In a chaotic world
This motion blur of a truck driving out of downtown one morning symbolized the chaos we are living in right now. Recognizable but distorted, interesting while being dark and ominous at times.
I haven’t found solid ground after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. It is sorrowful to watch as they stand alone on this longest night with a world watching. Watching but not joining the defense of a nation. I had a long rant but in the end the words felt empty – mine mimicking the outrage voiced by countries the world over. Voiced but not actioned. War is never sought but if there is no response to tyranny nor to domination of the weaker, then I fear what this world will look like. I am a secular person but I am praying for the people of Ukraine.
Cars in motion
I have a lot of fun photographing just about anything in motion. Thinking about how a picture could look, using different techniques to realize that and then the element of luck throwing in a wildcard or two. Here are a few car shots from last year which came together pretty well.
Night suits this type of photography as the darkness allows for slower shutter speeds. I set a longer exposure, often between 1/10th and 1/50th of a second, and then pan with the vehicle as it passes by. The background blurs and, hopefully, the vehicle remains in sharp focus.
And then, sometimes, you find a car just sitting patiently in an empty parking lot in Montréal under a light rain in the early morning that simply looks amazing.
Looking west along the Trans-Canada Highway
A pretty view caught my eye as I crossed over the Trans-Canada Highway near the Springbank airport west of Calgary. The early sunsets of late autumn like this are great to enjoy.
Motion along Calgary’s skyline
Coach Hill, a rise in west Calgary, affords a great view of city’s downtown. I found a place there where vehicles traveling along Sarcee Trail pass in front of the knot of skyscrapers. The play of perspective, especially the relative size of the cars to the buildings, was very interesting to me.
Light trails at dawn along the TransCanada
A couple of weeks ago I went to Springbank, just west of Calgary, and made a few long exposure photographs from the overpass that leads to Calaway Park to the south and the Springbank Airport to the north. The TransCanada Highway runs west from Calgary, under this bridge and a few more, before heading into the Rocky Mountains. As night faded, the line of the mountains in their snowy blankets stood out.
To the east the sun painted the scattered clouds before it rose above the eastern horizon. The color from the headlights, tail lights and reflections in the shiny pavement patches balanced the sky in a way I liked.
Shortly before the sun rose, the landscape and clouds to the west were illuminated with soft, even light which helped the light trails to really glow.
Berlin’s traffic in motion
I stopped under a railway overpass to photograph a small piece of the morning commute in Berlin. It was interesting to see and compare the vehicles on a German roadway with what I’m used to at home in Calgary.
I have a lot of fun photographing things in motion and the half hour I spent on this street just outside of downtown was no exception. Playing with the shutter speed to isolate subjects as they speed by is a good challenge and can make for strong, dynamic images. Here then are a few more from that session beside the road.
Blurred lines downtown
Fuji X100s – 1/30th of a second, f/2.0 at iso 1250
Last week I was downtown for the day and before leaving the urban cacophony spent a bit of time dragging my shutter among my fellow commuters. It had been quite a long time since I was downtown during the evening rush hour and I enjoyed panning with the C-trains, shooting in the middle of the cross walk and looking for ways to capture the movements of people and their conveyances.
Fuji X100s – 1/15th of a second, f/2.0 at iso 640
Fuji X100s – 1/150th of a second, f/2.0 at iso 1600
De-icing at YYC
Canon 5D Mark III + 500mm f/4 lens: 1/6400 seconds at f/4 on ISO 320
A member of the ground crew at the Calgary International Airport does the critical work of de-icing the airplane during a cold sunrise well below freezing in Alberta, Canada.
Calgary commutes: driving out of downtown
Fuji X100s + 23mm lens: 1 second at f/11 on ISO 200
The Plus 15 walkways which are ~5 metres above Calgary’s street level connect the majority of buildings downtown. This allows people to avoid going outside during cold winter days and provides a great vantage point for watching the bright, orderly retreat of workers from their offices to their homes.
Fuji X100s + 23mm lens: 1/4 of a second at f/5.6 on ISO 3200
I played around with longer exposures (wishing I had a way to counter the slight bounce in the skybridge due to my fellow Plus 15 pedestrians) and had a moment to appreciate a benefit of the early sunsets that come with the winter months and daylight savings time.
Abandoned in the foothills
Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/320 of a second at f/1.6 on ISO 50
I love driving along backroads through the farmlands on the prairies and in the foothills of Alberta. The landscape is beautiful, wildlife (when they allow you to see them) abounds and I often have the roads to myself. On these tours, I keep an eye out for interesting farm vehicles and buildings. There are many unusual items designed for a specific agricultural purpose that can be very photogenic. As purposes move forward alongside changes in technology, some of these barns, tractors and other things fall out of use and weather. This tractor is a beautiful example of the worn down equipment that dot the landscape. This old Massey Ferguson seemed to be parked in an idyllic spot to enjoy a hard-earned rest after a long run of service. That’s a rather romantic notion and I could drive by there next week and find it out turning soil in one of the fields on the far side of the pond. Whatever the truth, it was a great subject to photograph on a summer day north of Cochrane.
Muscle Cars – Grill Badges and Styled Letters
We met some good friends and their boys in Cochrane for a classic car show just outside of the town. The kids had a great time looking at all of the roadsters, muscle cars, coupes and funny cars. I was drawn to the emblems and lettering used on the cars from the 50’s and 60’s – there was a style that was spread across most makes and models that was very compelling.
Great lettering script on this Mercury Monarch Richelieu
Headlights from a Dodge Challenger
An amazing two-seater open-top sports car the Lotus Seven
A detail from a Ford Galaxie at the show
Chevrolet’s brilliant chrome past as found on a ’56 pickup
I love this classic Mustang’s grill, particularly the horse itself
Engine 8741 through the Rocky Mountains
Trains in the Rockies raise mixed feelings for me. There is a majesty to travel by rail, especially through the mountains. And, the railway certainly played a role historically in binding this country together that continues today. The wildlife deaths from train collisions on the tracks that wind through the Banff National Park is an issue that has improved but has a long ways to go before the animals are safe. Wildlife photographers like John Marriott and Peter A. Dettling are among those stakeholders who are raising awareness and making positive changes. Hopefully increasing awareness and engagement by the public and those on all sides of the equation will continue to reduce deaths of wolves, bears and other wildlife on the railways in the Rocky Mountains. It will be good when the trains and their rich history can be enjoyed without the dark shadow that currently hangs around them.