The Oly Torch was coming through the 'peg, so Elaine and I decided to catch up with it at the Forks. I parked the car off Broadway, knowing that the traffic would be crazy, and walked over to meet Elaine at the Pancake House for supper. We had a front row seat as they were setting up the stage and booths. After we finished eating, we bundled up and headed outside. Things were really starting to pick up, so we picked a spot near the cattle fence . . er. . I mean, the crowd restrainers, and waited for the big moment. As part of the entertainment for the evening, three young ladies with pots of flammable liquid held together with chains, began swinging these devices around their heads and around the crowds as well. I kept my distance except for a few brief moments where I dared stick my camera in their direction to try and grab a quick shot before they set my Tilley on fire. The torch arrived just in time before everyone's Coke souvenirs froze in their hands, and you could feel the crush of the crowd as they pressed us into the fence . . . er . . . restrainers like a block of old cheese. But I knew we had chosen the right spot to catch all the action, so I crouched down in the break between two sections of fence, and snapped off a couple of quick rounds as the young man shuffled by, decked out in his reflective white jogging suit, grinning from one frozen ear to the other. The crowds filled in the gap behind him as he rushed to the stage. More psychodelic lights, speeches from every level of govenrnment in the country and a promise of fireworks to keep us outside for another hour or two. A good time was had by all. Now where can I get a hold of one of those glowing Coke bottles?
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Home again and out on the prowl looking for those special shots to record. It's Dec. 31 and I'm heading home after being out all day shooting in the Selkirk area. Coming up Henderson Highway near the Hoddinot Road, I see the river through the trees, just as the sun is setting. There appears to be a clear area on the river where the sun is reflecting off the ice and I'm contemplating turning around to try and get the shot before the afterglow disappears. As I turn the car around, I'm come face to face with the moon rise over the tree line, and it's HUGE!
I quickly turn onto Hoddinot Road and take the first turn towards the direction of the moon. I end up in a farmer's field, so i jump out with me gear, run to the edge of the field and set up. I try 3 or 4 shots, and the moon disappears behind a low cloud bank. I thought it was supposed to be BLUE ?.
Almost home, and what do I see up the road on the other side of the highway . . . you guessed it, another chance to pull over and embaress my family while they sit in the car and watch me set up another shot on the side of road. This tree looked so cold and lonely, sitting on the side of this small hill. Luckily, it had the beginnings of a full moon hanging over it to keep it company. A strange combination to see in the middle of the afternoon, but I'll take it!
All great holidays must come to an end, and so we start our trek back to Winnipeg on Monday morning, Dec. 28. The sun is shining and the roads are dry and clear. Perfect winter driving conditions. Also good for, you know . . . great winter photos!
The moist air overnight has left hoarfrost on the trees and telephone wires, all along the highway. Of course, I'm looking for that one or two shots to take under these unique conditions, and have ALMOST stopped several times alone the way. Suddenly, ANOTHER great photo op appears around the bend and I wait for a cross-over turnoff to double back and take the shot. This time there's no room to pull over onto the shoulder because there is no shoulder to speak of, so I park in the turnoff and walk back a block to the scene. This time the ditch is very large and very deep, but my photo op is sitting at the top of this ridge, so I plow through. I was able to catch the hoarfrost on the fence, the wire and the trees. It looks cold and fresh and sunny.
Same day (Dec. 27) Meanwhile back on campus, we come across this crime scene. Not the reaction of a bad Sushi lunch in Moosejaw. Probably just another of Santa's traffic violations while on his delivery run through campus a few nights ago. I liked the way the red sign plays off the white snow and blue shadows.
Heading back to campus after lunch in Moosejaw. Suddenly, I pull over to the side of the highway. It wasn't the smoked eel OR the Wasabi . . . it's another photo op.
Someone who runs an antique shop in the area has attached a painted sign to the side of an old truck and left it on the side of a farmer's field as advertising for their store. This time it's back into the ditch in knee-deep snow, making my way over to the truck and checking out potential, low camera angles. Passersby on the highway are slowing down to have a closer look in the windows of our car. No driver, just people in the passenger seats twiddling their thumbs. The guy in the ditch is staggering through the snow like he just finished lunch at the Sushi restaurant in Moosejaw. Little do they know of the potential photo ops that this ditch holds for the keen-eyed photographer. (Little does the keen-eyed photographer realize that with all the lurching and staggering through the snow and crouching down to get the appropriate low angle shot, that his Blackberry falls off his belt loop and settles into one of several large indentations he's made in the snowdrifts along the ditch. But that's another story.)
Day after Boxing Day.
For excitement, we're driving back to Moosejaw for lunch. The plan is to go to this Sushi restaurant in town and see how I'm going to react (I've never had Shushi before . . bah! Humbug!) I hear snickers and giggles around murmuring about smoked eel and Wasabi. I'm in big trouble! Luckily, to distract me from my lunchtime "food" challenge, I see . . . another potentially fantastic landscape scene! Whip the car over to the side of the road again (I think they're getting used to it by now), jump out with the camera, but this time I don't have to cross the ditch. Instead, I'm shuffling sideways along the highway to get the sun in position so that it JUST starts peaking over the top of the grain elevator. Snap! Got it. Back in the car again just in time to hear something about pickled ginger. Hmmmm?! I check my wallet. I move my Manitoba Medical card to the top of my collection.
Check out the BOAT! They can't keep their hands/chopsticks out of there! Notice the Bento box. Guess who? I recognize the rice, the rest . . . not so much.
We (Elaine and I, our daughter and our son-in-law) drove to Caronport, Saskatchewan on Christmas Day, to be with our son and his wife for Christmas. Rob is finishing up his Masters degree at the college he graduated from a few years ago. Although we were on a fairly tight schedule, and having to deal with winter driving conditions, I was able (allowed) to stop in the middle of the highway a few times, grab my camera and charge through the ditch into various farmers' fields to capture, what I thought were great scenes! This usually left the rest of the family looking slightly embarrassed sitting at the side of the road, twiddling their thumbs while traffic drove by gawking in the windows, till I got back to the car with exciting tales of fabulous landscapes! This is one of my favorites. It reminds me of a Dutch painting of the countryside.
While at the Forks (one of my favorite places to shoot) before Christmas, I was walking down the stairs in the parkade, when I noticed the hoar frost on the windows inside the stairwell. This was another one of those bonus shots that I wanted to capture for this assignment, since it didn't fit into any other category. It's one of the few things to brighten your day when it's -25 degrees outside! I still had my camera set on the "flourescent" white balance setting when I took the shot. I liked it so much that I decided to play with the "blue" tinge in the window. I think it adds to the f-f-f-frigid mood of that day.
I hate to admit it, but this house is in my part to town. This is what can happen when you loose sight of the real Christmas spirit. This house has been decorated like this for several years now; and each year it gets (choose one of the following: worse, better, outrageous) _____ . Next year they're going to have to go right over the roof and into the back yard, or start leasing space from the neighbours on either side. Unfortunately, it won an award for the most decorated house in town on CTV this year. That's all they need . . . more encouragement. I hear they got a personally signed Christmas card from Manitoba Hydro.
We drive by this old farm on our way out to the cottage on Hwy. 59, but I've never driven out to this field where the buildings are located. I parked on the side of the road, and walked across this farmer's field to get to the "shed". It was sitting in the middle of the next field that hadn't been swathed this fall, so in I went. I didn't know that grain grew this tall! I was walking through this stuff up to my neck to get the right angle! Luckily, the snow was only up to my waist. . .
With all the assignments over Christmas break, we also get to shoot "non-school-related photos. I think I can squeeze a few more exposures into the mix. Here goes:
While driving out Henderson Highway looking for victims, er, subjects to shoot, I came across this cool hot rod sitting in someone's front yard. Normally, I would pull over to the side, Nikon a-blazing, trying to get a half decent shot before someone came out (again) to chase me off their property. But instead, I walked up to the house and knocked on the front door, twice.
While waiting for someone to answer, I noticed that this car wasn't the only vehicle caught in the first snowfall of the season. Scattered around the yard were a couple of mildly customized Harley-Davidson bikes, and a jacked-up Jeep. Looked like a case of "too many toys, not enough time" syndrome. As I set up my tripod and began to choose my angles, a young guy came out to see what was going on. He was friendly enough, and had no problems with my "photo assignment". After a few finger-numbing minutes of setting up several shots, I was on my way again. A great start to the hunt!