Tag: canon 60d

That Sedan & Professor Keating

Sedan Along Path - Valleyview, Alberta 1

Sedan Along Path – Valleyview, Alberta 1

Sedan Along Path - Valleyview, Alberta 2

Sedan Along Path – Valleyview, Alberta 2

Sedan Among Trees - Valleyview, Alberta 1

Sedan Among Trees – Valleyview, Alberta 1

Sedan Among Trees - Valleyview, Alberta 2

Sedan Among Trees – Valleyview, Alberta 2

Away from home, tasks requiring completion fly me southward to Edmonton, Alberta, Friday, one week ago today. My Sunday is a day-long, northward return trek home with my Canon 60D.

In my first years as a teacher, an elder’s coaching presented the predicament of moving through or around brush as analogy for the challenge of dealing with Life’s obstacles. If moving through brush resulted in injury, the better judgment call was that of moving around the obstacle. The key was seeing the situation for what it was. The elder was promoting the path already carved out, the natural path; for him, the established easier route ought to be the path to take. Along the road home, east from Valleyview, Alberta a fifties’ four-door sedan sits, resting and rusting, its rear window absent. It’s placement in a farmer’s field positions it along a natural path that will take it forward through trees. No longer having power to move itself, though, this sedan sits along a path that could have been.

M. Scott Peck, Robert Frost and even the Dead Poets Society’s professor Keating would all promote the road less travelled as the path to take. Perhaps the elder talking to me all those years ago was establishing reality’s balance to such assertion – the road less travelled overcomes obstacles that no one else or, at least, few have encountered. Finding one’s own way throughout one’s Life, personal navigation, is the thing in either case – avoiding the obstacles or seeking the uncommon, unique yet obstacle-laden path. It’s interesting to be referencing the Dead Poets Society again within this photoblog while associating to photos of this vehicle.

Listening to – CKUA Online and the Friday Night Blues Party, Curtis Salgado’s ‘She Didn’t Cut Me Loose’ and Andy T and Nick Nixon Band’s ‘Drink Drank Drunk.’

Quote to Inspire – “I really don’t have any idea about photography, but I take pictures.” – Alex Majoli

Dusk’s Golden Hour

Within a busy week opportunity for travel along former routes of home permits departure from the whirring, buzzing, routinized rhythm and press of town Life. An hour upon the road gathers me to others and I listen and we talk, good, informing chatter. The gathering, done, permits time beyond meeting to slow down and attend to what I see in that dusky golden hour of half-light. My look-round occurs through the lens attached to my Canon 60D. At the Anglican Cemetery in Fort Vermilion, Alberta I begin; many of the grave markers are granite headstones. Others, painted or stained wooden crosses, seem more temporary. Perhaps maintenance of this tentative grave marker highlights practice in looking after those who have gone before us.

I point my car northward toward High Level. My drive from home out to Fort Vermilion has given me windshield time, time to look out from my car’s windows and to note the snowless earth that is warming, thawing and drying. As we move into summer, hours of sunlight will extend backward into earlier mornings and forward into later evenings. Summer solstice will see the sun dip below the horizon at 11:45 p.m. and reappear at 2:30 a.m., the time between being a protracted period of half-light that photographers refer to as their golden hour when the intensity of light drops off and the quality of light and what is lit changes. At its darkest, there will be a gray eeriness. Tonight, I’ve been able to catch cattails within our current golden hour (at about 9:45 p.m. the sun has just dipped below the horizon). Shallow depth of field permits focus and highlight of subject and the generalization of shapes that pattern into the background.

Listening to – two female voices; first, seeing Aimee Mann within my iTunes catalogue sparked curiosity toward her work with Til Tuesday – I’ve purchased two different versions of Voices Carry.  Then, in relation to psalm 23, I was curious as to whether or not Sarah Masen was able to have her album, The Dreamlife of Angels, made available through iTunes.  It’s been about ten years since Stocki first played it on Rhythm and Soul; at the time, a major record deal was not in the offing. But, now her album is something I’ve just found and it’s about time.  Sarah is an intelligent lyricist; her song The Valley references psalm 23, making you think, and a curiously interesting tune called Hope is worth the listen.  What else – The Five Blind Boys of Alabama will feature at Edmonton’s Winspear Centre along with Over the Rhine on June 10th.  Good schtuff … if you’re to take it in.

Quote to Inspire – “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” -Ansel Adams

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

A Moody Change in Winter Weather

On Thursday evening, the temperature in High Level, Alberta dropped from -10C to -20C+. The moisture in the air transitioned to noticeable fog and then crystallized on physical objects producing a beautiful array of hoarfrost on trees, buildings and fences throughout the town. I went for my evening walk, walking a counter clockwise, reverse 6 km circuit through High Level, returning home to collect my Canon 60D and Manfrotto Tripod. The variation in subjects is limited – bus lane light standards between High Level Public School and Florence MacDougall Community School (showing the play of light against fog), a hoarfrosted tree in parking lot to the west, three entrance images to High Level Public School and the school’s playground equipment.  In all images, a change in the weather has altered the landscape, creating new possibilities for photographs.

Composition for photographs has been on my mind and while there are many rules or principles to guide angle of view, subject and lighting, the thing I’ve been reminded of is that composition is about ‘finding’ the strongest way of seeing the subject.  Here, Angela Patterson of the Ditch Divas would remind me that while there are technical considerations, it is also important to get to the point of taking the picture … not to over-think the opportunity in front of you … likely because it’s impermanent.

Listening to Impermanent Things by Peter Himmelman from his Stage Diving album; (thank you to Stocki for this Rhythms of Redemption recommendation … all those years ago).

Quote to Inspire – “Photographs really are experience captured, and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness in its acquisitive mood.” ~ Susan Sontag, On Photography

Bloggers and image viewers – Thank you for stopping by and recommending this site to friends and colleagues.  Cheers!

Images from the Journey Home

On Monday, January 2, 2012, my daughter and I drove from Edmonton and returned to High Level, concluding our Christmas visit with family. Opportunities for photographs were available throughout the drive; and, as with any travel that combines photography with moving towards a destination the choice to stop and investigate possible shots always presents the trade-off of time lost moving toward your destination. You can move directly there and be assured of an arrival time. Or, you can look around laterally at, toward or within the places you are traveling through and investigate them through the lens of your camera. A friend who paints from Cornerbrook, Newfoundland has recommended taking as many as three days to make this 800 km journey and to stop frequently and as needed to take-in all that the landscape offers. For me, while on the south side of Valleyview, I chose to note the possibilities and to this end I’m grateful for my daughter who was able to write down possible subjects, their location and information about quality and direction of light. On the north side of Valleyview, I began to feel more at ease with stopping and taking my Canon 60D out. The images gathered are of an old homestead near Donnelly, two older trucks on a farm near Nampa and then images captured on the south hill leading into Peace River – the road’s S-curve winding along the hill and a western exposure of the Peace River.

Quotes to Inspire (I’ve been working my way through a few of John O’Donohue’s Greenbelt lectures and have looked round the web for quotes):

  • “Inspiration is always a surprising visitor.” ― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
  • “I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.” ― John O’Donohue
  • “One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to be seen.” ― John O’Donohue
  • “Beauty is the illumination of your soul.” ― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
  • “The duty of privilege is absolute integrity” ― John O’Donohue

Listening to Lay My Burden Down by Alison Krauss from the movie Get Low; Jerry Douglas adds Dobro to much of the soundtrack (I enjoy this movie – there’s much of ‘life’ in it).

Christmas Eve – A Kitchen in Readiness for Celebrating Christmas

24 December 2011 – On the afternoon preceding Christmas eve, in scrubbing our kitchen floor, my wife and I moved several wine bottles from the floor to our kitchen counter. Later, a ham cooked in an old, well-used roasting pot (in my wife’s family through generations), became the mainstay of our Christmas eve meal (part of the tradition coming through her family). After singing hymns at a Church service and coming home from time with friends in fellowship, I found myself with an abundance of time and the opportunity to photograph our kitchen in readiness for Christmas. I worked with reflection, light reflected in glass, shallow depth of field and adding accuracy to focal points through the use of the Canon 60D’s live-view mode (I put my glasses on for this). The wine bottles remained in a cluster on the kitchen counter top where the ham roaster was set out in readiness for cooking the Christmas turkey.  Both became subjects in tonight’s photographs and a variety of colours and moods were explored.

On my mind this Christmas, the words – “Be still, and know that I am God … (Psalm 46:10);” these words confront you at the High Level Christian Fellowship Church from the wall surrounding the pulpit.  For me, so long away from Church, practice and walk, it surfaces the idea that it’s alright to rest, to ease up on the reigns of one’s life that can be held so tightly and remove my focus from the doing and busy-ness of Life; amazingly, so much has been provided for in the lives of my family and me … and I am thankful.

My hope for each of you is that you are able to find the rest that this Christmas time affords.

Merry Christmas, all!

Against a Reflective Surface – Christmas Lights

Leaving school, against the blackness of night, I encountered beautiful hoarfrost on an Aspen Willow tree – a reverse silhouette (white against black). I started my pickup truck and used the engine’s warm-up time to explore the silhouetted Willow. Again, the camera is atop the tripod and again I’m using the 60D’s live view to ensure that I find crisp detail in manual focus. I took three shots of the tree – one I include here; the composition needs work but I’m happy to have captured this image. Consideration – my shots are better and more well-composed when I’m warm and taking time to look seriously around the frame to see what’s there and to capture the image; in winter photography I’ll have winter outwear on … something I didn’t have leaving school tonight.

Later, at home, in front of our Christmas tree the recommendation of photographing Christmas lights against a reflective surface came to mind. Our Christmas tree, like most others, stands in front of our window as Christmas beacon to others in our neighbourhood; this evening, I just needed to recognize its beauty and its potential. I put my Canon 50mm prime f-1.4 lens on my Canon 60D and attached the 60D to my tripod; I worked with live view to find focus detail and to establish bokeh (blurring of lights). I turned out lights in our living room and kitchen making all dark except for our Christmas tree and its lights. I began exploring bokeh, using a small depth of field (lens aperture f-1.4) and blurred Christmas lights against the reflective surface of the window. The images I include appeal to me in terms of shape, colour, texture and mood.

Tonight (15 December 2011) – listening to Martyn Joseph’s ‘Have an Angel Walk with Her,’ from his ‘Evolved’ album http://www.martynjoseph.net/ .

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