For the first camping trip of the year we (Karl, Steve, Melissa, The Derkowskis, and myself) went to Little Elbow Campground (I think thats what it’s called) along the Elbow River on the Bragg Creek side of Kananaskis Country. We had planned to do this trip the previous year, but the whole area was washed out and closed due to the flooding. In order to avoid the May long weekend crowd we decided to go the next week instead so it made for a nice quiet weekend.
We took a hike west along the river for a ways and then turned and headed up hill to explore a canyon (the name of which I cannot think of right now). It was a nice little hike, although we couldn’t go very far up the canyon because of ice and water that was still left over from the winter. The most interesting part of the hike was surveying all of the damage along the river that was still evident from the previous years flood.
After the hike we met up with Rob and the boys and kicked back for some campfire chili which was a bit of a fiasco because the spice level was completely off the chart. But with a few adjustments, and a loaf of fresh made campfire baked sourdough bread to go with it, it turned out pretty darn good.
I was asked to do a model shoot by a make-up artist friend, despite having to drive across the city in the middle of a blizzard, and the professional model not showing up, she was able to convince her neighbor to be a stand-in and we got a couple of decent shots.
In the last week or so of June 2013 Calgary had its worst flood in well…. ever… with both rivers spilling over their banks and flowing through much of downtown. But you probably know all this so that’s about all I’m gonna say about it (here’s some more info if you don’t know all about it… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Alberta_floods).
Anyway things were pretty crazy in town, but in all reality it didn’t affect me in the least little bit, in fact I never even saw any of the flood water or river until about a week after it had crested. But as soon as the roads began reopen in Kananaskis country I knew I had to head out to have a look at the damage.
The damage was pretty crazy to see… tiny little streams had cut 20 foot chasms into hillsides and stripped shorelines of trees and plants and soil in huge swaths and ripping roads and bridges right off their foundations. What was really amazing was to see just how much earth the water had moved, roadside ditches that had been 10 feet deep were now filled to road level with dirty or gravel, and whole hillside that used to overlook the iver were simply not there anymore. At one point on the Spray Lakes trail I got out to take a walk along the stream that runs parallel to the road. The first thing I noticed was how wide the stream-bed was, it had probably only been about 10 feet across before the flood, but was now more like 40 or 50 feet across, with the bank on the other side made up of a wall of freshly exposed soil. But what really got me was the smell. The smell of pine coming from the hundreds or thousands of twisted, broken, and downed pine trees that lined the sides of the shore was so strong it literally made my eyes water and burned my sinuses, it was really quite remarkable.
Looking back (yes it’s almost a year later that I’m writing this), whats really crazy to think about is just how long the scars of that flood will be present, the debris and sticks and branches and mud stuck ten feet high in the trees will likely take a good 5 years to be dislodge and washed completely away. The piles of broken and downed trees might be recognizable for a decade or two or three. The changed in the course of the rivers and streams, and the deposits of gravel and dirt and boulders might take a few decades to become healed to the point where they no longer look like a visible scar on the landscape, but in all reality they might be there for a few centuries or longer, or basically forever, at least until the next big flood. Or until we decide to pave over them and put in a new parking lot.
I looked out the window and saw this crazy bright full moon, so I thought I’d see what I could get with my new 500mm lens (and 2X teleconverter). This was shot off my balcony using my BBQ as a tripod, but still was pretty pleased with the results.
Dinner spread from Christmas Eve with the family, hot wings, cheese, ham, shrimp, veggies, olives, meats, liver paste, salmon and fresh bread… What more can you ask for? Hmmmm…. how about a giant pot of mussels, oh wait, that was on the stove behind me.
I had a great weekend camping with a bunch of friends down south of Calgary on the Highway 40, at a place called Cataract Creek. Originally we were planning on camping at Blue Rock on the Sheep River, but when we got there on Friday afternoon it was already filled up with campers and RV’s. We decided we should try Cataract Creek, because we had all been there last year, so everyone that was coming out later already knew where it was. We also figured that if the campground was also full we could just keep heading south until we found one that wasn’t. As it turned out, our fears were unfounded, and there was only about half a dozen people in the 100 site campground, which was great because we ended up with the best two spots in the whole place.
The weekend was pretty typical for a weekend of camping, we had a wild Thunderstorm on Friday night that frightened all the children, but by Saturday afternoon it had cleared up nicely, and by Sunday it was absolutely beautiful. We took a walk down to the creek, sat by the fire, ate too many smores, cooked hot dogs and a big pot of chili over the fire, did a bit of fishing (caught a tiny little rainbow), a bit of swimming, and came home with a nice sunburn!
I don’t do a lot of people photography. But its not because I don’t know how, or because I don’t enjoy it. The truth is, it’s mostly just a big pain, finding a location to shoot at, and a model (who actually shows up), and all the other planning and such that goes into doing a model shoot.
In my experience people shots (at least the ones I’ve done), don’t sell very well as stock photos so its not really worth all the hassle.
On the other hand, if someone else is willing to do all the leg work and book all the models I’m more than happy to take advantage of it.
These were all taken on a couple occasions with a meetup photography group I’m a part of, some at one of the members house, the others in a room we booked at Hotel Arts, in downtown Calgary.
The shoots are always a little bit crazy, with a bunch of photographers fighting to get a few minutes with the models, but if nothing else it’s usually a good learning experience.
One of the photography groups I’m in planned a meet at Lake Louise to shoot pictures of the Winter Start World Cup Skiing Event, and another group had a meet planned in Banff for the next day. So I decided I might as well bring a friend and spend the whole weekend in the mountains. Unfortuantly the weather didn’t really cooperate, and the second meet got canceled (the host crashed her car on the icy roads on the way in from Canmore), and so the photos of the race were about all that I took the entire weekend.
The race was neat to see up close, but it’s not really my sort of thing. We ended up running late, and never did find the photo group, although after seeing their pictures I think we must have been standing about 10 feet away the whole time.
My sister and I were sitting around in the afternoon planning a camping trip and couldn’t decide where to go, so on a whim we hopped in the car and drove the hour or so down to Highway 40 to have a look at the prospect campgrounds. We eventually decided on Cataract Creek campground, but that’s a whole different story.
With the job done, I thought we’d head back toward Nanton on Highway #532 to take some photos of the impressive view (although it wasn’t all that clear of a day out). After a few mediocre photos from the hill top, we were heading back towards the car when we heard someone yelling at us from down in the ravine. When he finally made it into earshot he explained to us that his friend had crashed his motorbike and was injured.
Although we were skeptical about the seriousness of the situation (he was very nonplussed about the whole thing, looking back I think he was suffering from shock). We finally agreed to head to the highway for cell service to call an ambulance. As it turned out it was actually very serious, it was his father, and not his friend, he had broken his pelvis (and likely and arm as well) which can easily be fatal if not treated right away. After racing down one of the worst roads around for about twenty minutes we made it to highway #22 and were able to call 911 and have a 5 way conversation with dispatch and search and rescue and who knows who else from all of the surrounding counties. Finally they sent us back down the road to wait for an ambulance.
Thankfully, by the time we got back there was a couple other people who had stopped and were in the process of making a stretcher to carry the injured person out of the ravine. Personally I wanted nothing to do with this (everything I’ve ever been taught about first aid says not to move the injured unless completely necessary, which this wasn’t, as it turned out there was a nursing student, and a volunteer fire-fighter, so I guess they knew what they were doing), so we waited up top on the road.
The ambulance arrived at just about the time they got him out of the gully and quickly decided the road was too rough to transport him so they called in the Helicopter.
It was while we were waiting for the chopper that I notice a hissing noise, and was stuck watching while my car tire slowly deflated. I was parked on a steep incline with a injured man on a stretcher laying on the road two feet from my bumper, so I couldn’t even do anything about it but sit and watch (it really would have been crappy to jack up my car and have it roll back onto the already wounded man).
Anyway, they finally got him loaded into the helicopter and on his way. So I was able to change my flat tire in the growing darkness, and limp back towards the highway on one of those stupid little spare tires. I think it was about midnight by the time we got onto a paved road and drove the 100or so kilometres back to the city in the dark and pouring rain doing about 50km the whole way. It made for a really really long night! And of course the tire was ruined and the rest were near the end of their life, so I ended up having to replace all four of them.
Over all a really poor reward for stopping to help save a man’s life!