I missed the dawn yesterday morning. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. My destination was a provincial park east of High River by about 45 minutes. The road was empty, dark, shrouded in mist, and unfamiliar. Once I had reminded myself to not look beyond my high beams, the driving was therapeutic. I arrived at the lake shore well before dawn. Only my cell gave me a sense a time – the light did not. I was undecided about whether 1 or 2 should survive or not. Any thoughts?
These are photos to get lost in.
On a different note, yesterday I thought I had completed a set of 10 images for the Thin Line series (another component of the larger Roadside Attractions umbrella). Putting together a set of images is a fascinating exercise. It is all about answering the question does photo x belong with the others already in the set or not? In the case of the Thin Line many are called – few are chosen. I remain 1 photo short.
Here are the 5 that survived from yesterday’s drive out past Elbow Falls with Keith C. It is always a treat to take a drive into this gorgeous country. As per my photographic norms, the image I had in mind was not to be had. Instead there were other rewards. And there dear reader is a quiet truth about landscape photography. All three of vision, technique, and the elements must align for a planned image to be captured. The gods are fickle. We as mere mortals adapt as necessary. Images 1 and 2 are experiments using flash. I like the results. What do you think?
Beginning late December, you will see more of my studio assistant, Steve, who I am introducing today.
In answer to the question, so, what happened? I can’t really explain. The shutter continues to click and I haven’t felt much like sharing.
Yesterday morning, while April slept, I returned to a familiar place with a single capture in mind. Guess what, the sun no longer rises in its summer location. For a sometimes-bright man I do seem to forget seasonal basics. Ah well, the morning had its rewards.
The last image was on the drive home. In colour the photo was banal. In black and white, I like it.
After the mist left the land we continued out Saturday photo ramble. Today’s set of 5 are related by day only.
The original photo of the pram (it is vertical if you click on it) was well executed, lush in colour, and without atmosphere. I prefer this de-saturated version.
The insulation hanging from the ceiling nearly worked in colour, but it works better in black and white. But, before I got there I travelled a short rabbit hole. Our digital screens have established an expectation of bright crisp colour. We may be loosing our ability to appreciate the richness of black and white. This photo would be better printed.
This photo is a lesson for me. If I insist on capturing a cliche, at least take the time to frame the shot properly and do it from the right angle.
This is a nearly. It is not a particularly good shot but there is a kernel of an idea worth protecting from the byte abyss..
This past Saturday morning the alarm went off at 2:30 in the morning. April to her credit says that was the middle of the night – she’s probably right. By 3:30 I had picked Keith up and we were on our way for an enjoyable photo ramble to Nanton and parts South and West of there. The ranch lands in the foothills of the Livingston range are magical, and that area is becoming a favourite of mine. What’s more, cows make me smile. We travelled on roads new and old.
The photos from that day will come in 3 parts. These first 6 go together and are the results of ruthless editing. The editing may have to continue as I am not sure that the second photo in row 1 should survive. What do you think. Does it add or subtract from the collection? I thank Kevin Boyle (represented by Christine Klassen) for the inspiration of photo 1.
Some time ago I posted a consolation photo. I ran out of day as I tried to get to a particular vantage point in the Livingston range north west of the Chain Lakes. On the evening of August 7th, I drove out to that vantage point. As the blue of the evening faded to black, I laid out my sleeping bag, foam pad, and pillow in the bed of my truck. A vision of sleeping under stars vanished with the howling wind. The inside of the truck was quieter, but it only has one bench seat and it is narrower than I am tall. After a truly ghastly sequence of uncomfortable catnaps, the alarm went off at 4:30 Sunday morning.
This little adventure had begun with a dawn photo in mind. As is so often the case with both life and photography, my ideas and my reality differed. Photographically the sunrise was not particularly noteworthy. So, I tried to make it interesting (photo 1), and once again we have a consolation prize (photo 2).
The other two photos that survived the digital shredder are in today’s gallery (below).
Yesterday morning the alarm went off at 3:30, and I stumbled out of bed at 4:09. I thought there might be some mist to be found out towards Acme. I came across a possibility but I could not wrap my head around angle, location, and perspective. Ok, there was a faint glimmer of an idea that vanished in the white lines of the highway.
The theme that emerged was yellow and triangles.
If you are worried that the RA series has gone fear not. I have made some mistakes and learned some things since the last image. My current challenge is to get to the places I have in mind at the right time of day.
Today’s post comes in two parts. The first part is a new entry in the RA series (RA-008) and the second is this text. In response to a comment of Keith’s, I said I would try to articulate some of my thoughts behind RA-00x.
In response to our fleeting attention span, I wanted to initially arrest the viewers attention span, and then hopefully make the stop worth while. Contributing to this is size, and structure.
The repetition has evolved from a single image being repeated multiple time to a set of images with subtle differences. For instance in RA-008 there are 6 different pictures plus a 7th photo along the bottom. Speaking of structure, as mentioned in the revised introduction, I thought it was important to pick up the plastic once it was photographed, and then it made sense to take a photo with the plastic removed.
I like the playfulness of Hockney and his work with Polaroids. Each of the images RA-001 – RA-007 has the same exterior ratio as a Polaroid (1:1.31). The reference to Polaroid also accounts for the equal white space on three sides and more white space on the bottom. As April said these images read horizontal and the vertical presentation works against the individual pictures. In other words, the reference is both opaque and a distraction. Both images and ideas evolve. With RA-008 we move on.
I find that much of the work of the Dusseldorf school has a melancholy quality. On the other hand I really appreciate the way those photographers centred their subject matter, and address it head on. Burtynsky has spoken about the influences of painters on his work. I also think that he has some heritage in the Dusseldorf school. As I mentioned before I have long been drawn to the conflict between beauty and subject matter in his work.
So where does this leave you the viewer. I would like to think that there is enough skill and content in these images for you to stick around. At worst you give this series a passing glance. At best you stopped long enough to pause, appreciate the disconnect between contemplation and subject matter, and let your mind wander down any number of roads. Possible avenues are up to you but I can suggest the nature of perception, repetition, pollution, and visual overload. Or perhaps, you just went I don’t get but I like it, and that too is a fine response.
In RA-002, there is only one image repeated multiple times, and there is no fence alone photo. The resulting image is ok but the boldness is not conducive to holding ones attention. The mind and eye quickly leave. It is good and is a 3.
In RA-004, there not enough colour separation between the bag and the land. Whatever else the photo has going for it, is overshadowed by that problem. It is bad and is a 2.
In RA-005, not all the photos are the same. There is enough subtlety to hold the eye and mind. I am inclined to linger. It is very good and a 4. April suggested that it does not read well vertically and it should be recomposed as a horizontal. Initially I balked. Now, after a nights sleep, I think she’s right. It could become a 5.
As always, the printed photo is more revealing than the onscreen version. It was a satisfying exercise. I am not as close to having a finished dozen as I thought. On the other hand, I know what I have to change.