Opportunities, Extraordinary

Backlight, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Flora, Journaling, Light Intensity, Night, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, Summer, Sunrise
Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 1

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 1

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 2

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 2

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 3

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 3

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 4

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 4

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 5

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 5

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 6

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 6

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 7

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 7

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 8

Vermillion Lakes, Banff, Alberta 8

One aspect of photography that has grown into practice is the matter of recognizing the opportunity presented by the derelict car in a field along the highway, the abandoned farmhouse and former granaries, that thing that you come upon in your travels that you may not ever see again. The challenge is to make time for it, to engage fully in seeing it, to name it, to grasp what it is and what has been its narrative, to share time with it. The choice becomes that of photographing it (… or not) and there are choices in editing that honour the subject and the image, to find its best way(s) of being seen. The image, in its being shared creates opportunity; what has been witnessed and what has been created, not only allows others to see something more of the world, but serves to encourage (or perhaps compel) exploration of that thing witnessed through your camera and lens.

Some of this is about that key teaching from Robin Williams, as professor Keating, in the ‘Dead Poets Society’ in the first poetry lesson – ‘Gather ye rose buds while ye may,’ the import of which was his solemn admonition to his students – ‘seize the day’ and ‘make your lives extraordinary.’ Carpe Diem is about seizing the day as much with any of life’s opportunities as with the opportunities for images that can be created with a camera.


In Banff last week, perhaps owing to summer heat or day/night air pressure differential in the mountains I found myself not always sleeping through the entire night and chose to get out with my camera for landscape photos in pre-dawn dusk. Before leaving for Banff, I had reviewed Maciek Solkulski’s Google+ page for winter sunrise shots he had taken at the Vermillion Lakes in Canada’s Banff National Park. Maciek, an Edmonton photographer, is one half of the podcasting duo of the Shutter Time with Sid and Mac podcast. From Mac’s Google+ page I was able to review maps of where the Vermillion Lakes were in relation to Banff. And, so, before dawn, two days in a row, I got out to the Vermillion Lakes for morning images; these are presented here.

Listening to – Elliott Smith’s ‘Between Bars,’ ‘No Name #3’ and ‘Angeles,’ Gerry Rafferty’s ‘Baker Street’ and The Waterboys’ ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ – all songs from Good Will Hunting.

Quotes to Inspire – (1) “The photographer both loots and preserves, denounces and consecrates;” and, “Life is not about significant details, illuminated (in) a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are.” – Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography’

Utah – Salt Flats & Sky

Canon Camera, Canon Live View, Journaling, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, Summer, Sunset, Vehicle, Weather
Utah Skies - Knolls, Utah 1

Utah Skies – Knolls, Utah 1

Utah Skies - Knolls, Utah 2

Utah Skies – Knolls, Utah 2

For perhaps five years, each time my wife and I took our son and daughter out to enjoy a meal at High Level’s Boston Pizza with friends or on our own we would gaze upon what has become a familiar painting on the wall above the cash register and waiting area – Jack Vettriano’s Bonneville; the painting celebrates the work, the interest and the observation of what it is to break and set different land speed records in various vehicles. Beyond this, there was that movie … Anthony Hopkins, as actor, played the role of Burt Munro in a 2005 movie, ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’ (Indian, here, referring to the Indian motorcycle). Burt Munro was a mechanic/inventor/racer from New Zealand who raced motorcycles. He set a world record at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. My wife encouraged me to go. She and our daughter would remain at the hotel and lounge at the pool cooling themselves in Utah’s summer heat (close to 100 F most days). They would remain cool, rest and read their newly purchased Barnes and Noble treasures. I would investigate Utah’s salt flats.

From Midvale, I steered our rented 2012 Toyota Rav 4 toward Salt Lake City and then follow directions from our Tom Tom GPS to Utah’s salt flats, then to the Bonneville speedway and to Wendover, Utah and the B-29 Bomber Base where the crew of Enola Gay were trained in World War II. By day’s end, I would have photographed the salt flats, Bonneville and Wendover; I would have had a flat tire and need to double back to Wendover to have the tire repaired; and, I would almost run out of gasoline on the return drive home. Doubling back would allow me to investigate more fully the B-29 Bomber Base and discover a goldmine of remarkably maintained American-built cars from the sixties and seventies – both at Wendover, Utah.

Here, one of the final rewards of the day was the evening cloud-work after the sun had crossed the horizon.

Shout Out – a big thank you to Maciek Sokulski (‘Shuttertime with Sid and Mac’ podcast) for articulating good best practices for working with Adobe Lightroom.

Quote to Consider/Inspire – “This freezing of time – the insolent, poignant stasis of each photograph – has produced new and more inclusive canons of beauty.” – Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography’

Listening to – Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Highway Patrolman.’

HDR – Details, Paint & Upholstery

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Podcast, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, Still Life, Summer, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration, Weather
Chevrolet Grain Truck - Edmonton, Alberta

Chevrolet Grain Truck – Edmonton, Alberta

The late forties-early fifties Chevrolet half-tonne grain truck is subject for this image and with Automatic Exposure Bracketing moving toward a final image becomes an exercise in creating a high dynamic range (HDR) shot. For me, unless shooting people within an event, my practice in creating most photos is to work with a tripod in manual (M) mode and to set the camera for the three settings of Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB) – the regular or average exposure, an exposure a stop down (a darker, low key exposure) and an exposure a stop above average (a lighter, high key exposure).

Focus counts – the manual focus on my Canon EOS 60D allows me to focus upon that part of the image needing clarity, but it does so allowing me to focus upon that portion of the subject in three magnifications using the display on the back of the camera: first, what I would see through the viewfinder – normal magnification, next at 10 x optical zoom and then at 15 x optical zoom. Each level of displayed magnification allows me to adjust focus with greater and greater and greater precision. Stability also counts in focusing on the subject; the camera fixed to a tripod ensures that the camera does not move and that resulting images are tack sharp, free from blur.

Creating the exposure, creates not one, but, the three AEB exposures in succession ( – , 0 , + ) when the shutter button is pressed. After the exposures are brought into Adobe Lightroom, I am able to use HDR Efex to combine the three exposures into one image that allows the combined exposure to become an image accommodating greater range of light – more similar to what the human eye can see. I like the way Photomatix does HDR; but, NiK Software’s HDR Efex is a more stable and flexible program.

So, today’s image is an HDR shot. In the next few days my intention will be to try an HDR image that combines a larger number of exposures and to see what happens along the way. I’m reminded that the Shutter Time with Sid and Mac podcast has a couple of excellent pointers for HDR shots (somewhere between episodes 15 and 23). Mac and his wife Kasia would most likely have me using HDR for shots combining landscape, cloud-work and sunsets/sunrises. As well, Trey Ratcliff is the photographer who seems to have done most with HDR or at least has written most substantially (perhaps most helpfully) about HDR; two weeks ago he was in Vancouver and aiming to take on someone as protégé for an evening photographing the city, the water, the landscape and the sky from the top of a well-situated, tall skyscraper. It would definitely have been fun to hang out together for an evening creating HDR images – watch out for him on Twitter at @TreyRatcliff .

Listening to – Peter Himmelmann’s ‘Mission of My Soul.’

Quotes to Inspire – (1) “[…] That’s what HDR does. It adds details, paint, and upholstery to the Photograph. It’s still a photograph, but now enhanced [….] — GusDoeMatik (2) “To me, it is better to “guess” at how something works, experiment, fail, guess again, fail, and keep repeating that process over and over again until you either figure it out or you discover a multiplicity of other cool tricks along the way.” ― Trey Ratcliff

Blake’s Bison

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Bison - Elk Island 1

Bison – Elk Island 1

Bison - Elk Island 4

Bison – Elk Island 4

Bison - Elk Island 3

Bison – Elk Island 3

Bison - Elk Island 2

Bison – Elk Island 2

In a day that’s been bright, yet overcast, the sun shines through broken cloud as it moves towards the horizon in late afternoon, shining directly on two Bison grazing at Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park, images inspired by Sidney Blake’s discussion of animal/nature photography and by her extraordinary black and white images of Bison in winter.

Listening to – The Von Bondies with ‘C’mon C’mon’.

Quote to Inspire – “When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.” – Anonymous

Moose, Moleskin & Bison

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Are you someone who does this? Do you keep an idea file for photographs you’d like to try?  I’ve found myself doing this at times when travel cannot afford the time to stop and snap a few photos.  At other times, I will realize that the subject of a shot works but that the conditions may not work ideally.  And, if I’m lucky I’ll be able to ask my daughter to write down a note in a moleskin notebook while we drive about location and subject and particulars;  the moleskin stays in the vehicle and I can refer back to it. Wildlife photographer, Moose Peterson in an interview on Shutter Time with Sid and Mac (Sidney Blake and Maciek Sokulski) spoke of being encouraged to keep an idea file for photographs and to revisit the file and plan for opportunities to make the shot or shots happen. The bison at Elk Island National Park (east of Edmonton, Alberta) are subject for one set of photographs found here.   The bison have been a part of my idea file since I’ve been listening to Sid and Mac’s exploits in repeated and regular photo sessions at the park.  For me, in terms of the camera work the learning is about shutter speed.  Within the golden hour of sunlight and with the continual movement of the bison in their grazing there is a need for a faster shutter speed in terms of capturing crisp images.

The issue I am grappling with when traveling is that I will often be days or weeks from my photos before I can edit and see images.  I am still considering the value of a laptop from the perspective of allowing greater immediacy of editing while traveling.  There is learning to be derived from the editing process and it may be that working with a laptop with different subjects will foster good results in second or third visits/photo sessions.

The remaining pictures are catch-all – images that have been kicking around, interesting to look at;  the vintage late 30’s sedan, the T-bird and the late sixties Dodge Dart were parked outside Ricky’s All Day Grill and are the work of one person.  Imagine being able to say to two of your best buddies, “Hey let’s take a few of my cars for a spin,” and then take them out to breakfast.  Cool!  Beyond these, there are other renderings of the fifties one-ton truck, a rusting relic.

Listening to – John Mayer’s Queen of California, a song reminding of the Doobie Brothers back in the seventies.

Quote to Inspire – “All photographs are memento mori.  To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability.  Precisely be slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time relentless melt.” – Susan Sontag

Perseverance Required

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Fall, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Podcast, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, Still Life, Summer, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration
Muddied Mudder

Muddied Mudder

This morning’s wee hours saw the completion of two day’s detailing our 2006 Nissan Altima, a task completed without anchored schedule and with all that time off. The task first involved trekking around the Altima with Autoglym Super Resin Polish with orbital buffer and polishing bonnet or buffer and buffing bonnet. The task next involved applying by hand Autoglym HD Wax, a paste wax, in sections and letting those sections cure for fifteen minutes at a stretch. In applying the HD paste wax I caught myself up on several podcasts.

Storing digital images was the subject of one podcast of Shuttertime with Sid and Mac;  I’m in need of a new external hard drive and need to investigate back-up solutions.  The podcast introduced me to Drobo and to Carbon Copy Cloning and much more. In another Shuttertime with Sid and Mac podcast the ‘why’ of the photographer – her or his motivation for shooting – was considered. A truth that surfaced is that good photography is something that serves the photographer first before her or his audience. It was noted that photographer burnout (meaning their interest or desire in photography is extinguished) occurs when the images created tend to be ‘for’ others. Ideally a photographer needs to manage the balance of work for others with work for themselves.

Two days detailing allowed for breaks when they were needed. Tuesday evening presented the opportunity of summer’s quietude along our street.  Near midnight I was able to sit outdoors in the sun’s dusk, in the absence of activity and mosquitos to enjoy an evening breeze – a time to be, a time to sit still and enjoy. Within these two days I’ve been able to watch at various times most of the 2010 film of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, an allegory of spiritual development and of finding soul mates. Wax on, wax off – words from the Karate Kid, words akin to meditation, an activity slowing you down, a means to gather thoughts and loose-ends; the activity involves sight and seeing and perspective; section by section the activity moves toward the whole of an outcome completed. Perseverance is required – you and the car are better for it.

The photograph presented here is the first rendering of an image using the Snapseed app with my iPad – a truck that’s been used for mud-bogging.

Listening to – Over the Rhine’s Spark, Dar Williams’ Mercy of the Fallen and Radiohead’s High and Dry; the other song that’s been in my thoughts and hearing is Robbie Robertson’s Sweet Fire of Love.

Quotes to Inspire – (1) “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” – Diane Arbus; and, (2) “To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things.” – Ansel Adams

Fire and Heart

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 30D, Canon Lens, Farm, Farmhouse, Homestead, Journaling, Light Intensity, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Podcast, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, Still Life, Winter
Homestead - High Level, Alberta

Homestead - High Level, Alberta

Images and narrative speaking to the heart of Life – this homestead served a family for a time, a family living from the land.  The home building, the cabin was certainly heated through the cold of winter and night by wood in a wood stove. This morning, I’ve returned for a look at response to my photoblog to find that Regina (Gina) Arnold writer/author/photographer of The Regina Chronicles has nominated me/my blog for The Heart of Fire Award. The photographs and stories connecting to them find meaning in several lives including that of Gina.  And, Gina as fellow-blogger has been one to engage in the dialogue that responds and moves thinking forward in my photography. She encourages in such dialogue and does so again with this award … and I am grateful.  Thank you Gina.

The award also is meant to inform others about the recipient highlighting seven (7) things about the blogger/photographer/writer. A husband, a father, an educator, a photographer, a writer, a brother, a son – all are roles I engage in daily. Beyond these roles, other areas of Life are significant – here are seven things among many.

  1. The Writing Life – Married within my last year of University, I was deposited at term-end up north to rejoin my wife in a bedroom community serving Fort McMurray, Alberta fifty kilometres away on the southern side of Gregoire Lake in Anzac, Alberta where my wife taught a grade 1-2 split class.  I’m indebted to her fellow teacher for his down-to-earth grounding on what the teaching life is actually about and for his connecting me to Ira Progoff’s Intensive Journal Writing Method through Joe Couture. Through the years I’ve found myself reconnecting with the writing life in these weekend workshops – Convent Station – New Jersey, University of British Columbia – Vancouver, British Columbia and again at another convent in St. Paul, Minnesota.
  2. Fingerstyle Guitar – a piano and guitar have accompanied me through most times in my Life.  In University Ma Fletcher introduced me to tablature, fingerstyle guitar and playing with others.  The second guitar I bought was a Daion 12 string, a choice influenced by Dave Mason’s 12 string work (have a listen to Sad and Deep As You).  My interest in guitar was rekindled after reading Presbyterian Minister, Steve Stockman’s book Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 and finding him broadcasting across the internet from BBC Radio Ulster a show entitled Rhythm and Soul (8:00 p.m. Ulster – 1:00 p.m. Alberta). With a pawn shop Yamaha guitar I began working through Johnny Cash, Willard Grant Conspiracy and Martyn Joseph; because you could re-listen to the show you could play along to many of the songs.  From there it’s been a 1989 Takamine EF 325 src guitar and L’Arrivee L-03 and a Taylor 355CE and finally a Martin Backpacker guitar.
  3. Story, Narrative and Novels – curiously, I learned more about the mechanics of novel writing through Bill Beard’s narrative film course at the University of Alberta.  W.O. Mitchell’s Who Has Seen the Wind was perhaps the first novel holding meaning for me as a young adult, more because the Life experiences being considered were so similar to my own – growing up on the Canadian prairie.  I am both a novel reader and audiobook listener.  In university, when I’d have finished my day or evening’s readings/studies, I’d have audiobooks going that were stories referred to tangentially by my professors – it was a great way to fall asleep. Audiobooks were handy for walking, summer cycling and taking buses around town.  I eventually adapted my love for listening into a means of study and enjoyed a full semester with marks at the top of all classes taken that term.  In terms of story and stories, Emily Bronte’s discussion of soul mates in Catherine and Heathcliff still ranks high for me – Wuthering HeightsHamlet, perhaps because of the investment of work in understanding the totality of it ranks high for me.  John Le Carre’s stories about George Smiley and the circus still hold my attention as does the recent release of the seventies depiction of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  For a time, A Perfect Spy held my attention.  And, I’ve understood through the years, that my like for spy stories has to do with their observations and insights about organizational behaviour.  Beyond this, I like the concept of vertigo as found in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being; and I like the orientation to humility that occurs within this story – there are truths, here.
  4. Chuck Me in the Shallow Water – My orientation to Life is somewhat primal and seeks the pragmatic. Down to earth exploration of what Life is about is perhaps a primary goal for us all.  You’ll find me advocating the movie Venus with Peter O’Toole as one film exploring the wisdom associated with Life reality. You’ll also find me digging in to John O’Donohue’s work for his ideas on beauty, on Life and contributing to Life. And, for as much as I seem to understand Life, I’m aware of the ‘much’ that I’ve yet to understand … here, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ song ‘What I Am,’ especially the lyric ‘Chuck me in the shallow water before I get too deep,’ poignantly point out that haunting aspect that there’s more that I don’t know, there’s a bigger picture that I and perhaps none of will ever be able to completely fathom. Humility is there in the recognition that all that Life is can never totally be figured out.  But, we go forward and make the best of the day that confronts us.
  5. Next steps photography-wise – in addition to continuing on with all things photographic, I’m thinking that my next move will be macro photography;  I’ve seen some excellent macro photography on these photoblogs; one photographer who’s caught my attention because she sends me macro images is Kasia Sokulska – an Edmonton-based photographer.  I’m thinking that my father would have loved digital macro photography for his images of flowers in and around the house on 58th Street in Edmonton.  I want a good macro lens that will provide good depth of field work.  So, it will be a Canon macro lens, for my Canon EOS 60D and 30D.
  6. Music“There’s good music and music that’s good for something,” – so says Woody Guthrie. Music figures as an anchor in my Life. I note that in those times when Life seems stale or cold, there has usually been an absence of music in my Life – that which I’ve played, that which I’ve listened to and that which supports other activities.  In creating Animoto slideshows the critical feature after inputting good photos is that of choosing music that suits the photos … it’s the emotional engagement portion of the slideshow.  With music, I do have a goal of making it to the Greenbelt Music Festival in Cheltenham, UK one day; the weekend of music and lecture always seems to conflict with school start up.  And, music has been something I’ve enjoyed my son’s part in as a member of the University of Alberta Mixed Choir – he’s on tour as I write. The top seven songs that I’ve played through time according to my iTunes library include The Verve’s Lucky Man (83), Radiohead’s All I Need (74), The Police’s Walking on the Moon (71), Radiohead’s High and Dry (71), U2’s Get On Your Boots (Fish Out Of Water Mix) (69), Depeche Mode’s Policy of Truth (60) and Snow Patrol’s Lifeboats (51).  My son has also been listening to these tunes; so the statistics may be skewed.
  7. Podcast Listener – I bought my first iPod as one of the next steps taken when BBC Radio Ulster cancelled Steve Stockman’s weekly Rhythm and Soul broadcast. I had no idea what an iPod could do and no idea about how to use iTunes. That was back in 2006. In terms of podcasts that I can recommend the following rank highly – Scott Smith’s Motivation to Move (listening since October 2006), A Prairie Home Companion, The Chillcast with Anje Bee (listening since 2007), The Naked Photo by Riaan de Beer, The Nikonians Podcasts, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, CBC Radio’s Tapestry with Mary Hynes, CBC Radio’s Vinyl Café Stories and BBC Radio’s World Book Club.  Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac is good as is the Greenbelt podcast.

In terms of follow-through and to pay it forward, there are blogs I wish to recommend from a point of exploration and because they explore the arena of the ‘heart’ in different ways – thus, the Heart of Fire award extends forward to them.  Their blogs are worth a regular perusal and they open-out in different ways much of what Life is about.






Paying it forward – have a go at sharing seven things about yourself and share with others blogs that capture something of heart.  Please note – don’t feel bad if you don’t have the time to go through the procedure for this award.  Just know that I think highly of your blogs.

Listening to – Tom Cochrane and Red Rider’s Good Times and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ If You Want to Get to Heaven.

Quote to Inspire – “Nothing happens when you sit at home.  I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times … I just shoot at what interests me at the moment.” – Elliott Erwitt

Soul Cage

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On this morning’s walk I chose music over prose.  The brooding plot of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover in all the consideration before action seems quite bleak and maybe the story is written intentionally so that renewal in physical sensuality is highlighted against the mundane existence of day-to-day life.

Music suited me better in the initiation of the day. Robbie Robertson played first, then Bruce Cockburn and U2, then on to Roxy Music and The Tragically Hip, all on my genius playlist beginning with Sweet Fire of Love. Then, in combination with thought about this photograph Sting begins on a song called The Soul Cages. For as much as the song’s lyrics refer to our humanoid condition here on earth I was drawn to consider whether or not a camera is another soul cage. I’m thinking that a camera is a tool that cages the soul within the photograph produced in that it  encapsulates a moment of time, recording Life status and history in whatever condition we or the world were in – good or bad.

The camera photographed here is a Leica.  A while back, Maciek Sokulski encouraged his Shuttertime with Sid and Mac podcast listeners to purchase an older camera, one that causes you to think about photography beyond the digital means, a camera with which to use your honed knowledge/skills of photography and to exercise expertise and skill in creating good photographs without waste.  This Leica is my father’s from the early sixties.  It is a camera that was used technically in the production of plastic and was used as part of the process to view at a microscopic level the grade/quality of plastics at an Edmonton plastics plant.  It is a Leica without a viewfinder and is something my brothers and I should try out one of these days to see how it shoots. Maybe we will give it a try this summer.

Listening to – Robbie Robertson’s Soap Box Preacher, Amanda Marshall’s Sitting On Top of the World, Jann Arden’s The Sound Of, U2’s I Fall Down, Joan Osborne’s Man in the Long Black Coat and Neil Young’s When God Made Me.

Quote to Inspire – “Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.  What you have caught on film is captured forever … it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” – Aaron Siskind

That Old, Disused Farmhouse – Skulking Around Former Times

Canon 60D, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Farm, Farmhouse, Home, Homestead, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Podcast, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, Spring, Still Life, Winter

The farming region I knew as a boy is that which lies west of Ponoka, Alberta – land homesteaded and broken by people who received land grants following their participation in the Canadian war effort during the second world war. Perhaps participation in war, an ordeal survived and won as a collective has made this clustering of soldiers who became farmers quite pragmatic with regard to helping each other out, and particularly so in relation to disused items. Word of an item no longer used will make its way around the region and the person who can use that item will connect with its current possessor. Terms will be agreed to, cash or services in kind will trade hands and the item will be put to good use. While I have seen such transaction occur with many smaller things – cars, trucks, tractors and farming equipment – the photograph presented here reminds me that in two instances I have seen houses as big as this one transported to new locations, set on new foundations and made use of.

The photographs draw me back to my childhood as a boy in the sixties and skulking around the old, disused farm house across the way from my aunt and uncle’s home near Rimbey, Alberta. My exploration of the house revealed a wooden basement foundation instead of a foundation made of cement (what I was used to). It also revealed a dirt basement floor and seemed to be used mainly as a cold cellar for canned goods and the like. My cousin and I explored other houses no longer used; they seemed to have been left medias res (in the middle of things).  Beds and dressers would be left in rooms.  The rooms would usually have painted walls, but in some wallpaper revealed tastes of a former time.  Some homes served much like sheds these days where old furniture or clothes that have gone out of fashion can be stored.  Some had floors rotted through, the result of annual flooding. Some homes revealed children’s toys of a former time. Exploration always revealed the lives lived within the four walls of the house.

Moving forward – I wonder about the house in the photograph.  It is huge.  It is well-made.  It still retains its structure. The plant growth surrounding the house cannot be more than fifteen years in the growing. So, whoever left it made their departure quite recently in terms of the age of houses. Thinking back to houses I’ve seen moved, I wonder about why similar efforts have not been taken to add new life and new purpose to this farm house. Surely it could have been used a while back as a house to help a young family starting out.  And, perhaps more importantly, doing so would have been a part of a farm family’s moving forward and their de-cluttering from what is no longer needed of the past. The curiosity is that there is something that holds this house in its present location … and that’s where its story is.

Listening to Shuttertime with Sid and Mac episode XXI and good discussion on the practices associated with landscape photography; I continue to be impressed by the opinions, persuasion, logic and knowledge these two Edmonton-based, Canon photographers possess.   Dave Matthews Band’s Steady As We Go and Dreamgirl, David Gray’s This Year’s Love, Patty Griffin’s Rain, Dar Williams’ The One Who Knows and Mindy Smith’s One More Moment surface as music holding my attention.

Quote to Inspire – “In my view you cannot claim to have seen something until you have photographed it.” – Emile Zola

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photograph – Alexandra Falls

Canon 50mm, Canon 50mm Lens, Canon 60D, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, Winter

Alexandra Falls HDR 2

At the Alexandra Falls I used the AEB (Automatic Exposure Bracketing) in anticipation of working with HDR software soon. The Automatic Exposure Bracketing on a Canon camera takes three (3) shots of the same subject in sequence – a darker image, the average exposed image and a lighter image. I downloaded the Photomatix Pro HDR software (thank you for the recommendation Maciek Sukolski – MiKS Media) with Lightroom plug-in and have been experimenting, tonight. The HDR software combines the images to create better (or perhaps more accurate) definition of the subject and an exposure that more accurately sees all that the eye sees – we see a broader range of dark and light than our cameras; HDR overcomes this limitation. Taking these photographs also requires a tripod so that the camera accurately records the same image three times … without movement. In looking at the image of the falls have a look for the level of detail produced throughout the image. I find myself wishing I would have taken more time at the Hay River shipyard taking photographs in Automatic Exposure Bracketing.  Alas, it was cold and I needed to return home 300 km south.

Listening to Cardiff Bay by Martyn Joseph from his Evolved album (first heard on Stocki’s Rhythms of Redemption and seen more than few times in Edmonton with friends).

Quote to Inspire – “Photography is like making cheese. It takes a hell of a lot of milk to make a small amount of cheese just like it takes a hell of a lot of photos to get a good one.” – Robert Gillis