It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks, but it's all finished now and I have marked my return to photography with a sunrise trip to the mountains yesterday morning. It feels so good to be back that I may go winter camping next weekend.
With the 2014 Exposure Photography Festival in full swing, we were in a mad scramble to get things ready in time for our opening on February 8th. The Sixth Degree Collective display "Home" is mounted in two 8ft by 4ft sections of plexi-glass on my front lawn, not a small undertaking, especially since the yard was buried in snow and ice. It's still up for another week so there's still time to swing by Mike and Lisa's place to check it out. Mr. Bastard was beyond helpful as were a number of our friends and I could not have pulled it off without their help.
I have spent a considerable amount of time over the last few months getting things ready for the exhibition. Sitting behind the computer editing my own photos, buying supplies, mounting photographs, measuring, marking, typing, answering questions, presentations...and of course, shoveling snow. So when I finally had a weekend with no obligations or work to do, I was elated to set my alarm for 4:45 am for a much needed trip to the mountains.
I woke up at 4:30 am and though I felt rather cheated out of what could have been a glorious extra 15 minutes of sleep, I crawled out of bed. The weather forecast looked pretty grim, snowing everywhere and as I set out on the highway, the moment I reached city limits the snow had already started. I kept telling myself I needed the trip not just for photos but for my sanity as well so I pressed on. I arrived at Johnson Lake as the sun was threatening to peek over the mountains and I quickly set up my gear under a tiny little pedestrian bridge (I have been to the lake a number of times before so I already had my composition and location in mind. Scouting missions do pay off)
As I crouched under the bridge like a troll, I plunked the camera and tripod in a freezing little stream and switched the live view on. I wasn't quite happy with the composition and had to move the camera further into the middle of the stream. Of course you know what happens next right? Into the water goes the feet, then I knelt down in the water to better see the composition and finally in goes a single hand to steady myself. On the bright side, I have since learned why I can't find a pair of mittens or gloves that successfully keep my hands warm while photographing - I keep taking them off to better manipulate the camera buttons and then get so involved in what I'm doing that I don't put them on again. I'm sure plunging them into a freezing cold stream doesn't help matters much either. Someday I'll learn...
It's not often that I will "chase the light" and attempt numerous locations in one morning, but like a kid in the candy store I continued up the Minnewanka road and then back down the hill to Vermillion Lakes, stopping wherever my eyes desired. The rest of the morning went without incident, a photo here, a frozen foot dunked into another pool of water there. Rubber Ducks miraculously rescued by timely procured sticks and cheese sandwiches. The usual.
After the sun peeked over the mountains, and I was positive it wouldn't do anything interesting the moment I turned my back, I took a coffee and snack break before heading into town to poke around. The snow, which had been falling lightly all morning, held off for a while, but sadly it was falling too hard for me to catch a good sunset in the evening and I made my way back to the city. A little bit soggy but feeling rejuvenated.