“Visual pollution is an aesthetic issue and refers to the impacts of pollution that impair one’s ability to enjoy a vista or view.” Wikipedia
During my lunch breaks at work, I like to go for a walk around downtown Red Deer to get some fresh air and feel the sun and wind on my face. It refreshes me, but not comparing even remotely to the kind of refreshment I get when I first breath in clean, fresh, cool mountain air when I travel into the Rocky Mountains, but it is certainly refreshing compared to the air in my office! The visual stimuli leave a lot to be desired in the downtown core. Visual pollution runs rampant and can almost be called embarrassing to think that after a hundred plus years of being incorporated as a town and city, that this is all the City of Red Deer could accomplish! It is, however, an interesting challenge to myself to find “beauty” amongst it all, a composition that exhibits balance and harmony or a complete lack of it. Maybe it’s the lighting and atmospheric conditions that help the situation. Whatever it is, I like to try and find it.
These two photographs were taken only a day or two apart from each other from virtually the same spot just down the back alley from work. You can see the same post on the left of the first photo and again on the far right of the second photo.
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 ]
I really enjoy the graphic qualities presented here. Essentially monochrome with a jolt of orange, this image has straight lines, curved lines, triangles, short lines, long lines, thick lines, thin lines, organic shapes, man-made shapes, dark tones, light tones, large blank area, and small detailed areas. It was fun to make the image even though I was being buffeted by very strong winds! I was shooting across a highway in order to get the composition I was after and got a lot of strange looks from people travelling by. It’s as if they have never seen someone with a camera on a tripod. I think they wouldn’t have even hardly glanced over my way if I had of been holding up my phone! 🙂
[ Olympus E-M5II, Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 ]
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 ]
Going back to what was an almost unbearably cold day with a high windchill. I really was in the mood to go after some images on this day, so I headed the 30 minutes up to Gull Lake to see what I could find. Well, I almost froze my fingers off! The wind was howling over the snow and ice. I trudged through the snow along the shore until there were no distractions in the foreground and fired off a frame capturing the fishing huts out on the ice. Immediately, I thought I had found a unique image and threw my hands back in my pockets and headed straight back to the car. I had the film in the camera for a while before I finished the roll. It’s always nice to see images I almost forgot about! I think sometimes it’s more about me being able to simply get out to see, and not so much about the end result. Capturing what I found exciting to see on a piece of film is quite gratifying though, and it allows me to show others my vision of the world we are living in.
[ Leica M3, Zeiss ZM 50mm f2 Planar, Lomography 400 film ]
No, it isn’t 601 Street, but it is my 601st post on this blog! I had to do inventory at work today from 8 – 4:30 and my Pentax rep dropped by to lend me his demo 645Z medium format camera. Needless to say, even though I was rather tired from the work all day, I had to go for a bit of a drive before the sun went down. So, off I went to some of my favourite areas south of Red Deer. This small stand of trees will likely be torn down shortly as it is one of the last stands in the area that hasn’t been ripped out and burned. So sad, as they look beautiful and I’m pretty sure the birds enjoy them as much as I do! Cross lighting from the beautiful late day sun was really showing off all the texture of the field. The wind was howling across this open field, so I used my extra large, heavy duty tripod to keep things still. The image really doesn’t make you feel as cold as I was!!
[ Pentax 645Z, Pentax-FA 120mm f/4 Macro]
I took a walk through a small neighbourhood I haven’t spent much time in on my lunch break a few days ago. I came across this great old shed, and I was quite intrigued by the shadows playing on it’s walls and across the snow.
[ Leica M3, Zeiss ZM 50mm Planar, Lomography 400 Colour ]
Last fall I spent a beautiful Saturday leading a few retired folks on a photo excursion north of Castor, AB. We had a good time visiting a few different sites and later that evening I headed back home and enjoyed the views of a beautiful autumn Alberta day. I didn’t really want to get home as the light and sights were great! South of Alix I came across this recently harvested and baled field and had to pull over to capture an image.
[ Plaubel Makina 67, Kodak Portra 160 ]
There was scant snow in the fields of Red Deer County in mid-December. It certainly isn’t like this now that we are really in the winter season. We have had a fair bit of snow and plenty of wind that has built some impressive drifts. The fog was almost finishing clearing off when I came across these fields of bales along the hills SE of Red Deer.
[ Leica M3, Zeiss ZM 50mm Planar, Kodak Gold 200 ]