The Photographer’s Photo

Photowalk - Photographer's Photo

Today – out with fellow photographers, a first cluster together.  Some creatives among the group, ones willing to experiment with perspective and their subject.  Totally cool to be a part of things today and to capture this photographer’s photo in the making.  Good schtuff!

Listening to How Soon Is Now by the Smiths, as found on The Wedding Singer Soundtrack.

Quote to Inspire – “Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” – Imogen Cunningham

Impermanent Things … and Deer

2000 GMC Sierra - To be Written Off

Deer – three does chased by a stag crossed Alberta highway 88 as I traveled eastward from High Level to Fort Vermilion at 8:00 a.m. on January 23, 2012; the three does made it across safely between myself and oncoming vehicles.  I slowed my truck down on the icy road but not enough to miss hitting the stag.  I stopped further ahead and turned around to see about animal remains that might need to be hauled from the road.  Nothing was found.  There was a swale in the snow where the deer had drifted into the ditch on the north side of the highway. But, the stag and does had taken off.  My truck, on the other hand, received damage – the grill and light housing mainly and the radiator and transmission cooler were pushed back toward the engine.  I checked it out and watched the gauges – it held together for another 160 km and still is driveable today.  Despite being in immaculate shape, at 286 000 km, this 2000 GMC Sierra is considered a write-off as the cost to repair the truck exceeds the value of the truck.

The antlered stag, imagistically recalls U2’s Electrical Storm video, its being written about Ireland’s Easter Day Accord, and the ghosted image of the stag in the Electrical Storm video – a subject I’ve commented on on the old U2 Zoo Station (Zooropa) website.

Listening to – Impermanent Things by Peter Himmelman from his Stage Diving album.

Quote to Inspire – “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” -Ansel Adams

Walking On – U2’s 360 Tour in Edmonton, 2 June 2011

Edmonton – June 2, 2011 – In 1988, in Anzac, Alberta I painted the walls of a Northland School Division teacherage making it home for my wife and I in our second year of marriage. That fall, I listened and painted as a song aired for the first few times on the local FM radio station from Fort McMurray featuring Robbie Robertson and familiar ‘Joshua Tree’ vocals as back-up to the song with also familiar chiming guitar work. As I listened I was confirming the sacred arena that the lyrics were dealing with. Backing to the song was provided by Bono and Edge of U2. The song, Sweet Fire of Love, alluded to and opened out the experience of awakening to the Holy Spirit’s work. In the lyrics, awakening was the issue and the story side of the song had a biographical element, something true and encountered by members of U2.

I would read about such awakening in Steve Stockman’s Walk On – The Spiritual Journey of U2, a book originating in response to a Canadian in Vancouver, British Columbia challenging Steve to set out proofs that members of U2 were Christian. There was much disbelief about U2 being Christian. The band’s appeal to audiences would seem worldly and something quite far away from … ministry. Yet, Steve set about looking through the U2 canon to establish context and biblical reference for U2 songs and in doing so exposed the bad and good, the hurt and the love experienced in the current Church.  Moreover, Steve considered the role contemporary secular and Christian music play in overcoming or ameliorating a grace-filled Christian walk.

Throughout this time of challenge regarding U2’s credible Christian walk, Steve hosted a Sunday radio show called Rhythm and Soul on BBC Radio Ulster (8:00 p.m. – Ulster, 1:00 p.m. – Alberta) that examined Christian message found in contemporary Christian and secular music; over the internet, I tuned in from 2002 to 2007. By the time Rhythm and Soul completed its run, Steve had written three books considering music in the Christian walk, completed a Masters of Theology, led youth (young adult) missions trips to Cape Town, South Africa and had served as Dean of Derryvolgie Hall at Queens University in Belfast, Ireland. In the summer of 2005, I enjoyed an hour’s visit and dialogue with Steve at Regent College (Vancouver, British Columbia). After a few years, Steve became chaplain at Fitzroy Presbyterian Church in Belfast, Ireland; he now has a blog that follows from his Rhythm and Soul days and his Rhythms of Redemption blog – its called Soul Surmise. For Steve, Bono of U2 remains his favourite Irish pastor. For me, I finally got to see U2 in Edmonton, Alberta at Commonwealth Stadium in my forty-ninth year, days before I would turn fifty – 2 June 2011.

The photographs presented here capture something of the evening.  It being an overcast day on June 2, 2011, the night became chilly and U2 donned extra clothing to stay warm.  The evening held stories of Bono hitch-hiking in a Vancouver rainstorm and being picked up by a Vancouver Canuck’s player who Bono rewarded with tickets to the Edmonton performance. Bono sought out a female audience member to sing a Canadian tune, Neil Young’s Heart of Gold. The whole of the stadium knew each song of the U2 canon; all sang with U2, and together. As I would remark later – I was glad to be able to take my wife, daughter and son to see a live performance by a band whose music has filled our home through the years – a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime night.

Here’s the set list.

  1. Even Better Than The Real Thing
  2. I Will Follow
  3. Get On Your Boots
  4. Magnificent
  5. Mysterious Ways
  6. Elevation
  7. Until The End Of The World
  8. All I Want Is You
  9. Stay (Faraway, So Close!)
  10. Beautiful Day
  11. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
  12. Miss Sarajevo
  13. Zooropa
  14. City Of Blinding Lights
  15. Vertigo
  16. I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
  17. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  18. Scarlet
  19. Walk On
  20. Encore: One
  21. Where The Streets Have No Name
  22. Encore 2: Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
  23. With Or Without You
  24. Moment of Surrender

Curious quote for the pondering:

“… some may call it blasphemy

But I believe it’s true

God lies there beside you in the gutter

And grace, like a mother holds you.” ~ Steve Stockman, from poem, Up on Scarlet Street

 Listening to Ryan Adams’ Wonderwall from the album, Love is Hell

Greenery – Among Light, Mist and Shadow

Englishman River Falls, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

In the heart of coldest January, summer photographs aid reminiscence of warmer, pleasant times. I’ve been to Englishman River Falls on Vancouver Island three times – dangling feet in the water with my wife and cousin, hiking the area with my Mom and Dad and finally as photographic opportunity.  This photo shows the interplay of the river’s movement among fading light, mist, shadow and greenery.

Listening – I’ve been listening to Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City Music Hall – poignant, well-sung lyrics among resonant rhythms.

Curious quotes for the pondering:

“God becomes and unbecomes,” from Meister Eckhart highlighting the idea that God is only our word for it, that it’s so much more.

“God is not perhaps so much a region beyond knowledge, as something prior to the sentences we speak.” ~ Foucault, The Order of Things (cited in Marion 1994:570)

Alone – A Life Resigned, Complete

Vale Island - Boat in Woods, Hay River, NWT

The photograph presented, here, is one of the five boats on Vale Island at Hay River, NWT. While several wordpress blogger photographs this week explore the theme of ‘simple’ in a weekly photo challenge, this photograph more accurately conveys the sentiment of ‘being at rest or at peace.’ This photograph is quirky, though, a boat dragged among the trees, a boat left to rot away … and still the lighting, the subject and boat’s shape suggest simplicity, perhaps a simplicity in resignation. As a concept, simple can be construed to mean the basics involved in the minimum equation for living; it can refer to what one finds easy to do and tangentially it can refer to limited cognitive capacity, perhaps a capacity less than what is required in order to live. Again, the photograph really presents the simplicity of resignation – a life resigned, something complete, something simple.

Listening to The Good in Me is Dead sung by Martyn Joseph in his album Don’t Talk About Love, Volume 1

Quote to Inspire – “There is no such thing as ‘correct’ composition, just bad composition, good composition and inspired composition.” ~ Andrew S. Gibson, Beyond Thirds – A Photographer’s Introduction to Creative Composition

Vale Island – At the Corner of 100th St. and 102nd Ave. NW

Vale Island Boats - Hay River, NWT

On Vale Island, part of the old Hay River town site, at the wooded corner of 100th Street and 102nd Avenue, if you look into the trees of the northwest corner the sight you’ll see is that of four or five derelict wooden boats of various sizes, some small enough to have navigated the east channel alone, others with size enough to have been considered, in their day, seaworthy on the Great Slave Lake. Three of these boats are the subject of my second high dynamic range (HDR) photograph, boats well-past their prime, dragged to higher ground to rot away among the aspen willows. They will no longer be a nuisance there and they’ll need little upkeep.  In actual fact, what I’ve come across is the cemetery plot for these old boats.  While life has gone out from them, these vessels, without doubt, saw service in my life time; but, would they have been built in my life time?

The picture and this present consideration of boat-life reminds of a reader colleague and friend who pointed me toward Alice Munroe’s 2001 novel about the different ‘ships’ we sail within throughout our lives; it’s entitled Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, and has now been republished with the title ‘Away From Her.’ Within each state we act and move with different intents and purposes.  But, a ship graveyard such as this found on Vale Island reminds that our journey within these collective or collected states has beginning, duration and an end, as well.  The book was a tough go reading-wise, more something exposing malaise and truth than … hope?

The boats of Vale Island while having had lives that preceded this photograph, have certainly ferried human lives living within the various ‘ships’ that Alice Munroe has proposed in and around Hay River, NWT. These boats still hold their line and shape.  Now, beyond their service, they are in demise.  And, the winds blow from the Great Slave Lake through Vale Island, among these boats and into Hay River.

Listening to Ride Forever, sung by Paul Gross as part of the Due South soundtrack, a single song referencing the Great Slave Lake, living in Alberta … and matters of growing old.

Quote to Inspire – “Where I come from the challenges are quite different.  There are no drug dealers or pimps, few thieves to bother with.  There was only the environment and surviving in the face of it is the challenge of the Inuit. A mother gives birth somewhere out on a glacier field, hundreds of miles from the nearest outpost and she knows that the odds are stacked against her son even living to see the spring with disease, lack of food or the elements.  And, even if they should survive and if he should grow to be a boy, she knows very well that all he has to do is lose his footing on the smooth surface of a glacier and that’ll be that.  In other words, she should know that if her son cannot live … why should she try?  Well I know this woman. I helped deliver her son. She was weak and undernourished. The next morning she stood up and she picked her child up into her arms and she set out again into the blinding snow.  And, I think that was one of the most courageous acts that I’ve ever seen.” ~ Paul Gross, Fraser/Inuit Soliloquy – Due South

Thank you, kindly.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photograph – Alexandra Falls

Alexandra Falls HDR 2

At the Alexandra Falls I used the AEB (Automatic Exposure Bracketing) in anticipation of working with HDR software soon. The Automatic Exposure Bracketing on a Canon camera takes three (3) shots of the same subject in sequence – a darker image, the average exposed image and a lighter image. I downloaded the Photomatix Pro HDR software (thank you for the recommendation Maciek Sukolski – MiKS Media) with Lightroom plug-in and have been experimenting, tonight. The HDR software combines the images to create better (or perhaps more accurate) definition of the subject and an exposure that more accurately sees all that the eye sees – we see a broader range of dark and light than our cameras; HDR overcomes this limitation. Taking these photographs also requires a tripod so that the camera accurately records the same image three times … without movement. In looking at the image of the falls have a look for the level of detail produced throughout the image. I find myself wishing I would have taken more time at the Hay River shipyard taking photographs in Automatic Exposure Bracketing.  Alas, it was cold and I needed to return home 300 km south.

Listening to Cardiff Bay by Martyn Joseph from his Evolved album (first heard on Stocki’s Rhythms of Redemption and seen more than few times in Edmonton with friends).

Quote to Inspire – “Photography is like making cheese. It takes a hell of a lot of milk to make a small amount of cheese just like it takes a hell of a lot of photos to get a good one.” – Robert Gillis

The Art that Food ‘Is’ …

My daughter misses her brother who’s away at University.  As the baker in our family and as someone who’s grown up with stories of and experiences with a grandmother who’s practiced and creative flare showed through her tasty dishes upon her dining room table, my daughter understands that care is expressed for others through the art of food.  My son, who’s seven years older than my daughter, values and respects his sister’s abilities, creations and talent.  Tonight, my daughter has baked muffins for her brother to send his way in a ‘care package.’

For my part, stories surrounding manna in the ancient wisdom text have me wondering about the longevity (or shelf-life) of this food parcel being sent 800km south; manna was to be collected once a day, a portion (an omer) for each member of the family; collecting more than was needed would see the uneaten portion rot, becoming filled with worms and maggots – all this to teach a people absolute reliance upon the creator.  Still, for us, we are at that cold, polar, northern part of our year that sees temperatures drop to -40 where Celsius and Fahrenheit scales intersect.  The cold will, no doubt, easily prolong the shelf-life of my daughter’s care package muffins, certainly long enough for my son and his dorm-mate to enjoy.

The muffins my daughter has baked are subject for tonight’s photographs. Later, with her, we added photographs of various teas from our cupboard and placed two ounce-bottles of the grandparent’s favourite spirits on the table to work with glass and shape. We experimented with depth of field and focusing with the Canon 60D’s live view display. Our photography session came about partially because my daughter was intrigued this morning when I showed her a PhotoPlus article on Food photography; it’s part of a monthly feature in which a pro photographer mentors an interested and willing amateur. Now that I’ve had a go at it, the article deserves a re-read.

Quote to Inspire – “Inspiration is always a surprising visitor.” ― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Listening to Mozart’s Andantino con variazioni from Flute and Harp Concerto K. 299

To See What’s There

I’ve been out for a 6K walk around town tonight.  It is -35C and I’ve listened to a lecture given by John O’Donohue on Imagination. After the walk, I recalled this vehicle in the High Level industrial park, a vehicle that I’ve known about but never photographed, a 1960 Mercury M 100 long box pickup truck. It’s been on my mind for the better part of a year. I’ve never photographed it because the landscape or situation it is set in seems bleak and uninteresting.  Perhaps such context draws out beauty from the vehicle’s lines and shape or perhaps through time one acclimates to beauty, form and style.

In taking this photograph, I’m using a Canon 75-300 mm telephoto zoom lens and quite literally taking the photograph to see what is there … a rusting relic awaiting restoration when time and circumstance allow.  In terms of integrity the M 100 looks more complete and useable than not.  The photograph also demonstrates the compression that happens with a telephoto zoom as you shoot more flatly toward the subject – the distance from the first snow drift to the truck is 100 m and the posts in front of the truck are actually about 6-10 feet in front of it.

Quote to Inspire – “The duty of privilege is absolute integrity; the duty of privilege is integrity to ourselves, to our possibilities and to live to the full the life that we’d love and to animate and realize everything because the time is so short and it will be soon gone.” ~ John O’Donohue

Listening to Crash into Me from Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Live At Radio City and as fretted on my Martin Backpacker.

1960 Mercury M 100 Long Box Pickup

Alexandra Falls – Scale

Within a photograph appreciation for proportion is found by relating a known object to something recognizable in the photograph – scale is established within such comparison. Here, the summer photograph of the Alexandra Falls contains a person standing on top of the west edge of the falls. In comparison with yesterday’s ice-filled Alexandra Falls, the person in the summer photograph provides a basis from which to consider the actual size of the ice pile collecting below the falls, in the gorge.

Listening to Rondo-Allegro, a Mozart Clarinet and Oboe Quartet (music that organizes and shapes the mind – one of my father’s contributions to our growing up).

Quote to Inspire “Sometimes you need to take a little holiday away from yourself – negativity; and call off the Rottweiler’s of analysis and accusation and give yourself a free space; and say for the next week I will give myself a free break and do nothing against myself until my old sense of myself builds up – be courteous to yourself.” ~ John O’Donohue, Divine Beauty – The Invisible Embrace, a Greenbelt lecture

Summer - Alexandra Falls (proportion by comparison to known object ... the person)
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