5 minute read
Day Tripping In Canada
September 24, 2016
Even though we insisted we’d move back one day when we left Houston, some in the family said we would stay away forever. Who knows, maybe they were right. It just seems like our decisions always put us on the periphery. For example:
On a day trip to a random park near Nelson, British Columbia in Canada we realized that despite being naturalists at heart (and generally in practice) we don’t like public parks. Well, it’s not the parks themselves, but the people who visit them. Some of the people. Most? Regardless, it’s hard for us to understand how anyone can go to such remote and natural, beautiful and public areas without a certain amount of consideration for both the area and the other people there. Admittedly it’s a hard thing to verbalize without sounding effete, but the fact remains that we’d mostly rather be alone. That’s probably more a commentary about who we are - we understand human nature and we don’t judge anyone.
Anyway. Some of the greatest things about living in Washington have been both the relative isolation and the ability to find great subjects. The isolation makes it easier to walk away from the day job to think about real (read: creative) life, and the location provides the materials for meditation.
The transition to living in the woods in a big space has been great, and I used to think it was because we are good at adapting to living here. Maybe it simply suits who we are.
If you’re on the way to Canada, rule #1 is pay attention at the border crossing because the agents don’t seem to have a sense of humor. Also, the scenery can’t be beat - it took discipline to even make it to Canada because we wanted to stop everywhere, including at lake pend oreille (pond-er-ay is apparently how it’s pronounced, but whatever).
Yes, more gripes about managed nature. When Myesha told me a bear was approaching I didn’t notice how calm she was as I hurried away (thinking there was potential danger), but little did I know the very well-maintained and newly constructed stream where the salmon were spawning happened to occupy a rather inept bear hunting for a fishy meal. Canadians are very nice, but when there’s a cluster of people 25 feet away from the bear and taking photos and video of it with cell phones and giant cameras, don’t shush us because we choose to have a conversation about the odd gathering. Bears are great, but the funny people were better.
We could have probably stayed all day at this one location just north of the border on the way to nelson because of the great waterfall. For whatever reason the canadians decided it was a good idea to have a public outhouse in the middle of nowhere - they must be mind readers because we had to go.
I took this just before Myesha mentioned the bear. At the time I was looking at all the trees with interesting bark, but when she came I snapped one shot and scurried away to that sad, hungry and inept bear in the stream. It wasn’t until she mentioned the bark pattern looked like a bear that I realized the irony.
A while back Myesha told me I should shoot with black and white film, and I sort of poo-pooed the idea because I’m lazy, and really I’m too busy to run a dark room because of other work and lack of space. Now I see the wisdom because she was totally right. Also we have space dedicated to a future dark room. For me the lack of choice with film is key because I constantly struggle with shooting color because it’s so seductive: I’d rather shoot monochrome and have no choice. This image was the reason why I posted all these image in monochrome - it barely makes sense in black and white, but it becomes more abstract, chaotic, almost fractal-like. That’s what I wanted. The variation in green tones of the color version is nice, but that’s too easy when trying to see beyond the surface.
This was another defiant image against the use of color. Instead of leaves the monochrome image is a pattern of veined ovals with opposing strands of interfering grass; the color version is just leaves. This is also proof that fancy words can justify anything because that’s not what I was thinking when I shot this.
I read a lot about photography because sometimes it’s interesting and I thought it would be a good way to learn, but now I realize a lot of the text accompanying images is either academic nonsense or simply after-thought justification… I shot this because it was so simple, foreground, middle ground, background - because that’s supposed to be the classical way to shoot. Personally I think it’s boring, but it gets a point across.
Notice still no bear pictures.