Author Archives: spd_wp_admin

RA So Far

Dear Reader (2018-12-11),

One of the lovely things about Lightroom is that as my skills improve, I have the opportunity to revisit images and make better adjustments.  The result is that there are now 5 images in the RA collection.  RA-014 is the most recent one (last in the sequence below), and I am very pleased with it.  Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote in “The Black Swan” about the difficulty many have with randomness.  As a result, we want to apply order and a narrative where none exists.  RA-014  also plays with this idea.

Other Posts about the RA Series
ra-000-introduction (text)
RA-Interlude 01 from June 16 (text)
RA-Interlude 02 from June 26 (text)

Image Size without white border -> 61″ inches x 41.0″ at 300 pixels / inch.
Proposed Print Size including 2.5 ” white border on all sides -> 60″ x 42″ at 300 pixels / inch

Cheers, Sean


Learning Or Not

(2018-11-27) Dear Reader

I have been out and about these past 3 weeks or so trying to get one last photo to complete a set of 10 photos in the “Thin Line” series.  Winter arrived and has now temporarily departed.  The winter photos have a very different feel.

There was a time when my skiing was improving.  My consolation when I fell was, if I am not falling, I’m not learning.  Photographically I have been falling. One lesson is to use bracketing more often.  Currently my new default setting is to take 5 photos bracketed on either side of the adjusted exposure in .7 increments.  Adjusted exposure is the exposure I set after considering colour and brightness.

The first photo is the outcome of my third drive to a specific location.  After finally getting something that worked, I realized that the structure was different than the other “Thin Line” members.  I remain one photo short of the ten.

The fourth photo illustrates the idea that photography is also about a way of seeing.  The road behind is the consistently busy TCH (Trans-Canada Highway).  The answer to the unspoken question is yes, that is how I remember the light.

So where does that leave you the viewer.  Well, it is like this.  Here is a disjointed set of images captured while on a quest for a number 10.

Cheers, Sean

Dawn Missed

(20181104) Dear Reader ,

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.

Cheers, Sean

Five Fours

(20181028) Dear Reader ,

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.

Cheers, Sean

An Alberta Morning

Dear Reader, 2018-10-21

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.

Cheers, Sean

Experiments and Ideas after Cows

Dear Reader,

After the mist left the land we continued out Saturday photo ramble.   Today’s set of 5 are related by day only.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. See 2
  4. 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.
  5. 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..

Cheers, Sean

Another Happy Cow Day

Dear Reader,

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.

Cheers, Sean


Dear Reader,

The image below has suffered from compression and some detail has been lost.  If you want to see the nice and crispy version, let me know and we can arrange to meet.

Series Introduction:
ra-000-introduction (text)

Interludes so far:
RA-Interlude 01 from June 16 (text)
RA-Interlude 02 from June 26 (text)

Current Direction:
~ RA-008 (image)

Image Size without white border
-> 61 inches x 41.0 inches at 300 pixels / inch.
Proposed Print Size including 2.5 inch white border on all sides
-> 60 inches x 42 inches at 300 pixels / inch


Cheers, Sean

Consolation, Yellow, and Triangles

Consolation, Yellow, and Triangles

Updated 22:45 after spotting.

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.

It is always a treat to read your comments.

Cheers, Sean

RA-000 Interlude 02

Dear Reader

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.

Here is a semi-ordered set of notes, that are a continuation of

  • 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.

As always, thank you for stopping by.

Cheers, Sean