My children and I went down to the Calgary Stampede on Friday for a day on the grounds. We ended up staying for 10 hours and they spent most of that riding, sliding, dropping, stopping and flying around, over, through and across the midway.
We rode on the Skyride which takes you over the middle of the fairgrounds and affords a great view and an opportunity to map out the order of rides, games and food.
It was hot, by Calgary standards – around 32°C, so the misting and water stations were important oasis stops for us throughout the day.
One of those water bottle refill spots was in the Agrium building. The cool air and really interesting agricultural kiosks and interactive centres kept the kids interested and allowed us to lose some heat! Kezia loved feeding the chickens in particular while Kian enjoyed watching the day old chicks waddle around their pen.
Ice cream after lunch and slushies in the afternoon were necessary – at least to us!
But, this was a day of rides and we did that with very few other breaks. It was the first time the kids have come down to the Stampede and I am really happy that they loved it. I’ve always had a lot of fun down here – on the midway, at the rodeo, watching the chuckwagons and the grandstand show, etc. I’m excited to share more of the fun that the Stampede has to offer with them.
They hit the Euro Slide early in the day and later in the afternoon. The sun was behind them for the afternoon rides which allowed for a cool look by over-exposing the shots. I definitely had a lot of fun playing while photographing these cool cats!
The Outlaw Roller Coaster was one of Kian’s two favourite rides. He made a couple of runs solo on that after going with his sister the first time. He didn’t mind having the front seat all to himself – and it worked well for the photographs too! My favourite is the riding philosopher as he finished his last ride on this one.
And then there was the Starship 4000! It was the consensus favourite and they both rode it A LOT. Kian went 13 times and Kezia rode 16 times – in a row! Dad was a bystander while they racked up their circular miles inside the spaceship. It spun around pasting the riders against the wall but still allowing them to move around a bit. I didn’t go on this one but I have been told by both kids it was AWESOME!
We didn’t even get into the games that line the midway alongside the rides. Kian definitely liked this pink monkey so he’s looking forward to trying for one of them next year.
We finished the day off with a couple of flights on the hang gliding ride called the Cliff Hanger. I liked flying like Superman – the kids did that and enjoyed making faces and having a blast as they spun around.
A great day at the Stampede – we’ll be back next year!
When I visited Berlin last summer, I spent an early morning and, a couple of days later, a late afternoon touring around Kreuzberg. This borough is divided into two major districts, 36 and 61. I didn’t know enough about them to distinguish them – everywhere I went was heavily covered in graffiti. This street art was an integrated part of Kreuzberg and often reflected the lives passing in front of it.
It was an immersive experience to photograph surrounded by this art. And one which was a great challenge to show that integration of the art with the people. That is what drew me back a second time on a visit where I only had five days in Berlin. I’m glad I did, it was a really interesting place to visit.
With the Christmas holiday in full swing around our house now, the kids and I went out night sledding on the 23rd. The snow had started falling early that morning and kept going all day. We went out earlier but had the most fun in the evening.
Kian had the idea to take some photos and I was onboard. A drag of the shutter (1/10th – 1/6th of a second) with a flash of 1/200th of a second to create some motion blur while freezing the kids in action.
I played around as they sped down the great little hill just off our back yard. They eagerly collaborated with the images – looking at the screen after each run to see what worked and what didn’t.
We had a blast – a great way for a daddy to spend Christmas Eve’s eve with his daughter and son 🙂
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.
It was a busy morning getting ready for the first day of school in time for the bus this morning. Bobbi did a great job having everything planned out for the kids so it wasn’t chaos. Kezia is super excited to get back to class to see her friends and get Grade 3 started.
Kian and Bobbi are embarking on a home schooling adventure this year which will be amazing for both of them.
Kian is very excited about the opportunity to dive deep into subjects and be more in control of where his efforts are placed.
Both the kids are excited about each other’s path this year.
It was fun to photograph them together, and get one with Kezia and I (thank you Bobbi), before she got on the bus to get her year started.
I crossed the pond last night to come to Berlin for a whirlwind visit with my cousin. I did find Berlin, and him so the trip’s off to a great start. We’re off to Belgium for the weekend and then I will be looking forward to finding much more of Berlin.
This was a quick shot of transportation by transportation while waiting for the metro on the U7 at the Jakob-Kaiser-Platz station.
I started this year’s Calgary Stampede with an afternoon at the rodeo with two good friends. We were part of a larger band of harmless troublemakers so the party started before and continued after the rodeo was over. Photography wasn’t my focus on this visit to the grounds but I did have some good opportunities from the seats in the infield right above the chutes.
It was great to see the cowgirls, cowboys and all of the animals in action. Judging by the capacity crowd and all of their happy faces, I wasn’t alone. Happy Stampede!
To my fellow Canadians, and anyone else with a soft spot for the country, Happy Canada Day! 149 years old today!
This was the annual bike parade in Redwood Meadows led by our local Fire Department. And followed closely by my daughter, Kezia, in the middle looking back.
The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the United States. The rings of color which the rock, microbes and water create are amazing and I had hoped to be able to photograph them when I visited in late May. The weather had other plans and the cold, wet air created a heavy mist over the scalding hot water. The wind blew in on gusts from the south creating waves of cloud.
Occasionally, the elements would conspire and rifts would open in the sheets of white lifting off of the spring’s surface. I walked around the boardwalk twice, enthralled by the isolation created amid the fluid transitions blowing by.
On the weekend, my children and I visited the Calgary Zoo for the better part of a day. We used to go frequently when they were younger but it had been a couple of years since we went together. We had a really great time there with a number of fun moments watching the animals and having fun with each other. When we visited the river otters, Kezia had this wonderful interaction with Finnegan, the son of the other two otters. The otters are so curious, which matches Kezia perfectly, so when he saw her at the glass he swam by performing spins and rolls. When she put her finger against the window, he followed it around to her great delight. Two beautiful creatures sharing a little time together.
A good friend and great photographer, Jorge Sarmento, and I rented a van and driver yesterday and drove out into the countryside. We didn’t have any set agenda so we were just exploring the mountains and valleys as we went. Our driver was a Tibetan and was from a small village called Ni Xi about 40 kilometres from Shangri-La. We found that out when we asked about visiting that town which is renowned for its black pottery which results from baking it in the kiln without any coatings or glazes. He drove us to his friend’s home who is an apprentice potter. When we arrived, we asked if he would mind if we photographed him at work and he had no problem with that. As we watched he created a tea-cup on this small wheel. It was great to watch him work with his hands and tools to shape the final piece. Along the way I learned that he was five years into his apprenticeship but I was not able to ask how long he would study under his teacher. I absolutely loved watching the craftsmanship and ease with which he worked. There was mastery in his work. The two men were smoking while the cup was being made which gave Jorge the idea to increase the volume of smoke. We had a puff of smoke blown in through the open window, with both men’s approval, which rolled and wrapped around as seen in this image. It was a great idea and elevated an already compelling scene considerably. Thank you Jorge!
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)