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.

As the day progressed the weather turned towards the nicer side and it looked like the sun would come out for sunset. With no real destination in mind I left the house to see what I could find.  There were some pretty clouds in the sky and I found myself heading east of the city on Mcknight hoping to find a cloud photo. My plan was to head south somewhere before Conrich and intersect 16th ave then head west towards downtown again maybe stopping along the way.

I noticed a flock of starlings in a tree and decided that's where I wanted to stop so I whipped around and parked at the side of the road. Initially the birds were all in the tree and I imagined a photo where they would all burst off of the tree and I'd end up with a real cool photo.. of birds, bursting off of the tree.  As I made through the muddy ditch to a fence some of the birds flew off the tree but not in the bursty way that I had imagined. I snapped a few photos. I was hoping for a large density of birds in the air so I waited and waited to see what would happen, taking photos when there was some flight activity.

The photo below is a composite of two photos showing birds on both sides of the tree. I combined them to create a story and in the end I like how it turned out as it almost matches what I had hoped to capture going in, just with less "burstyness".


Back in the car and heading towards downtown again driving along 16th ave with the light being the way it is. I've looked across the Deerfoot valley for years thinking I should shoot it sometime. Well, today I decided to stop and take a photo. There's a foot bridge just past the intersection. At the north end of the foot bridge is a parking lot at the south end is a field and a sidewalk leading into the Mayland Heights community. I figure I could park in the empty parking lot so I turned north and drove and drove and drove to find the entrance to the lot.  It was almost comical how far I had to go.. anyway, it looked like a pay-lot but the gates were up so with a small bit of trepidation I entered and drove all the way back to the foot bridge.

the great escape
The light was ok, but not great, a few days ago I'd seen it where the sun was much lower and shadows extended into the valley highlighting the curve of the far hill but I didn't stop then.. After scouting the view,  the composition goal became capturing the widest part of the road and the clouds and cars in the 'right spot'.. I have a few photos with no cars in the foreground but I think the five that are in the frame now are a good balance.

In addition to the view above, I've been wondering for a long time about shooting the foot bridge itself.  Stationed where I was I decided to try and capture the staircase and some of the railing but also wanted to include the supports for context.

I picked my view then focused on taking a shot when there were no cars in the frame.  Given that I'm right next to an intersection it was a little tricky as cars would come, then line up and it'd be a while before they pulled out before other cars would start entering the photo.  In addition the sun was having a battle with clouds and sometimes the light would just flatten right out. Towards the end of my time there the sun eventually hit a big gap in the clouds and it was just a matter of waiting for the cars to clear out.

bars on top

I like the photo, but I'm not sure how much appeal it has for anyone else or if it'll be well received if I post it on instagram. I guess we'll find out one day. ;)

From here I just drove through downtown stopping to take a couple photos out the window of the car at some buildings. The sun set was nice but I wasn't inspired with any locations that I came across so I just ended up circling back towards home. A lot of the snow from the last couple days seems to have been melted off and it looks like next week the temperature is going into the high teens.. that should be nice.

Link to the photo set on my smugmug site.

Thanks for looking.

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