is that I shoot from the heart, to the heart (Joe Buissink, Light Stalking).”

Listening to: Carrie Newcomer’s ‘The Beautiful Not Yet,’ ‘Three Feet or So,’ ‘Sanctuary,’ ‘Cedar Rapids at 10 AM’ and ‘A Shovel is a Prayer.’

Morning Haze and Light-play

Early Edmonton Morning in August - 1

Early Edmonton Morning in August – 1

Early Edmonton Morning in August - 2

Early Edmonton Morning in August – 2

Early Edmonton Morning in August - 3

Early Edmonton Morning in August – 3

Early Edmonton Morning in August - 4

Early Edmonton Morning in August – 4

Early Edmonton Morning in August - 5

Early Edmonton Morning in August – 5

Early Edmonton Morning in August - 6

Early Edmonton Morning in August – 6

An early, July, Saturday morning in Edmonton finds me with my camera at play with haze and light.

Quote to Consider / Inspire: “Elegance is a virtue. Elegance is simplicity. I learned about elegance … because one day I was in Japan and saw a totally empty house and then a small detail … like a flower arrangement or painting. And, the rest is empty. This is elegance … because … there’s only one detail that you can pay attention to. Elegance is about getting rid of all the superfluous things and focus on the most beautiful one (paraphrase, Paul Coelho).”

Listening to: Cloud Cult’s ‘You Were Born,’ from their album ‘Light Chasers.’

Dawson Bridge Verdure

Dawson Bridge - Edmonton River Valley 2

Dawson Bridge – Edmonton River Valley 2

Dawson Bridge - Edmonton River Valley 1

Dawson Bridge – Edmonton River Valley 1

The Dawson Bridge reaches across the North Saskatchewan River within green verdure of Edmonton’s river valley in August.

Quote to Inspire/Consider – “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 that what you actually observed.” – Galen Rowell

Listening to – April Wine’s ‘Roller,’ David Bowie’s ‘Fame’ and Coldplay’s ‘Moses,’ ‘Yellow,’ and ‘Clocks,’ all from their Live in Sydney concert gathered in their ‘Live 2003’ album.

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.’

Perpendicularity

Perpendicularity - High Level, Ab - Canada 1

Perpendicularity – High Level, Ab – Canada 1

Perpendicularity - High Level, Ab - Canada 2

Perpendicularity – High Level, Ab – Canada 2

Perpendicularity - High Level, Ab - Canada 3

Perpendicularity – High Level, Ab – Canada 3

Perpendicularity - High Level, Ab - Canada 4

Perpendicularity – High Level, Ab – Canada 4

Perpendicularity - High Level, Ab - Canada 7

Perpendicularity – High Level, Ab – Canada 7

Perpendicularity - High Level, Ab - Canada 8

Perpendicularity – High Level, Ab – Canada 8

Perpendicularity - High Level, Ab - Canada 9

Perpendicularity – High Level, Ab – Canada 9

Perpendicularity - High Level, Ab - Canada 10

Perpendicularity – High Level, Ab – Canada 10

A quieter hour, long before winter’s sunrise in a landscape usually populated by students in daylight hours, in spring, summer and fall. Liking the interplay of shadow and light, perpendicularity and depth within these images.

Listening to – Edie Brickell’s ‘What I am,’ Concrete Blonde’s ‘Joey,’ Alanis Morissette ‘You Learn,’ Depeche Mode’s ‘Policy of Truth’ and The Dream Academy’s ‘Life in a Northern Town.’

Quote to Consider – “It is more important to click with people than to click with the shutter.” – Alfred Eisenstadt

Morning Marvels

Hoar Frost - Light Standard, High Level, Ab - Canada

Popcorn size chunks of hoar frost line the length of a light standard’s striations, more of January’s morning crystalline marvels.

Quote to Consider – “If your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough.” – Robert Capa

Listening to – Adele’s ‘Hello,’ ‘Send My Love (To Your New Lover)’ and ‘I Miss You.’

Morning’s Way

Morning Walk 1

Morning Walk 1

Morning Walk 2

Morning Walk 2

Morning Walk 3

Morning Walk 3

Morning Walk 4

Morning Walk 4

Morning Walk 5

Morning Walk 5

Morning Walk 6

Morning Walk 6

Morning Walk 7

Morning Walk 7

Morning Walk 8

Morning Walk 8

Morning Walk 9

Morning Walk 9

Morning Walk 9a

Morning Walk 9a

Morning Walk 9b

Morning Walk 9b

Morning Walk 10

Morning Walk 10

Morning Walk 11

Morning Walk 11

Morning Walk 12

Morning Walk 12

Morning Walk 13

Morning Walk 13

Morning Walk 14

Morning Walk 14

Morning Walk 15

Morning Walk 15

Morning Walk 16

Morning Walk 16

Morning Walk 17

Morning Walk 17

Morning Walk 18

Morning Walk 18

Morning Walk 19

Morning Walk 19

Morning Walk 20

Morning Walk 20

Six kilometres distance is my morning walk around High Level. I am plugged in, listening to a podcast that opens out a little further my understanding of the world.

Words from a podcast interview catch my ear – “The greatest mysteries are the simplest ones. Those are the ones that we confront every day. I had a conversation once with a priest – I was travelling and went to confession in this very remote place, and suddenly he said, ‘Well, we don’t know what God is, do we?’” These words recall assertions made by John O’Donohue and Miester Eckhart – ‘God is only our name for it.’ I recognize the voice and am surprised to hear this same assertion being alluded to.

At -27C I am out of our home, on the road, bundled in layers of protective warmth and I have my camera. Good! My listener’s ear is attending to words offered by Martin Sheen, and, so begins this ‘On Being’ interview with Krista Tippett.

Within the walk, Martin describes his early days at home among his father’s family and then as an actor who is nourished by way of a soup kitchen. Further on Martin opens-out how his son’s film, ‘The Way,’ came into being. Emilio Estevez, Martin’s son has directed the film about a father, Thomas Avery, whose son had begun the pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago, but getting caught in mountains after dark and in fog may have fallen to his death. Thomas, played by Martin, takes on his son’s mantle of intention (that of seeing the world instead of just reading about it) and takes on the pilgrimage on his son’s behalf. Walkers and hikers will recognize the poignancy of this film for how it works with the matter of identity and community associated with a shared or common road. This film explores being upon Robert Frost’s ‘road less traveled.’

The eight seasons of ‘The West Wing’ series are recalled and the role of President Bartlett is under girded by Martin’s social activism and social conscience; Martin often is acting with an interior sense of what the President ought to do and this sense is buoyed up by brilliant dialogue and action provided by Aaron Sorkin. Martin’s personal evolution pulls him all the way back to Catholicism and to anchoring works of Thomas Merton.

The podcast is a good listen, a listening that I repeat. ‘On Being’ employs a listening strategy to anchor the interview within the listener. The edited interview is stellar – music, transition, clustering and flow of ideas. The uncut, un-edited interview is also presented as a second podcast, for a second listening – ideal for my longer morning walks. The second, uncut podcast interview holds other nuggets to be mined, revealing something more of interviewee and interviewer.

My morning – I have my camera with me, and, I stop and start, walking and listening my way around High Level. These images are those captured during my podcast listening.

Quote to Consider – “No place is boring if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.” – Robert Adams.

Listening to – in addition to ‘On Being’ podcasts, recommendations from Steve Stockman (Stocki) from 2015: Jason Isbell’s ’24 Frames,’ ‘Hudson Commodore,’ ‘Flagship’ and ‘Speedtrap Town;’ Glen Hansard’s ‘McCormack’s Wall,’ ‘Grace Beneath the Pines,’ ‘ Paying My Way’ and ‘My Little Ruin;’ Jack White’s ‘We’re Going to Be Friends’ from ‘Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Llewyn Davis.’

Treasure, In Return

MacKenzie River Bridge - Fort Providence, NT - Canada i

MacKenzie River Bridge – Fort Providence, NT – Canada i

MacKenzie River Bridge - Fort Providence, NT - Canada ii

MacKenzie River Bridge – Fort Providence, NT – Canada ii

MacKenzie River Bridge - Fort Providence, NT - Canada iii

MacKenzie River Bridge – Fort Providence, NT – Canada iii

Perhaps twenty years ago, Chris Short, an art specialist from Newfoundland, slowed the pace of my thought when she asserted that between High Level and Edmonton, Alberta (750km), an artist could easily spend as many as three days to gather and respond to terrain and landscape in drawing and painting (and, then, you could repeat this task/vocation seasonally, too). Another friend coined an expression Chris would understand. In response to seeing fresh landscape and terrain, that friend would interrupt travel asking to … “Stop. Let me feast my eyes.” The call was to stop in our current proceedings and to take note with awe and wonder of something beautiful, right there, in front of us.

For the Yellowknife Photo Walk getting to destination would mean focusing on the drive and returning to many photographic opportunities encountered along the way at a future date. A similar conundrum confronted me in getting to my first Photo Walk in Fort St. John, British Columbia in 2011. In both cases, while opportunities for photos were available, my eyes and imagination would only be able to scout the scene and return to them at a later date. I would know where to return for future photographs, a treasure of sorts. Travel to Fort St. John had presented incredible autumn landscapes, a morning well-lit by sun with impending, dark winter clouds moving off in the distance; farmers, at that time, were completing their harvest, some still combining fields on either side of the highway between Rycroft and Fort St. John. In the same way, travel to and from Yellowknife presented many opportunities for images – the bridge among the terrain in the Rae Edzo area in the morning’s golden hour will be something to return for as will bison feeding on the warmer, sunlit side of the highway in the afternoon. Then, there was this bridge that crosses the MacKenzie River at Fort Providence. The river, at this point, spans almost two kilometres. Driving across this two lane bridge is a breathtaking experience. I stopped and in my friend’s words, I feasted my eyes. These images are the result.

Listening to – U2’s ‘Every Breaking Wave,’ John Mayer’s ‘The Age of Worry,’ Maroon 5’s ‘Lucky Strike,’ Coldplay’s ‘Us Against the World,’ Ed Sheeran’s ‘Little Bird’ and Snow Patrol’s ‘This Isn’t Everything You Are.’

Quotes to Consider – “Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.” – Diane Arbus; “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

An Air-nailer, Yellowknife Narrows and Camera Walk

Float Plane - Yellowknife, NT Canada iv

Float Plane – Yellowknife, NT Canada iv

Float Plane - Yellowknife, NT Canada iii

Float Plane – Yellowknife, NT Canada iii

Float Plane - Yellowknife, NT Canada ii

Float Plane – Yellowknife, NT Canada ii

Yellowknife Float Planes - The Narrows, Yellowknife WW Photo Walk - 3 Oct 2015

Yellowknife Float Planes – The Narrows, Yellowknife WW Photo Walk – 3 Oct 2015

The Narrows - Yellowknife WW Photo Walk 3 Oct 2015

The Narrows – Yellowknife WW Photo Walk 3 Oct 2015

I had wanted to be a photographer-participant in the Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk in each of the last three years. The eighth, annual Kelby Photo Walk would be held around the globe last Saturday – October 3, 2015. Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Fort St. John, Edson, and Jasper – all in previous years had photo walks that I could potentially get to. Key in such consideration was locating myself at the photo walk site with time enough for solid rest so that I could see that corner of the world with fresh eyes.

Coming to last weekend, two photo walks intrigued me. One would be held in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories and another would be held in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The Fort Smith photo walk would begin quite early to catch the morning golden hour of dusk to sunrise and then to full morning – I’d need to be there quite early. The Yellowknife photo walk would start at 5:30 p.m.; but, I would need to be up and on the road quite early on Saturday to make it to the walk site. Going did not look promising because I would need seven hours to get there. But, happenstance prevailed. A group of roofers began nailing shingles to a neighbor’s roof early on Saturday morning; starting at 8:00 a.m. they began banging in nails with an air-nailer. I got out of bed, got a coffee and looked at the photo walk website and to the Yellowknife photo walk. I also got clear on the number of kilometres I would travel in order to be part of this event. My wife came downstairs and asked me about my Saturday and saw that I was looking at the photo walk. She got me going out the door and on my way.

I arrived in Yellowknife with forty-five minutes to spare, got a hotel room at the Explorer Hotel, showered and registered for the walk using my smartphone. I punched into my GPS the walk starting point – 3513 Ingraham Drive, Yellowknife (the parking lot at the base of Pilot’s Monument) and five minutes later I was at the site. Ten minutes after that I met the Walkers of our Yellowknife photo walk group, we counted thirteen.

The image presented here is my submission to the photo walk website – a float plane in the Narrows separating Yellowknife proper from Rock Island. My gratitude goes out to this photo walk group for their camaraderie, their welcome, their interest in photography and for how each photographer has worked photography into their lives. Good, good schtuff!

Quote to Consider – “Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how,’ while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why.’ Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.” – Man Ray … sounds like a key attribute of this photo walk group.

Listening to – New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give;” seems almost to have a Mick Jagger kind of voicing to the song; a student of mine has me fretting this song with him … we’re both learning it.

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