Collin J Örthner – Photographer

November 18, 2017

“Walking Tree” and “Fallen Branch”

Filed under: Black & White, Fujifilm GFX50s, Hi Res, Mamiya 645 210mm, Medium Format, Nature, snow, Trees, Winter — collin j örthner @ 8:55 pm

 

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This past Monday morning I dropped Laura off at her office downtown and headed into Red Deer County through a thick ice fog that had enveloped Red Deer and the surrounding area. I didn’t get far before I started to see the potential for some pictures. I slowed down along one of the range roads heading south as the fog was very thick, but when I get on backroads it’s what I tend to do anyway. As soon as I saw these trees I slammed on the brakes. They reminded me of Ray McSavaney’s pictures of the “Walking Tree” that he made in Yosemite National Park in the 80’s. I set up and waited until the fog drifted off a bit so I could see the front trees a bit better. It took a few minutes but I did’t mind. There was almost no wind and the fog was absorbing most of the sounds from around me. The quietness was very enjoyable!
Ray McSavaney is one of my favourite photographers and his book “Explorations” should not be missed and better yet, be in your library! I believe it was Ray McSavaney that first found the tree he photographed in Yosemite, but John Sexton photographed the “Fallen Branch” beautifully as well. Speaking of books, you should likely round up copies of John Sexton’s “Listen to the Trees” and “Recollections”!

 

12″ x 10.3″ print, signed, numbered, and shipped (open edition) http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/175

24″ x 20.6″ print, signed, numbered, and shipped (prints 1-5 available at this price) http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/500

40″ x 34.3″ print, signed, numbered, and shipped (prints 1-5 available at this price) http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/1000

 


 

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March 17, 2016

Protected

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

 

February 12, 2016

Visual Pollution

Filed under: Architecture, Black & White, Documentary, Hand of Man, Industrial, snow, Sony RX100 II, Winter — collin j örthner @ 11:39 pm

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.

 

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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.

 

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February 3, 2016

Drilling for Fish

I suppose with almost no drilling for oil in these parts right now, an alternative might well be drilling for fish! Gull Lake in south central Alberta has it’s fair share of winter sportsmen who enjoy hanging out on the ice waiting for a fleeting glimpse of a fish. I for one don’t care for the sport, oh I’ve done it, but likely won’t ever again. Fly fishing – you bet, ice fishing – not so much. However, being that I enjoy photography so much, who is to say I can’t make a few photos of those that are still exploring the sport?

I have most Mondays off work(I usually work Saturdays, so please don’t get too excited thinking I get three day weekends!) and I have been waiting for a Monday that shows up with a nice cover of high clouds to enable the photo I am after for quite awhile. Sometimes my Mondays get rather full of things I need to get done, but this past week, I had a few hours available to go photographing and the conditions were ideal! I set off after driving my wife to work and enjoying a coffee with her.

It is a fairly short drive from Red Deer around a half hour or so. The day use area of Aspen Provincial Park is gated for the winter so a short half a kilometre walk got me to the beach area and just off shore were some of the fishing huts I was after.

 

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I attempted this image last year, but the one time I made it out, the windchill was hovering around -30ºC, and I only took the time to make a photograph on 35mm film, which unfortunately was very far outdated 400ISO, so the resulting image was lacking shall we say!

As I was walking down the beach I noticed the one hut on the far right of the above image looking a bit lonely at the edge of the herd and I decided to isolate it with a telephoto lens to really give it the feeling of being lonely out there.

 

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Then just before I was about to leave the beach and head back to my car one of the sportsmen decided to drill a new hole far from all the others. He had walked quite a distance with his ice auger and started drilling. I slang into action hoping to get set up in time to get at least one image before he finished the chore. I don’t know if he trouble starting the machine, but he seemed a bit delayed allowing me the few extra seconds to get my tripod set up and ready. I like this image the best from the time I spent at Gull Lake and would like to try printing it large with a white wood frame.

 

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

20″ x 30″ – Edition of 9 + 1 AP  Printed on Ilford Galerie Prestige 310gsm, signed, numbered, and shipped  http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/385

30″ x 45″ – Edition of 4 +1 AP  Printed on Ilford Galerie Prestige 310gsm, signed, numbered, and shipped  http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/825

40″x 60″ – Edition of 4 +1 AP  Printed on Ilford Galerie Prestige 310gsm, signed, numbered, and shipped  http://www.paypal.me/collinorthner/1650

January 1, 2016

Little Mere Lake

Filed under: Black & White, Hi Res, Ice, Nature, Sony A7R, Travel, Trees, Winter — collin j örthner @ 11:17 pm

Little Mere Lake is along the northern border of the Chickakoo Lake Recreation Area north of Stony Plain, Alberta. My in-laws live fairly close to the area and so I try and travel along the roads and trails whenever we are visiting. I have been doing this now for more than 25 years and it still remains one of my favourite areas to be, although Parkland County has allowed a great many acreages to be built immediately bordering the small park with a lot of wells being dug, and I think that may be partly causing a drastic drop in the lake levels. The trails are fantastic and well maintained either for hiking, biking, or horseback riding in the three seasons without snow and in winter cross country ski trails are put down. As some of the lakes are now stocked with fish as well, the park has become quite busy and it would be a rare day now to have a trail to oneself, unlike in the past. I suppose I miss the days of the area being very quiet and unpopulated, but it is great to see so many who are out to enjoy the outdoors. I just hope it is managed in a way that prevents the destruction of the park.

 

 

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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 j örthner @ 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

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

 

May 31, 2015

They Still Stand

Filed under: Agriculture, Film, Hand of Man, Hi Res, Kodak Portra 160, Medium Format, Nature, Plaubel Makina 67, snow, Trees, Wind, Winter — collin j örthner @ 10:16 pm

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 14, 2015

Graphically Speaking

Filed under: Abstract, Documentary, Hand of Man, Hi Res, Industrial, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, m4/3, Olympus E-M5II, snow, Winter — collin j örthner @ 8:39 pm

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 ]

 

 

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 ]

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