Pathfinder Forays

Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Fall, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Journaling, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Service Station, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration

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

Route 66 – Restoration Reminiscence

Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, Gas Station, Journaling, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Service Station, Summer, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration
Fairlane 500 and Thunderbird - Grand Canyon Arizona

Fairlane 500 and Thunderbird – Grand Canyon Arizona

Fairlane 500 - Grand Canyon, Arizona 2

Fairlane 500 – Grand Canyon, Arizona

Fairlane 500 - Grand Canyon, Arizona 1

Fairlane 500 – Grand Canyon, Arizona 1

1949 Chevrolet Fleetline - Grand Canyon, Arizona 3

1949 Chevrolet Fleetline – Grand Canyon, Arizona 3

1949 Chevrolet Fleetline - Grand Canyon, Arizona 2

1949 Chevrolet Fleetline – Grand Canyon, Arizona 2

1949 Chevrolet Fleetline - Grand Canyon, Arizona 1

1949 Chevrolet Fleetline – Grand Canyon, Arizona 1

1931 Ford Sedan and Pickup - Grand Canyon, Arizona 2

1931 Ford Sedan and Pickup – Grand Canyon, Arizona 2

1931 Ford Sedan and Pickup - Grand Canyon, Arizona 1

1931 Ford Sedan and Pickup – Grand Canyon, Arizona 1

1931 Ford Sedan  - Grand Canyon, Arizona 2

1931 Ford Sedan – Grand Canyon, Arizona 2

1931 Ford Sedan  - Grand Canyon, Arizona 1

1931 Ford Sedan – Grand Canyon, Arizona 1

1957 Chevrolet Belair - Grand Canyon 1

1957 Chevrolet Belair – Grand Canyon 1

1957 Chevrolet Belair - Grand Canyon 2

1957 Chevrolet Belair – Grand Canyon 2

It’s colder today, snow is on the ground and a four-day, November break provides welcome opportunity for rest from pushing hard in these first three months of the school year. A quick drive southward and back home last weekend recalled the following images needing an edit from July.

Along Route 66, nearing the Grand Canyon, restored cars are roadside attraction, the cars of former, American glory days, vehicles that you’d find reconstructed from other donor cars on reality television shows like ‘Counting Cars.’ That person, who in middle-age, is starting to find a surplus of funds in their bank account is the kind of person these cars belong to. For them and you, someone in the family owned one – Dad and Mom maybe, your grandparents, perhaps or maybe your cousin had one; and, if you were lucky that vehicle was the one you learned to drive in, was perhaps the vehicle that became yours (you bought it from another member in your family) and was the car that got you started in Life. In presentation, these Grand Canyon cars are arranged almost as they would be in a Show and Shine; the difference is that their owners are not hovering around them – the vehicles draw potential customers to the service station and to the hotel, a pit-stop and stopping point. Among the vehicles were a 1957 Mercury Thunderbird, a 1958 Ford Fairlane 500, a 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline Deluxe four-door (Police Car), what may be a 1931 Ford Sedan and a 1931 Ford Pickup truck and a 1957 Chevrolet 2-door coupe.

The 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline has me thinking back to Rimbey, Alberta and my uncle’s farm in the late sixties and early seventies. For many years, a mid-forties (1946-48) Chevrolet four-door fastback (blue/black with white roof) sat next to the farm shop. The intention had been to swap pistons from a second donor car and to add a second vehicle economically to a growing family that was becoming more and more on the move. Unfortunately, the pistons were of different sizes and the car did not move again. As kids on visits, my cousins, my brothers and I would pretend to drive to and from different places in this grounded car. A big, big steering wheel, a windshield that may have been two pieces in design, a springy and dusty bench seat and doors that creaked on ungreased hinges were setting to the play of the drive with family. In coming years, the Chevrolet fastback sedan was towed behind the farm’s barley silage silo.

A good, good reminiscence of former times, these.

Listening to – Over the Rhine’s ‘Born,’ ‘Bluer,’ ‘Spark,’ ‘Lookin’ Forward’ and ‘Who Will Guard the Door’ – November kind of music.

Quote to Consider – “Instead of just recording reality, photographs have become the norm for the way things appear to us, thereby changing the very idea of reality, and of realism.” – Susan Sontag, ‘On Photography’

Desperate Tattoo

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Journaling, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Service Station, Summer, Weather
Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 2

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 2

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 3

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 3

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 4

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 4

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 6

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 6

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 10

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 10

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 11

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 11

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 12

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 12

Derelict Service Station - Southern Alberta 14

Derelict Service Station – Southern Alberta 14

Beyond the Banff National Park gates, moving east toward Calgary, near the Stoney Reserve a service station with restaurant that had been a thriving business in the sixties, seventies and even eighties is now dormant. An abandoned structure, without windows and gyprocked walls, it now provides temporary and limited shelter from the elements to travellers or hitchhikers or people seeking ‘off-the-grid’ status. The building reminds of characters, scenes and happenings within the ramble of Jack Kerouac’s novel, ‘On the Road,’ of people driven and on the move, of stories shared between travellers that may or may never meet again, of place and places where seedier things can occur. On an adjacent theme, the building reminds of the Life of Chris McCandless in Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction work, ‘Into the Wild,’ and any would-be traveller who aims to explore and take-on the world on their own terms – that traveller could find refuge in this building. Graffiti tags tattoo this building, the building paper to the quill of the traveller’s spray paint. Expressed, here, are the dominant issues confronting each traveller, assertions about justice denied, of perspective not being valued and rejected, of the irony within all that makes the world tick. In all, graffiti’s colour, shape and form pull the witness to the resilient voice of the traveller expressed upon these walls. Here, ‘the writing is on the wall’ about the state of their/our world. Most telling about these travellers and their living so close to the land is the assertion ‘The Desperate Came’.

Listening to – Eddie Vedder’s ‘Hard Sun’ from the soundtrack to ‘Into the Wild.’ Then it’s Ray Lamontagne’s ‘Hold You In My Arms,’ Radiohead’s ‘All I Need,’ the Counting Crows with ‘Omaha’ and Jack Johnson’s ‘Rodeo Clowns.’

Quote to Inspire – “I don’t care so much anymore about ‘good photography’; I am gathering evidence for history.” – Gilles Peress

A Slippery, Melting World

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Gas Station, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, School, Service Station, Still Life, Weather, Winter

A busy week has me posting photographs almost a week beyond date of image capture. Last Friday’s photowalk took us through High Level’s southern side, a slippery, melting world, a world of water splashing and flowing and soaking through. Photographers captured freeze-frame splashing, the results of big chunks of ice being thrown into puddles.  Others’ photographs were more about water’s ripple and reflection, water moving and water that’s settled.  Beyond this, water misted in the spray generated by vehicles traveling among wet, wet High Level roads.

I used my Sigma 10-20 mm in two ways, first to distort line and shape of subjects close by and secondly to photograph landscape traveled through.  The subjects photographed include an RCMP three-quarter ton truck, playground equipment at Spirit of the North Community School, a bog-runner truck … in development, the curbside view of Quality Motors (our local Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge Dealer) and the Extra Foods Gas Bar (part of the Canadian Superstore chain).

Listening to the Steve Miller Band – Rock’n Me, Take the Money and Run and Mercury Blues from the Fly Like an Eagle album;  other songs have included Murray McLauchlan’s Hard Rock Town and Ryan Adam’s Chains of Love.

Quote to Inspire – “Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” – Dorothea Lange

Refit & Refuel

Canon 50mm, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Gas Station, Photoblog Intention, Prime Lens, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Season, Service Station, Vehicle, Winter

Shell Service Station - High Level, Alberta

I’m going to study this picture.  It does capture a sense of this being an outpost and a place to refit and refuel in night’s darkest hours. The intent, however, was to capture something iconic, a gas station lighting the night … it being more of a beacon for a point of rest before continuing on, more something you’d expect listening to John Mayer sing ‘Route 66’. High Level’s Shell Service Station is open 24/7 year-round and is midpoint between Edmonton, Alberta and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. In terms of the shot taken, it may be that the 50mm prime lens limits what can happen with plane of focus and composition; more movement on my part would be needed to find the right location and composition. Still, I like the crispness of most parts of the photograph.  I may try a few shots looking more straight across to the service station one of these nights.