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.

Morning Haze and Light-play

Backlight, Home, Journaling, Light Intensity, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, On Being with Krista Tippett, Still Life, Summer, Sunset
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.’

Summer Repose

Bicycle, Journaling, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Weather
Alberta Legislature Building - Edmonton, Alberta Canada 1

Alberta Legislature Building – Edmonton, Alberta Canada 1

Alberta Legislature Building - Edmonton, Alberta Canada 2

Alberta Legislature Building – Edmonton, Alberta Canada 2

Alberta Legislature Building - Edmonton, Alberta Canada 3

Alberta Legislature Building – Edmonton, Alberta Canada 3

Summer had begun. I left my truck at a Ford dealership for service and cycled eastward within Edmonton’s river valley. The morning featured billowing clouds against a bright blue sky. Rain and sun would feature throughout the day. I gathered in the world that met me with my camera. Here, the Alberta Legislature building sits in quiet summer morning repose.

Quote to Consider – “Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliot Erwitt

Listening to – Wardruna’s ‘Runaljod Raganarok’ album; if you are into the ‘Vikings’ mini-series, Wardruna provides the opening and closing soundscape, a song entitled ‘Völuspá.’ ‘Raido’ and ‘Odal’ are songs of interest.

Forty Sorties

Journaling, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Still Life, Summer
AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 1

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 1

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 2

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 2

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 3

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 3

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 4

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 4

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 5

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 5

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 6

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 6

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 6a

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 6a

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 7

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 7

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 8

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 8

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 9

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 9

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 10

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 10

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 11

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 11

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 12

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 12

AVRO Lancaster - Nanton, Alberta 13

AVRO Lancaster – Nanton, Alberta 13

I heard a lot about the AVRO Lancaster and the RCAF around our kitchen table. As an adolescent during the seventies, I was making sense of the Second World War. I was grappling with facts coming to me. Twenty years before I was born, Canada fought a war in Europe. My good-natured uncle, who now farmed with his family, in central Alberta had been a bomber pilot. He had done so before marrying my aunt and starting a family. Our families exchanged visits through each year. They would come to our home for Christmas and Easter. We would see them every other month or so at their farm. We would spend the better part of an afternoon and evening together in each visit. Sometimes a comment or question about piloting a Lancaster would come and I would listen to narrative. I would try to work out what a Lancaster was and what the adults were referring to. My curiosity would stir and I’d wait for the drive home to confirm or ask about what I’d heard.

Those conversations evolved into dinner table fodder. Around the table I could ask questions and listen to answers. Extrapolation, implication – I gathered understanding of my pilot uncle and the Lancaster. What was it like to fly forty sorties in a flight stream to Berlin, Kiel and the Ruhr Valley in War? What kind of task was it to lay mines in enemy waters? My uncle and his crew would need to abandon three Lancaster Bombers in the war – none of the crew were lost, all parachuting to safety each time. My father would point me to an AVRO Lancaster book in the Coles bookstore. He and I would assemble a model of the Lancaster together at our kitchen table. I continue to piece this narrative together decades beyond those kitchen table discussions.

Much later on, my uncle re-certified as a pilot. He and a friend purchased and had a single engine, Cessna 172 that had crashed rebuilt. The plane became alternate transport within Alberta and later around North America. He and my aunt flew to Cuba for vacations. He enjoyed flight. His family gave him opportunities to fly them to different destinations. On one flight I got to ride-along. One fall evening, we dropped off my cousin one-hundred kilometres away. It was my first venture flying in a single engine plane. It took a minute-or-two to find my confidence in this mode of transport – it came, I could trust it. The flight only took twenty minutes.

After landing, taking off again and returning to the air, my uncle invited me to fly his Cessna. My hands took the control. My feet explored the workings of the rudder pedals. My uncle spoke about yaw, pitch and roll and how each worked. I was working to manage the attitude of the plane as we returned to his farm. He had me keep my eye on the horizon as the way to maintain level flight. As we flew, my uncle completed paperwork detailing the route we’d taken. I asked about flying the Lancaster. He said it handled like a heavy truck. With the release of its payload the Lancaster became more buoyant, with noticeable lift. Though lighter it did not pick up any agility. That may have been in my second year of University. Implications associated with the Lancaster’s role in the war were yet to surface.

This past winter I watched BBC One’s ‘Bomber Boys.’ The AVRO Lancaster and the men that flew them are the subject of this documentary. Ewan McGregor hosts the documentary. In it, Ewan’s brother Colin, a Royal Air Force pilot, trains to fly a functional AVRO Lancaster. The documentary spurred my curiosity, again. Over the years, I had heard about an AVRO Lancaster located near Calgary, Alberta.

Nanton, Alberta is home to ‘Bomber Command Museum.’ Its chief artifact is a functioning AVRO Lancaster. This past August, I had time between the completion of a conference and some tasks before my return northward home. I arrived in Nanton on 20 August 2016. I arrived as Nanton’s Bomber Command Museum was celebrating its 30th Anniversary. Their Lancaster was outside its hangar. That day I would see the Lanc Crew start all four Merlin engines and before the crowd the Lancaster would move forward 20 feet under its own power. I was able to get a sense for the bomber – its size, the length and depth of its bomb bay, its shape and sound. I also worked to understand the Lancaster through the lens of my camera. The images posted here are of the Lancaster at Nanton’s Bomber Command Museum.

My investigation of what would have been my uncle’s Lancaster and war experience continues. Len Deighton offers a dramatization of a final mission of an RAF Lancaster Bomber. It occurs in the skies and on the ground, in Britain and in Germany. I have it as audio-book on my iPod, listening to it as I cycle to and from our local airport.

I am still at a distance from my uncle’s story. I know that flight engaged my uncle. It brought him challenge and satisfaction. It suited his temperament. For me, the Lancaster is a means to understand that my uncle brought a hand to shaping the world we know. For me, his narrative with the Lancaster helps me understand service, one man’s for another, and that my uncle served our country and protected its freedom. A Flight Lieutenant in the RCAF 428 ‘Ghost Squadron,’ commissioned in 1941, his commendation reflects this well – “His willingness and the cheerful manner in which he has carried out his duties has been a source of inspiration for the younger crews of the squadron. For the completion of a most satisfactory tour of operations and for the support he has given the squadron, I recommend the non-immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.” He received his DFC in 1949.

Well done, Sir. Thank you.

P.S.: My cousin and his wife were able to take my uncle to Nanton in his later years; he took great pride in showing them ‘his’ plane.

Quotes to Consider / Inspire: (1) “In my view you cannot claim to have seen something until you have photographed it.” – Emile Zola; and, (2) “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau.

Listening to: Len Deighton’s ‘Bomber.’

Morning Images

Backlight, Bicycle, Home, Light Intensity, Spring, Still Life, Sunrise, Weather

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.’

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.’

Watt Mountain Weather

Best Practices - Photography, Canon Lens, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Journaling, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Still Life, Weather, Winter
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

Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Home, Journaling, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Winter
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