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.

Cape Breton Island

Leaving the comfort of our hotel after breakfast we followed the coast going clockwise around the island from Auld’s Cove before ending in Ingonish. A full day on the island of exploring and photographing – what more could you ask for? 

After making a quick pitstop to visit a friend of Nigel’s we drove to Cheticamp, a small island on the north-west side of Cape Breton. Cheitcamp is small enough to drive from end to end in about 20 minutes at very slow speeds. The gravel roads and the road blocks – aka a herd of cows, were the reason for the slow speed. We stumbled across a fishing area with sheds, boats, lobster traps,etc.

Fishing Sheds

Fishing Sheds

Leaving Cheticamp we discovered a small parking area along the rocky shoreline. Everywhere you looked along this strip of beach were piles of rocks deliberately built into small cairns and even a few inukshuks.

Stacked

Stacked

The best part of the drive were the windy roads.

Cheticamp

Cheticamp

Cabot Trail

Cabot Trail

I’m in love with Cape Breton and will be back again to explore her for longer. Tomorrow however, its time to leave on the ferry for Newfoundland. My other favourite province here on the eastern shores.