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.

Cold Mist

Backlight, Home, Journaling, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Sunrise, Weather, Winter
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

Backlight, Christmas, Fog, Home, Journaling, Light Intensity, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Weather, Winter
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.’

Fluid Metal Clad

Journaling, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Winter
Rogers Place - Edmonton, Alberta Canada 1

Rogers Place – Edmonton, Alberta Canada 1

Rogers Place - Edmonton, Alberta Canada 2

Rogers Place – Edmonton, Alberta Canada 2

Rogers Place - Edmonton, Alberta Canada 3

Rogers Place – Edmonton, Alberta Canada 3

Rogers Place is Edmonton’s venue for hockey in the National Hockey League. It is home to the Edmonton Oilers hockey team. The building attracts one’s eye with its metal tiles, a skin for the building. The metal cladding adds texture to the building. It reminds of fish scales or snake skin and fluid movement. A night image of this structure, working with available light should captivate – a never-done. For now this image is a study of what is there – check out these different edits.

I’ve been working through YouTube videos on photography. I am impressed with Sean Tucker, as a photographer and mentor, for how he thinks through and conceptualizes an image. I am impressed that his thinking is often broader than photography itself. Often, he’ll speak with good understanding to what’s happening for the photographer as she or he creates an image. The two quotes presented here are ones Sean has gathered. They deal with the pursuit of never-dones in photography and growth as a photographer. They are about stepping outside the box (our comfort zone) and goal-setting.

Quotes to Inspire / Consider: (1) “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for (William G.T. Shedd).” (2) “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it (Pablo Picasso).”

Listening to: J.D. McPherson’s album ‘Undivided Heart & Soul,’ a retro fifties set of tunes and narratives; The Cranberries’ ‘Linger,’ ‘Zombie,’ and ‘Ode to My Family.’ Sorry to find that Dolores O’Riordan, the captivating voice and lyricist of the Cranberries has passed. The songs ‘Linger’ and ‘Dreams’ were part of the nineties and hold memory in first years following school.

Forgiving, Handheld Aurora

Home, Light Intensity, Night, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, School, Winter
Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis, High Level, Alberta 1

Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis, High Level, Alberta 1

Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis, High Level, Alberta 2

Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis, High Level, Alberta 2

Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis, High Level, Alberta 3

Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis, High Level, Alberta 3

A successful capture and rendering of the Aurora Borealis on an evening’s walk a month ago – surprised to find that my Olympus camera is this forgiving with a handheld shot – ISO 8000, f/4 and 1/3 of a second.

Words to Inspire / Consider – “The more ridiculous you look while taking a photo, the better that photo will probably be. Photographers can’t be afraid to get into strange and awkward positions to get the shot they’re after.” — Pei Ketron

Listening to: Junip’s ‘Line of Fire,’ The Tragically Hip’s ‘Poets’ and ‘Scared’ and Springsteen’s ‘American Skin (41 Shots)’ done by Jen Chapin & Rosetta Trio.

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

Newman’s HBC

Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, Journaling, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Winter
Hudson's Bay Company Crest - Edmonton, Ab Canada 1

Hudson’s Bay Company Crest – Edmonton, Ab Canada 1

Hudson's Bay Company Crest - Edmonton, Ab Canada 2

Hudson’s Bay Company Crest – Edmonton, Ab Canada 2

Hudson's Bay Company Crest - Edmonton, Ab Canada 3

Hudson’s Bay Company Crest – Edmonton, Ab Canada 3

Hudson's Bay Company Crest - Edmonton, Ab Canada 4

Hudson’s Bay Company Crest – Edmonton, Ab Canada 4

Hudson's Bay Company Crest - Edmonton, Ab Canada 5

Hudson’s Bay Company Crest – Edmonton, Ab Canada 5

The crest of the Hudson’s Bay Company is affixed to the southeast corner of the Bay store on Edmonton’s Jasper Avenue. The crest recalls Peter C. Newman’s book, ‘Company of Adventurers,’ a history of the Hudson’s Bay Company in North America.

A decade ago, as a home education coordinator, I travelled within our school division boundaries helping parents provide their children with an education within their homes. The area of our school division encompasses an area equivalent to that of three small European countries. In one day, I might work with four to eight students and have driven as much as four to six-hundred kilometres. Windshield time was a part of the job. In one month, during my travels, I worked my way through an unabridged audiobook of ‘Company of Adventurers’. What was extraordinary was the fact that some of our northwestern Alberta territory featured within the book. What also was intriguing was that many of the stories about Life working for the Hudson’s Bay Company remained true.

In Meander River, for instance, an old Hudson’s Bay trading post was still in use. It had had its title transferred to a Church and a thrift store serving the Dene Tha’ people was being operated within the building. Part of Newman’s book highlighted the fact that the temperature in a Hudson’s Bay post was often kept close to zero as a means to encourage departure of customers after they’d made their purchases. This was the case in this building; heated by a wood stove the family tended to congregate close to the fire through the winter and were always dressed in layers of clothing. The family operating the thrift store chose home education as the means to educate their child.

Quote to Consider – “Unless you photograph what you love, you are not going to make good art.” – Sally Mann

Listening to – The Primitives’ ‘Crash,’ Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Radio Nowhere,’ The Who’s ‘I Can See for Miles,’ Link Wray and the Wraymen’s ‘Rumble’ and Green Day’s ‘East Jesus Nowhere.’

Fire Fought

Weather, Winter

Early morning, two Saturdays ago, one of the High Level hotels burned to the ground; thank you’s go out to the High Level Fire Department for bringing the blaze under control and limiting its scope.

Listening to – Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Radio Nowhere,’The Who’s ‘I Can See For Miles’ and the Primitives’ ‘Crash.’

Quote to Consider – “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.’ – Dorothea Lange

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