Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tangle Falls

Tangle Falls is a spectacular waterfall, right beside the Icefields Parkway.  It is located in Jasper National Park, just north of the Columbia Icefields.  At this time of year the spring snowmelt is at its peak in the high country, and the waterfall is just roaring.  Later in the fall the volume of water coming over the edge is significantly reduced.
Rob and I stopped here twice last week.  The first time we photographed it from the roadside.  We were rather frustrated as the place was crawling with tourists and it was difficult to work.  I'll bet that there are thousands of pictures taken of this waterfall every day.  The vast majority of those are taken with a smart phone, from down at the side of the road.  A small percentage of the visitors actually climb up the trail to the falls themselves.  Its not very far, and only a minor little scramble over a small outcrop, but this seems to deter most people.  The second time that we visited, Rob and I took our large format cameras up to the base of the falls.  Mine was soaked with mist on one of the shots that I took.  There were a few others that ventured up there, a few with digital cameras, and one even had a tripod...!  The percentage of images taken at this location on film, and in particular with large format film, is minuscule compared to all the snapshots.
I look forward to processing my film to see if I captured the raw force of the place.  In the meantime here are three images taken in the same format as the masses... with my smart phone.

Monday, June 29, 2020


I just returned from a one week vacation.  This is the first time I have had any days off since last fall when I went to Vancouver Island.  This time around it was a lot more relaxing as I was NOT on call and not working from my computer in the evenings.  The new management team took control of the company and I was truly on vacation.  This is the first time I have had a true escape from work in about thirty years, and it was wonderful.  Makes me really look forward to my retirement.
Hailey and I went out to the cottage together on Saturday June 20th.  We had several visitors drop by, all out in the area for the weekend.  My cousin, a Monochrome Guild member and a couple of other friends.  On Sunday afternoon Hailey returned to the city.  She had to return to her part time job on Monday, her first scheduled shift since the virus pandemic erupted in March.  I stayed at the cottage by myself.  Later that evening my friend Rob arrived from his home in Vernon.  Rob and I were to spend the week photographing with our big cameras.  We have done this many times before including on our trips to Utah, to Vancouver Island, and locally to the mountains and badlands.
This time around we made a couple of trips up into the National Parks of Banff and Jasper, as they have recently re-opened following the pandemic.  Mostly we explored up around the Big Bend area and up near the Columbia Icefields.  One day we wandered around Nordegg and checked out the Historic site.  And another day we took a drive up the Forestry Trunk Road to Blackstone River.  Wednesday was the worst day of the week and it rained most of the day, fairly heavily it times.  This was the day that we set aside to finish up the electrical work at the cottage.
Rob is a retired electrician and this was his third time out to Nordegg to help me with the wiring.  Actually it was the fourth time.  The first time was when the cottage was in the process of being framed and we were going to start the rough in.  We got 16 inches of wet snow that September of 2017, and our plans were cancelled.  The following March we stayed at a nearby rental cottage and did the rough in work.  Later that summer, after the insulation and drywall was completed, Rob returned and we energized the building and installed all the fixtures and controls.  This past week was his first time back and there has been a lot of change from the empty shell of a cottage, to a nearly finished home.
On Saturday morning Rob packed up and hit the road for the return drive to Vernon.  I stayed on through the rest of the weekend and extended my break to a full nine days.  Margarit and the girls stayed in the city while I was on my break, so I really had the place to myself.  I have never been at the cottage for that long at one time before.  And with no work responsibilities it was very relaxing.  I sure look forward to spending a lot of time out there in the years to come.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Commute

The trips to and from the cottage at Nordegg seem like a blur.  I have been very busy out there with all sorts of small projects, and also been relaxing a little in between.  The girls have been living out at Nordegg most of the time, ever since the virus pandemic broke out.  I've had to stay in the city and work full time, but have headed out to the cottage every weekend.  For most of the past three months this routine has been repeated, with me heading out after work on Friday.  I spend the weekend with the girls at the cottage, usually working on a bunch of odds and ends, and then rush back to the city on Sunday evening to prepare for the upcoming work week.  I've kind of lost track of time and can't differentiate one weekend from the last.
This past weekend Hailey and I were out there, and the other girls, for a change, stayed in the city.  We got dumped on with a heavy thunderstorm that dropped about 3/4 of an inch of rain in less than an hour, on Saturday evening.  This was part of the same system that hit the City of Calgary with heavy rain and hail.  That resulted in some localized flooding and severe hail damage so I guess we got off easy.
Some of the other stuff that has kept me busy in recent weeks is as follows.  We've been accumulating a bunch of new furniture.  I bought some bed frames so that we can get our mattresses off the floor.  I also brought out an old mates bed for the girls bedroom.  Margarit bought an antique dresser at a shop in Rocky Mountain House and we picked that up last weekend.  I also bought some rustic barstools online, but they were damaged in shipping and I've ordered replacements.  Also bought a chaise lounge for Margarit, and an antique mannequin.  Set up some storage shelves down in the basement too.
We have a bunch of signs that I've been putting up.  Some are rustic and humorous and have been installed inside, and others I have mounted outside on our gate.
I'm going to build some headboards for the beds.  These will be in the same style as the bunk bed that I built for the girls bedroom from peeled logs.  I recently cut down a couple of pine trees, but not before I dropped one of them on my foot.  Not sure if I cracked a bone or just bruised it but it was pretty swollen and purple for quite a while.  Seems mostly recovered now that a couple weeks have passed.  This past weekend I found a couple of crooked trees that I cut and peeled to be used on these headboards.
I bought myself a set of cheap golf clubs in the hope that I can play a few rounds at the nine hole course in town.  Haven't had a chance to do that yet as mostly it has been too wet.  But, I did get out with my fly rod once and headed over to a nearby stocked trout pond.  Only fished for about 15 minutes and managed to catch a couple of pan-sized rainbow trout.
I've also been doing a bunch of yard work.  Cut up and hauled away a bunch of construction waste and leftover lumber from the cottage construction.  And, I've spent a couple afternoons splitting firewood.  Still have lots of cut logs to split and this will be an ongoing job for the next year or two.  At some point I'd like to build a woodshed to store some of it and keep it dry.  I've been spreading some gravel into some of the low spots around the yard and Margarit spent a lot of time planting 75 pine seedlings that we bought.  We have another batch of them coming later in July. 
I have a few little electrical jobs remaining to be looked after.  My friend Rob is coming out for a visit later in June and he's going to look after this for me.  He is an electrician by trade and did most of the wiring for me a couple of years ago.  I've been buying a few supplies and doing a little of the rough in work in advance of his visit.  We are putting an RV receptacle in the garage so if guests visit with an RV they can plug in.  We are also putting a switch upstairs for the hot water heater in the basement.  There is still a high level alarm for the septic tank that needs to be hooked up.  And I've decided to put in the plumbing and electrical so that we can add a washer and dryer downstairs at some point in the future.  That will be handy once I retire next year and hopefully spend longer blocks of time out there.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Jacket and Pants

I came across this negative recently, when I was researching my archive for some old photographs.  This one was taken way back in December of 2011.  Some old discarded clothing in an abandoned building up in Smoky Lake County.  This was taken on Ilford Delta 100 4" x 5" film with my old Sinar F1 Monorail view camera and a 75mm wide angle lens.  I processed in PMK developer, a staining Pyro developer.  I gave the film extended development to increase contrast.

Thursday, June 11, 2020


Back in early April, while the girls were out at the cottage, I decided to do some studio photography one evening.  I set up my studio lights, and got out my big 8" x 10" view camera.  I took a few shots of some of the guitars in my growing collection.  This is my Fender Stratocaster.  I shot this on Kodak T-Max 100 film and developed in 510 Pyro developer.  I used a slightly wide Nikkor 240mm lens.  The guitar is teal blue in color, and is an updated version of one that Fender released back in the 1960's.  I bought my guitars to play as well as to collect and I do play this one from time to time.  But lately I find myself more drawn to acoustic guitars, and the electric ones haven't seen a lot of action.  Not that I'm much of a player anyway....  I only took up the guitar a couple of years ago and with my full schedule, and limited time for practice, I've not advanced much beyond basic chords.

Swale Road

On the last weekend in May Margarit and I took a drive up Swale Road.  This is a log haul road that extends north of the David Thompson Highway and  circles around the backside of Coliseum Mountain and Baldy.  We spent a pleasant afternoon driving around and exploring.  We stopped at a crossing over a small river.  I think it was the Baptiste River, but I need to check my maps to be sure.  We also explored along a small creek that is a tributary to the Nordegg River.  Margarit collected a few rocks, and in a couple of places I stopped and set up the view camera for a couple of photographs.  There are extensive clear cuts in this area as a lot of logging activity has and continues to take place around here.  There is also a pipeline, and a lot of oil activity.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Haircut

"The Haircut" is usually a name that I reserve for our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.  All fluff and no substance.  Everything about him is very superficial and there is no meaning or planning.  In this instance I'm writing about an actual haircut, and not raving about politics.
A couple of weeks ago, out at the cottage, my oldest daughter Hailey announced that she was going to give me a haircut.  I was somewhat skeptical, given the fact that she had never cut hair before [other than the dog] and had no training.  But, with the Corona Virus pandemic and all the barber shops being shut down, I was getting pretty scruffy.  It was getting to the point that I desperately needed a haircut... or a dog license.  So, I gave in and let her do it.  She only knicked my ears twice... but the haircut turned out pretty good.  My regular barber may have lost a client....

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Another Old One

Agfa APX-100, 4" x 5", 50 iso, N+1 development in Rodinal developer, 1:50, 16:00 minutes, 20C.  Taken July 1997.  Sinar F1.  Nikkor SW 75mm. 

Abandoned Store, Whitford, Alberta.  This is the same location as the winter shot I posted a few images previously.  This store no longer exists, and there is not much left of the hamlet of Whitford.

Monday, May 25, 2020

May Long Weekend

I headed back out to the cottage on Friday after work.  The Victoria Day long weekend was from May 16 to 18 this year, and I was looking forward to the extra day off.  It was very busy out in the mountains.  As the corona virus panedemic seems to be flattening out, a lot of businesses are beginning to reopen.  This includes all the campsites and many provincial parks.  There were lots of campers out in the mountains for the long weekend, and lots of ATV riders out on all the trails.  Most of the cottages up in the subdivision were occupied as well.
Work is my middle name and this weekend would be no exception.  The girls went out a couple of days ahead of me and Margarit started planting around 75 pine seedlings that we recently purchased.  We are putting chicken wire cages around them all so hopefully the deer don't eat them.  Once I got out there and got busy, I let her continue with that and I worked on a bunch of other chores.  The snowmobiles got stored away for the season and I cleaned out and organized our garage.  I split a big pile of firewood and make yet another stack.  Seems this job is endless and there are still two large piles of logs that need to be cut up and split.  I also shoveled some gravel and filled a few holes that had settled around the yard after the winter.
I cleaned up a bunch of deadfall and we took a load of garbage to the dump.  There is still a little construction debris left lying around the yard from when the cottage was built.  I cooked dinner twice for the girls.  On Saturday night we had steak and baked potatoes, with a salad.  On Sunday I made a batch of Enchiladas with mexican rice, salad and refried beans.  Also made a big brunch for everyone on Sunday morning.
There have been a couple of woodchucks hanging around for the past year and it seems at least one of them has now emerged from hibernation.  I also saw a pine marten in the yard on Monday morning.  Hailey saw a group of five elk in the yard earlier in the week.
It was with great disappointment that the weekend came to an end and I had to return to the city for another week of work.  The girls decided to stay out at the cottage through the week.  It remains to be seen what next weekend brings.  The forecast through the week is not great, with rain and the possibility of more snow.  If that happens, hopefully the fire ban will get lifted.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Nordegg Weekend

I scheduled a half day off for myself on Friday May 8th.  I intended to book out of work at noon, and head out to the cottage in Nordegg.  My oldest daughter Hailey, and youngest daughter Helena were already out there... as they journeyed out from the city on Thursday.
The noon departure didn't happen, but I signed off my time sheet at 1:00 and tried to head out the door.  That got interupted as I got called upon to deal with a few last minute things.  I signed out again at 2:00 and tried to head out the door, but once again I was interrupted as more duties called,  I finally managed to get out of the office shortly before 2:30PM.  Not exactly a half day off as I worked through my lunch break, like usual, and only put in a work day that was an hour-and-a-half short of a full eight hour day.
When I got back to the house I loaded up a few materials and supplies, made a quick stop at the gas station and hit the road around 4:30PM.  Traffic was light and I made good time, arriving at the cottage shortly after 7:00PM.
I unpacked a few things on my arrival, including three rustic barstools that I had purchased on line.  They had been delivered to the house about a week prior, but this was my first look at them out of the boxes.  When I unpacked the first two, I found loose ball bearings from the swivels rolling around in the boxes.  Needless to say, the seats were rather rickety and precarious.  The third one seemed solid and OK, but when I tried it out and sat on it a little later that evening, the wood base of the seat split and broke.  I know that makes it sound like I have a weight problem, but at 57 years of age, I am still basically the same weight that I was 20 years ago.  I am 72 inches tall and maintain a reasonably healthy weight between 190 and 195 Lbs.  I reported the problems with the stools to the website I bought them from and was assured that they will be replaced under warranty.
I also brought out the cupboard doors for the lower kitchen cabinets.  I completed these some time ago but in recent weeks have been fitting some decorative tree branches onto them.  The lower ones are all done now, and look pretty good... if I do say so myself.  Now I just have to cut and dry some more branches to finish up the four doors on the upper cabinets.
On Saturday afternoon the girls and I took a drive to the west up to Abraham Lake.  We made a stop at Windy Point.  It seems that a lot of people that have been isolating and social distancing due to the Corona Virus Pandemic had similar thoughts.  It was cool but unusually calm and quiet there, and a number of other people were out wandering around.  I took a couple of shots with my view camera and Hailey rattled off a couple with the Hasselblad.  We continued further up the valley and made a couple of other brief stops.  Saw some Bighorn Sheep and an Osprey sitting on a nest.  By late afternoon the clouds started to settle in and the weather deteriorated.  We made our way back to the cottage and had an evening BBQ.  It was beginning to rain and turning to snow as the steaks and baked potatoes cooked on the grill.
It continued to snow overnight and into Sunday morning and things were pretty white by the time we had brunch together.  Despite that fact that it is almost the May long weekend, it looked rather "festive" and Christmas like.  By Sunday afternoon it warmed to just a little above freezing and most of the snow disappeared.  I wrapped up a few chores around the cottage before reluctantly making the drive back home to the city.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Early View Camera Work

I purchased my first view camera in the summer of 1996.  The first full year of shooting with it was in 1997.  This images was taken in August of 1997 with my Sinar F1 Monorail View Camera and a Nikkor SW 75mm lens, on Agfa APX 100 film.  This was a trip out to the Coal Branch, south of Hinton.  I haven't been back into this area for nearly 20 years so I'm not sure what remains?  Friends have advised me that the Mountain Park area has been ripped up by the development of the Cheviot coal mine, and all that remains is the old cemetery.  This is an old photo studio in the town of Cadomin.  I hope to get back out in the area later this year to explore again, and see what remains.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Usual Suspects

I pulled the memory card out of my game camera after I was out at the cottage last weekend.  I reviewed all of the images that it took after I got home.  It was pretty much the usual selection.  Lots of images of deer... and a few blank frames.  There is a time delay on the camera so if something walks through and starts the timer, it could be gone by the time the image gets captured.  This one was kind of cool as it included one of our many deer... eyeing up the elusive Red Fox that we capture every once in a while.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Churches Panorama

This one dates back to 2005... before the old churches at Dorothy were restored.  I'm grateful that someone saw the value, and had the initiative to preserve these old buildings.  But they sure were a lot more photogenic back in the day.  I shot this with my old Sinar F1 monorail view camera and a Nikkor SW 75mm lens on Kodak Tri-X Pan 4" x 5" sheet film.  At that time I processed this film in Kodak HC-110 developer, but in recent years I've moved on to some other developers.  Sure like the way this one turned out....

Friday, May 8, 2020


On the way back to the city we came upon a large cemetery.  I was familiar with this one and had stopped here before.  The central part of the cemetery consists of a large number of graves of nuns and priests from a nearby monastery.  The evening light was fading and Hailey and I made a quick stop here to photograph some of the headstones.
We soon realized that I had messed up the Hasselblad camera system.  I thought that the film magazine that I had provided Hailey with, to shoot for the day, had been loaded with a roll of Agfa APX-25.  It turns out that the magazine was actually empty, and that most of the shots that she thought she was getting, didn't exist.  I was really upset with myself.  I guess that's what happens when a person gets old and forgetful.  I suppose that spending almost all my time at work, and not using the gear regularly, contributes to the problem.  It has probably been close to two years since the Hasselblad has seen the light of day.  Hailey was a really good sport about it.  We loaded a fresh roll of film and she was able to re-capture the last couple of shots of the day.  
I really enjoyed being out with her for the day and I'm more grateful for the time we spent together, than for any negatives that might result.  Hopefully she feels the same and is willing to get out with me again sometime soon.
By the time we packed up here, the wonderful day was coming to a close.  We pounded the pavement back to the city and got back home by about 8:30pm... in time for a late dinner.