These test tube images are part of a project I am currently working on. It was an interesting shoot as each image was very different; there was no way to predict the shape the swirling color would take. Backlighting provided the definition and punch needed to shoot the clear glass object.
Ever have one of those weeks when opening up your mailbox changes the whole course of the week?
We had just been away for the long weekend. Just like most people, one of the first things you do once you get home from being away is to open your mailbox and go through the mail. The stack of mail went like this: junk mail, junk mail, junk mail, thick envelope from Lac Ste. Anne County (Alberta, Canada), junk mail……..”wait, what was that thick envelope about?” was the first think to run through my head (followed by putting the junk mail in the recycle bin). We open up the envelope only to be greeted with bad news (thick envelopes are never good news), a resort development was being proposed for a location minutes away from our cabin on Lake Isle, Alberta. Even worse, it is proposed for an area along the shoreline where there are always a huge number of nesting birds. This resort would annihilate the nesting grounds.
After getting over the initial reaction of anger we decided to attempt to do something. After a bit of research we discovered Lake Isle is a nesting area for the Western Grebe. The Western Grebe has been listed as an “at risk” species and is showing declining numbers. Research we have read indicates Alberta only has 6 to 10 lakes where the Western Grebe actually nest and breed, so losing the breeding ground would significantly impact the survival of the species of the Western Grebe. Research also indicates that Alberta is home to 10-19% of the WORLD’S population of the Western Grebe, so protecting this bird and its nesting grounds is very important.
I have spent the last two days writing email after email to environmental and conservation groups, individuals involved in the environment, government offices and politicians in hopes of raising awareness in the importance of protecting the shoreline. I am hoping that if I can raise a very vocal community in support of protecting the habitat that the Lac Ste. Anne County will see that the habitat of an “at risk” species is more important than an RV Park with rumoured quadding trails.
Once this habitat is gone it is gone FOREVER. Once the species is gone, it too is gone FOREVER.
I feel it is so important to show the importance of this natural area rather than take the easy way out, stay quiet and watch it bulldozed.
If any readers are interested in speaking up as to the importance of protecting the nesting grounds please feel free to email me for further information. We need a loud voice to fight the bulldozers, RV’s and quads.
For those interested, the file numbers for the proposal are:
Files: 06REDST2012 & 07REDST2012
If you wish to contact Lac Ste. Anne County (Alberta, Canada) with regards to the proposal, I have listed the contacts below. ALL WRITTEN CONCERNS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY JUNE 6TH, 2013.
Mr. Matthew Ferris
Planning & Development Manager
Ms. Diane Burtnick
Any help we can get in keeping this natural area intact is greatly appreciated.
After an incredibly long winter it is great to finally have the opportunity to shoot some outdoor portraits. Shooting on location is fun, and when you have the opportunity to shoot at a completely new location it makes for some really creative shooting with fresh looking images.
This session was shot in a rural area west of Edmonton. Country roads, old shacks and interesting fences all create a very rural Alberta atmosphere. Early season gives the warmth and texture of brown grass which adds to the rugged and relaxed feel. Most people think of outside portraiture being green trees and manicured lawns, but I have to admit I like the honesty of shooting in naturally occurring surroundings.
On the weekend we stopped by the lake access at Silver Sands, located on Lake Isle. As I walked to the water’s edge I noticed a lot of activity with a couple of muskrats; they were swimming around, climbing on logs and nibbling on things. I decided to go grab my camera from the vehicle hoping to capture a few muskrat shots. When I returned there was not a single muskrat in sight, however in their place was a beaver.
The beaver cruised back and forth, and even tried to scare us away by flicking and splashing his tail. After quite a long time the beaver eventually grew bored with our presence and swam off into the distance.
Amazingly spring has finally arrived after many, many, many months of winter and snow. It’s fabulous to be out and about shooting in the sunshine. ( Of course I don’t have a lot of choice thanks to a “little” water damage and the following insurance claim, but rumour has it I’ll hopefully be back to some studio shooting in about 2 weeks, but be prepared for a lot of location posts in the meantime….anyways, moan over and back to the post!) Our cabin, and its surrounding area, gives us the opportunity to experience rural life and all its joys and quirks.
Springtime at the cabin is wet….very wet. The image above is taken from our children’s club house at the back of the property. Our lot sits two to three feet higher than the adjacent land, and in the spring we joke about having a lakefront property (without “lakefront” taxes!) as the lot behind us fills with water, right to the fenceline. With the springtime “water feature” we also are treated to a lot of wildlife including birds, deer and frogs….lots of very, very loud frogs. The frogs are so loud this time of year that you can hear them croaking away while inside the cabin with all the doors and windows shut, and this goes on all day and night. We often go out at night just to listen to the show of frogs croaking, birds tweeting and coyotes howling in the distance; it is quite the experience.
While the wildlife is an upside to the wet conditions, the downside is also that there is a lot of ground water and groundwater fills up our septic holding tank overly fast. We are on a septic holding tank, rather than a field, as we are about 100 meters from the lake, so it is a pump-out system (fascinating dinner time conversation! LOL!) This time of year it can mean pump out after pump out. We suspect a crack in the tank, we also suspect if we dig down to repair it we will be opening an ugly “can of worms”, so we’ve decided to take the sensible approach and ignore the situation and pump it out more often.
As if water to the fenceline and groundwater weren’t enough, we also have water hookups to deal with in the spring. We are on a water haul system so springtime means getting our huge tank filled up and then hooking up the pump system. Some years everything goes together well and others…..well it doesn’t. This year there were no fewer than 4 leaks for my husband to solve, but he did it. He may have been soaking wet from head to toe by the end of the experience, and there may have been one significant water explosion, but he did it. Running water a fabulous thing.
With such a long winter it is taking a little while for things to start growing at the cabin. We’ve been raking leaves, planting bulbs and plotting where to build grow boxes and plant more trees. We are always planting trees or building decks it seems. The one little flower in the picture above was the only thing in bloom on our whole property. One tiny little flower. Hopefully this coming weekend we will see a few more signs of growth.
The lake has finally thawed a bit in spots. The birds are happily splashing around and making a lot of noise. Our lake is a pretty quiet lake so we tend to get a lot of birds; they nest among the tall grass along the edge plus there are many tiny islands that are perfect for our feathered friends. On years when the lake is high, little channels are created through the tall grass areas where the birds live. The water is usually just deep enough to gently float a canoe or kayak through the channels; here we like to sit quietly and watch the birds from just a few feet away.
Springtime at the cabin is filled with days spent outside exploring and doing projects, food cooked on the barbecue, and evenings in front of the fire……..plus a whole lot of water and mud!
Sometimes the road less travelled leads you to somewhere amazing.