Thursday, April 23, 2020

Chaos - April 23, 2020

A fellow that I follow on Instagram had re-posted an image of a downtown cityscape that someone had taken. He went on to find an old photo that he had taken at the same location with a similar view. I took it that he felt like he'd been copied so I replied to his post saying that that's where I was going to go shoot next. He replied and we LOL'd back and forth.

A few days later I was picking up Jen from work and realized that the place mentioned in the correspondence above was just around the corner from where I was parked. I grabbed my camera and ran around the block to try and capture it. When I got on scene I quickly discovered that I couldn't exactly remember the photo in question.. just that it was shot upwards and had a lot of leading lines pointing at the sky. I made a couple shots before heading back to the car.


Later I looked up the post and realized that I'd missed in my attempt but in spite of that I'd made my own image. From left to right the lines and textures become more chaotic, hence the caption.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Gratitude - April 22, 2020

Earlier this morning I dropped Conor in the north west and was heading home along John Laurie past the southern edge of Nose hill park. Earlier we had looked up at the various paths rising from the trail heads and discussed riding a bike up the hill and whether or not I could do it. From where we were all the trails looked quite long and reasonably steep. Half jokingly I said I would. Now that I was alone I wasn't sure but decided to parking in the lot off of 14th street. Soon I was pulling my bike out of the back of the car.

A few weeks ago I'd parked at this spot for sunset and ended up taking some photos of a big cloud that was hanging over the downtown core. At the time I felt like there wasn't much for photo opportunities across the top of Nose hill because of the lack of features. Once on top it's really a vast expanse of flat prairie like conditions, perhaps once the grasses sprout and wild flowers bloom the mood will change. I pedaled up the hill and soon reached the top where I picked a path and rode off towards the middle somewhere.

What's cool is that you can completely lose sight of the city while you're up there and become lost in the natural setting. Being somewhat new to the area I wasn't sure where to go or how to get there. There seemed to be some main/paved paths and a bunch of boot worn paths that crisscross the landscape.

I pedaled across in kind of a north west direction and somewhere in the middle I stopped to take a photo of this lone hiker. The muted colours and light tones matched my mood. A kind of calm simplicity.

I'd been riding quietly across the plains, just me and the whisper of the wind. After a while I started to feel a sense of gratitude and peacefulness for being in this place. I spent an hour or so just moving across the landscape and taking it all in.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Sandy Beach - April 21, 2020

I'd dropped Jen off at work this morning. Her office has been closed for a number of weeks because of Covid and she's been working from home but there was some work that she needed to do from the office.  Rather than pay 10 or 15 $ for parking it was just as easy for me to drop her off, the bonus was that I could find a spot to park and see about getting some morning photos along the river.

I'd parked the car at the bridgeland spot and kind of rode around a bit aimlessly before reaching the river. I wasn't too sure what direction I wanted to go and soon found myself at the east village. From there I thought about exploring something new again and perhaps riding south along the elbow river.

Crossing 9th ave at the Deane house, I could see the light facing downtown was nice for 8:30am.. (sunrise was about two hours ago). There's a path detour with a narrow section that I thought would make an interesting photo. I got off my bike and tried to scout out a photo that would include the bridge and the buildings in the background.

Initially I climbed up the side of the pathway and stood on some road barricade's to shoot over top the edge of the bridge. I could hear a train engine idling and wanted to include it in the photo.


Monday, April 20, 2020

Pirates and more! - April 20, 2020

I parked at the Bridgeland spot with the intent of heading up onto Tom Campbell hill to see if there were any prairie crocuses blooming. There's been a couple days of warm weather and we're well into spring now so I was hopeful that I'd find some.

After unloading my bike I rode over to the base of the hill and petaled my way up by following a boot worn path to the top. I was secretly pleased that I was able to ride up the hill and had a view dreams about heading out to the mountains to do some actual mountain biking. The old Powderface mountain bike loop in Bragg Creek is calling out to me.

Once on top I scouted for the flowers but didn't find any. I wasn't too surprised, it's only been a couple days of warm weather. Now that my photo idea was squashed I was free to go anywhere and decided to head down the other side of the hill towards the zoo parking lot where the light in the egg/art thing caught my eye. I stopped to take a couple of photos. It took a few minutes before I realized that the animal pattern was repeating and that there was some symmetry to the display.

animals in a cage

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Downtown again.. April 16, 2020

Earlier this morning Conor and I drove out to the mountains west of Longview. Some friends had figured out how to get around some of the covid-19 restrictions that are in place to keep people from parking at public land use zones or recreation areas as everything is currently closed. The workaround involved parking at a spot more than 1 km from the trail head. They used bikes to get from the parking spot to the trailhead which seemed like a good idea. I'd hiked the trail in the past and thought it would be a fun objective for Conor and I to try.

Driving out there was nice and we both were excited to be out after spending so much time at home. Turning onto a secondary highway we discovered that it was covered in about 6 inches of fresh snow. We'd packed the van with bikes and our hiking gear and as we drove further into the back country I was getting more and more nervous about the potential of getting stuck. There wasn't any cell service and the van wasn't really meant to be driving these conditions. I was worried that later in the day it would be slushy, wet and really bad.. We ended up turning around and driving home but I was able to grab a few photos.

Winter? O Sure.. 
In the photo above, some skiers head up highway 40 at the winter closure.. note the fresh depth of snow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The winter that wouldn't end. - April 15, 2020

It's been about five days since I've been out shooting anything.. or out of the house even.. I don't really remember. There's been a bunch of snow and grey and un-inspiring cold weather. Even the lunch time walks have been deferred. It's surprising how quickly it's already the middle of April. Today wasn't that great either so I was surprised when the suggestion of the lunch time walk was agreed to.

For a while now when we've walked the circle there have been gophers running around enjoying the spring like weather. I thought a capturing a gopher poking out of a hole surrounded by snow would make a fun photo. So I grabbed my camera and an old lens.

I don't normally bring the camera on the lunch time walk but maybe I should, cause you never know what you might see. As it turns out having the the camera with me also turns on my photographers eye and now everything I look at becomes a potential photo.

I brought a long lens (300mm + 1.4x Teleconverter) to take the gopher photo because you don't want to get too close to them or they'll just run away and pop down into their hole.  The long focal length also offers up a nice compressed view which I used for the photo below after asking Jen to go waaaaay down the path.


On the opposite side of the circle we ran into a cold north wind that surprisingly(!) diminished our enthusiasm for walking outside and we ended up cutting back through the community where the wind was largely blocked by houses. Due to the route change there would be no gophers today.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Again with the river - April 9, 2020

Less than an hour until sundown and here I am just parking at my new Bridgeland spot to start my photo walk/ride.  If you read yesterdays entry you might remember that I had discovered a new spot to park and unpack my bike and access the river paths but unlike yesterday I didn't start by getting lost in the heart of Bridgeland. Instead I made a beeline straight to the river pathway. To cross Memorial drive I went up and over the c-train bridge.

At the end of my journey yesterday I saw the view below but decided that I didn't want to stop an take any more photos. Since I'm now emotionally invested in the building on the right I stopped to take this shot thinking that it'd probably make a better sunrise location as the light would be a lot better. The sun currently sitting in the top left behind some clouds blowing out the corner of the image.  I waited for a view clear of cars on the road.


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Along the river - April 8, 2020

It's Wednesday and mildly warm out I was driving towards downtown to find some sunset photos. My thought was to drive to the Inglewood spot, park then ride my bike and search for photos. While driving I must have been lost in thought because I'd missed my turnoff. I quickly recomputed the route and turned into Bridgeland with the hope of circling around to my original destination.

That didn't seem to work out - I quickly became distracted with an influx of new ideas, perhaps I could park here and walk or bike over there, oh what's that look like I wonder if I should stop now, oop, there's a car behind me gotta keep going. My simple idea had hit turbulence and now I was unsuccessfully in computing a new path. Sunlight on the corner of a building with a large tree seemed important so I stopped and walked over to take a few photos, the scene didn't quite click.

Back in the car now, more confused driving with unclear goals. I give up on the Inglewood spot. I find a Bridgeland spot. I'll just park and go from here. Bike unpacked and on my way I take the non-obvious way and ride through the neighborhood rather than proceeding directly to the river pathway another reflection on my confused state of mind.

The streets are gridded and easy to follow until they aren't. I turn left then right, left again and end up at a dead end overlooking a set of wooden stairs to the streets below. I contemplate riding down the hill but renege after looking closer at the cluster of bushes, rocks and tree limbs scattered on the ground, surely a trap. The woman exercising on the stairs dissuaded me from taking that option, with thoughts of awkwardly carrying my bike around her on the narrow stairs. I backtrack and soon find a way to the familiar river trails.

I spot some light and stop to capture an image waiting for a scene to unfold. People across the river and a tunnel of light. I take some shots, zoomed in, zoomed out, how many arches to include. I like my images to be clean and the bushes are a distraction but there's no way around them. I'm not sure I like it when people are walking into the arch with their backs towards me. I see a shadow appear on the wall and soon runner and doggo emerge from the cave. I snap a few photos hoping to capture form and position in at least one of the frames.

Under the bridge
I head across the river to investigate the tunnel of light from a different perspective. I don't find anything I like and move on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Pink Moon - April 7, 2020

On the morning of April 7th the mostly full moon would set in the west at or around sunrise before rising in the east at sunset.  The full moon is always at opposition to the sun otherwise the angles wouldn't work out and it wouldn't be a full moon. Another feature of the sunrise/sunset full moon is that there is ambient light from the setting or rising sun so that you can still see part of the landscape.

The trick to making the moon look bigger is to shoot it near the horizon with a long zoom lens. Usually there is just one day per moon cycle that everything lines up - a day earlier and the moon is out with too much sunlight and you can't see it. A day later the moon is out after dark and you can't see the landscape.

I woke up at 5:30am so I could drive downtown and try to capture the full(ish) moon setting against the downtown skyline. According to my app, the moon would be in place by 6:45am or so.

I'd lucked out last year and got some good photos on the way to work (link) and was willing to try again in spite of going to the same area. I was anxious that I'd just end up with the same set of photos and almost decided not to go because of it, but I hardened my resolve and was soon driving downtown in sparse traffic.


Monday, April 6, 2020

East - April 6, 2020

I didn't go out yesterday and with time running out today I found myself packing up my camera and heading out to try and find some light. A quick glance at the sky and it looked like downtown might be in shade but there was some open sky towards the north west. I didn't really want to head downtown again so I decided to drive just east of the city and see if I could find something to shoot, perhaps a sky/reflection photo or some trees.

At first I was regretting my decision because the first part of the drive was just past flat fields and the ponds were all still frozen over. The sun seemed to be heading down fast adding to the pressure to find something. I continued further north and made this photo out the car window at the first thing that was sticking up off the ground.

solar power
I find that when I'm out looking for photos that there is often a mental barrier to the process of finding a composition until I take a first photo. It's almost like I need to shoot something/anything before my brain turns on and I start to focus on the task at hand.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Missed - April 4, 2020

I'd left the house well after 7pm, closer to 7:15pm or so.. sunset was supposed to be sometime around 8:15, I thought I had time, but in reality I didn't. By the time I got downtown any direct sun was gone.. In spite of that I kept on hoping to find something to photograph I ended up parking the car near the west end of Prince's island.

I walked towards the Peace bridge thinking that I really didn't want to take the obvious bridge photos from this location (ie, one's I'd taken before). There was still a very low chance that the sun could do something like light up the sky but I wasn't very optimistic.

I took a hard right on the path onto Prince's island and walked over to the apex across from the Peace bridge where there were a few runners. I took a few zoomed in shots trying to for photos through the lines on the bridge. The posted photo below is zoomed out and was better than any of the other shots.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Nose Hill - April 1, 2020

As I drove west on Mcknight I could see a heavy cloud hanging over the downtown core. The western end of the cloud was catching some sunlight but looked like it wasn't quite over top of the buildings. I didn't have a way of gauging how fast the cloud was moving and if the light was going to change a lot. By the time I reached Center street it looked like the big cloud hadn't moved at all. I didn't think that the angles would work out if I drove any closer to downtown so I decided to drive up to Nose hill off of 14th street.

I've lived in Calgary my whole life and I've probably been to Nose hill less than 5 times that I can remember and just once with photographic intent. I shot some crocus flowers a few springs ago for a 365 project that I was doing. I wondered if there might be some frozen crocus's covered with recent snow but honestly I don't think it's been warm enough this year for anything to have had popped out of the frozen ground yet.

I had seen an instagram post recently where someone had posted a photo of downtown from Nose hill so I had an idea of what the view would be like. Of course I was hoping for a brilliant sky and yada yada yada.. it's a common mantra that I'm sure you've heard already if you've been following along. lol.

After parking the car and hoofing it to the top of the hill I saw that there was a streak of light across the downtown core and the cloud that I was tracking was in a good position. I quickly setup the tripod and mounted the camera.

Light brushing the scene.