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.

With my emotion-o-meter refreshed I made my way back to the car and then back home.  The rest of the day was somewhat uneventful until sunset. A big storm cloud had passed over the neighborhood and was heading east. There was sun and open sky to the west which means a possibility of rainbows.  I love rainbows and quickly decided to head out with the camera bag to see if I could find something.  

Initially I thought about heading towards downtown because a photo of a rainbow over downtown would be a pretty nice prize. My experience is that rainbows are fleeting and you almost have to already be in place before they show up. 

As I see it there are three components, the sun and where it is in the sky (lower is better) the rain cloud itself, with rain and your position - somewhere in between the rain cloud and the sun.  Even though I could spot a rainbow from my current position if I drove 20km's to downtown there would likely be no rainbow from that vantage point. 

I could see the edge of the cloud was heading further east so I really had no choice but to follow it. Not knowing how long it would last I stopped at the side of the highway a couple times to take some shots. Looking for some kind of non-flat-prairie foregrounds to include in the frame. I was hedging my bets by taking these first few photos and at least capturing something. Regardless, I like how this photo turned out I had to move a few times to get the rainbow to line up how I wanted it. 

After gathering some evidence that there was indeed rainbows out, I sped down the highway looking for a place to compose a photo. I pulled onto a side road that ran north south and tried to find a foreground element. My options were pretty much limited to trees/bushes, fences, fields, the sky.

With the sun low and behind me a full rainbow appeared on the horizon. I wasn't able to remove my shadow from the frame so decided to give a quick wave. I was still on the look out for a composition and decided to go back to the highway and continue east.

it's me!
When I got to the intersection I noticed the fence corner almost lined up with the edge of the cloud and could maybe become a foreground element.  I crouched low in the ditch to try and take this shot but I still wasn't low enough so I lowered the camera and shot without looking through the viewfinder. (If I'm ever lucky enough to be able to afford a new camera I'm getting one with a fold out back screen so I can compose shots like this without lying on the ground).

I really love the textures and tones that came out of this photo the light was gorgeous.  I do wish that I'd been able to move slightly and have the rainbow separated from the fence post but I'm still pretty pleased with this shot.

The storm cell was moving away from me so I needed to change positions. I got in the car and drove to the other side of highway 9. There are even less foreground elements here but the sunlight was strong and there was some awesome contrast between the cut wheat and the wet dirt. I saw the tire tracks leading into the field and angled to include them in the foreground.

disconnected arches

Turning to include the edge of the storm cloud with the light.. oh that light.

Same as above but horizontal.. I don't know if I have more to add and will just let the photos sit.

glorious 2
After taking a few photos I stopped and just looked and fell into the moment. The profound sense of gratitude and calm that I'd felt this morning on Nose hill came back and I felt lucky to be here in this place witnessing this beauty.

I spent the next half hour or so exploring some train tracks, taking photos, just looking. I came across some animal bones that were interesting. The storm was moving away and the sun was falling lower.

I drove through Lyalta to see if there was anything else to capture.  I found a spot with fence posts and twisted wires that sort of lined up with the last of the colourful sky. In a ditch I tried to compose and shoot some last shots before everything faded. It was somewhat awkward positioning and due to contrast I was bracketing shots and could have used a tripod but for some reason I decided to just leave the tripod IN MY CAR that was RIGHT THERE! and not use it.

fading away

As I drove home, I watched the sky in the west burn and burn as the light just faded away.

Here's a link if you want to view the photos larger on my photo site.

Thanks for looking.

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