The prairies aren’t all flat and Secret Places
It’s just after 6:00 a.m. and as I sit at the computer writing, I can hear the wind rushing through the leaves of the maple trees in the back yard while rain pelts against the side of the house. Today is a fine example of the “bad weather” that I avoid. Bad weather can be good weather, like when it’s -30 Celsius outside and the world is covered in a thick ice fog and frost. Today’s bad weather is not the kind for my photography.
No matter where you live, there are interesting places to photograph nearby. Part of the joy I get from shooting landscapes is by being creative. Drive on the highway outside of Edmonton and you’re first impression will probably be that of hundreds of miles of flat, boring and uninteresting prairie. It isn’t. Your photography is as much about what you EXCLUDE in your photos as it is what you include.
A few miles from where I live, there is a small prairie creek. Creek is a very kind word because for most of the year when the water is not frozen, this creek looks like an algae filled pond. It’s muddy and slow. When I read creek, my mind conjures up visions of splashing and sparkling waterfalls, mountain wildflowers, etc. Not the case with the Sturgeon River. Hundreds of years of erosion have created a deep and wide valley that it flows through on it’s way to the North Saskatchewan. Through most of the valley it is either pasture land or fields left for haying.
This little creek has provided me with a source of “different” prairie images without having to drive hundreds of kilometers.
No matter where you live or what kind of a landscape you live in, there are places like this that can provide a “different” kind of landscape than what you’re used to seeing.
A great part of the fun of photography is the discovery part. Finding little treasures like this make it all the more worthwhile. I sometimes get emails asking me exactly where a certain photo was shot. I never reveal that. Not because it’s my spot or that I want to keep it a secret but because I want someone else to discover it the same way that I did. I want them to feel as if it’s their special, secret place.
I see photo tours being advertised here in Alberta where the photographer will show you their secret places for photos and on so many levels that is just so wrong and so misleading. I know of many of those places and really, there’s nothing you can’t or won’t find by spending a few hours or days outside. Remember that it’s not so much the place that’s special, it’s WHEN you photograph it. That’s hard to teach when you’ve got a dozen customers following you around the mountains in their vehicles. Kind of like the kindergarten classes that I see downtown where all the pre-schoolers are being led by a leash to keep them safe and off the street.
Live a little. You don’t need a leash and you don’t need someone to hold your hand to take those special photos.