This week I was finally able to photograph this iconic spot along the Bow Valley Parkway in Banff NP. I have seen a lot of photos of it on various photo sharing sites. What makes this spot so intriguing to me is the old CPR tourist poster that I looked at often as a kid. My dad was a CPR telegrapher in small town Sask. When I would go to the station to see him I would often sit and look at the tourist posters that were hung in the waiting room. I found the romance of the posters appealing and would dream of visiting the Rockies. Using my Father’s yearly travel pass the family took several trips through the Rockies to visit relatives on the West Coast. As the train traveled through the Rockies I would sit and stare out the window in awe. Sadly the CPR no longer runs passenger trains along this route. It was one of the most beautiful passenger train routes in the world. At the time little did I dream I would one day be living so close to the Rockies. Perhaps those early childhood dreams are why I still love to be in the mountains camping, hiking, skiing or just being there.
The local camera club had “signs of summer” for their weekly photo challenge and it got me thinking. Here in central Alberta it is hard sometimes to know when it is summer -some years it never really ever gets to be the summer we want.
For me lots of little things start to get me thinking (and hoping) for summer:
-summer birds such as goldfinches and hummingbirds around the yard
-BBQ every night
-checking out the fishing gear, seeing if I have enough flies or if anything needs repaired
-getting the trailer ready for the summer
-planning the summer fishing and hiking trips
-CFL training camp and the anticipated first game
-it used to include the final report cards and the final days of school (not anymore, haha)
-coffee on the deck every morning
-shorts on first thing in the morning
-turning the pool heater on every morning
-cows and calves in the pasture, and opening and closing the gate
But I really realize it is summer when I can start photographing my wife’s flower garden. I find it so enjoyable to spend an hour every morning wandering around the yard photographing whatever has started to bloom that morning. She has designed her garden so the there is something blooming early in the year such as crocuses and late in the summer such as sunflowers, so there is always something new to shoot.
Sweet William or Purple Rocket is one of the early summer bloomers.
In an earlier post I talked about how we hate rust on our vehicles, lawn furniture, etc. but for photographs it is great. Well the same goes for the dandelion. I do not know of another flowering plant that is so hated. We poison it, we dig it, and we curse it on our neighbour’s lawn because we know all those seeds are coming to grow new dandelions on our lawn next spring. All the effort and money we spend on getting rid of this little yellow flower seems wasted when next spring there seems to be even more sprouting all over our lawn. And yet…have you ever gotten down on your belly and looked closely at a dandelion? They are actually quite pretty. And…after a long cold winter with so much dreary dead brown everywhere those first bright, sunshine like yellow flowers in the spring are such a welcome relief. When we see our first dandelions we know spring with all the promise that it holds is not far off.
From a photographers point of view those little yellow flowers are my first flower shots, again with the promise of so many more flower images to be made the rest of the spring and summer. However I have had trouble capturing great images of them. There are so many of them! Yellow is also a colour that my cameras seem to have trouble with. Also the processed images look rather drab on my laptop and yet on my separate monitor they are closer to the bright cheerful yellow that the flowers show.
Dandelions also are part of my family’s memories. My grandmother when she first arrived in Canada from Ukraine lived with a family in Winnipeg. One day she was alone, the family having gone somewhere for the day. Grandma decided to do some gardening. When the family came home all of their poppies were pulled and piled in the compost pile and all the dandelions were nicely cultivated and watered. Poppies were a weed in Eastern Europe and dandelions were grown as an edible plant. I have never eaten dandelions. I have heard they are tasty.
The Ya Ha Tinda Ranch lies west of Sundre, NW of Calgary. It butts right up to Banff National Parks eastern boundary. The ranch is owned by the National Parks of Canada. In the past it was where back country patrol horses were raised and trained. Since there are few horse patrols anymore the herd of horses is very small. The local elk herds are far larger.
The Bighorn falls are a waterfall on the Bighorn Creek to the east of the main ranch buildings.
The area in my opinion is one of the most scenic places in Alberta. There are photo ops everywhere you look, from incredible mountain vistas, to wildlife, to intimate landscapes, to wildflowers, and even an area that had a forest fire 10 years ago. The views to the west easily rival the views of Lake Louise or Moraine Lake, but with a whole lot less people. That is one of the advantages of the rough and rugged gravel road to the ranch.
We all curse rust when it shows up on our vehicles, but on old, antique machinery it becomes decorative. I really love photographing old farm machinery and old vehicles. The more rust the better. But every time I see the rust on my truck’s bumper and fenders I curse the auto manufacturers for creating such easily rusted metal.
So many people love to have old farm machines displayed in their yards. We love to tour museum and parks that display relics from farming of the past. As I photograph old farm implements I often think of the toil and sweat that the farmers put into daily farming with the machines. So many of the machines of the past took so much effort and energy from the farmers compared to the massive computerized machines of today.
If you follow this blog you know I intended to post a photo or more every week. I have missed a few weeks. I have a good excuse, I was in Cuba for 2 weeks. If you have ever been to Cuba you know the internet is very poor. So I will try to catch up this week. I can assure you I did take lots of photos so I was kind of following my commitment of a photo a week. I’ll share many of the Cuba photos with you in the blogs to come. For this post I have chosen to show a few of the people I encountered in my walk around Trinidad. If you ever get to Cuba you owe it to yourself to take a tour to Trinidad. Trinidad just celebrated its 500th birthday. It was originally a sugar plantation town. It is now being preserved by the Cuban government and UNESCO as a world heritage site. The photo ops are endless. People are friendly (and not as pushy as I hear Havana is getting). Bed and Breakfasts are numerous. Cafes are superb. And night life fun -have a pina colda made in a real pineapple.
The man on the donkey and the guitar player in the images below simply asked for a peso for me to take their photo. The girl was celebrating her 15th birthday -a huge production for Cuban girls. It is kind of like a “coming of age” celebration. She was more than happy to let me photograph her.