Category: Fall

A Photograph Intended

High Level Bridge - Edmonton

High Level Bridge – Edmonton

Alberta Legislature Building - 1

Alberta Legislature Building – 1

Alberta Legislature Building - 2

Alberta Legislature Building – 2

Alberta Legislature Building - 3

Alberta Legislature Building – 3

Edmonton Sunrise - 1

Edmonton Sunrise – 1

Edmonton Sunrise - 2

Edmonton Sunrise – 2

Christmas, in the first year of my second degree at the University of Alberta, saw the fall term close. The first evening of break found me riding my mountain bike out to a friend’s home in Edmonton’s west end. And, on a snowy, Friday evening we cycled back to this bridge, the High Level bridge, crossing it, then stopping for refreshment down below in the Kinsmen park.

These are night shots, from two different sojourns in Edmonton this fall.

The second is a photograph intended, first found in a year ago winter drive across Edmonton to my brother’s home at Christmas. A clear view to the Alberta Legislature building looking across the fountain walkway, a photograph taken near 99 Avenue where it intersects with 108 Street. The construction of the Alberta Legislature and the High Level bridge occurs along a common timeline – the Legislature between 1907 and 1913 and the bridge between 1910 and 1913.

I’ve seen photographs of the bridge construction that coincide with the legislature’s construction from the South bank of the North Saskatchewan River, from a point that might be close to where the University’s Humanities building now resides; I would like to find an equivalent shot, but much of the landscape is obscured by vegetation – you’d, perhaps, get the dome of the legislature building looking across the top of the High Level bridge; you’d have to work to find elements for a photo.

There are also shots of an Edmonton sunrise from the south side of the Groat Road bridge.

Listening to: U2’s ‘Songs of Experience’ album, Rhiannon Giddens album – ‘Freedom Highway,’ Ezio Bosso’s ‘Music for Weather Elements,’ Stuart McLean’s ‘Vinyl Café – the Unreleased Stories’ and Carrie Newcomer’s ‘The Beautiful Not Yet.’ Barbara Brown Taylor’s ‘Learning to Walk in the Dark’ has had some insights – a good listen. Sebastion Barry’s ‘The Secret Scripture’ has found its way into my listening – a story of Lives and memory; it contains a poignant quote -‘There is seldom a difficulty with religion where there is friendship.’

Quotes to Inspire / Consider: “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso; “Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Murchie’s, Munro’s & Family

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 1

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 1

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 2

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 2

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 3

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 3

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 4

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 4

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 5

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 5

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 6

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 6

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 7

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 7

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 8

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 8

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 9

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 9

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 10

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 10

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 11

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 11

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 12

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 12

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 13

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 13

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 14

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 14

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 15

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 15

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 16

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 16

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 17

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 17

Victoria, British Columbia - 24 September 2016, 18

Victoria, British Columbia – 24 September 2016, 18

Opportunity surfaced – we would have a Saturday in late September to ourselves on Vancouver Island. It would be two hours, our drive from Qualicum Beach to Victoria, and, it would mean two hours at the end of our day in return. But, it would allow us an afternoon among our favourite, family summer haunts.

Victoria’s Inner Harbour Causeway would open-out and hold our curiosity. We would walk and chat and tease. We engaged street theater performers and watched artists paint or draw. A person’s caricature would be created, a sculptor would carve in wood. We would people watch. My camera, following my eye, would move along harbour water finding boats and ships, old and new, moving and moored. Up from the causeway were Victoria streets and buildings. Green domes highlighted the British Columbia Legislature. The Fairmont Empress Hotel would command its view of the harbour – we had honeymooned here, within a room often provided to the Queen … all those years ago.

We walked from the harbour up Government Street. We would sift through ‘Out of Ireland’ imports – tartans and tweeds, quotes and blessings, jewels and people … almost a Cork jacket for me, there. We would cross back to Rogers’ Chocolates, each of us picking-out one or two, favourite Victoria Creams. Munro’s book store would hold us for hours. Literature, always current, from all parts of the globe would intrigue. You would find a book you thought someone would write at Munro’s. My wife would investigate current novels and favourite authors. As teacher, she would thumb through newest children’s books. As always we would empty this favourite book store, taking with us bags of books. With bags in tow we’d move next door, to Mom’s favourite coffee shop; we would sit down to tea and coffee, scones and macaroons at Murchie’s.

This day would become blessing, interruption within a difficult week – this outing would celebrate my wife’s birthday. And, we would remember Mom, Dad, brothers, grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, family friends and our times in Victoria.

Images – from that day in Victoria, 24 September 2016; also note that Justin and Sophie Trudeau welcomed Will and Kate on their Royal Visit to Canada (we’d happened upon this event) – hence images of the Canadian Forces, in their welcome of the Royal couple.

Quote to Consider / Inspire: “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 – Ólafur Arnalds, Atli Örvarsson & SinfoniaNord’s ‘Öldurót’ from their ‘Island Songs’ album, Brian Finnegan’s ‘Belfast’ from his ‘The Ravishing Genius of Bones’ album, The Six Parts Seven’s ‘What You Love You Must Love Now,’ Mooncake’s ‘Turquoise,’ Simon Steadman and TT Magruber’s ‘Sunshower’ and ‘Miss You’ by Trentemøller. Martyn Joseph’s ‘Sanctuary’ and Hedzoleh Sounds’ ‘Hearts Ne Kotoko’ have also featured in this morning’s listening.

At Home – Dad

Pontiac Memories - Manning, Alberta - Canada

The Open Road - Sunshine Ski Resort, Banff - Canada

It was a Pontiac, the car my father taught me to drive – an olive green, two-door Pontiac Parisienne built for 1969 yet available to Dad in the fall of 1968. On St. Brendan’s field, hanging out with friends, I saw Dad drive it home – colour, class, chrome and shape. It had a 350 cubic inch engine, powerful enough to pass others easily on the open road; Dad said it had ‘Pep.’ There were seat belts for us all and an a.m. radio tuned to CBC 740, CKUA 580 or CFRN 1260 on the dial … and you dialed in best sound. With Dad, I learned to drive carefully, eloquently and with ease. There were wake-up calls and near misses and other drivers who spoke with their horns. On the highway, Dad said my foot was a little heavy … he said that with a smile. The transition was from driving with Dad to driving alone the way Dad would have me drive. There were times when the tie-rod end came off, when after ten years the regulator was jammed so full with dust and sand that the alternator couldn’t keep a current running through the electrical system on a slow idle and there was that time when a lifter clanged loudly after a drive with me at the wheel. Dad knew what to do and we kept the Pontiac running. My Dad, who made time for all this, did this for me, his son.

Parker J. Palmer speaks of something similar with his father; his father gave him, “… a sense of being at home in [his] own skin and on the face of the Earth.” William Stafford’s poem ‘Father’s Voice,’ resonates in similar fashion.

Father’s Voice
by William Stafford

“No need to get home early;
the car can see in the dark.”
He wanted me to be rich
the only way we could,
easy with what we had.

And always that was his gift,
given for me ever since,
easy gift, a wind
that keeps on blowing for flowers
or birds wherever I look.

World, I am your slow guest,
one of the common things
that move in the sun and have
close, reliable friends
in the earth, in the air, in the rock.

Listening to – Brubeck’s ‘Time Out’ and for a bit more fun, ‘Bru’s Boogie Woogie’ – tunes Dad would play on a Saturday night on his Heintzman grand piano in vertical form, a very bright sounding piano.

Miasma Cover

Foggy Granary - Dixonville, Ab - Canada i

Foggy Granary – Dixonville, Ab – Canada i

Foggy Granary - Dixonville, Ab - Canada ii

Foggy Granary – Dixonville, Ab – Canada ii

Foggy Granary - Dixonville, Ab - Canada iii

Foggy Granary – Dixonville, Ab – Canada iii

Foggy Granary - Dixonville, Ab - Canada iv

Foggy Granary – Dixonville, Ab – Canada iv

The return, a drive home in late October; fog hangs in the air for two hundred kilometres – from Peace River north to Keg River Cabins. I’ve had my eye on this granary within these past two years as one to investigate with my camera. I’m liking the colour, textures and miasma – all visual opportunity.

Listening to – ‘The Dignity of Difference,’ an On Being podcast with Jonathan Sacks.

“Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy

Land’s Next Use

Strewn Timber - Rocky Lane, Alberta - Canada iv

Strewn Timber – Rocky Lane, Alberta – Canada iv

Strewn Timber - Rocky Lane, Alberta - Canada ii

Strewn Timber – Rocky Lane, Alberta – Canada ii

Strewn Timber - Rocky Lane, Alberta - Canada iii

Strewn Timber – Rocky Lane, Alberta – Canada iii

Strewn Timber - Rocky Lane, Alberta - Canada i

Strewn Timber – Rocky Lane, Alberta – Canada i

Timber, pushed down, lies strewn throughout a farmer’s field, a first step in clearing the land. Timber has also fallen across the structure of a homestead house yet has not crushed it. The house and a water-filled dugout suggest that a previous owner, another farmer, had initiated and abandoned a similar project in an earlier era. For now, timber will be gathered for burning; a winter or spring burn will reduce these trees and this homestead house to ashes, the land becoming ready for another use.

Quote to Consider – “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” – Diane Arbus

Listening to – Ibarionex Perello’s ‘The Candid Frame’ – episode 238, an interview with Sara Jane Boyers, Jesse Cook’s ‘Ocean Blue,’ Shadowfax’s ‘Move the Clouds,’ Agnes Obel’s ‘Fivefold,’ U2’s ‘Song for Someone’ and Sigur Ros’ ‘Glosoli.’

The Place Where We Are Right
by Yehuda Amichai

From the place where we are right
flowers will never grow
in the Spring.

The place where we are right
is hard and trampled
like a yard.

But doubts and loves
dig up the world
like a mole, a plough.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood.

Pathfinder Forays

1953 Pontiac Pathfinder - Manning, Alberta - Canada i

1953 Pontiac Pathfinder - Manning, Alberta - Canada ii

1953 Pontiac Pathfinder - Manning, Alberta - Canada iii

1953 Pontiac Pathfinder - Manning, Alberta - Canada iv

1953 Pontiac Pathfinder - Manning, Alberta - Canada v

Nissan Pathfinders – my wife and I have owned and driven three of these sports utility vehicles in Northwestern Alberta. We used each to travel in and out of Wood Buffalo National Park on our bi-weekly grocery run, a distance of 200km one way. Most of the time, the Pathfinder was locked in true four wheel drive and careening forward, sliding on any angle but straight along slick, clay-mud, corduroy roads or perhaps creating a first track along snow laden roads. The joke at the time was that we could have filmed a Nissan Pathfinder commercial because of the treatment each Pathfinder received and because of the durability and handling found in its use. And, though the Pathfinder did always find its path, there were humbling times when it got stuck and had to be pulled out – six times in my last year in the park.

A few years ago, travelling with my camera among the backroads in and around Blue Hills, Alberta, I stumbled across an early fifties Pontiac, an old grey vehicle that had been parked among trees and other aging farm implements along the entrance to a Mennonite farm. I photographed the vehicle and did some research. The Pontiac was a sedan, possibly one intended only for Canadian markets – a 1953 Pontiac Pathfinder. A Pontiac buff, having driven my father’s 1969 Pontiac Parisienne through most of high school, I was surprised to find that Pontiac had had its own Pathfinder.

On Saturday, I drove past a service station two kilometres north from Manning, Alberta. An old, early fifties vehicle was displayed on the property, having sat on the site, ready for sale, through these past two years; but, the vehicle has always had a blue industrial shipping container placed next to it, something which has made it awkward to photograph from a stance of adjacent backgrounds and from sunlight never totally surrounding the entirety of the car properly. As I drove by I realized that the shipping container was no longer there and that the opportunity of a good photograph was possible. I captured these images and in researching the Pontiac found it to be another 1953 Pontiac Pathfinder. It was good to spend time photographing the car and then it’s been fun to edit the images, too – each a high dynamic range (HDR) shot.

Listening to – Walter Trout’s ‘Almost Gone,’ a voice that sounds so similar to the Who’s Roger Daltry singing ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ and ‘Baba O’Reilly;’ the song accompanies this rusting relic well.

Quotes to Consider – (1) “I’ve never taken a picture I’ve intended. They’re always better or worse.” – Diane Arbus. (2) “Some pictures are tentative forays without your even knowing it. They become methods. It’s important to take bad pictures. It’s the bad ones that have to do with what you’ve never done before. They can make you recognize something you hadn’t seen in a way that will make you recognize it when you see it again.” – Diane Arbus

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.

Above the Pave

La Crete - The Pave

La Crete – The Pave

Twin Lakes - Slough

Twin Lakes – Slough

The week has presented opportunity to work with Adobe Photoshop CS6 with High Dynamic Range (HDR) images – side-lit clouds in sunset’s golden hour present colour, light and shadow in interesting ways; I’m re-editing two sets of bracketed images for High Dynamic Range work. ‘The Pave’ is a term used by La Crete Mennonites to refer to a seven mile stretch of narrow-shouldered highway that becomes the last portion of road in my October drive from High Level to La Crete. In this image clouds billow in a rhythm, catching colour above ‘the pave’ moments before the sun descends below the horizon. The work in this photo was that of tearing myself away from the impending meeting to capture this colourful image … I would be late. The second image was part of a return drive from Grande Prairie from this past fall, undulating clouds reflected within slough water. In both, I’ve been working with Adobe Bridge and then with the automated function in Adobe Photoshop CS6 to merge bracketed photos into a single HDR image.

I have also been exploring the messages of authors, Courtney Martin (her book, ‘Do It Anyway’) and Parker J. Palmer (his book, ‘The Courage To Teach’), this week. Courtney’s book looks at core elements of resilience and advocacy … sort of ‘The Freedom Writers’ meets the real world in extraordinary and exemplary ways. Parker’s book considers teaching from many facets, one being the inner teacher within the student that the teacher needs to connect with in order to bring about learning. The book is crammed with teaching truth. I am about half-way through and will be moving through it a second time.

Listening to – Dan Mangan & Jesse Zubot’s ‘Cumulonimbus (Newport, ’63),’ Nick Laird-Clowes’ ‘Golborne Road’ and Arvo Part’s ‘Speigel im Spiegel.’

Quote to Inspire – ‘Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.’ – Matt Hardy

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oats

welcome!