That Lens & Getting South

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.

Seeing It, Naming It – There

Dunvegan 1
Dunvegan 2
Dunvegan 3
Dunvegan 4
Dunvegan 5
Dunvegan 6
Dunvegan 7
Dunvegan 8
Dunvegan 9
Dunvegan 10
Dunvegan 11
Dunvegan 12
Dunvegan 13
Dunvegan Bridge

In Alberta’s northwest my family and I have lived in Fox Lake, Garden River, La Crete and High Level. The roads are long and distances travelled influence our cost of living. It can be cost effective to travel south for supplies if you are buying in bulk and stocking up. Yet, buying local permits piecemeal buying as needed and supports local business. We buy groceries here at home. And, I will travel south in the year.

Dunvegan – it is a place I travel through on my way south to Grande Prairie; with the suspension bridge crossing the Peace River, it is a place I know by sight; it became a place I would investigate. Fifteen years would pass before indigenous Art, Alberta history and site use would coalesce with it being a fixed name in my mind – Dunvegan. Like other points along the Peace River you descend into this river valley. A road cuts a long two-kilometre gradient into each valley wall, north and south, to ease the braking efforts of heavy-laden transport trucks. At the lowest point, you cross the kilometre-wide Peace River on a yellow and brown suspension bridge. Then you accelerate moving up and out of the river valley – south towards Rycroft, north towards Fairview. Dunvegan is the name given to the plateau area under and surrounding the north side of the bridge.

Seeing Dunvegan – I would see Dunvegan in indigenous paintings at Grande Prairie Art galleries. The contour of the land folding down from a high river bank to plateau holds the eye. With skilled use of colour and light, the painter could draw attention to sacred place and practices. Longing for old ways was found in such Art. Still though, I was not recognizing these paintings as the area I travelled through a couple of times a year.

Dunvegan took hold in my classroom with my students. Each day, along with our school, students and staff read for 15 minutes. ‘Drop Everything And Read’ (DEAR) saw my students return to one book for regular reading, ‘Alberta Ghost Stories.’ One tale in the book told of a ghost sighting in an upper room in one of the old Dunvegan historical buildings. From what I recall, as with most ghost stories, light dwindles well past dusk. A living and breathing mortal is walking outside the house. He feels compelled to look up and sees someone or something looking at him. There is surprise, impact and connection in seeing and in being seen. The tale’s impact is greater finding out that the house has been shut-up for decades with no way in. Readers in my class always discussed what they thought was going on … offering speculation. The story became real to them. Like me, my students and their parents traveled through Dunvegan on their way to Grande Prairie. Often, they would stop at Dunvegan for lunch or a smoke break. The Dunvegan story held their imagination and during a travel break they would investigate as far as they dared. My students’ stories of being in Dunvegan would return with them to class every few months.

Still, haste in my travels got the better of me. I was not yet stopping at Dunvegan in my travels southward. And, it was only a few years ago that I first stopped in at Dunvegan. My wife had spoken about a nursery for spring bedding plants that she and a friend would go to hours south from High Level. She had been talking about Dunvegan Gardens, one of the best nurseries in Alberta. You find it at/on the eastern-most section of the Dunvegan plateau. Located between Fairview and Rycroft, the Dunvegan Gardens serves residents of Grande Prairie and from as far north as High Level.

One time, as she and I came upon the Dunvegan turn-off my wife pointed out the Dunvegan Gardens to me. It was the place she and her friend had been. And, my wife got me to slow down, turn-in and stop at Dunvegan to look around. I was finally connecting the dots – this was Dunvegan. Since that time, perhaps for the last six or seven years, I have been making time to stop and look around with my camera. Good. The Dunvegan site is a beautiful and worthy landscape in all seasons. One of these times I am hoping to pass through the area in late October or early November when the Dunvegan valley is sometimes shrouded in mists.

Dunvegan has been one of the prominent fur trading areas in Alberta. Fort Dunvegan was a trading post. Established by the Northwest Company, the Hudson’s Bay Company would later take over the trading post. A Factor’s house still stands. The site would evolve to hold two Churches, a Roman Catholic mission – St. Charles, and, an Anglican mission later – St. Saviour’s. Behind the Factor’s house is the plateau area upon which are four or five Tipis with poles raised waiting for hide or canvas covers. The site is older than Canadian history, the site being a meeting point or assembly area for indigenous peoples.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy (Henri Cartier-Bresson).”

Listening to – The Candid Frame: Conversations about Photography podcast and Ibarionex Perello’s time in Japan in December, 2019; being present to situation, setting, light. Good, good.

Look-back Edits – Iceland

Iceland – Northwest 1
Seljalandsfoss 3
Seljalandsfoss 2
Seljalandsfoss 1
Road North and West 2
Road North and West 1
Road East and South
Looking Out – Driving toward Vik
Island Crossing 3
Island Crossing 2
Island Crossing 1
Harbour Northwest 2
Harbour Northwest 1
Grindivik Harbour 3
Grindivik Harbour 2
Grindivik 4
Grindivik 3
Grindivik 2
Grindivik 1
Grindivik Harbour 1
Grindivik – Early Morning Arrival
Farm Landscape 8
Farm Landscape 7
Farm Landscape 6
Farm Landscape 5
Farm Landscape 4
Farm Landscape 3
Farm Landscape 2
Farm Landscape 1
Farm Buildings Northwest 2
Farm Buildings Northwest 1
Driving toward Vik
Church and Manse
Black Church at Budir 2
Black Church at Budir 1
Iceland – Northwest 2

A friend has been keeping up with my Facebook shares this past week. She has noticed that I am sharing many Iceland photos that I come across. Her encouragement, knowing I am a photographer, is for me to get myself over to Iceland and begin making my own photographs. It is a good kick in the pants. While I do want to go, in doing so, my friend was unaware that I would be returning to Iceland. I have had four days to myself in Iceland, in April, 2016. I let my friend know that I had been to Iceland. I told her I would include some of my photos in my Facebook posts.

So, four days in Iceland. My Iceland images were the first images I post-processed without using Lightroom presets. In editing those images I would use all parts of the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (Lightroom) editing menu with my photos. I would still create some High Dynamic Range (HDR) images, but most would be single image edits. That first work with editing took place in October and November, 2016. Those images became part of a Photobook, ‘Four Days in Iceland – 2016.’

Following interaction with my friend, I now had to find my Iceland images. I had not transferred them to my current 16Tb external hard drives. Two matters complicated working with these images. First, with last year’s wildfire and evacuation, I packed my external hard drives taking them with us. Until last week, they remained in storage boxes in the garage. Next, back when I edited the images, I had limited external drive space to work with. I often shifted images between hard drives to create space for different projects. In this past week (and since that first edit of Iceland photos) I have had a difficult time locating the images on any of my external hard drives. Within the intervening years, I have changed things. First, where I had used Lightroom 5.0, I now work with the subscription version of Lightroom Classic. It’s been a good choice. The subscription allows the app/software to update each month and stay current. Next, where I had used many external hard drives, I now work with two large 16Tb external hard drives. They will be able to handle most upcoming photos and projects for a while. Last week’s challenge was locating the external hard drive holding the Iceland photos. Once found, I transferred the images into the Lightroom catalogue. All got done – Good. I have wanted to work with these images for a long while.

So, the current COVID-19 question … what to do? In Alberta, our summer break is smarter with physical distancing and a mask. It is smarter to be more at home than in the public throng. I have that itch to be out with my camera(s) in places I have yet to explore. I have to consider how that might work best. For now, the best opportunity to take advantage of is to look back through my Iceland photos and to edit images I did not edit in 2016.

In this past week I have been editing some of my other Iceland images. While editing I have listened to Robert James Waller’s ‘The Bridges of Madison County.’ I have been able to listen to a cool YouTube vlog ‘Light from Rock Music vol. 3’ while editing. I have listened to radio around the world while editing – CKUA in Edmonton, CBC Vancouver, BBC Radio Ulster, Fine Music Radio. While editing I have attended a virtual concert with Brian Houston. Through Zoom I was able to access synchronous (live) and asynchronous (recorded) formats of the concert. Brian introduced all songs from his upcoming album for release in August. Imagine being able to listen live with fifty others to a concert in Belfast, Ireland. Imagine being able to interact with Brian and concert go-ers by Zoom chat within and after performance. I did need to recognize that an 8:00 p.m. Belfast concert translated to a 1:00 p.m. Alberta time possibility. I could attend and take part. Cool.

Brian Houston – In the early 2000s Steve Stockman introduced me to Brian’s music. Steve had air time on BBC Radio Ulster from 8:00-9:00 p.m. each Sunday from September to June. Steve’s program, ‘Rhythm and Soul’ is a place I found myself following my reading of his book, ‘Walk On, the Spiritual Journey of U2.’ I found myself interacting with the music of Lucinda Williams, David Gray, the Vigilantes of Love, Martyn Joseph, Bebo Norman, Billy Bragg, Wilco and many, many more artists. Brian’s songs found airplay. ‘My Debts is Paid’ and ‘Next to Me’ are current songs I find my way to from time to time. There are many others. I am impressed by the range of understanding, imagination and intention I encounter in Brian and his songs. Last week’s virtual concert was something new. Brian sung each new song from his upcoming album and talked through how each came about. I am liking how Brian has come to terms with owning his songs and that Life experience is foundation from which to build songs. I am liking that Brian’s versatility and musicianship allow him to cover other’s songs well and make them his own; his Van Morrison work from a few weeks back was exceptional. Right now, his song ‘Ivory Tower,’ is streaming on Spotify. If you can, give it a listen.

Iceland and edited images – there are a few images here, more are of a documentary nature; some hold a quality of wanting to pull you in, a visual narrative that will hold your curiosity. Thanks for looking in. Please stay safe.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “The composition happens as the work progresses. Often the messy background makes it easy to disperse shapes as needed. I’d rather it took over me than I took over it (Myfanwy Pavelic).”

Listening to – Carrie Newcomer’s ‘Lean in Toward the Light,’ ‘A Shovel Is A Prayer,’ ‘Cedar Rapids 10 AM,’ ‘The Beautiful Not Yet,’ ‘Three Feet Or So,’ ‘Sanctuary,’ and ‘Help In Hard Times.’

Anchored Home

Arches National Park, Utah - 1
Arches National Park, Utah – 1
Arches National Park, Utah - 2
Arches National Park, Utah – 2
Arches National Park, Utah - 3
Arches National Park, Utah – 3
Arches National Park, Utah - 4
Arches National Park, Utah – 4
Arches National Park, Utah - 5
Arches National Park, Utah – 5
Arches National Park, Utah - 6
Arches National Park, Utah – 6
Arches National Park, Utah - 7
Arches National Park, Utah – 7
Arches National Park, Utah - 8
Arches National Park, Utah – 8
Arches National Park, Utah - 9
Arches National Park, Utah – 9
Arches National Park, Utah - 10
Arches National Park, Utah – 10
Arches National Park, Utah - 11
Arches National Park, Utah – 11
Arches National Park, Utah - 12
Arches National Park, Utah – 12
Arches National Park, Utah - 13
Arches National Park, Utah – 13
Arches National Park, Utah - 14
Arches National Park, Utah – 14
Arches National Park, Utah - 15
Arches National Park, Utah – 15
Arches National Park, Utah - 16
Arches National Park, Utah – 16
Arches National Park, Utah - 17
Arches National Park, Utah – 17
Arches National Park, Utah - 18
Arches National Park, Utah – 18
Arches National Park, Utah - 19
Arches National Park, Utah – 19
Arches National Park, Utah - 20
Arches National Park, Utah – 20
Arches National Park, Utah - 21
Arches National Park, Utah – 21

It is July, 2020. We are two weeks out from our last day of school. Summer has begun. We have had enough rain – there have been wildfires, but the threat they pose to the community, so far, is limited (a welcome change from last year). The COVID virus sees us, my family and I, anchoring ourselves in northern Alberta while we watch what happens in our province. Yesterday, there were 258 active cases in a population of almost 4.5 million people. The province is doing well. So, we may travel south later in the summer … we’ll see.

A friend and I took two kayaks out last night on Footner Lake – paddling for four hours or so, enjoying the water’s calm, watching the flight of ducks and swallows and eagles, listening to all in the woods and on the lake. The opportunity to talk and share was there. The opportunity to consider possibilities was there. We talked music … about a radio show that he hosts on a local radio station; for me, yesterday, through Zoom, I had been able to participate in an album release concert for Brian Houston in Belfast Ireland in the afternoon (Belfast’s 8:00 p.m. translates to High Level’s 1:00 p.m.).

We talked through world locations we would like to visit. We talked through Iceland (where I have been and his daughter now has the opportunity to go). We talked through photos and the value of a photoblog and of photobooks. Our talk recalled to memory photos (above) from Arches National Park in Utah, photos from a summer trip my family and I made in 2014.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “Curiosity is the tool that shapes the work of all artists, just as much as any brush or chisel (Will Gompertz, ‘Think Like An Artist’).”

Listening to – Van Morrison’s ‘Behind the Ritual,’ ‘Full Force Gale,’ and ‘These are the Days,’ The Travelin’ McCourys’ ‘For What It’s Worth,’ Brandi Carlile’s ‘The Story,’ ‘Apocalypse’ by Cigarettes after Sex, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s ‘Running with Our Eyes Closed,’ ‘Dreamsicle’ and ‘St. Peter’s Autograph.’ And, have had first listens to Brian Houston’s ‘Ivory Tower,’ and his covers of Van Morrison’s ‘Into the Mystic’ and ‘Full Force Gale’ (via Light from Rock Music vol. 1: Van Morrison).

Out to the Road

54 Ford Crestline - Manning, Alberta 1
54 Ford Crestline – Manning, Alberta 1
54 Ford Crestline - Manning, Alberta 2
54 Ford Crestline – Manning, Alberta 2
54 Ford Crestline - Manning, Alberta 3
54 Ford Crestline – Manning, Alberta 3
54 Ford Crestline - Manning, Alberta 4
54 Ford Crestline – Manning, Alberta 4
54 Ford Crestline - Manning, Alberta 5
54 Ford Crestline – Manning, Alberta 5

It is on the Mackenzie Highway fifteen kilometres south from Manning, Alberta. A green and white, four-door, 1954 Ford Crestline sedan sits there. It’s on the west side where a township road intersects the highway. It is there to attract a buyer interested in restoring this Crestline. It has a straight-six 223 CID engine – it does not hold V8 nor Fordomatic insignia. Its chrome jet hood ornament is missing. Its front passenger door has been dented. Making this Crestline roadworthy will involve work.

I like this Crestline’s green and white colours. They bring out a nostalgia associated with a former era – from the decade before I was born.

This Crestline holds the narrative of families who have been driven in it. There were things a family could do with this vehicle; vacations, trips to town, grocery-getting, banking, doctor’s appointments – day to day things all occurred driving this Crestline. There were things dreamt of but never attempted with this vehicle – destination dreams. This Crestline’s weight, suspension and Armstrong steering gave it a forgiving kind of movement in acceleration and cornering. It had a range you could drive with one tank of gas. It had a feel in how you looked out to the road. And, not only the driver looked out to the road. Others, passengers, would have looked upon the land going by as they travelled.

I would like to drive this Ford Crestline, in the same way I would like to drive former cars I’ve owned – to return to a sense for how it handled and perhaps a sense for who had driven and ridden in it (the story of this Ford). Here, it is noted that in the following year (1955), the Ford Crestline would be replaced by another well-known Ford, the Fairlane.

In terms of the photographs, I am happy with where each edit has brought me.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “Developing a composition is a continuous flow of ideas, where the artist combines, adds, reduces, adapts and discards the various elements in an unending discovery of the new possibilities (Alessandra Bitelli).”

Listening to – Tommy Emmanuel and Billy Strings’ ‘Guitar Boogie,’ Bill Kirchen and Redd Vokaert’s ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’ and Molly Tuttle and Billy Strings’ ‘Sittin On Top Of The World.’

Narrative – From a Distance

La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 1
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 1
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 2
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 2
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 3
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 3
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 4
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 4
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 5
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 5
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 6
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 6
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 7
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 7
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 8
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 8
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 9
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 9
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 10
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 10
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village - La Crete, Alberta 11
La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village – La Crete, Alberta 11

A cold, winter Sunday in February last year found me on a drive and taking these photos. The afternoon saw me drive a circuit through a large swath of Alberta’s Mackenzie county. From High Level, I traveled south and then east. I crossed the Peace River at the Tompkin’s landing ice bridge near Blue Hills. From Blue Hills I drove east and around the Buffalo Head Prairie corner up to La Crete. Next, I rounded the seven-mile corner moving northward past Blumenort and Fort Vermilion. Finally I would drive west past Rocky Lane and return to High Level.

On a range road south and west from La Crete I found my way to the La Crete Mennonite Heritage Village. At 2:30 p.m., winter sun had begun its arc toward the horizon. In the space of an hour I was able to look, see and find these photos. Each piece of machinery was well taken care of. Each house and farm building remains solid – each might still be used, if needed. 1950 seems a date records show Mennonite membership in the La Crete area – 130 people in the area, then. Now, after seventy years, these buildings and this equipment hold many family narratives – the how, the who, the where, the what … the tough times and the good. Each photograph is from a distance – from the range road outside the La Crete Heritage Village site. I have used a tripod with a zoom lens for each image.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “I usually have an immediate recognition of the potential image, and I have found that too much concern about matters such as conventional composition may take the edge off the first inclusive reaction (Ansel Adams).”

Listening to CKUA – East Pointers’ ‘Ken the Hen,’ Garnet Rogers’ ‘Threshold,’ Paul Brady’s ‘Help Me to Believe,’ Andy Irvine’s ‘My Hearts Tonight in Ireland,’ The Casts’ ‘Lullaby for a Very New Baby’ and Jackie Leven’s ‘The Garden.’

Lamp Post Light

Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 1
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 1
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 2
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 2
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 3
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 3
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 4
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 4
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 5
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 5
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 6
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 6
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 7
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 7
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 8
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 8
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 9
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 9
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 10
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 10
Glowing Lamp Post Light - High Level - 11
Glowing Lamp Post Light – High Level – 11

A pair of running shoes became troublesome. Hardening foam soles were causing knee pain following treadmill use. It was early January, 2020 and I longed to be moving. I chose to get outdoors for early morning walks. With my camera in my jacket pocket I trekked the six kilometre loop around High Level. At a meandering pace, my walks were ideal for the stop and start of recognizing a photograph.

Those were cold mornings. At -30C I took care to dress for outdoors, for northern winter cold. I layered my clothes adding solid outer gear – balaclava and toque, mitts, jacket, pants and trail boots. A dark, overcast night sky was backdrop to my walks. The feel of the walk was something close. Chimney steam hung low in the air, wraiths, not moving. It was cold if you didn’t keep moving. It was cold to use the camera. Along each of these walks lamp post lights glowed. A sight only seen in coldest winter.

The shoes – it took a week to recognize that new running shoes would solve the treadmill and knee problem.

Self-separating self-isolation – I hope each of you are well. I am eight days in to staying at home and hope to return to the regular run of a day’s routine soon.

‘Reprieve’ – You who are landscape photographers … make sure you check-out Adam Gibbs’ YouTube offering of ‘Reprieve.’ It is a photographer’s look at the world, something soulful and meditative. It reveals the photographer’s invitation to viewers to see the world around you. It is an extraordinary offering from Adam.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “I put in my pictures everything I like. So much the worse for the things; they have to get along with each other (Pablo Picasso).”

Listening to – Tami Neilson’s ‘Queenie, Queenie,’ Lori McKenna’s ‘A Mother Never Rests’ and ‘The Fixer,’ Ben Howard’s ‘Keep Your Head Up,’ Pharis & Jason Romero’s ‘Sally Goodin’ from their ‘Long Gone Out West Blues,’ Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Streets of Philadelphia,’ and Motorhead’s version of Bowie’s ‘Heroes.’

To Step Into

Cathedral Grove - Painterly Edit Protocol - 1
Cathedral Grove – Painterly Edit Protocol – 1
Cathedral Grove - Painterly Edit Protocol - 2
Cathedral Grove – Painterly Edit Protocol – 2
Cathedral Grove - Painterly Edit Protocol - 3
Cathedral Grove – Painterly Edit Protocol – 3

I don’t think so. I’ve followed an editing protocol intended to produce a painterly feel in the image. And, while having fun with different edits, I haven’t necessarily arrived at a painterly image. You’ll have to tell me. In terms of attributes, a painterly image is more soft than crisp in terms of detail. It limits or reduces the colour palette to fewer colours that work together. The image has an ethereal, not quite worldly feel that engages the imagination in terms of ‘what-if’ and ‘what could be.’ When I have found my way through such an edit and created an image with a painterly feel, it has the quality of feeling like you could step into a fairy tale.

Listening to: Hozier’s ‘Wasteland Baby,’ ‘Claire de Lune,’ Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Call it Democracy,’ The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again,’ Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Highway Patrolman,’ and, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris’ ‘This is Us.’

Quote to Consider / Inspire – ‘Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter (Ansel Adams, courtesy of Light Stalking).’

Buttery Refraction of Light – Nostalgic

Autumn Colour - Buttery Refraction, Rocky Lane, Alberta
Autumn Colour – Buttery Refraction, Rocky Lane, Alberta
Autumn Colour - Buttery Refraction, Butter Town - Fort Vermilion, Alberta
Autumn Colour – Buttery Refraction, Butter Town – Fort Vermilion, Alberta

A colder week, here in Northern Alberta. Our temperature has reached downwards to -44C and lower still to -55C with windchill. Staying warm, pursuing projects around the house and remaining warm under thick blankets has been what our week has been about. The water lines to our kitchen sink and to our clothes washer are frozen – they will be worked on when the temperatures warms a nudge (so they won’t refreeze after warming to flow once). For me, the cold allows time to slow down, to review images not yet edited and to edit my images following editing protocols (workflows) outlined in different tutorials.

Here, I’m liking these early morning, early autumn compositions – balance, symmetry / asymmetry, colour, directional light and depths (places to look to within this image). In taking these photos, I am trialing an m-mount Leica Summarit 35 mm lens and investigating its working with colour; a friend has highlighted the unique refraction of the light (the colour red, in particular) as being ‘buttery.’ I am curious. This edit shows the Summarit 35mm to sharp and the colour refraction renders a nostalgic feel.

Quote to Consider / Inspire – “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 (thanks Light Stalking).

Listening to – Caribou’s rendition of ‘Home,’ U2’s ‘Bad,’ ‘Crumbs from Your Table,’ ‘Mysterious Ways,’ and ‘One.’ Then it’s Ellie Goulding’s ‘How Long Will I Love You’ from that most excellent film ‘About Time,’ a film I hope all of you have watched.

Time Out – Edits

Cathedral Grove – Parksville, BC, Canada 1
Cathedral Grove – Parksville, BC, Canada 2
Cathedral Grove – Parksville, BC, Canada 3
Cathedral Grove – Parksville, BC, Canada 4
Cathedral Grove – Parksville, BC, Canada 5
Cathedral Grove – Parksville, BC, Canada 6
Cathedral Grove – Parksville, BC, Canada 7
Englishman River Falls – Parksville, BC, Canada 1
Englishman River Falls – Parksville, BC, Canada 2

Travel featured in this Christmas for my wife and me. We were able to be with our son and daughter. We were able to slow down with them, gather a sense of them and understand how Life is treating them; Christmas was a juncture in their medias res and ours. They’re doing alright. Good. And, Christmas with its snow and cold allowed me time to sit at my computer and edit other images from 2019. I value having this time to rest, to see and to arrive at these edits. Here are a few more from Cathedral Grove and Englishman River falls.

Quotes to Consider / Inspire (gathered by Sean Tucker and offered in his vlog ‘The Things we can’t Control’) – “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves (Viktor Frankl).” “Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens (Epictetus).” I am grateful to Sean for his solid talk on Life and Photography … good, good schtuff!!

Listening to CKUA Online – Lucette’s ‘Angel,’ Lee Harvey Osmond’s ‘Colours,’ Jade Bird’s ‘Side Effects’ and Sam and Dave’s ‘Thank you.’ Also, paying attention to a vlog of Jonas Dyhr Rask’s X-Ambassador offering a lecture at Scandinavian Photo, December, 2016 – some ideas on gear, on street photography an development as a photographer.


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