Two Mercury Trucks & David Lindley’s Tune

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Winter

Within this past week I have photographed two Mercury Trucks, the first, an early fifties three ton grain truck, part of a display celebrating the agricultural heritage of Manning, Alberta; the second was a vehicle that is as old as I am, a 1961 Mercury 100 pickup truck located in Brock Enterprises’ industrial lot in High Level, Alberta.

As one who returned to University to complete two degrees, one job I enjoyed for an interim year in October of 1981 was that of working with Ford Motor Company (FOMOCO) in Edmonton, Alberta at Waterloo Mercury, first as a used-car car jockey, then as showroom car jockey and later as pre-delivery inspector.  Not quite a gear head, I know a good deal about how a car or truck can be driven and how a vehicle should ride; and, I am someone who enjoys BBC America’s Top Gear.  Back then, in 1981, detailing vehicles was my side-business, something allowing me to put money in the bank for University and it’s something I continue to take great pride in. I value a well-turned out vehicle and my preferences for waxes include the McGuiar’s waxes as well as the Autoglym waxes that have received Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II (this is the schtuff used on Aston Martins).

On Thursday, following a long day at school, I drove through High Level’s industrial area, saw a crew vehicle parked in front of Brock Enterprises and went in to ask permission to photograph the 1961 Mercury 100 Pickup stored on this property by the Brock Enterprises owner.  It was a never-done experience, that of providing my name, information about where I work and about my teaching photography at our local high school.  Later that evening, the matter was one moving me from our couch outdoors to seize the opportunity of photographing the Mercury 100 pickup up close. That night I got out to the Brock Enterprises Industrial Lot and spent perhaps forty-five minutes photographing this metallic green truck and another vehicle, likely a 1950’s Greyhound bus.  Photography with long exposures provided me time for looking beyond the truck around at its environment.  I was working with Automatic Exposure Bracketing to create High Dynamic Range (HDR) images; so, each HDR image was taking about two minutes to create at 100 ISO. I was dressed in ski pants, ski jacket and warm head-gear; warm comfort is a part of capturing good images in winter or colder temperatures. As I looked around me I saw deer in a neighboring industrial lot moving along a path taking them to the Viterra Grain Elevator where they could feast on grain spillage.

Listening to an iTunes genius generated playlist originating from Mercury Blues by David Lindley from the El Rayo-X album; others songs in the playlist include Get Right with God by Lucinda Williams from Essence, Sweet Fire of Love by Robbie Robertson from his album entitled Robbie Robertson Bang a Gong [Get It On] by T. Rex from Electric Warrior, Elvis Presley Blues by Gillian Welch from her Time – the Revelator album and Bob Dylan’s Dignity from Bob Dylan: The Collection – MTV Unplugged have also surfaced as song interests. I’ve also been inspired to purchase through iTunes Fly Like An Eagle, Rock’n Me and Take the Money and Run in addition to Mercury Blues by the Steve Miller Band (good old songs from a grade 11 year … all those years ago).

Quotes to Inspire (1) “The goal is not to change your subjects, but for the subject to change the photographer.” – Anonymous; and, (2) “Actually, I’m not all that interested in the subject of photography.  Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next.  Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Norpine Show and Shine

Canon 30D, Canon Camera, Lookback Photos - One Year Ago, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Summer, Vehicle, Vehicle Restoration

One technical aspect of William Faulkner’s novel, The Sound and The Fury, is that one narrative is investigated through active eyes of four different people associated with the story. The story receives telling from the perspective of and with the perceptive capability of each character grappling with what occurs as the narrative unfolds. Something similar occurs with perception when editing one photograph and altering minor elements of brightness, saturation and hue – what is seen and what one experiences in response to each configuration is different.

This evening, I’m looking back to a Friday in June, 2011.  It’s after school and a Show and Shine is being held in High Level, Alberta in the Norpine Auto Industrial Supply Retailer parking lot. I’ve got my Canon 30D with me as I depart from school and drive past these pristine vehicles – vintage and current – that someone has enhanced with different rims and tires, that someone has restored and painted, that someone has taken the time to find and connect with memories of a former time. I pull ahead, past Norpine, turning in at the High Level Home Hardware store and park my 2000 GMC Sierra, there. The next three-quarters of an hour is spent photographing cars and trucks from different angles to find good and best shots.

I dialogue with vehicle owners, unleashing  narratives associated with each vehicle we look to. Former students, in their first jobs following high school, show me their acquisitions – a Chrysler 300M and a GMC Sierra half-ton, both decked out with rims, fat tires and glossy shine. There’s room in our dialogue to sort through how I used to present cars in my post-high school days at Waterloo Mercury in Edmonton and what could be achieved with different McGuiar’s waxes for paint and a bottle of brake fluid for tires. I share with them that Autoglym Waxes are what I use these days and that Queen Elizabeth II has given royal warrant to the company because the waxes are used on Royal vehicles; while Hondas and Toyotas use the wax, so to does Aston Martin.

Mounted on my Canon 30D is a Sigma 10-20 mm wide angle lens … with it there’s the opportunity to distort vehicle form in terms of lines and curves … to add the wow factor. One vehicle I come across is this late fifties Ford half-ton painted bittersweet orange and waxed to full gleam to reflect June’s late afternoon sun, clouds and sky.  Editing reveals this image in different ways … see which you enjoy best.

Listening to Over the Rhine and Within Without from their Discount Fireworks album; then it’s on to Mindy Smith singing One More Moment from her album with the same name. Later, it’s on to Babylon II by David Gray from the White Ladder album.

Quote to Inspire – “Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing a meditation.” – Henri Cartier Bresson