Sleep is something my life has been lacking lately, I would probably be more upset about that if it wasn't self inflicted.
Friday night was spent saying farewell to a much beloved local music venue The D (for now). By the time I arrived around 8pm, they had already run out of beer. In the few hours I was there, they had supplied the fridges and subsequently ran out two more times, I like to think I helped play a small part in that.
Our friends know how to throw a good-bye party and I'm always happy to see the punk and metal communities rally around their friends in support. I always feel so lucky to be surrounded by such genuinely good people, but as I fell into bed that night around 1:30 am, my mind turned to the days ahead of me. Where to go, what to shoot, what to pack and most importantly, what to not forget.
Camera battery is charging, don't forget it.
Snowpants, remember to pack snowpants.
Tripod is leaning up in the bathroom (why is the tripod in the bathroom?), don't forget it.
Maybe I should pack rubber boots.
Good idea, don't forget rubber boots.
Where did I put the bear spray? Have to remember to grab bear spray.
Oh, there's a memory card in the computer, don't forget it.
By some stroke of sheer madness, I managed to wake up at 5am, pack everything I needed and make it out the door just in time to catch the sunrise at Vermillion Lake in Banff. An old go-to location but with little time to spare, it would have to do.
I pulled up beside the lake, Rubber Ducky in hand and finally with my brand new rubber boots on my feet. The weather was mild and I opted to forego snowpants. I splashed into an open patch of the lake, plunked Ducky into the water, crouched down and got to work. As I composed the first few shots, I could feel that old familiar sensation of water seeping into my socks. By the time I finished the open water shots, I was soaking wet from the waist down. So much for the rubber boots keeping me dry. But with the good light fading fast, and no time to think about staying warm or dry, I headed over towards a good bit of ice and continued photographing.
I like to think I looked graceful, but deep down I know in reality I was a rubber booted (the ugly kind that my parents had to force me to wear when I was a kid), soaking wet photographer, wild eyed and messy haired, floundering around on my stomach with my camera like beached whale. If that's not enough to attract unwanted attention from the other nearby photographers, I went on to do a roadside strip down to my ill fitting longjohns and bare feet before I got back in to my truck. (pure sexiness, she said sarcastically)
Normally, the day would end there, but instead I headed north to the David Thompson highway to meet up with fellow photographer and Sixth Degree Collectiver Jason Gendreau to explore the Abraham Lake and Kootenay plains area. We managed to find a Stoney Vision Quest site and spent some time photographing the area. The colourful fabric paired with the natural surroundings was a joy to see, and though it would be simple to recreate in any location, I think the sense of reverence would be lost. If it's not felt behind the camera, then it won't translate into a photo.
In order to keep the ethereal quality of a vision quest, I opted to depict the scene with more impressionistic techniques (camera movement and my favourite standby- vaseline. Great for chapped lips AND photography, who knew?) I captured a few scenes with this method, but one particular tree, with it's striking red, yellow and blue fabric, was my favourite one to photograph. Like a bear to a rub tree I found myself returning to that location a few times over the course of the next two days.
Of course no trip to the Kootenay Plains region is complete without an excursion on to Abraham Lake, unlike the last time I visited, the ice was snow free and the sky was relatively clear.Unfortunately, the light wasn't the greatest mid day and we weren't treated to a sunset worth writing home about. However, we still shot up to 10pm until the snow began falling heavily and we decided enough was enough.
I folded myself into the back of my truck and made an attempt to catch a few hours of sleep while the wind pasted chunks of snow onto the world outside. Freezing cold, cramped, exhausted and happy. After a few hours, I woke up, stretched out as best as I could and waited the 2 hours for my alarm to ring. The hopes for a pretty sunrise reflected onto the shimmering ice were dashed as soon as the sun threatened to rise. Overcast featureless skies hung over the stark white landscape (ugh. Been there, done that) so we opted to try the Vision Quest site once again for some more detail shots. A few more hours spent photographing in the drab light and we decided it was time to call it a day.
Despite the snowstorm, I decided to take the Icefields Parkway home, a fun drive with all the fresh snow but a little dicey with bald tires and only a couple hours sleep over the last few days. The snow was flying up past the windows and over the hood of my truck and I spent a great deal of the ride home yelling "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" at the top of my lungs. All that driving and yelling had me beyond exhausted by the time I got home and I curled up on the couch to wait for bedtime. Some people say no sleep til Brooklyn, but I say No sleep til the photos are done. It doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but that's why I'm a photographer and not an MC. I couldn't resist getting to work right away and I had my picks edited and posted before my burning eyes were finally allowed to be closed.