Kian and I headed up the ski hill last night to get a good vantage point for the fireworks. We found a great slab of bare rock near the flying mile chairlift and enjoyed the explosions as they lit up the village and echoed across the valley.
Pretty fantastic to spend a warm night watching the light show above this pretty little town with my son.
Kezia had a blast at her first dance competition of the year this weekend in Jasper. She was invited to this competition’s nationals in July for four of her dances and had an absolute blast performing, hanging out with her teammates and swimming in the heated outdoor pool! I’m excited to see her soon but wanted to share my admiration for her dedication, attitude and enjoying every minute of it.
These two photographs are from her musical theatre solo performance, “Sayonara” that she performed at the Springbank Dancers Competitors Spring Showcase on March 11th. You will continue to open this world up my little, not so little, sweet.
Under mild protest my son and I watched the last half of the evening set of the Tsuu T’ina’s 43rd annual rodeo last night. Kian found a few boys to play kendama with so that bought me a little time to photograph. The sun dropped into some wildfire smoke that laid above the horizon which made for dramatic backlighting. I will share more soon but I’m packing my gear and heading over for Sunday’s short go this afternoon. Here a cowboy lifts the calf into position to fix three of the legs with a half hitch knot to complete his run in the tie-down roping event.
Halloween had a little shadow over it this year for us but the kids excitement and enthusiasm was quickly kindled and we had a great night. Our community is fantastic for trick or treating and the neighbours helped to make it a lot of fun.
Kezia was dressed as Rey from the latest Star Wars movie – she had her Jedi skills on display all night long.
Kian made his 80’s cartoon style Skeletor costume at home and enjoyed playing the character and doing the high pitched voice.
I enjoyed touring around with the kids and they were very accommodating while I snapped away – and were very generous sharing their candy with me.
The Saddle Bronc was a great event to watch at this year’s Tsuu T’ina Rodeo. The goal is to hang on for 8 seconds during a torturous ride that often finds the horse whipping the cowboy around like a rag doll tied to a rocket. Here are a few images from the finals on July 26th.
(click any image to open a larger version of that image)
This weekend was the 41st annual Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Rodeo which draws First Nation people born to the saddle from all over North America. The rodeo is held at the Redwood Meadows Arena which just across Highway 22 from my home. This is one of my favourite rodeos and it was great to be able to be on the rails for the last day.
It was an afternoon that started with sun which gave way to heavy, heavy rain and ended with high clouds towards the end of the night. Dynamic photographic opportunities came with the changing weather which was great for me. Weather doesn’t make too much difference for the people or for the animals – they are all ready to go no matter what is going on above. I have a stack of photographs to look at, and will share more soon, but wanted to get out this first image of one of the high-flying bull riders from a great afternoon in the Bragg Creek area.
July 12th was the final day of the 2015 Calgary Stampede and I had an invitation from good friends to join them for the Chuckwagon Finals and the Grandstand Show Finale that evening. I jumped at the chance and enjoyed a great night down on the grounds.
The Chucks were exciting as usual with the best races coming in the last couple of heats. This year’s champion was Kurt Bensmiller who successfully defended his title from last year in a great race, particularly down the stretch. Bensmiller was riding on the Tsuu T’ina wagon, whose land we live on, so I was happy for them as well! Above is my shot of him closing in on the finish line.
Another great race was heat 5 where Mark Sutherland pulled away from a tight grouping with all four teams and won by just under a second.
Earlier in the evening, we walked down the midway, checking out the rides, the people and the crazy games. I like riding these big swings with my kids and with the sun behind it made for a cool picture.
After the races, the Grandstand Show was up and this year’s edition was called the Canadian Classic. I thought it was great fun. I was sitting above a group visiting from Ohio and, judging by their enthusiasm during and after the performance, it was well received by friends from afar as well.
The fireworks are a signature piece that ends each show. The set on the last day were far and away the largest of the Stampede I was told by a friend who had seen several of them this year. They were huge, loud and beautiful. From our seats on the second deck, we weren’t too far below the average explosion height so they felt all-encompassing which is great when it comes to fireworks in my mind.
Canada Day is always a great event in the Redwood Meadows community. Due to enthusiasm, organization and efforts of the small army of volunteers a super fun day is created. From the bike parade led by the Redwood Meadows Fire Department, the entertainment on the outdoor stage, the adults tea party in the shade and all of the great children’s activities (face painting, bouncy castles, slip and slide and more) to the fireworks at the end of the day – they were all fantastic.
Our children had a great time down on the grounds and I wasn’t far behind. The weather cooperated, after a nasty hailstorm the night before, so I have a bit of a sunburn to show for my time listening to music and watching the kids play.
The fireworks are always good and I think they were really great this year. They started at 11pm under a still fairly bright sky. We sat facing northwest so I enjoyed having that element to frame the explosions against. A great day and we were all worn out at the end. Thank you to everyone who made this happen! Happy Canada Day!
To my son Kian, you are a strong, brilliant warrior. I love your sense for doing what is right, your passion for knowledge, your rough and tumble physicality, and your love of life, light (and Minecraft!). And, above all else, I simply love you.
You have held my heart in your hand everyday since you were born eight years ago. There is no place I would rather it be.
Kian just after his 1st birthday. And below, from last fall flushed after a long play in the leaves.
To our sweet daughter – you are magic and everyday you bring that magic into the lives of the people you touch. I love you and wish you more and more of the wonderful things that you care about.
On Friday night the kids and I went across the road to the Tsuu T’ina Nation Rodeo that runs July 26th to 28th this year. It was a warm, sunny evening and it was great to see the stands pretty close to full. With a good crowd on hand, the riders were fired up and there were some great performances. This cowboy had a wild ride that ended up with him earning a free flight. I will be heading back for the finals on Sunday – I’m looking forward to another great day.
The Western Showcase is an art show held annually during the Calgary Stampede. The showcase is held in two of the halls in the BMO Centre and has artwork from a wide range of mediums on display. The paintings and sculptures often hold me mesmerized for hours at a time when I’m down there.
The Western Photo Gallery is part of the Showcase and this is my third year participating. This year I have five images on display and available for sale. The images selected by the jury are the photographs in this post)
The Western Photo Gallery is a great venue to get your name out and to have the opportunity to sell prints to a large audience. I’m always excited to be involved. If you have a chance to visit, there are a lot of great western themed images.
One image that had particularly strong feedback last year (and also sold well) was of harnesses and other tack used in the Calgary Stampede. For three years I was covering the Stampede Rodeo for a magazine and had press access. During the 2011 Stampede, on one of my walks behind the chutes, I noticed this gear hanging off of one of the posts. It is a symbol of the Stampede that seems to work for people.