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The party for my son’s sixth birthday was scheduled for last Sunday but a heavy blizzard blew in the night before and travel on the roads was treacherous. We postponed the party to save family from driving in the storm which left Kian quite sad for a little bit. Fortunately his friends who live nearby bundled up, came over and we all headed outside for some tobogganing on the little hill behind our house. Not much sledding happened as the gang decided a snowball fight was a better use of their energy and time.
With smile restored and spirits high, Kian had a great time playing and the rest of us followed his lead. Kezia helped me to return fire after the attack above but then turned her sights my way a few minutes later.
Her brother liked Kezia’s idea and joined in the attack too – Traitors! I was worried about a full mutiny but their attentions soon turned to other targets.
With a small crisis (though rather big to a young boy) averted, we ended up having a great day and Bobbi even arranged to have some cupcakes to finish off the birthday celebrations. Which Kian enjoyed blowing out a solitary candle on (three times as I had a couple of different images that I wanted to make in mind).
It was my sweet little girl’s birthday last weekend. Kezia had the whole day devoted to the celebrations. She started running and kept going through the whole day. The princess party started the festivities where we hosted four princesses, and one alternately enthusiastic and reluctant prince.
In the afternoon, the family arrived and Kezia was happy to carry on well past her normal bed time.
Happy birthday Kezia – we love you and the light you create everyday.
Ahead of a stormy sunrise, people were moving along the beach, talking with others and taking photographs. I used a 20 second exposure (with f/16 at ISO 200) with the intent to blur the water and the clouds. When I saw how the people took on an ethereal quality in varying amounts, dependent on how long they stayed in place during the exposure, I played with that idea for a while.
The kids and I took their cousin up to the park this morning. The playground there is pretty cool but the most fun we had was when the kids were jumping off some of the bouncy animal rides. Taking a low angle, I wanted to make these small guys into giants. Kian loved these photographs and said it would be alright if I shared them.
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The Bews are a ranching family and the youngest generation is following that well-worn path. When I was photographing them at the ranch Mady and Katie showed their ease in the saddle and proved to be very good sports while the shutter clicked away.
Katie was learning to trot and she seemed to master it over the course of a few crosses of the overgrown field during the morning. Mady practiced her roping which made for some great photographic opportunities.
While the girls rode, their grandmother Rosemary, grandfather Tom and his brother Joe alternated between time in front of the camera, tending to their horses and chatting. Very good people with lot’s of room in their hearts for their family, their animals and their land. It was a pleasure to spend some time with them.
Joe Bews in the morning leading his horse up with his partner by his side and later running through the dry creek bed.
Tom taking a break from the saddle
The last image I took up at the ranch was of the Bews family as they headed back for the trail back down to their farms. A warm thank you to them for coming out on a cold morning which became a hot afternoon. And, thanks to Julian Ferreira and his team at The Camera Store for arranging for a great day in the High Country on the edge of Kananaskis.
In fact, Julian stood in as a cowboy model in the cook shack and played the role exceptionally well.
Joe Bews is a cowboy I was fortunate to photograph last weekend at one of his family’s stations near Longview. When I asked Joe if he would mind doing a bit of rope work, he kindly obliged and I had the opportunity to try a few different approaches while he roped some imaginary targets lurking in the tall grass. His skills certainly didn’t need the practice so it was really great of Joe to throw for me and a couple other photographers on a pretty warm afternoon.
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I was at a ranch for a photography workshop put on by The Camera Store on the weekend. The workshop was with William Albert Allard and it proved to be n educational and very enjoyable weekend. On Saturday the group went to Kananaskis where access had been granted to shoot on a long-standing ranch back in the High Country. The venue was full of character and the cowboys, lady and cowgirls that came up to model for us had the same in ample supply. I will post some more images from the day soon but wanted to start with a concept image that I worked on in post a bit. During the Sunday critiques, one of the participants had shown a few sepia toned images and that got some ideas rolling around in my head. I had completed my work keeping most of the portraits in straight colour. With this photograph of Tom, one of two lifelong ranching brothers that own the ranch and rode up for the day, I wanted to make a desaturated and almost metallic look to this tight portrait. I used Lightroom’s Develop suite for the post-processing and leaned heavily on dropping saturation and increasing the clarity to realize the look. For reference, here is one of Tom as he really looked in the warm light bouncing off of the exposed wood beams inside the barn.
A dancer in full regalia spins during the Grand Entrance on July 29th at the Tsuu T’ina Pow Wow.
I was under the weather this year and only went over to the Pow Wow one day this year for a few hours. I still have to work through the images from the Grand Entrance but I can say it was another great event put on by the Tsuu T’ina Nation. This year seemed quite a bit bigger than last year and I again enjoyed the excitement, fun and enthusiasm on display among the dancers, the organizers and the crowd. It is a fantastic weekend and I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to spend more time across the road with my neighbours.
I was at my daughter’s dance recital this morning. She had a lot of fun during her performance and we had even more watching her. We were able to enjoy a number of enjoyable performances. The image above, taken just before the stage lights came on, reminded me why I like photographing so many events with a 70-200mm zoom lens. I saw the dancers getting into position and dialled in the exposure to create silhouettes. The image below was the first shot where I wanted to catch the moment before the dance started. Above, with the overall scene photographed, I tried to work into it and find a more compelling composition. Within the frame as David duChemin and others have discussed eloquently on occasion.
We spent most of the weekend outside enjoying the warm weather that continues to coax the greenery to return. As spring begins to show more color, I am enjoying bringing that back into my photography. When Kian called down from the upstairs deck there wasn’t much work on my part to create this portrait of my wonderful son. The open shade presented lovely light and shadow across his face and the background was cool enough that highlights behaved.
Yesterday was Kian’s 5th birthday. He helped plan out the party – well he chose the construction theme – his mommy did the organization and then our little tribe put the room at the Redwood Meadows House together.
Kian was so happy to have most of his cousins and his friends there. He had a great time and, with the laughing and shrieking going on all afternoon, I think all of the other kids did too. The bouncy castle was a big hit. Below, Nolan and Kashton take a break in the middle of the castle.
Austin was the heavy hitter who took down the tractor piñata, the kids descended on the spoils straight away.
And so, to my wonderful boy, I love you. Thank you for you. Thank you for who you are, who you are becoming and who you make me be.
Thursday night I was downtown photographing night scenes. Hunched over my camera, concentrating on some abstract composition my attention was torn away by a blur of motion above me. Looking up, I saw a flash of red and then… nothing.
I climbed up a fire escape on a lovely old brick building and that’s when I had a good look at the cause of my distraction. He landed on the flight of stairs above and then leaped over the railing (as seen above).
At this point he was well positioned for an action pose and I managed to take one photo as he was staring at me. A second later and he was scaling another wall up towards the roof top. Keeping up to him without a jet pack, flying surfboard or some other speedy contraption was unlikely so I just stood and watched as he spun a web and swung out of sight.
I went back down the escape and walked around the corner keeping an eye out for the webbed one. I turned around intent on heading up the alley and saw him scaling a brick wall. After clearing the doorway our neighbourhood friend launched upwards into the darkness where I lost him again.
I didn’t see the masked vigilante for a little while and thought he might have gone. I was heading back to my car when I looked back over my shoulder and caught a sliver of his mask peering around a gate entrance. I carried on to my car in one of the city’s underground parkades and was still rather surprised when the man spider ran down a line of parked cars and vaulted over my car. I wish I had captured the whole sequence but I was only able to take one sharp shot.
At that point I was thinking that my chance encounter wasn’t chance. I know photography was one of this particular superhero’s interests but I can’t say whether he was watching me out of curiosity about just what I was photographing or if he thought I may be a villain up to no good. I should have asked, not that it was likely he would have responded. When I pulled out of the garage, I had one last good look at this mysterious fellow.
I wasn’t thinking about it in the moment but, looking at the pictures, I wonder why he wasn’t in full outfit – was he just exercising a little after the day job, the superhero’s equivalent of going out for a stroll? No idea, these and other questions are still puzzling around in my mind. The imagination wanders… it was a very interesting evening.
Merry Christmas from our crazy little family. Thank you for all of the season’s greetings that people have sent our way. We hope you have a great time with your family and friends over the holidays. We’re heading down to play in the sand at Perfect Beach (as my children have labelled a small spit of shore near Kapa’a that they love to swim off of) so we will be taking advantage of the warm weather here in Hawaii.
Before we came to Kauai for our family holiday over the Christmas break, I photographed the kids in Redwood Meadows with Santa Claus while he was taking a break from the North Pole. While I was setting up the lights, Bobbi and I snuck in a family shot on the set.
The first snow of winter fell on Thursday night around our home. The kids and I went out to play in the fresh snow in the afternoon.
After an hour, Kian was ready to go inside (as you can tell from his look above). We had a nice fall so I’m ready for winter, particularly the forgiving backgrounds afforded by the white blanket). A little more snow and we’ll be able to sled. Don’t worry about Kian he can’t wait to get out there again today.
Well, not mean at all in actual fact. My children (the teenage mutant ninja turtle and the ladybug) joined up with two of their best friends (the rooster and the monster) and it was quick work to capture a photograph of the four of them before they headed out on the streets.
Great fun for the four parents to watch these characters having so much fun. Our little group scoured the neighbourhood for other costumed mischiefs, joining into loose packs and descending on homes in search of loot. As a community, Redwood Meadows really gets into this event. There were spectacular haunted homes with graveyards, animated ghouls, roaring voices, fires and event a 12 foot high pumpkin cactus inflatable that was lit up. Crazy stuff.
There was even one home that scared my son, who playing a teenage mutant ninja turtle, wasn’t afraid of much and usually attacked anything that inspired a bit of fear (to our mayor, John, and his wife Shana I say very well done – I was scared too!) Here was one of the denizens in the yard of the house who stayed in character the whole night and I was only sure it was a real person when I looked at the images closely afterwards.
Once the scare was out of his system, Kian (aka the ninja turtle) returned to burning fuel in top gear – running, diving to the ground, shortcuts through the trees between houses. Standard procedure for a little boy and a lot of fun to watch. Kezia was cold so she pulled mommy back to our friend’s house nearby. The monster and the chicken were having a great time so, along with the turtle, the three of them kept rolling for another hour. Impressive given it was close to freezing and we covered a lot of ground. Stamina, camaraderie and the lure of candy – a powerful mix.
The Redwood Fire Department is very involved in our community and they had vehicles parked in different parts of the community and the firefighters were out giving candy. They are a great group of men and women and we are lucky to have them. The kids, maybe not evident in this picture, were completely thrilled to talk with a couple of the firefighters AND get candy from them.
We returned home well after bedtime and after one treat each (daddy included), we all fell asleep quickly. Wrapping up a wonderful evening in our little town.
I was working on some images of the active lifestyle in the Rockies for a client and thought the summer set would be fun to post. With fall ready to give way to winter any day it was nice to recall the summer before the snow flies.
In July Jeff and I met a kayak team on the Kananaskis River during one of their training sessions. We definitely had the easier work scurrying over the rocks photographing compared to waging war against and conspiring with the water.
When I was in the Tonquin Valley with Art Wolfe and Gavriel Jecan, I had a minute to photograph Gav as he was bouldering. That ended when we noticed a grizzly bear among the rocks a stone’s throw away.
This guy, Chris as coincidence had it, was visiting friends in Jasper and came to Horseshoe Lake for one purpose: to hurl himself off this cliff about seventy feet above the lake. I remember doing some decent jumps but shooting him descending was a different perspective. I was impressed with his lack of hesitation and the nonchalance displayed when he swam back to the shore afterwards. It wasn’t enough to convince me to follow suit though.
I photographed a group of para-gliders, hang-gliders and other fliers from their launch at the top of a ridge above Golden in British Columbia. Watching them spiraling upwards on thermals, as this lady was doing in the image above, was amazing. I came away with a profound appreciation for the grace and the silence of these engine free forms of flight.
We went into the Tonquin Valley in August along a trail that started in forest, came up above the treeline and then slowly descended towards Amethyst Lake. In the image above, our guide Sarah is leading our group out of the valley. Seemingly not as adventurous as some of the other images, throw in a trailside bee hive and a six hour trek through rain and sleet, and I think it belongs.
We spent afternoon driving around the Bow Valley on Sunday. We ended up playing at a beach on Ghost Lake and the light was beautiful – warm and very soft. I had to grab my camera and photograph my kids as they played on the water’s edge.
Last year when I was traveling in Myanmar we spent several days on the plains of Bagan. The dry season had a firm grip on the land and the fields and dirt roads erupted dust trails with any traffic passing through. These clouds of dust drew our attention to a small village where we talked with several of the farmers and cart drivers.
In the afternoon, the light was warm and there were nice images available with a nod or a smile from one of the villagers serving as approval to click the shutter.
At the suggestion of one of the farmers, we agreed to meet them in the early evening at one of the nearby fields that spread out from an impressive temple ruin.
This last image came as the ox teams were heading back to their homes. The grandpa and grandson took turns looking back as the rising dirt kicked up by hoof and wheel wrapped the carts and rose upwards.
Kayaking is a sport I’ve always been interested in. On the weekend, my friend Jeff and I met up with a team of kayakers at Canoe Meadows on the Kananaskis River. We had arranged with their coach to meet the team during one of their training sessions and photograph them while they practiced on the water.
The fast pace of the downstream sections provided a nice opportunity to drag the shutter and abstract the action a little.
Cody Cover Chuck during his championship ride in the bull riding event at the 2011 Tsuu T’ina Rodeo on July 24th. Cody’s young, just in the tail end of his teens, but has a long string of championships through youth and junior rodeos. The way he rides, there would be no surprise if he earns a spot on the pro circuit sooner than later.
This year’s edition of the Tsuu T’ina Rodeo was great fun. With people attending from across North America, this rodeo has a great breadth of people involved in competing, organizing and enjoying. The level of competition was really high this year with some cowboys making some impressive rides. The finals were on Sunday and I was able to work with some of the guys managing the chutes to get great access. Some of the resulting images are from quite a different perspective from where I normally shoot the rodeo.
The athletes, competitors and visiting people are very friendly and this is the second year in a row where I have made a couple of great new friends. Robert and Dave, I hope you like these images as you guys helped me so much by allowing me to stand on top of the gates and letting me know when the bulls were moving up – thanks!
This fellow was a funny guy and a very good rodeo clown. The clowns are some of the hardest workers in the corral – this guy was no exception.
I love watching the barrel racing teams sprint towards the line after the last barrel. It provides a great opportunity to capture the motion of the rider and horse, especially when they are both leaning into it.
This cowboy had a really good ride. When the bulls get out of the gate and then start jumping and spinning, there is every chance of a great score… if the rider can stay onboard.
Another great rodeo at the Tsuu T’ina First Nation near Bragg Creek. Thank you to all of the cowboys, cowgirls, horses and bulls who put on a great show.
This past weekend was the Tsuu T’ina Pow Wow and Rodeo held in Redwood Meadows, just east of Bragg Creek. This event has an incredible atmosphere with band members from First Nations across Canada and the United States attending.
The Pow Wow starts with the Grand Entrance where all of the dancers enter and then move around the center of the Beaver Dome. As the drum circles from different nations take turns pounding and singing out songs, the dancers stream in and join the throng of people dancing, walking and jumping as they circle around the central pillar.
I live on the Tsuu T’ina Nation’s land and feel very lucky to be a neighbour of the people and to be able to so easily enjoy their culture. The performers dance for healing and the spirituality that envelops the dancers and the crowd is palpable and inescapable. Just as I said last year at the end of the 2010 Pow Wow, I am already eager for next year’s.
This is a visual story detailing one cowboy’s 8 second battle with a horse named Buck Wheat on Thursday afternoon at the Calgary Stampede.
The cowboy’s name is Matt Lait and he hails from just north of Calgary in Balzac, Alberta. He rode the beast for full time and scored in the middle of the pack on the day. However, the expressions by both the man and the horse throughout the ride made for an entertaining series. Matt’s face displays how demanding this event is on concentration and how punishing it is on the human body. Click on each to see a frozen moment within that 8 second ride.
I spent the afternoon back at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo on Sunday. Some great rides across all events matched with fine weather made for a great afternoon. The rain came with a fury later during the chuck wagon races but left us alone for the rodeo.
As is the custom all of the day’s competitors come out at the beginning to tip their hats to the crowd and stand for the national anthem.
Here one of the mares, Lush Margie, launches Jim Berry of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta on a short-lived flight.
Wade Sumpter of Fowler, Colorado leaps on a mini bull before trying to wrestle it to the ground.
Leaping out of the chute like a beast on a mission, Broken Lady gave Ryan Gray of Petersburg, Texas a pretty entertaining ride.
Joe Gunderson of Agar, South Dakota pulls free of his ride, Kalispell Whiskey, as the horse runs along the rails sending the cowboys up the rails to get out of the way.
Kelly Timberman of Mills, Wyoming in the middle of a good test with Jay Bar Nine.
A break in the action for the Red and White
Clint Cooper leaps while his horse stands on the brakes during the tie-down roping event.
Mid-flight after being flung well clear of the saddle during the saddle bronc event.
Lane Stuckey of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta competing in the novice saddle bronc event gets bucked off Tough Alloy.
Cory Hines from Rocky Rapids, Alberta as he and Super Nest leap out of the gate during the novice saddle bronc event shortly before parting ways as seen below.
I had a full day along the rails down at the Stampede yesterday. Here are a few photographs I liked from the quick scan of the wagon load I took yesterday.
The rodeo is a great event and I’m amazed by the performances of both the athletes and the animals. Huge helpings of strength, balance and sheer will on both sides. And, a lot of fun to watch.
I’m just heading down for today’s rodeo, can’t wait to get back down there.