I’m just back in Dublin after some memorable days spent in the stunning South of Alberta, Canada. I was commissioned to fly over there to shoot one of my client’s latest projects, (an announcement should be fairly imminent – can’t say more than that!). The trip took me from Dublin to Toronto and finally to Calgary where I switched planes for a rental car for the last 215km. Unfortunately due to timings, the road trip had to be done in the dark, but if anything it only made the views even more spectacular the following morning when I woke to get the sunrise images of the project. What followed was three days of driving around in an SUV surrounded by the most tranquil and spectacular scenery, only nudged out of first place every so often by immense sunrises & sunsets. I was based around Pincher Creek, which by and large are the prairies of Alberta (a local told me that! – just in case I’m wrong), but every time I looked to the West, the skyline was filled with the Canadian Rockies, it’s peaks protected from the sky by a snowy blanket.
I’ve been lucky in my career to have traveled a lot with my cameras, but I don’t think I’ve ever stood underneath a more technicolor sky in all my life. Throughout each day, everything continued to change, as if the light could never decide what color it wanted to settle on. A blessing and a curse to be sure…. No sooner did I feel I had the shot ‘in the bag’, but the entire scene transformed in front of me – and lets face it, as photographers, do we really believe in that one last shot? What transpired was a great sense of satisfaction on the return journey to the hotel each evening….and a hell of an edit to follow when the assignment was over.
Another happy co-incidence was the fact that the whole area was home to the White Tail Deer, who roam the wilds of Canada and are a favourite of the local hunters. Unfortunately no matter how skittish they become whenever you end up close by, it never stops them from running across the roads at rather inconvenient times. Make sure your brakes are good
Gotta say, I love the names of the places they have over there….Medicine Hat, Crowsnest Pass, Bob Creek Wildland. Admittedly when I saw the sign for ‘Head smashed in Buffalo jump’, I thought they were getting a little too creative with town names. Turns out it’s not a town, but a world heritage site and a place I would love to have visited given a little more time and a little less of a compulsive obsession to take photographs.
Gear-wise I took the usual – 2 bodies, 3 zooms, laptop, and a flashgun w/ trigger for the ‘just in case’ scenarios. The only item which traveled in my checked bag was the new Manfrotto 055 tripod w/ the 496 RC2 ball head, for those times when I needed to shoot long exposures. I got the aluminum version for when I have to hammer nails with it as the need arises, but for future overseas commissions, I would probably lean towards the carbon version – just as a weight saver.
During the entire trip, I spent the minimal amount of time in the hotel – literally just to sleep and shower, and yet pointing my rental North towards the Avis drop off centre at Calgary Airport I felt I had barely skimmed the surface of this beautiful part of Alberta.
Again, as always, if you ever get the chance to visit, don’t think – just go. You’ll thank me later. Embedded are some of the ‘behind the scenes’ photos from the trip, i.e none of the images I shot for the client, images which ironically would better explain my mumbo jumbo about the technicolor skies! O’ well…..