When My Obsession Began

Although I have dabbled in the occasional InfraRed photo I finally bit the bullet and got myself a converted camera to play with. Needless to say this is my new obsession. I blame Nigel Banks.

Home in Ruins Infrared

Home in Ruins Infrared

I headed north with Nigel to an abandoned home outside of Markdale. Summer is an amazing time to get your InfraRed on. The leaves turn white and those bright blue skies turns  beautiful black. Course this only comes with a lot of post processing to ensure you have that beautiful contrast in your photos.

Ivy Covered Barn Infrared

Ivy Covered Barn Infrared

But aren’t these just lovely? The barn above I happened to spot as we headed from Walter’s Falls to a lunch spot just up the street. 

Shack in Infrared

Shack in Infrared

I think this little converted camera will have a spot in my camera bag going forward. I just can’t get enough of InfraRed.  

A Detour

Since we were unable to catch a sunset at the Sandhill Dunes last night we decided to try for a sunrise today. At least that was the plan. When we awoke to cloudy skies our hopes were dashed but we thought maybe, just maybe, the clouds would move out by the time we made the one hour drive to the dunes. As we approached the town of Sceptre we knew the sunrise shoot was not going to happen. Nigel then suggested we check out the town of Empress just over the border in Alberta. So off we went on the 20 minute journey (which ended up taking two hours because we went the long way).

Abandoned Home

Abandoned Home

Before entering Alberta Nigel spotted some red grain storage sheds so we pulled over but for me the run down shack was much more interesting. I think I spent a good 20 minutes here just to get the right angle and I’m happy we did. It was one of my favourite spots. Continuing on to Alberta the transition was abrubt when all of sudden power lines popped up on both sides of the road. We weren’t in Saskatchewan anymore. Driving the main roads to town we passed the edges of what looked like the badlands.

Alberta's Hills

Alberta’s Hills

Once in Empress we stopped in at the post office to see if the locals might have some tips on what to photograph nearby. We were directed to a place down the road called Empressive Cafe where we could get some lunch and some possible ideas from a local artist. The place was part local artist shop part intimate cafe and the food was homemade goodness. After a wonderful chat with the owners over soup and sandwiches we had a couple of ideas on where to photograph. Funnily enough the places happened to be back on the Saskatchewan side.

Of course during the drive we found a few places to stop and photograph but none seemed to inspire as I hoped. So back we went to the Great Sandhill Dunes. This time hoping to get some sunset light.

Great Sandhill Dunes

Great Sandhill Dunes

As you can see from the sky in the above photograph it had clouded over again just in time for the sun to go down for the day. No luck for us this time but the amazing shapes of the clouds were well worth the stop here and just look at the sand. I have realized since taking ths photo that there is no snow in this shot…where the heck did it disappear to? The shot was taken with a camera converted to infrared and then processed by swapping some channels in Photoshop. It was all blue so I used a gradient filter on the sand to push it to the neutral tones.

Farmstead

Farmstead

As we headed back to the hotel for the night we caught a little sliver of sunset as we passed a local farm.

Tomorrow we will be heading back to Regina and then home. We still have the drive to the airport and almost a full day to do it. The plan is all about grain elevators so stay tuned.

Chilly Day on the Prairies

A few weeks ago when my friend Nigel Banks asked me if I wanted to do a quick trip to Saskatchewan for a couple of days I jumped at the chance. So late yesterday evening we took off from Toronto Pearson Airport and headed to Regina for three days of photo fun. Needless to say when we originally booked our trip we hadn’t expected an arctic air mass to move in. When we landed in the wee hours of the morning temps were at -20ºC. A pretty chilly welcome to Saskatchewan.

We were up early in the morning and with no respite in the weather in the cards we headed straight for Swift Current, our home base for the next couple of nights. On the way towards Moose Jaw I had Nigel pull over at this modern grain elevator to get a few photos.

Modern Grain Mill

Modern Grain Elevator

Before heading to our hotel we decided that with most of the day still ahead of us we would head directly to the Great Sandhill Dunes. Did you know that Saskatchewan has large sand dunes? You thought Saskatchewan was flat right? Yeah so did I.  It was only recently when Nigel told me about it and showed me some photographs from his previous visits that I learned about them (and actually believed him-lol).

Along the main road to the dunes we passed some old grain elevators. You know, the kind you see in photos from the prairies? I will save those for a later post. 😉

An old shack by the side of the road caught our eye so we stopped here for a bit to explore.

Abandoned Shack at Sunrise

Abandoned Shack at Sunrise

There is one thing to notice here and its the sun. By this time it was afternoon, we had stopped for lunch and we expected to hit the dunes about an hour or so before sunset. The sun pretty much stayed at this height all day. I had to remind myself that we were at a higher latitude than where we live. The sun rose here at about 9am and set by 5pm. Okay it wasn’t a huge difference in the amount of light but the quality of light was great.

When we finally reached the dunes the clouds were getting thicker which meant sunset was going to be harder to see. Course it didn’t stop us from hiking up the dunes to check out the view and get some photos of the texture of the sand and snow. Trudging along the sand kept reminding me that I was actually on a sand dune…in Saskatchewan!

Cold Sandhill Dunes

Cold Afternoon on the Sandhill Dunes

Okay, now I know you must be wondering…why on earth would anyone want to go to the prairies in the winter? Well, why the heck not, I say. It allows you to get photographs of places that first, most people won’t have at that time of year and second, are not packed with tourists or locals. And one thing of note, although the temperature hovered at the -20ºC mark it didn’t actually feel that cold. The prairies are very dry and the cold doesn’t seep in like it does in Ontario. So overall day one was pretty outstanding and I am looking forward to day two.

Beauty in Destruction

With fall colours pretty much done for this year it was time to think of somewhere interesting to go. With Roy Ramsay of Outdoor Photography Canada as my cohort for the day we headed north to an abandoned old house. 

Difficult to Stand

Difficult to Stand

There were some interesting colours happening in the house and as we explored I decided to focus on that aspect. With blues, pinks and beiges a common theme not he first floor I decided to play on that later in post processing.

All things Pink and Blue

All things Pink and Blue

It was fun exploring this old home and its grounds but please, if you decide to investigate ruins be careful as things are not always structurally sound and you can get hurt if you don’t take precautions. Be safe!

A Day of Randomness

Today was a busy photography day. First I met up with Nigel for some roadside photography. We found an abandoned house off the main road and we spent some time photographing the exterior. When I walked around back I startled two large ravens. Kind of an eerie feeling seeing these birds hanging out in the ruins of a home.

Abandoned Home

Abandoned Home

In one of the towns we drove through we found some old towers. I have no ideas on what they would have housed or possibly still house. Grain? Water? No idea.

Two Towers

Two Towers

But they are quite interesting with the vines taking over and the cracks in the cement. As Nigel and I finished our adventures I had to head up to Flesherton to meet the Quarringtons. Our plan this evening was hitting Elvis Fest in Collingwood. It was my first time checking this out and I was pretty excited.

Elvises

Elvises

We  grabbed some grub at a local joint and then headed over to the festivities. It seems that the party was slowing down by the time we got there as there wasn’t as many Elvises as there normally would be during the day, or so I’m told. We didn’t stay long but vowed to come back next year during the day to get our Elvis on. I’m looking forward to it.