1949 Chevrolet – Peace River
From High Level to Peace River, I made the drive, three hours, right after work. I was on my way to Edmonton to gather my son and his belongings after a year of University and to bring him home for the summer. I booked into a hotel room, brought my gear into the room and returned to my truck to search for a meal. Before I got into my truck I looked across the way to this red 1949 Chevrolet, half-tonne. As a former auto detailer (in a former life), I walked over and then spent ten minutes looking it over. The owner came out and provided the truck’s story – where it came from, how he had restored the vehicle and that he still took it out for a ride occasionally. It had a straight six engine – clean, restored, still capable. The owner, an older fellow, initially thought I wanted to buy the vehicle.
I told him that I was more bent on photographing vehicles than anything else.
He took me into his garage and showed me a 1959 Edsel Corsair – red with white trim and top; again a restored vehicle. The windshield and back window curved around in places where present-day cars have posts to support the roof. I was amazed at the size of the trunk – in area and depth it might actually have held as much as a half-tonne truck box. The car was also about Chrome – chrome bumpers, chrome trim; shine was definitely part of what made this car something. It had old paint, the kind that if it faded you could bring back with polish and glaze. And, I suppose it reminded me of the polishing gleam, the alluring results of those first cars I polished as a young driver and as a lot attendant at Waterloo Mercury.
The evening passed with more talk and the owner knew many of the people I’ve known through the years in High Level and La Crete, Alberta. I think he’d seen me take my L’Arrivee guitar into the hotel because he invited me into the house to play for him and his wife on his Taylor 615 a cherry-wood sunburst with heavier strings. I fretted Rickie Lee Jones’ ‘Starsailor,’ Dar Williams ‘The Beauty of the Rain,’ and Lifehouse’s ‘Me and You.’ I got him to play a few tunes – some country tunes that are becoming difficult with arthritic fingers. By the end of the evening, I had his permission to photograph his red 1949 Chevrolet half-tonne; not a bad evening. I clicked this picture the next morning.
Listening to – Ray LaMontagne’s ‘For the Summer.’
Quote to Inspire – “One of the central characteristics of photography is that process by which original uses are modified, eventually supplanted by subsequent uses ….”
Cattails – Near Fort Vermilion Turnoff
Homestead – Fort Vermilion, Alberta 1
Homestead – Fort Vermilion, Alberta 2
Homestead – Fort Vermilion, Alberta 3
Peace River – Fort Vermilion, Alberta
Peace River Beaver – Fort Vermilion, Alberta 1
Peace River Beaver – Fort Vermilion, Alberta 2
Peace River Beaver – Fort Vermilion, Alberta 3
Peace River Sunrise – Fort Vermilion, Alberta
Up, earlier than sunrise, traveling, from High Level to Fort Vermilion … early, early morning to witness all that comprises sunrise – the Peace River looking east from Fort Vermilion at the newly risen sun, a beaver marking territory, a Buttertown homestead and cattails coloured in spring splendor.
Listening to – Robbie Robertson’s ‘Sweet Fire of Love,’ Lucinda William’s ‘Concrete and Barbed Wire,’ Melissa McClelland’s ‘Brake,’ Bryan Ferry’s ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ and Ryan Adams’ ‘Hotel Chelsea Nights.’
Quote to Inspire – “Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.” – Anonymous
Buttertown Homestead – Fort Vermilion, Alberta
Sunset Above the Peace River – Fort Vermilion, Alberta
Store Shed – St. Louis Catholic Church – Fort Vermilion, Alberta
Derelict Vehicle – A Former Time – Buttertown, Fort Vermilion, Alberta
A weeklong endeavor involving our junior high students saw Alberta’s Trickster Theater group work with them to create and perform a handful of short dramas dealing with human rights around the world. Students engaged in this learning by doing, many came out from shells they’d been cloistered into through our long, long winter; all enjoyed the fun of team performance. My role was to collect images for presentation within an Animoto slideshow. In pre-screening the slideshow the phrase photo manipulation was used favourably to refer to presenting an image in new and interesting ways to draw the viewer to the action or happening within the image or to draw the viewer into the image’s feeling, mood or atmosphere. Saturation and desaturation, focus, detail and blur, tinting, vignette and cropping – all are manipulations of the photograph allowing amplification of image narrative or feeling, mood and atmosphere. The images presented here have each received photo manipulation, the editing that follows image capture and moves them to rendering.
Listening to – Tyler Bates’ ‘Pamplona’ and ‘Ventura,’ Tyrone Wells’ ‘Time of Our Lives,’ and Rascal Flatts’ ‘My Wish.’
Quote to Inspire – “A photo is a small voice, at best, but sometimes – just sometimes – one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into awareness. Much depends upon the viewer; in some, photographs can summon enough emotion to be a catalyst to thought.” – W. Eugene Smith
The Peace Valley at Dunvegan
At most points in the geography of Alberta the Peace River is at least one kilometre across. At various points it will broaden out allowing for islands and sand dunes. The first time I saw what the Peace River was about what I noticed was something this photograph conveys, the river has cut a fissure into the land through time and while the river is most times one kilometre across, the distance from level land on top of the river valley to level land on the top of the other side of the river valley is greater, spanning as much as four and five kilometres. The other thing noticed is that it takes about two kilometres of gradual descent in a vehicle to reach the river from the valley’s crest. This photograph is taken at the start of the descent toward Dunvegan and the Dunvegan suspension bridge looking north. It’s late on a September Sunday and shadows creep from the west extending eastwards.
Listening to Bill Mallonee & the Vigilantes of Love sing Resplendent from their Audible Sigh album, a message about the nature of resilience borrowing from the narrative of the dustbowl.
Quote to Inspire – “I hate cameras. They are so much more sure than I am about everything.” – John Steinbeck
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