Wednesday, February 8, 2023

February Image - David Thompson Country Calendar

This is the image I selected for the February page of my 2023 David Thompson Country calendar.  This calendar is available to purchase at the Beehive Artisan Market in Nordegg.  This mountain is called Wapta Kista, and it is prominent on the south shore of Abraham Lake west of Nordegg.  This shot was taken in April of 2020.  I used my Ebony 4x5 view camera and a Schneider G-Claron 210mm lens.  A #25 Red Filter was added to boost contrast and increase the separation between sky and clouds.  This was taken on the now discontinued Efke PL25M film, developed in Rodinal 1:50.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Back to Nordegg

I returned to Nordegg on the afternoon of January 31st.  It was really nice to get out of the city and back to the mountains.  In fact the weather in Nordegg was nicer than what I left in the city.  The temperature peaked at about -4C, and there was six inches of fresh snow... a winter wonderland...!
I felt totally lacking in motivation on Wednesday February 1st.  It cooled off quite a bit overnight and during the day.  It was -9 at dawn, and then dropped to about -12 during the day, and -14 by late afternoon.  It felt really cold too, because it was heavily overcast with no sun, and the humidity was high at around 85%.
I unloaded some materials, and took some waste to the dump, but didn't really accomplish much else.  The cold is supposed to be short lived and by the weekend it is forecast to be partly sunny and slightly above freezing.  I spent the day figuring out a cut list of materials for the next cabinet, and then working on some photo submission stuff on my laptop.
By early evening, when the outside hockey game was scheduled to start in town, it had cooled off even more.  By game time it was down to -17C and the humidity was up to 92%.  I was chilled from the little bit of time I had spent outside and just couldn't warm up.  I decided to skip the game and stay by the fire in the cottage.
By the morning of Thursday February 2nd, Groundhog Day, it had warmed up nicely.  It was only about -4 in the morning and by afternoon it got up to above freezing.  It started out partly sunny in the morning but then clouded over and got really breezy in the afternoon.  It was certainly a pleasant day, but didn't feel quite as warm as the thermometer suggested.  To bad this wasn't the day scheduled for the hockey game.
I spent a good part of the day working in the cabin.  First job was to pull out the tablesaw and rip up a bunch of the hardwood that I brought out.  I cut enough to face the second cabinet, and also cut right away for the as yet unbuilt third cabinet.  I installed the maple facing onto the second cabinet, and then started cutting plywood parts for the third.  I didn't get all the parts cut up, but I did cut the ones that need plastic laminate glued onto them.  This is the floor and the interior shelves.  I got the laminate glued on as well, and then called it a day.
I have the first and second cabinet sections sitting on furniture dollies.  This allows me to move them around easily as I need to.  Its starting to get a little crowded in the cottage.  Once I have the third section built I will paint them all, then then set them into place.  That should provide a little more space to begin construction of the pantry and the bathroom vanity.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Apparitions Project - Collars

This shot was taken on the same day as the earlier "old shoes" image.  These priest's collars were left behind in the train station at the old museum.  I shot this previously, but this time around I got in a little tighter on the collars, and I like this concise view a little better.  I shot this with my Ebony 4x5 view camera and a 125mm lens.  This is the last one from my recent batch of Kodak T-Max 100 developed in 510 Pyro.

Sunday, February 5, 2023


As a junior high school student back in 1977 I learned drafting for the first time.  Back in those days it was with T-squares and set squares.  Later, as I moved on to high school in 1980 I took a number of drafting courses, including architectural and mechanical drawing.  At that point we moved up from T-squares to drafting tables and machines.  Originally I thought I might go to University and study to become an architect.
But, then I graduated from high school in 1981, and went to work full time in the family Plastic business the next day.  In 1989 I purchased the company from my father.  And in 2020 I sold the company and retired.  I never did get around to going to University, but used my drafting skills through my entire working career.
Of course in later years drafting went digital.  The drafting table that we had at the shop was given away and we moved up to the AutoCad software program.  Over the years I bought three versions of AutoCad and we spent thousands of dollars on the software.  Now in my retirement I would like to use the software that I legally own to drawn up plans for the cabinets, and other furniture projects, that I intend to build.  But the old software will no longer function and the AutoDesk company is essentially forcing me to buy a subscription to AutoCad LT in order to keep using it.  But that costs $60 per month and is far beyond what I can justify for the small amount of drafting I need to do.
I finally got my old version of AutoCad LT 2002 to sort of function on my computer.  Every three or four commands it locks up and shuts down.  So, after every action I save my file, and then continually restart whenever it freezes and shuts down.  It's very frustrating to work with, but far better than spending $600 Canadian per year.  I find the drawings are very helpful as they provide exact dimensions for all the components, and precise locations for all the rabbets and dadoes.  Here are the print outs of the drawings I just completed for the third cabinet for the guest cottage.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

February Calendar Image

This is the image I selected for the February page of my calendar.  This is my annual Fine Art Monochrome calendar that I print every year and give away to friends and family.  I shot this old house up in Barrhead County back in late January of 2021.  I was out on a day trip with a few friends from the Monochrome Guild.  This was back in the days when Covid was a serious concern and we had to drive around in an entourage of several vehicles.  I remember it was rather cold that day, and we drove around for quite a while without finding anything to photograph.  Eventually we stumbled upon this old yard and managed to make the trip worthwhile by taking a few photographs.  I shot this with my Ebony 4x5 view camera and a Fujinon 250mm lens.  I used a #25 Red Filter to increase contrast and darken the sky.  The film was Ilford Delta 100 developed in PMK developer.

Friday, February 3, 2023


I had three new prints ready to go for Mimi's pub, and on January 27th I put them up.  There are a total of five large prints on display.  Two of the existing ones will remain until the next changeover, and these three new ones were added.  I picked up a couple of the existing framed prints on the evening of January 26th and brought them home.  The next morning I took those frames apart, removed the previously displayed work, and installed the new prints.  Around lunch time I took the first two back and hung them up.  At that point I picked up the third one and brought it home.  That was quickly changed over to a new print and an hour or two later I returned and hung it up.
My print of the Spirit Tree in Dinosaur Provincial Park, taken way back in 1997 remains on display though it was relocated from a spot around the corner to the center of the main wall.  My print of the Sunflower Field near Warwick, taken in 2011 was moved from the main wall to the back corner.  The three new prints include a shot of some trees covered with Hoar Frost, taken at Strawberry Creek Ravine in 2017.  This one is now by itself on the side wall, where the Spirit Tree used to be.  The other two prints are in portrait orientation.  One is a shot of Tangle Falls in Jasper National Park, taken in 2020.  The other is a shot of Willow Creek, near East Coulee, taken in 2016.  These are now on the main wall, on either side of the Spirit Tree.
My prints have been on display at Mimi's pub since they opened about five years ago.  I am very grateful to the owners Shanaz and her brother Al, who allow me to show here.  Originally it was my intention to change them out every three or four months.  That happened at the beginning, but then Covid hit and nothing was changed for three years.  Now that things are returning to normal it is time to get back on track.  By about May or so I will look to remove the Spirit Tree and Sunflowers prints and replace them with new work.  At that point the others will also be moved around.  This should provide a fresh look for the pub, and allow me continued exposure for my work.  Then the process will be repeated again, around August or so.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Sunday Drive

When I got up in the morning on January 22nd there was a couple of inches of fresh snow.  It made everything look really clean and refreshed after living with the old, dirty, crusty snow for the last few weeks.  By around noon the clouds lifted and sun came out.  The temperature was just a couple of degrees below freezing, but once the sun came out it felt warmer than that.  With the work in the cottage taken as far as I can go, I took Sunday off.  I made a run over to the dump and dropped off a couple of bags of garbage.  Then I headed for a drive down the Trunk Road.  I got about 15km north before eventually turning around.  There was slightly more snow as I got further north and higher up.  I stopped at a couple of places along the way and took some photographs.  
For the first time in years I also took out my Russian panoramic camera.  This one uses 35mm film and has a rotating lens.  The resulting negatives are about double the width of a standard 35mm frame.  So I played around with that a little too.  Later I drove south of the highway on the truck road, as far as the industrial park.  I saw a couple of wild horses here, but they were too skittish and wandered off before I could set up the big camera.  I shot a landscape here, and then made a final stop near the cottage along Shunda Creek and shot again.
By this time it was getting to be late afternoon so I just tidied up around the cottage, and then dug out the BBQ.  I made a nice steak for dinner... the first one I've had this year I think....  In the evening I watched some TV for a bit and then continued cleaning up.  I did the dishes and got stuff organized for an earlyish departure on Monday morning.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Apparitions Project - Old Shoes

I shot this image back in September of 2022 with my Ebony 4x5 view camera and a 200mm lens.  This was in the interior of an old cobbler's shop, at the old museum.  I took quite a number of photographs at this location and I'm certain that some of them will be considered for the "Apparitions" exhibition and publishing project.  This particular one was also part of the recent batch of T-Max 100 developed in 510 Pyro.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Running out of Work

On Saturday January 21st I went back to work in the guest cottage.  Once again I thought about going out for an afternoon drive, but it remained overcast for most of the day.  The temperature was very mild, and got up to +7C late in the afternoon.  For the last hour or two before sunset the skies cleared in the west and it became sunny.
I spent the day assembling the second section of the kitchen cabinets.  The first one was fairly easy as it was only 33" long.  The second was a little more challenging as it is 48" and getting a little awkward to set together by myself.  But, this section didn't have any interior dividers, so that helped to make assembly for one a little easier.  The third section will be bigger yet, at around 70".
This second cabinet goes in the corner of the L-shaped section.  That's why there is a large blank panel on side of it.  The third section, which includes the sink, will butt up to this panel.
With this section essentially done, I was kind of running out of things to do.  I didn't have enough hardwood with me to finish the face of the exposed part.  I did have more plywood for the next section, but don't have any plans drawn up yet.  So, I decided to brush paint the face of the first cabinet.
Then I spent some time taking dimensions for the next cabinet.  It will be a little more complicated in that it is not only larger, but also needs an opening in the bottom and the back to allow the plumbing to enter.  I also have to take into account proper spacing for the installation of the kitchen sink.  I confirmed all these measurements and made some rough sketches.  I will take these back to the city with me and prepare some proper plans for the third section.  I should probably also do some for the bathroom vanity at the same time.
I spent the late afternoon preparing a batch of my beef stroganoff.  I left that ready for a later supper and went over to the rink to play hockey.  The ice was in surprisingly good shape considering the mild temperatures during the day.  Once again we had two goalies and about a dozen skaters, and played for a couple of hours.  After the game I went back home, warmed up my dinner, and then caught the end of the Oilers game on TV.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Broken Glass

I found this old workshop, with this pile of broken glass.  This was during a day trip when I was out exploring last September.  Arturo was along with me on that occasion, and we were looking for subject matter that was suitable for the Apparitions project.  I shot this with my Ebony 4x5 view camera and a 125mm lens, with no filter.  It was taken on Kodak T-Max 100 film, processed in 510 Pyro.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Parts Ready for Number Two

I thought about going out for a drive with my camera on Friday January 20th.... but the sun only busted out for a little while in the morning, and then it clouded over.  The temperatue wasn't bad, and it got up to about +2 in the afternoon.  There was almost no wind, so it was quite pleasant, the light just wasn't great.  Rather than waste time and fuel driving around and not accomplishing much I decided to spend the day working in the guest cottage.
I flush trimmed the plastic laminate that I had glued on the floor and shelf panels the day prior.  Then I put a coat of the pastel blue paint on all of the surfaces that will be exposed to the interior, on all of the parts that I previously cut.  Once that paint had dried, I dug out my router, and cut all the rabbets and dados.  It is a little challenging to visualize how all the pieces go together in three dimensions.  The AutoCad drawing that I prepared back home, before I came out, was very helpful.
Once I had all the routing finished, I gave all the panels a second coat of paint.  It is much easier to paint them when they are laying out flat on a work surface, as opposed to trying to do it inside an assembled cabinet.  Not to mention that it prevents getting spills and brush marks on the plastic laminate.  I'm hoping I have a chance to put this second cabinet together before I have to head back to the city.  If the weather is nice and the sun pops out, it will be a toss up between millwork and photography...!

Friday, January 27, 2023


We have always had Whiskeyjacks around our place at Nordegg.  They are also know as Gray Jays, Canada Jays, and Camp Robbers.  They don't hang around, but are transient, and regularly pass through.  The past couple of years we've had a group of three that came and went.  On Janauary 19th, as I quit work for the day in the guest cottage, I noticed a group of four.  I promptly got some nuts out of the garage and tried to get them to come and eat out of my hand.  In the past if I let out a few whistles, and held the nuts in my outstretched hand, some of them would come and perch on my hand and feed.  Even then, some were skittish and would only come to my feet and pick up anything that was dropped.
This time they came very close... and swooped by me... and would feed right at my feet.  But none would land on me and eat from my hand.  I put the nuts out on a log by our bird feeder... and then added another big handful.  Within 20 minutes or so they were all gone.  They pack them away and hide them up in trees.  I'm not sure how many they actually eat, and how many get stolen by the squirrels.
I understand that these birds mate for life.  Groups of three are the most common and it is usually a mated pair, plus last year's offspring.  I'm not sure if this group of four is the same couple... perhaps with twins from last summer... or if it is a different group.  In any event, I sure like to see them come around.  I haven't fed them much in recent months so if I stick to it the next little while, I'm sure I'll have them eating out of my hand again, sooner rather than later....

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Sunshine Gospel Mission

I shot this old abandoned church in July of 2022.  It is in central Alberta, and I was passing nearby on my way home from Nordegg.  This one may be worthy of consideration for the Apparitions project.  I shot this with my Ebony 4x5 view camera and a wide 110mm lens.  I used a #25 Red filter to deepen the value of the sky, and make the clouds stand out.  This also dropped the shadow values a little, thereby increasing the overall contrast.  This is part of the recently processed batch of Kodak T-Max 100 developed in 510 Pyro.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Second Cabinet

On Wednesday January 18th, after working for the day in the guest cottage, I went over to the rink in town.  There is regularly scheduled drop in hockey every Wednesday and Saturday evening at 7:00PM.  It was really mild all day, and got up to about +4C.  The skies were mostly overcast, and there was a light breeze, so the snow didn't melt much at all.  The rink in town is very shaded by trees, so the ice stands up pretty well.  By game time the temperature had dropped off a little, to right around zero.  The turnout was good and we had two goalies and about a dozen skaters.  A bunch of the younger players were from Frontier Lodge, and students of Prairie College in Three Hills who come out here to do their outdoor training.  One of them was Isaac... the son of our next door neighbors back in Edmonton.  Hockey was fantastic, and by the time we quit two hours later, the temperature was still hovering a degree or two below freezing.
On Thursday I was up at the crack of dawn... which is not very early at this time of year.  Official sunrise in Nordegg is at about 8:45AM... but by the time the sun breaks over Eagle Peak, it is usually 30 minutes or so later than that.  I had a shower, morning coffee, something to eat, and then got busy.  I had my neighbor Dan give me a hand to lift the first cabinet down off of my sawhorses and make room for the days work.  After that, I put it on a furniture dolly so that I could move it around as needed.  I set and filled all the nail holes, and left the filler to dry.  Then I used my skilsaw to cut the last piece of plywood for cabinet number two from a full sheet of birch plywood.  I then set about applying a coat of primer to all of the pieces that I had cut for the next cabinet.  Once the filler had dried on cabinet one, I sanded it out and then applied some primer to the hardwood face that I had installed the day prior.  Eventually the exterior of this cabinet will be painted pastel blue, just like the interior.
By mid afternoon I was winding things down.  I glued plastic laminate onto the floor and the intermediate shelf of the second cabinet.  Then I kind of shut things down for the day and organized the workspace for the next day.  When I return to work I will have to flush trim the plastic laminate, and then use my router to cut the dados and rabbets into these pieces that all got primed today.  Once that is done, then I can paint all the interior exposed surfaces in pastel blue.  And once that paint is dry, I can assemble the body of the second cabinet.
There will be one more cabinet section to build after that, and then later the bathroom vanity.  The main cabinet in the kitchen will be an L-shaped section comprised of cabinet 2 and cabinet 3.  The sink will be installed into the middle of this, beneath the kitchen window.  The fridge and the range butt up to either end of this L-shaped section.  Beyond the range is another short section of cabinet, which is number one.  The microwave oven will be placed on this one.
Later still I have to build a tall, narrow pantry which will be in the corner, beyond the fridge.  It will only be about 16 inches wide or thereabouts... but will be about 6-1/2 feet high.  This will be built to cover up the exposed main vent stack from the plumbing system.  Once all this cabinet work, and the related painting is complete, I will be able to clean up and start on installation of the floor tiles.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

First Shot of 2023

This is the first sheet of 4x5 film that I exposed in 2023.  I took this shot up at Abraham Lake, on the 2nd of January.  The wind was a lot lighter this day, than it had been when I attempted to visit a couple of days prior.  I managed to get down to the shoreline and took a number of shots with my view camera. It was very busy along the lake with lots of cars parked along the highway, and people all over the ice.  I managed to find a spot where there was no one around, and I had the place to myself for a while.
I shot this with a very wide 75mm lens fitted with a #25 Red Filter.  The film was Kodak T-Max 100 and this was also part of the recently processed batch done in 510 Pyro Developer.