Summer, summer break – vacation … settling into a new time zone five hours different from that of my year’s norm finds me out of our hotel with camera and tripod early in the morning, walking, gathering photos of Honolulu’s Waikiki – the day of the surfer and vacationer (from all parts of the world) prior to that day beginning. Surprisingly, even before 6:00 a.m., surfing instructors are out on the beach, with early morning animation, drumming up the day’s business, ready to take out the novice surfer. Looking from the beach to the ocean, before 6:00 a.m., finds surfers already surfing on moving and curling waves and along trails of the Waikiki strip joggers are already jogging. People conclude their sleep in city parks where they’ve been sleeping through a tropically warm summer night on the grass. Looking towards the buildings, Waikiki hotels are being restocked in daily essentials prior to the day’s formal start, Coca Cola products included. All this occurs before the sun crosses the horizon bringing us into day – fodder for photos.
Listening to – Glenn Miller’s band perform ‘Tuxedo Junction’ and Satchmo sing Happy Birthday to ‘Poppa’ Bing Crosby.
Quote to Inspire – “Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.” – Ansel Adams
Looking south, through the bridge crossing the Boyer River en route from High Level to Fort Vermilion, this perspective, looking through the bridge to the incline and curve on the other side becomes my first opportunity to photograph a bridge straight on, from the roadway, along a center line bisecting the road and bridge structure; the place I’ve gotten to in editing recalls impermanence of things man-made.
Listening to – Peter Himmelman’s ‘Impermanent Things,’ John Mayer’s ‘Route 66’ and Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs ‘For the Summer.’
Quote to Inspire – “A portrait is not made in the camera, but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen
Kasia Sokulska, part of the husband and wife duo that comprises MIKSMedia Photography, presents inspired macro images on her Google + profile page, outstanding and beautiful work to view. Her work inspired me to take advantage of railroad ties, made impermeable to water yesterday in Sexsmith, Alberta. With my EOS 60D, a quarter of an inch from the railroad tie, hung upside down from my Manfrotto tripod (also a never-done) I explored water droplets.
On the weekend, Dave Brosha e-mailed to highlight upcoming workshops likely in Calgary and Grande Prairie, Alberta; these would be accessed through his facebook page.
Listening to – Shawn Colvin’s ‘Change Is On The Way.’
Quote to Inspire – “Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph.” – Matt Hardy
For a second time, a Peace River, Alberta sunset arrests my attention. This photo is an image exposed incorrectly, but one that has been shot as a RAW file; editing is able to rescue the image returning it to Life and intention – a sunset shot. Earlier this fall on a day when we (my family and me) had been to Peace River for a day’s outing, the day’s return journey began at sunset; we in our vehicle making the long five kilometre climb westward out of the Peace valley and enjoying an array, scatter and stir of cloud work – hues deepening, then diminishing. A sight to have caught as a photo, this sunset … but just as easily enjoyed by each of us for what it was; there will be other sunsets (we do live in Alberta). As an entity, the immediate follow-up to sunset is dusk, light that softens as it leaves, light that colours as it diminishes – in photographic terms it de-saturates (withdraws colour). As an entity, dusk is intermediary between the stark, factual reality of daylight and that part of Life that occurs in the unseen. As an entity, dusk seems to be a visual reminder of transience – at sunrise dusk is a part of how we enter the day; at sunset dusk moves us from our day into night. The day’s movement is a part of our forward Life movement reminding us of our impermanence.
Listening to – Snow Patrol’s ‘Please Just Take These Photos,’ The Eagles’ ‘Seven Bridges Road,’ Don Henley’s ‘Sunset Grill,’ The Cars’ ‘Good Times Roll,’ Cheap Trick’s ‘Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace,’ The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony,’ and U2’s ‘Crumbs From Your Table.’
Quote to Inspire – “It’s not how a photographer looks at the world that is important. It’s their intimate relationship with it.” – Antoine D’Agata
A summer’s day in early July finds my son, newly graduated from high school, awaiting word of acceptance to the University of Alberta and the possessor of a day off from his job cooking in a local restaurant. My son and I travel north from High Level to Hay River, Northwest Territories and the Great Slave Lake. My son needs the practice of driving for his driver’s test. He’s at the wheel. For my son, the challenge is not only the technical aspects of driving; for him, the challenge is also that of overcoming learned travelling behaviour – on long drives sleep has become a means to shorten travel’s distance. The float and glide of our 2000 GMC half ton cushions driving’s dips and rises comfortably along our three-hundred kilometre route northward. My son nearly falls asleep at the wheel and I prompt him to direct his attention to his driving.
The journey takes us to Alexandra falls and onward into Hay River’s Great Slave Lake – both become excellent photo-taking opportunities; my son is quite daring in the photography he attempts looking out from 100 foot cliffs. In Hay River, we encounter the boat within this image dragged more than a kilometre from the Great Slave Lake; its location is at that point in Hay River’s municipal jurisdiction where the industrial area ends and its housing development begins – a somewhat quirky location at first glance. This boat is no more than 500 feet from the nearest Hay River home.
Thinking this image through I’m left with several questions.
Ocean-going vessels that become marine salvage are vessels that are taken to locations in the world where they can be retired, places where the vessel can be scuttled while leaving them accessible to teams of people who are able to dismantle the vessel – cutting it apart and finding new uses for each part that had been component of the formerly floating structure that had been moving through water.
Here, in Hay River, on the world’s largest lake what happens? This boat has been pulled from the water and seemingly kept, but for what reason. Does the former sea-worthy vessel have use for parts or perhaps for training? Or is it, that the ‘what-next’ for the vessel needs a good, reasonable next step or perhaps a next step that generates revenue? And, is the vessel towed so far so that it simply resides on company-owned real estate? Questions …. Nonetheless, a full ocean-going, lake-bound vessel among trees does become an interesting image.
Listening to – Peter Gabriel’s ‘Come Talk to Me,’ ‘Steam,’ ‘Across the River,’ ‘Shaking the Tree’ and ‘Blood of Eden.’
Quote to Inspire – “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.” – Bruno Barbey
Of all reasons to take up photography, the most significant and most poignant is to draw together memory of home. Edmonton’s Skyline from the southeast, from Strathearn Drive is the strongest memory I have of Edmonton. My grandparents’ last Edmonton home was on Strathearn Drive and my grandfather always had my brother’s and I out for a hike before a Sunday dinner with family, through this river valley, walking within this valley being a primary form of transportation for him and his (my mother’s) family, something more economical and much healthier than riding a bus or taking the family car down town. Perhaps one of my grandfather’s influences in my Life is one of appreciating the value of exercise and the achievement of exercise. Never a day would go by without my granddad getting out for a minimum of an hour’s walk wherever he was in the world. For me, Edmonton’s skyline recalls all the cycling I had done in Edmonton’s river valley through each summer listening to audiobooks and to music on a Sony Walkman.
This Edmonton skyline image recalls family history – our return to Edmonton via CN Rail and the CN Tower from Montreal in 1964, our first returned days at the Hotel MacDonald, the adventures with Scouts hiking through this valley and excursions to the top of the AGT Tower (now Telus Tower), Canada Place on the right is where we got our passports and on the left I had an Edmonton Journal paper route on 111 Avenue running from the Westbury Apartment to the Grandin Apartments. This image of Edmonton recalls the cool, fresh, wet weather of June. The photo is taken at the western most end of Strathearn drive that overlooks that part of Connor’s hill where the Edmonton Folk Festival is staged each August.
Listening to – Schubert’s Rondo in A for Violin and String, D. 438.
Quote to Inspire – “Quit trying to find beautiful objects to photograph. Find the ordinary objects so you can transform it by photographing it.” – Morley Baer