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.’
The Dawson Bridge reaches across the North Saskatchewan River within green verdure of Edmonton’s river valley in August.
Quote to Inspire/Consider – “I began to realize that the camera sees the world differently than the human eye and that sometimes those differences can make a photograph more powerful that what you actually observed.” – Galen Rowell
Listening to – April Wine’s ‘Roller,’ David Bowie’s ‘Fame’ and Coldplay’s ‘Moses,’ ‘Yellow,’ and ‘Clocks,’ all from their Live in Sydney concert gathered in their ‘Live 2003’ album.
A few days drive from home, I stop my truck … my eyes have found something. I walk this scene, allowing my eyes to question ‘What is it that is here?’ I set camera upon tripod. I look and frame what I see – ‘click.’ Light’s point of origin directs golden light to and around the landscape it is falling upon – ‘click.’ Light’s absence, its shade and shadow and depth – at sunset, shadows are growing long – ‘click.’ My eyes are finding passage of time – ‘click.’ I’ve recognized something in the landscape and quality of light. I am recalling something – ‘click.’ I manage the machine, my camera, working aperture, shutter speed and ISO – ‘click.’ I am exposure bracketing to seven shots at one-step intervals – ‘click, click, click, click, click, click and click.’ HDR shots are possible – ‘click.’ My intent is not only to capture and hold this moment in memory – ‘click.’ It is to recast reality with the image produced – ‘click.’ Wheat fields that blanket rolling foothills are drawing my imagination to this scene – ‘click.’ Appreciation for what I see builds – ‘click.’ A long-ago memory loosens, … ‘click’ … connecting me to what I now see for the first time as an adult – ‘click.’ A sense of something familiar grows – ‘click.’ My mind resides and works equally in another place – ‘click.’ It anticipates the other side of download, edit and image production, ‘Can I bring the edited image produced close to what I now see?’ ‘Click.’ Weeks pass. I make time to edit images. I remove the SD card from my camera and download it onto an external hard drive. A Lightroom edit begins. In the edit, the surprise of the extraordinary occurs; what my eyes and camera captured weeks ago is now re-seen and more fully seen in the image that has been created. Good.
Images – Foothills Wheat Crop, Manning Canola, Nampa Grain Truck and Spruce Grove Canola.
Quote to Consider/Inspire: “Look for LEICA patterns; Look for lines, edges, intersections, contrast and angles in the shapes, light and shadows of the global and local elements of a photo to create a harmonious composition,” John Kosmopoulos.
Listening to: Molly Tuttle & John Mailander’s ‘Another Side, Tell Me,’ ‘Morning Morgantown,’ ‘Moonshiner,’ ‘I’m Over You’ and ‘Red Prairie Dawn;’ Spencer Elliot’s ‘Torque.’
I returned to my computer late last evening. I confirmed that one of two family iPod Touch operating system updates was complete. My daughter returned home from an evening with friends – I had been waiting up for her. My day had held some writing – a proofread of my son’s resumé. An afternoon’s work would set him up for the world of work in a summer break between university terms.
Completing the proofread, I started on the iPod updates in late afternoon. I needed to allow time for download and installation. The wait recalled the conceptualization and practice of a technology sabbath. In the practice you would turn off all devices for a full day. You would power down all iPods, smartphones, computers, televisions from sundown on Saturday. On Sunday you would power them up after sundown on Sunday.
Sabbath is about this – gathering stillness, taking rest, gratitude for blessings, encountering others without interruption. Connection with family and friends occurs – seeing them, hearing them, enjoying them.
Without sabbath from technology we multi-task on several fronts. We occupy our waiting with other tasks or pursuits made possible by technology. The person on the computer looks from computer screen to smartphone and back again. Breaks at work, while taken with others, can become periods of silence among co-workers, all who stare into their smart phone. Life fills with tech busy-ness. So, for me, I ought to engage in and lead my family in a technology Sabbath … then I return to the computer and the iPods. The update is complete. On the computer I find image edits I have yet to post – rusting relics, images from a month ago in my return drive from Edmonton to High Level.
Listening to – Pico Ayer’s ‘The Art of Stillness’ and Krista Tippett’s ‘Becoming Wise – An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living.’
Quote to Consider – “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” – Henry Thoreau
Tattooed with graffiti, two hopper cars await loading and transport at High Level’s grain terminal, late on a Sunday afternoon, as the sun sets.
Listening to – Neil Young’s ‘The Needle and the Damage Done,’ Steve Miller’s ‘Take the Money and Run,’ Aerosmith’s ‘Living on the Edge,’ The Who’s ‘Magic Bus,’ The Beatles’ ‘Across the Universe,’ Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Brilliant Disguise,’ Alice in Chains’ ‘Heaven Beside You’ and The Black Crowes’ ‘Twice as Hard.’
Quotes to Consider – (1) “When I photograph someone, what it really means is that I’d like to know them. Anyone I know I photograph.” – Annie Liebovitz; (2) “Let death be what takes us, not lack of imagination.” – Dr. B. J. Miller (palliative care physician); (3) “You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.” – Joan Miro
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.
August, up behind Banff, on Sulfur Mountain, a Gondola ride ferries me, skyward, high above to a prominent mountain peak, a culling point for a cross-section of travelers and wanderlust. The sun, glimpsed behind clouds … sets – a time for a photo, a time to share with fellow mountain-top travelers what my camera captures; encouragement comes in broken, best effort English … “ten more minutes” and “beautiful [sunset].”
Quote to Consider – “To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before taking a walk.” – Edward Weston
Listening to – Of Monsters and Men’s ‘King and Lionheart,’ ‘Dirty Paws’ and ‘Slow and Steady.’