Monday, June 21, 2021

Summer Hockey

The last time I played hockey was back in November of 2020.  Our winter season was attempted under Covid protocols but quickly got shut down within about 6 weeks or so.  I haven't been on skates since....
With the recent relaxation of restrictions here in Alberta, adult group sports were allowed to commence again about a week ago.  The league that I play in has initiated an abbreviated summer season.
My team mates and I decided to sign up and play, just to try to get ourselves back into game shape for the upcoming winter season.  Winter hockey is taken much more seriously and the season is a lot longer.  The Renegades first game was on June 17th.  We played a team called the Raiders at the Meadows Recreation Center.  We know this team quite well as a couple of their guys are friends that used to play on our team.  They are mostly native players, a fantastic bunch of guys, and were really in game shape.  They were able to continue skating through the pandemic, as they had access to the arena ice at the River Cree Casino.  Needless to say they gave us an absolute shellacking, and beat us by a score of about 15-0.  I lost track of all the goals, it may have even been worse than that.
None of the guys and girls on our team really cared.  We were just so glad to get back out on the ice and reconnect as a team.  Once we play a few more games we will no doubt blow off some of the rust, and the results will improve.  We have two games coming up in the week of June 21 to 25 and I'm expecting the team will be a lot more competitive.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Far Faraway

On the way home from Nordegg on June 16th, Anna and I stopped at the site of the former Faraway School.  I was getting a little drowsy driving and needed to stretch my legs.  Quinn the dog also needed a break.  We stopped at the Faraway School site.  The sign indicates that the school was closed fifty years ago in 1971.  The building was burnt down many years ago and not much remains.  Just some charred sections of some of the walls, and two old outhouses.
As we wandered around in the former school yard we found a whole bunch Yellow Ladies Slippers.  These are beautiful flowers that I have only seen in the wild a few times in the past.  One of the other times was in the yard of another abandoned school.....

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Concrete Pour

Originally the footings of our cottage were supposed to be poured on Tuesday June 15th.  But that morning started with rain, beginning about 6:00AM and lasting until around lunchtime.  At times it came down heavily, and we ended up with almost half an inch.  It was far too wet to consider a concrete pour even though the sun came out and the wind picked up for the rest of the day.  We re-scheduled for the next day.
Scott and his two men, Basil and Dave, showed up first thing in the morning and started installing rebar into all of the forms.  It took a couple of hours to get everything pinned and wired into place.  The first of two mixer trucks showed up at around 10:30AM.  We used a total of 8 cubic meters of concrete.  We filled all of the forms and had enough left to make two small pads for teleposts, and to fill in a bit of the uneven rock in what will become the crawl space.
The trucks were able to shoot concrete into about 40 per cent of the forms.  The rest had to be manhandled with wheelbarrows.  Scott and Dave mostly ran the wheelbarrows while Basil and I shovelled everything into place.  By shortly after lunch we were done, and had all the rebar hooks placed into the footings.  I checked the concrete later in the afternoon before Anna and I headed back home to the city and it had already set.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Seven Days in Nordegg

I headed out to Nordegg, by myself, on June 10th.  The septic tank was just being placed in the excavation at our property next door, when I arrived.
On Friday June 11th, my brother-in-law Shawn arrived in the early afternoon.  We had a couple of beers together and relaxed and caught up.  Later that evening Margarit and Anna arrived with our dog Quinn.  We all hung out together over the weekend.  The weather was pretty nice and we went out for some ATV rides, and puttered on a few things around the cottage.  I painted the two entrance doors with a yellow paint, on the interior and exterior.  A proper wash with TSP and then two coats of paint should provide a durable surface for some time to come.  I think it looks pretty good against the blue grey siding.  I never did get around to painting the man door on the garage, but still have lots of paint left for next time.  I also split and stacked some more firewood.
On Sunday evening Margarit headed back to the city.  On Monday morning Shawn had to return as well.  Anna and I stayed out for a few extra days.  We were supposed to pour the footings at our property next door on Tuesday, but it rained heavily all morning and forced us to postpone for a day.  We did eventually get that done on Wednesday, just before Anna and I headed back to the city.
We also spent some time working on Anna's bunk bed.  We previously built the box that will support her mattress.  This time around we made two wall panels that will support that mattress frame.  We got them sanded out and stained.  We still have more work to go to build the rest of the supports, and a ladder, as well as to get everything finished with several coats of lacquer.
Anna and I went out for a number of evening walks with Quinn and had lots of time to just hang out together.  We found some Blue Columbines blooming in the ditch in a few places near our property.  We also found a new footpath down to Shunda Creek.  We had a take out lunch from the Miner's Cafe in town and also stopped in at the new Nordegg Canteen for ice cream.  It was a pretty relaxing week and both Anna and I were somewhat reluctant and saddened to have to head back home on Wednesday.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

One Week Absence

I was back in Edmonton for about a week, and just headed back out to Nordegg on the morning of Thursday June 10th.  I went out by myself, but the girls will be joining me on for the weekend.
While I was back in the city I managed to catch up on a whole bunch of chores.  I started with a day trip out to do a little photography, with my friend Arturo.  After that I dug into a whole bunch of chores.  This included making some prints for the Beehive Artisan Market, paying bills and attending several meetings.  We toured a school that we will potentially enroll Annelise in this fall, and I took my Mom to an appointment.
A lot happened out at Nordegg while I was away.  First of all there was the weather.  We got yet another spring snow storm, this one dumping about 3 inches of wet snow.  That was followed by about 1-1/2 inches of rain, over several days.  This certainly should be good for all the seedlings that we just planted a week ago.  I didn't leave my sump pump turned on this time, because I had issues with it last time.  Our "sump" actually consists of a vertical length of culvert run down to the level of our weeping tile.  The weeping tile can't naturally drain away from the foundation of the cottage because of the slope of the bedrock.  Last time the vibrations of the pump pulled the drain hose down into the sump.  The pump was running and running and just recirculating the same water.  So this time I didn't leave it turned on.  The sump was pretty full, and there was a puddle of water about 1/2 an inch deep in the low spot of our basement, when I arrived. Fortunately it is not a true basement, and we only have a gravel floor, so there was no damage.  I have figured out where the low spot is and make sure to not leave any "stuff" on the floor in this location.
Just as I arrived the septic tank was being delivered and placed in the excavation on our property next door.  I took a bunch of pictures of it for the permit inspector.
My contractor Scott brought in a processor last week.  It is a large machine that cuts logs up to firewood length.  They ran my whole log pile through, plus a bunch neighboring properties as well.  There are some short ends that the machine can't handle, so I still have a little bit to cut with the saw.  Before the rain hit Scott managed to get his crew out to build the forms for the footings.  That is now complete so as soon as things dry off a little, we will be able to get some concrete poured.  Then the real construction will begin...!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Artisan Market

Some local residents in Nordegg just opened a new business.  Over the winter a new building was constructed beside the Shell Station.  The Miner's Cafe moved from the old school house museum, to one half of this new building.  The Beehive Artisan Market set up in the other side.  It is a really cool little shop that sells all sorts of artisan products.  There are t-shirts and clothing items, paintings, metal sculptures and photographs.  They also have a selection of organic produce in coolers, and some other food items.  There is a lot of tourist traffic here over the warmer months so I think they should do quite well.
I approached the owners and asked if they would be interested in showing my black and white photography.  They were, and it turns out that the owner already knows of me.  He is friends with two members of the Monochrome Guild and has been out to some of our group shows back in Edmonton, in years past.   The acceptance was just a formality and they told me that they expected it was only a matter of time before I approached them.
So, I will be putting a bunch of my prints on consignment.  These will be 11" x 14" prints to start, which I will follow up with some smaller 8" x 10" ones.  Depending on how much interest there is, I may also do some larger ones.  The prints will be dry mounted and matted and presented unframed in crystal bags.  Unframed prints are faster and more economical for me to produce, and help to keep the selling price down.  I will mount them to standard sizes so that the buyer can purchase their own inexpensive frame... assuming anything sells.  Kind of have to try and find a sweet spot as far as price goes so that I can still make a decent return after paying the commission to the market.  Plus, they don't have a lot of available wall space at the market to hang up all the artwork that is available.  A tabletop display is necessary.  I've never been involved in photography for the money, but believe that my work is good enough that is should command a reasonable price.  There are quite a few hours of work that go into making prints and mounting them, not to mention the artistic ability to create the image in the first place.  Film, chemistry, paper and matboard are all becoming very expensive.
When I was back home in the city from June 2nd to 10th I spent two days down in my darkroom and made 34 prints, 11" x 14", from eight different negatives.  The snapshots below are of the prints as I worked on them.  On June 9 and 10 I spent two days clearing, toning, washing and drying all the prints.  I hung them up to dry and laid them out on screens just before I headed back out to Nordegg.  Unfortunately they were not ready to bring along, but the Beehive is OK with me bringing them out in a week or so.  Their official grand opening is on June 26 and there will be a big event with Edmonton musician Bill Bourne playing over at the Community Hall.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Three More

Here are three more scans of the recently processed 8x10 negatives.  This is part of the same batch of Ilford HP5 film that I processed in D76 developer.  I also have a second batch of T-Max 100 that I have just finished processing.  These negatives are currently in my film washer and will be scanned and shared in the coming days.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Fresh Batch of 8x10 Negatives

I just finished processing a batch of 8x10 film.  This was eleven sheets of Ilford HP5+ film that I processed in Kodak D-76 Developer.  I'm not crazy about this particular combination and will look to try something different next time.  The negatives are OK, but they are a little heavy and flat.
I've included scans of three of the negatives from this batch.  My scanner does not do a great job with large 8x10 negatives.  There is no frame, or nothing to put pressure on the film and keep it flat.  The edges tend to curl a little, and some light creeps around the edge.  When the negative is inverted to a positive this light becomes a bit of a shadow.  Its not evident in all of the scans, but it shows up in some of them.  I may try to rescan these at a later date.
All of these images were taken in 2021 on various day trips that I went out on.  My friends from the Monochrome Guild were along with me on most of these outings.  I still have not gotten around to setting up the 8x10 enlarger that I bought years ago.  In the short term I look forward to contact printing some of these negatives.  Likely by some sort of alternative process.
These processes involve coating a sheet of art paper with a light senstive emulsion, made from raw chemicals.  The paper is coated, and then the negative is place directly onto the paper.  The materials are then exposed to a UV light source... either a UV light box, or just the sun.  An image then prints out onto the emulsion with the exposure to light.  Once the desired density is reached, the print is finished by a washing and sometimes a clearing.  The methods vary a little depending on the process being undertaken.  I have the chemistry necessary to attempt Van Dyke Brown, Ziatype, Cyanotype and Callitype prints.  There are numerous other ones that I may also attempt at some point.  Stay tuned for more...