The unexpected… always happens

wildflowers and elm trees

I expect to be surprised when I am taking photos. I sometimes go out with a rough idea in mind. The sky looks a certain way and I have an idea for a church or tree. It almost always starts that way and then it usually changes. And so it was with the photo above.

The last few photos that I posted were taken along an old road that used to be the main connection between where I live and a small town half an hour away.

About twenty years ago the small winding two lane road was replaced by a twinned, paved highway running roughly parallel to it. The old “trail” has a lot of history.

Where I parked my vehicle that afternoon used to be a hotel, a hopping off point to places north where I believe Queen Victoria stayed overnight. The hotel is long gone. Where the hotel used to be, at a corner on the old Fort Trail are now old, giant poplar trees.  One of them died many years ago. At first small branches fell from it as they dried and became brittle giving it a skeleton looking shape. Two years ago it finally succumbed to the force of gravity having rotted and crumbled and fell to the ground.

On the other end of the short stretch of road that I walked is what used to be called the Oliver Mental Institution. Now it’s known as the Alberta Hospital. A more genteel name.

One of my aunts worked there as a nurse when we were children. As a way for some of the less ill patients to interact with the public she would sometimes bring us to their baseball games that were held on the hospital grounds. There I was, five or six years old and watching patients swat at imaginary flies, have conversations with themselves, etc. It was all very benign and supervised but odd and interesting for a youngster to see.

My aunt later transferred to the forensic unit where the “criminally insane” were kept and she would have both scare and fascinate us with stories of what they did or how they were. There are some truly evil or sick people in the world. Even where I live I found.

I made my way up the road from where the hotel used to stand, walking among the big poplar trees until a kilometer later, maybe less where the row of trees turned from poplar to elm. I continued photographing and observing them until finally I reached the edge of the hospital grounds and instead of turning around walked further off the road to where to my surprise I found a carpet of wild flowers hidden from the view of those driving by.

Expect the unexpected.

I photographed intently for a few minutes, shooting, picking up the tripod and looking for a spot that felt “better” and while doing so noticed a chatter behind me on the hospital ground. Yes, it was a group of patients outside maybe only twenty meters away also enjoying the sunny weather. What would they think I thought to myself if they were to see me kneeling on the ground behind a camera? Crazy? Maybe. LOL

I finished my shooting and walked back to my vehicle, parked in the bright sun and by now very hot inside. Thank goodness for air conditioning. Ten minutes later I was home, editing what I had just photographed.

And so it goes. Each day, each short trip outdoors with camera in hand is a joy for me.

There are more than photos to bring back. There are memories to recall and new things to experience.

Happy shooting,



~ by Dan Jurak on June 27, 2016.

3 Responses to “The unexpected… always happens”

  1. The flowers stand out as do your descriptions, as I have gone “the back way” with a friend to the fort.

  2. Thank you Jane.

    I didn’t realize that you were from around Edmonton. Am I right about that?


  3. Yes, I live in Edmonton.

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