Collin J Örthner – Photographer

September 20, 2015

Last Days of Summer

Filed under: Autumn, Film, Hi Res, Large Format, Nature, Trees — collin orthner @ 5:39 pm

The last few days of summer are upon us, but we can now look forward to  the beautiful colours and smells of autumn and the cool crisp mornings. Today, for me, was almost ideal, cloudy, cool, but not cold, and some refreshing smelling rain. I still need to get into my garden to finish getting all the cucumbers and carrots in. We had one morning last week that was -3°C, so the carrots should have a nice sweet flavour now! Autumn is my favourite season of the year. Watch the changes and the sombre leftover colours as seasons move towards monotone winter.

 

” The brilliant autumnal colors are red and yellow and the various tints,

hues, and shades of these. Blue is reserved to be the colour of the sky, but

yellow and red are the colors of the earth-flower. Every fruit,

on ripening, and just before it’s fall, acquires a bright tint. So do the

leaves; so the sky before the end of the day, and the year near it’s setting.

October is the red sunset sky, November the later twilight. Color

stands for all ripeness and success. We have dreamed that the hero should

carry his color aloft, as a symbol of his virtue. The

noblest feature, the eye, is the fairest-colored, the jewel of the body.”

Henry David Thoreau

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[ Anba Ikeda 4×5, Fujinon 300mm f8.5 C, Fujichrome Provia 100F ]

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 28, 2015

Ochotona princeps

Filed under: Film, Mammals, Mountain, Nature, Travel — collin orthner @ 9:35 pm

Otherwise known as a pika, this adorable little guy entertained me and my friend Ron Yachimec while we were hiking in Yoho National Park. We had traversed many of the trails around Lake O’Hara, but hadn’t headed up to McArthur Lake. We decided to climb up Mount Schaffer, me only nearly to the top, Ron all the way, but then he has some good training in climbing skills! Such beautiful views from so high up but there were some rain showers starting up, and so on our decent we decided to scramble down a very long scree slope, which felt a lot like skiing moguls. Near the bottom where we joined up with the trail back to our campground we heard the unmistakeable shrill chirp of a pika. It didn’t take long to locate him as he scrambled among the boulders rounding up all his grasses etc. he had set out earlier to dry in the sun. He would grab a mouth full and head under the rocks only to pop his head out and check to see if there were any risks about before getting his next mouthful. I simply watched where he would stop and snuck up on the spot when he wasn’t looking or had dived under a boulder. When I was close enough to get a decent shop, I got my camera to the appropriate settings and waited. Within a few moments he was back. He spotted me and stopped to be sure I was an OK kind of guy and click, the memory was preserved an a small piece of Fuji Velvia film. I entered this image into the Canadian Geographic magazines photo contest at the time and it won the animal category and was published, which then resulted in a few print sales. All in all I was a pretty happy camper! (Pardon the pun)

 

 

 

[ Nikon F3HP, Nikon 80-200mm f/4, Fujichrome Velvia ]

 

 

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 ]

 

 

April 30, 2015

Gull Lake, AB

Filed under: Abstract, Documentary, Film, Hand of Man, Ice, Leica M3, Lomography 400 Colour, snow, Winter, Zeiss, ZM 50mm Planar — collin orthner @ 11:10 pm

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 ]

 

 

 

February 3, 2015

Shed, Red Deer, AB

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 ]

 

 

 

January 28, 2015

Lacombe County

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 ]

 

 

January 11, 2015

Enveloped

Red Deer County has seen it’s share of foggy mornings this fall and winter. I was surprised that on this particular morning the wind was howling and it wasn’t warm to say the least. Windchill kept me inside my car for the most part, but I was not about to give up on a great opportunity to capture the sombre mood of the enveloping fog.

 

 

 

 

[ Leica M3, Zeiss ZM 50mm Planar, Kodak Gold 200 ]

 

 

January 8, 2015

Trails and Bales

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 ]

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