Collin J Örthner – Photographer

March 17, 2016

Protected

Filed under: Agriculture, Black & White, Hand of Man, Ice, Nature, Skyscape, snow, Sony RX100 II, Travel, Trees, Winter — collin orthner @ 9:01 pm

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“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer.  But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”
–  Henry David Thoreau   

 

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This lone tree was possibly being protected by the farmer due to it’s beautiful shape or perhaps this used to be the site of an old homestead and he wanted to preserve something of the heritage of his farm. Of course there were other trees around, but in Kneehill County there are not near as many as in the parkland biome of Alberta. Mostly the tree are planted as windbreaks around farmyards, but every now and again you’ll find nice pockets of protected trees especially in the northern parts of the county. The further south you travel, the more sparse the  trees become. I quite liked how the cloud patterns resemble the snow patterns on the stubble field and the vehicle tracks on the right are mirrored in the clouds as well.

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March 14, 2016

Leaning

Filed under: Agriculture, Architecture, Black & White, Hand of Man, Nature, Skyscape, snow, Sony RX100 II, Travel, Wind, Winter — collin orthner @ 12:31 pm

Leaning to the east, this small granary in Kneehill County near Trochu, has been buffeted by strong chinook winds from the west for many years and on this day it was about to get hit again. All the dark brooding clouds were just behind the leading edge of this new chinook which warmed the air to a balmy 17ºC. The warm wind made fairly quick work of the last remaining snow and all the small creeks were running strong with meltwater for the next few days as the water, following the law of gravity, rushed on the quickest route downhill towards the Red Deer River.

 

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Chinook

“Snow Eater” the Blackfoot call you.
Born of the sea,
Flowing inland
To warm the land,
Climb a mountain
And bestow
A benediction of rain
On the forest below.
Chill and dry
At the top.
Nearly touching the sky.
Warmed by the speed
Of your descent,
You blow through
The Clouds,
Carving an arch
High in the sky.
Your signature.
Then march
Across the foothills
Raising the temperature,
Melting ice and snow
As you go.

~ John Bishop Ballem

 

March 12, 2016

Kneehill County, Alberta

Filed under: Agriculture, Black & White, Hand of Man, Nature, Skyscape, snow, Sony RX100 II, Travel, Water — collin orthner @ 10:05 pm

It feels like springtime in Alberta and the sloughs are filling up with meltwater again, even though it technically is still winter for a couple more weeks. The only sound here was that of water running in the ditch and the wind blowing through the fence wires and the grass. I was travelling with my friend Michael Chesworth on our way towards Drumheller when we came across this beautiful scene in Kneehill County. We travel with no agenda and no major goals in mind, simply enjoying our time together and the scenery along as many gravel backroads as we can find. Of course gravel roads allow us to travel slowly if we want to, and we do, and stop often without the worry of traffic, so it generally takes us a long time to get anywhere! But that is exactly how I like it!

 

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there’s something rather strange and still

about a warm winter afternoon

when the sun has dipped until

there is only a subtle peach haze on the

clouds

and a silver sparkle on the trees

                  the snow is soft

with endless rills and rolls

and tracks

birds hush

for a change, and listen

animals smile with their gentle eyes

                                  and people

                                          people

look and look

and take off their mitts

and adjust their hats

and breathe deeply

trying to grasp it

I wonder if warm winter afternoons

mean this much everywhere

or just here

Marilyn Cay  –  “Strange and Still”

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December 20, 2015

The Sound of Silence

Filed under: Agriculture, Hand of Man, Hi Res, Mammals, Olympus OM Zuiko 200mm f5, snow, Sony A7R, Travel, Winter — collin orthner @ 9:09 pm

My in-laws live in Parkland County, a short distance west of Edmonton. We visited them a week ago and I took the opportunity to head out before breakfast and well before the sun awakened. I usually head towards the Chickakoo Lakes Recreation Area which has wonderful trails and some great scenery. On my way I came across this scene which I have seen innumerable times. I have often thought it would make a great image if there was ever a horse in the right spot, but it hasn’t happened in over 20 years! That is, until last weekend, and we happened to have a nice snowfall to add some great ambience to the scene. I pulled over and got my camera all set up and then just had to wait for the horse to cooperate and stand nicely. Being early on a Sunday morning, there was nobody stirring and it was almost dead silent. I waited maybe 5 minutes enjoying the beautiful silence. The horse was also moving it’s head, and as there was still very little light it’s head would blur due to the long exposure. After a few more images however, I got one where the horse was standing just right and didn’t move perceptibly for the length of the exposure.

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Parkland County, Alberta

 

10″ x 8″ – Open Edition Printed on Ilford Galerie Prestige 310gsm, signed, numbered, and shipped  http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/45

30″ x 24″ – Edition of 9 + 1 AP  Printed on Ilford Galerie Prestige 310gsm, signed, numbered, and shipped  http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/350

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November 16, 2015

fôg

Filed under: Agriculture, Autumn, Hi Res, Minolta 100mm f2.5 Rokkor-X, Nature, Sony A7R, Trees — collin orthner @ 11:07 pm

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The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.

	                            Carl Sandburg 1916
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fog 1

  (fôg, fŏg)

n.

1. Condensed water vapor in cloudlike masses lying close to the ground and limiting visibility.

2.

a. An obscuring haze, as of atmospheric dust or smoke.
b. mist or film clouding a surface, as of a window, lens, or mirror.
3. cloud of vaporized liquid, especially a chemical spray used in fighting fires.

4.

a. state of mental vagueness or bewilderment.
b. Something that obscures or conceals; a haze: shrouded their actions in a fog of disinformation.
5. blur on a developed photographic image.
v.  foggedfog·gingfogs

v.tr.

1. To cover or envelop with fog.
2. To cause to be obscured; cloud.
3. To make vague, hazy, or confused: memory that had been fogged by time.
4. To obscure or dim (a photographic image).

v.intr.

1. To be covered with fog.
2. To be blurred, clouded, or obscured: My glasses fogged in the warm air.
3. To be dimmed or obscured. Used of a photographic image.

[Perhaps of Scandinavian origin.]

fog′ger n.

fog 2

(fôg, fŏg)

n.

1. new growth of grass appearing on a field that has been mowed or grazed.
2. Tall, decaying grass left standing after the cutting or grazing season.

[Middle English foggetall grasssee pū̆- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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Red Deer County, Alberta

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6.7″ x 10″ – Open Edition Printed on Hahnemuhle Photorag 308g, signed, numbered, and shipped  http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/45

20″ x 30″ – Edition of 9 + 1 AP  Printed on Hahnemuhle Photorag 308g, signed, numbered, and shipped  http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/350

26.7″ x 40″ – Edition of 4 +1 AP  Printed on Hahnemuhle Photorag 308g, signed, numbered, and shipped  http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/750

 

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Whether it softly comes in on little cat feet, or rolls in like a spooky movie, everyone has experienced fog. Although there are different types of fog, essentially fog is a cloud on the ground which reduces visibility to less than 1km. The basic requirements for fog to form are moisture in the air – the closer to 100% humidity the better, and the air near the ground must be cooling to within 5 F (3 C) of dew point – this is the temperature to which air must be cooled in order for water vapor in the air to condense to liquid water. When the air near the ground cools to dew point, the water vapor in the air will become visible as fog in the air or dew on the ground.

Fogs during summer will only happen with clear skies and near 100% humidity. There must also be condensation nuclei – or something onto which the water can condense. Condensation nuclei can be dust particles, aerosols, pollutants etc. When the air is saturated, additional moisture will condense onto this nuclei. Fog so often forms after sunset because that is when the air begins to cool and condensation replaces evaporation. Air cools best with clear skies as there are no clouds to trap the heat.

Fog can form at lower humidity levels if there are a really large amount of nuclei, especially if it is something such as salt.

During the summer, if there is a storm which includes hail, a phenomenon called hail fog can form. It is usually a shallow layer of fog above the ground. It forms because of increased moisture and cold air coming in contact with the warm ground.

During fall and early winter the most common form of fog is radiation fog. This type of fog forms when the land cools after sunset by radiating the heat up into the atmosphere. The air must be calm and the skies clear, again because cloud cover will trap heat in. When the ground is cool, it will cause condensation in the air above it. The more calm the air, the lower the fog is, under ideal conditions, the fog may only be a meter deep. Air movement will produce a thicker fog. Radiation fog can occur throughout the night but rarely lasts long after sunrise.

During winter – fog forms in a different manner, almost the opposite of summer fogs. During the winter months, fog will form when humid air moves over a cold surface. Winter fog is more common around bodies of water and is sometimes called lake effect fog.

 

Freezing fog, or Steam fog tends to occur in localized areas where cool air passes over warm, moist land. The tiny droplets in the fog will then freeze to surfaces. This frozen “fog” is called rime ice or hoar frost. Don’t confuse this with freezing rain – which is a true precipitation. Freezing fog is common at high elevations may come into contact with low clouds. An example of freezing fog is the ice which forms in old style freezers that aren’t “frost-free.”

In high northern or southern latitudes, especially around urban areas Ice fog can form. Ice fog is any type of fog where the droplets freeze into very tiny crystals in midair. This type of fog forms when the air temperature is well below freezing, generally below zero, so that any vapor present almost immediately condenses. Vapor is added to the air by automobile exhaust, furnaces and industrial plant exhaust. Ice fog can be extremely dense, posing driving hazards and the fog can last all through the day and night. The minuscule ice crystals sparkle in the sunlight and are often called “diamond dust”. Diamond dust can pose a health hazard if too much is inhaled. The Shoshone tribe of Native Americans had their own name for ice fog: they called it the Pogonip, which means “white death.” again because of the hazards of breathing it in.

If it seems sometimes that fog forms really quickly you are correct. There is a condition called flash fog. Fog can dissipate just as rapidly. This condition is dependent on which side of the dew point the temperature is.

If you live near the ocean you will likely have seen sea fog. Sea fog forms when the condensation nuclei is salt. Salt is, of course, very common near the ocean where it is kicked up into the atmosphere by the breaking waves. Salt is a unique condensation nuclei in that it will allow fog to form when the humidity is as low as 70%. Typically this fog begins as a transparent mistiness which rapidly changes to thick fog. Sea fog is a common type of fog along the California cost.

Fog can sometimes be accompanied by drizzle when the humidity stays at 100%. When this happens tiny cloud droplets can coalesce into larger droplets. When the temperatures are below freezing the drizzle will freeze producing very hazardous driving conditions. Drizzle usually occurs just as the fog is lifting, and therefore cooling, or when the droplets are being compressed from the droplets above.

When wind blows moist air over a cool surface the air will cool and advection fog will form. Advection fog is very common at sea when tropical winds pass over cooler waters and on land when a warm front passes over heavy snow. It can also form in areas of upwelling, such as along the California coast. During spring or fall a cold front can propel the air layer over the land. During the summer months, a low pressure trough can be produced by intense heating inland which creates a strong pressure gradient, pulling the fog in from the water. Also during the summer, during the monsoons, a high pressure over the desert can create a southerly flow which pushes the offshore layer of air up the coastline. This type is most commonly created after a heat spell.

When winds blow up a slope they will cool as they rise, causing water vapor to condense and producing what is called upslope fog. If the slope is high enough, freezing fog will form.

Valley fog is a localized form of radiation fog and forms most often in winter when there is a temperature inversions. This is where colder, more dense air settles in the valleys with warmer air passing above. It can actually last for days if there is no wind to mix the air. In the Central Valley region of California, locals call this type of fog Tule Fog.

 

Most everyone has heard fog described to be “thick as pea soup,” but few folks know where this term originated from. Though it is liberally used to describe any thick fog it orginally was used to describe a dingy yellow smog from burning soft coal. This type of fog was common in Europe, especially London which is famous for its fog anyway. Such fogs occurred in London all the way up till the Clean Air Act of 1956.

Mist is often mistaken for fog and with good reason. The only difference between the two is in our definition of them. If the visibility is less then 1 km, the phenomenon is termed fog, otherwise it is mist. Mist tends to look a bit bluish from a distance. Mist is artificially created when you exhale warm breath on a cold day.

 

There is a fair amount of weather related folklore surrounding fog, most of it with only a marginal amount of truth.

“If fog forms on water in the autumn or spring a frost is on the way.” This one has some truth to it in that the fog indicates a lot of moisture in the air, and there are many nights cool enough for frost to form with that moisture in autumn and spring.

“A foggy morning with dew on grass indicates a clear day.” This saying is often true because fog most often forms on calm, clear nights and that naturally would lead to a clear day ahead.

Other sayings however, are purely silly and very inaccurate. “Dogs sleeping through the day indicate a coming storm or heavy fog.” Dog owners will attest that their dogs sleep through the day regardless of clouds, fog or clear. “Observe on what day the first heavy fog occurs, and expect a hard frost on the same day in October,” and “Three days of heavy morning fog, watch for bad weather in 90 days,” are about as illogical as groundhogs looking for their shadow to determine when spring will come!

 

Many people find fog beautiful, but no one can deny it is a visibility hazard. Before radar, fog caused many a collision. Cars and trucks however don’t have radar and must use extra caution driving through fog. Localized fog is especially dangerous to unwary drivers when it appears suddenly.

Fog can wreck real havoc with airports, often grounding flights for hours at a time. There have been some attempts to disperse the fog by spraying salt particles into the air but this has been only partially successful and only when temperatures are below freezing.

If you can’t get enough of fog, try visiting the foggiest place in the world. This honor goes to the Grand Banks off the island of Newfoundland, Canada. Here, one can enjoy fog over 200 days a year! Why is it so foggy here? The Grand Banks is the place where the cold Labrador Current coming in from the north, meets up with the warmer Gulf Stream coming up from the south. If you aren’t a sea farer, you can still enjoy lots of foggy weather by visiting Point Reyes, California, or Argentia, Newfoundland both sites also enjoying nearly 200 foggy days a year!

http://www.starryskies.com

May 31, 2015

They Still Stand

A few months back when the snow was just starting to fall I came across many many tree, big poplars, likely close to 80 years old, that had been cut and piled. Hundreds of them, to make more room for grain. The benefits of a windbreak gone. The benefits to all the birds and other wildlife that called it home, gone. the aesthetic beauty of these trees, gone. It felt like a disaster to me! What would make someone destroy such beauty for so small a gain?

Then, in spring as I was driving around Red Deer County during one of the last few flurries to spread it’s white powder coating on the land, I came across this beautiful windrow quite near to where the others had been cut. There was a thick fog all morning allowing only small glimpses of what was around me. A cold wind blew in and started to clear off the fog as the sun was rising. I noticed it shining through the fog only momentarily numerous times and managed to line it up with these majestic trees only to have it disappear just as quickly. I raced into this field in the hopes of seeing it again. Battling the strong cold wind, I managed to get the camera all set and ready with my gloves off and could feel my fingers stinging painfully. Putting my gloves on helped for sure, but being out in the wind was very unpleasant! Thankfully the sun poked out from behind the fog long enough to capture the view on film and after getting back to my car and warming up my fingers over the heating vents, I couldn’t help wonder if this windrow might be seeing it’s last season before falling to the bulldozers that seem intent on stripping our land of the few bits of remaining beauty.

 

 

 

[ Plaubel Makina 67, Kodak Portra 160 ]

 

 

May 19, 2015

Crazy ’bout a Mercury

Of course David Lindley is singing about a car – oh well! This old Mercury truck was found on an old farm south of Brooks, Alberta, near Rolling Hills. It was a creepy place too! My travelling partner Michael Chesworth went exploring the old farmhouse and discovered old bank deposit slips from the early fifties,  and an old shot up television that had only the original dial that let you choose one of thirteen channels. I remember being a kid watching our old B&W TV that had this same sort of dial, unfortunately, we couldn’t even make use of the dial as we had the luxury of getting only one channel! So, if we didn’t like what was on we were back outside riding our bikes or playing hockey on the local rink, depending on the season of course. Anyways, back to this farm, there was no sign anywhere at the start of the dirt laneway indicating “No Trespassing” so we felt OK checking it out. This truck was one of three in the yard and the one I liked making images of the best. I made a lot of close-ups of the patina of the metal with my digital camera, but really felt a pinhole image would add a sense of being in a dream and also would give some indication of how I was feeling in this farmyard. It really makes you think about who it was that lived there and why it was left in the state it was. Someone had a full life here and we only got to see a few remnants of it. I would have to think it wasn’t a creepy existent either, but just the way things have gone since whomever it was departed, left us feeling a bit unsettled. This image was made with a ten minute exposure with my camera mounted to my tripod and awkwardly arranged just inside the cab of the truck. I thought my meter was out to lunch indicating such a long exposure, but here you are, and it was rather dark in the shadows of the cab. An hour or so later we hit the highway to a new destination still heading further south.

 

 

[ Zero Image 6×9, Kodak Portra 160 ]

 

 

May 9, 2015

Kneehill County, Alberta

Farming, and of course the ever present oil and gas, are the main industries that Kneehill County can boast about. Farming to me is a romantic occupation where you operate by the light of the day and the changing of the seasons. You get your hands dirty and you work hard, but there would be a huge sense of accomplishment for the work done. I’m sure it’s not an easy way to make a living, but there are worse jobs out there! I grew up surrounded by grain fields and to this day love harvest season. The lights of combines and grain trucks late into the night peering through the grain dust that hovers near the ground as the humidity gets thicker. The many meals that are eaten on the tailgates of pick-ups and in general the excitement and nervousness of getting the crops safely into granaries. The smells that go along with harvest are amazing just the same as the turning of the fields in spring. The smell of fresh turned soil is amazing and then that of a field of bright yellow canola. I recall, too, the many fields of flax looking like mirages of lakes with the beautiful blue flowers. I don’t see much flax anymore, at least not around central Alberta. I can recall some years back in southern Manitoba there was a lot of flax.

This field had just finished being combined as the sun skimmed over the remaining stubble near Carbon. These tall granaries are nothing like the tiny wooden structures I remember, about the size of the small shed next to these, and they dwarf the tractor parked between them.

 

 

 

[ Plaubel Makina 67, Kodak Ektar 100 ]

 

 

May 8, 2015

Last Spring Storm

Hopefully all we’ll see now is rain. The fluffy white rain has grown old on me now and I much prefer rain that doesn’t require me to shovel it off the sidewalks! Heading south into Red Deer County with my friend Michael Chesworth on our way to the extreme parts of southern Alberta, we had to endure a day of cold winds and this white stuff. We made rather slow progress as the scenes were really quite beautiful.

 

 

[ Olympus E-M5II, Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm ]

April 17, 2015

Starland County

Filed under: Agriculture, Hand of Man, m4/3, Olympus E-M5II, Olympus M.Zuiko 14-150mm II, Skyscape, Travel — collin orthner @ 2:54 pm

A couple more images fro a few days back from down near Drumheller. I love the FYI sign, “You are entering….” not the usual “Welcome to….” 🙂 I grew up in Starland County, so these photos are very easy to relate to for me. Other may find them to feel very stark and sparse, but that is the prairies of Canada and I find the prairies to be very beautiful. The views are almost endless and the sky becomes a big part of the experience. I can recall, after having spent a few weeks in the mountains of BC, while travelling back onto the prairies along highway 1 out of Canmore as the mountains recede behind and the sky before me opening up and feeling a relieved sensation and an ease to my breathing with all the open space before me. Hard to describe that feeling, but it was very real.

 

 

 

[ Olympus E-M5II, Olympus M.Zuiko 14-150mm II ]

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