Collin J Örthner – Photographer

October 5, 2015

Ready For Winter

Filed under: Autumn, Hi Res, Kodak Portra 160, Medium Format, Nature, Plaubel Makina 67, Trees — collin orthner @ 9:11 pm

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To dwellers in a wood, almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature.

― Thomas Hardy, Under the Greenwood Tree

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Gull Lake, Alberta

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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

40″ x 32″ – Edition of 4 +1 AP  Printed on Ilford Galerie Prestige 310gsm, signed, numbered, and shipped  http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/750

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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 ]

 

 

March 3, 2015

Winter in Bower Woods (Trees, Trees, Trees)

Today I am posting few more images from yesterdays snow squall. I showed them to my wife, Laura Lee, last evening and she was quite honest when she said “You’ve shot these before.” in a bored sort of tone. It’s not that she doesn’t think they are competent images, it’s just that it’s more tree images. t certainly have made many images of Bower Woods and also just of trees as a subject. I thoroughly enjoy searching out character trees or dramatic lighting in the woods to make images, but then I do have a lot of them!

 

 

It’s pretty difficult for me to not do it, as I have always had a strong love of nature and here in Red Deer, I don’t find much else worthy of photographing. We don’t have much interesting architecture and our river is frozen solid for almost 6 months of the year. If I only have a few hours to make images, I can’t drive out to the mountains(2.5-3 hours one way) or the badlands(one hour – one way), so I am often either walking through Bower Woods looking at trees or I am wandering around the backroads of Red Deer County, which is mostly a lot of farming. I can’t say I don’t have quite a few interesting and nice images from around the county, but I find the area photographically lacking.

 

 

I know many an established pro will say there are pictures to be made wherever you are, and they aren’t lying. I’ve been known to say the same thing. It’s just that you can only do the same thing for so long before you start to become extremely bored with the idea. Trees, so far at least, are still working for me as a subject, but having been making images in Bower Woods for 17 years, I sincerely hope they have something left for me!

 

 

Even my oldest son, Thomas, said “You should do more abstract series. I like your nature stuff, but you have lots.”  I do love looking for abstracts and maybe that’s what I’ll go after for awhile for a change. Sorry for sounding negative! I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in a large city, out at the coast, or in the state of Oregon. The variety of subjects at your, virtually, instant access, must be very freeing and enjoyable!

 

 

Hopefully this hasn’t been too much of a downer for a post. I’m just voicing my thoughts on my own photography and it is my blog after all. If anyone wants to add their thoughts, good or bad, I’m open to hear them. Just leave me a comment.

 

[ Pentax 645Z, Pentax-D FA 55mm AL SDM, Pentax-FA 120mm Macro ]

 

 

 

 

March 2, 2015

Snow Squall

Here in Red Deer today we have had some very strong winds and along with the wind came some very heavy snow squalls. They wouldn’t last more than five minutes each, but did it ever come down! I was out again today with my borrowed Pentax 645Z as I only get it until Wednesday morning, so it didn’t matter to me if it was cold and snowy out, I wanted to play with this machine. The camera is completely weatherproof, so there was no worries about it getting wet either, which makes working in these conditions so much easier. Just so long as no moisture gets on the front element you are good to go. Clicking on the image will make it a bit larger.

 

 

[ Pentax 645Z, Pentax-D FA 55mm f/2.8 AL SDM ]

 

 

March 1, 2015

601st

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]

 

 

 

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 ]

 

 

November 16, 2013

2.25 x 2.25

Filed under: Abstract, Documentary, Hand of Man, Industrial, Medium Format, Square, Yashicamat — collin orthner @ 8:12 am

2 1/4 x 2 1/4 is one of my favourite ratios to photograph in and the numbers here represent the size of film being used in inches. The square. I can either pick up a medium format camera, as I did for this image, or I can crop one of my digital cameras. You can check out more of my images made as squares by clicking on the “square” tab on the right. This image was made quite a few years ago in Edmonton while I was waiting for my wife to get off work. She was working at the Charles Camsell Hospital in Edmonton and so I would sometimes get there a bit early and wander about the area with my Yashicamat 124G twin lens camera. I really enjoy using twin lens cameras for their relatively small size and simplicity, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy working with a Hasselblad either. The main advantage to the Hasselblad is that I can change lenses, but also that I view what I am photographing through the taking lens. I don’t recall what film was used in this case, although I suspect it was Fujichrome 50D. I couldn’t find the original this morning, but when I do come across it I’ll update the post, not that it really matters all that much.

 

 

[Yashicamat 124G, Fujichrome 50D]

 

 

May 14, 2013

Gull Lake, Alberta

Filed under: Abstract, Autumn, Medium Format, Movement, Nature, pinhole, Trees, Wind, Zero Image — collin orthner @ 11:05 pm

Back in fall I spent an afternoon wandering along the shore of Gull Lake with a good friend. The wind was very intense and there was certainly no hope of a crisp image, so I let the wind do what it does best – blow. My pinhole needed about 8 seconds for a proper exposure which allowed the trees and grass to move wildly in the frame.

 

 

 

[Zero Image 6×9 pinhole]

 

 

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