I’ve been negligent with blogging this summer, being outside, going to the pool and playing tennis has taken priority over sitting in front of a screen. As we haven’t been able to use our cabin this summer we have taken to rediscovering places in our city.
Recently we went for an afternoon walk at Heritage Ranch (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada). It has been ages since we have been there in the summer months, usually it is a spot we go for a winter walk. As we looked across to the fishing pond we were treated to visits by multiple butterflies, dragonflies and other small creatures.
It’s always fun to see if you can capture an image of the butterflies flitting from flower to flower. On this particular day they were quite cooperative.
Some of the butterflies also decided to show off a bit and pose upside down.
Not to be forgotten, the ant had to get in on the pictures as well. Quite a fun shot I think.
It’s always amazing to look at macro images as you get to examine details close up and see the intricacies of the world around us.
I’ve been pondering working with wood for a bit. It probably goes back to when I first tried linocuts and I realized it was the cutting I enjoyed more than the printing. One day I made the mistake that insured the point of no return, I went to Lee Valley Tools, I bought a lovely set of carving tools………and according to my husband, he had to wipe drool marks off of everything I looked at. I have a history of loving hardware stores, Lee Valley just elevated the experience.
Chiseling away led to more research. More research led me to the joy of carving with the rotary tool. Super fun. Super messy. The rotary tool, with me as the operator, is definitely an “outside toy”. The relief piece shown above combines the carving tools and the rotary tool.
After a good experience with the pine, I decided to see what I could do with a scrap piece of wood, so I started work on a scrap of bog standard spruce 2×4. Something cheap to play with. It seemed trickier than the pine, but in the end I coaxed the starfish pictured above from the scrap piece of wood.
Of course working with scraps led me to the thought of “What could I do with driftwood?”. A quick diversion into a Sidney art store during a trip to the coast, and $17 later, and I had another set of carving tools to tackle driftwood with. First I played with a small piece, and carved a small orca. Unfortunately I only have the work-in-progress picture to show, the finished piece is back on the coast.
Back at home I started to tackle a larger piece of driftwood. It is a challenge, but that is what makes it fun.
The idea of carving seems to have captured our family’s imagination. My oldest son has started on a piece of his own, spending hours working away. When it is finished it will be a carving of an owl.
Now as a family we can flip through carving magazines and plan our future projects.
The Red Deer Westerner Parade is the dreaded event of the year in our neighbourhood. Our neighbourhood, yes the area where people actually live, is infested each year by disrespectful parade goers. People park in our driveways, across our driveways, and on our lawns. They box us in so we cannot get out of our parking spots. They leave their garbage behind and walk all over our yards. The traffic jam leaving our neighbourhood this year took 30-45 minutes to clear. Our neighbourhood is used as a parking lot, yet has very few exit routes; if there had been an emergency it would be an absolute disaster. This is a yearly occurrence that I have witnessed for over two decades. It is truly awful.
What is even worse is that our whole neighbourhood is subjected to this horror all in the name of commercialism. The Red Deer Westerner Parade is nothing but a walking billboard and a way to push the people of Red Deer to attend the Westerner so that the Westerner can of course make a lot of money . Three years ago was the last time we went. We lasted 15 minutes. All the parade consisted of were ads. Junk mail on wheels…..mixed with an atmosphere of gagging smoke and f-bombs in the crowd. Classy. Well actually pretty reflective of present day Red Deer if we are to be honest.
This is the crowd that is dropped on our Woodlea neighbourhood , a place where people actually LIVE, each year. But our neighbourhood doesn’t count, it never counts, the City, or the Westerner organization would never dream of running a parade adjacent to the heavenly blessed areas known as suburbia, but destroying our neighbourhood is fine.They simply don’t care about how this parade impacts our properties and our lives.
For years the Red Deer Westerner Parade has made no sense. The Westerner grounds moved from the center of downtown in 1982, 33 years ago, but they did not move the Westerner parade. Prior to the 1980’s the parade used to form at the old fair grounds located in Parkvale (an area in the downtown area), snake through downtown, then return to the fairgrounds. At that time it somewhat made sense. 33 years later the Westerner is miles and miles away, there is NO connection to the downtown area, and they are still forming the parade in the same spot….well kind of…..it is now in front of the arena, skateboard park and tennis bubble, and behind a seniors housing complex that was built on the old fairgrounds (three decades ago). The parade route, we noticed, has shrunk over the years, probably to accommodate traffic and downtown businesses. Clearly the concept of the parade no longer fits current day downtown Red Deer. Traffic and businesses count, they can’t be inconvenienced. They are special. Neighbourhoods where people live DON’T count. The parade route has been altered for these reasons, yet they continue to leave the route impacting our neighbourhood and our home.
This year, however, has topped other years. This year we actually had property STOLEN by parade goers. The planter was there before the parade, the planter was gone after the parade. We had a planter stolen. A planter that measured 16 inches across, 14 inches high and full of soaking wet soil. This was a planter at the side of our house. The dirt from moving the planter is still on the sidewalk. This was a planter that would have taken considerable strength to move and take space in a vehicle as well. This is a deliberate theft. The parade goer trespassed and stole.
This was an ordinary planter, but was full of a tomato and lettuce that we started from seed back in February. Our children watched it grow. Watered it. Cared for it. Hoped to eat it. Now it is gone. Stolen.
The Westerner doesn’t care.
The City of Red Deer doesn’t care.
They don’t care what happens to our neighbourhood, our home or our property. As long as the Westerner and the City of Red Deer can financially capitalize on events such as the Westerner Parade they simply don’t care what happens in our neighbourhood.
They are greedy, selfish and don’t care.
Why is is ALWAYS the historic neighbourhoods that are horribly disrespected? Why don’t we count? They would NEVER dream of doing this to suburbia. Inflicting situations like this on our RESIDENTIAL neighbourhood is simply unfair. Inflicting situations on a neighbourhood that encourage thefts is unfair. It is time things change. Our neighbourhood IS a neighbourhood. This is where we LIVE. It is time we get the same respect that other areas of the city receive. It is time to change the parade route and keep the thieving white trash out of our neighbourhood. After all, nowhere else in the city is expected to endure this level of invasion and disrespect.
As this blog/website has grown with all the various disciplines I work in, I have realized that it has become harder and harder for customers of Hunter Photographics to find the information they need. For this reason I have added another site to the repertoire. The new site is www.hunterphotographics.wordpress.com . It will echo the information on this site with regards to photography.
Over the next little while there will be a gradual shift in style. More black and white, cleaner lines. You can read all about the new look HERE. I’m looking forward to focusing on producing classic and timeless images.
Photography by Debra Hunter
Red Deer, Alberta and Pender Island, BC, Canada