This image was made a year ago in July. We visited the small country school, about fifteen kilometers east of Drumheller, where I grew up until I was ten. Verdant Valley School was a two room, two teacher school with maybe 35 or so children attending from the surrounding farms. After school was out us kids had the whole schoolyard to ourselves. This included all the playground equipment, skating rink, etc. Many a time I remember watching big thunderstorms roll across the farmland until at last the rain, hail, and lightning would come at us like a freight train. There was nowhere to go, so we just had to hunker down and wait them out. I recall one memorable storm when my dad and uncle were attending a class at the University of Calgary and so the rest of my family, one brother, two sisters and my mom, along with my two cousins and aunt got to watch a spectacular light show! My mom and aunt didn’t want us kids to get scared and kept us busy drawing what each of the lightning strikes looked like. Once my dad and uncle returned they told us that many of the power poles near the yard had been struck and damaged during the storm. The phone would ring every now and again when the telephone lines got hit.
[Olymous E-410, 14-42mm]
August 28, 2008
August 27, 2008
We spent a short half hour visit to a great spot on Mill Creek in southwest Alberta in early July. I borrowed Laura’s point and shoot digital so I could work as quick as possible. This triptych is the fruit of my labour. The possibilities in this kind of situation are really endless and searching out for just the right balance of colours and shades and textures is a complete riot.
August 25, 2008
Ice is likely the culprit for these large cracks in the stone. Slowly creeping into the smallest crevices, water, once frozen forces the rock apart, which over many years slowly breaks the rock into tiny pieces. this image was made in Dinosaur Provincial Park a few weeks ago.
August 23, 2008
A rill is a narrow and shallow incision into soil resulting from erosion by overland flow that has been focused into a thin thread by soil surface roughness. Rilling, the process of rill formation, is common on agricultural land and unvegetated ground. Some rills will continue to grow, as they are widened and/or deepened by the runoff which flows through them. Other rills may decline in importance as sediment is deposited within them. Eventually, a hydrologically efficient rill network will be formed. The development of such a network is an example of self-organisation. In a few cases, rills may continue to grow and become gullies or rivulets then streams and so on to form a river.(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rill )
August 22, 2008
The beautiful soft light of evening is completely wonderful and should not be missed. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired or you want to eat your supper. Who cares if it’ll be dark right away and the coyotes will start howling. We aren’t scared of the dark are we? It’s just a short walk back to the campsite. You really need to experience this light and the last few minutes before sunset, or a few minutes after sunrise for that matter, are just sublime. One of the best ways to really see this light is up close. Observe the blue shadows cast by those tiny stones and rills which on a sunny afternoon are not even evident now showing off river valleys on a scale that is hard to understand. The clay, normally gray (nice rhyming going on there),takes on an orange/red glow that is mixing ever so subtlety with the blue shadows to what looks deceivingly like magenta. I find so many things happening in images like this that I can just start to imagine how the water slowly carves it’s way through the clay each and every time it rains, erasing all evidence of tiny insect tracks and human footprints at the rate of about half an inch a year.
August 21, 2008
While I wait for some of my large format transparencies to show up I will post a few images from Dinosaur Provincial Park made with a small digital camera. These images, over the next few days, were made using this small camera as a tool to scout out possible compositions before committing to a large sheet of film. The image above was just that, except that the light was changing so fast with the sun just on the horizon, I didn’t even have time to unload the large format camera before the light was gone.
August 9, 2008
A ventured a bit further away from our campsite to make this image, compared to yesterdays post. I had a tiny flashlight with a single AAA battery which I light painted the hoodoos with for about half of the 91 sec. long exposure. A few clouds were present which is obscuring a few of the stars on this image.
[Canon 5d, Sigma 15mm Fisheye]
August 8, 2008
This past weekend my family and I along with our good friends Bill and Diane Zurawell and their two boys as well as Laura’s mom and dad, visited Dinosaur Provincial Park near Brooks Alberta. At night the skies, beautiful and clear for the most part, displayed for us the magnificent spectacle of the Milky Way Galaxy. I heard, or read somewhere that the human eye can only detect about 3000 stars on a good night. I don’t know if it’s true, because when you look up on a perfectly clear night with almost no source of light near you and see so many stars……it’s not true because I’ll bet you can see tens of thousands. I went out for a walk on my own one night for about an hour, quite a distance from our campsite, where my eyes could adjust to the darkness after about ten minutes and I’ll tell you it makes you feel tinier than a grain of sand. Our Milky Way can put on quite a show! Now multiply that by a few hundred trillion or more and you come up with our universe – WOW!!
You can even see some very faint green and red aurora borealis which my eyes could not detect, but that the minute long exposure brought out. Remember to click on the image to make it larger.
[Canon 5D, 24mm f2 Nikkor]
God, brilliant Lord,
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
Your handmade sky-jewelery,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
Psalms 8:1,3-4 (The Message)
August 1, 2008
My good friend Dwight was kind enough to point me in the direction of these beautiful red flowers growing alongside a slough just a few kilometers from Red Deer. I have no idea what they are and have gone through all my wildflower books with no success and suspect that maybe they aren’t wildflowers at all but escapees from a nearby garden. [Update: August 18 – I found out these are really escapees from a local garden called different common names such as Star of Jerusalem or Maltese Cross. Scientifically they are known as Lychnis chalcedonica] I arrived with about ten minutes of sunlight left with the sun skimming the flowers and grasses.