I will never forget my first rodeo: I had just arrived in early June 1980 Calgary and by early July the city was in a real party mood. Every night after I finished work I would catch the bus to the Stampede grounds, my compact cassette film camera in hand busily recording the events… and forever frustrated about the poor quality of the images…
I had the privilege of attending some of the finals, watching it from inside a climate controlled booth. It left me somewhat underwhelmed and I never quite understood the fascination with rodeo competitions… until I had an opportunity to attend the oldest continuous rodeo event, the Wood Mountain Stampede and Rodeo (established in 1890) with a photographer friend in mid July. Wood Mountain is a 2 1/2 hour drive from where we live. The countryside is very different from the Moose Jaw area. With rolling hills and pasture land I have put this landscape already on my places-to-return-to list. The Stampede grounds are located inside the regional park with an attractive campground that was taking full advantage of its overflow spaces. Parking appeared to be at a premium!
We positioned ourselves near the action just beside the announcer and time keeper’s booth, ate dust and dirt a few times during the afternoon for an unobstructed view of animals and participants with only the fences between us. I think I now understand the fascination with stampedes and rodeos… photography puts it all into perspective (excuse the pun).
It was my first time capturing sports action with my camera. Here is a sampling of the activities from bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing and saddle bronc.
On our ride home we witnessed some of the magnificent skies illuminated by lighting in the south and the setting sun in the west. Ahhhh, another glorious day on the prairies came to an end!
Who still needs proof that Saskatchewan is not flat? Read on and see why it pays to get off the Trans Canada Highway when traveling across Saskatchewan.
Recently a sunset tour of the Avonlea Badlands was organized by the Avonlea Heritage Museum. Tour guide Cathy met up with our group at the Museum to receive payment ($ 10/person group rate) for the 2 1/2 hour guided photography outing. A short drive south of town brought us to a place off the road where we could safely park our vehicles.
Soon we were navigating a short distance across the pasture dotted with prickly pear cacti toward the geological formations in the distance. It was a good idea to wear hiking boots for comfort and protection.
The weather had turned out beautifully after heavy downpours experienced during our drive from Buffalo Pound Lake to Avonlea.
Who needs Drumheller, AB when we have this on our doorstep? Enjoy the images below of the tour of the Avonlea Badlands at sunset and witness how the light changes intensified the colours all around.
In conclusion I would like to encourage you to check out the diverse tours offered by the Avonlea Heritage Museum. Whether you come on your own or with a group you will not be disappointed. Cathy, our guide is an accomplished photographer which made this tour even more informative. Here is a link to the full line up of tours ranging from archeological to daytime, evening and night tours. Speaking from personal experience: This tour gets two thumbs up. We will be back to explore soon!
When the weather advisory goes out early afternoon on July 5th I reluctantly shut down the computer and looked for something else to occupy my time. Huge cloud formations were visible all around and the camera was close by. We jumped in the car and made our way out of the valley to be greeted by distant rain clouds meeting bright canola fields. Ahhh!
Not far from Tuxford is this little church with adjacent cemetery, always a welcome focal point especially with the dramatic clouds overhead.
We really wanted to take it all in and explored roads not familiar to us…
…leading us into the far distance…
…seeking vistas and converging lines…
…never growing tired of the ever-changing sky!
We drove to escape the rain…
…successful for some time!
Stopping along the way to immortalize wind battered outbuildings of an abandoned farm…
…the rain chasing…
…and finally catching up to us!
Another July afternoon well spent in South Central Saskatchewan!
…also called “The Land of the Living Skies” has not disappointed this month and we still have 10 days to go… I posted about the summer solstice last and just realized that a full month has passed since! July 1st, Canada’s 149th birthday, arrived with the most glorious sunset I have witnessed for a while. Could it be that I have not ventured out much lately, perhaps! About an hour before sunset a friend sent me a text message warning of a severe storm heading in our direction.
Most people batten down the hatches, secure the patio furniture and remove awnings – we grab our cameras and tripods, jump into the car and head toward the clouds. It was a show that did not disappoint! The image above was captured along Hwy. # 2 going north of Moose Jaw, SK looking west before dipping into the western Qu’Appelle Valley.
We drove only 2 miles and found the perfect look out point. Immediately after the causeway over Buffalo Pound Lake we pulled into the parking lot: water, escarpments to the north and ever changing dark clouds – the perfect location if there ever was one. Breathtaking imagery… but there is more!
The sky was continually changing as the sun steadily disappeared on the horizon. The clouds took on the appearance of an oil painting and anticipation grew. So often the best show happens after the sun sets!
Could this be a funnel cloud at the far end of the lake?
Clouds like these in painting would be considered artificial and unrealistic – it cannot get more realistic than this!
Sheet lightning was illuminating the sky and every time I engaged the shutter I was not sure if I captured this phenomena. As I was processing the images today I realized that July 1st was the day I captured lighting for the first time! What a way to celebrate our country’s birthday!
These are the two best images I captured that evening. I hope you enjoyed this short weather report from three weeks ago. It’s all about the sky, the clouds, the reflections and nature in this province!