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”.
It was chilly at the zoo wandering the pathways last night amid a cold breeze off of the Bow river. It was worthwhile though as Bobbi and I were surrounded by over 1,500,000 Christmas lights!
(click on any of the photographs for larger images)
This annual event runs from November 26 to January 2 this year. Most of the zoo is wrapped in lights taking the shape of animals, dinosaurs, sleighs, jungle scenes and a lot more. We went last year and it was -30°C plus the windchill which made it a bit too cold for more than a few photographs as I was attending a party and was not bundled up. This year I had longjohns, two sets of gloves and some good layers on so I was able to enjoy the walk more. We were both bundled up but Bobbi’s boots let her down a bit – nothing serious. We had no trouble having a great time.
I had to hunt this creature down…
… but I finally got clear of the forest of lights for a clean shot.
This year I brought my tripod as well because I wanted to make long exposures and play with some zooming techniques during these slower shutter speeds.
Here is a straight long exposure of the jungle scene.
And here is the same composition with the addition of the twist of the zoom lens. You can do this handheld as well but using a tripod you get straight zoom lines and I find I have better control over the speed of the zoom and how the effect looks.
Thank you to the Zoo for putting on such a visually delightful event, my wife for humouring me as I doddled along in the cold and my parents for spending the evening with the kids.
Two weeks until the big day but in case I don’t see you between now and then, Merry Christmas!