Grain Mills and Big Skies

This morning Nigel and I woke up to overcast skies again but this time it looked like things would clear up a little. After breakfast we packed up and checked out of the hotel – it was time to take our scenic tour from Swift Current to Regina. Our first stop was a lovely red grain mill in Ponteix.

Red Grain Elevator

Red Grain Elevator

Just after this the skies started clearing and we were introduced to amazing blue skies. In Patterson we stopped at a white grain mill to photograph it against the clear blue sky. You may have noticed that the grain mills all have train tracks that allow trains to pull up to the mill for easier distribution.

Patterson Grain Elevator

Patterson Grain Elevator

As we drove the backroads Saskatchewan’s famous sky was presented to us in all its glory.

Saskatchewan Skies

Saskatchewan Skies

I do look forward to getting back here one day soon but I think this time it may have to be in slightly warmer temps, say, 20ºC or more? 

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.