Coquihalla Summit, near Hope, B.C. March 2016.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
I first set eyes upon this spectacular place, the Myra Canyon section of the historic Kettle Valley
Railway ( KVR ) back in the mid 1980's. It seemed like a very special place, where this railway line that ran like a snake as it slithered from one side of the box canyon to the other, it didn't seem possible that such engineering was possible, 18 trestles and two tunnels in a 6 km stretch of railway. The CBC even filmed some of the series, The National Dream using the wooden trestles of the Myra Canyon.
A newspaper colleague whom I worked with at one time, reporter J.P. Squire was the one who told me about it, he liked to drive his 4 wheel drive jeep along the old at abandoned tracks, even going right over the trestles, even if they were missing a tie or two.
I loved to photograph the Myra Canyon when I had the time to get away, by the late 80's the word had gotten out and it was becoming more and more popular, although there were times that I visited on a week day when there would be only myself or a few other people in the vicinity.
With increased popularity, the old rail line was getting more and more visitors, and unfortunately one mountain biking woman fell off one of the trestles and died, that event inspired volunteers to make the trestles safer by adding proper plank decking and handrails along the sides of each trestle to make them more user friendly for both cyclists and pedestrians.
After all that hard work, in the summer of 2003 disaster struck when a huge wild fire originating in Okanagan Mountain Park, eventually made its way north and burned 12 of the 16 wooden trestles and damaging two steel bridges. Within 5 years all the trestles were rebuilt in record time along with other safety improvements.
My 1987 photo shows trestle number 8, looking out towards Kelowna ( down below the gap ) I shot this from an "out of nowhere" angle, I set up my 4 x 5 view camera on a tripod, with a 120mm lens attached, on a water barrel platform that is attached to the side of the trestle. I used with Kodak T-Max 100 black and white film, a difficult negative to print in the darkroom as the sky needs a considerable amount of "burning in". However for the past 12 years I have been scanning my negatives, and with this particular pictures I was able to bring out much better detail in the sky that would have been difficult to obtain from a traditional darkroom made print.
I wished I had trekked more with my 4 x 5 view camera along the KVR but I was still in the learning stage in learning to use the camera. This image remains as one of my favourite images of the beautiful and historic KVR.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Sunday, January 08, 2017
Friday, January 06, 2017
That was the name of my first photography exhibition of my Canadian landscape photography back in June of 1989, photographs that I had created with my newly acquired Tachihara 4 x 5 large format view camera and various lenses. The show was held at Kelowna Art Gallery's 'outreach' gallery at Kelowna City Hall on Water Street and included eight of my landscape photographs, all printed 16 x 20 inches in size. The art gallery lent me some frames to exhibit my work.
The show came about after a chance meeting with the late Elinor Yandel, who was the director of the Kelowna Art Gallery at the time. While working as a Kelowna Daily Courier staff photographer I would often be over at the art gallery covering various shows and other events. Elinor had a great passion for the arts and loved photography and thought that my work should be seen. I had only been seriously shooting with the view camera for a couple years. At the time I shot my day to day work with 35mm film, the landscape work and other subject matter is what I created on my days off and holidays.
I had some interesting and varied reaction to the show, mostly positive, one man who saw my pictures at City Hall wanted to buy one of the prints right off the wall that very day for his wife's birthday, but I had to leave the prints up till the end of the show which ran for about a month. ( note to self: always have extras prints on hand ) I recall another man who chatted with me during the opening reception who admonished me for photographing landscapes in black and white, because he thought that only Ansel Adams was allowed to make such pictures. This was about 5 years after Ansel Adams had passed away so there was still some sensitivity to his passing and his great work.
I have always thought myself as a Canadian photographer, not having any great desire to photograph in the tripod holes of Ansel Adams. My inspiration has always been the great and varied wilderness of British Columbia and Canada from Vancouver Island's coastal ruggedness to the desert-like interior of the Okanagan Valley to the sharp and jagged peaks of Rocky Mountains. I also love the flatness of the Prairie landscape with the gigantic looming skies overhead especially when there is a thunderstorm. It never ceases to amaze me how incredible it all is and that I am so lucky to live in this part of the world.
The photo posted is from the opening reception invitation that featured one of my original photographic contact prints made from my 4 x 5 negatives. This one being Lake Oesa in Yoho National Park that I made in September of 1988. I think I made up a couple of dozen of these invitations at the insistence of Elinor who thought it would be a great idea.