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.
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.
I went down to the Stampede Grounds yesterday with my kids to tour the World of Wheels on its stop in Calgary. When I told Kian that Bigfoot would be crushing and jumping over cars in a hockey rink he was buzzing with excitement.
I was impressed with the truck’s driver, Kyle Doyle. Driving a huge vehicle inside a hockey rink would be challenge enough. Throw in the jumps, brake stands, racing from end to end and tight cornering and it was a great show to watch.
Bigfoot finished the main act with a park on the crumbled automotive heaps – seemed a fitting end to the last of the four shows over the weekend.
Kezia was a bit ambivalent about the monster truck, the loud engine turned her off a bit, but when the motorcycles came out she got right into it.
As soon as she they started performing stunts, Kezia was mimicking their moves while standing in the seating aisle – with the encouragement of the crowd nearby.
Thanks to my wife’s persistence and my father’s carpentry skills, we have a collection of framed prints and canvas images on display at a booth in the annual Kananaskis Country Art & Craft Show in Redwood Meadows this weekend. We have images of local wildlife and landscapes ranging from 8×10 up to 24×36 with prices ranging from $85 to $395. If you are in the area, please drop by to say hello. We are in the Redwood Meadows House beside the Fire Hall. Our booth is in the main hall beside the hot food counter.
The images in this slideshow are some of the prints and canvases available for sale at the show that runs 10am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday.
For anyone not able to attend, just a reminder that I sell prints and canvases directly as well. With the holiday season upon us, I have reduced the print prices for images purchased from me by roughly 20% in anticipation of some volume discounts that should lower my print costs. If you are interested, please see the buy prints page on this website. All images displayed here and on www.chrisphoto.ca are available for printing on paper or on canvas in any size up to 5′ wide.
Have a great weekend!
Thank you to those who have served and those who continue to serve. Thank you to those in my family that served, we remember everyday.
This statue is of a First World War soldier and is located in front of the library in the Central Memorial Park in Calgary.
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 liked this set of illuminated signs when we pulled into Medicine Hat for a break along the drive to Saskatchewan last weekend.
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.
Sunday was the last day of the Calgary Stampede. The final event at the grandstand was the Rangeland Derby where the chuckwagon teams who had successfully vied for a place in the last heat ran for the $100,000 first place prize. The final four drivers were Kelly Sutherland, Reg Johnstone, Jerry Bremner and Kurt Bensmiller based on their record over the previous nine days of racing.
Kelly Sutherland is the king in the world of chucks. Last year he surpassed legendary driver Dick Cosgrave for most wins at the Calgary Stampede with 11. This year, he came out of the barrel turns clean and held on to the lead tightly all the way down the stretch.
Lined up for the race here is the calm but crowded start to the final.
(I’m still not sure if this slow shutter, zoomed focal length image works or not but thought I’d include it anyways).
Coming out of the barrel turns, Sutherland was tight on the rail and even with Reg Johnstone. He pulled away through over the open track and beat the Bashaw Flash (Johnstone) by just over a second.
Kelly Sutherland’s thumbs up is a trademark move and with the success he’s earned, the Stampede crowd has seen it many times. Here Kelly celebrates the win with the grandstand crowd.
And here are some more images from the Sunday evening heats that preceded the final.
Jason Glass guides his team around the barrel on his way to winning Heat 1.
Another of Jason Glass showing the intensity that has carried him to a very successful career – including 3 world champion chuckwagon titles .
The horses of Ray Mitsuing and Hugh Sinclair in a flurry of motion as these two lead wagons race free of the barrel turns and out onto the racetrack.
One of the outriders pulls his horse towards the starting line for the next race.
Devin Mitsuing rounds the one barrel during the demonstration race before the heats start. The announcer narrates the race to help spectators new to the sport understand the rules and some of the nuances of chuckwagon racing.
The last image in this post is of Troy Dorchester as he rides by the crowd during the cool down trot following the race.
This year’s showdown final was great fun and was a fitting way to close out the Stampede sporting events just ahead of the last Grandstand Show and the fireworks display. I am already looking forward to next year.
Wild Card Saturday on July 16th was the last day of the competition before the Calgary Stampede Rodeo Finals. Billed “Rodeo’s Richest Afternoon”, Showdown Sunday is the day all of the athletes were gunning for throughout the event.
The top four money winners in each pool leading up to the weekend had their ticket to the Finals in hand so they had the day off. For the rest, this was their last shot to qualify for the finals. There were two wild card spots in each event so getting to Sunday was no easy task. Here are some images from the rail.
Bell Dinger bucked Chad Besplug of Claresholm, Alberta off just after the gate was opened ending this cowboy’s run to the Finals for 2011. Chad had a good ride on Monday with an 84, I hope he gets invited back next year.
Seven Persons, Alberta bareback rider, Reid Rowan, in the middle of a battle of wills with Gorgeous Connie. Reid won with a full time ride but scored 80 and missed the Final.
Sierra Stoney from DeWinton, Alberta bares down on the second barrel. Sierra’s horse knocked this barrel down while exiting the turn and she finished outside of the top two spots.
Despite appearances, Tyler Corrington rode Awesome for the full 8 seconds. He scored 83.50 and missed the Finals by half a point. The Wild Card saddle bronc event had a two point spread between the top spot and 6th place. Very tough to sit out Sunday when you’re that close to being in.
Ryan MacKenzie of Jordan Valley, Oregon stares down the neck of Gross Beetle during a 79.50 point ride in the Saddle Bronc event during Wild Card Saturday at the 2011 Calgary Stampede Rodeo in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
A final one from Reid Rowan, well known for his curly mane and his exuberant flair, here disappears altogether to suggest that the Invisible Man has taken up rodeo – for one kick anyways.
This little clay angel lives on one of our bookshelves. Although she lives within reach of my kids, we haven’t had any accidents with her involved, which is a small miracle on its own. She was lit beautifully through a south facing window in the afternoon which made for a pretty easy photograph. A nice, calm scene to enjoy.
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.
With the regular excitement leading up to Stampede amplified by the attendance of the young royals during their honeymoon tour across Canada, Calgary is in great spirits right now. The Stampede Parade this morning kicks off the crazy ten day party. Rick Hansen is the Parade Marshal which is an inspiring choice. Canada’s Man In Motion will no doubt add more fuel to the fire in the city.
As the Stampede gets closer, more people start to don their Western attire and businesses deck their store fronts (and walls, alleys, staff, windows, etc.) with fanciful cowboy characters, horses and chuckwagons (mostly artwork but there are living embodiments if you go to the right bar or corporate lobby). One of my favourite decorations is this cowboy that Canadian Pacific Railway perches on top of their black locomotive that is set along 9th Avenue in front of their offices in the Gulf Canada Square building on 4th street.
This year I have a few framed prints showcased at the Western Photo Gallery which is one of the five areas of the Western Art Show at the Stampede. I was there for an opening party on Wednesday night and the artwork on display was incredible. Some of the paintings and sculptures are truly incredible. If you visit the Western Showcase in Halls D and E in the BMO Centre at the Stampede Park you will have a great opportunity to see the work of some incredible artists – and a couple of nice photographs too!
I have been accredited to photograph the rodeo and the chuckwagon races for the second time this year. Thank you to Dwayne Zaba and Roy Anstey at Bragg About the Creek magazine for your sponsorship. I can’t wait to get on the rail to watch these events – I didn’t grow up competing but had a number of cousins who did so I appreciate the level that both the animals and the people perform at during the Stampede. I’m sure I will be posting a few images over the next couple of weeks.
If you are in Calgary and make it to the Stampede this year, I hope you have a great time. If you aren’t, try to visit sometime down the road, I don’t argue with their slogan, “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”.
I was up in Canmore last weekend to photograph the wedding of Leanne McIsaac and Dane Moran. The weather came around just in time and we had a beautiful afternoon up on a hill overlooking Quarry Lake for the ceremony. We went down to the Bow River for some photographs with just the wedding party.
It was a really fun day and I can’t say enough about the couple and how much fun they were to work with. I wish them all the best together – I can’t wait for the baby photos in a few years!
Thank you to my friend Jeff Rhude who signed on as an assistant but was more a second shooter and a discussion board throughout the day.
I’m very excited to share the news that Art Wolfe is leading a photography seminar here in Calgary on April 16, 2011. Art has earned great respect from photographers, artists, conservationists and humanitarians around the world. I am constantly amazed by Art’s work and have loved learning from him and his images for a long time.
The seminar is part of a series that Art is presenting across North America. It is titled, “The Art of Composition” and the emphasis is on building the photographer’s eye. Art builds the artistic and technical skills to help the photographer create compelling imagery.
I have traveled with Art in Myanmar and there is no exaggeration when I say he is a fantastic teacher. He has an ability to engage people and present subjects like composition, color, inspiration and light in ways that are relevant to photographers. He not only shares his approach to photography but teaches people how to incorporate these skills into their own work.
Art usually presents this seminar in a large venue but for the Calgary seminar, we have booked a great location with a more intimate setting. The seminar will be held at the Naturbahn Teahouse in Bowness in the Canada Olympic Park. It is a beautiful location for a world-class event!
My wife and I helped out Art’s team with some of the logistics as eyes on the ground here in Calgary so it is very exciting to be only a month away from the seminar. I hope to see you there!
Friday was Kian’s 4th birthday and it kicked off a birthday weekend that was a whirlwind of fun.
Our local fire station, the Redwood Meadows Fire Department, allowed us to throw Kian’s birthday party at the Fire Hall in the garage right beside the fire engines and emergency response vehicles!
The kids, and most of us adults, had a great time. The fire fighters on duty were incredible – allowing the kids to tour through all of the vehicles, explaining gear, reinforcing fire safety in a fun way and really having fun with the children.
An incredible group of men and women. Their work in the community is amazing and it was fun to have a chance to talk with them and see their interest in teaching and playing with the children.
A huge thank you to my wife, Bobbi, for putting this event on; the fire department for everything they did that made the party incredible, Trisha for her amazing desserts, my parents for helping pull it all together and all of the families who came out – I hope everyone had a great day – we did.
Happy birthday Kian – with all of my love to my big boy. I love being your daddy and helping you as you blaze your trail. You amaze me every day.
新年快樂 (xīn nián kuài lè) – Happy New Year!
The tiger passes the new year to the rabbit. All the best to everyone in this Chinese New Year! In particular my good friends from my years in Taiwan – I think of you often and miss the island and her people.
I was lucky enough to enjoy a lion dance performed by the Jing Wo Martial Arts & Athletics Association of Canada. They performed brilliantly, it was great fun to watch. I hope to see them again soon.
Here are a couple images of the lions dancing.
Well the most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, didn’t see his shadow today which bodes well for an early spring. Unfortunately, Punxsutawney is in Pennsylvania and about 3380 kilometers away so the spring he’s presiding over is not likely the same one we will have..
A bit closer, Manitoba Merv saw his shadow. He’s closer, 1300 km, away but he’s a puppet so I can’t put much stock in his call for a late spring.
So, for the Calgary area at least, it comes down to Balzac Billy. Known as the Prairie Prognosticator, he saw his shadow today. Looks like six more weeks of winter. In Calgary, I think we’d be very happy to only have a month and a half of winter left. We’ll see.
I don’t have any images of groundhogs but here is one of its cousins photographed in a tree in Sunshine Meadows along the Continental Divide in the Canadian Rockies near Banff.
Happy Groundhog Day!
This is my favourite image that I made last year. Simple composition, interesting patterns, good colour and a great memory behind it.
These monks worked with our small group on and around the U Bein Bridge in Amarapura in Myanmar. We had gone to their monastery and spoke with the Abbott and then with these monks about the photographs that we wanted to make that afternoon. They were interested to see the end result and really cooperative through the whole time.
The footbridge runs 3/4 of a mile long and is made of teak columns salvaged in 1849 under the direction of the mayor at the time, U Bein. He got a bridge named after him and the people got a way to cross Lake Taungthaman from Amarapura to an island in the middle. The traffic is steady in both directions in the afternoon and into the evening with school children, workers, families and monks crossing on foot and bicycle.
Our guide, Win, used one of the boats that take tourists for a float along the bridge to ferry the monks to a small spit of land about halfway between either end of the bridge. At this time of the year, in February, the water is low enough that there are a couple of places that stay above the waterline around the bridge. In the dry season, I was told the lake can be almost empty. In the wet season, the water has been higher than the walkway! I hope to get back to see either of these extremes. From the little island there is a set of stairs that lead up to the bridge deck. The monks and our guide went up and our group of four photographers headed away from the bridge to frame the scene the way each of us were imagining. The sun was dropping slowly at that point and I was starting to get excited because the light was warming up and I was hopeful that we were heading towards something special.
The scene on the bridge was chaotic and our guide was busy explaining to the people lingering around what we were up to, why the monks were standing between the pylons and when we were hoping to get a break in the traffic. The crowd built up slowly but everyone was patient and seemed to enjoy watching us waving and shouting back and forth to get the men on the bridge in place.
Win was fantastic sharing what we were doing with the people as they waited, and they in turn were great, waiting for about 10 minutes on both sides while the sun fell in line with the monks and the bridge. It moved very quickly and as it did the gold colour in the sky gave way to blue and purple tones as the sunlight had to push through more atmosphere as well as the haze rising up from the water and the forest.
The photograph immediately before my favourite was fun because I had just changed lenses to a 300mm with a 1.4x extender to get as much reach as I could. This was the first image where I was able to isolate the blue and purple section of the sky away from the golds and oranges. That allowed these darker colours to really saturate. That’s when I knew I had the background that I had imagined to frame the monks against.
The last shots of this scene caught the sun as it went under the bridge and then disappeared into the hillside across the plain. From the moment where the sun was just above the umbrellas to where it is peeking under the bridge took just over three minutes. It seemed much less as I was photographing the scene – a flurry of shooting, checking histograms and adjusting settings and compositions. It was a very special opportunity so I was doing everything to make sure that I was getting the best that I could out of the moment. A great memory of a wonderful place.
We were invited by Alvise and Paola to enjoy New Year’s Eve at their home on a corner of their Folk Tree Lodge property last night. Very glad that we took them up on the invitation as we joined a small, wonderful group of people for a delicious potluck dinner, skating on a pond with a bonfire in the middle and a steady stream of good conversations.
Paola and Alvise have a very beautiful property just west of Bragg Creek in Priddis and it looked amazing as I wandered the path between the house and the pond. I had to take a few photographs away from the evening.
Thank you to our hosts and the other guests for ending last year on a great note. For those of you who might be looking for a retreat in the Bragg Creek area on the edge of Kananaskis Country in Alberta, Folk Tree is a special place run by a very special family.
2010 rolled up and down like a boat on the ocean and I enjoyed most of the ride. I’m excited to move into a new year. Here’s to a great 2011.
All the best to you and yours in the new year.
Before Earth’s shadow started to march across the face of the moon last night, I photographed the full moon as it climbed above the trees in Redwood Meadows. You can see the mist around the moon and I was a little concerned that clouds and haze may obscure the visible signs of the direct alignment of the sun, Earth and moon. I didn’t know then that the clouds would largely stay clear or that I was in for a very interesting performance.
The solstice lunar eclipse started normally last night and I was out in the freezing cold photographing the progression towards totality.
Then, things started to get very strange… as the moon started racing around like an excited puppy.
I went to bed as the moon settled back down, slipping behind the Earth and into deep shadow.
I saw it looming large on the horizon this morning so it seems to have emerged from shadow and appears to be behaving predictably once more.
I enjoyed the lead up to the eclipse and the morning after was spectacular as well. The odd bit during the actual eclipse was very fun too although I’m still looking for a reasonable explanation.
Please note: the moon trails were created by moving the camera around slightly during longer exposures up to two seconds long. I wrote the story for a bit of fun not to be mistaken for an actual phenomenon observed.